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.
Warning: This story contains lemons, lots of angsty stuff and scenes of a violent nature on occasion. It is rated M for a reason
A big thank you to my beta – Beans827 – she makes this story look good – she is my comma queen! Plus she has started up a thread for this story over on here, so come and chat:
Chapter 1 – Recognition
Calmly in the half-light
Tall branches surround,
Let our love be filled by
This silence profound.
Hearts and souls blend there
And sense's ecstasy,
With the vague languor
Of pine and strawberry.
With eyelids scarce apart,
Arms crossed in dream,
From your slumbering heart
Chase forever every scheme.
Let's be convinced at last
By the sweet lulling breeze
That makes the russet grass
Wave in ripples at your feet.
And when solemn evening
Falls from black oaks there,
The nightingale will sing,
The voice of our despair.
(Paul Verlaine, "Muted", English translation of En Sourdine)
Forks, Washington - January 2005
I had just walked into the biology lab for my first class after lunch when I felt a strange prickling sensation spread out from my shoulder blades. People had spent the whole day so far staring at me as if I was some sort of circus oddity, but this felt different. I had felt it earlier in the cafeteria too, but shrugged it off as just being overly self-conscious. I hated attention of any kind, so I entered the lab with my eyes fixed firmly on the floor trying to deflect it away from me.
The feeling that someone was staring at me intensified and I couldn't resist the urge to look up; straight into the most gorgeous deep, dark, obsidian eyes I had ever seen. I gasped in shock. I think my mouth dropped open a little, but I quickly shut it and stared right back at him. I could not stop staring at the boys' face; at those eyes with the ridiculously long, black lashes, the chiselled jaw, the long straight nose, those full pink lips and the messy, bronze-coloured, bed hair. Beautiful!
No, not a boy really, an old fashioned phrase came to mind, "young man" suited him much better. He seemed more mature than other boys our age. I shut my eyes and shook my head trying to shake his image out of my brain. I knew that I had never met him before, but his face was almost as familiar to me as my own. I knew him intimately. I had spent hours drawing him from my dreams for years.
When I dreamt of him though, he had irresistible sea green eyes and dressed in vintage clothing. I had long ago decided that my mind must have conjured up an amalgamation of all my favourite Jane Austen heroes rolled into one, younger gorgeous man to combat the constant loneliness I endured. I had never really fit in that well at my school in Phoenix and I had spent a lot of time alone. What the fuck? Was I now going completely crazy as well as being socially retarded?
My parents always said that I had a brilliant imagination, but my mind was going just a little too far this time. The weird thing was, he was staring back at me too, piercingly, as if trying to get inside my head. Heck, he came from inside my freaky head, what didn't he know about what was going through it? I blushed then, remembering my dream from last night. His face had been close to mine, the tips of my fingers brushing across his full bottom lip and he had whispered "mine" moments before he had fleetingly brushed his lips softly across my mouth. It had felt so real at the time, my lips tingled now just at the memory.
I moved further into the room towards the teacher and passed by the fan oscillating at the front of the class. I still had my eyes fixed firmly on his and as the warm air from the fan lifted my hair from my shoulders, I was startled to see him inhale sharply and a pained expression filtered across his face. His nostrils flared, his eyes widened, and if at all possible, they became darker than before. The teacher motioned for me to move forward then and I dragged my eyes away from his reluctantly.
Mr Banner took the paperwork from the office out of my hands that I had forgotten I was holding, handed me a textbook and indicated for me to sit in the only empty seat in the room. Of course, the only remaining seat was right next to the young man I had been blatantly staring at just moments ago. I felt embarrassed and ducked my head as I moved between the other lab tables to get to the one assigned to me. I quickly sat down and glanced towards him. His intent stare from earlier had metamorphosed into a glare and I could feel the anger radiating off him in waves. I hurriedly turned back towards the front of the classroom and ducked my head down again.
That's it! I am officially the weird, crazy girl. First, I have conjured up my dream man in the class on my first day at this new school. Second, he has never met me, yet he seems to hate me. Am I still asleep and having nightmares about my first day? I pinched myself, gritted my teeth because that really hurt, and tried to calm down. What the hell was happening to me? I could still feel him staring at me but I couldn't face him again just now, so I sat very still and looked to the front of the class. The time seemed to drag on, then the bell rang and he jumped out of his seat so fast, it tipped and fell on the floor. He left it there and eased past me, but angled back as if he would catch something if he touched me and rushed towards the door as if the hounds of hell were chasing him.
