Disclaimer: I don't own anything Twilight, blah, blah, blah. But I would like to thank Stephenie Meyer for getting me to write.
6/4/10 – Hi everyone. I have re-edited Chapters 1-13 of this story, and am now reposting them. The main storyline remains the same, just some additional details, descriptions, and other, um, minor things have changed. I loaded this story anxious to see my first fanfic "live". After it was accepted to , I began to tinker with it as I gave chapters to my wonderful beta, Jenny_Cullen. As any perfectionist knows, it's just so hard to let it go.
You can choose to reread, if you've already read them, or not, but I wanted to let you know. Chapters going forward will most likely post the day of, or the day after, they post on .
Thank you all for your patience, as this puppy has lain dormant here for far too long. You should be seeing weekly, if not biweekly updates to it going forward.
Please note: This story does contain rape. It is neither gratuitous not does it glorify or condone rape in any way, but it is integral to the story. I understand this may be an issue for some people and respect that you may choose to not to continue reading because of it. If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me, and I'll be happy to discuss it.
Thanks to Alexis Danaan for her rib-cracking wit, superhuman writing skills, general greatness, and for keeping an old, I mean more mature, chick writing.
Thanks to my pal Megan, the rabid Twins fan, for her editing prowess, secret workplace meetings to discuss, um, work, and for not blushing when talking about . . . well, you'll see.
And to my Bossman, who as a male familiar with Twilight, lied and said he wanted to read this, and for enduring all of the lovey-dovey shit.
"I . . . I'm waiting for someone. He should be here shortly." Dammit Catherine, you have to do better than that.
"He went to, uh, go to the bathroom." Stupid. I tried to figure out if I could make it past him. I wondered how long it would be before I would see anyone else on the trail. He didn't look very big, maybe my height. I think I could get around him if I faked him to the right and then went left . . .
"No. I don't believe he did."
"Yes, he's just over . . ."
He was a mere step in front of me before I finished my blink. "No, you're traveling alone. Not very prudent. You never know who you might meet . . . in a place like this."
His hand reached out to caress my face. I couldn't move. I should've jumped his hand was so cold, but I didn't, as he brought it across my cheek, down across my jawbone, stopping on my neck. I could feel his breath as he leaned in and whispered,
"I'll be waiting for you.
*The music listed at the beginning of each chapter is a suggested "mood" enhancer for the chapter. My own private score. All the music listed is the music I listened to while writing this.
Rachmaninoff, Symphony No. 2 in E minor Op. 27: Adagio
Just great. I stopped the car on the side of the road and got out to pretend I actually knew something about car engines. Smoke. Lots of it. Something told me not to even attempt to open the hood. Damn rental cars. I had decided to drive 101 up the coast, around and through Olympic National Park. I planned to stop in, just outside Forks, Washington and stay in a little lodge along the coast – Kalaloch Lodge. Their website said the sunsets were absolutely "amazing". But here I was, along the side of the road with a busted something-or-other that was sending great plumes of smoke out the hood of my economy bucket-of-bolts. Of course, I don't have a clue about cars. I had AAA. But I was in the middle of basically nowhere, well, relatively nowhere compared to the suburbs of Chicago. It seemed AAA knew that as well, since they told me it might be an hour before they got to me. An hour? Really?
I knew I was flying into Seattle for work, so I just studied MapQuest of the surrounding area and picked Forks. It just seemed to speak to me. Maybe because my dinner had been in the microwave when I first starting researching? I laughed to myself. I just needed to get away – away from work, away from family – somewhere to recoup. Recoup what? A sense of purpose? A goal? Passion? Self-worth? Me. Being single and alone had its perks most of the time. Being alone didn't always mean lonely. "Choice," I'd always said, just like Lloyd's friends in front of the Gas & Sip. I'd had enough male-based heartbreak in my past to last 2 lifetimes. After a handful of men find reasons to leave you, you have a tendency to lock the front door.
