I don't own Twilight. all Stephenie Meyer.


Chapter One

Such an Intoxicating Scent

It was a typical morning, nothing truly out of the ordinary. I had gone for a run and decided to hunt. When I had had my fill, I settled down under a particularly nice tree and stared at my surroundings. Living in Alaska was freeing, at least, as a vampire, it much less tempting.

People were few and far between, and we were pretty much left to ourselves.

As I took in my surroundings, I smelt something that literally knocked me senseless. It was the most heavenly scent I had ever encountered, and it caused the venom to flow and pool in my mouth instantly. I tried to swallow it back and forget about it, I had gotten enough blood on my hunt.

To my dismay, the scent persisted; got stronger even. It taunted my senses without mercy. Instinct overpowered logic, and I couldn't take it anymore. The smell was like a siren's call to me and I was too weak to resist. I took off in search of the owner, giving myself over to my senses.

I knew it probably wasn't a good idea for me to go in search of the smell, just thinking about it made my throat burn and ache with hunger, but I couldn't ignore it any longer.

As I got closer to the scent I crouched down, preparing to pounce. Just as I was about to attack my prey I saw a small child curled into a tight ball.

I paused, barely able to stop myself. I could hardly believe it, that such an amazingly luscious scent was coming from something so small. An insignificant child?

To keep myself under control I took a deep breath in and held it. Stopping the flow of the scent to my senses was my only option. I saw the child strewn out on the ground, tears streaming down her face and her long brown hair pulled back in a tie. She couldn't have been any more than three or four years old.

Her skin was so pale; I could see her blood flowing through the thin membrane.

Eventually she turned in my direction and I was struck by her big brown eyes. They were so deep and a rich chocolate brown. It felt as though she could see right into my soul as I could see into hers. She continued sobbing.

I tried to listen to her thoughts, get into her head, but she was completely silent to me. I couldn't hear a single word. Giving up that form of communication I took a slow step toward her. "Hello there, little one. What are you doing all the way out here?"

She sniffled, wiping her nose with the sleeve of her shirt, seeming transfixed by me. "I want go home." Her voice was so soft and tiny.

"Are your mommy and daddy here?" I looked around, hoping to maybe find some trace of the humans, anywhere.

She let out another sob. "They no wake up. They go asleep and no wake up." Her tiny body shook violently from the tears racking her body.

Detecting no other heartbeats within range, it was safe to assume the child was completely alone out here on the side of this mountain, but how did she get here? Pushing past the call of her blood and tightly reigning in my control, I inhaled again and fanned my senses over the immediate area. I could detect the smell of fuel, torn metals & burnt materials. Another inhale, and I caught the unmistakable stench of death.

A plane crash perhaps? There was no other logical assumption to make. This part of the country was practically inaccessible to humans. There would be no other way she could have ended up here, but I could not investigate it now. I needed to get this child out of the cold.

"My name is Edward. What's your name, little one?" I couldn't stand to see her crying.

"B...Bella," she managed to get out.

A grin spread across my face. Bella. What a beautiful name. I took in a fresh gulp of air, ignoring the burning in my throat. I refused to harm this innocent child, no matter how tempting her blood was to me.

Focus.

"It is freezing out here. I know you aren't supposed to go off with strangers, but I promise to take you somewhere warm."

Her fragile body shook. "No, you lie."

I put on my most sincere smile, trying not to frighten the child. "I promise I won't hurt you. I just want to get you out of the snow. Aren't you cold Bella?"

Bella rubbed the tears from her eyes and eventually got up, wobbling over to me. She held her arms up for me to pick her up.

I took great care with her, being extra careful not to squeeze her too tightly, and carefully tucked her into my jacket to keep her warm. The heat from her body made me shudder in response; I had never felt anything like it before.

I ran back to the house, doing everything I could to ignore the beautiful aroma radiating from the child in my arms. She smelled heavenly.

The pull I felt toward her so quickly was strange to me. My natural instincts were begging me to drink, to taste that amazingly sweet smelling blood, but my heart was screaming at me not to. For a short time, I had rebelled and lived on human blood, but I gave that up and went back to Carlisle's vision. Hearing the thoughts of my prey just before killing them became too much to bear, an overwhelming pain that I could longer handle.

Carlisle was the one who turned me all of those years ago when I was dying from the Spanish Influenza. He became like a father to me and was the kindest man I had ever come across.

The others slowly entered our lives after that. His wife Esme came next, Rosalie, and then Emmett. Alice and Jasper appeared to us one day out of the blue and instantly became a part of the family.

We may not be a traditional family, but we are a family nonetheless. After spending decades together, what else could you expect of our close knit bond?

Everyone was at the door before I even had a chance to shut it. Carlisle and Esme, my adoptive parents, were the first that I saw. Be careful. Alice is in a panic.

But Alice, my favorite, yet sometimes annoying sister, was the first to speak out loud. "Edward, what on earth were you thinking?" Of course she'd already seen everything.

"I don't know Alice, I was thinking maybe we could all have a party and feast on her," I said rather annoyed with her. "It was freezing outside, and I didn't think leaving her in the snow was the right thing to do."

The others looked back and forth at us, trying to figure out what we were talking about.

I unzipped my jacket and revealed Bella in my arms. Her blood was literally driving me insane. It was taking all of my strength not to bite her.

Maybe you should put her down and take a few steps away, Edward. Alice thought.

Nodding, I gently placed Bella on the floor and stepped away from her. Her little heart beat picked up when she saw me leave her.

She's human, Edward. Emmett and Jasper hissed.

Bella flinched, obviously terrified.

