Twilight is the property of Stephanie Meyer. This is just a daydream that wouldn't go away!
It was just after midnight when I entered the bar. I had been walking for several hours without paying attention to where I was going. I heard the pounding music and saw the staggering couples exiting, and decided it was as good a place as any to spend my time. In the last year and a half, I've found myself in this situation frequently. Since I left the Cullens, I've just been wandering from city to city, watching the nightlife from the sidelines as I wait for the minutes to pass.
I smelled the sweet scent of the humans that surrounded me, but it doesn't overwhelm me anymore. I've become so much stronger on my own, not relying on Alice's visions or Edward's mind reading to prevent me from harming anyone. I starting gradually spending more time in public places, getting myself used to the scent and the thirst. I still feel it of course, but I have excellent control now. I hunt frequently, and haven't even been tempted to slip since that horrible night in Forks.
Alice and I made it about two months after that night before she called it quits. She had a vision that destroyed her. I felt her agony about it for three days before she finally opened up to me and told me we were through. All she would tell me was that her vision showed us no longer a couple and she didn't want to waste any more time and effort on our lost cause. I argued with her for a month, yelling, begging and everything in between, before I finally gave up and walked away. I figured I'd just remove myself from the Cullen family so they could move on peacefully after the turmoil of the last few months. A Hale no more, I started my second life as Jasper Whitlock. I kept in touch with Emmett and Rose over the phone and with Esme by occasional e- mails. I had no desire to speak to Alice and I figured I would probably never hear from Edward again either.
So at 12:03 am I stepped into a crowded bar in the East Village of Manhattan. I ordered a beer I wouldn't drink and found the only unoccupied table, way at the back of the club. I sat and watched the humans drinking and dancing. The waitresses flitted around in skimpy outfits, bringing drinks to the tables and squeezing through the mass of humanity at the bar. I felt the various emotions around me. Intoxication was the most prevalent, followed by lust and jealousy. Every once in awhile a flash of joy from a dancing body would wash over me. Then I smelled it.
I shook my head like a human, refusing to believe it. It was impossible. It could not be what I thought I smelled. I left my table and threaded my way through the crowded room, ignoring the admiring glances being stolen at me as I moved. And there she was. Across the floor from me, leaning over the bar loading drinks onto her tray was Bella Swan. Her pale skin nearly glowed in the dim light of the club. Her hair was longer, styled in thick waves down her back. She lifted the tray over her head, turned around and navigated the crowded room easily, stopping at her tables to unload and take new orders as she went. She moved with a grace I would never have expected, not tripping once. Her hips swung gently to the music as she worked. I followed her movement across the room, desperate for a closer look. She seemed at home in her own skin, even in the revealing outfit she wore. Her shorts were micro short, allowing the bottom of her ass cheeks to peek out, covered by fishnet stockings that met her high heeled boots. Her top was long sleeved black lycra that covered her tightly until it ended just under her breasts, baring her midriff. Her body was toned, if a little on the thin side. She was polite to her customers, but not flirtatious, and I noticed her stepping away from several leering men. Her face was changed from the girl I had known. She seemed thinner, her cheek bones more angular. The biggest change by far was her eyes. They had been so full of expression in Forks. Edward said he couldn't read her mind, but that anyone could read her eyes. Now they seemed emptier. She made conversation with her customers and smiled politely, but the smiles never lit her eyes. I noticed dark shadows even under her heavy eye make-up and guessed she must be tired.
I found myself shaking my head again, surprising myself with the action. This was the last place on earth I would have expected to find Bella in. I thought of her frequently since we left Forks, wondering what repercussions my loss of control had on her life. I had imagined many different outcomes due to my failure that night, but never a situation like this. I guessed that she would be in college, studying literature at this point. I found myself unable to stop running scenarios that could have led her here through my mind. I noticed that as she worked she seemed anxious, frequently looking over her shoulder and scanning the room. I made sure to stay out of her line of sight. I wasn't sure how my appearance would be received, and the last thing I wanted was to bring any more difficulty into Bella's life.
