Disclaimer: Visions of Our Destiny is a Twilight fan fiction, intended solely for the enjoyment of the readers. No copyright infringements are intended. Any original story directions and plot lines herein are the property of the author.
A/N: I want to give a HUGE Thank you to my beta Kiva, she takes my mess and makes it all pretty for you. Also, thanks & smooches to my pre-reader Cullen Sistah.
"Ugh…what I'd give to have my own personal stylist," I said out loud as I pushed each piece of clothing aside in my closet. "I'd let her dress me up like her own personal Barbie doll."
I truly had nothing worthy of a being packed for my semester abroad in Italy - nothing that said sophisticated or worldly. My wardrobe consisted of jeans, yoga pants and t-shirts.
I had left my packing for the last minute and it left me no time to go shopping for anything new. I had to make do with what I had. I began to hope I could hit a store or two after I arrived in Florence and add to my boring wardrobe with some stylish pieces. My flight was scheduled to land at Peretola Airport at 2pm. I could take a taxi to my apartment on campus, drop off my luggage, freshen up and then go for a stroll around town before I turned in for the night. I had plenty of time to learn my way around before I had to attend orientation at the university the following morning after I arrived.
I was haphazardly folding my clothes into the suitcase when my thoughts turned to how different my life would have been had I moved to Forks, Washington during my junior year of high school. My mother Renee remarried that year. Phil, her new husband, was a minor league baseball player and traveled a lot. Renee missed him and I began to feel like I was keeping her from her new husband. I made the decision to move to Forks to live with my father, who still resided in the town I was born in. But destiny intervened and my life headed in a different direction when my father Charlie, the sheriff, was killed during a stand-off with a bank robber a week before I was to arrive.
My mother, Phil and I returned to Forks for my father's funeral. It seemed as though the whole town was in attendance, including the entire Quileute reservation from La Push. This was my mother's first time back since she left my father when I was a baby. She felt tied down in the small town and took me with her when she moved out, leaving Charlie alone. I hadn't been back to Forks since I was a little girl and would spend a month each summer with my father.
At the funeral, my father's best friend Billy Black and his son Jacob never left my side. I really didn't remember Jacob very much, but he said we used to play together when we were children. It was nice having him there. Knowing at least one person was comforting. They gave my father the traditional funeral for a law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty: his badge was retired after a last call and bagpipes played Amazing Grace, followed by TAPS on the bugle before a 21-gun salute and the presentation of the flag that draped his coffin, which was given to me. It was wrought with emotion, but re-assuring to see him honored by so many people.
I miss Charlie. We weren't as close as I wish we had been, but he was still a wonderful father and I regretted not having been able to spend more time with him. Phil eventually got a contract signed by the Jacksonville Suns and we moved from our home in Arizona to Florida. I finished high school without much fanfare and received a scholarship to the University of Miami.
I fell in love with Miami as soon as I arrived. It was a city that never slept and a cornucopia of cultures. Living among the vast assortment of people from different walks of life turned me on to Languages in college. I worked nights at a local restaurant where I learned to mix drinks. I made great tips and, together with Charlie's pension and my earnings, I saved enough money to buy myself a small apartment in a nice neighborhood.
I made a few friends at work and school, dated several losers & fell in lust with a few of those losers, too. There wasn't really one of them worth writing home about, but I was young and having fun.
It was in my third year of school when I applied for a semester abroad. I waited patiently for the three months it took for my acceptance letter to arrive and was thrilled when I had been chosen to attend the University of Florence. I arranged for an apartment on campus and I couldn't wait to see all the places from the books and tourist guides I had diligently read as soon as I knew I was headed for Italy. I looked forward to visiting the artistic sites such as the Pitti Palace, Michelangelo's famous sculpture of David, and the Ponte Vecchio Bridge which was the oldest of its kind in Florence. I couldn't wait to stroll around town, order a gelato at an authentic Italian cafe, and catch a magnificent view of Florence at sunset from Michelangelo's Piazza.
I was already running late when I arrived at Miami International Airport and going through the security took much longer than I expected. They had begun to call my flight as I sprinted towards the gate. I stopped to show my ticket to the attendant.
"Enjoy your flight, Ms. Swan," she said, looking at my boarding pass before smiling and handing my ticket back to me.
"Thank you," I called back as I turned to run the long corridor that led to the open door of the airplane.
After squeezing my way past the other passengers to my window seat, I let out the breath I had been holding since I began the race to make my flight. I settled in to my seat for the long flight ahead and was glad I brought my laptop along to read from the fan fiction site I had become addicted to. I also hoped to get a few hours of sleep in before the flight was through.
After a restful flight, that went on for far too long, the pilot was making his final announcement on our approach in to Florence. "Passengers, we just began our descent into Peretola Airport. The local time is 1:45pm, light winds out of the south and we are looking for an on time arrival today. We should be on the ground shortly. Flight attendants are preparing for landing and I hope everyone enjoys their stay in Florence, Italy."
