AN: This is being slowly beta'd by the lovely lisa89, thank you
Flight of the Phoenix
Flight of the Phoenix
Chapter One – Taking Flight
I finally decided it was time to see my father Charlie again; it had been the past that I'd last gone for a visit. Though I had my reasons for staying away, he was not one of them.
I was leaving to college in New Hampshire in just a few short weeks. Preparations had been made to make my move go as smoothly as possible. Though my mother had cried for days, refusing to speak to me when I'd been accepted to Dartmouth, she wanted me to be happy.
I was supposed to have moved to Forks, Washington with my father during my junior year in high school, but had decided against it. It had been a smart move in my opinion, because if I had, I might not have gotten the full ride to college I'd received while living with my mother in Florida. The program I'd been enrolled in while attending high school was only offered to Jacksonville residents.
Living with my mother and her new husband had been a bit unpleasant. It hadn't been easy putting up with their public acts of affection. Though they'd tried to hide it, it had seemed at times that they just couldn't help themselves. So, I'd tried to avoid their lovey-dovey tendencies as much as I could. There was only so much I could take.
My parents had gotten divorced when I was very young. I'd spent most of my summers with my father, but I'd put my foot down for the past few years, forcing him to take a vacation with me in California. Why spend summer there if it was going to rain ninety percent of my stay?
I loved my father, but Forks was a rainy, too-green sleepy little town. Nothing exciting happened in Forks, ever.
My last visit to Forks had been due to Charlie's silent plea for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. That was my dad for you. A man of very few words; his silent plea had consisted of his friend Billy asking me to come. Thanks, Dad, way to guilt-trip me. Of course, I couldn't deny the simple request.
I'd been staying at Charlie's house for the past two weeks. I didn't really venture out to town; I didn't know anybody here. That, and there was hardly anything to do in this town. Downtown consisted of one street, three restaurants, one camping equipment store and a hardware store. Fun, huh?
There wasn't even a coffee house here. I could get coffee at the local diner. but it was black. These Forks folk seemed to have no sense of adventure.
Charlie tried to get me to go fishing with his best friend Billy Black and his son Jacob, but I reminded him that I would likely rock the boat and fall out. I'd done it before, so why take chances?
He laughed and nodded in agreement. He didn't know that I had my reasons for not seeing Jacob. That was another story I was still not ready to "reread" again.
I decided to go shopping for food at the only grocery store in town. I went down an aisle of cookies and crackers, in the mood for Oreos.
Standing in the middle of the aisle was a beautiful woman with a heart-shaped face, pale skin and soft caramel-colored hair. She was reading the ingredients on the back of a box of crackers, her brow scrunched in frustration. She looked up and smiled when she noticed me staring.
"Excuse me, dear, do you know if these crackers would go with brae?" she asked with a smile. I was momentarily stunned by the beauty of her tawny eyes. She remained me so much of the actresses on the red carpets in the 1950's.
"Actually, those crackers are too buttery, they'll take away from the cheese. Your best bet is this one." I took another box of crackers from the shelf and handed it to her.
She smiled and looked at the box I'd handed her and placed the other on the shelf. "Thank you." Her bell-like voice reminded me of the reason I was down this aisle.
"I noticed you're wearing a Dartmouth t-shirt. Are you attending college there?" I looked down at my t-shirt and smiled.
"I'm starting this fall. I'm here visiting my father before I move there." I was positive my father had been bragging about my scholarship to anyone willing to listen. I flushed slightly, realizing that I was part of the local town gossip. I hated attention in any form.
"I knew there was a reason I couldn't place you. You didn't attend school here. Who is your father, dear? I might know him," the beautiful woman inquired.
"I'm Charlie Swan's daughter, Bella Swan. He's the Chief of Police here."
Recognition flickered over her facial features, and I knew then that I was right in my assumption.
"Yes, he speaks highly of you. It's nice to meet you. I'm Esme Cullen." She extended her hand and I shook it, not really expecting the cold, firm grip. I tried to keep from reacting to her cold touch. Her last name got my attention, though.
"Maybe you'll bump into my son Edward at school. He's also attending Dartmouth this fall also. I have to run. It was nice to meet you, Bella."
"It's nice to meet you, too." I smiled as I watched her leave in a hurry. I shrugged my shoulders and grabbed some Oreos. After I grabbed a few more items, I checked out and headed to my rental car.
