Author's Chapter Notes:
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, or anything having to do with it, all belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
This is my first attempt at Twilight fanfiction, please review with any comments or constructive criticism!
The beach was peaceful. The water was rhythmically rushing against the almost-white sand. There were no sounds except the lapping waves and the whistle of an occasional cold breeze. The sand was cold beneath my fingertips as I ran them idly through the slightly damp grains. I gazed out into the ocean, allowing the waves of calm to wash over me. With a deep breath I allowed my eyes to flutter closed, and smiled in contentment. The beach was my favorite area of La Push. Sometimes it was nice to get away from Forks for a period of time. The beach was my private sanctuary if I needed to clear my head, or I just wanted to enjoy the smells and sounds of the ocean.
I wasn't sure what brought me into La Push today. Something was in the air, and I secretly wished I was more powerful, that I wasn't limited to the powers I was given at birth. I didn't have the gift of sight, so I could not see what was coming, but I felt enough to know that something was coming. That something was change, a change that would irrevocably alter the course of my life. That realization would be unsettling for anyone, but I had no desire for change in my life.
I lived alone, despite the many empty rooms in my father's home, I needed my own space. My cottage was one of my treasures. It was small, but had plenty of room for me and my solitude. As I made my way back home, a ghost of a smile crossed my face as I thought about how I had stumbled upon the cottage.
My best friend, Jacob Black, and I had been taking a stroll through the woods on one of those rare sunny days, and in my clumsiness I had tripped and fallen over something. I remembered Jacob teasing me that the 'something' was probably my own foot, but I quickly discovered it was a small, perfectly formed grey stone. In fact, there was an outline of stones, hard to see because of the overgrowth of grass and foliage; it used to be a garden. As my eyes raked over the pitiful garden, my mind was alight with possibilites. That was when I saw it, hidden in the mass of green that was a result of years of neglect. My cottage. I knew it was mine the second I saw it and Jacob was very amused by my insistence.
"Bells, LOOK at this thing. It's not safe to live in, and we don't even know if somebody owns it." He was eyeing the downtrodden structure with a hint of disgust on his handsome features. In a perfect world, I would have the same feelings for my dear friend that he had for me, but I was unable to feel anything but a platonic love toward Jacob Black, much to his dismay.
"Well then I'll find out, Jake. It wouldn't take much effort to fix up, and I have my own personal 'fix-it' man right here." I chuckled at his pained expression and slid my arm through his, pulling him toward the cottage. "Come on, don't you see its potential? Can't you feel the magic? It's meant to be."
"The only magic I feel is coming from you" he joked, nudging me. "And this is just your way of getting out of Charlie's house without hurting his feelings." Jacob accused me, and I felt a small, yet brief, pang of guilt. He knew me too well. It was true that I didn't want to hurt my father by voicing my desire to get a place of my own, but it was time.
"I'm almost 21, Charlie shouldn't be surprised, and it's not like I am going far." I turned to look at him, a pleading expression in my chocolate brown eyes. "Please Jake? I won't be able to do it without your help."
I spent the next couple of weeks tracking down the owner. It was not easy, and I was forced to use Charlie's connections through the police department to get the documents that told me whether the cottage had a legal owner or not. Finally, I managed to track him down. After a phone call and a very reasonable price offer, the cottage was now in my name. Jacob and I, with a bit of help from Charlie, spent the next six months making the structure habitable again.
The men concentrated on the work requiring power tools, which I was thankful for. I frequently had a problem with basic motor skills, and had no place anywhere near a nail gun. I concentrated on bringing the garden back to life, looking forward to when it would blossom into what I imagined it had looked like years ago. The lack of sunlight did pose a problem, but I had a very talented green thumb. My flowers would thrive year long, even in the depths of winter.
That was another draw of the cottage. It was so secluded that I could use my gifts, for novelties like flowers in the snow, without worrying about prying neighbors. I quit doing this at Charlie's house years ago when he had scolded me for making the neighbors curious at my winter gardening habits. Yes, the seclusion was necessary. I was not a person that people often paid attention to, but being the sole child of the chief of police in a small town, I attracted attention without meaning to. Besides my gifts, there was nothing remarkable about me. I viewed myself as painfully ordinary.
