Summary: Edward Masen was changed in early nineteenth century(1817) by Carlisle Cullen in England. He later on separated himself with the Cullens(who are still in England) and moved Washington, USA. Bella Swan's parents die in an accident, and she has to move to the small, village-like homestead township of Forks Prairie with her uncle, Charles Swan. Fate brings her at Edward's doorstep, and the dreaded monster rears its ugly head. Will she survive the monster?
A/N: I have taken Twilight back in time. Instead of 2005, it is now set in the year 1890. The place is the same, Forks, better known as Forks Prairie during that period of time. The characters are not canon. Bella isn't as clumsy, Charlie or Charles isn't emotionally stunted, and Edward…well only one word for him –DARKWARD. Hehe…enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or any of its characters. Everything Twilight belongs to Ms. Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
"Isabella, we're here!"
Her uncle's voice barely penetrated her sleepy mind, but her eyes slowly opened to his calling. They had reached their destination, Forks Prairie, Washington.
Isabella looked out of the window of their carriage and saw a vast expanse of ancient forest. She wondered how small this place was, since all she could see was the forest and more forest.
"I don't see anything, Uncle." Confused, she turned toward Charles.
"Forks Prairie is a small place, dear, more like a village or a homestead. The forest surrounds it, but I assure you that we are about to reach our home in a minute, so get yourself together, sleepy head." He smiled at her reassuringly.
Isabella nodded and sat up straight, brushing a hand through her dark auburn hair. She quickly pulled it into a tidy bun and rubbed her eyes vigorously to ward off the drowsiness.
She was tired, both emotionally and physically. The sudden death of her parents had rendered her almost hysterical, and if it hadn't been for her uncle, Charles Swan, she would have gone insane with the trauma. He had been there with her when she was told about her parent's death.
Her parents, Renée and Philip Swan, had gone out to attend a social event, but they never returned. A fire broke out at the event, and everyone inside the hall perished in it, including her parents. At the time, Charles was visiting his brother, Philip. He gave his earnest and full support to his brother's only child, who was immersed in grief and hence unable to pay mind to the worldly affairs that had to be dealt with after her parents' death.
He knew that his responsibility didn't end there. The seventeen-year-old Isabella's guardianship was now in his hands as well. After the funeral, Charles quickly settled all the monetary affairs of the Swans and took Isabella with him, away from the place that would constantly remind her of her pain.
"That, my child, is our home." Charles pointed to the house they were approaching, which was still half-hidden behind an array of spruces. The trees suddenly gave way to an opening, which revealed the house and its small front garden to Isabella's curious eyes. The carriage came to a stop at the edge of the garden. Charles disembarked and quickly turned around to help Isabella down the steps.
While her uncle retrieved her luggage, Isabella went back to observing her new home. The pale structure had the typical homestead feel to it, with its two-story frame, a central chimney, and dark, slanting roof.
Rather unsurprisingly, she noted, that trees and lush greenery surrounded it from all sides except the front. Green and all its variant shades, it seemed, was all that Forks Prairie offered. She surmised it wouldn't take much out of a painter's palette to paint the landscape here. A tinge of olive there, a smattering of emerald there… and for the sky—an ominous gray.
It wasn't the matter that she hadn't seen her fair share of overcast skies or thickets of trees in her hometown. It was the overall oppressive and eerie feel of this combination of heavy clouds and thick vegetation that had her a bit unsettled.
Her private musings were when her uncle muttered about approaching rain and hurriedly ushered her inside the house. Once inside, Charles moved all her belongings upstairs in her designated room while she quietly followed him.
"You like your room? I'm getting a new bedspread and curtains for it, just have to wait for a day. I promise you that it will be as comfortable as you want." He tried to sound enthusiastic about it; an attempt to cheer her up.
"You don't have to do that, Uncle… I'm fine with it. Please don't trouble yourself. I have already been enough of a bother," she said, looking at him pleadingly.
She didn't want to be an inconvenience. She knew that her uncle was a man of principles, and hence, he had taken her into his care without a moment's hesitance. Yet, she didn't want to overburden him. She knew that despite his cheerful appearance, he wasn't in very good financial condition. In the past, he had taken loans from his employer and was running under heavy debt.
