A/N: This story was beta'ed by TRDancer. A big thanks to her!
All the chapters are written out and ready to go, so you can expect fast updates. I know -- I'm shocked too! The story has been my little project for a while now, so naturally I'd be very grateful for some feedback. It's just no fun writing something when nobody will tell you how they liked it (it's very depressing too!). Please remember to always review the stories you've read -- trust me, that way you'll make the author's day :)
The POV changes quite often so you can get a glimpse of what all the characters are thinking and feeling.
In the beginning of all things, there was chaos.
And that is what this beginning was—pure chaos. Mayhem. Confusion.
In fact, it was a party. And the party was interrupted by a man.
There was nothing extraordinary about the situation.
All had gone well until then, and all guests were satisfied.
No unpleasant fights had erupted, nor had any arguments.
Even disagreements were absent from the room.
The evening gowns rustled ever so slightly whenever the women moved, and frocks adorned every man's appearance, and thus made even the nomad friends look very gentlemanly indeed.
Cocktail parties were pleasant occasions; the many smiles ascertained that.
Those smiles were expunged, however, when The Man stormed into the room.
He marched across the marble floor and clambered onto the table.
He stood there proudly, chest jutting out, wild eyes scanning the room.
And the room fell silent when he spoke one single word:
And there was nothing extraordinary about it.
Nothing extraordinary except for the fact that he was human.
_Chapter One : Chaos_
Our silence was instantaneous, but lasted for just a short moment.
The deep hush shattered into a dozen murmured exchanges, ranging from astonishment to worry, and from pained to enraged. The celebration was suddenly over, and a violent want for reaction took its place.
I, as host, felt the duty heavy on my shoulders.
"How does he know?" Kate whispered by my side, hand-in-hand with Garrett and looking quite fearful.
"I have no idea," I whispered back. "But we can worry about that later. Come on!"
My eyes fixed on the source of all this hustle, then narrowed into slits. The stranger's expression was still edgy, though it seemed to be from something other than fear. From excitement, perhaps?
It continued to make no sense to me as I took a few firm steps to cross the short distance dividing us, for from his announcement I knew that he had to be aware of what we were. He knew that he was caught in a room filled with killers that would not hesitate to have him for dinner. Some of Garrett's friends would not hold back if they were given indignation—say, a small cut in his palm?
It was wholly possible that he had scratches already. His once white shirt was tattered, and his slacks were swathed with holes; I even shied away from his brown, entangled hair that was surely swarming with all sorts of dangers for my cream white evening dress. His shoulders were a little too broad for his height like his hands, and I noticed with shock that he wasn't wearing any shoes.
So either he was mental or completely stupid – what human would come to a vampire gathering with possibly bleeding cuts all over their feet?
The ceiling lights hit him from a different corner as I neared, and I recognized a small golden cross bound around his neck.
"Do not fear me, my friends! You are witnessing a miracle," he spoke for the second time, seemingly oblivious to my approach.
Well, he wouldn't stay oblivious for very long. I reached the table and grabbed the man's dirt-covered arm.
"The only miracle we're witnessing tonight is you," I told him calmly. "Please come with me to the next room so we can talk about it."
He feebly tried to resist my tug, but, noticing that he couldn't shrug off the hand of a vampire, attempted oral defiance instead: "You don't understand! I am not a danger to you! On the contrary, I bring you good news. Your curse can now be lifted."
"Get him out of here!" someone shouted from behind me. The crowd seemed to have decided on its being a hoax.
I decided to use real force.
But before I could pick up the man and throw him over my shoulder, he shouted out one sentence that yet again silenced everyone.
"I was once a vampire!"
And all the heads snapped upwards in a mix of confusion and doubt.
My eyes involuntarily traveled back to the crowd to rest on one exceptionally surprised friend of mine.
The beautiful blonde vampire didn't even notice me as she stared at the young man.
This. Was. Not. Happening.
I gawked at the stranger who was standing on the table in an awkward pose, one arm in Tanya's hand, the other in the air. I scrutinized his expression: it was wild but sincere.
But part of me still couldn't believe it. This man, this anonymous, dirt-covered man, couldn't be the answer that I'd been waiting for all these years, and his words had to be the effect of alcohol or insanity—possibly both.
