The Only Exception Chapter 1

'When I was younger, I saw my daddy cry
and curse at the wind.
He broke his own heart and I watched
as he tried to reassemble it.'

War. That's all I've known for 145 years. Destruction and carnage are my two best friends. Why, you ask? That's the only thing that has given me purpose. As a vampire, this is life. But I need to change. Becoming a nomad wasn't my first choice, but it's a start. I thought I was in the right place that I was making the right choices; doing what I was created to do. Kill. I was made to kill, and do nothing else. But that life was unfulfilling. I needed a change in this existence. Doing this, it hurts me. I've lost all of my humanity, and I seek it back. I must. If I don't, then what do I have left?

Life alone has been easier than I thought it would be. After staying with friends for a time, I decided it was time to be on my own again. I was heading nowhere, just running. I lost track of where I was, and I started to feel thirsty. I saw a human walking through the park, and a deer eating nearby. Should I go kill a human, or should I just try out an animal? I feel uncertain. This is the first time I have stopped to think about hunting. It usually comes with instinct, but I feel...good. I am actually stopping to think about a human's life. If I kill that human, its blood would taste wonderful and soothe my burning thirst. But if I kill the deer nearby, I could save that human's life and it would have a chance to do something, find love, and be great. It pained me, but I chose the deer. The blood tasted bland, and only held a sliver of the flavor of human blood, but I drank it greedily. I dropped the carcass and started to cover it up.

After my hunt, I decided to walk through the town. It was relatively small, and had an odd name. Forks. Why would a town be named after an eating utensil? Strange.. Washington, population, 3000. Very small population, I bet if I just took one human... No! I must push those thoughts away. That is not what I came here for. I am passing through and leaving as soon as I can. It has been decades since I have been in human society. I should escape unnoticed.

When I was human, it was 1860, and the Civil War was on the verge of starting. My family was close-knit, and my brother Jasper was joining the Confederacy. I forgot the reasons he had for joining, but I remember he was underage and even though he was older, it still wasn't allowed. Soon after he joined, we had gotten word that he had risen quickly in the ranks. After that, he had gone missing in action. The family was never the same after that. I missed my brother dearly. I still felt the pain when I remember the letter that he was gone. I locked myself in his room for days. I refused to believe that he was gone. I was 15, when father was starting to become ill. The farm was suffering, and without Jasper to help out, I did the work. Father got sicker and died two years after Jasper disappeared. Mother died a few months afterward, she couldn't take that both the men in her life were gone. I was an orphan at the age of 17. That was when my life took a turn for the worse, but I couldn't imagine what would happen next.

When I was walking home after her funeral, a beautiful woman strolled toward me. She was pale and her skin shined in the moonlight. She had black hair, and piercing red eyes. She took my breath away. I knew a human could never be that beautiful.

'Child, you look so downtrodden. You have nothing else to live for. I can help you. You don't have to be in this life alone. I can give you purpose. I can give you worth. You seem very special, and I can help you find your potential. Your name will be feared everywhere. And you're a pretty one too.' And then she bit me. Her name was Maria, and she kept whispering to me all throughout my change. She told me that she knew I would have great power, and that this life would be better.

The change was excruciating, and the searing pain hurt so badly. It was agonizing, and I hated her for causing me that physical pain when I had already been through so much mental pain. After I woke, she brought me to her camp where, all of us were trained to fight and kill. She trained me herself, and I was her best fighter. I had a gift. My gift was that I could defend myself from mental gifts. Maria kept me around for that.

I hated that place, and I had tried for years to escape, but I had never gotten the satisfaction. Maria could know when someone was planning, she had centuries of experience. She also had forms of torture to punish vampires like me who wanted to leave her. Also, since she was the one who had trained me, she never let me forget who made me. 'I brought you into this world, and I can take you out just as easily, girl. Don't you forget that.' she'd say. And I never did. Maria kept me by her side, because I was one of the most powerful vampires in her army. She would reward me with humans when I performed well, and she enjoyed using me for her enjoyment when I disobeyed an order. I remember far too well what she did. The excruciating pain when she would burn me...the sadness when I knew I couldn't just die right there and then. That wasn't her intention. She wanted me to feel so depressed so that she would make me stay, but it backfired on her in the end. I did escape.

