Queen of Swing
Disclaimer: All characters are property of Stephenie Meyer. I'm just using them to get rid of the plot bunnies that plague my head. This disclaimer will be present in each chapter, and, if the chapter contains any other material that is the legal property of another artist, it will appear in this space.
Author's Notes: This is meant to take place between New Moon and Eclipse. I tore through the books rather quickly so I'd like to caution that if you haven't read through either of these (in case I slip and throw an Eclipse reference in!) and you're not in the mood for spoilers, steer clear! This is an E/B story, shock and awe, so if you're averse to that pairing, now would be the time to click back and choose a new story ;) I started this as a one shot, but after brainstorming all day, I feel as though it's going to end up being a series-like story! Please read and review to let me know what you think!
As a note, a lot of the first chapter here is a reflection of what's happened in both Twilight and in New Moon, so you can skip over it, if you'd like!
In late June, the weather is absolutely miserable here on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, in the small town of Forks. I hailed from Arizona, one of the driest, sunniest, and hottest states in the entire U.S.A. Forks could almost be called a complete contradiction of my wonderful desert background, as it was humid and cloudy, but still oppressively warm. I'd never stayed more than two weeks in Forks since I'd turned 13, yet just last year I'd come here to live with my father, Police Chief Charlie Swan, leaving behind the nomadic lifestyle of a minor league baseball player's step-daughter in my past. It wasn't that I minded new adventures and new experiences, but it didn't create much in the form of consistency. When we tried to stay in one place while Phil traveled, my mother ended up miserable, being away from him for undetermined durations of time. I never thought two people could be so in love, to the point of being physically ill when away from one another, but little did I know. I thought coming to Forks would be the absolute end of my life until I finally got out of high school and went off to college, but it was in Forks that I found the love of my life, the one I couldn't stand to be apart from.
Edward Cullen was not like the other boys of Forks. He was nothing like Mike Newton, the supposed cute jock who my friend Jessica Stanley had a thing for. He was definitely nothing like Eric Yorkie, the brainy editor-in-chief of the school paper, whom my friend Angela ended up pairing off with. And he was certainly nothing like Tyler Crowley, the boy who nearly killed me (had it not actually been for Edward), and decided the only way to make it up to me was by dating me. Thankfully, after showing up on my doorstep for prom—while, ironically, I was in the passenger seat of Edward's silver Volvo en route to the dance—and hearing from Edward himself that I would be unavailable for both prom and for any other activities he had in mind, Tyler finally seemed to get the message. No, Edward Cullen was nothing like the other boys…he was nothing like anyone at all.
He was tall, with smooth, pale skin that was always free of blemishes, no matter how stressed he was. I'd often described him as a Greek statue…timeless, classic, and absolutely flawless. He had a strong jaw line, a well-shaped nose, and perfect topaz eyes. His bronze hair was always in a state of complete disarray, but appeared meticulously tamed into a style that could only be right for him. He had a long and lean body, with soft but threatening muscles, which could go from loving, tender, and totally safe to wildly protective, which came in handy for the many evils that seemed destined to find me in Forks. His voice was best described as magical, a perfect pitch and timbre, a low tenor that was sure to entrance the listener. I'd read the Odyssey at my old school, never really believing Homer's description of Odysseus' struggle to resist the spellbinding voices of the beautiful sirens, trying to lure him away from his one true love. I was much more fortunate than Odysseus though, for my siren and my one true love were one in the same; otherwise, I most certainly would net have been able to resist.
Of course, all this perfection didn't come without a price tag. Edward's inhuman personality, voice, and looks were just that—inhuman. You see, my boyfriend, Edward Cullen, was a vampire. Most people's thoughts would race to the pages of Bram Stoker's Dracula if they heard that, but Edward couldn't be more different than Count Dracula. He didn't sleep in a coffin (he didn't sleep at all), sunlight didn't burn him (it made his skin sparkle) and he was actually a vegetarian…sort of. His family's idea of vegetarianism was a running joke that they didn't feed upon humans, simply upon animals. As a comparison Edward once made, they live on animals the way a limited vegetarian might live on just soy milk and tofu. I blanched at the thought of being relegated to a diet consisting of only those two foods, but Edward smiled my favorite crooked smile and I lost my train of thought, choosing to be thankful of his tremendous self control that allowed him to be with me.