This was the rational part of me.
The other part, the one I'd much rather listen to, instantly drew conclusions that made my dead heart leap with animation.
"I have been absolved through The Lord Jesus Christ's mercy."
The crowd had broken out in murmurs again, and I begged everyone would just shut up because they were decking the man's words and making him wait.
"Lunatic," Emmett whispered beside me. I didn't restrain from whacking him with my elbow.
I shook my head and shushed him.
"Yes, vampires, I was like you only days ago. I killed my last prey on Tuesday this week, and here I am today, preaching to you about the wonder in human form. Listen to me now, and express your amazement later!
"I traveled the continent for fifty years. I had but one companion, and together we journeyed from civilization to civilization, giving in to our desires but also abhorring what we'd become—bloodsucking vampires, of all creatures! We were part of the undead.
"We found enough control to live amongst the humans, however, and could sometimes afford staying at a motel when we yearned for shelter.
"We were staying at one such motel when it happened. My friend held my hand and in a strange burst of energy, I could feel my heart restart. In just a few minutes, I was human again."
By the time he was finished I wasn't the only one paying attention. The whole room had gathered around him.
And as of that minute, I began counting them as rivals.
I pushed Emmett to the side and hurried to the front of the crowd, my high heels clicking against the floor even with my light steps. I kept waiting for the stranger to continue his story, to reveal the necessary facts—but he didn't. He only stood there with his nose pointing to the ceiling, proud and unyielding.
All signs of distrust had vanished from the other guests, and each looked inclined to do precisely what I had next in mind.
A certain course of action imprinted itself in my head.
"Who?" I demanded.
The stranger smiled.
"My friend, Dorothy Mace."
His thoughts were too sincere.
He really knew two things. Firstly, that we were vampires, and secondly…
No, that second point was what he at least thought he knew. It could still easily be a delusion. In fact, it was much more likely to be one, and I would be a fool to anticipate anything else. Rosalie was already too far out on that dangerous road of believing—she was at a point where she would listen to no sense and a rebuff would crush her, and I had no desire to follow her up that path.
I left Bella and Alice standing there, looking like statues, and hurried to Carlisle who had been chatting with a nomad on the other side of the room. The dozens of thoughts formed a gust inside my head:
That man's a maniac.
This isn't safe. Should I run?
Ow. That really hurt. Where did she learn to hit like that?
I was too agitated to connect the thoughts to anyone specific. I had to speak to Carlisle, and that was all that mattered. In fact, I was trying to avoid my own thoughts, and most importantly my own hope that was arising much too quickly. This was a matter that, if you wanted best results, had to be looked at from an objective point of view.
For now, anyway.
My father turned to me when he saw my approach, needing no explanation to why I was there, and shook his head and asked,
"What should we do?" I demanded without hesitation. His partner looked at me with irritation—a goaded "That must be the crazy Edward everyone's been talking about. The one who married a human?" flashing through my head while he did so—but politely stepped to the side and left us to our discussion.
Carlisle's mental answer was indecisive.
"I'm not sure. For now, it would be best to calm down the situation—but how? Let him talk? Lead him away? Ignore him?"
I let Carlisle trail away with his plans that gave me no answers to anything. A much more nagging question had entered my mind long ago:
Was it true?
My entire body seemed to wait on the response to that. All my future actions depended on the truth of the man's words. If he was a fraud, I could smother the seed of hope and return to my normal life—not a bad option, if I considered my position. I was married, I had a daughter and son-in-law, and my family was as supportive as always. Most vampires had heard stories about me and now thought I was crazy, but that was just a minor detail and not something that could be fixed either way.
I was doing better than eighty percent of the human population.
However… if the man was speaking the truth, I had other options. Options I had never considered before.
…so it's probably best we ask him what he wants. Do you agree, Edward?
I snapped back to attention at the sound of my name, and nodded. Whatever deliberation Carlisle had just gone through, I knew it would beat any of my own arguments.
He acknowledged my sanction and turned back to the stranger. As usual, his voice revealed none of the worry that coated his thoughts, and his tone was respective and calm.
"What would you like us to do? Do you have someplace to stay?"
But the man could not answer, for someone else had beaten him to it.