Pulling up to the cottage that was my home, I flicked down the visor mirror to examine my reflection. Chocolate brown eyes stared back at me, the focal points of a snow white face, no makeup. My hair was the same color as my eyes and fell in thick waves to my waist. Nothing special, I thought, scrutinizing my reflection. It was ironic, really. Anyone who looked at me would not guess that this was a face of a witch.
Scowling at my reflection, I flicked the mirror closed. Jacob had often given me hell over my lack of self-esteem. I would laugh it off, teasing him about the fact that a man who has had a crush on me since high school did not count. Jacob was a few years younger than me, and we tried dating briefly when he turned eighteen, and it was my fault it did not work out. It should have. We were perfect for each other. Jake and I were both different, not exactly fitting into the norms of society. He was also devastatingly handsome. Time had brought him from a lanky teenager into a heartthrob of a man. Well, half man, I thought with a secret laugh.
He had dark hair, darker than mine, that usually fell in a shaggy way that I loved around his face. He had rugged features with dark skin, a facet of his Native American heritage. It still frustrated me that I loved Jacob in the way you would love your brother. There were a hundred reasons we should be together, and only two reasons we shouldn't. One, it wouldn't be fair to him because I did not love him in that way, and two, I was not the person meant for him.
There had been many heated arguments over the years about this. He claimed not to care about the traditions of his people, but I knew different. He had no control over it. In Jacob's world, each person has their own literal soul mate. It happens in a love at first site kind of way, they take one look at that person and they just know. I was not that person for Jacob and neither of us had any control over it. One day, he was going to find that one girl, and his infatuation with me will be a thing of the past. Forgotten. Meaningless.
I felt a small twinge of pain thinking about how just by being myself I was separated from the rest of the world. The pain of rejection was still fresh in my mind. It was hard to believe it was barely two years ago that the burden of my powers and legacy truly took its toll on me. His name was James, and at the time I thought I was in love with him. Looking back, I knew it was my naivety that had produced such strong emotions, but it did not make it hurt any less.
Charlie insisted that I give college a try, so at eighteen years old I packed up and headed to University of Seattle. I still cringed remembering how eager I was to meet new people and experience college life. I was so young. So stupid for thinking I could be accepted and loved by someone who did not know the realities of magic and the supernatural world. I did not know how much being wrong about that would hurt and scar me forever.
I'd never seen someone as beautiful as him in my life. It still made me sigh to think of his long blonde hair, deep blue eyes, smile that would make any girl melt, and striking face. I felt passion for the first time with him, I felt wanted. Though we never made love, as I never felt it was the right time and I was still so young, the relationship we shared over those short months was intense. The days were filled with passionate kisses and whispered promises, promises that would inevitably be broken.
I still remembered the night my heart was broken with a vivid clarity. It was an unexpectedly warm, clear night in Seattle. I took James out to a place in the woods where I would go to look at the stars sometimes, away from the city lights. I was so nervous, my hands shaking and sweating as we drove in contented silence. It was the night I decided to tell him what I was. I was nervous, but I could have never expected the reaction that was to come.
We sat in the clearing for a while, making conversation, just enjoying each other's company. The ease and comfort of the situation gave me the confidence I needed. With hope for love and acceptance in my heart, I began to tell him. At first he was confused, wondering what big secret about myself I was referring to. His eyes were so warm and loving I couldn't help but feel like I could tell him anything and he would always look at me in that way. I told him I was a witch. I told him that I was just one in a long lineage of Witches and Warlocks. His eyes widened as I began to ramble on out of nervousness. I remember him laughing. It hurt, but I did not expect immediate belief and acceptance. Still hopeful, I continued to try to explain to him what it meant.
I told him that we were not how most people perceived Witches to be. I could do charms and small spells, but my natural power was a limited one. I was a healer. He continued to look at me with the same skepticism and distrust in his eyes, wondering aloud why I was being so ridiculous. Proving it to him seemed to be the only way to get my point across. Reaching out, I took his hand in mine, turning it over to reveal the cut across the wide expanse of his palm that was a result of my clumsiness while helping him cook the other night. Meeting his eyes, I laid my palm over his. The power coursed through me and I could feel the magic drawing the wound from him, into me. Closing my eyes to concentrate, I temporarily felt a sting on my own palm, taking the injury into my own body, before my body healed itself, removing the wound completely.
