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Chapter 1: My Fiancé and Mr. War

War. A continuous, raging war between these United States. We had just come together and defeated the British and now we were destroying each other. I, Bella Swan, am sixteen years old. My parents, Charlie and Renée, believe that I need to be protected from the evils war holds. They think that due to my gender I am condemned to being weak and clueless. I'm not though; despite the fact that I am a petite, pale, clumsy girl, I have a stronger spirit than most men and it shall not and will not be broken by anyone or anything.

However, my parents have already labeled me a pretty face and my mother seeks out a husband for me so she can marry me off and get the protection she thinks I need. My father… I don't even know his opinions. He never speaks his mind and has become my mother's own personal puppet. If she says jump he asks how high. So it was no surprise to myself or any others that when my mother sought after a husband for me my father followed her lead . . . again. Now I have a fiancé, Michael Newton. We are scheduled to be married in three months, four days, seven hours, twenty-two minutes, and thirty-six seconds. Due to this countdown one may think that I cannot wait for this event but the reality is quite the opposite. I am dreading the date and am counting the time that I am still free from that horrid, yet rich man.

You see, I am not like most other girls, I haven't dreamed of my wedding since I was a young child and am not waiting for my own Prince Charming to lift me upon his horse and carry me away into the sunset. No, I know that will never happen and if you want to do something you have to go do it yourself. If you wait for a man to do it the deed shall never be done. I am independent and have learned to trust no one.

With all of this being said it may come to a shock to you but Michael isn't a bad person, in fact I might even feel bad for him having to put up with my mother's constant bickering. The only problem is that along with all of his money Michael also happens to be an overbearing control freak with an arrogant, self-centered personality, which is why I feel no sympathy what so ever.

However, regardless of my feelings I realized that I have to go through with the wedding. Why, might you ask? Because my parents would refuse to take me into their home if I did not marry Michael and I have nowhere else to go. You see, my parents have whipped me into what they portrait as a proper lady. I can play seven different instruments, ride horses, plaster fake smile among fake smile on my face, and have manners my hosts call delightful. In doing all of that there is literally no time to do anything else. Isolation. I have no friends, just snotty, stuck-up rich kids I am forced to interact with. It's either that or stand in a corner of the monstrous mansion while everyone else discusses the latest gossip.

Currently I am lingering in the corner of a great estate, choosing to sulk in private rather than speak with anyone. My mother would be ashamed. It's the least you could do, a voice in my head answered; I smirked to myself.

A voice broke me out of my trance. "Darling come here. There is someone I'd like you to meet." Michael called. I am not your darling, I thought. I'm not your anything you putrid old man. Michael is eight years older than me. I sighed, putting on my plastered smile and once again trudged towards him. Once is distance he began to speak in his high-pitched, ignorant tone. "This is Lord Andrew Nelson. A true war hero." He stated like a proud parent would ushering to a balding man even older than him.

You don't even know the meaning of the world war, I thought. While you sat miles away from the battle scene, a cup of warm cider in hand, sending young, innocent men to their death. And you, obnoxiously, aren't even aware of the damage you've caused. But now society has the audacity to call you a hero. What a liberty.

Instead of these frank remarks that would surely knock the hubristic smile lurking on his grotesque face I did the now automatic gesture that I had done so many times that night already. I held my hand out, washed another bright yet overused smile on my so-called glowing face and prompted a "How do you do?"

The excuse for a human being, in-turn, took my hand and kissed it. Replying with a, "Fine now that you're here, and you?"

I had a sudden urge to knee him in the groin and say, "Better now that I got that out of my system." Instead I kept my expression emotionless and stated, "Splendid, this party is just delightful!" Faking enthusiasm yet again. Honestly, I couldn't even remember who was throwing the party. Hell, I couldn't even remember the name of this dubbed "war hero" whose name was said all but two minutes ago.

"Ah, yes, quite." Mr. War replied as Michael also muttered his agreement.

A song I had been taught on the piano as a young girl began to play. I could've brought it up, sparked a conversation but I didn't plan on spending any more time than necessary with this morbid monster.

"If you would excuse me gentlemen." Or lack of, I thought as I scurried away not waiting for a response.

I fled to the balcony. As soon as I opened the grand doors the cool air washed over my face. Ah, that felt good. I was free. "No," I said, "you're not free. You can never be free. Free from this life." This life filled with money, power, greed, hatred, a pushing family, and soon to be demanding husband, I sighed to myself. I don't want any of this. I didn't ask for any of this.

It was at that moment I decided to do it, change my life forever. I had been turning the idea around in my head for a while now. I was going to do it. I was escaping, finally. Leaving for good. I didn't have another home or anyone to help me so I decided to tell no one of my new destination.

I thought about my parents, about how they'd be worried. Not because I was missing but because they would not get any money from Michael. Rich, perfect Michael in their eyes. They would be furious and most likely disown me, which is why this decision is not one to be unsure of. I must be positive because once I go there is no turning back. I already knew how I was gong to escape unnoticed and unseen. I was ready for change, for a new life. This would be the largest hurdle in my life. "Whatever it takes to leave," I whispered as I made my way back to the last ball I would ever have to endure with my family and fiancé.

Hey everyone, Evie is back from her vacation, and while she was gone, she was able to write quite a bit. Please review and comment on her latest story!

- Dal, Evie, and Ava