Title: What Lies Beneath
Author: TwiliteAddict
Rating: T
POV: Third person
Word Count: 5,496
Summary: The kingdom of Forksalot was home to two lovely princesses. What happens when Princess Rose becomes wickedly jealous and ditches her sister in the disenchanted forest -- with no memory of who she is?

This story is being submitted as an entry for the Once Upon a Twilight Contest, hosted by wishimight and staceygirl aka jackbauer. For complete contest details, to read the rest of the contest submissions, or if you are interested in entering, please visit the contest community at:
Entries accepted until 8/20/09

Voting begins 8/22/09

What Lies Beneath

A Twilight Fairytale

Once upon a time in the far away Kingdom of Forksalot, there lived two beautiful princesses.

The eldest, Princess Lily, was lovely, but in a subtle kind of way. Her skin was smooth and pale and her dark flowing chestnut hair matched her eyes.

The younger sister, Princess Rose, was a striking beauty with rosy cheeks and lips, shiny blonde hair and brilliant blue eyes.

They lived in a spectacular castle made of the finest white quartz. It sparkled like diamonds in the ever-present sun that graced Forksalot. The princesses' parents, King Charles and Queen Renee, were respectable parents, but were often distracted by the duties of ruling a kingdom.

While the kingdom shone like a jewel, it was surrounded by the darkness of the disenchanted forest. Oh, it had once been enchanted -- until it became overrun with ogres, trolls, and evil witches. While a few pixies, sprites and unicorns still eked out an existence in remote corners of the forest, its overall evil forced Forksalot to erect a wall around their fair kingdom. Outside the wall, danger lurked. Inside the confines, the inhabitants bustled blissfully ignorant of the menacing creatures that surrounded them.

One bright day, King Charles assembled his daughters for an announcement.

"My dear daughters, you are the sweet-scented flowers of my life! Yet, the protection and prosperity of my kingdom is my utmost priority. These days, the creatures in the forest plot against us. To protect our fine kingdom, I have requested a treaty of cooperation with the neighboring kingdom of La Pushton. To seal our agreement, a marriage has been planned."

"Oh, daddy," Princess Rose gushed, "Who is to be married? I so love weddings!"

"My dear, it is your sister Lily! She is now betrothed to King William's son, Prince Jacob!"

The reaction of the princesses was swift – and unbecoming of princesses – their jaws dropped!

Princess Lily became much paler. She had never been interested in matters of love and now she was to take a husband! Not that marriage was not in her plans – but not to Prince Jacob. She didn't even know him. It just didn't seem right. What of love?

In contrast, Princess Rose burst out in anger. "Her! Why her, daddy? I want to marry the handsome, muscular prince! I want to be the future queen of La Pushton! There are no other kingdoms around here – my beauty will be wasted!" She stomped her foot and shot a disparaging look at her sister.

"Tut, tut my sweet Rose! Lily is the eldest – she is entitled. Besides, the decision has been made. The royal nuptials will take place next month. Now run along my loves, I must announce the joyous news to the kingdom!"

"Wench," Princess Rose mumbled under her breath before sulking to her chambers. But do not think that Princess Rose was defeated! Heavens, no. She was plotting. Yes, Princess Rose was very accustomed to getting her way. She would have Prince Jacob, no matter what it took.

She sat to compose a letter. After securing it with her official seal, she called for her faithful man-servant, Emmett.

"Yes, my lady!"

"Emmett, take this to the large oak tree by the south wall entrance. Place it in the large knot near the base of the tree."

"Yes, my lady." He bowed.

Princess Rose smiled. Not because her evil plan was in action, but because from the mirror in her room, she could see Emmett's incredibly firm ass every time he bowed…

In her chamber, Princess Lily sobbed. The thought of marrying a stranger, even the dashing Prince Jacob, was offensive to her. But she was an obedient princess. She would follow her father's wishes.

