Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
This is my first attempt at a story longer than a one shot, and only my second story in total. I know my writing style is not great but hopefully it will improve as the story goes on.
Chapter One – Arrival
The wind was battering the carriage from all sides, howling past the windows, making sounds like a baby shrieking. The rain was pelting the roof without hesitation and hitting the windows with such enthusiasm, resembling two lovers embracing after a long absence. The night sky was black, with no break in the grey clouds. The darkness was only interrupted by the occasional explosion of lighting, with the thunder rolling around soon afterwards.
Bella stared out of the window, tracing the raindrops with her fingers. The carriage lurched again, as it made its way over another bump in the road, causing it to sway side to side for a few seconds. Bella peered out of the window, trying to get a glimpse of where she was headed and what it looked like, but being as black as it was, it was impossible to see further than a few yards across the moors they were riding parallel to.
Deciding that no matter how long she stared out onto the moors trying to see something, she would see nothing; Bella shut her eyes in a vain attempt to sleep, while knowing there was little chance of sleep gracing her with its presence. There were too many thoughts running through her head at a thousand miles a minute. Here she was, aged sixteen just yesterday, being sent away from home to marry a man she had never met before, because of an agreement made between their parents the day she was born.
All Bella knew about her future husband were the basic facts. He was the son of Lord and Lady Cullen, his name was Edward and he was nineteen years old. She knew nothing about his favourite pass time, if he preferred being indoors or out, what he was studying, what his favourite pianist was called; if he even liked music at all! Bella hoped so, there was nothing she enjoyed more than listening to someone play the piano, while she could sit nearby and close her eyes, becoming part of the music.
Giving up feigning sleep, Bella opened her eyes and peered out of the window again. Another bolt of lightning cracked the sky, and the rumble of thunder that followed it seemed to make the carriage shake. She wondered if the weather was a sign, symbolising what the future of her marriage would be like; stormy and hostile.
Suddenly the surface the carriage was riding on changed from rough and uncomfortable to smooth and flat. The darkness was suddenly pierced by light, flames coming from holders that lit up the path of the coach. Bella could finally see where she was, and gasped at the view in front of her.
The path was surrounded by the most wonderful gardens Bella had ever seen. The thing Bella believed she would miss from her home was the garden, but seeing this, she knew she could spend hours at a time working on the flowers. There were hedges which were cut so precisely that there was not a single leaf out of place. Rose beds were lining the path and a number of sunflowers were growing straight up, all at the same height.
Effortlessly the carriage started to come to a halt. Bella leaned back into the chair, gathering her thoughts one final time before the new journey of her life was about to start.
The coach door was open by the driver, who extended his hand to help Bella out of the carriage. Bella slowly placed her hand in his and stood up and made her way out of the coach. As she raised her head after carefully making her way down the steps, Bella's mouth dropped open, but she quickly gathered herself and shut it before it could be noticed. It was not very ladylike to be seen with your mouth hanging open. Instead, she started to turn slowly so that she could take everything in, ignoring the rain beating down upon her face and dress. The mansion could only be described as magnificent. Having come from an upper first class family herself, Bella had thought she had seen beautiful houses, her house was grand, yet nothing could compare to the mansion before her. The bricks were white, with light grey tiles making up the roof. There was an outhouse, which Bella presumed housed the horses, which has a raised black tiled roof. The house and front porch were surrounded by a fence which acted as a balcony to see the gardens below, and the entrance off the road into the house was marked with two pillars, and had statues situated at the top of them. Having finished her turn, she noticed that the door to the house had opened and there was a woman standing in the doorway. Bella instantly blushed and lowered her head as she slowly made her way towards the door.
"Miss Swan, it's a pleasure to meet you, I'm Lady Cullen. I'm glad you had a safe trip." The woman in the doorway said. Bella looked up at the woman. She had caramel brown, wavy hair that was pulled into a bun at the back of her head. She wore a white blouse, with a high lace collar, lace sleeves and a lace ruffle at the front. Her blouse was tucked into her skirt, which was blue and had floral patterns scattered across it. The skirt was silk, and it was clear this woman was from a wealthy family. Bella made her way towards her and gave her a small curtsey. "Bella if you please my Lady."