It always took a lot out of me to do a physical healing like this, but I smiled, feeling the rush of euphoria that using my power always brought me. I slowly slid my hand from his to reveal an unmarred palm. Opening my eyes, I was stunned at the eyes of a stranger that stared back at me. This was not my James. I never saw him look at me in this way. It was not shock and awe that looked back at me, but revulsion and anger. He was shouting. The words were awful and cut me deeper than any blade ever could. Even now, the memory of those words made my throat constrict and my eyes fill with hot tears.
He had been frightened and disgusted by me. He told me to stay away from him and then he left me there, sitting in the clearing. I could no longer see the beautiful stars in the clear sky, or the lights of the distant city. My eyes were swimming with tears that I refused to shed, and I felt my hope slowly disappear. I never saw him again after that. So, with a heavy heart, I left Seattle behind and went back to Forks.
I wanted to hate him. With every bone in my body I wanted to hate him. I couldn't. Countless nights I went over and over the incident in my head, wondering when I had become so dim-witted. How could I expect anyone to accept or love me for who I really was? How had I been so unbelievably trusting and naïve? I couldn't blame him, really. My antics probably scared the hell out of the poor guy. The only one to be held responsible for my pain was me.
My face broke out into a smile as I saw Charlie's police cruiser pull up behind my dilapidated red truck. The relationship with my father hadn't always been this strong. I was barely seven when Charlie and Renee separated and Mom took me to Phoenix with her. After that, I spent a few weeks every summer in Forks with Charlie, but the distance took a toll on the father-daughter bond. I was grateful for my decision to move to Forks during my junior year of high school because that was what finally brought us together.
Mom wanted to travel, and I knew I was the one holding her back. At first I hated it. I hated the rain, the cold, and I hated the fear that I was going to be shunned by my father for using my powers. It was bad enough I did not have any close friends, and suddenly found myself in a town where I did not know anybody. Plus, as a teenager, I did not have the best temper. After several fights about using my powers, Charlie finally gave in. His strict views on magic were the reason Renee left him, and he didn't want to lose me when he finally felt like we could become close for the first time since I left Forks.
I heard his key in the door and slid the casserole dish into the oven. It was almost a nightly occurrence for Charlie to come here for dinner after his shift at the station. My moving out had taken a toll on his eating habits. Charlie was hopeless in the kitchen. I did not mind at all, I actually looked forward to the dinners with my father.
"Hey Bells!" He called from the doorway, the telltale sounds of him shuffling out of his coat and boots drifting into the kitchen.
"Hey Dad! I was running a bit late today, so dinner will be ready in about twenty minutes." I called back, taking out two place settings. He grunted in response. I grinned.
After the table was set, I drifted into the living room, already expecting the sight before me. Charlie was laying comfortably in the leather recliner I had purchased just for him, watching a football game on my television. I could not tell you who was playing; sports were not exactly my forte. Still, I folded myself up on the edge of the couch to enjoy his company.
"How was work?"
His eyes never left the game. "Had to pick up that Newton kid. He was stumbling drunk down Main trying to get home from his Bachelor party." The corners of his lips titled up into an amused smile. "Gonna be an interesting wedding tomorrow." He glanced at me briefly. "Are you going?"
"No," was my immediate response and I saw a look of disapproval on Charlie's face. I knew he wanted me to socialize more, but the only thing that would make me go to that wedding would be seeing Angela Weber. She was one of Jessica's bridesmaids, and the closest thing to a girlfriend I had in Forks, but I still kept her at a distance. Wouldn't want to scare her away too.
"I have too many things to do at the store tomorrow." It was a weak defense, I knew that. Half of the town would be closed down for Mike Newton's wedding to Jessica Stanley, and I had just sentenced myself to an afternoon of inventory in the small flower and gift shop I owned in Forks. I made a habit out of telling the truth, and I would spend the day working now that I told Charlie I would be.
Jessica had not come to me to do the flower arrangements for her wedding, and I was not surprised. For some strange reason, she still thought that Mike had a crush on me. Doubtful. It was true that they started dating because I turned Mike down when I first moved to Forks, and insisted he should ask Jessica out, but that was years ago. High school seemed like a distant memory.
"You should try to have some fun sometimes, Bells. All you do is go to that store and come home." Charlie worried too much about me. He never understood that my solitude was a necessary evil.
