DC: I don't own it
Yet another story! Yay!
Summary: Edward always believed in what he could see. Ever since the trip to the ruins, Bella has been acting strange. Quieter than usual and haunted. Every day the bruises darken and the rope marks cut deeper. Is it a curse or something else? It seems to get worse the more time passes since the trip. Edward learns more about a fairy tale than he ever dreamed and how the story lives on...even if he doesn't want it to.
Do you believe in magic? That's what Mrs. Henderson asked us at the beginning of the semester. Bella asked me the same question a few months later when we were in the library together working on our semester project. She looked at me with a look I had never seen before. At least not when it was directed towards me. Her eyes were warmer then usual, and they looked deeper.
"Do you believe in magic?" she asked in a quiet voice.
I looked up at her strangely, about to tell her off for being stupid when I caught the look in her eyes.
"No," I replied civilly. "I don't believe in things that I can't see or that can't be explained."
"So then you don't believe in oxygen, or gravity?" she asked, reverting to the same smart-ass Bella I knew.
"Oxygen and gravity, though invisible, are felt, ergo, they exist. Magic, not so much."
Bella chewed on her pen cap and watched me. I could feel her eyes burning through the top of my skull.
"What?" I asked impatiently.
"Nothing," she answered.
I went back to my book and notes. I couldn't hear the scratching of a pen on paper or the flipping of pages. She was probably daydreaming again. She's always been that way. She's always staring off into space, jotting notes here and there and somehow passing every class with a B+ or better.
Bella has always been there, and not in a good way. She has always been my rival and she'll be damned if someone else takes over. We torture each other frequently with childish pranks and immature jokes. Our parents thought, rather, hoped, that we would grow out of it when we reached high school but we didn't. Towards the end of junior year we seemed to grow bored of the old torments and began living our own lives. Until a month ago, we barely acknowledged each other.
"Do you believe in fate?"
"What's with the questions, huh?" I snapped.
Bella looked at me with narrowed eyes. If I didn't hate her so much, I would probably be one of the many guys drooling over her. As much as I hate to admit it, Bella had become a fairly attractive young woman. Piercing brown eyes and long brown hair, a perfect complexion and a nice waist line of what I would guess to be a ten or twelve. Gah, I hate that I see her as a woman. When I came back from once again contemplating her looks, I see that she has gone back to work. Scribbling notes and the occasional doodle.
Our assignment was one of the most famous love stories of all time. The story of Prince Carlisle and Esme. Unlike many other children's stories this one was true. As usual it was over romanticized over time and I think some parts have been added for drama. For instance, Carlisle's father being a wizard and Esme being an elf or a faerie. The bottom line, it was a prince that fell in love with a servant in the palace.
"What's the point in reading all this stuff anyway? I mean what are we really learning?"
"Well you'd know if you paid any attention," I growled.
Bella looked at me with the same narrowed eyes.
"We've been hearing the same story in every single history class. Our project is going to be boring with a capital B. Surely there is something new about it."
"Well, all you want to hear about is how wonderful they were in love," I said dryly.
"Seriously, Edward, what are we going to talk about? We've been reading books for a month and we still don't have anything good!"
"Well what do you suggest?" I asked smoothly, expecting a sputter and a sarcastic response in place of a good idea.
"Let's go to the old castle," she suggested, "get a feel for the place where it all happened. Maybe we'll find something there."
"Yes, Nancy Drew, let's go poke around the haunted house and see if we find a clue!"
She answered by throwing a paper ball at my forehead.
"Edward, tomorrow I'm going to visit my sister, would you like to come?" Mom asked over the usual friday night pizza.
"Nah," I answered taking a bite of pepperoni, "besides, I'm going to the ruins with Bella tomorrow."
"You two sure are spending a lot of time together," she replied with a sigh, "could it be you two are becoming friends?"
"It's for the project, mom."
"Then why are you trying so hard to convince me?" She asks with a grin. I answer by taking another bite and washing it down with soda.
"She's been acting weirder then usual," I said casually, "daydreaming more."
"Well just as long as she isn't trying to start something, I'm fine. God knows how many times she made you cry when you were little."
Mom just laughed and takes her plate into the kitchen. Leave it to her to remember every embarrassing thing about me. She always seems to forget that I used to make Bella cry just as often.
"You'll need to make sure you wear old sweats, and bring some food and water so you can have a picnic," mom said walking back into the dinning room. "You'll have to dig up your old sneakers too."
"Mom, I'm just going to some ruins, not climbing a mountain."
"Are you sure about going? I hear it's haunted."
"Yeah, yeah I heard that too," I said dryly, "they only say it's haunted because supposedly every other castle in the world is. Geez you're worse then Bella."
"You're sure talking about her a lot, Eddie."
"I'm going to bed!"
That night I had a weird dream. Probably from too much studying. It was about Prince Carlisle. I dreamt that I was him and I was searching frantically for Esme. Towards the end of the dream she appeared before me and kept asking me why I didn't save her. I told her that I didn't know why and then I woke up.
It was still early, just after seven, but I decided to stay up anyway. After all, I had to get ready for the trip. I looked out my window and saw Bella sitting at her desk. Of course she lives next door, and of course I get a perfect view of her room. Usually her curtains are drawn but she left them open tonight.
