I don't own Twilight!
Chapter One: Pressure
"Isabella?" my chambermaid, Esme, called through my closed door.
"Yes, Esme," I answered in irritation. I had been deep in thought, enjoying a peaceful moment to myself, when she interrupted.
"Your mother wishes you to join her in the receiving room," Esme stated solemnly, and I could tell by the tone of her voice that I would not be pleased with the upcoming conversation.
"Alright. Thank you, Esme," I replied with a heavy sigh as I heard Esme retreat back down the hallway. I rose to my feet, walked out the door and made my way towards the room where I knew my mother, Renee, was waiting. Don't misunderstand my meaning here. I've always loved my mother dearly, but she has always had a tendency to complicate my life by trying to be helpful.
My mother is Queen Renee Dwyer, and her husband is King Philip Dwyer. My official title is Princess Isabella Swan. Charles Swan, my father, was one of the King's Knights and was killed in battle right before I was born. Because of my father's sacrifice to the kingdom, the royal family took pity on my mother and let her remain in the castle with me, earning our keep as a maid. This is how she met Prince Philip, and the two of them fell in love and were eventually married. Now, normally it would be unheard of for a commoner to marry royalty, but Philip did some research and found that my mother did indeed have a noble heritage, so any hint of a scandal was quickly put to rest. My birth was a difficult one, and as a result my mother was unable to produce any more children, thereby providing a true bloodline for the throne. This left me as the sole heir, although not by blood.
I quickly made it to the receiving room, where I knew my mother was waiting, and let myself in. When I walked in I noticed my mother and Philip were talking to a man who had his back towards me, making it impossible for me to identify him.
"Isabella, there you are!" my mother exclaimed, acting like I had kept them waiting for hours instead of minutes.
"Did you need something, mother?" I asked, trying to stay as polite as possible.
"You remember Prince Jacob, don't you?" my mother asked just as the man in question turned around so I could see his face.
"Yes, of course. How are you?" I asked politely, even though I really didn't care.
"Better now," he said, which confused me, and then gave me a smile that sent chills of fear down my back. Prince Jacob Black was at least thirty years older than me, and he scared me more than anyone in the world. Jacob has been sniffing around me since I was fourteen. Every time he comes here he gets me alone, declares his love for me, and tries to touch me. I always manage to get away before he has a chance to do anything serious, but I am always left shaking and scared. Since I had just reached the age of eighteen, the proper age for a girl to marry, I had a very dark suspicion that I knew where this conversation was going, and I wanted no part of it.
"Excuse me, Your Highness, but what did you mean when you said 'better now?'" I asked Jacob, but my mother was the one who answered.
"Bella, I have wonderful news," she said, beaming. "Prince Jacob has asked for your hand in marriage."
"What?!" I asked, outraged.
"Isn't it wonderful, dear? We have decided the two of you will be married at the end of the summer," my mother said, clearly ignoring my boiling rage.
"NO!" I yelled, no longer able to contain myself.
"Excuse me, but what did you say?" Philip asked, seeming shocked and outraged himself.
"I said no, I won't marry him," I replied looking him right in the eye to show that I wasn't backing down.
"This is not up for discussion. It has been arranged, and you will marry him," Philip said, meeting my stare with a terrifying one of his own.
"You are not my father, and you cannot choose my life for me," I said. I continued to glare at him to show that I was not going to be intimidated into marrying a man I did not love.
"He is the only father you have ever known, and I am your mother. As your parents, we are telling you that you will marry Prince Jacob Black," my mother said, and my confidence began to waver.
"He is too old for me," I argued in desperation.
"Age doesn't matter. Jacob is a fine match for you and for our family. You will marry him, and I do not want to hear another argument against it," my mother said, and I knew that I had lost.
"Yes, mother," I answered, holding in the tears I desperately wanted to cry.
"Good. You may take your leave now," my mother said as she patted my head, "and the King and I will discuss the details with Jacob." I turned to walk towards the door, but before I could escape Jacob wrapped his arms around me and held me tight.
"You will soon be mine, my dear," he whispered in my ear, and I had to work harder than ever to hold in my tears and my fury. Once he released me, I reached the doorway quickly and broke into a run as soon as I was in the hallway. Once I made it back to my room I shut the door and locked it before turning to face my bed. I gasped when I found my ladies-in-waiting, Alice and Rosalie, sitting on my bed.
Alice and Rosalie were more than just my ladies-in-waiting, they were also my friends, so I wasn't totally surprised to see them in my room. Alice was short with spiky black hair and more energy than seemed possible to fit into her tiny frame. Rosalie was blonde, insanely beautiful, and smarter than anyone I knew.
"Esme said you may need us," Rosalie said before she and Alice stood up and walked over to me.
"My mother and Philip want me to marry Prince Jacob at the end of the summer," I said, letting the tears I had been holding in fall freely.
"Oh, Bella, that's horrible," Alice said, and Rosalie nodded. They were all too aware of my feelings towards Jacob, and realized how much grief this development would cause me. Alice and Rosalie spent the next hour trying, but failing, to calm me down.
