Starry Night

a fanfic by

ringswraith

Disclaimer

This is a work of fan fiction. All known characters, settings, etc. of the Twilight series of novels are copyright of Stephenie Meyer.

All new characters, settings, etc. are copyright of the author, pen name "ringswraith."

This work of fan fiction begins at the end of Twilight, and before New Moon. It is the summer break before Bella's senior year in high school.

I would like to thank Sarai, for putting up with all my questions about Italian (Mille grazie!). My nephew N, for telling me at seven years old that he wanted to see the Twilight movie. And to my niece J, for trying to convince me to read the books despite the "glittering vampires."

Preface

"Giovanni?"

The sound of her voice calling my name sent shivers down my spine- even as the smell of her blood sent altogether different shivers through my body. The scent alone was scattering my thoughts. I forced myself to answer.

"I am here, mio cuore."

Her hands went up, slowly, oh so excruciatingly slowly, to my face. Normally I would have fled from the warmth of her touch- I should run now, with her fingers slick with her own blood- but I made myself stay. A nagging thought inside me told me that it was, after all, too late- and I wanted to spend these last moments by her side.

Her fingers danced across my face. It was all I could do to resist opening my mouth, to taste the warm wetness… "Margherita, please," I whispered behind clenched teeth, my body shaking with the effort.

The dance slowed its pace. "Mi dispiace," she began. "I wanted to see your face one last time."

I stared into her eyes- solid white orbs. She had been blind from birth, unable to see like normal people, and yet she somehow saw things even I missed. "I am so sorry," I said, cradling her body against me, running a hand through her hair.

"How bad is it?" she asked. I could feel the warmth of her touch growing colder.

I shook my head, pressing her hand to my cheek so she could understand my movement.

She sighed then. It sounded like she was giving up her last breath. But her voice came again- calm, serene, and so impossibly soft.

"Giovanni- Please, do not blame yourself."

Blame myself? She is dying, and she thinks about how I feel? She didn't give me a chance to argue.

"There was no way you could have foreseen this," she continued.

"Yes- yes there is," I growled, berating myself. "I should have paid more attention, kept you somewhere safe…"

"What is done is done." She must have felt the set of my jaw. "I will see you again," she whispered. Then, sternly: "Breathe."

I blinked at the request, but I did as she asked. Her smell, her intoxicating smell- compounded by her fresh blood pooling around us… It burned my throat, wracked my body with a sensation akin to physical pain. My free hand shot to the ground, making a crater on impact.

She knew the torture she was inflicting on me. "Remember me," she said, her voice barely more than a whisper now. Why did we have such good hearing? "And Giovanni?"

"Si?" I replied, hanging on to every word.

"Ti amo." She sighed one final time, and then, she was gone.

1. Memory

I scowled behind my soldering mask. The thought of her death coming unbidden after so many years disturbed me. And at the same time, it reminded me of her promise.

"I will see you again."

I shook my head to clear my thoughts, and returned to the task at hand. I had been asked to help reinforce the roof of the high school gym. Being up that high for several hours meant I'd mostly been able to keep to myself for the past few days.

However, it seemed that being alone also brought her back.

"Mr. Bonmarito?" The voice pulled me from my reverie.

I saw one of the female faculty walk in. I waved to acknowledge her.

"How is it coming along?" she asked. I struggled to remember her name. Strange, I was usually good with details.

Finally I remembered- though she could not have noticed my slight hesitation. "It's coming along well, Ms. Cope." Her curious expression made me realize I still had my mask on. Poor thing probably didn't hear me clearly. I raised my faceplate and repeated my answer.

Her face lit up. "Excellent! Thank you so much for helping us out."

I'd lost track of how many times she'd thanked me. "Just doing my job," I replied, trying to keep my voice light. I flashed her a wide smile, exposing my teeth.

She blinked, hesitating for a bit. Then she waved a goodbye, and turned to walk out of the gym- a little unsteadily, I might add.

I shut my mask to hide my bark of annoyance. She didn't even gasp.

I really have been living among them for too long.

I completed the job late in the afternoon. The sky was overcast, but it did not feel like rain. I loaded all my equipment into my green Ford F-150 pickup, and collected my check from Ms. Cope. Again, no fear when I smiled at her. I turned away before she saw my grimace. Why was I trying so hard?

I decided to make a few stops in town while I was there. I picked up some art supplies at one store- it didn't take much to convince the young lady cashier that I was just dabbling in painting, even though I've been there many times- and went to the Thriftway to pick up some food.

Not that I needed food, of course. It was more to keep up pretenses than anything else. However, every now and then I would get the urge to cook something, and today was turning out to be one of those days. It was never for myself- it was the act of cooking that soothed me. I usually kept the food in my refrigerator- another human necessity- or I would anonymously give it away to someone.

I parked at the Thriftway next to a shiny silver Volvo. It looked a bit out of place compared to the rest of the cars there, but it didn't really matter to me. Just one of those weird details I noticed. I took a deep breath, then left my pickup and entered the supermarket.

I had been there enough times to safely ignore the scents of the humans present. But my "condition" prevented me from truly appreciating the scent of the items I sampled. I relied instead on other senses- how it looked, how it felt, every now and again discreetly eavesdropping on someone who declares that what I'm interested in is good.

I was in the produce section when I vaguely registered that someone passed behind me. I turned to put my items in my cart and the air that trailed after them wafted over me.

Involuntarily, I took a deep breath. My thoughts swam, seeming to avoid a dull throbbing that now assaulted my head. My hand tensed on the shopping cart- I heard the snap as the handle broke under my grip.

It was that smell- that luscious, intoxicating smell. Memories of her flooded my vision, turning blood red as I struggled to regain control of the monster inside me.

Kill.

There were probably around twenty or so people in the store right now- and one of them more appealing than the rest. The Thriftway wasn't that large- it would not be a problem getting to them all- No!

I fought back the rising urge. Remember! I commanded myself. My vision slowly washed away the blood, restoring her image to one of timeless beauty.

Only then did I reopen my eyes. I had cupped my other hand over my mouth, still with a bag of produce in it. Shallots. I pretended to be breathing in their aroma, in case anyone was looking.

I forced myself to walk to the checkout lane. The scent still burned my throat- I had to keep the venom from my voice as I paid the cashier. I quickly asked if I could take the cart home with me to fix it- I claimed I had just noticed the handle was broken- and promised to return it the next day. The cashier seemed taken aback but did not deny my request.

I tried my best to walk at a human pace back to my pickup. Hoping no one was looking, I lifted the shopping cart with one hand and placed it in the back. I slammed the door behind me a little harder than I'd intended, taking deep breaths, trying to clear my head.

Why? I demanded to no one in particular. Why now?

My reverie was interrupted when I saw two figures exit the supermarket- a young couple. The male seemed to be looking my way.

I tried to leave the parking lot as calmly as possible, my only thought escape. I had to get away, get away from that scent- the scent that reminded me too much of my lost Margherita.