Isabella Marie Swan stared out of the train, silent. She had been silent ever since it had happened, speaking only a few sentences of protest in the last year of her life. "Bella, darling, eat the rest of your soup before it cools. Don't be rude."
Numbly, she obeyed her mother. She couldn't feel anything, had been given wine with every meal as was customary, her mother said, for a trauma. She didn't taste any of it. Her daughter's newborn cry, the feeling that roared in her chest for her, that desperation to not have her taken away, welled up in her and ebbed away again.
Elizabeth Mary Smith. That was her child's name. Izzy. They had taken her, run away with her, and didn't tell her which orphanage she wound up in, only that they followed through with her desperate cries of Elizabeth Mary, the only words she had said, don't take Elizabeth Mary, don't take my baby…
She sipped her wine, swallowing it easily, wanting it to push the memory away, but never wanting to lose the memory. Her thoughts traveled back to the man, the psychotic violin teacher who had been molesting her for years, the one who had begun sleeping with her when she had started developing in earnest when she was thirteen, then ended up impregnating her. The man her father had killed. James.
She hated him, she hated him, she hated him, she hated him. A constant source of anguish when she wasn't hiding her feelings. All she could do was hope that if she played well enough, practiced hard enough, became good enough, one day he would vanish. Her personal monster in her bed.
Her thoughts went to her baby. Who would be there for her? What if she had a monster? Her parents weren't the best parents. They weren't bad people, they just subscribed to high society, rights and wrongs, the rules others adhered to to not look weak.
But they were weak. It was making her weak. She was powerless now. She would still be powerless, for a while yet. They were whisking her off to Rochester, NY. A "fresh start".
Her mother's weak, stupid voice rang in her ears again. "I'm sorry, Isabella. I'm so sorry about this. But you must understand, you must understand, we simply cannot have this history follow us. What would people say? You must understand, I'm sorry darling, this is simply the way it must be. We will, of course, make generous donations to orphanages in the coming years, do not worry my child, but no one can know. They simply cannot."
Her eyes turned out to the passing landscape. She watched it slowly pass, finishing her soup and accepting another glass of wine. One thing was for sure. She was going to find her daughter and she was going to make sure there was never a monster. She would do it. She would.
And with that, she began to plan.
4 years later.
Bella sat on the porch, having excused herself from the party going on inside. She had just attended a movie with a group of well-to-do high society classmates from her private school. She wasn't particularly fond of other people, finding the opinions and beliefs of her peers to be a cage she wanted to be freed from. Constantly, she thought of her child. Constantly, she planned for the moment she turned 18. It was happening, later that month. She had slowly begun implementing her plan, setting up a bank account in a fake name, depositing funds in it every so often from things she sold of her home, money she accepted from her parents and didn't use, a little nest egg for after her escape.
She was smarter than most others her age, her silent, shy nature eagerly accepted by the boys who thought it was mysterious and good natured, other women believing she was merely a goody two-shoes who bought all of the crap that came with having money. She hated it, hated her silence, hated the oppression she saw around her constantly and experienced endlessly. She hated all of it.
Another young woman, Rosalie Hale, emerged from the party. She was being courted by another asshole, one Bella found to be a creep. But Rosalie was astoundingly beautiful, something everyone noticed and commented on. She knew the other woman appreciated the attention, and didn't fault her for it, but she could see she was falling into a trap. It squeezed her heart. She, herself, was the only true rival at the party in terms of beauty. They were strikingly different, Bella's full bodied lips, long, perfectly set and curled loose mahogany locks, and tempting hour glass figure seemed to only be accentuated by the other beauty, who stood slightly taller, a thin, lithe frame with sleek and angular looks.
It wasn't often that Bella enjoyed someone's presence, but she didn't feel her normal need to escape around the other women. In fact, it was difficult for her to keep her attention to herself, to not stare the way the rest did, to not try to memorize the sight before her. "Miss Swan, yes?" Rosalie greeted politely.
Bella smiled softly at her. Normally, she would smile and nod, maybe raise an eyebrow in question. Generally, the joke was that Bella was quieter than a monk, or a mime. "Miss Hale," she greeted.
Rosalie seemed taken by her and walked over to the swinging chair she sat on, back perfectly straight with a glass of wine held casually in her hand. "I understand the red we're drinking tonight is actually gifted from your family's winery?" she asked delicately.