Later that same night, a shadowy figure approached the south gate. With a wave of her crooked fingers, the gate swung open and she slunk into the sleeping kingdom. She crept in the darkness to the castle garden and began to taunt, "I smell a traitor – come out, come out where ever you are."

"Hush, witch!" Princess Rosalie hissed as she stepped out from behind a garden statue.

"Oh, but my dear, you and I are friends! You may call me Victoria." The witch spoke sweetly as she stroked Rose's silky hair. "I brought what you requested in your letter. Sleep will last several hours. The forgetfulness, however… it is unknown how long it will last. You take your chances with that."

Princess Rose reached out to snatch the vial that Victoria waved in front of her, but the witch pulled it out of her reach.

"We need to discuss payment first."

"We will discuss payment when I am the Queen of LaPushton," Princess Rose bargained as she grabbed the vial. "Unless you wish me to call the guards right now?" she said, delighting in her power.

Princess Rose's eyes were dark with desire and greed as she examined the small bottle of iridescent liquid. "No more playing second fiddle to a second rate beauty."

Once back in her chambers, Princess Rose again hailed Emmett.

"Fetch me a cup of chamomile tea!"

"Yes, my lady," Emmett bowed.

Princess Rose smiled.

Meanwhile in her chambers, Princess Lily struggled to find sleep. It was almost a relief to hear the soft rap on her door.

"Who's there?"

Princess Rose's face peer in, "My dear sister, how unsettling was the announcement today! I have come to offer you comfort in the form of a hot cup of chamomile tea."

Princess Lily sat up in bed and beckoned for her sister to join her.

Princess Rose glided in and sat with her sister. She handed her the cup of tea.

"Thank you sister dear," Lily smiled slightly. "And I thought you hated me for being chosen to marry Prince Jacob." She delicately sipped the warm aromatic tea. And promptly collapsed on her bed.

"Oh, yes, sister, I do hate you!" Princess Rose sneered.

Satisfied, she once more hailed her servant, "Emmett!"

"Yes, my lady?"

"Emmett, I have another very important task for you. If you are successful, you will receive a reward you will never forget," winked Princess Rose…

* * * *

"Come quickly! Come quickly!" The pixie cried out as she fluttered urgently around his head. "Hurry before the ogres devour her!"

The tall, lanky young man waved his hand about his head to shoo the flighty pixie.

"Alice, calm down! I'm coming. I need to finish preparing."

He carefully wrapped strips of cloth around his head and hands as he always did before venturing out of his home. He covered every bit of skin leaving only his piercing green eyes, ruby lips, and bits of bronze hair showing. Then grabbing his study staff, he rushed out of his hut to follow the fast-flying pixie.

"Do you recognize her, Alice?"

"No, I don't. She's wearing a peasant dress and no shoes. Maybe she's a servant girl? Poor dear!" Alice fretted. "Here she is!"

He saw her. She was covered in leaves and appeared to be sleeping peacefully on the forest floor.

"She's…she's lovely!" he said as he dared to brush the stray pieces of hair from her face. "So warm and fragrant…"

"Hurry…let's get her away from here!" Alice pleaded.

Cradling her in his strong arms, he carried her quickly back to his hut. There he gently laid her in a bed he constructed of straw and cloth.

Alice swooped over and sat on the unknown guest's shoulder. She soothingly stroked her cheek. "Come on child, open your eyes."

Edward stood close by. He found he couldn't take his eyes off her. She looked so innocent and sweet. And he found himself inexorably attracted to her scent. It made his mouth water! He had not allowed himself to be around other people in a very long time -- actually since he had been cursed.

Finally the girl stirred, "Where…where am I?"

"Oh, my dear, you are in the forest. No place for a sweet thing like you. What are you doing here?" said Alice.

"I don't recall," she tentatively replied sitting up and rubbing the sleepiness from her eyes.

Then, looking around the room, she gasped, "Oh, who--what are you?"