He wasn't the only one making sacrifices, I had my fair share as well. The biggest was the fact that I had to be secretive with my father. Charlie was a good man, and was glad to have me back in Forks. He'd lived alone since my mother had left with me when I was just four, and the kitchen had been perfect evidence of that. Honestly, the man should have owned stock in Hungry Man dinners, so he could have at least gotten some of his money back on his long time investment in the company. When I moved back, that had changed, and I began cooking for the both of us regularly. I was used to the more adult responsibilities—that came when you had a free-spirited mother who preferred doing pilates than doling out food on to dinner plates—Charlie knew that Edward and I were dating, and that it was serious, but he didn't know the full extent of our devotion…that one day I intended to become like Edward and his family. I intended to become a vampire, so that we would never be separated, that we could have all eternity together. The way I saw it, after all we'd already been through, there couldn't have been anything we wouldn't make it through.
I'm referring to the other major sacrifice I've made: dealing with others of Edward's kind. "Vegetarianism" was not at all common in the vampire realm, and was only limited to two covens that I knew of, the Cullens and their close friends in Denali, Alaska. Although physically, I appeared to be Edward's girlfriend and practically a member of the family, the non-vegetarian vampires simply saw me as a snack. I'd been out with Edward and his family more than a year ago, playing (well, cheering) for their team, in their version of baseball, when three non-vegetarian vampires decided to join the game. They were friendly, until one of them caught a whiff of my scent and decided to attack. The Cullens were quick to come to my defense, putting all seven of themselves in a line in front of me, with Edward using himself as a full body shield, blocking any attacks they planned. Carlisle, the ever calm father figure of the coven, suggested the game was over and that we would be leaving now, but it was too late. James, the lithe, blonde one, was a tracker, and he wasn't going to stop coming after us until one of us, either he or I, was dead. So ensued a wild goose chase!
I had to fake a dramatic break up scene in front of Charlie, in order to gather my clothes up and make a safe breakaway from Forks, before heading to the Cullen home where we established an escape plan. Rosalie, Emmett, Edward, and Carlisle would try to create a diversion, hoping James would fall for it, giving Alice, Jasper and I a clear escape route: straight south to Phoenix. Unfortunately, James bested us all and managed to catch up to us anyway. He broke into my home, and managed to steal video tapes with Renée asking where I was in a panicked voice. He called my cell phone and convinced me that he had her would kill her if I didn't surrender to him. I couldn't let my mother die, so I did as he asked and met him at the ballet studio I took lessons in as a child. He decided to videotape my demise to show Edward, in hopes Edward would be incensed enough to take revenge against him. He demanded that I beg Edward to avenge my death, but I'd do no such thing. If I was going to die, I would have a noble death, one in which I died to save someone I loved. I had tried to run, but he, like Edward, was incredibly fast and managed to cut me off, throw me against a mirror, and break my leg, all within a matter of seconds. The next thing I knew, he had my wrist in his mouth and had clamped down, infecting me with his treacherous venom. He let go surprisingly quick, as I tried to escape, only managing to slide a few feet away before the swimming feeling in my head crippled my movements.
I began feeling dizzy, nausea racking through my crumpled body. A cry of struggle coupled with a ferocious snarl made it's way through my foggy awareness, and I realized that James was no longer near me. Rather, he was pinned against the mirror on the opposite wall, Edward's strong hands clenched dangerously tight around his throat, a determined look burning in his now-onyx eyes. I dropped my head as it swam, suddenly aware of a cool hand caressing my forehead. I struggled to focus, and made out Alice's halo of wild, dark hair. Somewhere, as though it were far away, I could hear her screaming for Carlisle, that Jasper and Emmett could handle it. Alice disappeared and Carlisle's pale blonde hair slowly blurred into my sight, before my vision doubled. A piercing hiss-like scream ripped through the air and I screamed for Edward, worried it was he who was in pain. Carlisle leaned down to my ear, murmuring softly to me, assuring me that Edward was okay. I felt an unexpected calm flow through me, and recognized Jasper's talent relaxing me. The next thing I knew, Edward was at my side, reassuring me everything was fine, that the battle was over.