"That's not true. Just yesterday I went to La Push, and tomorrow Jacob and I are going to a movie." The argument ended there. Charlie never had a problem with me spending time with Jacob, and his fondness for my best friend caused him to overlook the fact that Jacob was the only person I seemed to spend time with. He knew nothing of the bond Jacob and I shared over being "different". Charlie wouldn't approve anyone knowing about my secret, and he definitely did not have any idea that Jacob had one of his own.
The summer after my junior year, Jacob had begun to ignore me. I knew he would not have been treating me this way if there wasn't a good reason, and I was determined to find out what that reason was. After countless unanswered phone calls, notes, and house visits to find Jacob "busy" or "out", I had enough. I devised a plan to follow him one day and corner him, demanding him to talk to me. So I waited down the street from his house in my red truck, watching like some deranged stalker. Finally, he'd emerged, and it'd taken me a few moments to realize it was him. Did teenage boys go through growth spurts THAT fast? I followed him, at a safe distance, until he stopped his car and disappeared into the woods.
It was just reaching twilight, but I foolishly followed. My desire to have my confrontation with Jacob caused me to underestimate just how quickly the woods would be dark and dangerous. I called his name, running through the woods, wondering how he had gotten away so fast. A few careless trips and scraped hands later, I was lost. It was now completely dark outside, and fear had begun to claw at my throat. Moving as fast as I could, I tried to follow the trail I had taken from the road, but everything looked the same. I swore I could hear noises behind me, but I chalked it up to my terror at being lost in the woods in the pitch black. Continuing to call Jacob's name, I feared the worst.
Cursing, I muttered an incantation under my breath, praying it would work. With relief, a small glowing ball of light appeared in my upturned palm. I surveyed my surroundings in the new light, trying to decide on my next course of action. Out of nowhere, a figure leaped out of the darkness, tackling me to the ground. The wind was knocked out of me, preventing me from screaming for help. I was almost suffocating with panic as I stared up at the glowing blood red eyes staring down at me. This creature was smiling and snarling with impossibly white teeth gleaming down at me. He looked like a man, but I knew better. The light was still in my hands, and I let my eyes take in his jet-black hair, perfect face, and eyes. Oh god, his eyes. There was an unexplainable evil in them, a hunger, and I knew in that moment I was going to die.
I closed my eyes, bracing myself for the worst, hoping it would not hurt too much and Charlie would not grieve too long over my horrible death, when it happened. The weight of the creature was suddenly gone. My light had disappeared and I could not see anything. The creature was not alone. It was tangled up with something large and undoubtedly animal. All I could hear were the ferocious growls and a horrible tearing noise before I lost consciousness.
When I awoke, I was in my truck, being held by something strong, and warm. The chill from the woods was completely gone, and I felt safe again. I had struggled to clear my vision before I saw who my savior was.
"Jacob…" I breathed out, relieved. Had the entire incident been a mere nightmare?
His eyes were dark with an emotion I could not place, but they were also filled with concern
. "Bella, WHAT were you thinking following me into the woods like that?" OK, so it wasn't a nightmare. "Do you have any concern for your own safety? You could have been killed!"
Things were slowly becoming more confusing. The incident in the woods had been real, and the fact was terrifying, but how did I end up here, with Jacob? What was that thing that saved me? Oh god, what was that thing that attacked me? The memory of those red eyes, glowing with hunger, sent a shiver down my spine. Jacob gathered me closer.
"I saw you…go into the woods…you've been avoiding me, and I just wanted to talk." I struggled to sit up, feeling a bit light-headed, and scowled when he pushed me back down with a growl. I looked up into his intense eyes.
"Let me get you home." No way was he avoiding having this conversation now.
"Jacob Black, I want an explanation." Even I was surprised at the authoritative tone of my voice. The confidence in my voice made me feel stronger than I was. "Did you see it?"
"That…creature," I shuddered with remembered fear. "In the woods...it attacked me."
His jaw clenched, and I saw a ferocity in his eyes that was new to me. This was not the light-hearted, carefree Jacob I had come to know and love.
"I thought it was going to…kill me…then something came and knocked it off of me." I searched his eyes for the answers I needed. "Something not human…"
"There are things in this world, Bella. Things you shouldn't know anything about. Things that can hurt you!" His eyes flashed again, and I realized my best friend was in pain. I wanted to reach out and comfort him, but I did not know what to say. "Things like me."
"Why can't you just leave it alone?" There was pain in his eyes now, and I softened a bit.
"Jacob please…" My voice was no longer commanding, but pleading.