Alice snickered as she flew before their visitor's wide eyes, "I'm Alice, one of the few remaining pixies in the dark forest. And this is my friend…"

Alice gestured for the young man to come forward from out of the shadows.

"Hello," he said shyly from behind his wrappings. "My name is Edward. I live here. We found you lying in the woods and brought you here for safety. We will promptly return you home as soon as you can tell us where that is. What is your name?"

"Well, I…I am not quite sure," said the fair maiden.

"You can't remember your name?" Alice questioned.

"No, I can't. Nor do I know where I live. In fact, I can't remember…anything!" Panic rose in her voice.

"Dark magic this is!" said Alice shaking her little head. "The girl's been bewitched."

Tears welled up in the girl's large brown eyes. "Help me! I don't know who I am or where I belong! Where am I to go?"

"Hush, hush," Alice comforted, "You can stay here. Right, Edward?"

"Oh…well…of course she may. The hut is small, but I'm sure I can make room."

However, the girl was very reluctant. She knew it would not be appropriate for a strange young man and a young lady to cohabitate. And why was he all bandaged up? It was a bit…frightening.

Alice could see the thoughts behind the stranger's eyes, "Maybe you should tell her your story, Edward."

Edward took a few more steps toward the girl before beginning, "I too have been cursed. I have been changed into some kind of repulsive creature. I live here in solitude, and have for many, many years."

"I'm so sorry. But why do you wear those wrappings?" she inquired.

"I do it as not to upset others with my appearance," he said.

She began feeling a sort of kindred with the young man who had experienced a fate worse than hers. Edward must have been severely disfigured to hide his face. At least she still had her simple beauty.

"Thank you, Edward and Alice. I would like to remain here until I can figure out what to do. It is so dark and frightening in this forest."

"Of course, sweetheart!" chirped Alice flitting about. "But we really must decide on a name for you!"

"How about Bella?" Edward chimed in quickly. Maybe a bit too quickly.

Alice and the girl looked at him with puzzled expressions.

"Well, I thought it might fit her. I once lived in a village where the word' bella' meant beautiful. My lady," Edward bowed, "you are quite beautiful if I may be so bold to say."

The girl blushed and averted her eyes. Yet something about the kindness and honesty in his voice caused the butterflies in her stomach to flutter. But something didn't add up…

"Thank you. I think 'Bella' will be acceptable until we can learn my real name. But, Edward, I thought you said you have lived in these woods for many years? But you also lived in another village. How old are you?"

For a brief moment, Alice forgot to flap her wings and almost plummeted to the ground.

"Seventeen….I think. I'm sorry; the curse sometimes plays tricks on my mind. Time must pass more slowly than I imagine it. I apologize for my exaggerations," Edward stammered. "Are you hungry?"

"Yes," said Bella. "What food do you have available. I would not think to put you out."

"I shall go to the forest and gather what I can. Alice, could you please wait with our visitor?"

"I will, Edward."

Again, Edward bowed before taking leave.

Once out of Bella's range of sight, Edward blurred into a run. "Damn!" he cursed. He had been able to successfully hide himself away in the most dreaded of places for 100 years without human detection.

In that time he had almost been able to convince himself he wasn't such a monster. After all, he lived a civilized life by building a roof over his head, not harming any humans he encountered, and had become as learned as he could. But now with Bella under his roof, her heavenly scent permeating every nook and cranny, he began to doubt his strength.

And what if she was discovered his true identity?

Anxiety filled him and anger began to seep into his being.

He needed release.

The elk never knew what hit it. It was downed and drained of all its life fluid in less than a minute…

After satisfying his thirst, Edward managed to find several berries and other fruits growing wild in the forest for Bella to eat. He hurried back with much anticipation – Bella was indeed a creature worth observing.

By day Edward hunted and gathered food and firewood. Bella would prepare the food and tend to the small hut. She noted Edward ate little, but he insisted it was not her cooking that offended him; it was another effect of the wicked curse put upon him.