"Isabella, it's the least I can do for you. You're my responsibility now. You're like my own child, and from now on, I'm going to treat you like my daughter. So please, if you want anything, just let me know." He stroked her head affectionately, his eyes brimming with emotion. Charles never had any children with his late wife; he had treated Isabella as his own even when her parents were well and alive.
"Uncle, I really am fine with everything here. You don't need to change a thing. I like it the way it is, and I'm happy with it. I know that you love me like your own daughter, and I'll try and be that daughter to you." She tried to set his mind at rest, worrying that he might try to provide her with comforts beyond his reach.
Charles put an arm around her shoulders as he told her not to worry about a thing. The affectionate gesture warmed her heart and brought tears to her eyes. Charles stroked her head again sighed wearily. He wanted to provide for her as her parents did, but he knew he was going to fall short now and then. Yet, she was his only family now, the most precious thing to him, and he knew he had to try.
As the days passed, Isabella slowly settled into her new life with her uncle. This life was bleak and uneventful, but she was fine with it, as 'eventful' didn't always mean happy events. The events of the past were a confirmation of this fact.
She looked out of her window, towards the sky and sighed. It was always the same—dreary gray. The sky of Forks Prairie rarely saw the golden rays of the sun. It was a cold and wet place, with skies pouring rain every other day. Isabella missed the sun, its brightness, and warmth. She missed her hometown, Portland, which was teaming with vibrant life, always moving and changing with time. But here, time seemed to stand still. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. Even the nearest town, Port Angeles, was about sixty miles away.
There were no houses in the vicinity of her home, either, and therefore no interaction with neighbours. All she did was clean and cook for Charles, and then either read or sew to pass her day.
Even Charles couldn't help her with this solitary life, as his work made it impossible for him to be at home before dark. His work involved a lot of travelling, mostly to the areas with lumbering activities. He had the job of supervising the lumbering business of his employer.
As the sky turned dark, Isabella set the table and waited for Charles to come home from work. She followed the same routine everyday.
Her wait didn't last long. She heard the hooves of the horses of his carriage outside and ran for the door.
Charles greeted her cheerfully as she opened the door for him. He looked happier than usual.
"You look jovial today, Uncle. What is it?"
"It is that obvious, eh? My employer, Mr. Masen, has granted me a raise, a substantial raise, that is!" he told her gleefully.
"That is wonderful, Uncle! How thoughtful of him." She smiled warmly at him. Seeing him happy filled her heart with joy.
"I'm going to take you to Port Angeles tomorrow and buy you something to celebrate the occasion," he told her, as she put his coat away.
"No, no…you don't have to do that! I'm just happy to see you happy, Uncle."
"Isabella, I want to…let a father buy his daughter a token of love and affection." He was determined this time.
"But, Uncle, it's so far off. It'll take an entire day!" She was suddenly worried about the long distance they would have to cover.
"I have thought about it, Issy. We'll leave early morning, and then, we'll stay overnight at the guest house of Mr. Masen," he tried to set her mind at rest.
"I already asked for his permission, you needn't worry about it, Issy."
She sighed reluctantly and nodded, smiling at him all the while. The prospect of buying new things excited her, but the guilt of unnecessary spending overrode it. She knew about their financial constraints, and didn't want to squander the money on trivialities such as fancy clothes and accessories.
The next day, as per his promise, Charles took Isabella to Port Angeles and prevailed upon her to buy the things she most required. She tried to demur, but he insisted, resulting with her acquiring two new dresses, a pair of ladies' shoes, and a set of necklace and earrings. He urged her to select more of the proffered items, but Isabella declined. She already felt guilty of profligacy.
On their way back from Port Angeles, Charles took a detour, informing Isabella that he had to pay a visit to his employer for an important errand. Isabella nodded, while curiously looking out of the carriage window as they came to a stop in front of a massive stone structure. The Masen manor gave the impression of a behemoth standing tall around the unremitting swath of green. Its gray façade nearly merged with the sky, imparting to it a strange, haunted aura.
Isabella felt a sense of unease wash over her as she appraised the looming mansion. In an attempt to shake the odd feeling, she shifted her gaze to the more cheerful looking flowers that adorned the lush gardens in front of the stately home.