I kept watching as the crowd finally began to thin. I was confused when I realized I was picking up no emotions from her at all. I had thought the crowd was blocking me, but apparently that wasn't it. I kept to the shadows and found the employee entrance after the bar closed down. I had no plan for my next action as I waited for Bella to appear again. I just wanted to see her again and feel out the situation more. As she exited the building, I noticed she was now wearing worn jeans and a pair of battered chucks. This made me smile at the memory of her low maintenance fashion sense. I frowned at the light jacket she wore as it was only in the 30's and very windy tonight. She hunched her shoulders against the cold, scanned the quiet street around her and started down the street toward the subway entrance a few blocks away. I followed her silently, noticing she was still nervous and continually looking around. I was surprised when she reached into her messenger bag and brought out a cigarette, lighting it and quickly taking a drag. I opened my senses, trying to get a feel for her emotions, but I still couldn't pick anything up.
Suddenly she stopped short. She hunched her shoulders again and stood perfectly still. I waited silently, wondering what she was doing. Suddenly I was hit with a fierce wave of emotions- first fear, then an amazing flow of rage. I forced myself to relax and let it pass around me, when suddenly it was gone, emptiness again. I heard her whisper "What are you waiting for, bitch?" I made no sound and felt no one else around us. Minutes passed and she finally squared her posture, looked up and took a drag from her cigarette. "Fuck you then, I'm walking. Come and get me if you want me" she muttered. She took a hesitant step and then fell into a confident stride down the empty street. I watched her disappear down the steps into the subway station.
Amazing. I found my questions about her multiplying. I made my way back to the apartment I had rented on the luxurious Upper East Side. I kept turning Bella's actions around in my head, looking for any reasonable explanation. I kept coming up empty. I was also perplexed at the odd emotions I had felt from her. Moving from feeling nothing to such an intensity of rage had left my head spinning. I had never experienced such a thing before.
I let myself into my penthouse apartment and went up the stairs to the roof access. I watched the skies gradually lighten and felt glad that it would be an overcast day. I decided I would hunt today, several days earlier than I had planned. I made a mental note to look for easier access to local wildlife locations. I planned on spending more time watching Bella and I would need to hunt often just to be safe. I grimaced to myself, thinking of the inconvenient drive out to Long Island to find a decent place to hunt for a deer in privacy. I felt an unfamiliar sense of anticipation when I thought of the coming day. If nothing else, today would be interesting.
I filled the day with hunting and the few chores that needed done. I don't make much mess, so there's not much to clean. I checked my financial reports, verifying that everything was as it should be. I took pride in the fact that my bank account hadn't suffered much from the loss of Alice's precognition. The hours passed somehow and finally it was time to head over to the bar to look for Bella. I threw on jeans, a black t -shirt and my favorite black boots. I threw on a leather jacket as I headed out the door and the evening was on.
I sighed in relief as I changed into my jeans and sneakers. I could work it with the best of them nowadays, but it still feels like coming home when I put on my jeans. I loaded my work "outfit" into my shoulder bag and made my way to the back exit. "Night Dean!" I called to the bouncer. "Be safe out there Izz" he called back.
I opened the door and scanned the back alley for movement. As if I would be able to see her if she hid. I forced myself to step outside and was hit with the chill wind. I hunched my shoulders and set out. If nothing else the cold air would help me stay alert. I told myself to just start walking. I set off at a good pace toward the subway entrance. The commute home was the scariest part of my day, and it helped me to face it if I took it one segment at a time. So first objective, subway station. Not that it would provide safety, just a mile marker on my journey. The street was quiet and empty at this time of morning, which was a good thing. People out at this time of day were either in trouble like me or are trouble themselves.