By night the two would sit by the fire. Edward would play his lute while Bella sang. They made beautiful music together amidst the wickedness that surrounded them.

One evening Bella rose and extended her hand to Edward, "Would you care to join me in a dance?"

"My lady, I would enjoy that very much. But would you not take offense at being close to someone as cursed as I?"

"Edward, I have come to learn that the only curse in this life is to be alone and unloved."

As the days passed, Edward became enchanted with Bella's simple loving nature. She decorated the hut with items she handmade to show her gratitude. Quietly he observed the natural relationship that formed between Alice and Bella and he found he truly cared about the two women very much.

Mostly, he relished the companionship that had eluded him for a century. The isolation had been a constant reminder of his cursed existence. For the first time in his vast memory, he began to feel hope.

The icy shell he thought locked his heart away for eternity seemed to be melting…

Bella too found a happy life with the outcast and his pixie friend. How could it be that she felt she belonged with them? She silently wondered if she had found in her bewitchment something that she did not have before.

Alice joined them frequently after she searched the nearby kingdoms for any clue to Bella's true identity. Often, when she arrived in the evening, she would see Bella and Edward dancing in the light of the fire. On those nights, she did not enter the hut. In her thoughts, Alice knew something happening between the boy and the girl. But could it ever be? The odds were so stacked against them…

One sunny day, Bella ventured into the forest as she often did while Edward was out gathering with Alice. But today, she ventured further then was wise. Edward had so surrounded her in a cocoon of safety, she forgot the words of warning he had given her: "You shouldn't really walk around the woods by yourself; at least not without me…I'm not the most dangerous thing out there."

"Hello, delicious!" boomed the deep, rough voice. "I have been waiting for you to wonder this way."

Bella screamed as the ogre threw her over his shoulder and trudged back to his lair anticipating a rare tasty meal.

However, the dim-witted ogre was not aware of Edward's keen hearing or he would never have pressed his luck by stealing away his companion. The forest inhabitants had witnessed Edward's unusual abilities and had grown to fear him. They had learned not to cross him.

From deep in the forest, Edward looked up from his latest kill, "Bella!"

No! No! he feared as he grabbed his staff and pushed his incredible speed to the brink. He could not lose the one thing in his endless existence that gave him reason to continue. Yes, he had to admit, Bella's presence had changed him. He was able to see things through her rich chocolate brown eyes that he had never appreciated before. Like the beauty of the sunrise and sunset or the simple pleasure of a quiet conversation. His favorite moments, though, were watching her as he slept. All that he had come to cherish flashed through his mind as he rushed to Bella's rescue.

"Ogre!" Edward roared from the entrance of the creatures cave, "Release her or face my wrath!"

"Come and get her if you dare, odd human!" the ogre challenged. Nothing had ever escaped from his den alive. If he played this right, he could have his meal and be rid of the strange predator.

Bella, hearing Edward's voice, became full of dread. Not for herself, but for the safety of the young man who she no longer pitied, but had come to adore. In his quiet ways, he had captured her heart. He had given all he had without hesitation or asking anything in return. His company was easy and delightful. She knew she wanted to be with him always. It could not end this way!

"Edward, no! Leave me! Save yourself!" Bella cried.

Convinced that no person would ever give his life for that of a stranger, Bella resigned herself to her fate – to be an ogre's meal. She shut her eyes tight waiting for the death blow…

Instead she heard a loud crash, like two boulders hitting each other in midair. Her eyes flew open to see the ogre and Edward in battle. The ogre threw Edward against the wall of the cave, sending rubble flying in all directions. Edward slammed to the ground and Bella shrieked out his name before fainting.

As if it were a battle cry, Edward responded to Bella's voice by grabbing his staff and rising to take on the advance of the charging ogre. With one sure strike, Edward's staff neatly beheaded the ogre. He crumpled on the cave floor in a quivering heap.

