A/N- Hello everyone, and welcome to my story. This story will eventually be a Jasper and Bella pairing, and will be a little darker than my previous stories. Bella's character in this story will be a lot different than how she was portrayed in the books/films. Feel free to drop a review or PM to let me know what you think of the prologue! Please note that this story is also rated M for adult themes.
Damp dirt and moss were all that I could feel as I sank to my knees and hands, gasping, unable to breathe as my salty tears flowed from my burning eyes. My fists grasped the loose dirt, unable to do anything at the moment besides breathe in and out. He had left. They all had, seven months ago to the date. My boyfriend, no, my everything. My family. My one and only best friend. The reason for my existence. My promise for a better future. All of it, all of them, gone as fast as I could blink. And what for? Because I had allowed myself to sink to the lowest level of perception I could become. I had allowed myself to become a toy, a trinket, a useless item like a yo-yo to them all, something they could push away and pull close at whim.
They had grown tired of me, and decided that it was in their best interest to leave, just like everyone else had always done in my life as soon as I got close to them. Perhaps I was the common factor, but right now I could not think past the pain radiating throughout my being. While it was true it had been seven months since that fateful day, the pain had not lessened as I was consistently assured it would, but only grew worse. No one could understand though, the only people who could, were the ones no longer here. Sure, I had lost my boyfriend but, in the process, I had lost so much more, something that no one could even begin to grasp.
Alice and Jasper. Alice, not just my best friend but the only being who could ever understand the demons in my head, the one who was always there, unconditionally and Jasper, the brother who always understood my emotions even when I didn't and made my day to day trivial human issues seem like nothing. Emmett and Rosalie, my goofy and exuberant brother and my cool and collected sister, who at least hinted at a promise of a friendship with time. Esme and Carlisle, the cinema resemblance of the perfect supportive and loving parents that I had never had. Together, all of these vampires created a close knit family, and had graciously accepted me into it, or so I had thought. In a blink of an eye, they were all gone, vanished into thin air.
Collecting whatever strength I had left, I pulled myself up into a sitting position and buried my face into my hands, unable to calm myself down. I wish I knew why I was not able to let this go. People coming and going was nothing shy of a regular occurrence in my life. I should be used to this by now but every day I felt a tug in my chest growing stronger and stronger, where it was pulling me, I had no idea but I was beginning to become desperate to relieve the aching in any way possible.
I suppose that is why I found myself once again alone and in the forest. Jacob, my childhood best friend had become the only sense of steadiness and comfort through the mess of emotional whirlwinds that had become my day to day life. While he could never take their place, especially Alice's, he had become a close friend indeed and had been my north star, helping to guide me out of every night terror, every anxiety attack and every deep depression I found myself ensnared into. Despite all that he had done though, he could not fill the void and I was beginning to feel rather guilty. Here he was, ready to do whatever I asked and whatever it took to fix me. He had even taken to protecting me after affirming that Victoria was in the area, clearly looking to settle the score after her mate was killed by mine.
The thing was, I couldn't help but wonder if I needed to be fixed or even protected for that matter. Was I really that broken that I needed someone besides myself to rebuild the shattered pieces and more so, why was I so important to him when he hadn't even imprinted on me?
So, that leads me to now. Jake had proclaimed his feelings for me and said that he would do whatever it took, be whoever I needed him to be so that he could fix all the cracks in my heart and heal me from the inside out. It was during this conversation that I had asked him if he had imprinted on me, to which he reluctantly confirmed what I already knew, he had not. Of course, it was at that moment that we got into an argument. He tried to tell me it didn't matter if he had imprinted on me or not, that he would always love me but I knew better and had no interest in suffering the same fate as Leah, and had said as much. Jake unfortunately did not take to the rejection well, and wanted to know why and how I could refuse him after all that he had done. I heard myself tell him that I never asked for his help before I even had a chance to fully comprehend the words and their meaning and then he was gone, lost in the forest, away from me. I was alone once more and this time there was truly no one to blame but myself, as I had finally pushed him too far away. Perhaps it was better this way.
My ears heard the snapping of a twig and I shot my head up, the sound effectively breaking me from my thoughts. My vision blurred from the tears that had refused to fall. From the thick part of the forest, I could see two ornately dressed graceful beings moving forward as if they were gliding on water. My burning orbs locked onto them, as I felt my stomach churn violently. They were as attractive as my family had been, all consisting of pale alabaster marble skin, no flaws visible but their eyes differed greatly as they were a brilliant shade of crimson. Thinking back to my encounter with James and his sadistic nomadic clan, I knew all too well that they were consumers of human blood. As this information sank in, I knew I was royally fucked and no one would be coming from me, not this time.
