Brilliance: A Story Of Romance & Fairies

Summary: (AU)(1911) The few days on the RMS Olympic were not only spent with social pleasure, but also romance, desire, and the need to escape from a suffocating society. Flames ignite, passion burns, and midnight is illuminated by love and absinthe… all sailing into disaster. (Romance/Drama/Friendship/Tragedy)(I don't own Twilight or Titanic or Pride & Prejudice, for which this story was inspired by)


Chapter I:

Miserable Beings Only Weep


Sweet is sleep to me and even more to be
of stone, while the wrong and shame endure.
To be without sight or sense is a most happy
change for me, therefore do not rouse me.
Hush! Speak low.


Isabella Higginbotham: June 10, 1911—Day One

Isabella Higginbotham, exhaling out the nasty, fresh paint fumes, stumbled into her first class suite; all the while trying to dislodge the growing sickness bulging in her stomach. As the minutes ticked by, her mother's progressive chatter never ceased, but luckily, Isabella's fiancé was the one to drown in the insufferable woman's gossip and high-pitched voice; the woman, her mother, was still extraordinary, despite Isabella's irritated thoughts at the moment. She gazed at the room, mystified by the sheer, gleaming polished mahogany wood; all furniture and curves finely crafted and molded together with a pricey golden cover. A hearth, outlined by this gold, resided in the center of the main wall; lounge sofas with brilliant patterns lie scattered around.

"Oh, my," her mother, Renee, gasped, truly astounded. Isabella, ignoring this, sauntered toward a candleholder pinned to the wall; her slender fingers smoothing along its rusted gold and the dull wax. Flecks of the peach wax—shaven off from the hardness of her gloved hand—fell onto the crimson carpet. Isabella, now truly bored, cocked her head and began roaming throughout some of the other rooms attached with this one; her body finally wandering into the room she'd be occupying for the rest of the tiresome journey.

"And just take a gander at Isabella's room," Renee gushed, beaming proudly; their new English maid, Petunia, cringed at the blatant American accent lacing through Renee's words. Why, in this beautiful earth, would an American be going to England? And why would she be traveling there so spontaneously, with her sixteen-year-old daughter? The story was simple yet crisp—bitter and etched into Isabella's mind.

Phillip Dwyer, the marvelous, wealthy millionaire, had abandoned his wife—after sixteen long years together, the discovery that Isabella, "their" dearest daughter… most certainly wasn't his child. Maybe it was the warm chocolate coloring of her orbs, contradicting his emerald irises and Renee's blue ones that tipped him off. Or maybe—just maybe—it was her mother's foolish confession, while in a drunken stupor, that split his heart in half… In the end, Renee was left in a path of pennilessness—with not many ways to support herself or her daughter, especially as Renee was now a whore and Isabella a bastard child.

And as if some savior from a fairytale, Jacob Black came galloping along their path, his smug grin and slick hair winning Renee over; or maybe it was his massive proportion of wealth, retrieved by the family business: non-faux, wolf fur coats. Not wanting to live out her life as a seamstress, working dusk till dawn with only molded, sour bread for supper, Renee spent her many waking hours into persuading Isabella into accepting his marriage offer and becoming his—wealthy, obedient—wife. But Isabella couldn't deny it: she, too, would rather be miserable for life than to be forced to be a laborer woman with nothing but shriveled grapes and burnt pancakes as a day's meal.

The marriage and wedding was set.

"Isabella Higginbotham," Renee's sweet voice cooed from behind, "Soon to be Isabella Black."

With a childish roll of her eyes, Isabella turned around to stare into her mother's eyes. They were a mirror image, except for the obvious eye-color difference—an ivory, heart-shaped face framed by a twirling mess of pale brown curls; pink-stained cheeks and rosy lips; a slender figure with no real muscle, but still attractive. Isabella was a lovely woman.

"Please smile for me," Renee begged feebly, as she cupped Isabella's face in her gloved palms. Behind the proper mask latched onto her mother's beautiful, saddened face, Isabella could see, oh-so-clearly, the strength and nurturing concern the woman maintained and held onto with all ten pretty fingers; never faltering once in her life. It was a miracle that anyone would accept Isabella now that she was discovered as the product of a scandalous affair, and to make both their lives less of a struggle, Isabella would happily oblige to all her mother's wishes now.

