A/N: So sorry I keep updating the same chapter. I've been sick and a little loopy. I keep forgetting vital things like crediting SM. (How dare I!)
This story starts right after Edward saves Bella from the van. In this story the Cullen's left to protect their anonymity. I'll be switching between EPOV and BPOV.
I own 15 shades of red nail polish and patent leather red Linea Paolo heels
Mucho love for my Betas! xedwardxloverx and MissEsme. Thanks Ladies.
Stephanie Meyer owns Twilight and some of the quotes.
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.
She shows no emotion at all
Stares into space like a dead china doll
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
I was walking down the long sand trail down to the beach. The clouds hung pensively in the sky. It was an unseasonably warm day in La Push. I tripped over several rocks while I made my way down to the sand. I walked through the green arches of trees and had set my feet on the beach when a velvet voice called behind me. "Bella"
I turned suddenly and gasped to see the figure emerge from the woods. He was tall and lean, with bronze hair and piercing hazel eyes. He flashed a menacing white smile. "How long have you been waiting for me?"
I gulped. "Since you left, I've been waiting forever for you."
He walked to me and placed a soft hand on my cheek. I felt electricity run through his fingers to my jaw bone. My traitor face flooded with a bright blush. He ran his hand over my cheek. "Ah, my lamb, I've been waiting for you, too."
I sat up in bed with a start. "It was a dream; it's always a dream" I murmured to myself. I sunk back into my bed and stared up at the ceiling. In the dark of my room I watched the fan rotate slowly. I ran my hand over my cheek, the same place he had in my dream. I could still feel the phantom fingers on my skin. I groaned loudly. It had been seven years since Edward Cullen had saved me from Tyler's van, and yet, I can still remember every detail. How his body felt like ice next to mine; the way his eyes bore into mine when he pleaded with me to lie to everyone; the electricity of his touch around my waist; the flicker of anger and amusement he showed. It was pathetic that I was still thinking about that man after so many years. After our tense conversation in the hospital, when I blubbered on incessantly while he told me "I hope you enjoy disappointment", I was dumbstruck by the conversation. The next day I kept my promise and told everyone that he had pulled me out of the way. I listened to everyone saying they never saw him standing with me. I was going to challenge him but he never showed. His entire family left and were never seen again. The entire episode was very bizarre.
I roused myself out of bed and padded to the kitchen to get a drink. I sat on the marble counter drinking my water. I glanced at the clock on the oven: 4:15 AM. The apartment was quiet for the first time in days. I leaned against the cabinet, savoring the silence. A screeching cry rang from down the hall.
"No such luck." I set my glass on the counter and walked down the corridor quickly. I opened the door to the last room on the left. Ryland sat up in bed.
"Mommy, there was a monster. A big spider was gonna eat me!" I sat on the edge of his bed and took him in my arms. For a four year old he was surprisingly big. I stroked his curly sandy-brown hair until his sobs subsided. I began to sing him a lullaby, rocking back and forth until I heard his breathing even out and his body went slack against mine. I carefully laid him back down and covered him up with his race car quilt. I tucked his stuffed turtle under his arm. I leaned down to kiss him, breathing in the scent of soap and sweetness. I moved to the rocking chair in the corner and watched him sleep.
Huffing pointedly, I began to wonder how my life ended up this way. I seemed to have it together in high school and then things had gone so far awry; first my mom, and then Charlie….
My world had crashed around me. She was my lifeline to the world, and I missed her more every day. I was so distraught I couldn't even be around Charlie anymore. I knew he never got over Renee. He missed my mom just as much as I did and had taken to drinking heavily. I tried for a while to take care of him, but when I found out I was pregnant I gave up. I didn't need to take care of two children. Now we only talked on special occasions. It just hurt too much to see him. There was nothing to keep me in Forks any longer. I definitely took her passing very badly. I made some poor choices. I still was making poor choices. The only good decision I had made was to keep Ryland. He was my miracle. I closed my eyes and was suddenly shaken awake by small hands.
"Mommy, I need some juice."
