Eyes on Fire

Prologue:

I couldn't believe I was here. Standing in the middle of the forest surrounded by vampires from both my past and my present. I had tried to leave the vampires of my past behind by finding solitude in the company of the vampires of my present, and found it impossible when I was confronted with my past again and again. Either through my own thoughts and memories or the few times I had come into contact with them physically, always taunting, reminding me of what had been and what could have been.

And yet, this time I was protecting the people that betrayed me and betraying the people that protected me. Loved me like a daughter, friend and lover.

"Isabella." The voice of my present called endearingly to me. Letting me know that it wasn't to late to turn around and come back, that they still loved me and would continue protecting and caring for me.

But how could I go to him when he was threatening the only link to my past and people I still begrudgingly cared for. He was going to destroy them along with what was left of my heart if I stepped back to his side of the field. How could I destroy myself, when everything I had been taught over the years meant nothing but self-preservation in the end?

They taught me to fight, to protect and escape. I always knew whom it was I was fighting; whom I was protecting and when I was outnumbered knew how to run and who to run too. Only this time I didn't know. I didn't know who I was supposed to fight, whom I was supposed to protect and to whose arms I was supposed to be running too.

"Bella, please." The voice of my past echoed across the snow filled clearing.

Reminding me of the love I once had for him, his brothers and sisters, his mother and father. Reminding me of all that was shared and learned between us when we had first met and I felt plain and ignorant next to him in all his eternal glory. Yet he had bewitched me mind, body and soul and I him, even if it was only for a short time.

The way he said my name, the way he was begging me to go to him, to choose him, had me reeling. Had me thinking over the words that had tortured me day and night when he left me.

Had it all been a lie?

Had he loved me as truly and deeply as he had confessed months ago?

Did his family feel the same sadness and depression that I once felt over the loss of each other's company?

As the voices and instincts inside me warred with themselves, knowing that the fate of myself and half the people in this clearing would depend upon my choice, I could only sob and clutch my head in my hands as a new voice inside of me asked, 'Which is your future? The past that left, or the loving present?'

In that one sentence everything became clear and the voices in my head stopped arguing, my instincts were now pulling me in the one direction. All of them in agreement with whom I should fight, with whom I should protect and to who's arm I would be running to after this was all over.

"I'm sorry."