Bella's heart thumped a little and she fought an urge to fidget. She hummed a bit, turning her attention to the beautiful landscape of the city. She hummed in agreement and glanced back at Rosalie, motioning to the seat next to her. "I thought the occasion demanded a bit of a celebration. This is actually one of my favorite years." She smiled at the blonde, who smiled back, sitting next to her.
"Oh, a celebration of my fiance's newest business dealing brings out your favorite year?"
Bella considered her for a second and smirked, then dropped her eyes, feeling herself flush ever so gently. "Actually, I am drinking this bottle," she confessed, reaching down and bringing up the wine that was just out of sight to any who might come to the front porch. The party was roaring in the backyard, people sometimes stumbling to the front and walking away, none of whom had noticed her. "And, privately, though I am sure your fiance's new company is worthy of a celebration, it is my birthday this weekend and I will finally be eighteen."
Rosalie read over the bottle then looked at Bella, a little surprised and also… impressed? "May I celebrate with you?"
Bella graced her with a smile, not knowing if it was the warm glow of alcohol or the other stunning woman's presence making her feel… giddy?... but she acquiesced, filling the other woman's empty glass.
Her cheeks flooded with color as she watched the other woman take her first sip, savoring the flavor and moaning a little before covering her mouth. Please don't see my blush. Please, do not, for the love of God, see my blush. "Oh, Miss Swan, you do have good taste."
Bella chuckled lightly and stared back out at the landscape. She felt a little silly. A little funny. It was probably the wine. Yes, it was the wine, she decided. "I remember you from some of the circles in school. You grew up down south, did you not?"
She hummed an agreement, sipping the wine and tasting the rich flavor of cedar, the heavy, musky hints of cherry, the light burn to the strong content it packed. "Yes. Virginia, then Tennessee, but we spend our summers in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and many months in Sonoma Valley setting up the vineyards. We moved up to Rochester to focus more on the wine business after Papa's tobacco and whiskey investments became more stable." She looked at Rosalie, somewhat surprised she had said so much. "I understand your father is starting to make quite the name for your family with the banks," she offered politely.
Rosalie beamed at her and Bella's mouth went so dry she needed another sip of wine. She found herself smiling, something she didn't offer often, and could hardly look at the estate while the woman was talking. "Yes, he is. I'm very proud of him. And Royce is just the cherry on top of life at the moment."
Bella couldn't help herself, her lips pursed slightly, then she cleared her throat and sipped from the glass again, refilling it and topping off the blonde's. It was now empty and she tucked it away behind her after peeling the label off and tucking it into a small pocket hidden in her dress.
Rosalie was giving her a look and she blushed. "I'm a bit sentimental. It was a very good bottle." Rosalie blinked and smiled happily, taking another sip and humming in agreement.
She was glancing over at her, Bella could see her doing it. Two couples were staggering from the backyard, noising making their way to the walking path that would lead them to town. Rosalie cleared her throat. "Do you know Royce, Bella?"
Bella sipped again from her glass, looking at it carefully. She turned to the other woman apologetically. "I'm sorry, Miss Hale, I hope I didn't give you the impression I didn't like your fiance?"
Rosalie tilted her head and her eyes closed a bit, almost scrutinizing her but not quite. Bella breathed in, the alcohol and the woman's presence making it impossible for her to stop talking. She couldn't look at her and instead looked at her glass when the words suddenly spilled from her. "I grew up… sheltered in some ways, and not so much in others," she was enigmatically responding. She wanted to stop talking but simply could not. Her mouth was working on its own. "And I've met many men. I do not know Royce at all, but I would not choose to know him. It is not because of anything I know he did but… there is something unsettling about him that I find myself shrinking away from, something I've felt with other men and have either followed that intuition or not." She shrugged helplessly, not able to look at the woman next to her. "I hope you understand, I would never say such a thing to others, I'm not exactly the gossiping or talkative type, after all. But, you are marrying him, and… perhaps there is a hidden honor I feel to admit such a feeling to you."
She was nauseous. She felt it inside of her, anxiety, welling up in a way she was usually able to tame easily. She did so again, feeling the tightness of her dress, the straightness of her back, the weight of the glass in her hand, the breeze and the smell of Spring soon turning into Summer flowing through her. Rosalie was quiet next to her, considering her response.
Finally, Rosalie's hand patted her knee. "I very much hope you're wrong, Miss Swan," she allowed graciously, rising from the chair was beginning to go inside. Bella's eyes followed her and she watched the woman stop before she turned around. "And I very much hope to see you at our wedding."
