A/N: Well, here it is: My "EPIC" novel.

Honestly, I started out with just a little idea that nagged at the back of my mind, then as soon as soon as I started writing about it, I discovered that I had the next "War & Peace" on my hands.

This first chapter is written in third person, because it totally revolves around Bella alone, and it just didn't seem right to have her talking to herself, …. unless I want to make her bi-polar … which wouldn't be such a bad idea, maybe later… but I digress. Conversations will come later.

Also, I tend to get ideas for chapters from songs I listen to. So, usually, each chapter will have a song that fits what's happening at the time. The song for this chapter is:

"Wake Me Up When September Ends" – by Green Day

If you have that song, you might try listening to it in the background while you read this chapter. You'll see what I mean.

Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight, and all the characters, and she tries to keep them all to herself. But sometimes she forgets to lock the window, and late at night they sneak out to play. And I'm waiting there to help them get into trouble. Tonight, it's Bella's turn……. (maniacal laughter fills the air….. Muuuu-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…)

Okay, okay, enough of this crazy stuff! Just shut up and post the chapter already…

** BM **


Chapter 1:

Starting Over – Again!

Forks, Washington, September, 2005

Rain spattered against the window as Isabella Whitlock Cullen gazed solemnly out at the cloudy, gray sky. Her beautiful brown eyes wandered aimlessly over the dismal view and she knew there was no way to see the moon, let alone the stars through that thick, misty covering.

Well, what did she expect? This was Forks, Washington, the rainiest spot in the continental United States. The weather tonight did nothing to help pull her out of her doldrums.

Another house, another school, another night spent alone, and tomorrow would be another first day in another new school. Would the monotony never end!

Bella shook herself mentally and released a pent-up sigh as her hand moved automatically to tuck a wayward strand of her luscious, long, mahogany brown hair behind her ear.

She knew she should be counting her blessings. Suppressing a small shutter, she acknowledged to herself that the alternative to all this repetitive newness was much too bleak to fathom. She just wished sometimes the boredom wasn't so entrenched in her lifestyle.

Tomorrow she would begin school, again, as a sophomore. This would make her twelfth sophomore year in high school.

She knew it was necessary. The younger she and her siblings started out in a new place, the longer they could stay there. Usually they could stay at least seven years, if they started out young enough. But that still didn't make it any easier to accept.

A bright note was that in three years she could enroll in another institute of higher learning. This time she really had her heart set on Julliard. Music was her passion. She loved it and it seemed to love her in return.

She already had degrees in Music from Dartmouth and Dance from Sarah Lawrence; Medical degrees from Harvard and Johns Hopkins; a Law degree from Princeton; and had just completed a dual-degree in English Literature and Art History at Cambridge University in England.

I guess you could say she had a well-rounded education. She was the quintessential, perennial student. She laughed silently to herself thinking that education was one thing that little Bella Cullen was really good at.

As she pondered on how to fill another long, dark night, she considered working on her language skills. She wasn't quite fluent in Flemish yet, and she really had been wanting to learn Aramaic since seeing Passion of the Christ.

She was already fluent in Spanish, Italian, German, French, Portuguese, Swedish, Japanese, Mandarin, and a dozen other languages. She had finally surpassed even Carlisle in the number she now spoke. That's what happened when you had a lot of time to kill.

Her other option to fill the night was to spend it with her dependable, true friend. The expression on her beautiful, pale, flawless face softened and a dreamy look entered her eyes.

The one friend that never let her down and never grew tired of her company, no matter what kind of mood she was in - Her beloved piano. Rosalie often jokingly told her she would never find a husband because she was already married to her piano.

How true, how true. Her piano was the one thing she could count on to never let her down.

Her liquid brown eyes moved from the view out the window to focus on the view inside her new room, actually her old room, just refurnished as per Esme.

Her face, still soft from her previous thoughts, changed to a slightly pensive look as she let the memories wash over her. She really did love this house. Of all the residences her parents owned, this one was her favorite.

Had it really been seventy years since they had last lived here? Maybe she loved it so much because it reminded her of another time and place from long ago.

A time she had nearly forgotten. The huge, white, three-story plantation-styled home was so like those she remembered from her childhood in the South.

Her face showed the wistfulness she felt at what could have been, what should have been, and what could never be.

The memories had faded somewhat through the years, but had never been completely erased from her mind. A tiny smile fleeted across her lips as her thoughts drifted back.

She never wanted to forget those days of her early childhood in Atlanta, nor the beautiful, chocolate-brown eyes of her mother, the hearty laugh of her father or the true love she had witnessed between the two.

She never wanted to forget the warm and sometimes mischievous smile of her brother, Jasper. She NEVER wanted to forget those wonderful, bright things from her childhood, even if they did belong in a lost place and time.

Certain things from that time in her life were best left forgotten, but not her family memories.

At least, she no longer had to live on memories of her wonderful brother. She had been reunited with his warm smile. Just the thought brought a brilliant smile to her face.

As she remembered their reunion, she wondered how she had survived so long thinking she would never see his handsome face again. But, like a miracle, he had returned, literally returned from the dead, so she did have something tangible to cling to from her youth.

If she could have cried, she was sure tears would have been streaming down her face at the memory.

Slowly she arose from her seat at the window, and walked from her room, her movements displaying an effortless grace.

