I don't own Twilight. all Stephenie Meyer.
Please tell me what you guys think. I have other stories that I'm working on, but couldn't get this idea out of my head. I already know where I want to go. I hope you all like it!
An arrangement years in the Making
My life hasn't always been one of easy means. I was born to Charlie and Renee Swan almost eighteen years ago, and I couldn't two more incredible parents. They both work incredibly hard and have tried to give me everything they possibly could. My name is Isabella Marie Swan.
We lived in Forks, Washington, a little town south of Port Angeles which only attraction is the wilderness for camping and hunting. Most days are spent hiding from the rain and everything is very green.
Charlie is the police chief of Forks and Renee is a kindergarten teacher at the local elementary school.
The summer before my senior year of high school I got the biggest surprise of my life. I had just gotten back from spending the day with my friends up at First Beach in La Push.
"Bells, can you come in here please?" Charlie called to me from the living room.
I stopped at the stairs and made my way into the room, sitting on the couch across from my parents. "Is something wrong?"
"No, honey, we just wanted to talk to you." Renee smiled.
"Oh, okay. What about?" I settled into the cushions.
They both glanced at each other, a silent look passing between them.
Panic settled in my stomach.
"Well, about seventeen years ago your father and I were in Seattle for a few weeks. He had been hired as head of security for this very important man while he was in town." Renee stated carefully.
"A few days before he left I saved him and his family from a horrible accident, gunfire, the whole deal." Charlie took over the story. "In gratitude the man told me that he owed me his life and wanted to repay me anyway that he could. I couldn't ask him for anything because it just didn't feel right, so in the end he came up with a compromise.
"The four of us, you mother and I and this man along with his wife, made a signed agreement that when you were eighteen you would marry their oldest son. Bells we promised you to someone." Charlie said gruffly, clearing his throat a few times.
I sat there in shock, unable to speak for a few minutes. When I finally found my voice I tried to remain calm. "Please tell me that the two of you are joking."
Renee shook her head. "It's the truth, Bella."
I couldn't form any words.
"The man we made the arrangement with was King Carlisle of England. His son, Prince Edward, is your betrothed." Charlie hadn't looked me in the eyes the entire time he spoke.
"So, what, you're just going to ship me off like baggage? Don't I get a say in this at all?" I finally found my voice again, ready to throw a tantrum.
Neither of them looked at me, and both let out deep breaths. "It's an iron clad agreement, kiddo. They've sent all of the information for you. You're flying out tomorrow and will be staying with them until the wedding." Charlie told me.
I still couldn't believe what they were telling me. An arranged marriage? To a prince no less. I had no choice in the matter and was leaving in the morning for a strange country.
"You can't make me do this. I won't go," I stubbornly crossed my arms over my chest. "A prince? You guys are crazy." I grumbled.
"Bella, don't be difficult." Renee rolled her eyes at me. "We're not sending you off to work as a slave girl. This is a good thing. He can give you things that we never dreamed of." She touched her hand to my cheek.
"Right." I pulled away from her. "How could you not have told me about this in the last seventeen years? Didn't you think I had a right to know?"
"We thought it would be for the best if we didn't and now I can see that it was." She sighed, looking to Charlie for support.
I glared at them both. "It was my life that you messed with."
"Please stop being so over dramatic Bella. We did this for you." Renee's usually sunny disposition waning.
"There's no use in arguing this, Bells. The limo will be here to pick you up in the morning." Normally, Charlie wasn't so brusque with me. This must have been harder on him than I realized.
Frustrated, I rose to my feet as angry tears spilled down my cheeks. Without another word or glance to them I stormed up the stairs to my room, slamming the door in my wake. I paced back and forth between my bed and my closet, trying to come up with some sort of rational plan to get out of this.
Nothing came to me.
With everything within I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw things and cause a commotion, but it just wasn't who I was. I couldn't make myself do it.
After about ten minutes and a permanent hole in my carpet, I admitted defeat and began packing my things. There wasn't very much, but I tried to drag it out as long as I could.
I ignored a knock on my door as I looked through the books that I wanted to take with me. The door opened and I saw Renee standing in the doorway.
"Can I come in?" She wasn't her usually happy erratic self.