Bella looked back out at the landscape in front of her. A small smile was on her face. Of course, she would find someone worthy of speaking to the week before she ran. Of course.
The Next Friday night
Bella had left her parents a small letter on her bed. She loved them, she did, but she loved her baby. She needed to be there for her, she was going crazy thinking about her all of the time, and she could not continue to live a lie of a life.
She had crept out when it was finally dark, intent on making it to the last train she knew that was an overnight to New York City.
As she quickly made her way, she stepped into an alley to avoid a rowdy bunch of men. It was Royce, Rosalie Hale's fiance, and his drunken buddies. They were foul, and proved so the way they were speaking about women and the whores they had been with over time. Bella heard them pass and could still hear them when she heard another voice call out his name. Her heart thumped, it was Rosalie.
Terrified, she listened to the rowdy exchange and heard the men bringing her into the alley she was hiding in. "Look at how pretty she is, boys!" he said, before ripping her dress to show them.
Bella's heart pounded. She grabbed a brick next to her, coming up with a plan. Royce and his friends were pulling their pants down, touching the crying woman and grabbing her, pulling at her viciously. Bella saw red, coming up behind them and striking two of the five in the head with bricks, kicking the other close one in the balls and swinging a brick at the other man. One of the men was unmoving on the floor, the other cursing and howling, the last, blinking stupidly. Royce let go of Rosalie, who laid there in terror, eyes wide, panic overwhelming her. "Isabella," she breathed out.
But Bella wasn't quick enough to get Royce, who, enraged, turned his attention on her. He forced her down easily, climbing on top of her and punching her face. She heard Rosalie make to get up, but the man who was kicked in the balls was also recovering, scrambling on top of her and angrily continuing what they had started.
Bella stared up in the man's face, taking each and every blow he served her. Eventually, she felt like she was going to pass out from the hurt, from the pain, from the blows and he was cursing at her, forcing himself into her and asking her if she felt tough now. Rosalie's tormented eyes were looking at her as she stared up into the awful man's face. She spit a mouth full of blood and phlegm up at the man and he roared, hitting her once more. Then she knew nothing.
There was fire. Burning. Her throat was inflamed. Her eyes shot open and she saw a window and an open door. She felt it, deeply, panic. Panic and… thirst.
Her throat was burning. Everything was different. Everything looked different, smelled different, as she stood and began running, she was incredibly fast. Was she dreaming? No. There was no pain in dreams. There was pain, there was burning in her throat but she was incredibly fast. She ran away from the building, two voices talking to one another rapidly but in a way she understood easily. "Carlisle," one of the velvety voices was saying. "I can't read her! She's getting away!"
"Try to stop her, Edward. Go, now! Come find us here when you speak with her," Carlisle was responding. But by then she had a far lead, her legs moving unbelievably fast, the land blurring around her as she easily tore through it, not being stopped by anything.
She could not help it, this instinct. She ran ferociously, taking off into the night and knowing the others were following her, she ran toward the lake. Their calls reached her still, the shouts of Isabella, the pleading for her to stop, to wait.
It was not long before she was there and she was in the water, hiding. She swam, harder than she had ever swam. Raped. She thought. Rosalie, too.
The memories of her alley encounter, the ones that surely ended her life, the knife wound in her stomach, the blows to the face and head. Her hands touched her face and felt it for damage, but there was none. Not only that, but the scars on her arms were gone, every imperfection seemed to be suddenly erased and adding to the mystery of the new life she had woken up to.
She didn't know if time was passing. She suspected it might be, but she was almost flying, she was swimming so fast. She must have reached Canada as she emerged and, breathing in a breath she had learned she did not need, she stopped for a brief moment, an itch in her throat emerging hotly.
She ran without thinking and found herself in front of a home and stopped only when she got to the door. WHY? Her mind was suddenly stopping her. What was she doing? She couldn't go into someone's home like that. But she felt wild, feral, unreal. She felt unlike any other way she had felt before then. She was scared. She ran to the next house and stopped again. Then another. She kept running and heard howling, distress and pain filling the air, screams of help, screams to stop-
The source was a farm house. She didn't know how long she had been running, just that she hadn't stopped yet. Inside the home a woman was being beat. The smell of blood, undoubtedly that was what it was, called to Bella as she jumped through the open window where the screams were coming from. A man was hulking over a woman, laughing at the collapsed body that was bleeding against the wall. He looked up at her with surprise, but she tackled him clear through the wall.