I got up, my back protesting. I looked at the clock; it was eight in the morning. I had slept in the chair for almost four hours. I stumbled behind Ryland to the kitchen where I got him a glass and the juice. He carefully poured it as I started my pot of coffee. He sat at the table, swinging his legs beneath him. I smiled at him. "It's a good thing you woke me up baby. I wouldn't have gotten you to school in time. Now I need you to go brush your teeth and go potty while I get your clothes ready."
We raced into his class and got there just in time for Ryland to wash his hands for breakfast. His teacher greeted us at the door. I briefed her quickly on his night and kissed him goodbye. I hustled out the door and peeled out of the parking lot, trying to get to my 9:30 class. I walked in a few minutes late but sat in the back so that my truancy went unnoticed. The seminar droned on and I tried to take notes as best I could. Being pre-law with a small child was not an easy way to live. I felt guilty I couldn't spend more time with him. We only had a few hours in the evenings before I left for work at nine. By two I was itching to see my son and hold him in my arms. As we left the preschool Ryland showed me his coffee filter jellyfish he made and sang me a song about a slippery fish. I laughed and sang along with him the entire way home.
I had just put him down to sleep when Bree showed up to watch him. She was young but good if Ryland woke up. Best of all she was cheap. She said it was nice to get out of her parents house at night. They had been fighting more often and she didn't like to be around for their spats. I was just glad she didn't judge me on my job. Charlie didn't even know what I did for money. I had to pay my bills and provide for Ryland somehow. I was only trying to make a better life for us. I briefed her on his day and got in my car. I drove down the road and merged onto the Phoenix highway.
I pulled my car into the parking lot and sighed heavily. My thoughts wandered to my dream; to Edward looking at me with his hard onyx eyes the day we met; his copper hair, shiny and unkempt. I couldn't figure out what it was that held him in my memory. Surely there had been enough men in my life, men that I had known for longer and men that I had been far more intimate with, men that were nearly as good looking. There was just something about the recollection of him saving my life that pulled on my brain and heart. Taking a deep breath, I steeled myself to face the inside of the club. I walked through the floor and back into the dressing room. I took my jeans and tee-shirt off and began to put on the sexy librarian outfit that I would be starting the night with. I refused to show my stomach but would have a low cut top on. I found the long wavy red wig and secured it to my head. I helped Delia with her geisha outfit and she helped me adjust the sparkly bikini top. She asked me about Ryland and told me a story about her daughter Eden. We would typically meet for play dates if we had the same schedule. Nervous, I walked outside and lit a cigarette. I heard Delia close the door behind me. "Bella, you okay?"
I turned to face her. "Yeah, I guess. I'm just stressed with finals and stuff. I can't wait until I am done with school, and done with this place."
She nodded. "I know what you mean. Sometimes it's just too much to do this job and be a parent. I feel so tired all the time, but I can't fall asleep before 2 AM."
I smiled at her. "Exactly." I bit my lip and looked at the door to the backstage area. "I especially can't wait to quit this job. You know I typically can't walk without falling. I don't know how I ended up working here, in these heels."
"Well Bella, none of us thought we would end up like this. No girl grows up thinking 'I want to be a stripper'."
I shot a look at her. "I'm not a stripper. You just do topless dancing."
She rolled her eyes at me. "You can call it what you want. I'm still taking my clothes off for money and we both are lying to our families about it."
I threw my cigarette butt down and scuffed it with my platform stiletto. I walked back into the staging area to hear the opening music come on.
I served some tables their overpriced bottom-shelf drinks. A few men tried to grab at me and I scuttled deftly away. I heard Delia being announced as Kimber Lace and watched the first part of her routine before the manager Laurent came to yell at me about not doing my rounds. I changed into a pink nightgown and feather-boa heels. I approached one of my regulars and he told me to come back later. I flirted and sashayed my way around the floor. I might have felt like a complete idiot at the time, but I knew how to play my part.