Keeping my eyes on my books I shrugged my shoulders and started putting them in my bag.
Renee came into my room and sat on my bed. "Sit with me, sweetie." She reached for my hand and pulled me to her when I hesitantly took it. "Please don't fight this. You will be so much happier if you just go along with everything."
I glared at her, too hurt to speak.
She nodded, interpreting my glare correctly. "I know you're mad at us honey, but I really think that this is the best thing for you. The Cullen's are the kindest people you will ever meet and they will take great care of you." She held my face in her hands, forcing me to meet her eyes. "You will get to live a great life, have things that we could never even dream of giving you."
I rolled my eyes. "What about my life here, Mom? What about my friends, my school, you and Dad?"
She let out a long sigh, obviously weary from the frustrating converstation. This seemed to be very painful for her to say, but she pushed it back and continued on. "Please just give it a try. Maybe it won't be as bad as you think it will," she smiled. "After all, you'll get to live in a castle with maids and mints on your pillow. You'll see."
I groaned, just wanting the conversation to end. "Fine, Mom. I won't complain about it anymore." I pulled away from her and stood up again. "I have to finish packing then."
Renee stood up and came over to me. "Thank you, Bella." She kissed my cheek before leaving the room.
I promised her that I wouldn't complain about the agreement to them or the Cullen's, but that didn't mean I would be happy about it. I probably would never forgive them for this.
Once my clothes and books were packed I found my toiletry bag and went to take a shower, our lovely communal bathroom down the hall. I locked the bathroom door and turned the water on as hot as it would go. I stripped down and climbed in. It took everything I had not to fall apart as I stood under the hot flow of water.
When I finished up I got out and changed into a pair of sweat pants and a comfortable shirt. I brushed my wet hair out and went to my room. I turned the lights off, and climbed into bed.
I laid there staring up at the ceiling and just let the tears rolled down my cheeks. I refused to let them see me cry.
The next thing I realized it was morning and the sun was actually shining. Of course on the day that I was leaving Forks the sun decided to come out. I went to the window and picked through the blinds, reveling in the beauty of a clear blue sky. When I decided that I'd wasted enough time staring out of the window I got up and changed my clothes.
I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth and tried to do something with my unruly hair. Eventually I gave up the battle and just pulled it back into a ponytail. I got my bags and managed to bring them downstairs without falling flat on my face.
My body was screaming at me to fight this. To say that them forcing me to do this was wrong, that I should be allowed to choose someone for myself.
Renee and Charlie were in the living room talking quietly to each other until they noticed me. "Morning, honey. Do you want some breakfast?"
Shaking my head, I just stood there. What do you say to parents that have pretty much given you up and are shipping you off to a strange country? 'No thanks, Mom. I'm sure they'll have a fancy feast for my arrival. I'll tell you all about the wedding night in detail.' That probably wouldn't be such a good idea.
Just before I opened my mouth to speak there was a knock at the door.
Charlie got up to answer it. "Welcome back your highness." He bowed his head. "Please come in." He stepped to the side to let the person in.
My jaw nearly dropped to the floor when I saw the man who came into our house.
He looked like a supermodel, but with a regal air. He had short blonde hair and fair pale skin. He held himself tall and strong, letting others know that he was in charge, but he gave off a sense of compassion that made him also seem approachable. "You must be Isabella." He stepped toward me. That British accent would be the death of me.
"Bella, please, your highness." I felt my cheeks.
"Of course, Bella. You may call me Carlisle." He smiled. "I hate to be rude, but we must be going." He said to my parents, snapping his fingers and two men came in and grabbed all of my bags.
Renee came over to me and took my face in her hands. "I know that this may seem unreasonable to you right now and you may hate us, but I have a feeling that this will all work out. I love you, Bella." She pulled me in for a hug.
Charlie stood around awkwardly and cleared his throat a couple of times. "Call us when you get there, kiddo. Or you can email if it's too late." He kissed the top of my head.
I nodded to them. "Bye." I followed Carlisle outside and stopped in my tracks when I saw the stretch Hummer limo. These people spared no expenses.