Looking over to Bella, Edward saw she had collapsed. Poor girl, so fragile…

With the utmost care, he took her in his arms, holding her close. He was so relieved she was not harmed. Never again did he want to fear for her safety. Fear was such a new and unpleasant feeling.

As he loped backed to the warmth of his hut, Bella began to rouse, "What happened?"

"Don't worry, you are safe now."

And Bella did feel safe. Edward's arms were so strong, yet they held her so tenderly. Her heart swelled as she slowly recalled the events of abduction and rescue. He had risked himself to save her. He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for someone he hardly knew.

As her eyes regained focus, she desired like never before to look upon his face.

The sun was breaking through the dense forest in brief flashed of light as they moved forward. It made it difficult to look up at Edward's face. But as her eyes adjusted to the changes in light, Bella gazed upon an unusual sight. The bandages around Edward's face had been slightly displaced and she could catch glimpses of his pale skin. When the light struck him just so, the exposed skin sparkled like jewels!

"What is it?" Edward asked, alarmed by her intense gaze.

"Edward, why do you hide your face?" She asked.

"I told you, Bella, the curse…"

This time she would not accept his words. "Stop! Right here. Set me down, Edward."

Cautiously, Edward set Bella on her feet.

Slowly and deliberately, Bella stepped closer to him and raised her hands to his face.

But Edward grabbed her wrists. "No. I assure you, what lies beneath must stay there. It must remain hidden."

"Edward, you have showed me by your actions what lies within. You have a heart of gold and a soul of a hero."

"My lady, I have neither a beating heart nor a soul of consequence. I am a monster. I beg of you; let me remain behind my façade, for I fear what I have begun to feel. I have no right to hope."

His eyes stung with the realization that although he risked so much by exposing his true identity, it seemed nothing else mattered more than being with the woman that stood before him. So what action would be the right one? Remain out of reach or reach out?

With her eyes, Bella communicated the answer to his unspoken thoughts. She refused to relent under his grasp. He released her as she gradually removed the coverings from his face.

Distress and disbelief filled her.

"You're beautiful!"

His skin was smooth and pale which made his bright green eyes all the more incredible. The wrappings had caused his bronze hair to stick out in wild directions, but it almost seemed to add to his striking good looks.

But despite his hypnotizing appearance, Bella knew she had come to know his beauty from the inside out.

"My appearance is my real disguise, Bella."

"I don't understand…"

"My hideousness lurks inside. I was cursed by a witch who was angered by my rebuff. In rage she cursed me believing I saw myself as too handsome. She made it so I would indeed forever attract fair maidens but never find love – no woman would have a man who was dead inside."

With that he placed Bella's hand on his cheek. Bella gasped. Though his skin sparkled like the white stone of the castle she could see gleaming in the distance, it was just as cold and hard.

She withdrew her hand in shock. Edward lowered his eyes.

"I still feel the need and desire for love in my still heart, but will never be worthy of it. I would be better off dead than to suffer this torturous solitude and constant fear of discovery. I am an aberration like the rest of the creatures that are feared in this forest…" He said turning away.

Although fearful of Bella's reaction, it was a relief to voice what, up until now, he had only shared with kind Alice. But there was one more confession he needed to make…

"Bella, I drink animal blood for sustenance."

When he dared look at her, he was surprised to see that Bella just shrugged, "And I eat the cooked flesh of animals. Not really that different."

"But Bella, I…" voicing this was much more difficult, "You tempt me. I want to drink of you."

"Then take what you desire," she said offering herself to him.

"No!" Edward shouted jumping away from Bella repulsed by her suggestion. He could never choose to harm her!

"See," she grinned. "I have reason not to fear you. You doubt yourself, but you are strong…and a better person than you think. I can see past the curse, past the exterior, to what lies inside. Your heart is true."

Edward could not hold back. He scooped her up and swung her around in circles. He had found someone he could trust and who believed in him! Could it lead to love? Who knew, but it was a start. She had not rejected him.