I was almost done making my rounds when I spotted a table with two young men at it. From a distance I could tell they were young. Getting closer I noticed that one of them had dark curly hair and was extremely muscular. The other one was thin and honey blonde. He bent over his full drink and was arguing with the larger man. I felt a sense of déjà vu seeing them, but brushed it off. There was no one in Phoenix I knew. I was in no danger of being spotted. I stopped at the table and leaned down seductively. "Would you boys like a drink?"
Their hands snapped at me and I saw their eyes on me, examining my face. I was surprised. My face is typically the last place men looked. I saw them glance at each other. The big one patted the seat next to him. I sat down. He put his hand out to me. "You look familiar, what's your name?"
I giggled. "I'm Victoria." They looked so familiar as well. I brushed the feeling off and proceeded.
"No really, what's your name?"
We were strictly forbidden to give out our names for security reasons. There are stories about girls being stalked after giving out their names. "That is my name. Don't you believe me?"
He scrunched up his brow. "No, I don't, but I can't recall where I know you from. Did you ever live in Alaska?"
"No, I have never even been to Alaska. Now how about that drink?"
"I don't think that's a good idea for me."
I turned to the blonde one. "How about you? Would you like a drink?"
He gave me a strained smile. "No thank you."
"Your loss, boys." I got up and walked backstage, a sense of admonishment on my lips.
As I stood at the dirty strip club bar I shook my head at the disgusting images flooding my mind. The thoughts that ran through the men at this club were atrocious. It was times like this I wished I could turn off my mind-reading ability. I tried to tune it all out. How Emmett talked me into coming here I still couldn't figure out. He knew that I had never been interested in anyone before, human woman or vampire. I sighed heavily as I corrected myself internally. I know that there was something once: in Forks, with Bella Swan.
I was so sure I would kill her on that first day. The smell of her blood was like a tsunami hitting my throat, causing the venom to roll through my mouth against my keen teeth. It took everything I had to leave her alive in that cold languid class. I fled that day up to Alaska, but after a few days by myself I reasoned that I was strong enough to defy her scent. I was so wrong to think that. I wanted to take her just as much as that first day. I hunted extraneously the night before. I spoke to her trying to get into her taciturn mind. I found myself fascinated by her responses, the way her cheeks flooded rose—I wanted to know so much more about her. I watched her through the mind of that feeble boy Mike Newton, growing irritated about his possessiveness. That night I pondered her future. I found myself pained at the idea of her marrying another man. The emotions clouded my reasoning. I couldn't figure out why I needed to stay. I knew every day I was near that girl I would be risking her life. I decided to see her one last time and then it happened. I thought about that day; the van careening into her frail body; the feel of her heat against my stone chest; the vibrations of energy that passed between our eyes. There was something about her—the way she stumbled over her words as I lied to her about where I was, the scent of freesia pulling me under, the blush of her cheek when I first spoke to her, her translucent skin and warm chocolate eyes. After the accident I fought with my family, such a vicious poisonous fight. Jasper and Rosalie wanted to get rid of her, Alice wanted us to return. Her words scalded me:
I love her too…Can't you see where this is headed? Like the sun rising in the east…
I wanted to disagree with her, tell her that there was no way I could love a girl I didn't know. Yet the words didn't form. I insisted that Carlisle pull me from school and offered to go out on my own. He disagreed with me, but I held my ground. For weeks we stayed in Forks to ensure that she didn't tell people her theories. I never returned to school, instead hovering in the parking lot reading the minds of her friends. She kept her word and never deferred from the story I told her. After weeks I watched as the line started to form; all those boys asking her out, vying for her attention. I was in turmoil watching them talk to her, to see the soft blossom of her cheek, the russet eyes widen in shock. I felt a surge of covetous heat. I reasoned that I couldn't be jealous of what was not mine. Before I left, I snuck into Bella's window and watched her sleep. She was so frail and soft. Without thinking I had brushed my arctic finger across her searing cheek. She leaned into me and I heard her mumble. "Edward"
I had felt my heart unravel. I knew then that if I stayed I would only endanger her life in every way possible. I knew that I would never feel that way about a girl again, but I couldn't risk her life for my own selfish gain. I promptly left Forks. She was on my mind every day. I would see strangers with the cascade of her chestnut hair or the bow of her lip; they could never compare. I tussled with myself to return to her and ensure that she was still well. Every few months I would travel back to check on her. I would climb through her window and watch her sleep, the purple comforter tangled between her legs of sinew. Every time my cold heart would fail me as I felt all those emotions harden around me. Every time I would stroke her satin and scarlet cheek. A few times she would talk in her sleep.