Then I felt it. Someone was watching me. I could feel it with every cell in my body. I was momentarily paralyzed by my fear. I had been waiting for this moment for almost two years, but it still terrified me. Suddenly my fear morphed into absolute rage. I thought of Charlie, Renee and Phil. Their memories were the sole motivator behind my continued existence, and the thought that Victoria was going to catch me now just pissed me off. I swallowed and forced my anger down. I needed to focus. If this was the last moment of my life, I would at least be in control of my emotions. "What are you waiting for, bitch" I whispered. No answer. I could feel the eyes on me in the silence. Weird. She could easily have dispatched me by now. My anxiety grew again, and I struggled to keep focused. "Fuck you then, I'm walking. Come and get me if you want me." I forced myself to move my foot forward and took a small step. The next step came easier and I was on my way again. I waited for the impact I was sure was coming, but no movement came.
Step after step, my destination grew closer. I hurried down the steps of the subway station, feeling the relative warmth. I felt no further sense of being watched, but against a vampire my human senses were almost useless. My train came and I slipped on and took a seat. The car was empty, not unusual at this time. I allowed myself to breath for a moment, before forcing myself to become alert again. The subway ride was often the most challenging part of my commute, especially as tired as I was now. Falling asleep on the subway isn't safe for any woman, much less one being hunted by a psychopathic vampire. I forced myself to keep my eyes open, watching for any movement. The ride was uneventful and I got off at my stop. Up the steps into the frigid early morning air, I forced my tired feet to keep moving. Six blocks later, I reached my building.
I climbed the three flights of steps without paying attention, fighting my exhaustion. At this point I was so tired I didn't care if Victoria came or if a sicko attacked me. I unlocked the door and stepped into the apartment. Andy was alone, sprawled on the couch. The party must have been at someone else's place tonight. I walked over, checked his breathing and put a blanket over him. Our heat was sporadic at best and the apartment was quite cold. I smiled sadly at my roommate. Andy was my savior in many ways, although you wouldn't know it looking at him now. Passed out after a night of consuming any substance he could get, he was at least peaceful now. His dark hair hung in his gaunt face. I would have to make sure he ate tomorrow.
I remembered the Andy I met last year. His face had been fuller then, lighter and full of life. He had been the life of the NYU party scene, but the parties started to become never ending. He remained a good friend to me throughout. Always letting me stay over if I needed to crash, never asking any questions, even after he found out I wasn't a student. When he finally dropped out, he offered me a room in the apartment he found and I took him up on it. Living with a drug addict wasn't ideal, but we had four walls around us. Andy was a good guy, but he was also an addict and that meant he was unpredictable. I kept my cash on me, realizing he was only ever a fix away from stealing. I kept the apartment clean, but didn't spend much time there, uncomfortable when Andy and his friends would shoot up. I couldn't really keep food here since he and his friends would gorge themselves on whatever they found, and I couldn't afford to replace the pantry over and over.
I washed my face and changed into an old pair of pajamas. I pulled on an extra sweatshirt and two pairs of socks before wrapping up in the covers. My bedroom was freezing, but I knew it wouldn't keep me from sleep. I drifted off, done fighting the exhaustion. Sleep caught me, but there was no peace. Flashes of the forest as Edward walked away assaulted me. I saw Charlie lying on the floor. I saw the words describing Renee and Phil's "accident". Over and over, I lived the horror that had followed my life since Edward Cullen left me in the woods that day. I sat up gasping four hours later. I rolled over, hoping for more rest, but it was not to be. I sighed and forced myself out of bed into the cold room. Might as well get up and get something done.
I showered quickly, unsure of the hot water. I dressed in a pair of jeans and a long sleeved T and put on my Docs. I left my room and was surprised to see Andy was awake, watching Spongebob. He glanced up at me. "Bad night kid?"
"Yeah. Sorry if I woke you."
He smiled sadly at me. "It's all good Izz. Just wish you could get some rest."
"I'll rest when I'm dead, Andy" I said with a smirk. "Now get your butt into some clothes. We're going to get some breakfast."