The chauffeur held the door open for us. I climbed in first, followed by Carlisle. I sat in the back and Carlisle moved all of the way to the front and sat next to a beautiful woman with copper colored hair.
A pixie like girl sat to my right on the side of the limo. She had short spiky black hair and pale skin. Her impeccable designer clothes made me think that she might be a royal as well. "Hi, Bella. I'm Alice, Carlisle's daughter." She held her hand out to me.
"It's nice to meet you." I blushed.
"Dad thought I could help prepare you a little for our arrival. Who our family is? What to expect when we get there? When you'll get to meet Edward?" Alice definitely had a lot of energy; she spoke almost too fast for me to understand. "We'll be going over more as time progresses, but he said I shouldn't overwhelm you yet."
I blushed again. "Yes, please don't."
"Very well then." Her giggle was like a light trill, musical in a way. "To start off with our mother," she pointed to the woman next to Carlisle, "is Queen Esme. She's a very kind and loving woman. They met in school and it was love at first sight.
"Edward is the oldest, he's well… he's not a very sociable person. My other brother is Emmett and his basically a big teddy bear of a man. He's scary on the outside, but soft and cuddly on the inside." She explained.
Great, the man I was arranged to was a hermit. That was going to be just great. He probably wore glasses with tape on the rim and high water pants. Thanks so much Charlie and Renee.
"Emmett and I are both with people. His wife is Lady Rosalie Hale. She's tall and blonde and extremely tenacious. Don't be too intimidated by her." Alice continued. "My fiancé is Jasper Whitlock. We met in college and immediately knew we were meant to be together."
I nodded politely when I was supposed to and smiled when she mentioned Jasper a little more, he sounded like a great guy. If nothing else I figured I'd have two friends in this whole mess. When we arrived at the airport I was confused at being let out on the air strip.
Alice saw the confusion on my face and smiled. "We have our own plane, Bella."
Of course they do. They are probably the richest people on the planet, why wouldn't they have their own airplane? I stared around in awe once we boarded and tried to listen intently as Alice filled me in on the rest that I needed to know. She explained that the press was going to be there when we landed, but to just ignore them.
They weren't going to introduce me to them until I had a chance to rest after the long flight and met Edward. She also told me a little about Edward. He was twenty-five, played classical piano, and had a pretty decent CD and book collection. Great, an older man.
Not his life history, but the basics.
I had a feeling that she was purposely leaving something out about him, but I didn't want to press it. Being here wasn't my idea and I certainly wasn't going to fish for information about him.
When we had been in the air for a few hours I found myself drifting off to sleep. The pillow I was snuggled against was the softest I had ever felt.
My cell phone woke me up from my sleep and I saw that it was my best friend Jacob Black. Man! I had completely forgotten about Jacob. What was I going to tell him? I opened my phone and held it up to my ear. "Hello?"
"Bells! Hey do you want to come over?" His deep husky voice was warm and familiar to me. "I'm about to start working on the Rabbit."
I cringed inwardly. "I really wish I could, Jake."
He paused. "What's wrong, honey?"
"My parents told me yesterday that they were sending me to England to meet the man they promised me to." I kept my voice low. "We're on a plane right now."
"Very funny, Bells." He chuckled.
"Jake, I am completely serious." I bit my lip to keep myself from crying. "They waited until last night and gave me absolutely no choice. I had to go."
He didn't say anything at first. "Bells, I… maybe I can come get you. Take you away from the crazy's and bring you back to live with me and Billy." He suggested.
Oh if only he could. I was already missing his russet skin and the way I always felt safe in his embrace. He was from La Push and had long black hair and even blacker eyes. He was huge, at least 6' 5" and had muscles in places I didn't even know existed.
"That's not such a good idea." I let out a sigh, closing my eyes as the tears fell more. "I'll call you as soon as I get a chance, Jake. I promise. I miss you so much already." I admitted.
"Yeah me, too. Fine. Don't fall down and break anything okay." He laughed to himself.
I rolled my eyes. "Right. Bye." I waited a second before hanging up the phone. I snuggled against the pillow again and drifted back to sleep. My dreams were strange, filled with Jacob and another guy. I couldn't make out his face clearly, but somehow I knew that he was my soul mate.
"Bella, we're here." Alice's little chirpy voice whispered in my ear.