"Hello there, my dear. What is your name?" One of the vampires inquired with raven colored hair and skin so pale it was practically transparent.
"Bella…Bella Swan." I finally murmured after finding the courage to find my voice.
"Bella, short for Isabella perhaps?" The vampire asked again, grinning.
"Yes." Was all that I could muster as fear coursed through my veins more than my blood.
"Tell me, Isabella, where are the Cullens?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I don't know. They left me, and made it quite clear that I was not privy to know where they were going but I seriously doubt that they will ever be back here. If you are looking for them, I'd try elsewhere." I eventually mumbled out, my dark brown orbs falling to the ground as a new wave of pain hit me.
"What a terrible shame. They allowed you into our world and then simply left you behind? I expected more tactful behavior from them, especially from my dear friend, Carlisle. You know that this is a crime in our world, do you not? No matter your intentions on knowing our secret, I cannot let you live, you pose too much of a threat to the natural order of our beings. If I allowed you to live then I would have to show the same treatment to everyone else, which I simply cannot do." the vampire mused with a slight sigh.
"Well, you might as well get to it. Without them, my life doesn't hold much meaning anyway. I don't care anymore. I don't have it in me to fight this." I finally sighed in reply, and looked up to meet his steady and slightly confused gaze. Perhaps he was not used to people not begging for their life. While it was true I was scared, I wasn't sure what purpose my life would ever truly have.
I watched as the vampire walked over, slowly, at almost a human pace. I closed my eyes, waiting the fated death that I had barely escaped from by James. I should have already been dead after all. If I had known that this was the fate that my 18th birthday would have brought, I would have let James finish me off instead of trying to fight destiny. I wish I had allowed my fate to be sealed by allowing his fangs to drain me of my life supply, surely it would have been less painful than to endure this fate, would it not?
"Isabella, if you don't mind, I would like to use my gift to read you before I am obliged to do the dirty deed of wrapping up the Cullen's loose ends. You don't have to be afraid, this will be painless" the vampire smiled as I nodded in pure submission, as I knew there was no reason to try and fight this from occurring. What could a human possibly do against a group of vampires anyway?
Tentatively, I reached my hand out and only slightly flinched as my warm skin came in contact with his cold touch, icier than any of the Cullens. After a few moments, I lifted my gaze to the vampire's, my eyebrows gathering together in thought. Why was I still alive? Why had he not yet let my hand fall and sunk his teeth into my neck? Something was just not right. My stomach began to twist as he released my hand and took a few steps back, appearing to be in shock of some sort, assuming that was even possible for vampires.
"Isabella, I cannot read you. Nothing of your past, future or present is visible to me. You're quite the enigma." The vampire mused, seemingly speaking to himself more than he was to me.
" Yeah, Edward couldn't read my mind either. I thought it was just because I was a faulty human." I shrugged nonchalantly.
"Faulty? Isabella, there is nothing about you that is defective. I assure you, you and your ability as a human is nothing shy of being outstanding! You are the only being, vampire or human that has been able to block out my gift in centuries. I believe this to be due to an innate gift that you possess that would only become enhanced by becoming one of us, a vampire. To simply kill you seems like such a waste. I must ask if I can be so bold, would you consider becoming a vampire and joining my ranks?" the vampire questioned, unable to withhold the excitement from his tone.
I chuckled darkly to myself at the irony of this situation. I had been wanting this for as long as I had known the truth about Edward and his family and yet I never had imagined it would come to this. I knew that I did not fit in this world as a human but Edward had been too concerned about my soul to do what I had wanted, and pleaded with him to do. If he would have complied then the incident with Jasper would not have happened during my birthday party and I would not be in the situation I was in now.
I knew I had to decide and there was no time to truly weigh my options. I could either give into fate and allow the sweet release of death to embrace me or I could allow myself to be transformed and join this outlandish group of vampires. Second chances in life do not happen often, this I knew. Yet, before me a group of vampires were granting me a choice; the choice to be changed or to be killed. Either way, life as I knew it was over.
"Who are you?" I finally brought myself to ask, running a nervous hand through my dark messy long locks.
" My apologies, where are my manners? My name is Aro. I am the leader of the Volturi. I assume the Cullens did not tell you who we are?" He smiled as my face scrunched in thought.
"Nope, sorry. I assume you're a big deal though." I sighed, tired of being in the dark with everything.
