AUTHOR'S NOTE AND DISCLAIMER:
Stephenie Meyer is the author of Twilight. She owns the characters, and the Twilight Series. I'm just offering an alternate possibility.
This is my first fanfiction and my first work of such a length. Jmeyer made it better than I ever imagined by agreeing to act as a beta after the entire text was already written.
Thank you, Jess. Thank you, those who are reading.
I hope you enjoy.
I will always remember that day at the ballet studio; it changed my life forever. That one day sent me tumbling onto a path I never would have imagined for myself. Rather, a path I had imagined for myself, but with everyone acting out roles entirely different than the ones in which they had been cast.
I had gone to meet James, eager to save my mother and hopefully Edward. I was willing to face any fate so long as I could keep those I loved safe. That was always a driving force for me- the urge to keep the people I cared about from pain. Even when I realized my mother was nowhere to be found, I wasn't angry that James had tricked me. No. I was relieved that my mother was not in harm's way. My own well-being was secondary to my mother's.
His dark eyes assessed me with interest. The irises were nearly black. Thirsty.
"Isabella, Isabella, Isabella," James crooned, drawing each syllable of my name out and wrapping his arms around me, lowering his face down to my neck. We were in the ballet studio, and I was sure I was going to die. I closed my eyes tightly, Edward's name running through my mind over and over again, reminding myself not to fight, not to give Edward any reason to place himself in danger.
I could feel his cool breath at my neck and my heart stopped, restarting in a clumsy manner, each beat nearly tripping over itself. Instead of biting, his teeth breaking through my fragile human skin to get to the blood pulsing right below it, he just inhaled deeply. I kept my eyes shut, my arms held tight against my sides, ignoring the cold I felt coming from his body. His nose pressed right against my skin, before tracing up my neck, along my jaw, to rest on my cheek.
"Bella, I've got a little confession for you." My eyes flashed open, and I wished they hadn't. He was too close, and he moved to look me in the eyes, his nose almost touching mine. Staring into the dark crimson depths of his eyes sent a shiver down my spine- but not the kind I had expected.
"Belllaaaaa," he cooed, lips curving in a bone-chilling smirk. "You're special, Bella. I can tell. Call it my hunter's instinct, but I've never come across someone like you before." I couldn't look away, captivated by his stare. His voice dropped to a volume so low I had to strain to hear it, even though his mouth was mere inches away from mine. "Bella, I'm not sure I want to give you up."
My eyes widened, and my breath froze in my throat. I knew it wasn't entirely because of the fear, and that scared me even more. He saw my reaction and frowned, anger sparking in his eyes. "Don't you want to stay with me, Bella?"
I forced a smile to my lips, as I thought through the situation, ignoring my strange reactions to him. There was an awareness speeding across my nerves that I'd only ever experienced with Edward, but I couldn't dwell on that if I hope to get out of this alive. Obviously, there was more wrong with James than any of us had imagined. Maybe, just maybe, if I played along, there was a chance I would see Edward again. Maybe. Maybe I could not only save myself, but save Edward and his family as well.
Telling myself that was why I would go along with James' strange interest, and not the peculiar feeling I felt growing in the pit of my stomach, I made my mind up. After what seemed like forever for James, I'm sure, my smile grew again, and I relaxed a little in his arms. "O-of course I do. That's why I came here today. Um, I knew Edward wouldn't come after me if I wrote him that letter." I did my best to look pleasant, loving even, hoping that if I looked like I meant my words, he would believe me. My heart was racing, but I hoped he would attribute it to the former scare as opposed to my lying.
His face relaxed slightly, arms tightening around me. I felt my ribs protest, and I flinched, my hands going to James's forearms. "That hurts, James."
His anger flared again, and his arms tightened even further, but it didn't scare me. Edward was afraid to even touch me, but James obviously didn't have that same problem. It was... refreshing? I felt like I'd stepped into a different world. James didn't want to kill me, and I was having the strangest reactions to him. "You're too fragile. What is the point if I have to be careful with you?"
I thought a second, then took a deep breath and relaxed against him, burying my face against his neck, pressing my lips near his collarbone. "Please," I pleaded softly, pressing my eyes shut.
I could feel his confusion, but I was hoping that the promise of something else would make up for any extra care he'd have to take with me. Edward's love for me had stopped him from killing me, so would James' physical desire stop him?
We stood there for several minutes; my life in James' hands. I could only hope and pray that James' strange attraction and curiosity where I was concerned would be enough to save me. Maybe eventually I would find my way back to Edward.
Finally, James made his decision. "Well, fine then. I'll keep you." Then he picked me up in his arms, tucked my face against his chest, and ran.
We searched everywhere around the studio. There was not even the slightest trace of either Bella or James, aside from the tape of Bella's childhood playing on the TV and the faint smell of her blood in the air.
I inhaled deeply, welcoming the burn that brought back vivid images of her in my mind. The knowledge that he had her somewhere, and I had no idea where, made me long to crush the life out of him. Next thing I knew, Alice was at my side, her hand brushing away the shards of glass from my knuckles, her worried reflection broken and distorted in the mirror I'd just punched.
"We'll find her, Edward." Her musical voice did little to reassure me. I knew she was saying it because she hoped not because she knew. I had seen the vision she had of James running off with Bella to God knows where.
"You don't know that!" I exclaimed and was shocked at the despair in my voice. I was heartbroken, feeling defeated already, but I hadn't expected that to show up in my voice so soon. I had heard the same tone many times throughout my years; those people were always consumed by grief, incapable of functioning. It was hard to reconcile that image with the way I felt, but it didn't feel altogether wrong, just too soon. I couldn't give up on Bella yet.
I could see Jasper and Emmett outside, searching in the dark for any trace of Bella. They came up empty handed, sending that despair creeping over me once again. "Alice, she's gone!" I roared, tearing the practice bar at my right off the wall and hurtling it through the wall at the end of the room.
Alice did not flinch but simply put her tiny hand on my shoulder. "Edward. We will find her."
I closed my eyes, forcing myself to believe in her words. It was a common joke in our family never to bet against Alice. Even if she had not had a vision, her hunches were usually right. Believing that we would indeed find Bella would bring me some comfort. The knowledge that I would look into her eyes, hold her in my arms, feel her heartbeat flutter beneath her paper-thin skin, would let me focus on finding the both of them.
So instead of arguing with her, I just straightened my stance, raising my chin as I glared out of the hole in the wall I had created.
"You're right. We will find her. And we will find James. And when I do, I am going to tear him apart with my own bare hands."