The encroaching darkness- the beginning

Hi!

This story is for everyone following the encroaching darkness!!

I am so sorry for the lack of updates, but It is at a bit of a crossroads and I don't want to rush into it Lol. While thinking all this through I have been going over how things would have started between Bella and Jasper.

As always your ideas and reviews are greatly appreciated.

I apologise if this starts out slow, but Bella is still firmly in the whole getting over Edward stage, and jasper is cautious as always.

Please enjoy..

My life fits into six boxes, two suitcases and one holdall. Phil's land rover can take it along with him my mum and me with ease.

"Are you sure this is what you want Bells? We can still turn round." Renee asks from the front seat. I roll my eyes, as I continue to stare out of the window, as the scenery shoots past us at increasing speed.

"I'm sure mum. This is what I want."

I am sick of saying this. I have been repeating myself for weeks now, to both my mother and Charlie.

"I'm not happy about this Bella. You have the whole country to pick from. You had an acceptance letter from Dartmouth college and you choose Alaska. Why?"

Charlie's voice crackles angrily against the poor reception of my mobile.

"That's where I want to go. I'm sorry Char- dad, I'm not doing this to hurt you, or to find him. I'm doing this for me. Please just respect my decision."

There is silence on the end of the phone, but I know this is as near to a blessing as I can hope for.

"Thank you Dad."

We pull up outside of Odessa house, in the early hours of the morning, and the sun has still yet to rise.

I take a step out of the car, and I am knocked back by the arctic conditions. I knew that it would be cold; the weather forecast had been predicting an icy weekend, but the frigid air still shocks my system.

You are not in Phoenix anymore. I barely hear the words before the wind takes them from me, but I know that voice. . .

I sigh heavily.

Please just leave. I do not need to hear your voice in my head any longer especially on today of all days.

I pull my coat across my body; drawing the zip all the way up to my neck and I follow my mum to my future.

"Got your keys there Bella?" Phil asks as we approach the large oak front door.

I reply with a curt nod as I unlock them, the butterflies swooping around the bottom of my stomach.

The first day of the rest of my life.

There is no one in sight as we make our way to OH36, not that we expect anyone. I have been given special dispensation from the housing association to come few days early due to the distance we have had to travel.

I open the door to my studio flat with a resounding clink.

It is small and dingy, but one day it will be home.

It only takes two trips to deposit everything. Phil busies himself with the kitchen equipment; checking that the archaic stove works, and putting the cutlery in the peeling drawers.

Mum and I have the much harder task of turning this shell into a home.

"You don't have many pictures honey. Maybe we should have bought some paintings, or something to cover up the hideous wallpaper."

I agree silently, while placing one of the few photos I have on my bed-side table. It's a picture of me with Renee at one of Phil's tournaments. It had been taken by one of the player's wives. It's strange I almost look….happy. We are both staring intently in the same direction; obviously absorbed in the game; two similar smiles playing across our features.

I wish that I had more of these. I would of have liked a couple from my time at high school in phoenix. I met a few friends; nothing major, I don't think that we'll keep in touch, but I would have liked something to remember them by. I would have even liked a few at forks. .

Mike,

Angela

Edward…

I wonder if I would put up pictures of Edward and I if I were allowed to have kept those photos.

No. It would be as if he was still watching me; as if he would come back.

When I know that he never will.

But I wouldn't destroy them, I couldn't. Unlike him I don't want to forget our time together, but I do want to be able to move on, to learn from my mistakes.

"Well I think that's everything honey. Phil and I will be heading off now. We will have to get a move on if we want to make it back for Monday."

I nod silently, as Renee grabs me into a tight hug; peppering my hair with kisses.

"If you need anything. Anything at all; you call me, do you hear? Even if your fine; still call us. Don't leave me again Bella, okay?"

I pull back slightly to look in her eyes; they are beseeching and clouding with tears.

"I promise mum. I won't be like that anymore."

The smile she bestows upon me is blinding and I once again push myself into her embrace to get away from it.

I wasn't the only one who got hurt after Edward left.

"Come on Renee; give the girl some room; you're strangling her." We both laugh, and I can feel my own tears threaten as Phil pulls me into a quick one armed hug.

"You look after yourself kiddo. We'll see you at Christmas. Take care." I smile in acknowledgment, letting him go.

The room feels bigger with mum and Phil gone. I stretch out on the sofa; Jane Eyre already in hand.

I am half way through chapter two when a harsh knocking sound brings me out.

I glance through the eye hole before opening the door.

She is about my age; her auburn hair pulled into a loose bun.

I open the door slowly.

"Um, hello?"

She smiles, warmly at me; thrusting out an eager hand.

"Hi! I'm Rebecca, but you can call me Becky." She replies to my unasked question.

"Right. . ."

"Oh yeah sorry. I just moved in last night. And well I saw you move in this morning, and I thought that I'd just pop by and say hello. So…hello."