"We are part of the Volturi, the largest and most powerful coven of vampires. We enforce the laws of the vampire world and are seen as the equivalent of royalty. We are made out of the strongest and best of the best vampires. I myself am one of the three kings." He explained, watching my eyes grow wider.
"And you are asking me to join you?" I asked with an incredulous expression. Why would they want me? I am as basic and normal as they come, even in human standards.
"That is correct, Isabella. As I mentioned previously, I believe you possess a very strong gift and I have confidence that in time after changing you, you will grow and become a strong and valuable asset to our world. If you accept, we will take you back to Volterra and change you when we deem you are ready. We will take you in, support you in every way possible, and train you in our ways of life." He nodded.
I knew my ears were working, I had heard what Aro had stated, but my jaded human mind refused to believe in it. I was wanted. For the first time in my life, someone wanted me for just being me. Nothing more or nothing less.
I closed my eyes deep in thought as I swiftly began to weigh out my options. If I said no, I would die right here and right now. There would be no second chances, no possibility to say goodbye to Charlie or Renee, to Jake, to any of my friends. Yet, if I allowed myself to be turned then I would have a second chance at the existence that I had wanted. The company would be different, but I couldn't help but wonder if what this Aro said were true.
If I could be of value and make a difference as a vampire, I should at least make myself useful. Plus, if I was turned I could at least watch my friends and family from afar, and find peace that they were okay and provide some sense of closure for them and for myself. Hell, even with time I could likely visit once my newborn years had passed and I was in control of my bloodlust, just as the Cullens had done. Surely, I could come up with a story to justify why I had to leave and to explain my absence. It would be less painful to them all in the end to do this than to simply die, right?
In the back of my mind, I knew that was likely being a bit selfish but maybe, just maybe, it was exactly the time to be selfish for a change, to put my needs and wants above anyone else's.
"If I do this… Can this remain more or less a secret? I don't want the Cullens to know. I don't want them to come running out some sort of misplaced pity and interfering." I finally mused, looking up to meet Aro's curious gaze.
" As you can tell by our eyes, we are not like the Cullens. Covens that lead their kind of life, or of any sort for that matter do not visit Volterra often, and frankly my dear it would be your story to tell, not ours. If you came with us, you could take on whatever identity you wanted and have what you humans call a fresh slate. I would not dream of telling the very Coven who abandoned you of your fate, unless you desired me to do so." He replied, causing me to nod my head in understanding.
I pushed my drained body from the forest ground and stood up, swaying lightly on my feet. My eyes left the two uncharacteristically patient vampires to look over my shoulder. Behind me was Charlie, my friends, Jake and nothing but shattered promises. I thought about the Cullens, especially of Alice and Jasper. I had grown the closest to them on a nonromantic level and the thought of never being able to see them again was simply unbearable. They were the main reason why I had not moved back to be with Renee, at Charlie's request. Yet, this had been their choice. Despite my actions, they all were the reason why everything had to change. I closed my eyes and said my mental goodbye to the world that I had known.
' It seems as if all your efforts to keep me and my soul safe have failed, Edward. You will never know this, but this is my last goodbye to you. I no longer can wait here and waste this life I have been given.' I mused to myself as I reopened my eyes to meet Aro's steady gaze.
"Have you made your decision, my Isabella?" Aro asked with a slight raise of his eyebrow, " I certainly hope so because trying to fight off my bloodlust has become almost intolerable at this point. I will not be able to wait for much longer before I am forced to make the decision for you"
"Yes, I have reached a decision. I will join you." I responded, earning a satisfied grin from Aro.
"Ah, perfecto! I was hopeful that we did not have to allow your potential to go to waste. My wife along with the rest of us all will be pleased to welcome you to our family. We will discuss the timing of your change once we arrive. Typically, we prefer to change individuals once they have reached peak maturity on a neurological scale but this can always be reevaluated and discussed if need be. " he practically purred as he gestured for me to walk forward.
I felt my teeth bite down on my bottom lip and willed my feet to move forward, step by step, further away from all that I had ever known. My nervous eyes shot to Aro before settling on the female with an hourglass figure and light brown hair and ruby eyes who had accompanied him. She was just an inch or so shorter than I and offered a radiant smile.
"Hello, Isabella. My name is Chelsea. I am honored to be welcoming you to our Coven." She smiled and offered her hand in a polite gesture.
I returned the motion out of habit, wrapping my warm fingers against her cool skin. I could not bring myself to smile as warmly as she had, but my lips betrayed me as I felt the corners begin to tug slightly upwards. Something about her energy reminded me of Alice.