"I just wish I could run away," I wailed, because the tears still had not stopped.
"Why don't you?" Rosalie asked, and then, when I gave her look that suggested she was mad, Alice continued her thought.
"At least for one day," Alice said, and Rosalie nodded.
"What?" I asked, still not seeing where she was going with this.
"You could sneak out and go to town for the day," Rosalie explained.
"It would give you a chance to escape and clear your head," Alice added.
"How would I do that exactly?" I asked curiously, because the idea sounded better and better the more I thought about it.
"Don't worry. We will help you," Alice said.
"Okay, then. Tomorrow I will go to town," I replied as the excitement of escape and a day to myself took over.
I awoke with a yawn and a stretch of my arms before glancing out my window at the new day before me. I made a mental checklist of all the things I needed to do that day; plant crops, feed the animals, and complete any other chores my mother would most likely have for me.
"Edward, you had better be awake in there!" my mother, Elizabeth, yelled. I didn't respond but instead got out of bed, got dressed, and made my way to the front room.
"Good morning, Mother," I said when I made it to my destination.
"You had better get a move on. Your father left for the fields five minutes ago," my mother said as she put a plate of food in front of me. I looked down and noticed that once again my breakfast was eggs. My dad, Edward Sr., was a farmer; we didn't have much money so our food came from our animals and whatever crops we harvested.
"Breakfast was great, Mother. Thank you," I said after I had practically inhaled my eggs and was half way out the door.
"You're welcome, dear. Be careful today," my mother said as does every day.
I made my way into the barn to complete my chores in there first, before going to meet my father in the fields. After all of the animals were fed and watered I made my way to the field, where I knew my father was probably already waiting on my arrival.
"Morning son," my father said as he pushed his uncontrollable hair out of his face. I had to smile because I had the same problem with my own hair; I had my mother's bronze colored hair but the style was totally my father's.
"Hello father," I replied before grabbing the hoe and helping him dig up the earth. It was spring time, which meant we were getting ready to plant our crop seeds. Before that could happen, however, we had to check the soil for rock and old roots from the past seasons.
"So, have you given any more thought to what we talked about last night?" my father asked as we worked.
"No. I haven't, really," I replied, as I tried to block out the conversation I had endured with my parents the night before about finding a wife. In a few months I will be nineteen, and my parents felt that it was time I found myself a wife. I, however, disagreed.
"Tanya is a wonderful girl, Edward," my father continued as if he hadn't heard me.
"No, father, I have to say she really is not," I replied. Tanya was our neighbor's daughter; she is also the girl my parents want me to marry. Tanya is shallow, superficial, and her dresses are so tight it's a wonder she can fit into them at all. Throughout our entire childhood and adolescence Tanya has been after me, and I have denied her thus far. However, I was faced with the possibility of being stuck with her or risking the disappointment of my parents. In my mind, the only reason you should get married is if you are in love, and I am most defiantly not in love with Tanya.
"I say she is a fine choice. But right now we must work, so we will discuss this later," my father said as he continued to labor over the soil.
"Yes, father," I replied as I started to dig at the earth harder than before. One thing I loved about working in the fields is that it is a great place to take out any frustrations. My father and I worked hard that day, and before I knew it we were walking back to the house. Our small house came into view shortly after our day's end journey began. Our house isn't huge, but it is cozy; it has a kitchen/living area and two bedrooms, mine being the smaller of the two, of course. My favorite thing about our house is that it always smells like food from my mother's cooking. When my father and I walked into the house minutes later I was immediately assaulted with the smell of venison and biscuits.
"How was your day?" my mother asked when we walked in the door.
"Productive in one way, but not another," my father said as he kissed my mother's cheek.
"What do you mean?" my mother asked as she scooped food onto our plates.
"Well, we made wonderful progress with the field, but not so much with our son," my father explained, and I rolled my eyes before sitting down at the table.
"Father, it is my life and I will decide how I live it, and who I live it with," I exclaimed.
"Now, now, let's not ruin dinner. We can discuss this some other time," my mother said before pushing my father into his seat.
"Oh, Edward, before I forget, can you go to town and pick up something for me tomorrow?" my mother asked, causing joy to flood through me.
"Of course," I replied, trying to contain my enthusiasm. I loved going to town, because not only did it get me away from work in the field, but it also gets me away from my parents and their demands for a short time.
"Wonderful, then. You will be okay without him for one day, won't you, dear?" my mother asked my father.
"I'll manage," my father grumbled, clearly not pleased that his only helper was being taken from him, but I didn't dwell on it.
As soon as dinner was over, I escaped to my room before my parents could corner me with more talk of Tanya. I spent a quiet evening alone in my room, and went to sleep early with a smile on my face as thoughts of the day in town I would have tomorrow allowed me a peaceful rest.
AN: Thanks to my beta fnmom68! Pictures of Bella's castle and Edward's house are on my profile. With Edward's house imagine it with a door and maybe some glass windows :) PLEASE REVIEW!