They returned to the hut in a celebratory mood. After all, Bella had survived an ogre attack and Edward was freed of the shackles of secrecy.

But things were about to change…

That night as they danced, Alice careened excitedly through the hut window.

"I know! I know!" she trilled.

"What Alice? Speak!"

"Bella's identity! She's a princess! She's Princess Lily of Forksalot and King Charles' daughter. She is betrothed to Prince Jacob from La Pushton."

Alice was so pleased with her sleuthing; she failed to predict the effects of her news. She saw it in their faces. The reaction was quick and subtle, but she had seen their expressions fall. Oh, my, she thought.

"Well…well, that's great Bel—Lily, your grace," Edward bowed.

Bella cringed at the sound of her real name. How could she belong in that shiny castle? She felt more at home in her soiled cotton dress and muddy bare feet.

"Your highness, we must return you to the castle at first light. Your parents and Prince Jacob must be sick with worry for your welfare." Edward said.

"Yes, yes, I guess so," she mumbled.

Wordlessly, the adjourned to their make-shift beds for the night.

As Bella slept, Edward kept vigil at her side with Alice perched on his shoulder.

"Alice, I am so going to miss her. I have been without hope for love and companionship for so long. I dared to open that door on my silent heart and now how will I ever lock them back in again? To have hope and to have lost is far more injurious than having no hope at all."

Alice shed a tear for her dear friend. "Ask her to stay, Edward."

But Edward scoffed, "Ask her to give up a wonderful rich life as a princess and future queen? For what? My cold embrace and dirt floors? That would be selfish and unjust. Bella has insisted I am not a monster – so I need to prove that. I will escort her to the gate of the castle wall in the morning. I will do what's best for her. Now, please leave me, my friend, I wish to be alone. You will not speak any of this to Bella."

Reluctantly Alice took her leave. As her wings propelled her forward, her mind struggled to find a solution. Edward was truly in love with the Princess. Alice was sure Bella had similar feelings. But they were so young and inexperienced– they didn't see things for what they were! These two were fated to be together! She needed to work quickly…

In the early morning light, Alice returned and found the princess bathing in the river. Alice knew Edward would be nearby, but would keep a respectable distance. This was her chance.

"Good morning, your highness," Alice spoke softly.

"Bella is still acceptable, Alice, in fact, I prefer it."

"You seem sad this fine morning. Are you not looking forward to your reunion with your prince and parents?"

"Unfortunately, no. I do not love Prince Jacob and my parents dwell much too much on duty. And I am just another means to them fulfilling that duty. It's that life that feels foreign, Alice, not this one."

The pixie's eyes twinkled. Then realization dawn on her like a strike of lightening. "Bella, when did you remember who you were?"

"Five days ago," replied Bella, hanging her head in shame for concealing the truth from her friends.

"Why did you not tell us?"

"I guess we all hide something beneath our exteriors, Alice."

Bella exited the river and gathered her freshly washed garments.

"Then stay here with us—with Edward!" Alice's excitement overflowed as she rushed after the princess.

"I cannot. I have obligations to my kingdom. Besides, I am a burden to Edward. I already managed to almost get us both killed. And if my people search the forest, I will again put him in grave danger. I must do what's best for everyone." With that, Bella turned away from Alice.

Alice grabbed fistfuls of her hair. Young people could be so frustrating!

Bella marched in the direction of the hut where Edward met her. The three of them silently began the trek to the castle wall.

With each step, Alice knew the clock ticked away the time she had left to get her friends to realize how they completed each other – differences be damned! Love could not be denied. But Bella and Edward's wordlessness was creating quite a challenge for her.

As the glimmering castle and imposing wall came into clear view, Alice acted in desperation…

"Edward, before Bella's departure, you should give her an engagement gift," Alice suggested.

Edward turned to her puzzled. "Alice, I have no such gift."

"You can certainly give her a gift of your words. Give her a well wish."

