I Can't Believe It's Not Canon Contest Entry
Title: A Battle Lost
Author Name: Nowforruin
Summary: Edward meets Bella in their first biology class, and according to canon, immediately runs away to save her. But what if he hadn't been that strong? What if he wasn't able to force himself to flee to Denali, and instead allowed the predator side of him to take over?
Huge thanks to Bookgeek80 for being an awesome (if much abused) beta.
Edward Cullen was none too pleased, to put it politely. And Edward Cullen was always very polite.
He sat at his lab table, stewing. He could feel the blackness in his eyes crawling down his spine, curling up in his gut, and making itself right at home. It had all started at lunch, when he couldn't read the thoughts of that damned new girl, never mind the protective twitch he had felt at Jessica Stanley's crass thoughts. Edward only felt protective over his own family; the humans and their interactions with each other were of no consequence to him. But for some reason this one was, and that made his granite skin tingle with agitation. It was all compounded by the fact that his last hunting trip had been over two weeks prior.
Isabella – no, wait, Bella Swan was really pissing him off.
But unfortunately for her – or perhaps fortunately – she had no idea what she was doing to him. When her shuffled path into Edward's biology class took her directly in front of the vent blowing hot air right in his direction, he stiffened visibly, venom coursing down his throat as her scent slammed into him. The blackness grew claws, growling from the pit of his stomach, and threatened to explode through his marble skin.
It was at that moment the shy girl with the wide brown eyes chanced a glance at Edward Cullen. Her cheeks flooded with shame instantly; the look on his face made her feel two inches tall. She didn't know it, but she was lucky to feel the way she did, and to wear her emotions so openly upon her face...the look of horror spreading across her features was the only thing keeping Edward firmly on his bar stool.
Forced to sit beside him, Bella Swan spent most of that period hiding behind her long, dark hair. She thought it was protecting her from Edward's black gaze, but what she didn't know was that her scent flooded his senses each time she brushed her fingers through her hair. When Bella was nervous, she played with her hair, and Edward made her very nervous. In turn, he had to force himself to hold his breath each time her fingers absently twisted the strawberry-scented locks.
It was torture.
Unfortunately for Edward, he couldn't count the number of times he had sat through a junior-level biology class. He was bored, stressed, and found it difficult to concentrate on anything besides the girl next to him. He could very nearly feel his eyes darkening as he studied her from the corner of his vision, debating his options.
What he wanted, what the monster trapped behind his ribs like a criminal behind bars wanted, was to attack. He ran the scenario through his head, but found no way in which he could take pleasure in this pale, clumsy girl without inciting a riot. There were too many witnesses. Edward was fast, the fastest of his family in fact, but he wasn't that fast. The monster growled, rattling its cage, and Edward dug his fingers into the bottom of the lab table so hard that dust fell to the dirty tile below. He couldn't suppress the growl that involuntarily slipped through his lips, but had the decency to keep it so quiet that the only way Bella could have known was if she had felt the vibration in his chest. Edward had no intention of allowing that to happen.
No, the classroom was not going to do, not at all. Deep down, Edward knew that he should leave town, and leave the girl, Bella, alive. He swallowed another thick mouthful of venom, the burn in the back of his throat nearly intolerable. His eyes darted toward the clock; it had only been twenty minutes.
Bella Swan was horrified, but quickly growing angry. Who was this Edward Cullen, with his jet black eyes and hateful stare, to treat her so horribly? She had been in his presence for a mere twenty minutes, and in his town for less than a week; what could she possibly have done to offend him so? And if she had done something, why couldn't he just spit it out? Why did he have to look at her like he wished her dead, when she already felt awkward and out of place in this cold, sodden town?
The shock of her initial dismay wore off quickly. Edward stopped trying to control himself, and just stared at Bella Swan. He breathed deeply, savoring the burn coursing down his throat, feeding the monster's wrath with the flames. He wanted her, and he was going to have her. His eyes traced the bluish vein in her neck, watching as it jumped erratically. Bella could feel his eyes on her, and it made her heart race. Why, she couldn't say.
