One of my favorite parts of the original story was Emmett. I always lamented never getting to know him in the books. The idea of his type of character becoming a sort of refuge for a damaged person (like Rosalie)- helping them to find a place in a world that didn't make sense anymore- stuck with me until a character sprang up in my head. She was hurt, and scared, but strong and ready for a fight. She started hollering at me to give her a story, so I gave her Emmett.
This story is a replica of Twilight, but there is no copy and pasting here. The timeline has been changed, everyone is a little older. Bella hasn't arrived quite yet, though in my head canon she's still out there for Edward. You'll find the same major events, some similar conversations, but entirely different focus.
This was a labor of love and I'm excited to share it with you. Please follow, favorite, and review! I'd love to hear your feedback.
I genuinely hope you enjoy it.
1. CHANGING FATE
My name is La Davis.
When the loud clustering voices of my thoughts would clear away and leave me with only the dark places in the corners of my mind, a ringing voice in my head would chant it so firmly there was no choice but to believe. This had become a lifeline.
My name is La Davis.
I'd fought for this name, fought for my own identity in countless ways over the past year. Fiercely battling for my life with all my strength, because I refused to let fear and despair consume me.
A warm gust of wind buffeted me across the face through the open windows of my car, almost as if it, too, wanted desperately for me not to lose myself into bloody memories. I could feel them coming on, anyway, gently accompanied by the ebbs and flows of John Williams weeping out of the tiny speakers in my car.
To say this trip was a long-planned holiday of leisure would be missing the point entirely. This particular tour was a mad dash across the country which had begun abruptly south of Atlanta. I'd had a different car then; an old Honda Civic that had been trusty, and true. I knew when I started this journey it wouldn't be with me at the end of it. With over 250 thousand miles on the odometer, it was a miracle the Civic had gone as far as Chicago. Poor thing lost a cylinder an hour outside of the city, both land-locking me and forcing me to advance my deliberately orchestrated timetable.
The original plan was to pass through Chicago for a brief stop, then take the Honda back in a southwest direction- as far as St. Louis. Since I wasn't sure if I was still being followed, I was supposed to swap the car there, then move on to the next city in a fresh, unrecognizable vehicle.
The death of my beloved car, though early, had been a blessing in disguise; perfectly timed. Chicago had such a wonderful density of people it was nearly too easy to become invisible in the crowds. The constant buying and selling of so many vehicles in a concentrated area enabled me to get a manageable price on the Fiat Abarth I was now enjoying. The purchase had been discreet, cash down, with no questions and I'd even been able to get a temporary tag that lasted long enough to get me to my final destination. There I would be able to register the car under my new name.
The new car, new plates, and a daunting itinerary of roundabout cities were supposed to make me feel confident that it would be too hard for him to find me. Of course, none of this would prevent him from ultimately getting what he wanted, nothing ever deterred him from that. I could only hope by the time he found me, I'd be ensconced well enough to hide, or close enough to the Canadian border to flee.
My stay in Chicago lasted for over a week. I liked it so much I fooled myself for a moment into thinking the city might be big enough to hide in. Maybe changing my name was an overreaction. Maybe I could just bury myself into this fantasy of safety so deeply I would be able to forget. Maybe no one would ever find me again. Maybe the power of my will would make that come true. It's possible it could have worked, but the nightmares did find me, even if he didn't.
The peace Chicago's bustling noise initially offered didn't last. After the first couple of comfortably lazy mornings in my quiet little hotel, I woke to find blood caked beneath my fingernails from several lengthy gouges in my chest and along my arms, and my sheets soaked with sweat. In my dreams, he found me so easily it was laughable. No lock on any door could keep him out, no city or township could be remote enough, and no chosen name could ever be creative enough to keep him from finding me. In my dreams, he was all-powerful and unshakable. His sly laughter rang evilly in my mind as he carried me down into the cellar where my cot was lovingly made up with fresh bedclothes. The smell of his sweat was just as pungent as it had been that first day, the scratch of the ropes around my wrists just as claustrophobic, and the terror just as real. These dreams were so much more than nightmares, they were a vicious combination of memory and terrifying fantasy. My brain discovering new unpleasant ways to intensify the torture.
While the brief pause in the nightmares I'd been enjoying had been a welcome reprieve, their return convinced me the Windy City was too close, too easy, too obvious. He would eventually find me there, so I stuck to the plan. I went to St. Louis and stayed with some friends, then moved on to Kansas City, where I spent only one night, feeling phantom eyes boring into my back the whole time.
I punched through to Denver and stayed in a youth hostel. They didn't ask any questions, not even for my name. Their relaxed hospitality settled into my bones and for the first time in a year, I let myself smile at a stranger, laugh at an oddly timed joke, and take a walk in the moonlight. I let the fluffy snow in bright sunlight, and astonishing view satiate my need for beauty. I let the kindness of the people I met act as a balm on my bruised and battered heart. When I left the high elevation and picturesque mountain roads, the compelling fresh air forced its way through the seals on the door and convinced me to roll the window down. The feel of the cool wind on my face as I flew further west was both electric and cleansing.
After the renewal of bravery and good humor I'd experienced in Denver, I challenged myself to spend time under the vast open skies of Utah. There was healing in this challenge as well, in forcing myself to seek out the beauty in forbidding places. Again, I found myself wanting to stay in Salt Lake, but a plan was a plan, and my uncle was waiting on my arrival.