That's when the burning started. In my hand, where James had bit, it felt as though my arm were aflame, literally being burnt alive. I screamed and writhed in pain, my arm flailing about, begging for some relief. Carlisle spoke harshly to Edward above my moans, explaining the bite and what was happening to me, before asking him to do the impossible. Carlisle told Edward to suck the poison back from my arm, to drink my blood, essentially…the one thing Edward had been resisting for so long. Though I couldn't see him clearly, I could only imagine how his face would have looked, the two polar choices threatening to tear him apart. Carlisle's firm voice came again, telling him it was now or never. Slowly, purposefully, he overcame who he was simply to save my life. The burning pain slowly receded, and I was able to feel the warm, relaxing feeling of the pain medicine Carlisle had no doubt already provided me with. The feeling continued to reduce, before finally giving into the peaceful haze. The last thing I heard before fading into unconsciousness was Edward's soft voice in my ear, promising me everything would be okay.
The next thing I knew, I was awake in the hospital, with him by my side. His eyes were closed, though I knew he didn't sleep. I tentatively reached up, ignoring the pulling sensation in my arm where my I.V. was hooked up, and touched the fragile-looking skin underneath his eyes. They flew open, looking for what touched him, and I saw that they were dark, hardly any topaz visible, and somewhere in the corner of my mind I realized he was thirsty. He smiled, relief washing over his face at finally seeing me awake. He gently stroked my face, anguish shining in his eyes, despite his smile.
That was the first time he'd talked about goodbye, trying to make me go to Jacksonville to stay out of all the trouble he seemed to create for me in Forks. I'd refused, very emphatically, and we seemed to be okay. I returned to Forks, walking cast in tow, and we picked up our whirlwind romance. The perfect proof that I would do anything for him for him came not long after, when I allowed him to drag me to prom. We caught everyone's eye, before escaping to the well-decorate gazebo, twinkling clear lights setting a romantic mood. It was there that he promised me that he'd never leave me, and I told him that I'd be content going unchanged for now, as long as I had him by my side.
I quickly finished my shower, put on my pajamas, and towel-dried my hair to the best of my ability. In June, the weather was so muggy that it would take forever to dry without help, but to use a hair dryer while it was this hot outside was unthinkable. I combed my fingers through my slightly unruly curls, trying to avoid any unnecessary tangles, before twisting my dark locks into a loose knot. A few strands fell around my face, much to my annoyance, but I left them, anxious to be back in my room with Edward. I brushed my teeth, continuing my reflection on our past, and began washing my face.
The dreaded day finally came, the day I turned eighteen while Edward stayed forever immortalized at seventeen. His family threw a huge party for me, thanks to Alice, and gave me a great gift—a stereo for my truck—before disaster struck. Of course, being Bella, Duchess of the Uncoordinated, I managed to slice my finger on the wrapping paper, launching everyone into a frenzy. Jasper lunged at me, forgetting his resolve to be a vegetarian, more eager to get a taste of my blood. Edward blocked his path, simultaneously shoving me back and into the cake and glasses, glass slicing my arm, making the smell of my blood even more noticeable. Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, and Esme moved quickly to get Jasper out of the house, and leaving themselves. Edward and Carlisle stayed with me, resisting the smell in order to make sure I was okay. Carlisle sewed up my arm at home, bandaging me up, and Alice found me a blouse of Esme's to replace my now-ruined blue button up. Edward took me home, but something was wrong. He was strangely quiet, reserved, and his kiss was different. I'd realized after he'd left (he made an excuse for not staying with me that night) what the kiss reminded me of: goodbye…the same kiss he had given me a few months earlier, when I was running from James.
His ill mood had continued for a few more days, and I was determined to just wait it out. He'd get better—he always did. Finally, he took me into the woods, just outside my house to talk. I thought we'd get our problems totally resolved, and be back to normal—but it was much, much worse than that. He was leaving. His family had already left. I'd never see Alice again. He had the audacity to tell me that I'd forget him eventually, that it would be like he was never there…but didn't he know me at all? I loved him, I needed him…he was my life. He made me promise to be safe…and then he was gone. I tried to follow him, but wound up getting lost in the forest. Eventually, Sam Uley, one of boys from La Push, found me and carried me back home. Medically I was okay, but mentally? Physically? I would never be the same again…it was like the rug was pulled out from under me, and I couldn't get back upright.