All words are pushed through at a exceptional speed.

"Hi." I reply lamely.

"I'm Bella." I tag on the end as I pull back the door further; inviting her inside.

"I guess all flats look the same." Becky muses, as her eyes travel through the room with a critical eye.

"Yeah I guess. Haven't really has much time to make it homely yet. I think a trip to a home store is in order."

Her eyes brighten at my words.

"That's great. I am in desperate need of some furnishings myself. And at present I am living on crackers and cheese. So how about a little recon? You can grab a lift with me in my car."

I am barely able to nod, before she is dragging out of the door.

Her car is a little green beetle, with battered cram leather seats, and painted daisies on the hood.

"What do you think?" Becky asks with added enthusiasm, which I am beginning to realise is her default setting.

"It's pretty?" I offer, unaware of the correct car terminology.

"Isn't it?" she agrees. "My boyfriend. Or should I say ex-boyfriend, gave it to me for my birthday. It was scrap metal when he found it, but he's good with his hands. The daisies are my own touch though. I'm doing an MA in art, how about you?"

The conversation turns so quickly, my head is spinning. I am shocked that Becky is able to concentrate on the road at this point.

"English." I answer, my eyes becoming large as I chance a look at the speedometer.

Yet another person who like to go fast.

You were always safe with me, my love.

I blanch at the resurgence of the voice, but luckily Becky is once again talking and does not pay attention.

"English cool. I always loved the classics, but Art is my true calling. I'm going to have to have a serious chat with the housing guys, they have just go to let me paint my walls. The wallpaper that I have at the moment is dire." She makes a disgusted look with her face, and I can't help but laugh at her reaction.

By the time the shops shut, Becky's little Beetle is crammed full of our purchases, and I know a lot more about my house mate.

She is a little older than me at twenty. She went travelling around Europe for the last two years, with her ex-boyfriend Zack before realising that she really wanted to go to college.

"That's one of the reasons for the break-up. Zack may be a lot of things, but an academic sure isn't one of them. He was all for coming with me though. He was even talking about getting a job in a bar or something. But can you imagine it?" I shake my head, because I don't know what else she expects.

Becky has also found at a few things about my life; but I kept it light.

Yes. I have had a boyfriend.

No. we are no longer together.

No. We will not be getting back together.

"That's great." She enthuses. "That means that we can both go out on the pull tonight. My cousin used to go here, and she told me about a club that never bothers with ID, so what do you say?"

I try to wiggle out of it, but she is having none of it.

"Oh come on Bella. Please? I have loads of clothes you can borrow. And well no one else has turned up yet, so how about it? You don't want me to go there on my own do you?" She brings out the big guns, pouting severely in my direction until I relent.

"Okay." I sigh in resignation.

I stare at myself in the full length mirror.

I barely recognise the girl staring back.

My long hair has been palled away form my face; and turned up into an extravagant evening style. I had to fight to tone down the make-up but it is still a lot more than I usually wear.

Electric blue eyeliner frames the bottom of my lids; exaggerating my mascara-full lashes. My face is powered, so that it is blemish free, yet still in the same alabaster tone.

Then I come to the dress.

It is short but not trashy. It is hung on two thick straps; that run down the length of the dress. It has two layers; the top finishing half way down, arching out in a tulip while, the bottom sticks strictly to my legs.

A pair of electric blue wedges, that will definitely be a walking hazard are attached to feet, by a few tiny straps.

This is definitely not me.

But it could be.

I can still see a version of myself, but she is different, more confident and a little more wise.

This is a version of Bella Swan that is embracing the future; not wallowing in the past.

Yes Edward left. Yes Edward is never coming back.

But I am still here, and I still have to live the rest of my life.

I smile triumphantly at my reflection.

"Come on Bells, the Taxi is here."

We enter the club without so much as a second glance by the man on the door.

A small part of me was hoping that he would ask for id. It was my last hope of getting out of tonight unscathed.

You shouldn't be here Bella. This is not the type of place for you

There would have been a time when my heart would sore at the sound of his velvet tones, but now it sours my stomach.

This is where I want to be.

I repeat the thought over and over like a mantra; hoping that at some point it will become true.

"What do you want to drink?" Becky shouts over the deafening sound of the thumping base.

Of course, if I look good, then Becky looks better. She is wearing a strapless leopard print dress, that sits high above her knees. The auburn tone of her hair clashes beautifully.

"A coke." I reply; which receives a pointed look.

"Two double vodkas, and Coke, my good man." I shake my head.

So that's how it's going to be.

To be fair the drink tastes a lot better than I thought it would. The vodka adding a slight sour note to the sweet coke.

"Good?" Becky asks as she manoeuvres me to the dance floor. I nod; knowing that my voice will no longer carry over the music, that seems to get louder with every step.

"I'm glad. Drink up, there's plenty more where that came from." I should have known that however loud the music is, Becky could be louder.