"Issy, I'll be gone for quite a while in there," Charles said. "Why don't you come and sit inside the waiting room for the time?" He gestured for her to come with him, and the obedient she was, she followed. However, the prospect of entering the mansion didn't appeal to her.
Isabella settled in the waiting room while Charles disappeared down the long corridor that led to the interior of the manor. The room was adorned with various pieces of art, which piqued her interest, though she suppressed the urge to reach out and touch them. Instead, she trained her eyes on the marble floor, counting the off-white slabs to pass her time. After a few minutes spent in waiting, she grew restless and started pacing around the room. Once again, the paintings called to her, and this time she gave in.
It was the first time, after the death of her parents, that she indulged herself in art. She spent the rest of the time observing each piece in detail, fascinated by the meticulous brush strokes that gave them a magical feel. She became so engrossed in the paintings that she didn't hear Charles approaching her.
He tapped on her shoulder. "Issy, let's go home."
"Hmmm." She nodded distractedly, still lost inside her own world. Another tap on her shoulder, though, promptly pulled her out of her trance.
She gave her uncle an apologetic smile and meekly made for the door. Charles gave her a reassuring smile as he guided her back into their waiting carriage.
"So, you were working with Mr. Masen?" she asked curiously as she settled in, watching him pull on the reins.
"No, uh…not with him," Charles replied, "but yes, I had complete a task for him in there. Working with him is rare, since he is somewhat of a recluse and doesn't like people infringing upon his personal space." Charles actually knew that he was one of the very few people who were allowed to meet him in person on a regular basis.
"A recluse? Why so?" asked Isabella.
"I haven't a clue, dear." He shrugged. "He just seems to prefer solitude." Charles knew that Edward Masen kept his distance some reason; the reason, though, wasn't entirely clear to him. That he was somewhat different from others, may be it. Or perhaps, in Charles personal opinion, he had a few skeletons hidden in his closet. Yet, he never questioned it or discussed it with others. He knew that in his dire circumstances, being loyal to his employer was of utmost importance, regardless of his antecedents.
"But you get plenty of solitude here anyway, why seek it?" Isabella's own frustration with the isolation of Forks Prairie was plainly reflected in her question.
"Well, how am I to know?" Charles sighed wearily. "Moreover, my concerns only rest in my work. And he has been a most benevolent employer, Issy, never once denied me a loan. So I shouldn't question his odd preferences." He was especially grateful for the financial help Edward Masen had provided him when his wife was sick and the medical expenses were beyond his means.
"Yes, he did grant a raise to you," Isabella conceded, deciding for now to leave alone her confused thoughts about Mr. Masen
"Never mind, Issy… So tell me, did you enjoy shopping today? Or did you go just to make your old man happy?" Charles teased her good-humouredly, trying a change of topic.
Isabella smiled and nodded. "You know that I like everything you bought me. Thank you, Uncle."
"A daughter doesn't thank her father for these things, Issy." He pretended to be annoyed, but then gave up and laughed aloud, prompting a chuckle from her as well.
Edward strolled toward the main corridor of his palatial manor. It was past midnight, the perfect time for his nocturnal excursions. Not many people would be on the streets at this hour, hence, no witnesses.
As he approached the main door, a sweet, flowery scent caught his attention. He followed the scent, and it led him to the waiting room, where it grew stronger. He stood in the room and inhaled deeply. It felt delicious on his tongue and amplified his thirst, so much that he could almost feel himself drooling at the thought of hunting.
Thus, without further delay, he rushed out of the mansion and into the night, in search for his meal. His destination for tonight would be Port Angeles. Not the most suitable place to find his meal, but he didn't want to travel farther than that. His thirst was almost driving him insane. The sweet scent emanating from the waiting room had made him ravenous.
As he travelled swiftly through the forest, he decided he'd have to find two victims to satiate himself tonight. As per his usual manner, his victims wouldn't know what was happening until it was too late. It took a mere second to snap their necks. It was the easiest death he could give to them, an act of kindness.