I was traveling through, picking up a few things at the house when I happened upon her house. It had been two years since we left. She was thin, too angular, her hair in layers of string and tangles. Even in sleep she had dark circles under her eyes. I heard her mumble "Riley"—it was as if the floor opened up around me as she whispered another man's name. I swore I would leave her alone after that. I couldn't continue my fantasies about being with Bella. There was someone else to protect her. I could never be that man. The next day as I was about to leave, I drove by one last time. I could see her through the window. She looked tired: her eyes had deep circles under them and her cheeks were blotchy. My knuckles protested in anguish at the sight of her in pain. I saw her pull a man up from the ground and set him in a chair. I recognized him as her father, the chief of police. I almost went to her to offer my assistance. I could hear the conversation inside.
"Dad, you need to wake up."
"I'm awake damn it. Don't sass me young lady" the Chief slurred.
"Dad, I'm not sassing you. I just wanted to tell you that I'm leaving. I can't stay here and take care of you. I have enough shit to take care of. We're moving back down to Phoenix. I hope you will get some help. I'm sorry Dad but I can't do this any longer. She's gone and no amount of liquor will bring her back. Please dad, will you call that woman about the rehab center?"
"How dare you. You think you're so perfect, miss high and mighty. You think I don't know what you've been up to? I know! Fuck, the whole town knows who you are now. They know all about you."
I watched he bite her lip and look out the window. She looked right at me for a moment before looking back at Chief Swan.
"First of all, this is modern times, not 1950. I am adult and will do adult things."
He grumbled under his stale breath.
Bella hesitated for him to reply to her. "Well Charlie, I guess this is how we say goodbye then. I'll keep in touch." She grabbed her suitcase and walked out the door to her beat-up Chevy truck. She glanced back at the house. "I love you Dad" she whispered.
I heard the engine fire up and she raced down the street, tears streaming in her eyes. I almost went after her, stopped the car. It wouldn't have been that hard for me. I've done worse in my 110 years of life (or death, depending on your view point). It took all I had to stay standing on the street watching her drive away. In the years that followed I would reenact that moment. I would imagine how it would feel to go to Bella and comfort her, maybe put an arm around her delicate shoulder and feel her smooth chestnut hair under my hand. I could smell her, the smell of freesia, like a fine wine. I would envision how different my life would have been if I had made that choice. Instead, I watched her drive away from me. Years later the decision still stung me. I spent much of my time sulking around the random high schools we attended. Melancholy was my prayer. Bella was my orison. We were traveling through Arizona to get to some friends of Jasper's in Texas. It was Emmett who forced us out tonight. Rosalie and Alice didn't mind if their husbands went to a strip club now and then, as long as they didn't touch the women. Alice would always remind us "I will see it."
I hate these excursions, but Emmett insisted that I go with him. He was always cracking jokes about me being the oldest virgin in the world. Easy for him to say. He woke as a vampire already paired with Rosalie. Same with Alice and Jasper. Sometimes living with three couples was very difficult. At the club I couldn't even look at the girls that danced. It just felt wrong. I looked around at the ribald club. A waitress came out. She was slender and had long wavy red hair: Victoria. The way she moved wasn't the most graceful thing I had seen, but she had magnetism about her. For the first time in years of going to these kinds of places I actually watched one of the girls. I felt guilty watching her, but I noticed all the rest of the men at the club were just as captivated by her as well. They were paying more attention to her then the dancer. There was something about the way she moved that tugged on my mind in a haughty way. I couldn't put my finger on the senses going through my mind. I felt hot and my stomach clenched. I gripped the counter as a man next to me imagined grabbing the woman's ass and spanking her.