Most days, I found it particularly easy to block the inane, insignificant mind chatter of the students at Forks High where my brothers and sisters and I had been pretending to be high school students for 2 years. We went to school often when we moved to new towns, to try to fit in with the locals so that we could lead somewhat "normal" lives for as long as possible.
At least, that was the aim; however, we never seemed to fit in wherever we went as people were so intimidated by us. Firstly, being vampires, we were by design, very attractive beings and this caused feelings of inadequacy and jealousy to those around us. Secondly, people tended to instinctively sense our danger to them and kept their distance even though they did not know exactly why they did so.
Today though, I almost wished I did not have the gift of mind reading. Usually I managed quite well in tuning out of people's minds. However, right now in the crowded room, I was finding it increasingly difficult to get any peace because of the excitement generated by the new girl in town. Literally, everybody in school was thinking about the new girl with thoughts ranging from merely curious to lustful from a surprisingly large number of the male population. This, in turn, lead to some incredibly vindictively jealous thoughts by the girls, particularly Lauren and Jessica, who were not used to having the boys' focus not on them..
I could see the girl in the cafeteria sitting with Jessica on the far side of the room. She had long brown hair and sat hunched in the chair with her back to me. Jessica was the bane of my existence. I had had to suffer for the last two years through every fantasy that girl had about me and, unfortunately, as she got older, those daydreams of hers had become more than a little explicitly uncomfortable. Currently, I could hear what she was saying to the Swan girl and, unsurprisingly, she was giving her the low down on my family. In her mind though, she was filled with jealousy for the interest that the new girl had generated and was scathingly critical of her.
The Swan girl's long, dark, wavy hair drew my eyes; I couldn't help myself and surreptitiously I tried to get a better look at her. The girl frustratingly stayed facing the other way and although Jessica was talking to her, she did not look into her face as she did, so I could not see her through Jessica's thoughts either. Just then, the girl turned a fraction of an inch toward me and her long hair swayed to the side. I caught a glimpse of her pale face in the split second she peered through her hair towards our table. Just as quickly, she spun back and the moment was lost. The hairs on the back of my neck raised and I felt a tremor of anticipation run through me.
Emmett startled me as he snapped his fingers in front of my face. "Earth to Edward, snap out of it, we have been trying to get your attention for ages, man."
In fact, now that I was paying attention to them, they were all practically shouting at me in their minds. I swivelled on my seat to face my family with a scowl on my face only to see them all sporting huge grins.
"What were you looking at, Edward? Your eyes were starting to glaze over," Alice said, giggling.
Emmett leaned away from the table and peered around my shoulder and then whistled quietly, "Brunette! Nice!"
Rosalie punched him none too softly in the arm. Emmett turned to her and spread out his hands, "Babe, you know you are the only woman for me."
Edward's hackles rose and he answered Emmett defensively. "Emmett, you know I take my gift seriously to protect the family. I was listening in to the conversations around to make sure we are all in the clear and the suspicions of the new girl have not been raised."
Jasper rolled his eyes. "Give over, Edward; we are all aware that you have this secret thing for brunettes. So, what does the new little girl think about us?"
If I could have blushed then, I would have. I was embarrassed. I didn't realize I was that obvious. I stood up quickly from the table; a little too quickly as my chair flew out behind me. Luckily, Emmett grabbed it before anyone realized anything out of the ordinary and I stalked out of the cafeteria and headed off to the biology lab for my next class.
The lab was empty thankfully as class was not due to start for a little while. I sat at my usual place at the lab bench and leaned against the window next to me trying to calm down. The rain, as usual in Forks, was beating down outside and the heavy raindrops were hitting the glass soothing me with their intensity.
I realized abruptly that although I had told the family that I had been listening out for the new girl's thoughts, I had been distracted with trying to see her better and did not realize that I had not heard a thing from her mind. That had never happened to me before. Ever! Maybe I had heard her thoughts but did not know they were hers? There had been a lot of noise at the time.
