A Forbidden Love

Chapter One: Love's First Gaze

I walked through the green, lush meadow, a whistle wheedling its way through my smiling lips. I could barely contain the grin that soared through my body, my very soul it seemed. My heart swelled with elation, and a spring was already back in my step. I twirled around rapidly, and felt the wind muss my dark ebony locks. Barely compressing a giggle, I fell onto my back, and spread out my arms, re-creating a picture of an angel. He said yes! He said yes! was all that was running through my head. My lips parted back into a contented smile as I grinned happily up at the clear blue sky. Little wisps of clouds were drifting lazily across the expanse of my vision, and I was suddenly filled with a deep longing ache. Not a bad ache necessarily, but a comfortable one. The kind of ache that filled your very essence when you were deep in love. My hands slowly crept up, to dip my fingers deep within my soft tresses of black spun gold. A breeze picked up then, and it ruffled my skirt, threatening to blow it up over my ankles. I let it. I did not care enough to yank it back down. Decency be damned! I was too happy to the let the rules of society interfere. I rolled over onto my side and buried my face into the crook of my arm, breathing in his scent, where it still lingered, however faintly. He had gripped me there, and I could still feel the heat of his hand, the intensity of his light gaze upon me. Oh how I would love to wake up to those darling eyes, and that darling head of golden hair that he so proudly displayed wherever he went. Another giggle welled up inside of me, and burst, the happy bubble of air escaping from my vocal chords in a violent whoosh. Sighing, I closed my eyes and plucked idly at the grass in front of my face. I was so deliriously, happily in love, that I did not hear the thundering hooves upon the horizon.

A smile still plastered on my silly little face, I rolled onto my stomach, hitching my skirt up over my knees accidentally in the process. I put my head lazily in my arms, and closed my eyes, my mucles relaxing, and my face hidden. Eventually, I drifted off to sleep, my dreams filled with the prince that had so easily stolen my heart. I was so far off in my dream state that I did not even feel the ground vibrating beneath me. A dull sound echoed in my ears, but I paid it no heed. Instead, I nestled my head futher into my arms and got comfortable once more. A sudden plop next to my ear roused me out of my drowsy state.

"Good God! Isabella! Isabella! who dared to leave you here like this?" a rough hand shook me furiously, and I blearily opened my eyes. I looked up into the worried face of my dear brother, Jasper. Smiling mischieviously, I decided to have a little fun with my brother. I immediatley adopted a scared and confused expression.

"Jasper? Oh, dearest brother, where am I? I do not recall a thing! How did I get out here, with my skirt over my knees?" I looked around frantically, feeling my way around in the grass, as if blind. Jasper gathered me into his arms forcefully.

"You shall not fear Isabella, I will find the scoundrel who did this to you, and he shall pay! Mark my words, I will gut thou poor soul upon the spot if I have to!" I giggled, and pulled away from him.

"I was just joking Jasper. I came out here by myself," I replied. This instant I uttered the words, I wished that I could have swallowed them back in again. At the mention of my being out here alone, Jasper's face darkened.

"You mean to say, that you were out and about, without any chaperones whatsoever?" I bit my lip, and let my eyes drift downcast. It was my signature innocent look. I folded my hands in my lap, and picked at the material.

"I am ever so sorry brother. I shall not do it again," I said in a soft, meek tone. Jasper crossed his arms defiantly.

"You are right. Because I will never let you out of my sight!" he declared. Worry shot through me, white-hot. I swallowed, and wet my lips.

"B...but brother. What about your duties as knight to the King? Surely you can not abandon those, just to look after insignificant me," I pressed. Jasper's demeanor broke slightly, and I was able to plant a tiny seed of doubt in his mind. That was all it took. Enough to doubt his priorities.

"Who were you seeing?" he asked. The question was so sudden, and so blunt, that I almost spoke his name. However, Fate was shining on me that day, and I caught myself before I made that gravest of mistakes.

"I...what do you mean?" I asked, trying to delay the inevitable. Jasper looked at me pointedly.