"Please, call me Bella. I'm not a fan of my full name." I muttered as my hand fell back to my side. I walked through the forest, guided by two members of my new family. It wasn't the family I had wanted but perhaps this was the family I needed.
"I do not mind calling you Bella but you may want to come up with an alternative name or nickname to go by outside of us and the walls of the castle if you truly do not want any of the Cullens to find you. Bella is a rather…unique name in the vampire world. While we would never inform the Cullens of you, news travels fast to the vampires regarding our… activities for lack of a better word. If they heard the name Bella I would not be surprised if they could put two and two together after learning of your disappearance, which they will in time guaranteed." She responded, her gaze shooting to me as we continued walking through the forest.
" I suppose you have a valid point. I have never given it much thought about what else I would go by. Perhaps a name will come to mind after the change is complete. I mean, I will be completely different, won't I?" I mused as we reached the end of the forest, and found myself face to face with a private helicopter.
"It's hard to say, the experience and final outcome varies from vampire to vampire at least in my experience. Most of the time however, there are certain residual characteristics that remain or become enhanced from the transformation, that is how our gifts originate. While it will be a change, I believe that you will still retain a large amount of your current mannerisms afterwards but time will tell." She responded honestly as she and I took our seats on the helicopter along with Aro, who moved upfront to the controls.
I nodded but remained silent, indicating that I no longer wanted to talk on the subject. She thankfully picked up on the hint and nodded as she offered up a pillow and gingerly handed it to me. I arched an eyebrow and accepted the pillow before placing it on the wall of the helicopter, near the window before resting my head against it. I was drained on every level and despite the fact that logically I should be on edge, my body simply could not help but to relax.
"Why are you being so nice to me?" I finally blurted out, my tone a lot harsher than I had intended. She almost nervously played with her hands before looking up at me and cleared her throat.
" You've been through more than anyone ever should have to. You had to make a life altering decision on the dime and have chosen to become a part of my family. Part of my gift is that I can manipulate bonds of everyone I have met, with the exception of you. I've never had to work before to gain a level of trust with someone but something is telling me that you are worth this effort. But to be honest, even if I could control our bonds, I would not be treating you any different. If we are going to be family, I assumed that treating you like this would be the appropriate first step in that process. Would you prefer me to act otherwise?" She questioned, causing me to snort. Yup, she definitely reminded me of Alice.
" Nah, I'm good. Sorry. It's just hard to see why anyone would care about me. I thought the Cullens did, but I was wrong. It's hard to trust that you and I won't reach the same end of the road as I did with them." I replied with a light yawn.
" You know, everyone says how we are the monsters of the vampire world and yet it seems to me that the only vampires who are, are those who introduce humans to our world and then snatch it away. I never would want to be responsible for the emotional trauma that they have clearly caused you." She murmured.
"Please don't pity me." I found myself replying back automatically and I felt a cool hand brush some loose strands of my hair away from my face.
"I don't pity you. All I am interested in is creating this bond of friendship and offering support if you ask for it while you are working on rebuilding yourself into the person you want to be." She whispered and my mind reeled with what she had said.
"You mean… You don't think I'm too broken to fix?" The words escaped my lips and I mentally cursed myself as I heard her sigh.
"Bella. Rome is built on ruins and is quite breathtaking. What makes you think you can't be too?" She paused as I mulled over her words of wisdom, "If you feel as if it is important to fix yourself, then I will be by your side through it, as long as you need and want me but you will have to be the person to do it. I cannot fix you, only you can. I can only offer you support. The plus side of this situation is you have officially reached rock bottom, which is the best foundation you could be on to rebuild a new life."
"Thank you." Was all I could say before the weight of the past few months finally caught up to me and my eyes closed.
"You are welcome. I know that a lot of damage has been done so I won't push you. But I promise, I will be here for you from now until the ends of time. From this moment on, you will never be alone. I know you have no reason to trust me or any of us for that matter, and it will take time and effort on my end but I will do whatever it takes to gain your trust. I can already sense that you are going to be an important person in my life and I will never take that bond for granted." She finished as she placed a light kiss to the top of my head, and then picked up a novel to keep her entertained on the flight back to Italy as the helicopter roared to life.
I kept my eyes closed to prevent the tears from once more falling down my face. I was overcome with emotion. At this moment, I was sure of exactly three things. First, my life as I knew it was over. Second, if there had been any trace of possibility that the Cullens and I could be reunited, that prospect was now no more. And third, I had been given a chance to rewrite my story, to shape my destiny and this was not a gift that I was going to squander away as I had done with my human life. This was my story. I, Bella Swan was going to become a vampire and I was going to make this world my own.