A weak, yet sugary smile stretched onto her face, bringing brightness lighting onto Renee's face. "You know how much I care for you, Bella," Renee whispered affectionately, never tearing away her gaze, "And as much as I hate to see you this way, I… I could never watch you slave all day, sewing and working nonstop. I don't want that to become your life." A flicker of hope flashed across her azure orbs. "And I'm sure that Jacob isn't that tough a man—please, Bella, let him into your heart… it will make everything less horrible."

"I'll try," Isabella murmured, mustering her voice, for it had caught in her throat.

"That's my girl," Renee tenderly proclaimed, her traditional sunny smile remaining on her face. Her hands grasped Isabella's as she ordered cheerfully, "Let us see to the rest of the ship and find Jacob. That boy is always off somewhere, like some wolf, scurrying about." She towed Isabella along as they left the rooms and entered the hallway; an excellent, marvelous area lined with paintings and tables; shiny mahogany and decorative wallpaper. As seconds ticked by, they finally exited the various winding hallways and found themselves in a brightly lit area, the view of the crystal ocean sparkling from way down below. Isabella only made eye contact with the tranquil sea; opting to not stare into the wretched faces of the many First-Class men and women, each gossiping and snickering; judging and spitting out bratty complaints that stabbed into Isabella's head, like an annoying fly buzzing about the room, never-ending its irritating hum considered part of its nature—just like the fly, annoying buzzing was the nature of the men and women of her "class".

Before she could process what was happening, Renee had stumbled into someone, causing Isabella to ram into her mother's back. A group of women, each around Isabella's age, sniggered loudly, but their eyes gradually widened at the person whom her mother had staggered into. Isabella, now curious, gazed past Renee, and found her mouth nearly hitting the floor; her heart pounding uncontrollably and her breath hitching.

"Oh, I-I'm so s-sorry…"

Renee was at loss for words, just as much as Isabella.

The two men were, without a doubt, the finest sculpted human beings ever to land on earth; descending from the heavens as if they were angels. The man, presumably the father—his eyes old and wise—possessed glittering, flawless ivory flesh, marble, and a body only fit for a God; his blonde tresses, unlike most other men, was not slicked back or placed neatly, but nearly—although only slightly—messy: hanging limply in front of his dark azure eyes. But the younger man, probably his son or other close family member, was even more astonishing in beauty and handsomeness.

He stood tall and brooding, with startling emerald orbs and disheveled bronze tendrils, an unusual color. He stared at her, barely taking in her appearance, before flicking his eyes to the ocean. Isabella stepped beside her mother, wishing for his attention; for his dazzling irises to lock with hers. But alas, the man merely stared away. The blonde man, however, smiled sweetly.

"It's alright, miss," he said, his voice smooth and perfect, "It's all well. Are you hurt?"

Renee shook her head rapidly. "No, no, no, I'm fine, very much so." Isabella detected that she was putting on airs, attempting to mimic his velvet voice, but with no real accomplishment. "I'm Renee Higginbotham." She reached out her hand, her cheeks painted a smoldering crimson as he extended his hand and gripped hers gently. "This"—she pointed a single finger at Isabella—"is my daughter, Isabella Higginbotham."

"Carlisle Hale."

Renee stared at the jade-eyed man, wishing for him to speak. When no response came, Carlisle jabbed him in the elbow, to which the man sighed and turned, reluctant, to the both of them. His morbid expression frightened Isabella, especially as she drank in his dull, lifeless eyes that held a deep void within them; one she often found within her own eyes. "Edward Cullen."

"How are you related?" Renee inquired curiously—surely there were some family ties?

"He is my fiancée's nephew," Carlisle responded: the word "fiancée" sending a deep scowl carving onto Renee's face.

"Yes," Edward muttered dryly.

Isabella frowned, curious as to why he was so solemn—so dry and sardonic. His voice, although velvet, had a cutting edge to it that sliced through her body; freezing her once warm blood. Exchanging once simple glance with his soon-to-be family member, Edward stalked off, seemingly ignoring the herd of women smiling dreamily to one another; already wishing themselves to be his wife.

"I'm sorry about him," Carlisle apologized, a bit embarrassed.