'Someone else' being my overly excited sister.
"He can stay with us," Rosalie suggested, not meaning it as a suggestion at all.
I clutched my bible closer to my chest and boarded the train.
Some eyes followed me as I passed them on the aisle, but I ignored them the best I could. They weren't staring at me because of what happened, I told myself. They looked at everyone that way.
Still, I prayed for the seat beside mine to be vacant, so I wouldn't have to worry about curious gazes all through the long hours of my journey. Once I'd reach my destination, I would be all right. Linda would know what to do – she always knew. In the end, my situation would not be half as hopeless as it seemed to be now, and I'd find that my worries had all been wasted.
I found both seats in my row empty—thank God—and sat down, wondering if anyone would notice that I didn't carry any luggage. Yet again, my thoughts took the turn for the worse: Was there another vampire on this train? Would someone recognize me? What if…
"Lord, help me!" I whispered and looked down at my bible. Its plain burgundy covers gave me no consolation – but why should the exterior help me in any way? The Lord would look after me, I knew, but why did I find myself doubting at every possible opportunity?
I flipped the book to my favorite page.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, o Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.
I read the passage three times, but to no avail—no peace came to my mind, try as hard as I might to concentrate on the words only, and not on the other passengers that may or may not be my friends.
My eyes closed but I held the book open, as if I could somehow absorb solace from it by simply touching it. My situation was pushing me beyond my limits.
All because of one quarter of an hour! Fifteen fatal minutes had changed my path forever.
I remembered the evening clearly. I remembered holding Richard's hand and wanting to console him. I remembered the look in his brilliant eyes when he'd gazed at me, not affected by my comforting words. I even remembered the sounds coming from the nearby rooms—televisions broadcasting late-night shows, couples kissing, an MP3 player…
And most importantly, I remembered the heat of the energy passing between our bodies, leaving mine, entering his.
The heat had been unbearable. It didn't hurt, but it was uncomfortable, the kind of uncomfortable when you've twisted yourself into an awkward position, or when you feel something against your skin that you can't see. The moment had been so silent that all sounds I could recall were the ones coming from the other rooms: "I love the standing ovation but you're blocking my light… hahahaa…"
Richard had let out one last "Lord!" before he passed out for the first time since 1954. In my shock I had failed to let go of his hand, and so the heat burned on in our palms, and I stared desperately at Richard, unsure of what to do.
It wasn't until his heart started beating that I noticed what I'd done. His waking up ten minutes later confirmed it – Richard was human again, and somehow, I had caused the change.
That was what I'd thought, anyway. For when Richard started talking, he praised the Lord and his goodwill, Jesus and his mercy, and did not mention me in a single sentence, until he reached the end when he'd told me: "Dottie, be grateful for this job you have received. Feel honored that the Lord has chosen you as his device."
I hadn't rejected to anything he'd said, but it pained me to admit that I'd doubted it from the very beginning. I didn't blame Richard, though—he'd been unconscious those few minutes, and hadn't witnessed what I had. Of course once he'd woken up to find himself alive again, he would feel it was God's work. It was more difficult to believe when I'd felt the source of that energy inside me.
So I was torn between two things – my faith and my logic – and couldn't decide which to follow.
Instinctively, my hand trailed back to the pages of the bible, and turned to another one that I'd read many times before.
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting,
for the one who doubts is likea wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;
he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
I shut my eyes again and crossed my hands.
"Please, dear Lord," I whispered, "Give me some guidance!"
It was drawing nearer to night, the scene outside my window turning from shady to obscure, and I pondered about where'd I'd be in twenty-four hours, and whether I'd be fine. The humans around me were drifting slowly to sleep, but I was unable to sink into oblivion and was forced to sit alone with my thoughts, worrying and wavering, like the double-minded man the bible warned me about.
I prayed for forgiveness for claiming God's wonder as my own, and for protection on my long run away from it.
I didn't get an answer.
First bible passage: Psalm 5:11-12
Second bible passage: James 1:6-8
The joke comes from Conan O'Brian's late-night show (I know... from ages ago. It just stuck with me)
Thank you for reading ch. 1 :) As I said -- this story has been in the workings for a great while now and I would be really upset if it went completely unnoticed. So please review!
I will update soon!