Esme looked up at me, shocked, and Rosalie glared.

"Everyone relax," Carlisle instructed them. "Edward, please tell us what exactly is going on," he requested. He was the most practiced of us all at resisting the temptation of blood and could keep a level head in any situation. He truly was remarkable.

"Her name is Bella," I told them.

I quickly explained what had taken place that morning, leading up to finding Bella. All the while she had found her way back to me and was hugging my leg. I looked to Esme, silently begging her to take Bella away from me.

"Well hello there, precious," Esme, bless her, could never make anyone feel uncomfortable around her. She was always bubbling over with love and compassion. "My name is Esme." She picked Bella up in her arms.

"Hi." Bella waved her tiny little hand at Esme, seeming to relax a little.

I took in a clean breath of fresh air when I moved to the doorway by the living room. Her scent made it difficult for me to concentrate or even think.

I was pretty sure that there was a conversation going on between Esme, Carlisle, and Bella, but I didn't hear a word of it.

Emmett and Jasper had calmed down, leaving the room to give us some privacy.

Before Rosalie left she turned her glare on me one last time. How could you bring this human here? A child she may be, but she's a danger to us Edward. You'll get us all killed.

Alice's visions were flipping through her mind like an old cartoon flip book and I was having trouble not falling over as she allowed me to be privy to them. They all consisted of Bella, starting from her at this age and working up to her as a teenager.

The last couple I saw were of me and Bella. One was of Bella in her teenage years, with wavy brown hair down the middle of her back, and her big brown eyes even more hypnotizing than they are now. She was lying next to a guy in a meadow and slowly leaned over to him. It took me a second to realize the guy was me.

The last one, Bella was even paler than normal, her features beautifully accentuated. She was laughing and hugging on to me, a wedding band on her ring finger. She opened her eyes and they were blood red.

"Enough!" I screamed at Alice, "I don't want to see anymore."

Carlisle and Esme looked between us, trying to calm down Bella's little whimpers.

I'm sorry. I can't control them, you know that. That is where your future will lead Edward. A satisfied smirk graced her pixie like face. I must say, I've never seen you look so happy.

"No. I will not allow that to happen." I clenched my mouth shut. I tried to ignore the fact that I felt empty once she let go of me.

You found her for a reason Edward. It isn't just coincidence that you came across her in the middle of nowhere. Alice smirked at me again. "Something tells me we better go shopping, Esme. She's going to need a lot."

I shook my head in confusion. "What-" I just switched the arrangement of the words here.

"Bella is going to stay with us, Edward." Carlisle put his hand on my shoulder reassuringly. "Until we can figure out what else to do." Her blood is really strong for you isn't it?

Nodding almost imperceptibly I looked into his eyes, trying to convey what I was feeling to him.

If this is going to be too difficult for you we can work something else out. Carlisle suggested. He knew I was extremely practiced at resisting my urges, but this siren call was almost too much.

Shaking my head again I pinched the bridge of my nose between my thumb and forefinger. "I'm fine."

As I turned to leave, that sweet little innocent voice cried out, stopping me in my tracks.

"Eggwart, no leave me." Bella had a newly formed tear in her eye. She struggled out of Esme's arms and ran over to me.

My resolve nearly crumbled. Her pleading broke my heart and I reached out for her. "I'm not leaving you little one," I whispered so only she could hear me. That smell, so enticing.

She buried her face in my chest and clung to me. "Stay," she murmured, her words slightly muffled by my shirt. Her breathing slowed down after a few minutes as she fell asleep in my arms. "What am I going to do?" I looked to Carlisle and Esme.

Esme touched her hand to my cheek. "Edward you are a wonderful man. I know that whatever this is, you will do the right thing." So compassionate, I didn't deserve her kind words.

I smiled at her. "Thanks, Mom." I kissed her cheek.

Carlisle gingerly patted Bella's back. Don't do anything that you can't handle Edward.

"Thank you, Carlisle." I nodded, trying not to wake her.

Alice and Esme left to go shopping. Rosalie was in the garage working on her car and Emmett and Jasper were out hunting. Carlisle was in his study.

It was silent in the house except for Bella's steady heart beat. What was this little girl doing to me? I was a mess already and she had only been in my life for a matter of an hour.

Quickly I made my way up the stairs and brought Bella into Carlisle and Esme's room. I figured she could sleep comfortably in their bed. As gently as I could, I laid her down in the middle portion of the bed and covered her with a quilt.

I stood over by the door and watched her as she slept. It had been nearly a hundred years since I had seen someone sleep, and she was absolutely fascinating. Her tiny little body was curled in a ball.

Her breathing was so slow and every once in awhile she'd mumble something. For the most part it was incoherent, and that's when she said it.

"Eggwart."

My frozen heart almost started beating again at the sound of her voice saying my name. How could I be so thrilled by that? If anything, I should be angry that I let myself get so close to her. My family and I were a danger to her.

Keeping her here because I was intrigued by her was the most selfish thing I could imagine doing. I knew without a doubt that Esme and Alice were already attached, so not taking care of her probably was not an option.

And the thought of being separated from her was already almost unbearable to me.

I watched her sleep the rest of the morning away and finally went downstairs to get away from that glorious scent. I had to clear my head.

Now that Esme and Alice had seen her, there was no way they'd give her up. I knew that was a lost cause, not that I'd be too willing to see her go either.

She'd managed to turn everything in my world upside down in a matter of hours. Being able to control myself was going to be a challenge, but I would have to force myself. For her. There was no other option.


Thank you to my fabulous beta ECullenitis for helping me make this story the best that it can be.