"Alright Izz, but it's my treat today" he teased as he pulled a twenty out of this pocket. I was touched. Andy didn't keep cash on him long, too tempted by the pharmacy that was his life.
We grabbed a bagel and coffee at a bakery and warmed up. I appreciated that Andy didn't ask questions about my dreams and the screaming that accompanied them. I didn't tell him about my strange encounter last night. One more thing about me he couldn't know. It was bad enough that I was willing to live with him, potentially putting him in Victoria's line of fire. There was no way he could learn about my past and the supernatural creatures that were part of it. He was aware I had been through some bad shit, but he assumed it was just an abusive relationship or drugs, although I never touched them.
After eating it was back to our apartment. Andy crashed in his room while I straightened up. Then I gathered up our laundry and hauled the heavy bag to the Laundromat down the street. I fought fatigue, keeping my eyes peeled for flashes of white skin and red hair, but everything remained quiet. I moved to sit outside for a minute. I noticed that my hands were reaching for my cigarettes. I had started smoking a few months ago, hoping it would help to mask my scent amongst the other humans around me. I hated the smell myself, but like all things, I got used to it. I felt no craving for the nicotine yet, but my hands were starting to adapt to the habit. I guess lung cancer will have to get in line behind Victoria.
Waiting for the laundry left me with too much time to think and remember. I fell too easily into the past. I replayed the last time I saw Edward, still flinching as I heard him say I was easily forgotten. I wandered the woods for nearly eight hours after he left me, numb with shock. I staggered into my yard without noticing that my house was dark, even though Charlie should have been home. I went inside and immediately knew something was horribly wrong when I smelled the blood. I called for Charlie, creeping further inside when I got no answer. I found him in the kitchen, lying on the floor in a puddle of blood. He had been massacred and there was little left to recognize. I found a scrap of paper lying nearby and read the horrible words. "Sorry I missed you Bella. I'll catch up with you soon. Victoria."
I remembered falling to the floor, rocking back and forth as I sat next to the body of my father, who had deserved so much more than this. Why had Victoria come here looking for me, and why would she hurt Charlie? Clearly she hadn't fed off him, there was so much blood. In shock, I stood up and began to move, even though I had no idea what to do. She would clearly come back, so my first task was to get out of Forks. I quickly packed a backpack of clothes, hoping they made sense as I didn't look at what I picked up. I went to Charlie's room, fighting a sob as I smelled his cologne. I opened his cash box and took what was there. I caught my reflection as I passed his mirror. I resembled a ghost, pale skin and wide eyes. For a moment, I was tempted to sit down and wait for her to come back. I had lost the love of my life and my father over the last few hours. I felt unable to shoulder the weight, and began to shake. I forced myself to snap out of it. If I didn't want to become a ghost for real, I needed to pull it together. I owed it to Charlie to try to get away.
I snapped out of my memories into the present, quickly scanning the streets for any sign of danger. I was surprised I had allowed myself to get lost in the past. During the day, I was usually quite able to stay away from the memories. I guess the fear of the previous night had gotten to me more than I thought. I moved the laundry to the dryer, inserted the coins and began to pace to stay alert. An hour later I packed it all up and lugged it home to sort and put away. I had to be at work by seven, so that left me several hours to myself.
I chose my outfit for the evening, picking a black micro mini with a tiny white T to go with my ever present fishnets and high boots. I recalled how shy I had been about my body with a slight smile. I remembered the first time I had to dress this way as if were yesterday. After finding Charlie murdered I had used the cash on bus tickets south. My fear grew as the days passed without hearing from Renee. I had called several times from pay phones with no answer. Finally, I stopped at a small town and used the library for internet access to scan the news for the Florida area. There I found the headline detailing the tragic "car accident" involving a minor league baseball player and his new wife. The car had wrecked into a lake and it was unclear how long it had been there before it was discovered. There was no hint of foul play mentioned, but I knew Victoria was responsible. I swallowed my grief, aware that I could not break down in this public place. My hands shook and my breath hitched. For a reason unclear to me, this vicious vampire had made war on me, claiming my family as casualties. I couldn't imagine what this was vengeance for, as I was incapable of harming her in any way. I forced myself back to the bus stop and got on the next one heading south.