But it was different now. Something was changing and I could feel it in the air. What's that song? "Somethin's Comin'"? Yep, I could sense it. It was a tingly feeling that I would get in the pit of my stomach, like small sparks or pinpricks. But just what was coming, I didn't know. For the last month or so, I'd been considering changing jobs. I had been in sales for 16 years. I met a lot of people, but it seemed to me that 90% of the time I was alone, driving on strange roads, flying in and out of airports. Although I didn't mind that part - I loved seeing America on my company's dime – something was missing now. I had accomplished everything I could, won every award, reached every goal, and attained every promotion, within the position. It was time for something new - a new challenge, a new opportunity, a new life?
No. This . . . feeling . . . it was more than just a job change. It felt . . . life-altering. Who or what or when, was anybody's guess.
Something told me I was close to an airport because I saw a plane go in for a landing. Of course, it was no O'Hare, but I was pretty sure the little metal object I saw was a plane. There was a small airport around here somewhere. I couldn't have been too far from the town. I didn't know what to do, and it was going to be dark soon. The last thing I wanted was to be on the side of a very lonely road (or what seemed like it to me) in the dark.
Just as the panic was starting to set in, I saw flashing red lights. A cop. Sweet Jesus I was saved. Most of the time, flashing red lights behind me were a very bad thing. Mostly because it meant I was speeding, and I rarely glanced at the speedometer when on an open road. If I had someplace to go, I wanted to get there.
He pulled up behind me, and I instantly became nervous – it was like a reflex. He opened his door, and got out of the car.
"Looks like you have some car trouble, young lady?" He smiled and started to walk towards me.
"I, uh, yes. Yes, sir." Why did I just call him sir? Dumbass. He seemed to be about my age. As he came closer, I suddenly felt myself hold my breath. He had bushy dark hair, dreamy brown eyes, and a mustache that for some reason I just wanted to feel caress my cheek, and then tickle my lip. Yikes, where did that come from?
He looked at me for a moment, probably because I was staring. "Excuse me, are you alright?"
"Yes, yes, I'm fine." Breathe. "I'm just. . . I was getting nervous being out here all alone. I don't know anything about cars, and well, I'm not from around here." Go ahead keep babbling, ya airhead.
He laughed. "Yeah, I can tell. First off, I think I know just about everyone from Forks down to Oil City. I'm the Chief of Police in Forks, Charlie Swan. Nice to meet you, er, Miz. . . .? He reached out to shake my hand. I took his. A good grip. Solid. My grandpa taught me all about "good handshakes" when I was little. He said you could get to know a man just by the way he shook your hand.
I returned the grip like grandpa taught me. "It's Miss. And please call me Catherine. Catherine O'Hara." We kept shaking hands, longer than acceptable. His hand was rough, but not in a bad way. I imagined what he'd done with his hands to make them that way. What he could do with those hands. He was looking at me with a funny expression on his face, as his head cocked to the side. His smile receded a bit, as if he was studying me, rather than out of dislike.
"Have we, uh, met before?" He was still shaking my hand.
"Not that I'm aware of," I replied, and gently removed my hand. He shook his head ever so slightly, as if he all of a sudden realized his staring.
"I'm sorry, you just look . . . oh, nothing." Ok, so that's weird. He started to walk towards the front of my car. "Well, let's take a look under here." He tried to open the hood, realized he couldn't, and began to walk back towards me. I started to back up when suddenly he reached out and pulled me right into his chest. I was still registering its firmness against my cheek when at precisely the same moment, a car whizzed by us doing what seemed like 150, which happened to be only half the pace of my pulse. My breath hitched a bit when my mind registered his scent, a wondrous mixture of inherent man – I couldn't begin to describe it. The tingle in my fingertips made me think momentarily on what it would feel like to run my hands over those very firm pects of his. Being the more conservative part of my body at the moment, my mind overruled, and my arms stayed at my sides. But I was acutely aware of Mr. Police Chief's arms firmly around me, with his hands on the small of my back.