"No, he was quite…" Renee mused on the right choice of wording. "Deep…"

"More like a bas—" Before Isabella could finish her sentence, Renee's long fingers hooked around her upper arm, a death grip, and saying a hasty goodbye to Carlisle, Renee dragged her haughtily down the halls; the sunshine glistening onto their bodies. Isabella rolled her eyes, not at all ashamed at the almost openly insulting Edward Cullen; already, his name was bitter in her mind. He was rude, and she wanted nothing more than to tell him so herself. They entered the open deck, where many First-Class people residing; Isabella marveled at the openness of the air and the fresh scent of the harsh ocean: her waves, at the moment, calm. Renee worked to catch her breath.

"Never openly insult people," Renee finally ordered, her face a deep shade of angry purple, "Never. Don't—"

"Act in such ways, I know," Isabella muttered.

Her mother, now offended, crossed her arms. "If you're going to act like a child, then I'll treat you like one."

"What—?"

And before Isabella could defend herself, Renee had taken her by the ear—a painful sting surging down Isabella's neck—and began dragging her toward the entrance back into the promenade deck; many watched the spectacle: a woman carrying a younger teenager by the ear. Isabella's feet worked to catch up to her mother's quick pace. After several long moments, she sighed loudly and allowed her mother to continue dragging her.

Indeed, her mother wasn't the typical First-Class woman.


Edward Cullen

Edward Cullen sauntered into his room, already agitated. These pompous men and their arrogant aspects on life were a thorn in his side; and the woman, all so attracted to wealth and properness—their voice and opinions ignorant and worthless. Jasper often chided him, saying he was being too harsh, but that was only because the blonde was a sensitive fool to others' emotions. Jasper's sister, Rosalie, was a typical example of the women, except unlike them, she wasn't afraid to have an opinion that wasn't her husband's or the society's. That, initially, gained some of his respect.

But sitting on the plush bed, gazing at the dark jade wall, he found himself lost. The woman, Renee Higginbotham, seemed like a bubbling idiot, with too much brightness and not a lot of intellect, but her daughter, Isabella, was a lovely woman; her rosy cheeks and sweet eyes catching his attention… a little. But no doubt, she'd be exactly like every other women; beautiful on the outside—fluffed and groomed—but on the inside, a mere mechanical woman, not having much to say, for she could never have an opinion or a voice.

It annoyed him greatly: being around these people—people no where near human.

"Mr. Cullen?"

Edward, startled, slid to his feet and swiveled around. Situated near the door was Laura Mallory, one of the family maids; her lips formed into a firm line. Her dark eyes, however, swirled with wicked desire. He grimaced, still revolted by her unrequited feelings and her ability to bring frustration to his heart. She bowed once—ignoring the savageness in his eyes—and took a step closer.

"Miss Hale wishes for your presence in her room in an hour for some talk about something secret." Yes, Rosalie enjoyed speaking to him—throwing out all her opinions because she didn't want to appear as an idiot in front of the public—so, she spoke of her thoughts to him, as a way in confiding in him.

Edward nodded once.

"And Mr. Cullen?" He gazed back up, exasperated. Laura flipped back her white-blonde strands of hair and smiled ferociously. "I had spotted you in conversation with Renee Higginbotham and her daughter. I'm not sure if you know, but Isabella is to be wed to a man named Jacob Black… but what's so scandalous is that she's the daughter of a Third-Class man. This man and Renee had an affair, while Renee was to be courted!" Laura's eyes were as wide as saucers imported from China. "The reason Isabella is marrying Mr. Black is because they want the money so they don't go bankrupt and poor. She's playing with the poor man's feelings. I didn't know they allowed such terrible people on board such a luxurious ship!"

"Well, they do," Edward snapped, eyeing her disdainfully. Laura, catching the aggravation in his tone, lowered her head once, grasped the hem of her flowing maid gown, and bolted out of the room. Shuddering back her previous lust-filled gaze, Edward slowly, with faltered steps, ambled over to the smooth-surfaced dresser. His fingers carefully grabbed the picture frame on the dresser: a young woman, age sagging into her features despite her young age, with a child gripped in her slim arms. Heaviness swelled in Edward's throat. It was a photo, so long ago, taken in the year 1894, a few years after his birth. He smiled amusingly at the queer attire hugging his frail, plump body. Now, he only wished for the photo to be in color—how unlikely—so that he could stare into his mother's eyes: a deep green-blue, resembling the serene waves of the ocean. His father often said she had the eyes of the ocean—he called her a siren, because of her beauty and her voice, so soft and motherly.