Shaking her head slightly to dispel the musings from the past, Bella thought of her current life situation. For the most part, she was content with her life. The only thing that really bothered her about her life was the constant need to start over again.

And in the last decade or so, the nights just seemed to get longer and longer.

She sometimes longed for someone to spend the time with, someone she could just be herself with, someone she didn't have to be careful around, someone she didn't have to play a part around.

Someone like… Bella's eyes lost focus as her mind again slipped into the past. She drew herself up sharply, shook her head forcefully and willed that area of her memory to close. No, she refused to go there. That place only brought pain.

Carlisle and Esme knew she needed someone, but were hesitant to make suggestions or nudge her in any certain direction, albeit they did keep their eyes open for a suitable mate.

Just the word – mate – caused Bella to cringe on the inside. It made her feel as if she were some prize animal at the zoo that needed, well for lack of a better word, a mate.

She didn't want a mate, she wanted the love of her life. The kind of love her biological parents had found in each other.

Finding such love was another story. She had come close to finding that love once, had been tempted to take that chance at love. But she had discovered just how fleeting that chance could be. In the twinkling of an eye, it could vanish, never to be found again.

Again, she forced the memory back to the depths of her mind. She didn't allow herself to dwell on that thought anymore. It was stubbornly tamped down, hidden deep in her memories, and seldom allowed to surface, however briefly.

Her aimless strolling had brought her to the curved staircase leading to the front foyer, and she gracefully descended to the main floor. She was quite alone in this part of the house.

As was their routine, the rest of her family had retired to their rooms shortly after midnight. The ensuing hours were always the loneliest time of the day for Bella.

All the members of her wonderful, loving, family had someone with which to spend these dark hours of the day. Her parents, adoptive parents if you wanted to get technical, Carlisle and Esme Cullen, had been together for more than eighty years, and loved each other more today than their wedding day.

Her brother, fun-loving, easy going Emmett, had been rescued from a bear attack by his true love, her sister, Rosalie, truly the most beautiful woman Bella had ever seen. Alas, yes, they were adoptive siblings, too, but just as dear as if related by blood.

Her lips quirked up in a smile at the unintended pun. Emmett and Rosalie had been together nearly seventy years, and their love continued to grow.

Her true, by-blood brother, Jasper, and his vivacious, pixie of a wife, Alice, completed her family. Jasper had been "found" by Alice, following a vision that led her to him.

Jasper was the love of Alice's life, as she was to him. Another vision had led the two of them to seek out Carlisle and our family. Alice had seen that she and Jasper belonged with us. She had seen that we needed each other to be complete.

Jasper, dear Jasper, Bella's real-life brother, the one she had thought to be dead since 1864, was here. They had been reunited nearly fifty-five years ago, through the wonderful gift that was Alice.

As Bella wandered through the silent house, she again contemplated her options for the night.

She didn't need to hunt, her thirst was satisfied for the moment. Carlisle always had the family hunt for an entire week before starting school in a new place. "Just in case you meet someone especially appetizing, you will be able to resist," he had said, only partly jokingly.

Unlike others of their kind, Carlisle and his family fed only on animals, never humans, who were their natural prey. They chose instead to control their thirst and live among the humans as they had before their transformations.

She was so glad that Carlisle had chosen this lifestyle. She hated the thought of living life as a monster. She had seen it so many times in others of their kind during her long life.

Without conscious effort, Bella had gravitated to her piano.

It was a beautiful, white grand piano that had been delivered and set up last week. Dear Esme, she thought of everything.

The piano sat on a special raised area in the conservatory, the conservatory that Esme had had built onto the house especially to house Bella's piano and extensive music collection.

One corner of the area was also designated as a dance studio, exclusively for Bella's use. The entire family knew what music meant to her, and they each got a special enjoyment from listening to her play or watching her dance. So, in a way, this room was the gift that just kept on giving.

As she sat down on the white, velvet upholstered, bench, Bella reached out her hand to the remote control that turned on the recording device that was connected to her piano. She knew she did her best composing in these wee, small hours of the morning, but she seldom remembered her compositions afterward. The soothing music seemed to put her into a trance-like state where her music seemed to take her over.

As Bella forced all thought from her mind, she let her fingers fall naturally on the keys. Without any conscious effort on her part, the music just seemed to flow from her alabaster fingertips.

The music was a part of her, and her emotions were evident in each note. As she played, her mind began to drift to another place and another time.

She seldom let herself think of her past life. Some things were best kept silent and in the past.

She still didn't completely understand why this memory was so strong. Most others of her life before her transformation, except those of her mother, father and Jasper, were fading away. She stubbornly refused to lose the memories of them.

But this memory she would not have missed had it simply disappeared. Carlisle had a theory that because this time had been so traumatic for her, that nothing would ever wipe it completely from her memory. She did succeed in keeping it, along with other painful memories from her past, deeply buried most of the time.

But somehow, the atmosphere of this night just seemed to make it impossible for her mind not to drift away, to 1864, and Savannah, Georgia.

*******


A/N: Well, what did you think? (the author asks in a small voice)

If you liked it and you want to find out what happened in Savannah, please come back for the next chapter. I know it's hokey to ask, but PLEASE give me a review.

I honestly don't know if this story is any good or not, so your input would really be appreciated. Let me know if you like the concept of Bella being the vampire. I promise I have some surprises in store as the story progresses. Just give the story a chance and stick with me. I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying writing it.

May your dreams be filled with Edward!

*** BM