Edward came to a stop on the path that led away from the forest and toward the castle wall. Alice had sure put him on the spot! But now he felt compelled to compose a sincere wish for her happiness.

Swallowing deeply, he looked into Bella's inviting eyes and spoke, "Bella, I wish to thank you for your kindness and friendship. My wish for you is to discover the love and happiness that makes light shine in your eyes and warms your heart. You deserve happiness that's all your own. I hope you find that."

The tears welled in Bella's eyes. What a tender soul he was. Together, maybe they could locate the witch that cursed Edward and get it lifted. Surely the witch could be made to see that he was indeed a loving person – it had been so obvious to Bella.

"Thank you, Edward. I wish for you to find the happiness that you seek. Someone will touch your heart one day and you will be able to hold the love you so desire."

Alice held her breath as Bella and Edward stared at each other. Could this be the moment they put it all together?

"Fair well, Princess," Edward whispered as he turned on the path that led to the forest.

"NO!" shouted the little pixie in her loudest voice.

"Alice?" Bella questioned, startled by the gentle pixie's outburst.

"Bella, what is it you want most in this world?" Alice shot out the question at Bella.

A tear overflowed from her eye, "I wish Edward to be happy. He doesn't deserve the curse he received. My heart breaks that he is alone."

Alice zoomed over to Edward and quickly questioned him, "And what is it that you want most, Edward?"

"I desire Bella to be happy. She should choose a life that fulfills her and makes her heart sing with joy."

"Both of you need to open your eyes to what your hearts and words are saying. Happiness doesn't just happen…you have to seek it and seize it. Take a chance now! The answer to your desires is right here in front of you," Alice pleaded.

Edward looked kindly upon his petite friend. She was trying with all her might to help him, but he could never ask so much from Bella.

"Alice, I understand what you are trying to do. However, I could never ask Bella, Princess Lily, to give up her destiny for me. No one should have to make such a sacrifice," Edward said.

But Bella stepped hesitantly toward Edward, "If I were not a princess, would you ask me to stay?"

"How could I ever ask that of anyone?"

"But you just said that you would wish for me to choose a life that fulfills me and makes my heart sing with joy. If that is so, I choose you, Edward. I renounce my royalty. I want to be with you -- if you will have me."

"Ever since I first saw you in the woods, I have only thought of you. You are my life now, Bella." He quickly closed the distance between them and lifted her in a tight embrace.

"Huzzah!" shouted Alice as she buzzed around the couple.

But Bella and Edward did not hear her. They were lost in each other's eyes – truly seeing love for the first time.

Then time stood still for the young lovers as their lips met.

It was a merging of fire and ice.

Edward felt the warmth of Bella's kiss flow through his body.

He took great pleasure in the feeling of new love, but there was something more…

Energy seemed to be building inside of him. It filled him to capacity and struggled to escape. Then it overwhelmed him and he collapsed to the ground…all went dark.

"Edward! Edward!"

He woke seconds later to the sounds of Bella's concerned cries. But he knew it would be alright, indeed, he knew things had changed.

When he opened his eyes there was Bella's lovely face. Worry creased her brow as she hovered over him.

"My love, fear not, for all is well," he spoke comfortingly.

Bella reached out to touch Edward's cheek, but he captured her hand in his and placed it over his heart. It was beating strong within his warm chest.

"Edward!" Bella gasped. She looked wide-eyed into his face – the only hint of sparkle she saw was the glint in his bright emerald eyes.

"The curse," Alice breathed, "it has been broken by true love's kiss!"

Tears and laughter were shared by all. Finally, Bella said, "Let's go home."

But which path did they choose?

That's simple – the one that led to happily-ever-after!

End notes: O.k., so I thought I'd take a shot at a fairytale. Isn't that what life is about: taking on new challenges?

Sadly I didn't win in the contest :( but I enjoyed the challenge, got a few reviews (hopefully I'll hear from you) and made it onto a few favorite lists. That's success! Thanks for reading :)