On the way southwest, I noticed my urgency of flight had dissipated. I was driving at a leisurely pace, and taking time at roadside attractions. I even stopped at some of the small markets that seemed to spring up out of the nothingness that stretches in between truck stops, and I didn't keep an eye over my shoulder while I was there.
It was nearing the end of December when I landed in Albuquerque. While I found it too warm for the middle of winter, it was beautiful and endearing. It reminded me of my childhood in the desert, of days spent shoeless and carefree. It reminded me of bets with my sister on which of us could stand on the hot pavement longest, and my anger when she always won. It made me miss what I'd left behind so viscerally it was painful.
I missed her but didn't give in and call her that day, though I was dying for contact with my family. It wasn't safe yet because it wasn't part of the plan. I was still looking forward to a night in Flagstaff after Albuquerque, at least two nights in Las Vegas, one in Reno, and then on to Sacramento for a quick rest before the final leg of my journey.
Flagstaff was stunning. Covered in snow, with twinkling lights wrapped around every light post or stable column in the town. College students roved in packs back and forth through the streets, running and laughing, and too busy falling in love to remember it was Christmas. I remember the thought had startled me. I'd been sitting in an Irish pub, leaning over the bar, nursing a beer, and watching a couple play pool on the tables behind me. They'd been so sweet with each other, encouraging, and full of laughter. Snow was piled into the corners of the window frames behind them, and the neon signs were hung with holly and surrounded by wreaths. I remember thinking they must have been somewhere around my age, perhaps a year or two younger, and I realized if it was Christmas, it meant my birthday had passed, and I never noticed. Was I 25, really? At that realization, I switched from beer to whiskey and spent the rest of my night sinking into nostalgia.
The drive from Flagstaff to Las Vegas was one of such intense beauty that I spent the majority of it in tears. A long stretch of the 93 wiggles through an all but forgotten national park where Joshua Trees press in around the road on all sides. Their fuzzy branches lifted toward the sky, resembling hands reaching out to grasp at each other or perhaps some other nameless desire. The land is flat, dry, and extremely austere, and yet, it is so lovely it has a healing power all it's own.
The 93 becomes Interstate 11 as it crosses into Nevada. It seems the city lights are visible as soon as you finish the last corner coming north from the Hoover Dam. The flashing colors promise anonymity and distraction, even from afar, and I must say, the city did not disappoint. I found my hotel and only stopped long enough to drop my bags off before I was out to walk every inch of both strips, engage with as many people as possible, and drink myself silly for the first time since leaving Atlanta. I was there for somewhere around five days. I met a boy, though I'd never remember his name, and left him in my hotel in the morning on the last day when I headed out of town.
The seven-hour drive from Vegas to Reno was muffled by an intense hangover that left my body feeling heavy and numb. I checked into a motel and slept for 12 solid hours. When I woke I found myself feeling confused, but mostly refreshed, and ready to continue the drive.
It was strange to think I was officially nearing the end of this adventure. A journey full of twists and turns and every cliche, that landed me here, just outside of Reno, somewhere north of Yosemite listening to a bleak orchestral serenade as I sped my way west on Interstate 80.
I rolled up the window and switched my radio to an old favored audiobook. Rosamund Pike's strong voice came through the speakers in her laudable rendition of Pride & Prejudice. This would make the second time on this long, lonely road trip I'd turned to this particular story. It was easy, familiar, and comforting. Even after all these re-reads, it was still engaging enough to keep my thoughts where they ought to be- safely out of the past.
Sacramento was only a two hour drive away, which meant in less than three hours all told, I'd be able to call my sister for the first time in a month. Excitement and yearning pushed me through the drive and brought on a slight feeling of contentment with my arrival.
As soon as I entered the city, I found a store and bought a new SIM card for my phone. That first call was like a dam breaking. All of my fears and frustrations flooded out as soon as I heard my sister's voice. She listened and cried with me, and then pulled herself together long enough to say;
"You are allowed to live your life. Enjoy this time you've given yourself. You've earned it."
"I know, it just doesn't seem possible that I can heal from this," I told her. "Am I ever going to love again? How can I ever trust a person again?"
She sighed deeply. "You can, and you will."
"You have to, La. You won't have a choice. As humans, we tend to be indomitable, generally, and our family even more so. The question isn't if you'll love again, it's when."
That was it. That night and the next I slept soundly and dreamlessly. Even if he could trace me this far- which he couldn't, not after all of my precautions- there was no way any person would expect me to go the direction I would be taking next. My mother lived just two hours south of where I now stood, in San Francisco. With her so close and accessible, what person would dream of going in the opposite direction? Which is why I wouldn't even let myself think of going there.
This wasn't the end of my trip. I had a couple of hard days ahead of me, but for now, I could take it easy on my way to Portland. I could enjoy the scents in the air, the breeze trickling through my hair, and the frivolity of a 19th century romance novel.
There was no way of knowing what could possibly come next, but at least for now I could rest easy knowing I did everything in my power to change my fate. After a month of travel, circling around, staying in zig-zagged cities across the US, creating as many misleading patterns as possible, I had officially earned my name. It was time to put that entire ugly mess firmly behind me.
My name is La Davis and for the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful.