A woman awakes in a forest. She is lost, alone and has practically no memory. Three members of the Cullen family find her and take her to their home. But everything is not as it appears, especially not with the girl. How can the little she knows to be true actually be possible? It could be said that anything is possible when thrown into a world of myth.
Follow along as she travels on her journey to find, forgive and move beyond her past, all the while finding herself and something for which she never knew she was looking.
This is mostly an E/B story though other loved and not so loved characters will be involved.
The sound of liquid dripping onto leaves leaked into my consciousness, waking me from what felt like an extremely deep slumber. My head was heavy and foggy. As a result, I was quite confused and disoriented. I opened my eyes to find myself lying prostrate on the leaf-covered ground of a very wet, very green forest. I scoured my brain for some recognition of my surroundings, but I wasn't in a familiar place. Of course, the haze and drowsiness filling my head didn't help in illuminating my current situation.
How did I get here? Come to think of it, where on earth is "here"? And why can't I remember anything?
Comprehension and fear caused by my circumstances began to fill my mind. I was lost in what appeared to be a desolate, unknown place. I couldn't hear signs of human life, and I was terrified. I laid on the soggy ground trying to remember something . . . anything. After a while of straining to bring my past back, only two things came from my blank memory: my name, Isabella (it seemed I preferred Bella for short), and my birth date. Of course, this tiny amount of information didn't help even the slightest amount in regard to the situation in which I now found myself.
I looked around in an attempt to find anything that would indicate this was some sort of odd dream. Maybe a fantasy based on a long-forgotten cartoon once viewed in my childhood had permeated my subconscious. I half expected flying pastel ponies, talking forest animals, or anything mythical to glide by, aiding me in the realization that I was hallucinating. I would take anything to persuade me that this was not reality; even an annoying dancing purple dinosaur singing show tunes would be welcome.
Or maybe by scanning my environment I would find some means of escape out of these circumstances. There could be some kind of MacGyver-esque move I could make to free myself.
Is there tin foil, paperclips or bubble gum around? I could use that to make an airplane. What I wouldn't give for a wheelbarrow and a holocaust cloak; that would at least be something.
As I expected, everything in the vicinity was too authentic, too real; there was nothing that allowed me to delude myself into thinking that I was dreaming. And, my assets were limited to the clothes I was wearing, leaving me unable to fashion a flying device of any sort.
Could this be a nightmare? No, it's not that either. There isn't enough horror. Where are the zombies or serial killers? Nightmares should have monsters roaming the forest searching for their next kill . . . or convert.
Naturally, my surroundings were of no further use than the basic "you are in a forest;" they did not help pinpoint my location, or a way out, at all. All I could see was green leaves and brush as well as patchy brown tree trunks that were mostly covered with emerald-colored moss.
Oh, good! More green. Is there any other color around here?
Although the area in which I found myself may have been the greenest place on earth, it was breathtakingly beautiful, stunning even. But, beneath the awe I felt at that splendor was the dismay that nothing of use appeared to be within the vicinity, nothing.
Before I allowed myself the indulgence of despair, I stood up, hoping that something--anything--helpful, would be brought to my attention when the world was viewed from a different perspective. As before, there was absolutely nothing but the false serenity of the surrounding woods, cloaked in varying hues of jade and olive. The trees above were so bushy, I couldn't even tell what time of day it was as I was not able to see the sky. I briefly wondered if I'd ever see the sky again, but banished that thought before I let it take root.
I noticed that it was relatively chilly but without the intangible feeling spring usually brought. I was thankful for the thick, bulky parka I was wearing; at least I had one positive in my present condition. So, I believed it must be late fall. This comforted me as it went along with the time of year I somehow expected it to be. I walked, pacing in circles for what seemed like ages. As I ambled, I tripped on many obstacles, most of which appeared to be non-existent. Quite a few times, I found myself either on my hands and knees on the forest floor or slammed into a tree.
Am I always this clumsy? I'd like to think this is not my usual state, a constant damsel in distress. I really wish I could remember something.
I tried not to focus on this enormously negative element of my current situation and continued to wander, determined to find some way of exiting the trees. The air and ground felt sodden and as time passed, I began to grow more and more uncomfortable in my damp clothes and shoes.
When I felt my legs could take no more, I finally sat down on the moist ground, trying to find the driest area, to no avail; it was all so very wet. I stared at my hands, now caked in mud from their numerous encounters with the drenched ground, and pondered my next move.
After situating myself as comfortably as possible, I rested my head against my knees and squeezed my legs to my chest, resigned to the fact that I had no idea where I was and had no hope of getting out or being seen. My feet and lower legs were freezing from the saturated material covering them and from the chilly air. I could not see more than ten feet above me and from my limited exploration, I could not find anything but dense, green, saturated forest. At that exact moment, I was beyond hating that color and anything wet or cold.
I became angry, internally shouting at myself for being stupid enough to have somehow gotten into this situation. I didn't know how I could have done this, but since no one else was here, it was obvious I did something wrong and put myself into this mess.
As I wallowed, I listed my disadvantages. I tried to find some positives in my situation, but there did not appear to be any. I couldn't think of myself as a "nature" type, though I couldn't be sure. I didn't know if anyone was looking for me and if they were, how would they find me?
Though extreme, I closed my eyes, letting the idea of a slow, torturous death envelop me and I started bawling. I tried to tell myself to stop being so overdramatic. I tried to quit pitying myself, but I was unable to. I would allow myself this self-indulgence for now. After a while – I was not sure quite how long, but my tears had run dry and my sobbing had turned to strained whimpers – I heard a soft voice, an angel's call, chime from the forest.
"Hello . . . Is anyone there?" The female voice sounded like a cherub, a pleasant and musical soprano. The sound of another creature took me aback and I stopped blubbering, surprised that someone had found me. Again I heard that beautiful intonation, "Hello?"
After another few seconds, I was finally able to make it through the stupor that the shock of hearing another person caused. "Hey! I'm over here...Please help," I replied hoarsely.
A tiny girl, appearing to be in her late teens, broke free from the tree line and entered at the other end of the small clearing in which I was situated. She was absolutely gorgeous with short black hair standing out in all directions. She was very thin and she looked like a slight breeze could knock her over, though she had an aura of sturdiness. She stared at me; her eyes had a look of excitement that was almost contagious.
She smiled again, the sight brightening her already beatific face, and moved toward me with a grace reminiscent of ballerinas. I stood up clumsily and tried to smooth out my filthy, damp clothing.
"Carlisle, Esme, I've found someone over here," she called when she was still a few yards away from me. She grinned at me again and introduced herself. "My name is Alice. Do you need help?"
Her eyes unfocused, her face became expressionless, and for a brief moment, she seemed to lose herself. When her focus returned, her impassive face was graced by a broad grin, elevating her past angelic status. Beneath her beauty a ripple of excitement seemed to pass through her, causing her to look even more beautiful than before.
Is that possible?
I half expected her to start quivering or jumping in place.
Then, her mood quickly changed. Coming to a halt a couple of feet away, she tentatively asked, "Are you hurt?" This seemed in direct contrast to her previous attitude and appeared odd coming from someone who almost exuded childlike innocence.
I performed a quick and somewhat obvious assessment. "No, I don't think so...But, I am lost. Where are we?"
She sighed and stepped closer, holding her hand out to me. "I heard you crying, and I was hoping I could help you. Since you're lost, I'm glad I stopped to lend a hand. Let's start at the beginning. What's your name, and why are you sitting here all alone in the middle of the woods?" she practically sang to me. Her eyes, the strangest shade of brown that I had ever seen, almost...golden, sparkled as she looked at me.
"My name's Isabella, Bella for short. As for the second part of your question..." I trailed off when I noticed two other figures entering the clearing near the same spot Alice had. A man and a woman, both quite young, maybe in their mid twenties, were walking toward me with their hands intertwined. They looked at me and then back to each other, beaming.
"This is Carlisle," Alice pointed to the tall, golden-haired man, "and, this is Esme." She gestured to the curvy though slight woman with light brown hair. Just like Alice, both Carlisle and Esme were unbelievably beautiful and they seemed to radiate good will. Their attractiveness made me wonder whether there was a convention of models hiking through the forest.
I mean, how often do you see three such gorgeous people together in one place?
Like Alice, they had that odd hue to their eyes. As they strolled over to me, I noticed that they moved just as gracefully as she did, as well. All the impediments that caused the demise of my balance did not even seem to hinder them in any way; they avoided the obstacles seamlessly.
I was so grateful that these people had somehow been in the area, though I found it odd that they appeared immaculate when they had to have been on a hike.
Why else would they be in the middle of a forest?
"Carlisle, Esme. This is Bella. She is lost and can use our help." Alice introduced me, and again Carlisle and Esme grinned at each other.
These are some really cheery people. I wonder if there are any more happy pills around. I could use an attitude adjustment right about now.
Carlisle approached me and bent down to shake my hand. "It's lovely to meet you, Bella. I can definitely help. I'm a doctor."
Doctor . . . what? How old is he? He does not look old enough to be a doctor.
"Have you been hurt? How long have you been out here? When did you last eat?" He had a beautiful, mellifluous voice that put me at ease within seconds.
Nice bedside manner.
I grasped his hand - it was so cold - and shook it briefly. "Thank you, Doctor..." I trailed off again when I realized I did not know his last name.
"Cullen, Doctor Cullen. Of course, I expect you to call me Carlisle." He smiled at me again, overwhelming me with his splendor.
In order to prevent myself from looking like a complete fool, I decided to look away from him and answer his questions. "No, I don't think that I have harmed myself in any way. As for your other questions..." I paused, debating whether I should tell them everything.
They may not have been as nice as they appeared. But, since I had no other option, I decided to be completely honest.
I looked toward the ground, embarrassed that I had gotten myself in the present circumstance. "I don't know the answers to any of your other questions. I don't remember much before I woke up here." I pointed to the spot where my day had begun, the place I was currently situated. "I'm pretty sure I've been wandering for hours, but I've lost all sense of time. I've wracked my brain trying to remember something, and I can only recall two things about myself." I rushed, as if saying the words quickly would make them easier to handle.
