Disclaimer: I am in no way affliated with Stephenie Meyer, nor do I own any of the main characters. I do, however, own the plot and made up charachters.
Well here it is, ladies and gentlemen. The much anticipated first chapter, for the full story of the one shot, After Ever Happily. I was going to wait until after the contest to post, but demands were high. So with out futher ado, I present to you, After Ever Happily.
A New Life
The early winter season had made itself known in the lands of Forkshamton, a light dusting of snow coating the grassy hills and barely traveled roads. Two large carriages made their way through the growingly dark land, the twin drumming of the horses' canter breaking through the quiet English countryside. Inside one of the carriages, a young girl sat staring out the frosted window.
"Isn't this exciting, Bella? We are to serve in the King's castle." Another young woman by the name of Angela Webber whispered, breaking Bella out of her slight trance.
Since she left her home town, she had longed for nothing more but to return. Unfortunately, her father had grown very ill in the past, and though he had recovered succesfully well, the illness had raped him of the use of his legs. Forever bound to a wheelchair, Bella was forced into work being a hand-maiden, to support him and herself. Though she had only served in one household, she had been recommended and chosen to serve in the king's castle estate.
"Yes, Angie. I do feel as if this is another adventure waiting to be discovered." A warm smile spread across her pale face, lighting her every feature.
Just then, the heavy carriage came to a jerky stop. Everyone seemed to grow more and more restless as they awaited their approval to enter the large, stone castle. The footmen waiting on the steps rushed, similtaneously to open the carriage doors, all eight servants stepping out and hurrying after a third footman who led them up the great stone steps and into a large hallway.
All of the newly arrived servants stood in a small group, all eight pairs of eyes trying to take in all of their new home at once. A feat that seemed near impossible to accomplish in one setting, for there was so much for the eye to witness. Bella noticed the large jade and black tapestries, some of them barring what could only be the royal family crest. Many of the oil paintings and portraits on the wall consisted of vivid colors and complicated brush strokes, some of them appearing as though they were newly painted. Bella made a mental note to take a closer look at them all on her free time, for each work of art had a story to tell.
"May I have your attention everyone, please?" A new voice echoed off of the high ceilings and walls. The small group turned their attention to the dark, foreign man. From the sounds of his slight accent, Bella could tell that he was not originaly from England.
"Attention, and listen carefully please, thank you." He looked around the group, his large onyx eyes nearly glowing in the bright torchlights. "My name is Lauraunt. I am the head butler here at the castle and from now until your services are no longer required, this will be your home." He continued, outstreching his arms and turning slightly in each direction. Everyone looked around again, a mumur beginning to rise from the small group.
Bella could make out some of the words of her fellow helping hands. Some of them along the lines of 'How will I ever make my way around' and "Everything is so tidy. I hope I don't disturb anything too sacred'. Bella simply smiled, wanting to go to everyone and try to relieve their mindless bickering.
Though she was a bit nervous herself, she looked at this as no different than the last house she had served. Everyone quieted once more as Lauraunt continued his introduction.
"You will all be shown to your new bed chambers and will be given a brief tour of the castle, followed by a breif supper. His majesty, King Carlisle, and the royal family are attending their own dinner as we speak. You are all to report to the grand ballroom in two hour's time to present yourselves to them." Lauraunt finished, clapping his hands together. In an instant, eight additional hands paired themselves to the new arrivals, in order to show them what they needed to know.
The few trunks and parcel bags were grabbed by footmen who set off in seperate directions. Bella began to protest, insisting she could carry her own small bag, but was stopped by a tall, russet skinned boy who's long, black hair was pulled back into a neat tail. Though she did not have much experience with men, she did, however, know that this particular one was handsome. He approached her with a warm smile, his hand out stretched, as if to grab her own.
"Hello, my name is Jacob, Jacob Black." The boy said, lightly kissing her wrist. His eyes briefly looked over Bella's small form, admiring her beauty openly. The brief exchange caused a slight blush to spread across her cheeks. "I am the prince's personal hand-man." He finished with a polite nod.