"Um, I'm sorry, but I thought it best to pull you out of the way of that car." My eyes met his and I was sure I was seven shades of pink. The look on his face was a mix of concern, surprise, and something else I couldn't put my finger on. But it was his eyes. It was like a million and one lifetimes had been lived in them, but they were soft, like a velvet blanket all warm and inviting. I wanted to stare up into those beautiful brown eyes forever – they reminded me of chocolate.
"Yyyyes. Thank you. I . . . didn't see it coming." Ok, time to wake up. I pushed away carefully avoiding the street. I didn't think it was a good idea to be in the arms of the Police Chief any longer, and being that close to a man made me . . . uncomfortable. I walked up to the hood of the car. "You want to flip the button in there, and I'll get the hood?" I asked. Smooth. Real smooth. Now if I could just control my breathing. . .
His puzzled look lasted only a couple of seconds, but long enough for me to register it. "Yeah, sure." He opened the door, popped the button, and I immediately flipped the lever, pushed the heavy metal up, and rested the bar thingy in the proper place under the hood. At least I knew how to do that much. There was just a little bit of smoke now, but I happened to catch all of it on my next breath, and started to cough.
"Hey you might want to back up there a bit." He rushed over and put his hand on my back "You ok?" his concern evident. I put my hand up and nodded my head to indicate that I was ok.
"Yee (hack) ah (hack hack). I (hack) think I'll live." Could I be a bigger dork?
I walked two steps away from his burning hand on my back, as he turned to the front of the car. He waved his arm over the engine a few times to clear what was left of the smoke, and then bent over to see what he could see. My eyes immediately flew to his backside. Hmmm. Nice. Visions of my hands sliding gingerly over the perfectly-shaped . . . Yes, I was an ass girl. Criminy, Catherine. Just because the male admirers weren't breaking down your door didn't mean you had to go all Technicolor pornovision.
"Looks like you've got some trouble here. Radiator possibly, but something tells me it might be more than that. Do you know if they checked the oil before you left the car rental?"
"Uh, no clue. I would assume so – since it's a rental. Don't they do all that stuff before they rent you the car?" Geez, I was definitely a girl.
He laughed, took his head out of my engine, and proceeded to slam the hood. "Well, one would hope so, but by the looks of it, this time they didn't." In one movement, he glanced at his watch, leaned back on the hood of the car, and looked at me.
"Figures." I wrapped my arms around me and looked down at the gravel at my feet. Could my life get any more pathetic? I couldn't even take a road trip with out car-engine drama. I felt his eyes on me, and my peripheral vision told me they were. Again with the weird sensations, but this time I think it was like butterflies in the pit of my stomach. No, more like bats. The just-disturbed-from-their-perch-in-a-very-old-cave kind.
He did that head-nod thing toward me that all guys do as some caveman era way of saying hey without the word, as he asked, "Where ya headed?" I didn't even get the chance to reply, when he suddenly set-off back towards his squad car. Something told me he was as uncomfortable looking at me as I was him. I slowly followed, my arms still caging the fluttering in my stomach.
"Forks, to a place called Kalaloch Lodge. I'm staying there for a few weeks." Maybe longer. To find myself, although I didn't mention that part.
"Really?" He spun around and seemed genuinely pleased. "That's convenient. It's just right up the road. I hear that's a nice place. Never stayed there myself, but I've been in the place. There's a beautiful view of the water, and the sunsets . . .
". . . are amazing!" we both said at the same time. Our simultaneously laughter cut the tension, at least my tension, and the bats became manageable butterflies. Again he made the turn and walked toward his car.
"Do you have a side job, Chief Swan, of writing copy for their website?" I joked.
"Um, no," he stated bluntly. I laughed again. His gruffness was indeed charming.
He reached into his car and grabbed a radio "Tell you what, I'll take you up to the lodge, and put in a call to get your car towed to the local mechanic. You can call the rental place and see if they can get you another car out here. And please, call me Charlie."