But all Edward could see was shadowed black and white in the frame. His mother, Elizabeth, had contracted cancer, just a year and a half ago, prompting him, the only remaining of their family, to try everything in his power—his studies included not only music, but medical—to prevent her death. In the end, she died peacefully within her sleep; he was simply glad she didn't have to suffer.

But he also had a family now, after so long.

Esme Cullen was on his family tree—Elizabeth's sister. A few years before Edward was even born, Esme was twenty-four-years-old and already wishing for death because of her abusive husband. However, during the year 1867, Charles (her husband) died of lung infection, and not soon after, Esme, after injuring her leg, was treated by Doctor Carlisle Hale. He thought she was still mourning the death of her husband, and it came to a great deal of shock when one rainy night, she happened upon his doorstep, completely drenched by the rain. Maybe it her white gown, translucent from the tears of rain, that peeked his interest and arousal—or maybe even her flirtatious, drunken state of mind—, but Esme became pregnant not soon after, and of course… labeled as a whore. People gossiped about how she should belong in a brothel, but it never mattered—Esme and Carlisle were in love, not married yet (the reason for moving back to England), and had two adoring children. A perfect ending for everyone except him!

Rosalie and Jasper Hale were born on October 27, year 1892—twins. Both possessed stunning blonde tresses, milky white skin, and deep azure eyes that mirrored Carlisle's. Rosalie was an extreme beauty and Jasper very handsome. It was a shame that Rosalie grew up to be influenced so heavily by the society around her: her concerns only being centered on the monthly fashion update and how people thought of her. She enjoyed having the attention, and her beauty aided that. Jasper, although, shied away from everything—finding the world easier and best for him if he completely avoided most people; he was much like Edward, but Edward didn't hide his arrogance.

No, he didn't care what people thought of him, unlike his two ambitious, passionate cousins.

And Isabella was now a part of the worst side of his mind—the side he placed all pretentious men and women. This part of his mind was where they no longer existed in his world. Sighing, Edward sauntered into the next room, where the small, polished piano resided. Flexing his fingers, he perched down on the bench and not soon later, his mind ventured into another world; one where he could relax. His fingers ran across the porcelain keys, and this became his only real passion in the world. It was his safe harbor.

Nothing else mattered.


Rosalie Hale

Rosalie Hale strutted down the hallway, with Jasper by her side and Alice, their maid, lingering closely behind. Her lips twitched as she resisted the urge to smirk at the eyes following her figure. It was always a temptation not to flirt with some of the men, who were mostly married. After all, what good is her beauty if she wasn't going to flaunt it? Stroking her lips with her sharp tongue, Rosalie raised her chin and continued onward; not even stopping to gaze into the fine strands of water—the water of the ocean. Uh, the salty smell was disgusting to her delicate nose.

"How was your day, Miss Alice?" Jasper inquired softly; boredom in his tone.

Alice, always her jubilant self, came forth. "Lovely. I get to stare into the ocean and travel on such a luxurious ship." If Alice were someone different, Rosalie might have spited her, but the young, poor girl was too jolly and bright to ever be cruel to—at least for Rosalie, who often found her self being snide to everyone. Instead, Rosalie smiled crookedly.

"Good for you then," Rosalie said, honest.

Alice beamed.

"… Look at that man," Rosalie whispered, to which Jasper rolled his eyes. Alice giggled feebly. But Rosalie only gazed ahead, astonished by the man leaning across the railing below; they had exited the open hallway and now resided on the upper deck of the ship; the fresh, salty air almost tangible, and many men and women bustling about. But her eyes stared downward, near the deck occupied by the Third-Class people. A man, burly and handsome, stared over the rail; mesmerized by the sea. "He's so… breathtaking."

"Rose," Jasper sighed heavily, "I don't know who you are gawking at, nor do I care." He motioned to Alice. "Let's keep going." Rosalie simply took staggering steps forward, all the while as Jasper and Alice disappeared into the crowd. 'I have to speak with him,' Rosalie thought wildly. Inhaling a deep breath, she strolled hastily toward the gate. Unhooking the chain, with a sign reading FIRST-CLASS UPPER DECK (reminding lower class of their place in the world), she hurriedly ambled down the steps and moved swiftly through the crowd. Two children rolled dice on the ground—gambling, she thought sourly—and everyone just seemed… so at ease. How could anyone be so happy with poverty? Before she could dwell on this thought, she found him. Smoothing the wrinkles on her evening gown, Rosalie stood behind him, wondering what to do. Was she, Rosalie Lillian Hale, actually stumped with another human? That never happened. How could such a man create such a staggering affect on her? He was only—

"Hello."