"Oh my dear no need for that. We shall be family tomorrow!" Lady Cullen exclaimed, and she walked up to Bella and placed a kiss on each cheek. "Now my dear, you must be tired after such a long journey. Allow me to show you where you will be sleeping tonight, as you will not be seeing Edward until tomorrow, so you may as well go straight to bed!" And with that, Lady Cullen placed Bella's arm in hers and together they made their way into the house.
The hallway was just as magnificent as the outside of the house. There was white and black chequered stone flooring, walls made of marble and marble pillars supporting the floor above and the staircase. Lady Cullen led Bella straight up the stairs. They stopped on the first floor and walked down the corridor, stopping in front of the second door on the left.
"And this, is where you will be spending the night my dear Bella," Lady Cullen said as she opened the doors.
As Bella stepped into the room, she could tell that everything in this home would be exquisite. The room was decorated lavishly yet it was beautiful at the same time; not overdone at all. There was a large four poster bed at the top of the room, with ruby red drapes hanging down to provide privacy. Situated in the room were two large sofas, both covered with ruby red fabric, and the base of the sofa was wood, painted gold decorated with delicate carvings. One sofa was placed in the centre of the room, while the other was placed next to the window, providing the occupant with an amazing view of the gardens. There was a large oak wardrobe at the left of the room and a fragile looking white wood writing desk, with a large vase of flowers placed in the middle.
Bella heard movement behind them and turned to see two man servants arriving with her bags, placing them at the foot of the wardrobe, bowing slightly to each of the women before leaving as silently as they had arrived.
Lady Cullen broke the silence that had fallen on the room. "I know it is not much, but it is only for the one night, as you know you will be moving into the main chamber tomorrow night," she said this with a small smile gracing her face.
"Oh no my Lady, it is perfectly fine, this room provides more comfort than I will need." Bella argued back quietly, with a blush gracing her face as she thought about the implications of what Lady Cullen was saying about tomorrow evening.
"Oh dear you are too kind. But what did I tell you about calling me Lady. Please, call me Esme."
"Yes my Lady, I mean Esme," Bella blushed again at her mistake.
Bella was rewarded with a large smile from Esme Cullen, which was so bright Bella was surprised the room didn't become any brighter.
"Thank you for all you are doing for me," Bella whispered quietly.
"My dear, all I ever wanted is for a daughter. I love Edward more than life itself, but ever since I was young I wanted a daughter. Carlisle did not want another child after Edward, he had his heir, and so I never got the daughter I always wanted. But tomorrow, I get the daughter I have always craved once you join our family by marrying my son. From what I've seen in these brief minutes together, I don't think I could have asked for a better one," and with that, Esme pulled Bella into a loving hug, the way a mother hugs a daughter. Bella fell into the hug, having not been held like this in years. Bella's mother had never truly cared for her daughter. She was more worried about public appearance, and a week after Bella's birth, her mother handed her off to a nanny. Her nannies were always young teenage girls, who needed money for their families. They could not provide the love for a child that a parent would have, not matter how hard they tried.
The only time Bella would receive love from a mother figure was when her adoring Grandmother Marie would visit. She would visit in the summer and each Christmas, and shower Bella with so much love and praise. They would spend the whole day together in the garden, with Marie patiently teaching and listening to Bella read. However, their time together was numbered, and when Bella was seven, Marie fell ill with pneumonia and never fully recovered. Grandmother Marie passed away when Bella was nine and a half. She had not been held in an embrace such as the one she was currently in for six and a half years.
"Thank you," she whispered again, feeling the tears gathering in her eyes.
Esme gently released Bella from the hug and kissed her on the forehead. "You're welcome. Now, time for you to get some sleep! You have a big day ahead of you tomorrow," she stated as she clapped her hands together.
Bella nodded and headed towards her bags. "The bathroom is just through the door on the right. Sleep well; I will see you in the morning." And with that, Esme quietly left the room.
Bella stood for a moment staring at the door before she entered the bathroom. The room was the least grand she had seen while in this house, but it was still impressive. The floors were covered in light brown wood, a wall passed half way through the room, separating the toilet and sink from the bath tub. The tub itself was white with bronze legs supporting it, with bronze taps for cold and hot water.
Slipping into the warm water, Bella lay back, shut her eyes and thought about the very near future. Tomorrow, on 20th September 1871, she was to be married at aged sixteen to a man she had never met.
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