I ran as fast as I could in the short time she was away, and I stayed with some nomads I was close with. I had met them while I was wandering around, and one of them took an odd liking to me. His name was Laurent. He was a close friend, but I wouldn't lead him on. That's where I found some friends of mine from when I was with Maria.

Their names were Peter and Charlotte. Peter met Charlotte and they ran away from Maria. They were the first mates I had seen that were perfect for each other. Charlotte acted very strong in front of other vampires, but with Peter, she was vulnerable and tender. Peter was one of the most dominant and rugged vampires I had ever met, but he would do whatever he could to make Charlotte happy. They were the only friends I'd ever have. I loved and missed them dearly. But it was my time to leave, so I left. I was the third wheel since I didn't have a mate. I wish I did though. I would have loved to have someone to depend on, to confide in.

While I was lost in my thoughts, I noticed a strange smell. I looked down, and sniffed myself. I smelled terrible, and my clothes were caked with grime and dirt. I ran to the river nearby and jumped in. The water was ice cold, and it felt great. Then I heard a faint rustling behind me. My head whipped around and I slowly got out of the water. I heard it again. What was that? As I turned around, a figure came out of the shadows. "Who are you?" I growled. I didn't like being disturbed. Then I heard...laughing? What in the Sam hell is going on?

"Who the hell is laughing?" I growled again. Then a small vampire walked up to me, and held out her hand. Her hair was black, short, and spiky, but it suited her. But what really captivated me were her eyes. They were a strange shade of golden yellow. They looked beautiful, but I was still wary. I took her hand, trying to smile, but failing.

"My name is Alice. You are?" She smiled brightly. She looked so beautiful, so childlike, that I couldn't help but indulge her. "I'm Bella." I said softly, my Southern accent was still noticeable after all these years, and that made her eyes shine even brighter, if that was even possible. "I know." Alice smiled, but there was something in her eyes, was it wisdom? Or could it be knowledge? Did she know something I didn't know? Whatever it was, I had taken to this Alice.

"Do you want to come to our home nearby? I have clothes, and it would be nice to get to know you." She wanted me to go with her? And what did she mean by home? Vampires don't have permanent lodging. Unless she was part of a coven... I can't get involved with a coven. Maria would be on her way to look for me, and I surely can't have that. Her torture is painful; I don't want anyone to get hurt… She'd get the whole army to come attack. I can't put poor Alice and her coven in danger. But what if they're a threat?

"Alice, I'm sorry, I'm afraid I have to decline on the invitation." She pouted, and reason went out the door. Who was I to refuse this sweet vampire? But my suspicions were maintained. I just met this one, if there's more, they could be dangerous. I do have a sense of self-preservation.

"Wonderful." She gave me a blinding smile as she started to run. I followed suit, and we arrived at an enormous mansion. It reminded me of a plantation I had seen in my human life. The place looked beautiful, and grand. There surely must be other vampires here. But why would they stay in a place long enough to build a house? "Come in, we've been expecting a visitor for a while, and you're it!" She squealed, and I cringed. My ears could not take that level of noise. I walked in slowly, and I saw the largest coven I had ever seen. Maria's coven doesn't count, since she creates vampires for an army, this one, seemed like a family?

I felt fear, and anger at Alice for bringing me to such a place. They could hurt me. Although Alice seems decent, I doubted the rest. The one in the middle, with platinum blonde hair was the leader. He smiled gently. I stared back, blankly. He's probably the one who controls this territory, and can see who lives or dies. "Hello, my name is Carlisle. This is my family. Here is my wife, Esme. Then there are Emmett and Rosalie, Alice and Jasper, and Edward." He pointed to each of them, but the one who held my attention was Jasper. He couldn't be! Is that truly my brother? He looked exactly the same. I took a step forward.