Edward could. He didn't need to be able to read her thoughts to smell the fear coming off her in waves. What Edward didn't know was that Bella wasn't afraid he would hurt her; she was afraid he hated her. He drank it in nonetheless, which pleased the fiend to no end. He knew he would have to do something, anything, shortly. If the monster was allowed to take over completely, his sister would ruin all their fun. Edward knew it was only a matter of time before Alice caught up with his scheme, but he was counting on her being distracted while school was in session. So Edward placated the demon, forcing his thoughts away from Bella Swan. He stared blankly ahead, but grinned behind his hateful stare.
Edward Cullen had a plan.
It wouldn't do for anyone to see them together; Edward was a good kid and all, but this was the police chief's daughter. Edward needed an alibi for when she went missing, and he needed it to be air tight. His thoughts caught Mike Newton fantasizing about the way Bella's breasts would bounce during their shared gym class, and he knew what he would do.
Edward knew if Alice hadn't stormed into the biology class yet under some false pretense, she wasn't going to now; she must have been concentrating very hard on her husband after his near slip at lunch. Jasper had also considered letting the monster take over that day while surrounded by the lunchroom crush of humans, and Edward had given him away without thinking about the worry it would cause Alice. He silently apologized as his throat burned, but he was glad Alice was distracted. It left Edward room to think.
Bella Swan was a clumsy girl. It wouldn't be hard to entice her away from her gym class; Edward doubted very much that Bella wanted any part of gym. A small, final favor he would grant her before he pulled her life down into his greedy throat. The same twinge of protectiveness he had felt for her in the cafeteria invaded his thoughts again, and he vowed that he would make it as painless for her as possible. He wanted to be man enough to say he would make it fast, but that was a lie.
And Edward? He wasn't a man.
Mike Newton was already planning to walk Bella to their shared gym class. Though the monster snarled at the thought of Mike's hands anywhere near Bella Swan, Edward would let him play his little game. People would see Edward walking to the parking lot and getting in his car. Maybe for good measure, he would even drive somewhere. Perhaps to the hospital to see Carlisle? That would be an excellent cover. Edward Cullen wouldn't skip class on any less than impeccable grounds, after all.
Of course, Edward had no intention of seeing Carlisle. He intended to return to Forks High, and lead Bella Swan off into the woods. He would steal her so quickly that the humans would think it impossible for him to have been anywhere but at the hospital. That was the beauty of his plan.
He wondered what the best way would be to get Bella away from the school. Taking a look at her once again, he knew the perfect pretense for stealing away her time. He would introduce himself properly, and then he would apologize. Human girls were suckers for apologies, especially if he could make it sound sincere. Edward wasn't worried; he had had a century to perfect the art of deceiving humanity.
But he would only approach Bella after Mike Newton had slunk off, of course. Mike wouldn't want to be late for class, and judging by his memory of Bella's behavior at lunch, she wouldn't encourage his puppy dog behavior. That pleased the monster greatly, but only puzzled Edward. He looked over at her again, noticing how creamy her skin looked against the bluish veins.
A very curious thing happened next. Edward noticed the swell of Bella's breasts, and the way her quick breaths forced them to move beneath her sweater. He noticed how soft her hair looked as it tumbled over her shoulders, and longed to reach out and touch it. The monster growled as Mike Newton's thoughts echoed Edward's, and another shower of dust fell to the floor beneath the biology table.
Edward tore his gaze away from Bella, his hatred for her flaring. Who was this girl to come to his town and disrupt his peace? They had only been in Forks for just over a year, and he wasn't ready to pack up the entire house and leave – again. With the excuse of going away to college, there was easily another six years to be spent in Forks. It was Bella Swan's fault that the family just might have to depart early; it was Bella Swan's fault that for the first time in nearly eighty years, Edward could practically taste human blood flowing over his tongue.
It was also Bella's fault that Edward felt something stirring between his legs for the first time in his vampire life. He had never told his siblings, but Edward had become all but certain over the last century that that part of him had died for good back in Chicago all those years ago. He was stunned to find himself mistaken, and the monster cackled merrily.
The realization didn't do him any good; Edward knew Bella Swan wouldn't make it till midnight alive. That realization only made him hate her more.