Astonished by his deep, warm voice, Rosalie watched as he straightened his back; his arms and body muscular and finely sculpted. His dark hair hung in shabby curls on his head, and his russet-colored irises were genuinely kind. She opened her mouth, saying the first thing that came to mind, "How are you, sir?" Her heart pounded unevenly and in odd spasms that bewildered her.

He smiled, amused. "Fine… And your name?"

"Rosalie Hale," she responded quickly.

His eyebrows went up in true surprise and curiosity. "A member of the wealthy, first class family?" He stared all around, as if trying to figure out the people around him. "What are you doing with us?" He smiled jokingly. "Or am I on the wrong deck?"

"No, you're where you're supposed to be." Her eyes widened at the cruelty and implication of the statement and she quickly added—her words muddling incoherently together: "I mean, you're no supposed to be down here. It's just, that's what the sign says for you people." She slapped her hand to her forehead. "And that didn't come out right either, it's not like you're that poor, but—I mean, I—uh, yes, well—"

"Miss Hale…!"

She snapped her mouth shut and lowered her eyes, but shockingly, he began laughing boisterously—the sound loud and child-like; not at all offended, as she thought it would be; how it should be. Looking up, her eyes sparkling, he was stifling laughter and staring down at her. If it weren't for his incredible innocence and playfulness—not to mention his handsome features—she would be smug at the moment. People were admiring her; gawking at the wealthy beauty who seemed to find no terribleness at speaking with a poorer man.

"I'm sorry," she finally apologized. "I never meant it to be so strongly implying on your current… financial issue."

"I'm not that poor," he protested, his voice a mockery of offense.

"And your name?" Rosalie inquired.

He cocked his head. "Emmett McCarty."

"Emmett," she repeated, enjoying the deliciousness of his name on her tongue, "Why are you traveling to England?"

"My fiancée went to England a few months ago, and I've decided, instead of waiting, to go back there with her." He smiled, proud of himself it seemed.

"Fiancée?" Rosalie found herself sputtering.

He nodded and began talking—probably about this woman's beauty and such—, but all she could concentrate on was the emptiness cutting a hole into her chest; a real pain that snapped at her veins. Her insides were tearing apart and she felt an overwhelming malice for this woman—the woman who had seemingly stolen his heart. She was a stranger, giving Rosalie no right to despise her, but her emotions betrayed her; snaring her heart into a painful twist. Her throat was burning—the familiar feeling as if you were going to begin sobbing at any moment.

She wouldn't allow that. Breathing evenly, she smiled forcibly up at him. "I-I've got to go find my dear brother, Mr. McCarty. I hope you have a wonderful day." Tipping her head, she whirled around and nearly sprinted away; her eyes stinging as moistness draped down on them. After unhooking the chain and slamming the gate shut, she gripped the hem of her evening gown, pulled it up slightly, and began running down the halls; ignoring the looks of disapproval. All she wanted to do was enter her room and sob into her satin pillow. To be away from everyone and be in solitude.

"Rosalie?" Edward, who had been mingling near the open hallway, pushed himself off the circular-window's curve and reached out to her. When she tore away from him and turned a corner, he could only watch and wonder as to why she was sprinting "unfashionably" down the halls, her deep aqua eyes glassy. She was a mystery: one he could never hope to unravel.


Isabella and Jacob

Isabella, sitting in the seat, droned out the tedious conversation being exchanged between the six members at the table: her mother, Jacob Black—her fiancé—, his father—Billy Black—, his sisters—Rachel and Rebecca—and the silent film actress, Victoria Isolde Blair. Isabella stared at the actress, still stunned by her flaming red curls, but also by the darkness swirling in her eyes. Her husband, a director, had died from heart failure, leaving her to be alone, yet still wealthy. It was gossiped that they were extremely in love, and that his death was wearing down her beauty and eliminating the once kindness she possessed: converting her into a cruel, snide, and sarcastic woman with little care for herself or others.

"Ah, I can't wait for the wedding," Renee gushed.