"Hey Issy, there's a party at the Webbers' today, would you like to go?" Charles asked the next morning once he and Isabella finished their breakfast. "Nothing formal, though. Mrs. Webber was asking for you…she wanted you to meet her daughter, Angela. You both are the same age." Charles wished for Isabella to venture out and socialize a bit, since she mostly stayed back at the house and had a nonexistent social life.
"Hmm…do you want me to go?" She seemed hesitant and doubtful regarding the prospect.
"Of course, dear," he said, showing his enthusiasm by smiling brilliantly at her. "You can take the carriage. You know where their house is, right?"
"Yes, I've been there with you once," she replied. "You aren't coming?" She did want him to accompany her, since she didn't personally know the Webbers. She had only met with Mr. Webber the one time she had been to their house.
"No, I'm a bit tired, dear," Charlie admitted ruefully. "I only get to rest on weekends, so please forgive your old man." He knew it was his duty to chaperon her to such social gatherings, and to properly introduce her to Webbers. The guilt of not being able to do so ate at him. If only his back wasn't giving so much a trouble…
"It is fine, Uncle, you do need your rest. Maybe we can go some other time, then?"
"No, uhh, Issy, I want you to go, to make some friends here," Charles said quickly. "Just take the carriage. It's not that far away. But don't stay for too long, dear. I mean, be back before dark." He patted her shoulder, trying to convince her.
He wasn't worried much about her safety. Forks Prairie hadn't had any instances of crime ever for as long as he remembered. Therefore, he felt it safe enough to let her go on her own. Moreover, he trusted her fully. Charles knew that Isabella was like an angel incarnate.
Isabella chewed on her lip as she thought about her uncle's suggestion, unsure whether she'd be able to manage on her own. She didn't do well with crowds or strangers, and the thought of a full-fledged social gathering made her a little apprehensive. Yet, her uncle wanted her to make new friends. She herself felt lonely, and oft wished for company. Hence, she agreed.
Isabella discovered that handling herself at the Webbers' was easier than she had assumed it would be. Mrs. Webber treated her with warmth and civility, and Angela became an instant friend. The whole gathering was jovial, helping Isabella in putting her sorrows aside for a few hours. She laughed and chatted with the other guests, and it didn't make her feel uneasy at all. Being there made her realize that her earlier fears were mostly misplaced.
It happened so that she had been so engrossed in the chatter around her, she didn't notice the sun slowly setting in the background.
"Isabella, I'm so glad that you came today. I'm glad Mother introduced me to you. She knew we would get along, and get along we did! I would love it if you would stay tonight," Angela babbled happily, lighting a lamp on the table they were sitting at.
Isabella stared at the flickering flame of the lamp, realization dawning upon her. She spun her head around and looked outside the window. It was getting dark. She had all but forgotten about her promise to her uncle.
She stood up in haste, wringing her hands nervously.
"Oh… Angela, I would have loved to stay," she said sincerely, "but my uncle would get worried sick about me. As it is, I'm late. I have to head back immediately. I promise you that I'll come some other day and stay overnight with you."
"Oh, you didn't tell him about staying overnight?" Angela asked in surprise. "But you should have. It'd be difficult for you to travel back now. The clouds bring the darkness in quicker than usual."
Isabella agreed with her, but she was bent on returning home nevertheless.
Angela didn't push her to stay then, but she did press for another visit, to which Isabella readily acquiesced.
When Mrs. Webber learned of Isabella's impending departure, her queries were the same as Angela's.
"You're leaving?" Mrs. Webber asked, her voice reflecting her disappointment. "I thought you would be staying the night, Isabella."
"Uhh…I'll come some other day, Mrs. Webber," Isabella promised as Angela handed her her coat.
She thanked the Webbers for their invitation and bid them a quick farewell.
"God, hurry up," Isabella muttered to the horses as she drove the carriage back on the way towards her home.
She had not even covered a third of the distance, when rain came pouring from the sky in its usual fashion, pelting down the path. This time, it was accompanied by strong winds as well.
Isabella struggled with the reins as the horses became edgy because of the weather. She thought about turning back to the Webbers' place, but manoeuvring the horses was a tough task as it was, so she carried on trying to reach home. She held on to the reins and wilfully kept going. She soon passed the halfway mark to her home, which made her feel a little better about the situation.