"Isabella Swan, but please call me Bella. I do not have an assignment just yet." Bella returned with a small curtsy, blushing even more when she noticed her tiny hand was still nestled into his.
"Come, I am to show you around before you are to present yourself. We can start with the lavatory, for I am sure you would like to freshen up. How was the journey? Hope the roads were not too bumpy just yet, they get a bit nasty this time of the year." Jacob began to ramble on as he pulled Bella through the long dark corridoors.
After a brief freshen up, Bella listened intently to this Jacob boy, ramble on. "And this is the servant's quarters." He opened a wooden, carved door displaying a room that could fit for a king.
Though mainly uniform in furnishings, the room contained two beds, clad in dark emerald linens, two bedside tables, each baring an unused candlestick, and one single mirror. Bella's breath hitched as she speechlessly looked to the smiling boy with questioning eyes.
"His majesty likes to make all of his servants feel like family. He treats us all with a kindness that will blow you away." Jacob chuckled, leaning against the door frame. Bella had wondered, subconciously, into the beautiful room and ran her hand over the sheets. Perhaps all of the rumors of kings being cruel, selfish people, were just that, a rumor.
"This will be your room. I don't quite know whom your roommate is, but I am sure you'll meet her tonight. We better hurry, dinner will be served without us." Jacob finished, turning on his heel and starting down the hall.
The night was dark, and the air had a frigid bite to it. The lamp light blazed in the stables illuminating the area surrounding it. Jacob walked towards the structure, carrying two rolls of bread and cheese, his mouth filled with a third that was stuffed, whole, into it. When he entered, he looked around, some of the horses poking their heads out of their stall, in hopes for a late night snack. Patting one in particular on the nose as he passed him, Jacob noticed something out of place in the corner.
"Where is your master, Jax?" Jacob wondered, adressing the large Arabian. "You know, one night I will come out here and you will be a frozen icicle." Jacob chuckled looking around the rafters. An answering chuckle peirced the cold, still air, just behind where Jacob stood.
"And perhaps when you do, I shall come back to haunt this very stable so you can continue to disturb my private thinking." The answering voice echoed.
"Edward, come down. Your father wishes you to come to the ballroom immediately. The new servants have arrived. I would not suggest skipping out on this event, for the king is already sour that you have missed dinner, again." Looking directly above him, Jacob caught sight of the prince, hands behind his head, one leg dangling off of the large, wooden beam he rested upon.
With a heavy sigh, Edward jumped down from the rafters, his untidy bronze hair slightly covering his eyes. "Must I be subject to more family time?" Edward joked. Jacob handed Edward one of the rolls, which he also nearly finished whole, and both men made their way back towards the castle.
"Not a bad looking bunch, my lord. Some of them look very promising." Jacob added, slightly under his breath. The two of them had reached the grand ballroom, and instead of entering, Edward stopped them both in the shadow of the door way, peering around the corner.
His eyes traveled slowly down the line of new comers, taking a mental note of the whole group. Most of the men in the group were young, most likely being used for stable work. The women were plain in looks, some of them older than others, but none of them too above average. Except for one.
Edward's eyes stopped cold when they landed a pale, chocolate haired beauty. Though her features were nothing out of the ordinary, Edward felt as though he were looking at an angel. Her body was small, and through her dress, Edward noticed her ample, inviting hips coupled with a firm bottom. Traveling north, his eyes traced her full breasts and instantly he moved along, feeling something start to burn in the pit of his stomach. Her long, curly hair rested on her shoulders, framing her beautiful face. A face which held the most intriguing detail of this young woman.
These deep pools of chocolate brown were easy to loose yourself in, and even from afar, Edward found himself instantly in love. Brought out of his reveries by the gentle laughing of his own family, Edward decided against the introductions. His sister, he could already tell, had taken a liking to the new beauty, for they were already deep into conversation.
"Jacob, what is the name of that young girl? The one towards the end of the line?" Edward whispered, not breaking his green eyes from her beauty.