Dancing, is awkward. I will never be the most graceful person on the planet, even on my best day. And at present I have two very large high heels attached to my feet, so all I can manage is a stunted shuffle from foot to foot.

Needless to say Becky finds this highly amusing.

"Oh come on Bella. You've got to admit your dancing is quite funny."

I can feel my cheeks burn under the inch of make-up but thankfully remains hidden.

She sees my embarrassed expression though, and her tone becomes almost sympathetic.

"I'm sorry, you just need to let loose a bit, stay there, and I'll bring you another drink. You're running on empty there."

I look down at my glass to find it devoid of contents.

When did I drink that?

I remain almost completely stationary as I wait for Becky to return. People jostle and step on my feet, but I still remain still.

"here you go; try this. I'll think you'll like it." I nod, eyeing the drink with some scepticism. The hot pink colour liquid looks harmless enough, but I am unsure just how alcoholic it is, but the thirst at the back of my throat, is too much and I virtually down it.

"That's my girl, now this for afters." Becky replies, passing me a shot glass, and clinking it against her own.

I swallow it quickly. The liquid burning my throat, as it snakes it's way to the bottom of my stomach.

I guess it isn't too bad.

I have to admit though it does make dancing a lot easier. My hands seek out Becky's and we dance round each other; my legs no longer weighed down by my shoes. It is almost as if I am floating.

"You're getting the hang of it Swan." She giggles; as I spin her round me.

It's almost as if we can dance forever; only stopping to refill the drinks that seem to empty faster and faster. I check my watch as I saunter over to the bar for my round.

2.00

Wow, times flies when you're having fun.

"Two more of those, and two of those." I shout, pointing at the a vibrant green liquid, and a black bottle that sits next to it.

The barman nods; filling the glasses quickly; brandishing an easy smile.

"Go easy, okay." he offers, as I hand him a note.

"I promise." I giggle, as I walk back over to where Becky was last.

I find her arms; snaking around the back of a random man; her face locked with his.

Oh well more for me.

I down both shots simultaneously; closing my mouth quickly to stop it rising once more.

The other drinks are dispensed just as quickly, and now I am back to dancing.

I fling my arms wildly, but I don't seem to care, because I am on fire, and nothing can blacken this amazing mood.

"All the single ladies, now put your hands up. . ." I sing along, my voice barely a whisper above the beat, but I am past caring.

Everything is going great, until I trip over one of my own feet, pushing me back onto a cold pair of stable arms.

Oh crap.

"Sorry, sorry. Didn't see you there." I slur; trying to turn to look at me rescuer. But he will not let me.

"It isn't a problem." He replies, his voice alarmingly close to my ear. Yet his arms will not let me move.

"Are you okay?"

"Yes. Yes I'm fine. I was here with a friend she is. ." I move my hand to point to where I last saw Becky snogging that man, but she isn't there.

"Oh well she was. . ." I leave the sentence hanging, as apprehension claws it's way over the swathes of alcohol swirling around my stomach.

I make for my phone to ring her, but the stranger stops my movements.

"If she's still here, she won't be able to hear her cell. Don't worry I'll take you home. Where do you live?"

There is something almost familiar about the voice, but I cannot for the life of me think what.

"Honestly you're fine. I can find my own way thanks." I reply, as his hands finally leave my waist. I do not chance a look at him as I begin to walk away. I am two steps from the exit when I once again fall down.

"Where do you live." The stranger repeats, his arms once again attached to my body.

"Odessa house OH36." I stutter, resigned. Trying to remember the general direction.

"Okay, I'm going to take you home, if that's all right with you. I wouldn't like to think of you all alone at night. There's some strange people in a city like this."

I nod mutely, encouraged by his question.

He is giving me a choice. I do not have to leave with him.

There is a tiny part of me registers the fact that I am going to leave with s strange man, but I quickly kill it; as a wave of calm washes through my system.

I will be fine.

Even as he places me in the back of his car; horizontal; because sitting up is beyond me now, I am unable to take a glimpse of his face.

"You're like my knight in shining armour." I murmur quietly to myself.

He laughs genially at this, though I am slightly shocked that he can hear me above the purr of his engine.

"I wouldn't say that. Just think of me as your friend in your hour of need."

"I don't need anyone." I reply. "I used to have a protector, a knight.. . But he left me. . .I wasn't worth saving anymore. . ."

Where is this coming from. . .I was so happy before what has brought this on.

I can feel the car come to a stop as my eyes close against my will.

I feel more than see him pull me lightly into his embrace, as he takes me out of the car.

"He is a fool. You are worth saving. You are worth every sacrifice imaginable.. . It is now my turn to protect you Bella Swan. . You are not alone I will always look over you. . ."

What do you think?

Can you guess who is Bella's saviour?

Okay so if you read the blurb at the start and encroaching darkness it is a bit obvious but indulge me Lol.