The passengers applauded and began to bustle around for their belongings as they made their way off the plane. After retrieving my bags, I stood outside the airport to hail a taxi. The driver stepped out, smiled and placed my luggage in the trunk.
I slid on to the seat and greeted the driver as he sat behind the wheel. I asked him to take me to the University, happy to finally be using the Italian I'd learned, "Buongiorno, Università degli Studi di Firenze, per favore."
"non sì, nessun problema," he replied, with a nod and a smile as he pulled away towards the traffic on its way out of the airport.
As we drove through the windy streets of the ancient city, I took out the map of the campus from my purse. I thought it best to start learning my way around before I arrived. I caught a few glances of the city through the window. It was breath-taking. The architecture was amazing and overwhelming in its historical significance. Looking at my surroundings, my nerves began to affect me with the enormity of what I was about to embark upon. I was alone in another country, where I didn't know my way around. Although I had taken a few courses of Italian, I was nowhere near fluent in the language. I hoped that once I had found my apartment, settled in and took a walk, I would lose the jitters and begin to enjoy my new home.
When I finally arrived at the campus apartments I was greeted at the door by a plump, nice looking woman holding a clipboard. "Buongiorno, è il nome si prega di," she asked without lifting her eyes from the paper.
"Buongiorno, my name is Isabella Marie Swan."
"Si, appartamento 2A. Prendere l'ascensore al secondo piano," she confirmed my living accommodation and gave directions, pointing to the elevators.
The apartment was small and I was glad I had paid a bit more for the luxury of not having to share with a roommate. The apartment came fully furnished with a sofa and coffee table in the living room, a small wooden table with two chairs in the kitchen and a twin-sized bed and a night stand in the bedroom. The walls were painted a crisp, institutional white and the living room was flooded with sunlight from the window draped with a flower printed curtain that over-looked the campus.
I looked out the window, pushing the curtain aside with my hand. The campus was beautiful; the buildings were centuries old with long walkways surrounded by tress and sculptures. My nervous jitters had begun to turn to excitement as I saw the people walking and talking to each other, headed to different places for the night. Perhaps, this was going to be the place where my life took a turn for the best - where I would discover my destiny.
I put my clothes away in the tiny closet and lined my toiletries along the shelf in the bathroom. I took a hot shower and changed into my comfortable, boring clothes. I grabbed my purse and headed out walking off campus.
Night had just begun to fall upon the city and everything was simply beautiful, illuminated by the moonlight. Lights adorned the stone walls and everything looked like it was taken right out of a fairy-tale. I reached the Piazza Santissima Annunziata, which was one of Florence's most beautiful squares. The pillars, the fountains, the cafe's were all like the pictures I had seen in the books. I could not believe I was there. I really wanted to learn my way around, to become familiar with the city, to have it feel like home.
I reached a small area of shops that had beautiful window displays and every store owner looked at me and smiled as I passed. It was there, standing outside a quaint boutique, that I met the person that would change my life forever.
She walked up to me, breathed me in and breathed, "You smell lovely."
I hadn't noticed her walk up to me. I didn't hear her foot steps. She was pale with purple eyes. I pulled slightly away and raised my eyebrows at her. What a strange thing to say to someone. "Thank you. I guess."
"Please excuse my forwardness," she apologized with a smile that dazzled. "My name is Heidi. From your accent I assume you are American. I too am American and miss the aromas of home."
"Oh…sorry for my reaction," I said with a chuckle. "It just sounded like you wanted to eat me."
"Have you been in Italy long?" she asked as we began to walk slowly through the square.
"No I just arrived and was taking a walk."
"Are you here on a family vacation?"
"No. I am here for a semester at the university. I don't know anyone yet and was hoping to make friends and learn my way around."
"Well then, let me show you around. I am a tour guide and I so miss speaking to other Americans. I would love to take you to see the Castle of Volterra. It's a 50km tour that takes you through the small towns and tourist spots between here and Volterra and then brings you back here to the square. I have an excursion that leaves shortly. On our way there, you can fill me in on everything that is going on back home in the States."
I thought about it for a moment, she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, dressed beautifully in what looked like high-end Italian fashion; right off a runway. She pointed out a small tour bus filled with people. I did want to learn my way around and didn't know anyone in the city. Perhaps she and I could be friends.
"I think I'll take you up on your offer and you can tell me about the local spots to go for some fun and tell me the places I should avoid. I wouldn't want to become one of those people that go missing in a strange country."
She laughed and led the way to the bus. We took our places on the front seat closest to the door. She sat by me and began to point out all the different places on our way to Volterra.
A/N: So what do think? This is my first attempt at fan fiction and I am very excited to share this story with you. Please be nice, but let me know if this is a story you'd like me to continue. If you tell me I'll share my cookies & Cullentinis... you know you want one of those. *hugs & smooches*