I realized that my situation was now beyond pathetic; I was stuck in a forest with three people I didn't know and, in fact, I really did not even know myself. "Name and birth date...A whole life and that's all I can remember. How miserable," I muttered under my breath while biting my thumbnail and staring at the ground dejectedly.
"You don't remember anything else?" Carlisle questioned.
I looked up and noticed that Alice and Esme had moved to the edge of the clearing, where they were having a quiet conversation.
How did they move over there so fast? They'd just been next to us when I looked down, and I hadn't heard them walk away.
I turned back to Carlisle. "No. Unfortunately, there is nothing else before I woke up here."
He smiled at me, trying to make me feel at ease, I surmised. "So, Bella, when were you born, since that appears to be the only other fact you recollect."
I cocked my head to the right and my eyebrows knitted together in surprise. I was amazed he'd heard me before. I had spoken so quietly. "I was born on September 13, 1974 . . . What year is it?"
"It's currently late November of 2004," Carlisle explained.
"Hmmm. Thirty?" I thought for a minute, allowing the thoughts to spin around in my mind.
Is thirty right? Yes. I'm sure that's correct. I don't know why, but it just feels right.
"Yes, definitely. I am thirty."
I can't believe that I have lost over thirty years.
He nodded while his eyebrows furrowed over his eyes, and he stared at me incredulously. Then, he looked at the others, his expression wary. The others wore similar masks of shock and disbelief.
What a peculiar reaction.
"What? Why is everyone acting so strangely?"
"It's nothing. You just look rather young for your age," Carlisle answered, while Alice let out a slight giggle. "And, you don't remember anything else?"
I shook my head and looked down again. I was about ready to open the waterworks like before, when Esme spoke.
"Carlisle, since she is obviously well enough to travel and quite uncomfortable and we cannot leave her here, let's take her to the house. We can make her more relaxed and discuss her memory loss and options there." It was the first time I had heard her speak. She, too, had a lovely voice.
Wow! Great looks and great voices. These people could be not just models, but movie actors. How unfair!
"Oh!" Alice stood up and clapped her hands together. "Yes, Esme. You're completely correct. Everyone will love her."
"Yes, yes. I also agree that it's probably best to get her indoors and out of these damp clothes. Bella will most likely need to stay with us, at least for the night. " He shot a pointed glance at both Esme and Alice. Esme smiled and nodded, while Alice's eyes unfocused again. After a brief moment, Alice looked at Carlisle and nodded emphatically.
Carlisle briefly explained their situation. He and Esme were married and lived in a house nearby with their five adopted children. Each of these kids had lived with the family for years and were near the age of adulthood.
Alice was one of those children and had a husband, named Jasper. There was another couple, Emmett and Rosalie. And last was a single guy named Edward.
I debated going along with them to their home for a ridiculously short period of time and decided to join them. After contemplating the issue, what other choice did I really have? I could gamble and possibly get to a warm, dry place. Or, I could stay where I currently was and have no hope of survival.
Since their house was relatively close and I wasn't injured in any way, we began the trek to their house.
As my overwhelming relief I felt began to wane, trepidation kicked in. I hoped I had made the right decision, though I also thought I really didn't have much of a choice. I had chosen what I considered the lesser of two possible evils. I wasn't sure they would have even left me there and that had to count for something.
They had to be "good" people if they were willing to take a bedraggled stranger into their home without asking many questions. Besides, since Carlisle was a doctor and both he and Esme had taken in so many needy children, they had to be kind and compassionate people. From all I had seen of Alice, aside from that oddity in the clearing, she had seemed to be a perky, friendly person. I could not imagine her harming a fly.
After we had been walking approximately ten minutes, I began to calm. This tranquility allowed me to study my trio of saviors more closely.
They moved gracefully - unnaturally so - through the forest. It was almost disturbing how fluidly they moved and it made me slightly uncomfortable, losing the slight peace I had begun to feel. I tried to shake this feeling as none of them had displayed any form of hostility, but the more I looked, the more I was aware that they appeared too perfect.
There was not a speck of dirt to be seen anywhere on them, even though we were in the middle of the forest. They were impeccably dressed which seemed odd for a day out in the woods.
I mean, who dresses like that when they are bound to get filthy?
Alice, though she was tiny, especially looked like she could have been modeling on a catwalk, not traipsing through sopping, rotten leaves and mold. And, even though that was exactly what she was doing, she remained dry and pristine. I looked down at myself. I was covered in a layer of mud and bracken. I knew I'd fallen quite a bit and that the amount of times I'd tumbled was above normal, but my appearance seemed more apropos for a day surrounded by nature, than theirs.
I looked at them even closer. Their faces held no flaws. Not even a slightly asymmetric nose, or something.
How's that even possible?
Their looks were almost...inhuman, and this seemed strange.
There were so many missing pieces, but I decided not to mull on these. I had made my decision to follow these people and I was going to follow through. Oddly enough, it was a dangerously easy decision to live with.
Thank you again. I hope you enjoyed it.