Summary - Everything changed the day Bella moved to Forks. The Volturi passed a law, permitting vampires to kill in the open. One year later, forcefully separated from Charlie, Bella strives to reach Washington and hopefully reunite with her father. Instead, she meets the Cullens and learns something valuable - not all vampires are monsters. Carlisle, having interfered with Aro's plans, is given a month to change his ways or face judgement. When the world grows darkest yet, the brightest hope gives greeting..

Disclaimer: Twilight is the creation of Stephenie Meyer. I am simply borrowing her characters.

Edgar Allen Poe never had to deal with this..


I permitted my eyes to close with a soft sigh, leaning back against the wall. And for the first time in too long - I smiled. My nose burned, yet I welcomed the few impending tears as my reasons for crying and smiling corresponded.

Good for you, Ben Cheney.. whoever you are. I hope you save her.

The note; tiny handwriting on a gum wrapper which had slipped from a book I'd observed peeking through the rubble of my current 'hotel' (I think this was once a city bank) had reanimated my own determination to find Charlie. If I woke up tomorrow. One thing at a time.

I was grateful to have found a book. It smelt like another age, free from my hellish reality. Sitting open on my lap, nearly detached of its binding, I noticed the cover was missing. But as I scooped it up and inaudibly mouthed the first sentence, I knew at once who's world I was about to enter. For a style that used to sadden me, it now rivaled the telltale work of a jester.

"Your misery is laughable compared to mine, Poe." I chuckled with disdain, then instantly covered my mouth as every cell within my body quailed. I shouldn't be talking aloud.. although, glancing from the single standing wall I'd perched myself against, there was no arguing my name wasn't Sore Thumb.

But daylight was saying goodnight. I'd little choice. A broken business lamp sat to the left of me, the green glass responding to a setting sun. I playfully tugged on the beaded cord before returning to the pages of my temporary escape, again mouthing the words in silence.

"As soon as I sufficiently recovered my senses to comprehend the terrific predicament in which I stood or rather hung.."

Uh-oh, not this story. But I persevered, slumping downward. These busted bricks were really beginning to annoy my lack of a rear.

"...for a long time I exerted myself in vain. Either the fool could not, or the villain would not perceive me."

I pressed my free arm over my stomach, flexing the muscles in my attempt to mute a hunger growl.

"I was soon upon the point of resigning myself to my fate, and dropping quietly into the sea.."

It was getting harder to depict the typed lettering. The sky caught my attention, yellow and orange blown out like a candle flame. Only red left, with blue-black to follow. I returned to my script, cherishing the final moments of sight.

There was a sudden noise - like rock hitting stone. My eyes shot east, nerves jolting the next sentence into spoken words. "Looking up, I perceived the angel of the odd."

And there he stood - the length of a room from me - watching with pale arms folded as though he were playing along with the story. But he was no angel. And as the breeze whispered a swift death sentence, blowing my scent toward him, I wasn't surprised when the next second had me also standing, frozen against the wall.

I peered up at the sky, trying to detach myself, but could feel one hand supporting the back of my head while the other gripped my wrist with absolute authority. A strong set of teeth sat idle against the pulse of my throat.

I wasn't experiencing pain..

The second endured forever, long enough for me to lift my thoughts out of the sand. Something was wrong. Why wasn't he breaking the skin? What was he waiting for? I tried to glance down at the green lamp, imagining I could raise it up with my foot like a GO sign.

"I'm sorry." Cool breath tickled my neck. He said it akin to someone who nearly forgot to pray before eating dinner. Was he apologizing for drawing this out? Just then, I realized my stomach had been making noises and briefly considered whether the grumbling had placed a spell over him.

He let me go and took a step back, trapping my eyes with his. I could see the obvious thirst saturating the surface of his orbs. But I was staring into two depthless, butterscotch pools, swimming with so many emotions.

My own feelings were undergoing a state of metamorphose, fear transforming into curiosity. It was overwhelming. I strangely wanted my potential killer to remain that close to me until I'd deduced everything I saw in his eyes.

I didn't get a chance to stupidly ask the vampire if he'd stay. He withdrew then, vanishing from sight. And I was alone again, surrounded by darkness. Beginning to loathe the brick rubble below me as I fainted.

"..I was lip reading while I watched her, but I couldn't hear even one single verse from the girl's mind."

"That's very interesting."

I opened my eyes to a bright and unfamiliar room - instantly confused. One entire wall was made of two glass windows, allowing the gazer a view to cloud cover over a spruce forest. The other walls were coated white and decorated with aged paintings. I was lying on the most cozy brown leather sofa, a thick beige comforter spread on top of me.

Were I not weary of my current setting, I might have confessed how much I was craving hot cocoa and a good book to top things off.

"Her driver's license identifies her as Isabella Swan. I'm most certain this is the Chief's daughter."

"Their eyes are indistinguishable. It's a pity all of Fork's residents have scattered, else we could return her to her father's care."

At the least, I'd break my back were I to leap from the window.

"So eager to have her out of sight?" There was a pause in the conversation just outside my room. The door simply wouldn't do. Escape appeared daunting, for now.

"Carlisle, you hold far too much confidence in me. The way I reacted to her was inexcusable."

"I disagree. You behaved with unrivaled constraint... but I sense our patient is awake. Won't you see if the kitchen has something suitable for her to eat?"

"Yes - as I recall, she's starving. I'll be leaving afterward."


There was a gentle knock then, followed with the soothing tone I'd been aware of since I'd woken. Every vampire possessed perfectly tuned vocal chords, just like the siren luring mariners to their deaths.

"Miss Swan, my name is Dr. Carlisle Cullen. May I come in?" That was polite.


The door quietly opened. A statuesque young man came forward, skin matching the walls. Beneath two impeccable lids, lurked the same topaz as the boy who'd all but claimed my life, only his hair was gold instead of bronze.

He moved human speed across the floor, symbolic to a child sauntering near a wild rabbit in the hopes of befriending it. Taking a seat with crowned poise on a brown leather chair, mate to the sofa I was now sitting up on, he folded his palms over the chiseled stomach his black fitted sweater was failing to humble.

"How are you feeling? I do hope you found your makeshift bed agreeable." Perhaps these vampires were more thoughtful and appreciative than others, putting their prey at ease prior to killing them. Or it really was a vampire's way of saying thanks before dinner.

"Yesterday I was in Idaho."

"Yes, Edward brought you to our home for an unannounced doctor's visit. But I believe you're already familiar with this town." He smiled warmly at me then, an indirect challenge to my defense system. I retaliated.

"When do you intend to eat me?"

The vampire exhaled and closed his eyes, as though my remark had suddenly knocked the wind out of his conscience.

"Miss Swan... I willingly sympathize with your prejudice and in no way expect you to trust me without fair reason. More so, I'm rather fond of earning one's credence before they would blindly commit to such a notion." He paused. "May I ask what the verdict is for tomato soup?"