Bella's family is attacked by vampires when she is young, leaving her the sole survivor. Rescued by Dr Carlisle Cullen, she is adopted into his 'vegetarian' family, consisting of him, his wife Esme and their three sons Emmett, Edward and Jasper. Struggling with her trauma, Bella finds herself developing special bonds with each of the Cullen boys.
This story has no Alice and Rosalie (or at least not as vampires or Cullens).
Stephanie Meyer owns everything, I own nothing except the plot of this fic.
Lots of love to ms_ambrosia, my wonderful and everlastingly patient beta.
The Cullen Girl – Prologue
I ran as fast as my legs could take me. It was the only thing I could do. The body's natural flight or fight instinct kicking in. I had tried fighting. That didn't work, it just hurt.
As if it was only waiting for the reminder my leg throbbed, nearly buckling underneath me. I didn't know how much blood I had lost at this point but I knew the wound was deep. The woman, Victoria, had made sure it was so. I could still see her now. Pale and ghostly skin with a vibrant flame-red mane. Her nails had cut through my skin like scissors through tissue paper – minimum pressure causing maximum damage.
She wasn't able to finish the job though. Her disappointment at being forced away by the two males was palpable. The three of them had hurried grabbed their scant possessions before they left, hardly any of their hissed mutterings meeting my ears.
"... run... guard... Volturi..."
As my blood had begun to pool on the dirt-strewn floor of the shack they had brought me to, I idly considered the notion that they were scared... Or maybe scared wasn't the right word.
Terrified. Yes, terrified was a better word.
I wondered if they were as terrified as I had been when they had broke into our quiet suburban detached house. Pulled from my slumber I had remained limp with sleepy incomprehension and terror as I was forcibly removed from my bed and dragged down the stairs to the sitting room.
My father, the esteemed police chief Charlie Swan, was already dead. Mauled by the looks of it, like the crime scene photos he had showed me of hikers attacked by bears and mountain lions. The pictures had been a carefully planned lesson, to keep me safe by making sure I didn't venture into the woods alone. I'd had nightmares about bears attacking for two months straight after that, but the lesson had had the intended impact – I could barely run cross-country in gym class now without having a panic attack.
But this was my house, painted red. It could no longer be my safe haven.
My mother Renee was still alive at that point. Catching sight of me in the grip of one of the males she had tried to claw her way across to me, " Bella... Bella baby... don't touch my baby! Please, not my baby!" Victoria had laughed then, high-pitched, manically. The second male, a dirty blond, had chuckled too at my mother's anguish before swiftly bringing his foot down on the back of her neck.
The crack of her spine was the loudest sound I've ever heard, resounding across the room and vibrating up my body until I was trembling with the force of it.
I tried to scream, I really did. But my voice wouldn't listen to me. Silent tears streaming down my face and dripping off my chin I managed a tiny squeak, barely a noise at all.
All three of these... intruders, these murderers, began to laugh now – taking pleasure in my distress. The one holding shook me slightly in time with his mirth before launching me across the room to land in a heap in the corner.
Before my eyes fluttered shut I saw all three converging on my mother's body, the blond yanking her lifeless wrist to his mouth before he sunk his teeth into her skin, and darkness descended.
When I woke later it was in the shack, the darkness of the room not concealing my dead parents' faces from my mind's eye.
I was to be a snack, it was explained. Heaven forbid they go hungry, and they couldn't venture into town any longer; they had already drawn too much attention to themselves by killing the police chief, his wife and presumably their daughter.
I had tried to escape, but they were strong and fast. I only ever ended up in pain, cuts and bruises littering my skin. I tried to barter with them, my freedom for my silence, but even if I wasn't a convenient food source it wouldn't have happened. I knew what they were...
... I wasn't allowed to live now.
The one other time they had left the shack I had tried to climb out the window. I had landed on my wrist, breaking it, my cry of pain alerting them to my plot.
But now they were running... and I was too. I only hoped I was running in the opposite direction.
My bare feet were ripped to shreds by the stones, thorns and branches underneath them; my pyjamas were torn in places, exposing my skin, in the pitch black of the woods I was stumbling around, crashing into and through every obstacle; branches of trees split my face open, the cuts and gashes merely adding to the blood already pouring out my calf.
Hysteria threatening, I stopped for a moment. Everything hurt. My lungs were burning fiercely as my sobs broke through my heaving breaths.
I couldn't stop for long though, I had to keep running. If I stopped I had the suspicion that I wouldn't be able to start again.
A greyish light broke through the claustrophobic blackness of the trees and I headed blindly towards it.
The trees barring my path thinned and then stopped; the branch-strewn dirt floor making way for gravel.
Any excitement however was quickly quashed by the realization that this was probably a route winding through the forest in one of the remotest parts of Alaska. Who would come to rescue me?
No one would. I was alone and lost once again, my fleeting hope scattered to the wind. Shuddering with the cold that suddenly permeated my clothing I hunched over, my broken wrist clutched against my chest, blood smeared across my body, trying to curl myself into the smallest ball imaginable.
I could feel my mind wandering, protecting me from the reality of my situation. A misty fog settled over my head, insulating me from all sound and feeling.
I guess that's why I didn't see the car's headlights... Or hear the engine stop and the doors open.
I did feel the arms that picked me up effortlessly though. The cold arms that grasped me to a similarly chilled chest... And I knew. It didn't happen.
I hadn't escaped.