When the bell finally rang, Edward threw himself out of his chair and into the hallway. He nearly gave himself away with his speed, but the thoughts of those surrounding him reflected only the usual opinions. There goes Edward Cullen, they thought, rushing away like he's so fucking important. Where the hell does he need to be?
It was Mike Newton's thoughts that nearly stopped Edward in his tracks. What did Bella do to Cullen? He looks like he's in pain. And then a moment later, well, whatever she did, good for her. She probably just failed to fall all over him like every other girl in the damn place.
Ignore Newton, the monster soothed. She'll be yours soon.
That thought comforted Edward, and he began to execute his plan. Knowing that Chief Swan didn't typically patrol the streets of Forks on Monday mornings, Edward tore through the town. He was at the hospital in five minutes and back to the school in less than a minute. Seven and a half minutes had passed since Edward had walked out of biology, and he stuck to the shadows as he reentered the school. Gym class allowed ten minutes at the beginning of class for students to change, and there were five minutes between classes allotted for traveling the campus. Edward was counting on the clumsy girl being reluctant to get changed for class, and hoped to find her lingering outside the locker room.
Following her scent through the hallways, Edward heard her voice as she spoke with Mike Newton in the hallway. She was trying to get rid of him, but seemed afraid to just tell him to piss off. The monster growled, and this time, Edward didn't bother to fully suppress the growl.
Mike Newton didn't know he'd heard the growl, but he had. His subconscious kicked in, and he finally gave in to Bella's insistence that they change for class. He scurried off, and she lingered in the hallway taking several deep breaths.
"Hello," Edward said quietly as he stepped into her view, forcing his tone to be level. Bella was startled, and her cheeks flushed once again, which pleased the monster no end. Her heart thumped wildly in her chest, but she didn't turn away. "I'm Edward Cullen. I didn't get a chance to introduce myself in class."
"Hi," she replied quietly, her pulse jumping erratically though her eyes were steady on his face. "Decided to talk to me all of a sudden?" The words were firm, but her cheeks deepened their crimson shade.
Edward chuckled in spite of himself. "I actually wanted to apologize. You see, I've had a bit on my mind, and I fear I was very rude to you."
"So you decided to make me late for class?"
Edward remembered Bella's opinion of gym from Mike Newton's memories. "Do you really want to go to gym class that badly?" he teased, knowing from the look on her face that Bella Swan had had just about enough of Forks High for one day. He may not have been able to read her thoughts, but he had spent the last century studying people, and he knew she had no desire to go into the girl's locker room, and even less desire to spend more time with Mike Newton. Edward smiled the crooked smile he knew silly high school girls – and even grown women – practically stripped their clothes off at the sight of.
Bella's breath hitched in her throat, and the fiend cheered.
"No," she said, her eyes brightening at Edward's seemingly good mood. Bella believed him then, that it was some unknown stress that had caused his bizarre behavior. She felt drawn to him, and wanted to ease his troubles. She took a step closer to him without meaning to, electricity crackling in the air.
The demon smiled Edward's crooked smile as he opened his mouth to speak once again. "I know it's your first day and all, but do you want to ditch gym? You could always say you got lost."
"And where would I go instead?"
"I know a place." Edward watched as she gnawed on her lip, wishing he had Alice to tell him what Bella would decide. But he quickly decided it was better this way, with Alice obsessively watching her husband's future. Edward knew he was safer without his sister's mind open to everyone's futures.
But the monster growled in frustration and Edward had to admit the truth: he couldn't stand not knowing what Bella was thinking.
It will all be over soon, he told himself, watching her as the seconds dragged by. He ignored the twinge of sadness that came out of nowhere as he considered a world without Bella Swan. The burn in his throat was too strong; he needed to have her. He would have her.
Edward held his hand out to Bella, holding his breath like some poor human as he waited for her to react. She hesitated only a second before placing her hand in Edward's. She gasped at the coldness of his skin, but didn't pull away.
The monster enjoyed that, but Edward liked it even more.