What? When would Jacob ever hurt me? "I don't understand."
His voice now radiated the pain that was in his eyes. "You shouldn't have to."
It was then he told me the truth about him, about his people. First he was shocked at my calm reception, then angry at me. I was happy…ecstatic, even. Ignoring his yells about how I was a crazy person and needed to be institutionalized, I told him. I told him everything about myself in return. At first he was shocked, but shortly the shock made way for uncontrollable laughter. I remember him making some comment about 'what a pair we are…a witch and a werewolf'. I'd joined in on the laughter by then, happy for once in my life to have another person to relate too besides my mother.
But shortly, the conversation turned to more serious matters. There was still the matter of the creature that'd attacked me. His eyes turned serious again, and he began to look angry.
"Do you know why we exist, Bella?"
"We as in you and me, or...?"
"Oh…" I'd heard of the existence of werewolves before, but I did not know any details.
"It's because of them. That monster that attacked you- it was a vampire, Bella. An evil, blood drinking, vampire. We exist because it is our purpose to protect our people from those leeches."
I could almost imagine how comically wide my eyes must've been at that statement. Even with everything I knew about the paranormal world, the existence of vampires was always just fiction to me. The realization that I'd almost been killed by a vampire less than an hour earlier was unnerving to say the least. It was becoming increasingly clearer that my world could not get any stranger.
I thoroughly enjoyed dinners with Charlie. Our conversations were usually limited to town gossip and discussing our days at work. Sometimes we sat in comfortable silence, just enjoying having someone there. I secretly wished my father would find someone to share his life with. I chose to be alone, he did not.
"Heard some talk down at the station today that there's a new family in town. A doctor who just accepted a job at the hospital. Last name's Cullen, I think."
Something clicked. "I bought my cottage from someone with the last name Cullen." Carlisle Cullen, a man living in Alaska. Charlie merely nodded his head in response.
"Harry said they used to have family here, and he'd deciding to move back with his wife and their kids. Said the kids are actually adults, though. They were all adopted by Dr. Cullen and his wife, and they're coming here too."
I did not know why, but I had a strange feeling about this Cullen family. Carlisle, the man I had spoken to, seemed nice enough, giving me a more than reasonable price for the cottage. What made him decide to pick up his life and move to Forks all of a sudden? As I cleared the dishes from the table, I tried to push away the feelings of uneasiness. There was no reason to suspect a seemingly nice, normal family. Remembering the attack in the woods must have put my paranoia into overdrive. Get a grip, Bella. Nothing is going to change.
The next morning, I occupied myself doing mundane chores around the house. It was early yet, and I didn't have to be into the shop for at least two hours. It wasn't because the Cullens were moving in today, and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the newcomers to Forks. Well, to be honest, that was the main reason I wasn't going straight to the store.
So I spent the better part of the morning putting together an arrangement of flowers from my garden to bring over to the Cullens'. Charlie said that the house wasn't far from mine, about a fifteen minute ride further into the woods. It was surprising and oddly comforting that I was not the only one who enjoyed the privacy.
Grabbing my purse and keys, I surveyed my reflection in the hallway mirror. I wasn't trying to impress anybody, but I at least wanted to be presentable. I chose dark jeans, a pair of practical black flats, and a midnight blue blouse. My face was sans makeup, as usual, and my thick mahogany hair was blown straight, falling almost to my waist. Presentable? Check.
The drive to the house did not take as long as I expected it to, and I felt my breath catch as the house, an obscure description of the architecture standing before me, came into view. It was enormous, and beautiful, and I suddenly felt anxious about getting out of my truck and walking up to the front door. The flowers on the seat beside me were inferior compared to the landscaping surrounding the Cullens'. My car was laughable next to the array of ridiculously expensive cars lined up in the driveway. What was I doing here? What were these people going to be like? My insecurities rushed to the surface, but I was at the point of no return. I could see figures moving around through the great windows, and it would only make it more embarrassing if I turned around now.
What was I so scared of? I had personally spoken to a member of this family recently, and it gave me a perfectly good excuse for the visit. I was just here to welcome them to Forks, and thank Dr. Cullen for helping me acquire my cottage. I summoned the bit of courage I could manage and got out of the truck, crossing the expanse of lawn to the front door. With a deep breath, I knocked.
Chapter End Notes:
Please let me know what you think! Bella meets the Cullens (and Edward) next!