I walked around, practically like a zombie, for four months, before my dad threatened to hospitalize me. I didn't understand—I was doing well in school, I had all A's, and I never missed a day of work at Newton's. I tried to do better—I asked Jessica to go to Port Angeles with me, to check out the mall, see a movie, and she actually accepted. Everything was okay, until the end, when the zombie went after the heroine, and a strange pang shot through me, as I realized just how much I looked like the zombie. I told Jess that it was scary, and it finally got to me, and she seemed to accept it with no problem. We headed for McDonalds, her choice, to get our after-movie dinner. On the way, we passed a bar, and I saw four guys that I thought I recognized—the four guys who'd very nearly attacked me the last time I'd been in Port Angeles—had it not been for Edward. I don't know what possessed me to do it, but I suddenly got the urge to confront them, to call them out for what they did to me. I left Jessica's side, and began to approach the raucous crowd, when I heard it, for the first time in four long months. Edward's voice. It was as smooth and beautiful as I'd ever remembered it, warms and caressing, as it begged me to stop what I was doing, and turn around and go back to Jessica. I looked around, hoping to see him, but found nothing. I continued my approach, and the voice grew louder, more adamant. I ignored it, and talked to them, realizing they weren't the same guys I thought they were. I returned to Jessica, who was angry with me, and remained silent for the rest of our trip.
Not long after that, I realized how it was that I heard his voice—it was when I was doing something reckless, something stupid…something that he would be angry at me for doing. I spent as much time as I could, trying to hear his voice again. I bought and rode motorcycles with Jacob, and heard him warn me to be careful. I searched for the meadow he once took me, to reveal his skin, and found it…along with Laurent. I heard his voice again, just as five giant wolves appeared. I was so terrified in that moment, but the wolves went after Laurent and left me alone, as I ran through the forest, trying to escape. I lived in fear after that, afraid that he was still around and was going to come and get me, or worse, that Victoria would find me. Mate for mate, Laurent had said, and that she was coming. Did it even matter that I wasn't Edward's mate anymore? I didn't know, and hoped not to find out. How would he know if I had been disposed of? He didn't care, or so I'd thought. Little did I know Jacob was one of the five wolves defending the area from the vampires. The Quileute legends he'd told me about when telling me that the Cullen's were supposedly vampires were actually true. I spent most of my spring break down in La Push, so his pack could protect me, while hopefully luring Victoria closer so they could dispose of her once and for all. I went several days without hearing his voice, refraining from the extreme sports, until I had enough of the boredom and decided to go cliff diving, like the kids from La Push did. I couldn't find my way to the lower cliff, so I just plunged off the top, hearing his warm voice pleading with me not to, and then to not drown, but to swim, for him. Jacob saved me, pulling me to dry land, and getting me dressed and all warmed up, before returning me home, where a shock was waiting.
Alice was there. She'd seen me jump off the cliff and thought I was dead, and had come back to see what was going on, to see if I'd made it. I was so happy to see her, so happy to have her back, until all Hell broke loose. Jacob came back to talk to me, to persuade me to not be friends with her anymore, and to ask me to consider him. And then the phone rang. Jacob answered it, a scowl spreading on his face. He told the caller that Charlie wasn't in, that he was at the funeral…only he didn't specify whose funeral it was. Alice was suddenly at the top of the stairs, her face a picture of horror. She asked what had just happened, and we filled her in, before she explained that it was Edward on the phone, not Carlisle, as Jacob had assumed. I was upset that I had been so close to hearing his real voice, to speaking to him, but not terribly. He'd probably call again, and then maybe I'd have my chance…but the look on Alice's face told me otherwise. She explained to me that he was going to Italy, and I slowly realized what that meant. He'd told me, once, that he'd do something to provoke the Volturi, the ancient family that was essentially the royalty of the vampire realm, in hopes that they'd kill him. He wouldn't live without me…and now he thought I was dead. I begged Alice for help, and we were off.