Her skin soft in his hand, he led her from the building, careful not to be seen. There was a small footpath that wound away from the school, and he had them hidden in the shadows of the trees in no time. As the forest closed in around them, Edward began to let the monster take over more and more. He wanted to feel Bella Swan pressed against him, so he dropped her hand and grabbed her waist instead. She gasped, and Edward heard her heart begin to race all the more quickly, but she didn't pull away.
The rain fell lightly on the leaves high above them, but beneath the canopy of darkness, no droplets fell on the two figures, dwarfed by the old forest. Bella knew she should be afraid, but she wasn't. Edward Cullen was a good kid, if a little quiet. There was no reason to be afraid. He had sought her out to apologize for his earlier behavior, and had smiled so charmingly at her. Plus, he had saved her from gym class, almost as if he intuitively knew that Bella hated gym class. It seemed very unlikely that her original presumption of his hatred toward her was correct.
He was also the most beautiful man Bella had ever seen, and he seemed just as drawn to her as she was to him. She wondered if he would kiss her in those dark woods; she wished that he would.
Bella let Edward lead her deeper and deeper into the forest, not caring where they went. She breathed deeply, his scent heavenly even when mixed with the damp moss of the surrounding trees. She barely even noticed how hard his arm felt wrapped tightly around her soft body.
He stopped eventually, and before Bella could speak, pulled her fragile body against his solid chest and kissed her.
Precious seconds went by as Edward's lips moved against Bella's before she finally responded. With one arm wrapped securely around her waist, he pulled her ever more tightly against him, loving how soft her curves felt against his skin. Edward wanted to savor his time with her, and as she began to kiss him back, he wondered how long he could drag it out. The monster would never allow Bella Swan to walk out of the forest, but the man Edward had been would never allow him to force himself on her. He chuckled silently, recognizing the irony. Edward wouldn't force sex on the girl, but he would allow himself to take her life.
Of course as Bella pressed her delicate body to his, Edward began to wonder if maybe he wouldn't have to force anything on this girl. The crackle of electric passion between them was undeniable; Edward almost regretted his plan, knowing he was unlikely to ever experience anything like it ever again. Bella moaned against Edward's mouth as his tongue tasted her lips, and it was all he could do not to bite into them.
Realizing Bella wasn't breathing, Edward ripped his lips away from hers. She sucked in deep breaths, her knees weak from lack of oxygen. Edward didn't let up on his assault of her skin, his lips trailing along her jaw and down to her neck. The venom burned his throat while the scent of her blood became stronger. He rubbed his nose along the thin skin just behind her ear, savoring the scent of her. Edward had been off the human diet for decades, but nothing had ever smelled like this before.
Bella Swan was the most delectable woman Edward Cullen had ever met, and yet he still remained determined to take her life.
Edward tightened his grip on Bella's waist, pressing his lips to her neck. She melted against him, her own lips dropping light kisses wherever she could find exposed skin. In the back of his head, Edward marveled that she was completely and utterly unafraid of him, the horror that had filled her eyes in the biology room replaced instead with the fires of lust. Then his lips found the sensitive spot on Bella's neck just under her jaw, and she moaned against him once again.
He could feel the vibration in her chest with her pressed so tightly to him, and the monster roared its approval. Edward closed his eyes, the venom pooling on his tongue, and sank his sharp teeth into Bella's butter-soft skin.
It all happened too quickly for her to protest. Bella felt the sharp sting of Edward's teeth against her neck, and then the blackness began to descend. He pulled the blood from her body greedily, gorging himself. He ignored the slivers of regret his mind allowed to bubble to the surface; he ignored the reactions he knew his family would have. He had to have Bella Swan, and nothing else mattered.
"Edward! Edward, stop! You're killing her!" Alice's voice, far off, but still incredibly loud, slammed into his high. Go away, he thought irritably, swallowing another mouthful of the delicious nectar. I can't make this last forever as it is.
But it was too late. Vice-like hands circled around Edward's arms, while pale fingers gingerly grasped at Bella's body. The taste of her blood fresh in his mouth, Edward was startled to see his brothers on either side of him. Jasper's jaw was tight, and Edward could tell he refused to breathe. He fought against his brothers, the monster's roar tearing free from his lips. Emmett met Jasper's stare over Edward's struggling head, and they began to haul him off deeper into the forest.