However, all her progress was for nothing. Her heart sank when she saw a fallen tree laying across the road. There wasn't any way she could get past this; it blocked the path completely. It was a massive tree, which meant that it couldn't be removed by lifting or dragging. The only solution was to cut the tree into several pieces and then remove the pieces separately. Isabella stared at the tree, disgruntled. She knew that help wouldn't reach her before morning.
The rain was coming down harder now, looking almost milky due to the sheer volume of water. She couldn't see ahead, while the nervous horses didn't help either. Isabella tried to manoeuvre the carriage around. There was no other option for her except for making her way back to the Webbers. The horses neighed defiantly, not moving from their place. Isabella grew more and more panicky by the second, her hands shaking with the effort of pulling the reins. After a few minutes of trying, she gave up, exhausted and frustrated. She scrambled down from her ride and tied the rein to a nearby tree. On pure impulse, she decided to make her way back home on foot.
She lifted the skirt of her dress up and started stomping through the trees. With the rain and the darkening sky blurring her vision, she couldn't keep track of her direction. Yet, she had to keep going, she had to get back to Charles.
She trudged though the forest, trying to find the path that led back to her home. After about an hour of moving through the labyrinth of Sitka spruces and hemlocks, she knew that she had lost her way. Tears welled up in her eyes. She felt completely lost and lonely. She leaned on a tree and rested her tired legs.
Isabella cursed herself for being so imprudent… for not noticing the approaching dark. She didn't want her uncle venturing out in this weather, looking for her. The dark woods looked like a colossal monster to her, spreading its arms to capture her. She tried to suppress her fears, but each passing minute made it worse for her.
After a while, the heavy rain turned into a drizzle, improving the visibility, but only slightly, as the darkness of the evening slowly took over the forest. Isabella gathered herself up and started walking again. She wasn't going to give up.
Walking a few metres ahead, she suddenly saw something that didn't look like a natural part of the forest. It was a man-made structure. As she approached the building, its form appeared more and more familiar to her.
When she negotiated the path that led towards its entrance, she immediately recognised it. It was Mr. Masen's stone mansion. Isabella was so glad to see a familiar place that she almost jumped with joy, alas her limbs felt frozen in the cold weather. She hobbled towards the main door and leaned on it, catching her breath.
The evening was young and suddenly very calm as the violent storm which had been raging for more than an hour finally dissipated. Edward was sitting in his music hall, playing the piano for his own pleasure. He often played on nights when he didn't need to go hunting. Playing it all through the night wasn't much. He found it convenient that no one would disturb him during this time.
He was leisurely moving his fingers along the keys, lost in the sound of the melody, when a loud knock on the main door broke the charm and upset his rhythm. He growled in anger and shot up from his seat.
Who in his right mind would want to disturb him at this hour, he wondered. He concentrated on the thoughts of the person outside, but none came back.
How was that possible? He was unable to hear the thoughts coming from this person's mind. His internal turmoil was interrupted by another knock.
Curiosity had now nearly replaced his anger, as he tried once again to read the person's mind. He was greeted with silence again. His face contorted in a scowl as he flashed towards the main door, wanting to see the source of his aggravation.
Within seconds, he was at the door.
As he pushed the door open, his eyes widened in surprise at the sight in front of him. A petite, dark haired girl stood in his doorway with a look of relief on her face.
"M-M-Mr. Masen?" she stammered.
"Yes?" He appraised her from head to toe, appreciative of her soft, human features.
"I-I…," she shivered violently, but continued, "I-I'm Is-s-sabella S-Swan…niece of Ch-Charles-"
"Charles Swan?" He tried to decipher her words, since her thoughts were out of his reach.
She nodded vigorously and smiled faintly, obviously glad that he understood her shaky words.
"I…c-can I come in? I'll explain…I pr-promise," she blurted out between her shivers.
Edward moved aside and gestured for her to come in. She thanked him and shuffled inside. Her sweet scent washed over him as she passed him at the entrance. It was the same scent that had made him ravenous a day before.
His nostrils flared, taking in her delicious bouquet, as venom filled his mouth. She was the sweetest thing he had ever smelled, and she was right inside his manor, in his territory, completely alone with him, and completely unaware of the danger.
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