These characters are not mine.

Author's Note: I haven't written Twilight fanfiction in a long time; however with the pandemic, I find myself bored and wanting to write. These tropes have been used before but I wanted to try my own hand at it. This story will focus on the mate bond between Edward and Bella with a darker twist. Anyways, I hope you like the first chapter.

Chapter 1

Let me preface this story by saying "I didn't ask for this." I had kept a low profile and only went outside when absolutely necessary after the big news. When I was 21, the president of the United States made an announcement that vampires were real. We would live in peace with each other. They would not hurt us as long as humans didn't interfere with the mating process. Any attempts to run or hide would be futile. We were told it was a great honor to be the mate of a vampire. Mates were treasured by their kind. Vampires needed to come public, because their so-called king was mateless. They needed more resources to find his mate and the mates of other vampires. Thus a new way of life began. During the announcement, it was stated that of age females submit a blood sample. These samples could be used to match potential mates. If your sample was matched, then you would be required to meet your fated mate. It was extremely rare for a human female to be a match. Something like 1% of females were a match. The blood sample wasn't the only way to be found, however. You could still be matched by having your mate smell you or by sight alone. While other girls flocked at a chance to become a mate, I hid.

After the reveal of vampires, I did everything I could to stay out of sight. I ordered my groceries and other shopping needs online. I took my college classes online rather than attending my local university. When I did go out, I wore a sweatshirt with a hood. I kept my dark locks of hair tied up in a bun to keep my scent to a minimum. Kept my eyes down to avoid making eye contact. Even with these precautions, I was running out of time. We were given a year to provide a blood sample, I had yet to go. I knew the chances were extremely low. I didn't know anyone personally who had been claimed. It happened so rarely that it was always "I knew a girl who knew a girl who knew a girl." But when I let my thoughts wander, I had this feeling that he was waiting. Impatiently waiting. While a vampire has never done anything to me, I don't like the idea of having my choices taken away from me. vampires were extremely dominant with their mates. We were advised not to run. Running would lead to a painful marking and even more dominant mate. My life is my own; I wanted to keep it that way.

After the announcement, more information came out about the "expectations" for human mates. Statements were released to the news, on twitter, facebook, and even the newspapers. They described how a woman should act and especially what not to do. We were instructed to stay still and wait for our mate to approach us. He would appear agitated and be in a more primal state in his need to mark his mate as his. They need to feel us close and calm as their number one desire is to keep us protected and to mark us as theirs. We were assured by the vampire king that our mates would never harm us. A mated vampire's number one objective is to love, provide, and care for his female. A vampire will not be denied their mate. The actual marking and claiming process was kept a secret. The public was only warned what to do in the event of being matched, found, and even a bystander in the process. A vampire kept from his mate is volatile and dangerous. I think these messages were there to assure females that mating was meant to be desired, but all it did was scare me more.

Last week was the end of the year grace period for the sample. I didn't go. I thought maybe my name had slipped through the cracks, but I received a notice from the sheriff yesterday that I had to report to the hospital to give my blood sample. I hadn't decided my plan yet. As I drove to the hospital with shaky hands, I considered my options. I could go and hope I didn't match. I could start running now; however, a life on the run without knowing if I truly needed to run didn't seem like the best option. I decided that if the blood sample matched, I would hide. There were rumors of off the grid villages where women could take refuge. I would try to find one of those. I didn't know how but I would.

As I parked the car, my neighbor Sara walked out of the hospital entrance. When she saw me, she started waving me over to chat.

"Bella! It's so good to see you. How have you been?" Sara was the exact opposite of me. She was fun and had a bouncy personality to match. While I wasn't an eye sore to look at, I struggled with accepting my body as everyone else does. It took me a while to trust people, so I only had a few friends. While Sara isn't a close friend, I appreciate her positivity and kindness every time I see her.

Trying to ignore the crushing anxiety I felt with having to be here at the hospital, I continued to chit with her. I still had 10 mins before my government required testing.

"I'm okay. Thanks for asking." I said politely responding. As we did the typical neighborly song and dance conversation, I noticed a black SUV with dark tinted windows pull up to the hospital. A flag with the vampire emblem was attached to the front. Those were reserved for high ranking vampires. That tugging feeling I have ignored for a year came back stronger. It felt as if someone had tied a rope around me, constricting me tighter with each passing moment. Was this a panic attack? If I didn't know better, I would have thought physical ropes were wrapped around me. I needed to get out of here without making a scene. As I started to walk backwards towards my truck, the sheriff arrived.