Jacob, smirking smugly, leaned back against his seat and listened carefully to everyone speaking. He was well-built, tough-skinned, dark, and handsome, with charming ebony eyes and a smug smile always plastered to his face. Several feet away, slumped against a wooden pillar was Jacob's manservant, Embry. "You women and your strange fantasies," Jacob chided with a roll of his eyes after Renee had finished explaining about how the wedding should be held and done—a bit over the top, probably.

Isabella continued staring at the walls. The entire room was decorated with bright colors and white wood: pale yellow walls and a crimson carpet. The chandeliers were sparkling diamond and the seats were cushioned with gold and lavender fabric—a sign of royalty for those with money. The fine silverware gleamed as the sun from the windows leaked into the room. However, Isabella took no notice to the sheer serenity and calmness of the public dining room. In fact, staring at the walls was a way to ignore the dull conversation being murmured throughout the area.

"And what, Miss Isabella, is so fascinating about those walls?" Rachel seethed, causing Rebecca to burst forth of bubbling giggles. Both girls, twins, always found ways to spite her; having fun with it, too. She often speculated that they both knew she felt no feelings toward Jacob, and considered it truly horrible for their brother to be in a loveless marriage… They had every reason to hate her.

"Sit up straighter," Jacob commanded under his breath. Mechanically, Isabella arched her back and leveled her shoulders. Billy grimaced—as though ashamed of his son and not her—, Renee continued smiling naïvely, and both twin sisters sniggered once more. Victoria arched an eyebrow and sent—unknown to everyone but Isabella—Jacob a shrewd, cutting glare: one that could easily freeze hell to the core.

"Yes, Isabella, sit up straighter." Rebecca giggled madly.

"So, a silent film actress?" Jacob inclined, his words directed toward Victoria. She nodded once, not even caring to be "proper" as she tipped her head back, chin facing upward, and downed an entire glass of champagne. He played with his collar, uncomfortable, while both the twins widened their eyes in surprise. "Is that a great way to go about your life, with no husband?" Jacob seemed appalled by her career.

"I had a husband," Victoria snapped furiously; slamming the glass back on the table.

He leaned back, not at all stunned by her outburst. "Hmm… Why not—"

"Find a new one?" She scoffed. "Some of us actually believe in affectionate love, Mr. Black."

He scowled, attempting to control his anger. Leaning forward, he contradicted her: "I love Isabella." Gripping Isabella's upper arm, he forced her closer—her arm now burning from his harsh jerk—and snaked his arm around her waist. She glimpsed down at the dark tint of his flesh; his veins protruding as rage sliced into his core—rage at the woman's accusations. But Isabella knew well that people in love knew the meaning of love, and could very well sense it… And Victoria could detect no love emitting from Isabella. Ignoring the sickness lurching in her stomach, Isabella gnawed on the inside of her cheek.

"Now, why are you heading to England, Ms. Blair?" Renee asked softly; attempting to convert the hostility into tranquility. Renee was never one to actually enjoy petty arguments, unlike most others who would consider it raving thrill for gossip at supper. Victoria, averting her heated glare away from Jacob, craned her neck to gaze at Renee—the anger in her eyes vanishing.

"I want to be away from America—away from the spotlight. I need to be alone."

"I'm sorry for your loss," Isabella whispered. Jacob unloosed his arm, seeing that he didn't need to show their "love", and nodded in agreement. Rachel and Rebecca lowered their eyes, as if uncomfortable with the grief.

"He was a great man," Victoria murmured.

Isabella nodded her head.

"A great man," she whispered, not intending for anyone to hear. Jacob threw her a side glance—being the only one who heard her—and the others continued speaking to one another. Billy had remained silent the entire time, and was now staring at the white fabric on the table, his eyes emotionless. Isabella knew that since the death of his wife, he had become to shell of a man that his three children were forced to take care of. He was just withering away: allowing his depression to swallow him each day.

"May I be excused to my suite?" Isabella asked politely.