I was minding my own business, driving back from a law enforcement conference in Seattle, when there she was on the side of the road. It's not like I couldn't stop. A cop not stopping for a stranded car, a stranded female, on the side of the road? Right.
She was in trouble, and I knew by the decidedly baffled, but undeniably cute way she was staring at the hood of her car and biting on her finger, as I parked behind her. Cute because I knew she didn't have a clue, and so much smoke was billowing out that for a fraction of second I thought the whole thing would go up.
And she was cute. No, not cute. Cute was a word reserved for those under 16. Attractive? Yes. Long, amber brown curls with a touch of gold highlights that made me just want to touch them, run my hands through them. Her eyes a shade blue like just off the coast right after a storm hits. Soft pale skin, with just the hint of life's journey around her eyes. Pale that would rival the Cullens, no doubt, but in a strangely appealing way. She was definitely Irish and definitely not older than me. She had an iPhone and laptop on the front seat. I didn't know anyone my age that owned either of those – or who brought them on vacation. Downright endearing in her lack of knowledge of cars, although she knew how to get the hood up. Did I just say endearing?
But there was something else about her. It was a calm yet also unsettling feeling. I thought maybe I'd seen her before, but that couldn't be because she said she wasn't from around here.
She sat mere feet from me now, staring out the window. I wasn't much of a conversationalist to begin with, but the inside of my head was shaping up to be a shit-storm.
My life was complicated enough, what with Bella, Edward, the Cullens, Jake, some of the kids on the Rez. Sue had clued me in on some things. I couldn't really deny any of it anymore, although I'd yet to wrap my head around it. In the back of my mind, realizing that my daughter, her husband, his family, AND my granddaughter were. . . well, something. I didn't necessary want to accept it, and Bella and I NEVER discussed it. My need-to-know basis was a comfortable place for me, like my chair and my remote. And Jake, well I couldn't very well deny what he'd just gone and showed me. I shuddered. Can't deny anything when it smack-dabbed morphs right in front of your face.
Sue. For crying out loud, Sue and I had just ended it not a couple of months ago. I shifted in my seat. We'd just decided it wasn't working, it just wasn't there for us. A decent break-up compared to Renee. Sue and I had just decided to be friends and then, for the last month, friends with benefits. But all of a sudden she'd told me she was done with that. I wondered if she had found someone else. She never gave any indication, but if there was, I'd soon find out. Either Billy would spill the beans, or I'd see her eventually with the guy around La Push.
Like a bucket of ice water to my head, she suddenly spoke. "So, have you lived in Forks all of your life?"
I kept my eyes on the road, not because I had to, but because it scared me to look at her. "Yep. Grew up here, married here, had a daughter here, got divorced here." I just barfed up my life story to her. Terrific.
"Oh, you were married? How old is your daughter? Does she live around here too?" I wonder if she ever considered a future in private investigation.
"Well, my daughter is, uh, nineteen and lives with her husband, their daughter, and his family on the outskirts of Forks." WHY DID I JUST TELL HER THAT?
"Nineteen? And she's married? Wow, that's unusual. But her being so close must be convenient for you, I suppose. I bet you see them all the time, then." She looked down into her lap then, and I sensed a change in her mood. Sadness.
"Yeah, it's convenient." Convenient, nervewracking, frustrating, terrifying. "What about you? Married? Divorced? Kids? Pets?" She sniffed a half-laugh and looked up at me. It was all I could do to remember one of us had to keep our eyes on the road.
Before I had to the chance to look away, she countered, "Am I asking too many questions?"
"No, no, not at all. But you haven't answered mine." I wanted to know. I needed to know. She wasn't getting out of the car until I did.
"Nope, nope, nope, and yes – 2 cats."
"You've never been married? Really? No kids? How'd you get so lucky?" I thought I'd pulled off the joke, but the pause and the faint sigh made me think otherwise.
"Oh, I don't know. Prince Charming is, after all, just a fairytale." Uh-oh. I'd hit a nerve. Redirect.