A groan escaped my lips as I sat up.
She smiled down at me. "You'll like it. I promise."
I slowly stood up, a little wobbly from being asleep so long. Close to the exit I saw Carlisle and Esme smiling as I walked up. This all felt like a dream, like all I had to do was pinch myself and I'd wake up. But deep down I knew that was only a wish.
Carlisle and Esme exited the plane first and got into the first waiting limo.
Next Alice and I got off the plane. She was right about the paparazzi. They were everywhere as we made our way to the limo, shouting question after question to us. Thankfully they were held off by the guards. We got into the awaiting limo and were driven away.
My mind was racing the entire time. Where were we going? What would Edward be like? Could I sneak out in the middle of the night and fly back to Forks? The last one was impossible, but one I would hold onto as a last resort. I was trembling with fear and expectation of what was to come.
I barely noticed when we reached our destination. It was by far the biggest palace I had ever seen and my jaw dropped as soon as I saw it.
"Amazing isn't it?" A nasally female voice asked me. She nodded when I glanced over at her. "My name is Lauren and welcome to Volterra, Miss Isabella." She bowed her head.
"Hi, Lauren." Bit my lip, immediately feeling her resentment towards me. This was a great idea to come here. "Call me Bella, please."
"This way, Miss. Bella. You've got a meet with the prince in two hours." She began walking.
When I realized that she was walking I quickly, yet carefully, sped up to catch her and followed as she led me into the castle. Everything was so beautiful; I could barely take it all in. It all looked so old and historic.
"Right down that way is the throne room. You may explore the castle after things settle down if you wish." She pointed out as we walked. "Your bedroom will be upstairs for now and your things are being unpacked as we speak." She spoke quickly.
Once we finally made it up the stairs she led me down a long hallway, pointing out certain pictures and pieces of art work. Finally she stopped in front of a door, the fourth on the right. "Here you are Miss. Bella," she opened the door and we stepped in.
My jaw dropped again. I had never seen anything like it. The sitting area alone was the size of our living room and kitchen combined back home. I went in further and saw the actual bedroom. It too was the same size as the sitting room. The bed was larger than I ever could have hoped for and looked so comfortable.
Lauren's nasal voice broke through my thoughts as I surveyed the room. "You have plenty of time to freshen up if you'd like. The prince will be expecting you in his room in two hours. Someone will be here to bring you."
I was about to ask her a question when she walked off, closing the door. Bitter much. After standing there for a few minutes I went in search of the closet and nearly had a panic attack when I did find it. Talk about a walk in, all of this rooms were the same size, I could get lost in the closet alone.
Searching for something decent to wear was almost impossible. Not only were my regular clothes in there, but someone had taken the liberty of buying me a whole new wardrobe as well.
Why did I even care if I wore something presentable for this guy? I didn't want to be here and I could have cared less what he thought of me or how I appeared to him. Charlie and Renee would kill me if I behaved like a spoiled child, so I sucked it up and began my search.
It took me an hour to find something that wasn't too revealing, but was appropriate enough to be presented in front of a prince. I finally settled on a dark blue halter top that was somewhat form fitting and a pair of dark wash jeans.
Once that was done I found the bathroom and managed to take a relaxing hot shower. I blow dried my hair and fixed so it was in a decent looking ponytail. I put my outfit on and found some lip gloss.
Just as I was finishing getting ready, there was a knock at the door. I went to answer it and found Alice. "Hi."
She grinned at me. "Hi, Bella. Come on, my brother's waiting." She took hold of my hand and led me to his room.
I was fidgeting with my outfit as we walked.
"Don't worry, Bella. You look amazing." Alice assured me. She was so nice.
"Why are you being so kind to me?" I asked as we walked.
Alice smiled again. "You are going to be family. And, I have a feeling that you are going to be just what my brother needs. The git can be so frustrating sometimes."
There was no way I would have been able to find it on my own, this whole place felt like a giant maze to me. When we got to the door Alice knocked and waited.
"Come in." A velvety voice called.
Alice opened the door and ushered me in. "Edward," she said cautiously, "I'd like you to meet Isabella Swan." She turned to me. "This is my brother Edward."