I walked outside to get some fresh air. As I left the club, the buzz of voices faded slowly until I was surrounded by sweet reticence. I sat on the curb and tried to place my emotions. After replaying my reaction in my head for a while I returned to sit with my brothers. As I approached them I noticed there was a woman with long red hair standing in front of the table. I strained to hear her thoughts and was surprised when I got silence. I had only known one other person that immune to my gift, and there was no way my sweet, innocent Bella would be here. I turned on my heels and moved away in trepidation. I stood in the shadows, my eyes closed, breathing slowing. I was being pulled under by her bouquet.
I heard my brothers take in a sharp breath, their minds a frenzy of action. She strutted past me, the bottom of her sheer nightgown fluttering in her movement. I watched her run away for the second time in my life. Jasper and Emmett shot me concerned looks.
That was not Bella Swan, was it?
I knew she looked familiar. I told Jasper we knew her!
I shook my head at them. "I want to leave. Now." They got their things and we hurried out the door. I felt light as a feather. She completely took me away. I knew it was her. She was different, curvier, and the hair was definitely a change; but she smelled of freesia and roses, she had those smooth brown eyes, and her thoughts were a secret to me. I was so conflicted.
I stormed to the Volvo and threw my jacket in the backseat. My brothers were silent on the ride back to the hotel. Alice and Rosalie met us in the parking lot. When I got out Alice walked up to me.
"Edward I didn't see it until it was too late. I tried to call but no one picked up."
I glared at her. "Well that's just great, Alice. What good is seeing the future if I still end up in this fucked situation?"
Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Give me a break Edward, she's a stripper. Get over her and let's get ready to go. I am sick of your shitty attitude." We all turned to stare at her. "What? Can't I have an opinion? Jesus Christ you guys are touchy. She's just some girl Edward; now quit being a douche bag."
I turned to Jasper and Emmett. "What should I do?"
Emmett shrugged his shoulders. Jasper cleared his throat. "I think we need to know how you feel about her, Edward."
I shook my head. "I don't know, I barely know her."
"You don't react that way to someone you barely know." Alice pointed out.
"I don't want to talk about this right now. I'll be in my room. Come find me later." I pushed past them and sulked up to my room. Closing the door behind me, I sunk to the floor. I couldn't figure out how I felt about Bella. I knew that I wanted to see her safe and cared deeply about her, more than I cared about anyone else. I just couldn't imagine the circumstances that turned the bright, sweet, innocent Bella from biology into that feisty and lusty Victoria I saw tonight. Despite my conservative beliefs, I couldn't simply leave again. I had watched her get away from me once. I was furious that she could degrade herself in such a way. What kind of woman was she?
I couldn't shake my feeling of apprehension about those young men. They were so good looking and young. I hadn't seen two men like that since the Cullens in Forks….
My breath caught in my throat as I realized the truth. Those men were the Cullens. Jasper and Emmett; I should have known them at first sight: the pale skin, the dark circles below their sepia eyes. I had envisioned such a man so many times. Laurent interrupted my musing and reminded me that I still hadn't hit a grand that night. I grumbled but went back to the odious task of collecting tips. I walked around in a daze. When it was time to close my till I had collected a fair amount from the regulars. I changed back into my jeans.
The late October night hung with petulant clouds. I wrapped my arms around my chest as I hurried to my car. I turned the ignition and let the cab warm up. The tide of vision filled my mind. How many nights was I going to spend dreaming of that man, and his artful eyes that converted with the time? I could close my eyes and envision the malignant flash in his eyes when I sat next to him on my first day at school. As I put the car into drive I saw a flash of a silver Volvo peel out of the parking lot.
Thoughts? Rants? I can take it! This Bella is not innocent. Where do you want to see this go? I want some thoughts on this. I'm almost done with Chapter 2. Let me know what you think. Mucho Love!
Thoughts? Rants? I can take it! This Bella is not innocent. Where do you want to see this go? I want some thoughts on this. I'm almost done with Chapter 2. Let me know what you think. Mucho Love!
Side note: If you are following Anagenisis my computer crashed and it is being repaired. I should have the next chapter up soon.