Edward was too lost in the high of Bella's blood to realize where they were going until it was too late. The white house reared up from the clearing, and Edward snapped out of his blood-coma when he heard the agonizing shrieks of a female voice. Bella.
"You owe me a grand," Emmett told Jasper. He spoke without regard for Edward's presence, and Edward ignored him just as thoroughly, struggling to find Alice's thoughts in the chaos of the house. She was in a panic, wondering how to best tell Carlisle what Edward had done. She felt bad for the girl writhing before her, pleading to be allowed to die, and she felt worse for the girl's father. The demon struggled against the brothers' grip as Edward saw Bella's blood-stained shirt and skin through Alice's eyes.
"What's going on?" Edward demanded of his brothers, still unable to process what had just occurred.
"Dude, you nearly killed the new girl. Alice saw you just in time." Emmett grinned, shaking his head and signaling to Jasper to release the shell-shocked Edward; the monster had ceased fighting as soon as the words were spoken. "She's changing, man. Hope you picked well, 'cause you just made yourself a mate."
"Isabella Swan! You bit her. What the hell was in her blood that's got you all tripped out? You bit her. The venom is in her system. Alice looked into the future, and decided it was better to let her change than die. You get to be happy, bro." Emmett clapped his brother on the shoulder and walked toward the house, leaving Edward dumbfounded in the middle of the yard. The rage he had been feeling was completely gone, and in its place was an odd sort of contentment. Bella's blood raced through Edward's body, and he swore his skin looked more pink than usual. Edward knew it was his imagination – or maybe just wishful thinking.
Jasper followed after Emmett, but walked ahead to enter the house. He was worried about Alice, and he was worried about the girl, but a tiny part of him was pleased it was Edward's slip up this time. When Carlisle returned and a plan had to be formed, this time it wouldn't be Jasper standing shamefully at the edge of the group with scarlet eyes. It would be Edward...and Bella, if Alice had her way.
Emmett stopped at the doorway once Jasper had gone inside, turning to examine Edward. He was dismayed to see the guilt coating his brother's face; Emmett knew what Edward had felt for Isabella, the siren's song of her blood calling to him. Emmett had been there, and fared no better. The only difference was Alice's vision; Alice was certain Edward had fallen in love with Bella the moment he had laid eyes on her. As they rushed through the woods to stop him from killing her, Alice had assured them that Bella's change was necessary. If she were to die, Edward would never recover.
The only catch was that in Alice's vision, Bella woke up pissed. In her book, the follow up to a first kiss was most definitely not an introduction to immortality. Edward would bear the brunt of her wrath, and he would do nothing to stop her. By the time Bella opened her newly crimson eyes, Edward would have sunken back into full-blown brooding.
Emmett wondered if he should warn his brother about the rage newborn Bella would fly into, but decided against it. Emmett loved his brother dearly, but Edward could be a cocky bastard. He had some nerve attacking the police chief's daughter on her first day at Forks High, especially when he was usually the poster boy of ascetic behavior. Emmett also knew from Alice that Edward couldn't read Bella's thoughts. It would make it all the more amusing to watch Bella beat Edward in a fight; without the ability to predict her every move, Edward would surely lose against newborn strength combined with the wrath of a woman. Emmett very much looked forward to seeing Edward taken down a peg or two.
Leaving Edward in the mist to contemplate what he had done, Emmett turned to enter the house. He chuckled lightly under his breath as he pictured Edward as the one pinned to the ground for once and by a girl no less. Maybe he'll even lighten up a bit. Guy's been awfully moody the last twenty years or so, Emmett thought to himself as he climbed the stairs. He opened the door to the guest room, Bella's screams already beginning to fade into whimpers as her throat became raw. Alice's face was drawn up in concern, Jasper at her side. Emmett nodded at them both, drawing up a chair to settle in and wait.
In the yard below, Edward listened to Bella's pain and watched through Alice's eyes. As the realization of what he had done began to finally sink in, the monster cackled with glee. The battle was over, and Edward Cullen had lost.