Jacob followed his gaze, though he was pretty sure he already knew who the prince spoke of. A twinge of jealousy quickly coursed its' way up Jacob's spine, but he wuickly shook it away. 'Give it a rest, Jacob. He only asked a simple question.' Jacob scolded himself.
"Her name is Isabella Swan, though she prefers to be addressed as Bella." Jacob answered, also not taking his eyes from the girl.
"Beautiful." Edward answered simply before tearing his gaze away and turning the other direction, and walking down the hall.
In the ballroom, the king was adressing getting to know all of his new associates, going down the line, addressing each one individually.
"Micheal Newton, my lord." A somewhat young, blonde haired boy called, starting the introductions. Carlisle, nodding in acknoledgment moved on to the next person.
"Eric Yorkie, lord" A black haired boy nooded next.
"Angela Webber, your majesty." Bella's friend from the carriage curtsied nervously, her voice quiet and slightly shakey. Bella smiled for her friend, who was now looking at her down the line. The introductions carried on in the same manner, Bella taking this time to study the king and his present family. The two women standing slightly off to the side of the group were more beautiful than any person Bella had ever seen.
Carlisle had introduced them when the family first entered the room. The queen, Esme, stood slightly tall, her small body seemingly bearing no flaws. Her face was gentle and she always seemed to have a smile hidden in the corner of her mouth. Their daughter, Alice was a small person. She reminded Bella of the fairytale nymphs from the storied that her mother used to tell. She had very short hair, which framed her tiny face. At first glance, one would think that the princess were no older than a child, but when she spoke, her words clearly suggested otherwise. The few times that Carlisle had mentioned something funny, Alice's laugh would ring out, reminding Bella of tiny bells. A sound that she could definitely get used to.
"And what might your name be, miss?" Carlisle asked, with a smile, bringing Bella out of her observations. She came to attention with a slight start.
"Erm, Isabella Swan, my lord. Forgive me, I was not paying attention." Bella blushed and curtsied, looking to the floor.
Carlisle laughed quietly. "It is quite all right young lady. Forgive me, but may I ask where you are originally from? Your accent seems a bit muffled" He inquired, tilting his head slightly.
"I have lived her in England for most of my life, majesty, but I was born in the Americas." She finished with another curtsy.
"Oh, how exciting, a far off land." Alice sang, walking, no dancing to her father's side. Bella let her eyes lift slightly, looking into the princess's own hazzle ones. "Isabella, you must tell me all about the foreign land. I believe you and I can become great friends." She continued clapping her hands together.
"Now Alice, I am sure Isabella, along with everyone else can use some rest." Carlisle announced, looking towards Lauraunt. "I appologize for the absence of the prince. He is normally not the one to be rude. I am sure you will all meet him in due time" The king continued, looking around the ballroom in search of his son. "It was a pleasure meeting all of you, and I hope that your time here in the castle will be a pleasant one." He walked over towards Esme, who placed her arm in his awaiting one, and together they exited the ballroom, Alice following close behind, waving goodbye, in particularly to Bella.
"You were all shown your new sleeping quarters. You will all report back here to the ballroom for your new assignments in the morning. Have a good night." Lauraunt dismissed them all, and again Bella was greeted by Jacob.
"I though you may need help again to your room." He smiled, a smile that Bella was becoming increasingly familiar with.
"Thank you. That would help a great deal, for I do not ever think I will be able to navigate these corridoors." Bella laughed lightly. They both walked in a comfortable silence through the semi-lit hallways until they reached the familiar carved door.
"Thank you Jacob, it was a pleasure to meet you again." Bella smiled slightly, turning for the door.
"The pleasure is all mine, I assure you." He took her hand again, kissing her wrist.
So there you have it folks. I will try to have this story up and running on a regular basis.
For everyone who had questions about the one shot for the contest, I hope that reading the full story answers them. I was going to use the one shot as a prologe, but changed my mind. Instead, it will work it's way into the mix.
Be sure to look for an update for Common Blood within the next day. As always, your reviews are very much appreciated. Thank you all!