We flew to Italy, where Alice stole a Porsche 911 Turbo, speeding to Volterra, praying I got to Edward before he did something stupid. As it stood, she saw him stepping into the sunlight, at twelve noon, revealing the secret in the most obvious way in the heart of the city. Alice told me to get out, to run, and ask for Palazzo dei Priori, that he'd be in the alley, ready to step out. I begged her to just think that I wasn't dead, to get the message to Edward, but she told me that he wasn't listening, nor would he believe it. I had to do it, and I had to get to him so he would realize that I was alive. I got out and I ran—I only had two minutes—I shoved through the crowds…tripped into and out of a fountain, slamming into him just as he was stepping out. He caught me, and smiled, thinking he was already dead, commenting that it was fast. I explained that we weren't dead, that he had to get out of the sunlight, but he didn't believe it, until the Volturi henchmen showed up. We were escorted into the Volturi lair, where the three brothers, Marcus, Caius, and Aro, met us, and asked several questions of us. Aro tried to use his talent, similar to Edward's, but stronger, to read my thoughts, both past and present, but was unable to, nor was their little flunky Jane able to attack me, though Edward did encounter her ability when he tried to stop her from testing me. The Volturi, save Caius, were very nearly pleasant, except for the fact that they felt that I had to die, because I knew their secret. They offered the option of Edward changing me, but he seemed so resistant…so unwilling. I felt sick, that he'd rather see me die than change me, but Alice quickly stepped forward and offered Aro her hand, where he saw that she intended to change me. I was so thankful for her, that she got me out of Volterra alive, but not without the promise that the Volturi would be checking in on the status of my change. We returned home, and things were practically identical—Edward and I were back together, and I put my mortality to vote with his family—who, nearly unanimously (save Rosalie), voted to change me. Carlisle said that he would do it, after graduation, and Edward got very angry. He didn't want me to have the same life he did, but did ask me if it was what I really wanted. I confessed that I'd rather he change me, and he offered to, under the condition that I would wait five years. I told him I wasn't going to come anywhere near twenty, and offered him a year, before he came up with a different condition—I had to marry him, first. I flat refused first, saying that Carlisle could change me for that matter, but he used his never ending logic to point out that I couldn't make the commitment of marriage, but I was committing to eternity by becoming a vampire. I conceded, knowing that it would only help the change along, and that it was what he really wanted.
And that's exactly what brought me here. I had my Edward back, and for the moment, I was unconcerned about the Volturi and Victoria. I felt completely safe and entirely relaxed with him here.
He always came over after Charlie had gone to bed, and thanks to his effortlessly silent movements, Dad was never any the wiser. He was impressed with my good attitude and Edward's respect of the terms of my punishment (which only gave us two and a half hours together a day), and was hopefully going to reduce my sentence—early parole for good behavior. I desperately wanted it to happen, as I hadn't seen Edward's family (excluding Alice) since we returned from Volterra—and that was a very brief visit at that.
I finished washing my face, patted it dry, and nearly flew to my room. There he was, perched, still as a statue, on the edge of my bed, looking impossibly out of place in my average room. He smiled, glad to see me, and I echoed the reaction. I snaked my arms around his neck, kissing his cool forehead, enjoying the brief respite from the heat of the room. I could feel his face shift as he smiled his famous crooked smile—the smile that made me go weak in the knees—as he felt my heart speed up. Aside from the obvious advantage of being with Edward forever, the lack of heartbeat was another benefit to being a vampire; then, my traitorous pulse wouldn't give me away every time I was near him. I crawled on the bed behind him, crossing my legs, as though I was practicing yoga. I probably should take it up again—I could never get my thoughts in order when he was around. I rose to a kneeling position, throwing my arms around his shoulders, gently caressing the smooth planes of his well-muscled chest. He lay back against me; his ear nestled in the hollow of my throat, his hair pressed against my shoulder. I gave in, under the pressure of his weight, and fell back on the pile of pillows behind me, he following. I scrambled from underneath him, quickly, and turned on my side to look at him, something I could never get tired of doing.