It was strange seeing her up at this hour, especially on a weekend. Usually as I'm getting my books and keys from my desk I see her jump out of bed at a quarter till eight. How she manages to look the way she does with that little prep time is beyond me.
She looks upset. I couldn't see her face clearly, but her posture says enough. She was propping her forehead up on her elbow and her other hand was resting in her lap. Maybe it's my imagination, but I could have sworn I saw someone behind her.
"Good lord are you ever on time?" I complained as Bella showed up on my doorstep about a half hour after we agreed to meet.
"You know you could have just come over and grabbed me," she said, clearly annoyed.
"Hello Bella!" My traitorous mother said from the living room.
"Hello Mrs. Masen!"
"Oh give me a break," I moaned, "I'm leaving!"
"Bye honey! Be careful! I'll probably be gone by the time you get back!"
I figured that much. Bella announced that she was driving because my car made her mad. She was the queen at lame reasons, but she was so stubborn that arguing with her was pointless. I got into her old truck and with a roar of the engine, we took off.
"Are you sure this thing will make it there? I'm pretty sure it was built when Prince Carlisle was born."
"Say what you will but do you remember last year when it totaled your volvo?"
How could I forget! The roads had been slick and she pulled out right in front of me! At least that's my version. She tells something more along the lines of I lost control on the slick road and crashed into her just as she was pulling out. The cops, insurance company, my parents and her parents all happened to agree. It's because she's the favorite. Or maybe because it was actually my fault. But I like my earlier reasoning better. Anyway, my volvo crumpled like a paper cup against the bumper of her red beast.
Dad bought me a new one though. He usually got me whatever I wanted. I just had to hint that I liked it. It was his way of apologizing for abandoning me for a twenty-five-year-old version of my mom. I was fifteen, and two years later and the tramp is now Mama Jeanie, complete with a replacement kid named Scott.
"So have you talked to Mama Jeanie lately?" Bella asked.
I hate it when she did that. She knew I didn't like the woman.
"She's a sweetheart."
"She's a stupid skanky tramp that needs to die."
"Oh come now you're being silly. And Scotty is so cute!"
"Now you're just trying to piss me off!" I accused angrily. She stuck her tongue out at me. Forget what I thought earlier. Bella was still the same. I fumbled with the stereo system my cousin Emmett got for her for her birthday after he was forced to listen to her old one when we all had to drive to school together last winter. My volvo was still recovering and his parents didn't let him drive in the snow. For good reason. Emmett is a little insane sometimes.
"How is Emmett anyway?"
"Will you stop doing that?!" I cried. "Jesus you're like a circus freak!"
"He's always been my favorite."
Next to Alice, my sister. She thinks that Bella is so funny and they got along like some twisted wonder team.
"I haven't heard from Alice in a while, how does she like college?"
"Seriously! Knock it off! Stupid mind reader!"
"Not really. I'm good at guessing your train of thought."
Is my mind really that predictable?!
"Yes," Bella answered.
Bella and I have always had one thing in common. We have always been very perceptive people. Sometimes it seems to go a bit further. Bella calls it a sixth sense, I call it superior instincts. I didn't really know much about it, or really care. I always seemed to be able to read people but I could never read her. It was like her mind was operating on a different frequency. She was different.
We both felt something. Something that wasn't right. Something cold and chilling. Like we were stepping into something that had remained silent and still for years. I took out my digital camera and took a picture of the ruins.
"Let's start climbing," Bella said. I sighed. She grabbed a bag and slung it over her shoulder before attacking the steep hill. There were stones jutting out here and there for us to grab onto but for the most part it was smooth and grassy. This was one of the reasons why nobody came here. It was a workout just to get to the darn place.
When we reached the top of the hill it took my breath away. We could see everything. Our town looked so beautiful. I took a picture. I looked over at Bella and saw that she was looking at the ruins. I turned to look too. It was stunning. The stone was almost gold in the sunlight. Broken and crumbled, covered in moss and vines.
Trees were growing out of the walls. Long and thick branches had pierced the stone and it lay in crumbs at the trunk. It was so beautiful and in a way, intimidating. A one powerful castle stood before us. I glanced over and Bella was looking at the towers. She was holding herself strangely. Her arms were folding, almost as if she was hugging herself.
"Shall we?" I asked.
She nodded and we approached the door. We pushed on the heavy oak. It budged just enough for us to squeeze in. This place was safe from gangs and other things like that. Nobody wanted to come near it even if they didn't mind the hike. It was supposed to be haunted.
Once inside I took some pictures. The sun filtered in through holes in the ceiling and walls. The foyer was massive. Twice my house and wide open. There were paintings and tapestries on the walls. It surprised me, I was sure that those artifacts would have been harvested for the advancement of knowledge. But that was just how afraid of the place people were.
"It's...cold..." Bella murmured beside me.
It was a little chilly I guess. But we were in the shade after being in the direct sun for a while. I took a few steps and something crunched under my foot. A broken piece of pottery. I knelt down and picked it up. The historian in my did backflips of joy. I put it in my satchel and turned to show Bella but she was gone.
"Over here," she said from the stairs. I came up to her and she tossed me a flashlight. She had come prepared. She pointed it up the stairs and moved it a little to see what was up there. "We need to find Carlisle's room."
"That might be best, yes," I agreed. But where to start? I started up the stairs. I looked back and Bella was still standing where she was. "What is it?"
She shook her head, dismissing it as nothing, and followed me up the stairs.
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