Parked beside me was Esme. She was packing her groceries into the trunk of a silver Volvo. I noticed the shopping cart starting to move away, about to hit another car. I quickly grabbed it and caught it before it hit anything. I was amazed that I'd managed not to hurt myself. Rolling runaway carts were not for the uncoordinated.
"Thank you, Bella, dear. That's what I get for trying to fit too many things in this car," Esme exclaimed, still with two bags in her arms.
I laughed. "No problem, Mrs. Cullen. Let me give you a hand." I opened the passenger door and helped her put the rest of her bags in the backseat. Just as I was about to close the door, I felt a cold breeze rush, and I felt someone standing behind me.
I turned to look, and there standing beside me was this exquisite tiny woman with inky black spiky hair and pale skin. She was fully loaded with bundles of fresh flowers.
"Sorry, Bella, this is my daughter, Alice Cullen. Alice, this is Bella Swan, Chief Swan's daughter. Bella is attending Dartmouth this fall." Esme smiled with a knowing look on her beautiful face.
"It's nice to meet you, Bella. I wish you'd come to school here before. I bet we could've been really great friends," Alice stated without a doubt in her mind.
"It's nice to meet you too, Alice. I must admit, if I'd known there were such nice people here, I might have moved two years ago, like I was supposed to." I chuckled.
Suddenly, I noticed Alice stiffen, and her eyes glazed over. "Alice, are you alright?" Immediately, Esme was by Alice's side and put her hand on her shoulder. Alice snapped out of what appeared to be a trance-like state.
"Sorry… uhh… spaced out. It was nice to meet you. I'll look you up when I visit my brother." Alice seemed to be stumbling for words and wouldn't look at me again.
"That would be very nice, Alice." I waved to both Alice and Esme as I put my one bag in the car and left the two women that started talking immediately with each other once I was out of earshot. I suppressed a shudder as a memory stirred my imagination. The pale and cold skin triggered something in my mind that I had tried to forget.
A story that now begged to be reread.
"What did you see Alice?" Esme asked me as Bella drove away.
"Bella, dead – she was attacked by a vampire. Umm… a news broadcast of a plane crash. It keeps changing… I also see her with red eyes also. I don't know what it all means. It seems like there is still a decision that must be made to make it clearer," I complained.
Seeing humans was always harder than seeing those of my own kind. The images kept coming and changing with each passing second.
"Do you think it has something to do with Edward?" Esme asked me nervously.
"I don't know. Nothing is clear… it's too blurry." I shuddered at the image of Bella pale, cold and dead. She seemed like such a nice girl. I couldn't shake the thought that if she had moved here two years ago, we would've been good friends.
Esme and I dropped off all our items at Ms. Harper's house. She was throwing a garden party tomorrow, and we were helping out. Esme noticed my need to go home immediately. Something was off with the visions that concerned the Chief's daughter. I felt that I was going to see her again. I also felt that she was going to be a part of my life.
How large of part of my life, though, was still unknown. The only thing that bothered me was that Bella was not the one that had triggered the visions. I didn't see humans clearly at all. It was someone out there… someone of my kind had triggered the vision. That meant another vampire, one that didn't live on our diet.
Jasper greeted me in the garage with an embrace, and he took my hand as we walked into the house. Once Esme and I had entered, in a mere split second, Edward was in front of me.
Then, he started sniffing me. I cocked an eyebrow in his direction. I'd been surrounded by flowers and people all day today, but surely those scents shouldn't bother him.
"What is that smell all around you?" Edward asked. The moment the first word left his mouth, a vision was triggered.
I quickly blocked my thoughts. This is one vision that he could not yet see. He wasn't ready.
"I was at the flower shop." I shrugged, like it was no big deal.
"What was that vision? I didn't catch anything but a pair of brown eyes." He continued to try and pick up Bella's scent.
"Nothing of importance… Will you stop sniffing me?!"
"That smell on you is not from the flower shop," Edward said, trying to get me to slip so that my thoughts would betray me. "Who were you with today?"
"Esme?" Edward looked in her direction.
Esme looked at me, and I minutely shook my head. "I don't know what to tell you, son." She shrugged and headed towards Carlisle's study. "It was the same people that I usually work with."
"Alice, what aren't you telling me?" Edward asked, annoyance clear in his voice. His jaw and fists clenched as he continued to try and pick my mind.
"There's nothing else to tell you, Edward," I said, pulling Jasper's hand. "Let's go hunt, Jasper."
I could see the flash of anger in Edward's face. He knew I was hiding something.
I had to hide the truth of what I'd seen.