"So what brings you to Forks? It's not like we're a vacation destination."
"I was in Seattle on business, and just decided to see what's out here. I've never been to Washington before, so I googled around until I spotted Forks. I found the lodge." She paused contemplating something. "It sounded . . . peaceful. I needed to get away, ya know?" I nodded if only to keep her talking. "I mapquested my way from Seattle, and, well, here I am." She turned her gaze back out the window as if to end the discussion.
"What business are you in?" was the only thing I could think of to attempt to bring her back.
"What do you sell?"
It was like a tennis match. "Textbooks? How do you sell textbooks? Don't they have bookstores for that?" I hope I didn't sound too stupid.
She glanced back at me with a half smile. "I meet with professors on behalf of the publisher. The professors make a decision on what book to use for their course. Then they tell the bookstores which books to stock for the students to come in to buy. It sounds more glamorous than it is, although I do get to travel a lot and see the country. I do love going to new places and getting all touristy after the work is finished."
Glamorous? Not the word I would have used. Actually it sounded like a pain in the ass.
I made the turn into the lodge, and pulled up to the front of the main building where the lobby was. I wasn't sure where she was staying since there was the main lodge, the cabins, and then the other hotel that was off a ways and secluded.
She got out of the car so fast there was no time for me to be a gentleman, so I went to the trunk to get out her bags. "Let me help you inside with these." A part of me wanted to prolong our conversation, as much as it were.
"No, that's really ok. I can get them from here." She offered her hand to shake mine. "Thanks so much, Chief Swan. I'm not sure what I would've done if you hadn't come along."
I took her hand and shook it, but I couldn't let go. I liked her handshake; it was a good one - for a woman. "Oh, no problem. That's what I get a paycheck for – saving damsels in distress." I. Am. An. Idiot. "And please, it's Charlie."
"Yes. Charlie." She smiled. "Well maybe we'll run into each other again while I'm here. I plan on venturing into town a few of the days. Any suggestions on where I might go? Any good restaurants?"
Ah, an opening. "As a matter of fact, there's absolutely nothing. But I do have a favorite diner. It's not much, but it's good food and good people. It's my lifeblood actually. Maybe . . . maybe we could meet up for lunch one of the days you're in town? Or dinner even if your day's jam-packed?" Shut-up, Swan. But I took heart at the fact that her hand was still in mine, even though we'd quit the shaking.
"Uh, yes. Yes, that'd be nice."
"Ok then, I'll be in touch." She pulled her hand away then, and I walked back into my car. I chanced a glance out the rearview mirror and she was still standing there, looking at what I took to be the back of my head. Then her gaze caught mine in the mirror and as quickly as it did, she looked away even quicker, gathered up her bags, and began to walk into the main doors. It took all I had to drive away.
So close to the final objective. Oblivious humans. Although she had managed to save herself. Or rather, a member of law enforcement had happened upon her just at the moment of my greatest triumph. I would be heralded once this mission was accomplished – the Oracle had presented it to Aro, and subsequently to me, the benefits to my status amongst the guard if I were to bring about the fruition of this most important task. In fact, I would no longer suffer the bonds of mere servitude, but join the immediate ranks at Aro's side. My success wasn't even in question, as the Oracle had foretold both the eventual outcome and my reward. It was only a matter of time.
But I relished the hunt, the journey, if you will. I was outside the walls of relative captivity and basking in the adventure of traveling half way around the world. I hadn't ventured out of Italy since the 18th century, when I was still human. The new world was just that to me. I intended to savor this opportunity, and memorize the sights, sounds, and lessons I learned. For after I was "promoted", there was no telling what my next mission would be, or even if there would be another.
But most of all, I would take utmost pleasure in the human I was ordered to kill.
Thanks for reading. While you're still here, please let me know what you thought. Although I do have thick skin, this is my first fanfic, so please be gentle. ;)
If you're as gaga as I am over Twilight fanfic, please check out my pal Alexis Danaan's "A Place to Call Home". You won't be sorry.