"I mean exactly what I say. Who were you seeing? You cannot tell me that you just decided to go for a couple miles stroll." I blushed, and looked down at my lap, desperatly trying to figure a way out of this terrible situation I had gotten myself into.

"I was seeing Lord Jacob," I said simply. Yes, Jasper would believe that. He would have to. Lord Jacob had been seeking for my hand for a while now. He was a rather overly persistent fellow, he was. Jasper frowned, his lips puckerin ever so slightly.

"But you have said so yorself that he was an annoying little flea, who did not deserve your affections. What on earth could have changed your mind about him?" he mused quietly. Even though he was directing the question at me, I still knew that he expected an answer from me nonetheless. I shrugged, a most unlady-like gesture.

"I cannot really explain it. He just seemed so...appealing this time," I said softly. I was talking about Jacob, but I was thinking about another person entirely. Jasper smiled and got to his feet. He held a hand out for me, and I climbed gracefully to my feet as well. Jasper hopped up on his midnight black stallion, and a servant helped me onto my lilly-white mare. We slowly trotted back to Swan Manor. I swayed gently in the saddle, my body undulating with the movements of the great animal beneath me. Jasper shot a glance at me out of the corner of his eye, and smiled again. I raised my eyebrow.

"What is it that is requiring you to smile so much, brother?" I asked playfully. Jasper threw his head back and laughed.

"I was just thinking how beautiful a wife you would make for Lord Jacob. Do not worry, I shall be the one to tell Father that you are ready at last to accept Jacob's affections. Tell me, when do you wish the wedding to be?" I frowned.

"I do not wish for there to be a wedding at all," I said calmly. Now it was Jasper's turn to frown.

"Why ever not? I thougth you were finally returning Jacob's..."

"I was not returning his affections, or anything of his. I was just simply going out to talk to him." Jasper smiled.

"Alright Isabella, I shall play along for your sake. We shall wait for the wedding." I sighed deeply.

"Jasper, I do not love Lord Jacob. At least not the way he wishes me to." Jasper looked at me sternly.

"What are you saying Isabella? That you snuck out to see Lord Jacob, but you do not love him? Isabella, you know that you must wait to do that until you are married," Jasper scorned. My face twisted up in sudden disgust.

"What?! How can you even suggest that I would do that! And with Lord Jacob nonetheless!"

"So you did not..."

"No!"

"Oh. Well...what did you two do then?"

"I already told you. We just talked."

"Hmm. Alright then. I shall let it go...for now. But do not think that I will not question Lord Jacob myself on this matter. Your virture is at stake here."

"Jasper! There is no need to consult Lord Jacob. He will just deny it all anyway. It does not please him that I do not respond to his flirtations." Jasper spurred his horse on faster, I urged my on as well to catch up.

"Please brother, do not go looking for trouble."

"I am not looking for trouble. I simply wish to get home. Father told me to come home today, fore there is a ball being held in Prince Edward's honor. You have also been invited," he said. I sat in my saddle, stunned. A ball? In honor of Prince Edward? But why would he invite me? Jasper halted his horse, and looked back at me.

"Isabella? Are you coming? We have to make you presentable for tonight. You never know how many suitors there might be. And I am sure that Lord Jacob will be there tonight as well." I scoffed.

"I do not wish to go to a ball held in honor of Prince Edward. By all rights, our family should be on the throne. As far as I am concerned, he is not but an obnoxious, spoiled, little child," I said haughtily. I turned my face skyward, and urged my horse on past Jasper's.

"And what do you think you are, little Isabella? Daughter of a rich noble, you have never had want for anything your entire life. You are just like the Prince."

"I do not care. I do not like him. What has he ever done for his people? Everywhere I go, I see poor people struggling through life."

"Why of course you do. They are peasants. That is there place and purpose in life: to work."

"Just because they have to work, it should not mean that they have to pay high taxes, when they are already so poor." I surged past Jasper one more time, and this time I allowed my horse to break out into a headlong gallop. I would not go to that ball tonight, no matter what my Father and brother said.

A/N- I just want to make one thing clear. The man Bella is in love with in the beginning of the chapter is not Edward, but a different man. Edward and Bella have not met yet.