The sheriff marched directly over to me. "I'm sorry about this, Bella. I'm uncomfortable with having to do this. But, I have been told I have to escort you for your test. It should only take a few minutes. Then, we can both forget this ever happened." He then reluctantly grabbed my arm and guided me to the front entrance of the hospital. In all honesty, I needed the extra support as the pulsing only got stronger as we neared the doors.

Once in the hospital, the sheriff and a kind faced nurse led me to a private room. As the nurse led me to the patient chair, she said, "Now, let's get you tested and out of here as quickly as possible. Let me explain the mate test procedure. I just need your index finger. You will feel a quick prick. It's like getting your iron checked before giving blood. Quick and easy. Then, we should know your results within a few minutes." As she finished, she smiled as if a positive test wouldn't give a man permission to claim and own me. Sure, let's just pretend that this whole process is just normal.

As she wrapped up my blood sample to be tested by the lab, I saw people running down the hallway. Their faces flushed with shock and panic. BANG! And then, I felt more than heard a growl. One that made the tight feeling ever present in my chest. Looking over at the nurse, her face paled. Even the sheriff twitched with anxiety. I got up from my seat and looked out the small window in the door. The patients in the waiting area scrambled to get out of the way of the group of men who appeared to be restraining someone.

Then, he yelled, "Get off me. She's here. Mine. Mine. Mine."

Even from a distance and thrashing around like a mad man, I could see he was beautiful. He was easily over 6 foot, maybe closer to 6 and half. His dark blonde hair, slight afternoon shadow, and how he was overpowering the two men hanging onto him, all screamed that he was a "man." This was a first for me. I had never really ogled at a man like this before. As he almost broke free, I saw his eyes. When I was a young girl, my dad took me out camping, deep into the forest past any chance of running into any other people. I remember looking into the deep, emerald forest and thinking how the forest was both beautiful and unsettling. That was the color of his eyes. With all that, I also felt like I had seen him before. I just didn't know where, but I didn't have the time to figure out the puzzle.

"Sir, you can't hurt these humans. You have to stop."

His head snapped up, and then he looked at me directly. While he stopped fighting his restraints, his whole body stilled in focus. His stillness was more frightening than his previous aggressive behavior.

"You. I found you." Briefly his eyes flashed yellow, an almost caramel gold. Both terrifying and beautiful at the same time.

I knew it. I didn't need the test to come back positive. I was one of the unfortunate 1%. All that hiding and staying low was for nothing. I shouldn't have come here today; I knew better. Fuck, I should have listened to my instincts. Why did it have to be me? I had to get out of here.

Throwing the hospital door open, I looked for an exit. To my left was the entrance and my currently restrained possible mate. To my right was a long, chemically cleaned hallway. In this hospital maze, there had to be another exit. So, I ran. I ran for my life.

Without looking back, I sprinted down the hall under the fluorescent lights. Each second, every running step was both my own rescue or my downfall. He had speed and his heightened senses on his side. I needed to think fast, because once they let him go he would find me. I couldn't out run him. I needed to get out of sight and cover my scent if I had any chance of escaping and ultimately live in hiding.

I had run this scenario in my head before at night when my dreams had become nightmares of being taken by a vampire. A friend from high school, Jake, lived just outside of town. His dad had been one of those doom's day planners. In his fear against Commies and the government in general, he had made a small bunker with a year's supply of food. It even had a tv. He only showed it to me on a dare, and then he tried to kiss me. I ducked out of the kiss, but things were awkward afterward. His dad died a few years ago, and Jake moved away after that while the house remained unoccupied along with the forgotten bunker. If I could get there, then I could lay low before figuring out my next plan.

BAM! The door separating the lobby and main hospital ripped open, crashing to the floor.

Shit. They let him go. I wasn't nearly far away enough to cover my tracks. As I prepared to take a turn in hopes of finding an exit or at least a place to hide, I ran smack into a doctor. Her hands reach out to straighten me on my feet. As she sees my heavy breathing and dilated pupils from fear, she opens her mouth as if to say "Are you okay?" But, she is interrupted by a growl coming directly behind me.