I shook my head. I am sure the next time I am a little closer to her, I will be able to distinguish her thoughts. I became determined then to find her after class to make sure she was not too curious. It was only moments before the other students started filing into the room and I opened my books ready to start the lesson. I was feeling very irritable. I was sick of being 17 and stuck in school. I was so bored. I knew I would not learn anything today as I had taken this subject so many times already, I knew more about it than the teacher.
I slouched in my chair and tried to engender some enthusiasm but I was feeling uncharacteristically rebellious today. Normally, because we are destined to live forever, time is rather meaningless to us. Today though, each second felt like an excruciating hour. How was I going to get through the next two years here and matriculate again? I needed something to help me pass the time, but what?
I was not prepared when it happened; for too many years I had been hoping and waiting, until with the passing of each year, I was convinced that I would never see her again. Convinced that my time with her was over, that I had missed my last chance to be with her and I would spend the rest of eternity on my own. It didn't stop me automatically searching for her anyway. Each time I saw a brunette, I would check. Just in case.
A familiar scent teased my nostrils, the faintest smell of freesias and strawberries. For a minute, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me until I realized that this scent wasn't just a memory, it was real. My head snapped up and I followed the teasing scent to the Swan girl who had just entered the room, her head bent and her hair falling in front of her face, hiding from me again. Then, as if she could feel my burning gaze, her head lifted and I was gazing straight into her deep, brown, soulful eyes.
She started when she saw me looking at her and her mouth dropped open for a brief second and then clamped shut. She did not take her eyes from mine. I learned that she liked to be called Bella from listening to the chatter of everyone around me and the name suited her. She was beautiful. What surprised me, because I never expected it, was that I knew her. It was HER.
An enormous feeling of relief enveloped me and I felt a huge weight lift from my chest. I had been almost positive that I would never see her again, it had been so long. But here she was across the room from me and I could not take my eyes from hers.
I remembered so well her long, strawberry-scented, dark wavy hair, her deep, dark chocolate brown eyes, her pale heart shaped face and the scent of her blood. I will never forget her scent, that mixture of her freesia flavoured blood and her strawberry scented hair. It was intoxicating. My long dead heart thudded in my chest. Mine!
I almost stood up and walked over to her, my need to touch her again was so strong. It had been so long. I was hers and she was mine and that was how it had always been.
I wanted her like no other. I always had. There had been no one else for me my entire existence. No one had ever come close. My family had never known about her. I had never told them. They had pushed me more than once to find someone over the years but I resisted easily, always with the faint hope that I would find her again and she would be mine for all eternity. Then I would tell them.
Bella was still staring at me as she walked further into the room, a faint pink blush now staining her cheeks. It felt like time was suspended. I followed the trail of pink as it spread further and disappeared under her shirt. Over the noise of the chattering students, I heard her sharp intake of breath which led my eyes straight to her mouth. Those petal soft lips, the lower caught between her teeth. I remembered the feel of those lips against mine as if it were yesterday.
I felt impatient to taste them again, to run my tongue along the seam between the two, to delve between and lose myself inside of her. I groaned softly, the heat of my desire for her rising quickly. What was she thinking about right now? The heat of her gaze bore into me and her eyes darkened fractionally. Did she remember? I wondered if she would recognize me or would I have to woo her all over again? Wait. Focus. I could find out easily enough, I concentrated to find out what was she thinking about? I could hear nothing!
For the first time since she walked into the room, I started to feel apprehensive. Her mind was a closed book to me. I concentrated harder and although I could hear her breathing from where I sat, I could not hear a single stray thought from her. I was not used to being so not in control of a situation, not used to not knowing the next step of each and every person around me. Panic started to rise in me. I needed to know what she was thinking. I was feeling out of my depth. I relied so heavily on my ability to read everyone's mind that I had no idea what to do without that skill. I couldn't fuck this up; what if this was my last chance with her? I needed all the help I could get. Not a minute had passed since she had first entered the room but it now felt like forever. Maybe if I was closer, I could hear her? I started to lean forward in my chair.
Bella walked past the fan at the front of the class and all hell broke loose. As soon as another waft of Bella's scent reached me, I inhaled deeply and then immediately panicked more. This was all wrong. This is not how it was meant to be. The fan had sent a more concentrated wave of her straight to me. The smell of her blood was unexpectedly overwhelming, my throat burned with the need to consume it, all of it right now and the bottom dropped out of my world. I knew then, at that precise moment, that what I merely suspected before was actually true.