What am I doing? Bella wondered, in horror and amazement as her teeth took the man's neck and pierced it. He was hitting her, but it was like a teddy bear was trying its best to hurt her- she barely felt it. The woman was passed out against the wall. Bella moaned as the thirst subsided, the taste of blood like a thick, warm wine almost sexually soothing in the sensual way it called to her and filled her up.
What was this? Was she a vampire of all things? Her mind went to her daughter, Izzy. A howl erupted from her and she took off, throwing the man's dead body from the window, hard, leaving it quickly behind as she began to run again. What the fuck? She wondered. How could she be a mother if she was Dracula?
8 Months Later
Bella had been hard at work. She was obsessed now, obsessed with understanding the new life she found herself living. Obsessed with being in control enough and careful enough to be near her daughter again. Safely. Protectively. Not in danger of reacting the way that she had found herself reacting each and every time she came across a new wrong. A new injustice.
It was frustrating, being so protective. She knew that, until she could be able to actually care for and provide for her daughter, she could not be around her. Not yet. It was too risky. Surely she was being looked for. Her family had the money and the clout. They had invested in her. Unable to have more children following an illness shortly after having Bella, they would look for her. Occasionally, she picked up a paper and would sometimes find her name in an article. She was young, hauntingly beautiful, and an american heiress. Her and Rosalie disappearing, then Royce and his buddies disappearing, it was making headlines in all of the up and coming cities on the great lakes. Steel was booming, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Buffalo and Rochester all undergoing major changes. The mysterious disappearance of Rosalie Hale and Isabella Swan were major sources of entertainment and gossip. The Swans were very big among high society internationally, and the Hale's were the beautiful tale of what the American dream was, only to undergo a mysterious tragedy that no one seemed to be able to come up with any answers to.
But nothing was meaningful until she saw the reveal of Elizabeth Swan, previously unheard of. The Swans, when questioned, had explained that Izzy had overcome a terrible mysterious illness and they hadn't wanted the public to effect her recovery, so they had kept her out of society's reach until comfortable she was healthy.
Bella hadn't been able to part with the grainy, blotchy, black and white inked newspaper photo. It haunted her and also gave her life.
She knew she could not return home. Her family would be unable to ignore the transformation she had undergone. Any might-have-been flaw erased. It was as if someone had asked Micheal Angelo to repaint her and put her back in life. And she was a vampire. That, well, it just couldn't be ignored. She couldn't handle a single thing delicately. It was pure magic that she had been able to keep the newspaper intact the way she had.
And while she was finding it more and more easy to control herself, she simply could not, could not, handle seeing injustice occur. She was scared of being caught, of not being able to see her daughter one day when she could understand herself more and more every day. She was training like an olympian, because honestly, she felt like an olympian.
She wasn't sure what it was about her, but she was unable to be found by other vampires. She had heard two other vampires in the woods around Chicago and hid. One of them commented on the scent of another vampire and she had simple closed her eyes, breathed in, and hid her scent. Just like that, the vampire could no longer smell her. She was able to see them from underneath the heavy branch she was hiding behind, pure instinct and extreme perception allowing her to blend perfectly from the others. The sun had hit their skin as they moved past and she watched as a beautiful rainbow of color flew from them in every direction. She blinked and waited a long long while, staring at herself and her own skin.
It was somewhat meditative in nature, but also felt almost like masturbation. She was playing with herself, watching her skin sparkle and allow the sparkles to disappear. Was this a weird shield of somesort? This… blanket of sensation, of something else that seemed to radiate from her almost like a human's heat, that energy of sorts that she could often pull from people like drinking blood.
She breathed in deeply and thought about the two vampires. The one who had smelled her and his companion, Garrett. Garrett was thinking, it was clear. They both looked around, breathing deeply, before the vampire looked over at this friend. "Could be. But whatever it is, my intuition is saying it's nothing threatening, just something else." With that, they had gone.
Now, Bella could feel it in her heart, almost. Something was changing in her. It was confusing, and was making her thirsty. She knew it was making her thirsty, because she was suddenly graced with understanding. That's what it all was. An intuition. And she just absorbed it from another vampire. And that's what they were, and that's what she was. A shielding, absorbing, intuitive vampire.
A thirsty vampire.
She took off, bound for South America. She needed control. She needed training. She needed some vampires she could trust. And now, she knew where to find them.