"Mine! Give her to me. Give her to me now!" He demands. I can't see him, but I can only imagine how terrifying he must appear to her as her hands that were once firm on my shoulders in support now tremble away from me. As soon as she lets go, he takes the opportunity to pull me to his hard chest. His hold is gentle yet secure. For the time being, I was not going anywhere. As he pulled me closer, his body shook and shivered. He slowly lowered his head and moved one of his hands holding my waist to my neck. It was my turn to shiver as his breath tickled the back of my neck. I thought I heard him whisper "Mine" softly. His nose ran along the curvature of my neck exposed completely to him as he continued to breathe in my scent.

He whispered into my ear, "You ran from me. Why?" His hold tightened around my waist.

Before I could give any attempt to answer, he lifted me around. He maneuvered my legs to wrap around his waist. Sparks tingles my thighs where he held me against his waist with one hand while his other cupped the side of my face. My face was nestled into his chest, my hands wrapped at his guiding. When he started walking with me in his arms, I started to cry. His touch and intoxicating scent called to me even when all I wanted to do was run. I kept my eyes closed not wanting to establish any more of a connection with him. After hearing me cry, he started to stroke my cheek.

As we neared the hospital entrance, he was stopped by the same men who were holding back earlier. He stepped closer to speak to him but stepped back quickly as my mate growled.

"Sir, the car is ready for you. Also, her results are back. Her blood sample confirms the match. Congratulations, your grace."

Why did he call him that?

"Thank you, Emmett. Please tell the other men to keep their distance. I'm having a hard time controlling myself. I need some time with her."

That same car I noticed earlier with the vampire emblem was parked with the door open waiting for us. He never let me go even as we got in the car. As soon as we were seated, he moved my legs to straddle his and moved my numb hands to hold each of his tightly. His frighteningly beautiful face was directly in front of mine. His lips were in reach of mine with the strength of his grip on my hands. Again, his entire focus was on my face as he studied each of the emotions that ran across my face. His lips pursed as he saw my panic and his eyes burned when I was distracted by the fullness of his lips. During this close inspection, someone had closed the door. As the door locked, I panicked, pushing my body towards the blurred window, drizzled with raindrops. His grip on me tightened as I struggled without hope. Since he kept his hold on my body, I turned my head keeping my head down. His growl returned and I felt the deep rumble run through my body. A new round of tears escaped my eyes in frustration and fear.

Pulling my body impossibly closer, he let go of one of my hands and softly cupped my chin. I used my one free hand to push against his chest, but his strength was no use against his. He turned my face to stare into his eyes. I breathed in sharply as the eyes I met were not his green calm eyes but the amber, primal ones. Why did his eyes change color? They never said anything about that in the news.

He held my face to his for several minutes. While he studied my face, I took the opportunity to study his. I didn't even know his name. While we looked to be around the same age, there was something older about him. I also still couldn't shake that he was somehow familiar to me. When I allowed myself to truly study him, his scent and appearance drew me in like a moth to a flame. When I leaned in, he would purr. Any movement away from him caused him to growl. I felt I was dealing with an animal more than a man. At my last push against his chest for some space, he lost his patience. He brought up both of his hands to gently hold my head. Not knowing what he was going to do, I started to tremble. His soft lips caressed my forehead for his first kiss. I closed my eyes as even that soft touch sent fireworks throughout my body. He continued to kiss around my face and gilded his nose alongside mine, breathing in my scent. His entire focus was directed on skin to skin contact. I jumped in surprise at the sudden feel of his tongue on my neck. He tightened his grip as his tongue licked across the side of my neck before he ended it with another kiss. I should be grossed out, but his attention sent fire to my core. For vampires, the mate process was immediate, instinctual, and untamable. Humans feel the mate bond, but it comes on more slowly. As I sit in his arms, I can feel myself becoming attached. Every part of him called to me.

Looking into his eyes, I pleaded with him as I shook my head. "No, please."

His eyes swirled back and forth between green and gold. "Mine. Mate."

The seriousness and finality of the situation began to sit in. A vampire saw me as his mate. He had grabbed me, taken me, and now I can only assume planned to claim me. I had to get away before that happened. It was my only chance. The question now was "how?"