Bella Swan was going to change his and our lives, forever.
I was packed and ready to head to Seattle to take a flight to New Hampshire. After spending the last four weeks with Charlie, I felt like I needed to get away from this infernal rain. It was summer, and it was pouring out.
Despite the rain, I also felt that my father needed me. The whole length of my stay, I'd cleaned the entire house. I was sure there were dust bunnies older than I under the couch.
Don't get me started on the state of the kitchen. I'd had to purchase a new non-stick frying pan and pot. I'd had him watch me cook on more than one occasion. He had to learn to at least try to make something decent to eat. His frequent trips to the diner or pizza joint were hardly healthy.
I made a promise to myself that I would call and visit more often, even if it was just to make sure he had eaten properly.
I was catching a red-eye flight, so I decided to get some sleep now before the four-hour drive to Seattle. Charlie had offered to drive, but I reminded him that I had a rental and had to drop it off anyway. When it was time to go, it was still raining. It was a good thing that I'd decided to leave early to account for my slower driving in the rain.
After saying my goodbyes and promising to come for Thanksgiving to cook Charlie a turkey, I left for the airport. The rain was still pouring, but it seemed to be slowing down. The roads were slick with rain, and I was worried about hydroplaning.
After a couple of hours, the rain seemed to increase. I slowed down even further, much to the dismay of the driver behind me. After a few minutes of the driver tailgating behind me, he passed me up. I looked over and recognized the silver Volvo that Esme had been driving the other day. I smiled, as I hoped to get to see that little pixie Alice again, if only to ask her a few questions.
If my memory served me right, there were in fact a multitude of questions I had for Alice and Esme.
It had been a horrific week, to say the least. Alice and Jasper were acting quite strangely around me. They were constantly asking where I was going.
Alice refused to show me any visions that concerned those expressive brown eyes that I had seen in her previous vision for a mere nanosecond.
I thought about it, and it was strange that Alice would even see a human in her visions. I shook the thoughts from my head. As desperate as I was to find where Alice had come into contact with the scent that had permeated her clothing, I knew that it would not be a good idea.
Never had I smelled anything so sweet. Alice had tried to play it off as nothing but flowers from the shop and the humans she'd helped Esme with. I was positive that she'd been lying to me. That was something that had never had occurred in our relationship. Alice and I had a special bond, and we told each other everything. So, her hiding and lying now made me suspicious of what my future held.
I had to forget and not dwell on this.
I insisted on driving myself to the airport in Seattle. I didn't like goodbyes with my family. Esme always looked so upset when I decided to venture out on my own. It had been quite some time since I'd left my family behind – over seventy years.
I assured my family back home in Forks that they could come and visit me anytime. Alice and Jasper were driving my car over in a week. I was looking forward to Dartmouth. It was going to be my first time attending this school. I'd done all the other schools too many times. I needed a little change.
I boarded my flight from Seattle, WA to Lebanon, NH for the red-eye flight. Alice assured me that when I landed, it would be a nice cloudy day and the sun wouldn't expose me. I sat in my first-class seat, ignoring the prattling of two flight attendants that were fighting over who would come and talk to me first. I closed my eyes and pretended to sleep, hoping this human gesture would prevent the women from bothering me.
There were only two other people in first class. They were a couple in their late forties, both visiting New Hampshire to visit their grandson. They were sitting on the opposite side of where I was sitting, next to the window seat.
"Right this way, miss, this is your seat. We have very few people in first class today, and you could sit anywhere you'd like once we are in flight."
"Thank you. This is just fine." A woman with dark hair passed my seat, and I was hit with a scent so sweet that it hit me like a wrecking ball.
The woman sat in the middle seat of the middle row, less than ten feet away from me. I glared at the woman as she stretched her arms over her head, exposing a sliver of her flat abdomen before taking her seat and buckling her seatbelt.
I knew this scent. I had smelled it before… on Alice.
Damn it, she should've warned me.
I swallowed the venom that had begun to pool in my mouth. I was fighting the dry, burning ache in my throat. She turned to look at me and seemed taken aback. I scared her. Her big brown eyes reflected my face, and I saw the three monsters that were fighting to dominate me.
The monster of curiosity, as this was the first mind that I'd come across that I couldn't read.
The monster of lust, as my eyes raked her creamy pale skin and the blush that colored her cheeks.
The monster of desire, that desired the sweetest blood I'd ever come across in my over eighty years of my existence as a vampire.
AN: Please review.