"Jasper? As in Jasper Whitlock?" He smiled and nodded. Jasper furrowed his eyebrows. He looked wary, I don't think he liked that I knew his name. He didn't remember me. My own brother didn't remember me. My smile fell. "You honestly don't remember me? It's Bella! Bella, your sister!" I yelled. He had to remember me, I surely remembered him. He was my brother! He stared at me like he was seeing me for the first time.

"Bells?" He said softly. I nodded in joy. He gave me a hug, and I launched myself at him.

"Brother, it's been so long!" He still smelled the same. Mint, how I missed that smell! When he was gone, I held all of his clothes to smell his scent. "I'm sorry I didn't recognize you, Bells. You've changed. When I left you were a child, now you are a woman. Oh, I missed you so much. It's been so long, and you've grown so much. You're a very beautiful woman, who, well, looks a bit worse for wear. "He pointed to my hair, which still had leaves in them, and my shredded dress. Afterwards, he let me go, and smiled happily to his coven. But I could detect something strange in his eyes. "This is my sister, Bella Whitlock." I looked at him, and I saw the scars. He fought in the wars, just as I did. Why did this have to happen to both of us? Why did the both of us have to be subjected to the same horrors? My smile dropped instantly.

"Jasper, your scars, they're everywhere." I murmured, pointing. Jasper looked embarrassed. "I fought in the wars." He said sadly. "It was a big part of my life for many years. I am still ashamed of what I did back then." He spoke with regret.

"I was changed in 1868. I fought in the wars as well." I told Jasper, with anger clouding his eyes as I spoke.

Jasper looked livid. "Who changed you?" I didn't understand where this burst of anger came from.

"By a vampire named Maria. She changed me after Mother died. I was alone." I said, flinching as I remembered my change. Jasper yelled in a fit of anger.

"She changed me also. How could she do that?" He asked, fuming. He started pacing. "I was turned in 1863. How could she turn both of us, and yet we never saw each other?" He exhaled. "Maria probably didn't want us to know about each other so she could keep us loyal to her. I never knew you were around. She always kept me with different vampires, and they never told me about you." I answered.

"Are you still with her?" He asked carefully. I shook my head. "I escaped months ago. I stayed with Peter and Charlotte for a while, but I have been a nomad since." Jasper smiled. "They are my oldest friends, Bella. I can't believe they didn't see the family resemblance." He stated with disbelief.

"Well, it doesn't help that I look like Mother, and you take after Father." I said. Jasper chuckled. "But we act so much alike, it's uncanny." He replied with a smile. Then we both scratched our heads at the same time, and fidgeted with our fingers. Yep, we were siblings.

"You must have met my wife, Alice." He said with a smile on his face. "Yes, she convinced me to come inside. She's very beautiful. You made a good choice for a mate. But I must say, I am a bit confused. Your eyes are different, and you're not a coven, and...I need someone to explain this to me."

Carlisle chuckled. "Others do ask that question many times." Carlisle said. Then I saw it. The most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed him before. "That is Edward." Carlisle said with pride. He looked perfect. He reminded me of a picture I had once seen in a book, decades ago. Michelangelo's David. Except Edward looked angry, but it only made him look more attractive.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" He asked me rudely before stomping out of the house.

Jasper ran after him, and touched his shoulder. Then Edward calmed noticeably. Strange, but what isn't strange about this coven? Maybe it was a gift. "What is your problem with my sister, Edward?" Jasper asked, confused.

Edward crossed his arms, and glared. "I can't read her mind. It's blank. She's doing something, and I don't know what. I don't trust her." He pointed at me, and I growled. His voice was like music. If only he could get rid of the insufferable attitude, we could be friends. Maybe more, if he wasn't a jackass. I would need some friends if I stay here. Wait, who said I was staying around?