"No—"

"Of course!" Billy's cold, but composed voice allowed, all the while as he eyed his son disdainfully. Standing up, Isabella strolled away; ignoring Jacob's heated gaze burning into her back. Her heart clenched tightly. She could feel her organs squirming around, trying to eliminate the nausea in her stomach. As the doorman opened the glass door for her, she whispered a thank you and continued toward her common room. As she continued onward, down the various halls, darkness slipped across her vision. Her knees shook violently and for some reason, the walls began rumbling closer. The meaningless noise disappeared, and vaguely, she could hear a smooth, gentle voice whispering her name. She fell into the dark abyss, this time, screams of protest echoing all around. Her breath stopped and she wished, to every god and goddess, that death had finally caught her.


Esme Cullen

Esme Cullen stared affectionately down at the sallow, heart-shaped girl lying on the sofa. Carlisle had hastily gone to acquire his aid-kit, leaving Esme to look after the girl who had fainted before them just minutes before. Alice had scurried to fetch the family, who was a woman—her name vague in Esme's jumbled thoughts—with dark tresses and a bubbly attitude; Isabella's mother. After finding an empty lounge room, Carlisle had set her inside, careful with her frail limbs, and left. The girl's—named Isabella Higginbotham—dark curls limply hung on her face; covering her closed eyes. Esme rested her palm on Isabella's heart—beating soundly, it seemed.

"Esme, love, could you make room, please?" She stood up instantly, allowing Carlisle to kneel by the girl. He placed a damp fabric on her forehead and once again, gently shook her delicate body. She did not stir; her face remaining peaceful in the deadness of her sleep. "She should wake up," Carlisle observed, perplexed, "But why is requiring so much time?"

"In here!"

Esme whipped her head around as a tall, broad man and a thinner woman—the mother—came sprinting inside. Alice stood near the door, worried, with Jasper standing behind her; his eyes locked on the girl. "What happened?" The woman was truly terrified and the man seemed rigid; as if controlling his anxiety, if there was any. But yes, his eyes were screaming from the nervousness.

"She fainted," Carlisle informed.

"Will she awaken?"

"Soon."

"Why would she faint?" Alice came forward, curious as she waved her hand through the air. "The temperature is average, the air is fresh, and everything free of dust. Is there a reason for fainting?" The man gazed at her, scowling; as if offended that a mere maid would have the decency to speak with them. However, seeing as it wasn't his family's maid, he could not scold her in any way.

"It can be spontaneous," Carlisle said.

Esme bit her bottom lip. "When will—"

As if possessed by a demon, Isabella bolted upward, her eyes wide; a cool sweat coating the tender flesh of her forehead. All but Carlisle jerked back, frightened by the harsh, sudden movement of her meager body. Supported by her gaunt elbows, Isabella hesitantly stared around her, confusion sweeping her dread away. The woman, now exhaling a great deal of air, came forth and wrapped her slim arms around Isabella and hugged her tightly; not daring to unloosen her grip. Isabella opened her mouth, as though to speak, but a weak breath roll off her tongue.

"Well…"

Everyone turned around to see—still there—Jasper and now Edward situated a few feet away. Jasper smiled weakly as a way to show his concern and relief, but it was Edward who continued grimacing. He locked eyes with Isabella, who leaned away from the hell in his eyes. "This was pointlessly dramatic." His voice seemed slightly irritated, and with his shoulders raised, he whipped around and strutted indifferently away. His words regarded the situation of each of them crowded around Isabella, a stranger to half of the people positioned in the lounge room.

"He's a pleasant fellow," the dark man muttered sarcastically.

Jasper shrugged back that remark. "You wouldn't know any of what he goes through."

"And he wouldn't know of anything I go through," Isabella snapped. Esme stared down at her, stunned. From the corner of her eye, she could tell that the man seemed outraged; not at all enjoying her dry comment, making Esme wonder. But with a trivial jerk, she leaned against Carlisle, her savior, terror in her eyes as she caught sight of the familiar emotion chained to the man's expression—an emotion she remembered seeing in Charles whenever he was drunk or fueled by irrational fury.

And in that moment, Esme felt pity for Isabella.


AN: So, Rosalie & Emmett—Titanic; Edward & Bella—Pride & Prejudice. I spotted the emotions between Edward and Bella, and it reminded me of Pride & Prejudice, so I'm putting that in there as a disclaimer. And I noticed how much Rosalie and Emmett reminded me of Jack and Rose (ha!)! That was all unintended. Jacob's character is a lot like Cal from Titanic (I do 'like' Jacob, but it's all for the story), and that is certainly intended. Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but this ship won't sink. No climatic, death-filled ending… maybe –snicker-