I got off in Las Vegas. I figured I should be safe during the day there at the very least. I wandered from dive bar to dive bar looking for someone willing to hire an underage waitress. I needed to earn some cash to buy a decent fake ID if I was going to hide successfully. Unfortunately, I was limited to the worst locations with owners who weren't afraid to break the law. I finally wandered into a cruddy strip club with a greasy haired owner who didn't ask questions. I was so lucky my feet led me there. It was a terrible location, but the girls who worked there had hearts of gold. They taught me how to walk without falling, even while carrying a drink tray. They helped me dress sexy to get better tips. They even taught me to dance when things were slow. They didn't press me for details about my past, a great thing about Vegas. I was struggling to keep a cheap motel room and put away for my fake ID so I decided I would try stripping to increase my earnings. I was just getting ready to take the stage for the first time when the club got busted. I ran for it and decided that I'd better move on to the next sunny city.
I spent the next year moving from city to city in the south. I stayed only a few months in any location. I got a half decent fake ID and became a pro at being a bar waitress. Sometimes I served drinks, sometimes I was a go-go dancer, and sometimes I tended the bar. I haven't had to strip so far, but at least it's an option I have. I stayed in cheap motels when I could afford it and crashed where I could when I didn't have the cash. I only made it a weekend in New Orleans, that place was crawling with vampires. I had no close calls with them, but I the glimpses of eerie white skin with sunglasses at night had me constantly panicking. I skipped over Florida, the memory of my mother to close to bear and headed up the East Coast until I made it to New York.
New York was a good hiding place. The weather didn't provide consistent day time protection, but I figured the sea of humanity crowded around me must be a decent camouflage. The only difficulty was how expensive everything was. I found work at the club quick enough, but I couldn't find anywhere that I could remotely afford to live. I started hanging out at the popular NYU party spots, crashing in trashed apartments after parties. I never actually drank or sampled the offered drugs, afraid to dull my senses. I made sure not to get close to anyone, knowing my life was on borrowed time. It just wouldn't be fair to get friendly with someone and put them in danger as well. Then I met Andy at a party. He seemed to know immediately that I was in big trouble. He didn't ask questions, but always offered me a place on his couch whenever we bumped into each other.
He called me out on not being a student, but didn't tell anyone else. I never asked him hard questions either. I guess we each just recognized another person in over their head. And here we were, living together for several months now. Andy hadn't been able to stay in school as his drug use increased. I had no idea how he had the money to keep his habit up, and I didn't ask. We had a good thing going. I didn't even feel too terribly guilty about the danger I brought him, since living with a drug addict was dangerous as well. We shared each other's risk I guess.
For the millionth time that day, I brought myself out of the past and started to get ready for work. Saturday nights were always busy and grueling, but usually resulted in good tips. I packed my work outfit in my messenger bag and got ready to leave. At least I would probably be so busy at work that I wouldn't be able to lose myself in bad memories. I set out into the cold early evening, scanning around me as I lit my cigarette. I put on my work persona as I walked, building layers of confidence and sex appeal that I really didn't feel. I needed to present the image of a normal waitress rather than a fugitive from a perfect killer living minute to minute. By the time I reached work, I was calm and serene, able to exchange pleasantries with the other staff as we got ready for the evening. The music came on and the first early birds started to wander in. The evening was on.
AN- Thank you for reading! This is my first attempt at fanfiction, and I'm quite excited to finally post it! Let me know what you think!
My deepest thanks go out to mynxi for being my beta. Not only is she a grammar magician, she's a cheerleader as well. Without her this would still be a blank page!