He reached up for my face, slowly tracing the lines from my temple to my jaw, my ear to the corner of my mouth, and the light shadows under my eyes. I reveled in his attentions, loving the feel of his cold touch on my surely flushed face. My eyes drifted closed, ready to fall asleep at his ministrations, only to suddenly jerk open as the touch disappeared. I searched his face, my brow knitted, trying to figure out why he stopped so abruptly. His topaz eyes were over my shoulder, staring hard at something on my nightstand. I turned and followed his gaze, my eyes meeting a framed picture of him. It was from the night he was sitting in the living room watching ESPN with Charlie, and I'd taken it candidly, by surprise. It had originally been the album Renee had given me for my 18th birthday, on the first page, front and center, as it well should have been. But after he left, he had hidden any traces that he'd ever existed, stashing my memories beneath the floor boards of my room. Since his return, he'd revealed the hiding places of my possessions, most of which found their way to the original places…my CD of his compositions back in the CD player, and my ticket vouchers safely in my nightstand. The one thing that hadn't returned was the picture. It had been tucked carefully into my weathered copy of Romeo and Juliet, to keep it safe from dust and dirt. I finally got a frame I liked from an online shop I'd found. It was dark mahogany wood, the grain nearly disappearing against the color, with one word decorated across it again and again. Love, in various fonts and sizes, scrolled across the bottom of the frame, an appropriate label for him, I felt. I looked back to him, carefully regarding him, hoping to see what caused his dismay.
"You didn't put it back in the album?" His smooth voice asked, a trace of confusion lingering in the question.
I bit my lip and looked at him guiltily. "Actually, I don't really use the album at all," I replied, hoping to end the questioning before it began, but it was in vain.
"Why not?" He queried, his beautiful face showing slight anguish.
I took a deep breath, knowing this was something I would have to face eventually. "Well, I used the album for something else totally. I used it as more of a…of a journal…a sort of tangible scrapbook…of memories I had," I paused. "Of you," I finished quickly.
His face had a puzzled look to it, almost as though he couldn't decide what to ask next. His eyes, my best clue to his emotions, were closed. Several seconds ticked by, though they felt like minutes, and I took the liberty of filling the silence.
"Would you like to see it?" It was meant as a question, but my voice faltered at the end and sounded more like a statement. His eyes flew open to meet mine, shining a silent 'yes' in my direction. I sat up, moving off the bed, and retrieved the scrapbook from a shelf in my miniscule closet. I was hesitant to do this—it was filled with so many bad memories—but I felt that he deserved to see. I never wanted to keep secrets from him, so I gathered my courage and ignored the feelings that rippled through my torso. People with traumatic injuries, such as amputations, often say that despite no longer having the limb or no longer having feeling in a specific area, they could still feel pain or at the very least, a vague sensation from time to time. I believed them, undoubtedly, for although the hole in my middle was healed since Edward was back, I would still feel phantom pangs, reminding me of the darkest six months of my life.
I returned to the bed, where he was sitting, patiently waiting, to see the album of my life. I'd told him some of the things I had done while waiting—praying—for his return, but not all of them, not by far. I sighed, clutching the book close to my middle, and said, "I never wanted to look at this again, but I think I can do it, since you're here." He started to speak, but I held up a hand to silence him. "I know you've promised before, and I'm certain you'll promise again…but I need to hear it right now. Promise me that you'll never leave me, ever again," I requested, my voice wavering with emotion.
He pulled me so I was standing directly in front of him, his hands grabbing hold of the book. I reluctantly let it go, and to my surprise, he put it down on my purple comforter, no longer showing any interest in it at all. He stood, his arms moving to encircle me. We were pressed together, closely, my heart racing at the contact. I threw my arms around his strong back and buried my head in his shoulder, a few silent tears escaping and dampening his shirt. His hands roamed up and down my back, a calming motion, encouraging me to relax and forget my pain. I trembled at the strength of the emotions that coursed through me, so he let go, mistaking my shaking as coldness, but I tightened my hold on him, unwilling to let go.
"Bella Swan," his musical voice began in my ear as his arms stilled around my shoulder. "I will never, ever, ever be so stupid as to leave you ever again. There is no me without you, and I can't even begin to tell you how sorry I am for ever leaving in the first place," he said, his voice thick with emotion. He tilted my head back, looking into my tear-filled eyes, "I swear to you, Bella, never again." At the end of his speech, his lips came crushing down on mine, the ferocity of this kiss undeniably stronger than any kiss we'd previously shared. I tried to rein in my thoughts, to focus on the moment and not overreact, so I wouldn't drive him away, but it was very difficult.
I finally broke away from his lips, not wanting to lose the closeness between our bodies, which was sure to happen if the heated kiss continued. I took a deep breath, and said, "Well, let's look at the book then, shall we?"
Well, that's all for the first chapter. I'll be continuing, assuming I get an overall positive response, very soon! Please review!!