Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight. I also do not originally own the plot to this story. Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight, while JasperIsAManlyMan is the one who originally came up with the idea of this story. I adopted it from them several years ago.
Summary: Edward Cullen didn't expect to find love with Bella Swan, a girl who isn't as human as she appears. And, while he was only mildly surprised at how she burned him, he didn't expect to burn her too.
Now, as you can tell from the disclaimer - as well as the published, updated, and status of this story from above, it's already done, and has been for a while. That said, I have decided to redo the first four chapters -combining the first two chapters together, as well as the third and fourth while also making them more mine and having them fit the story a bit better. Originally, when I first put this up, I did some work to the first four chapters, but left them the way that the original author had them.
Well, a recent read-through of the story - I'm planning on editing a good portion of my stories, complete or otherwise, plus, I needed to get back into the universe this story takes place in for the sequel - showed that, besides the fact that some of my chapters need some work done ot them, but these first four chapters just don't fit in well with the rest of the story. So, I've decided that I'm going to make them more my own. I am also combining them, so this and the next chapter are actually two chapters content.
I believe, for the first two chapters, this actually looks a lot better than it originally did. It fits me more, and fits the story a bit better. Now, the story is in first person point of view. It's mostly Bella's point of view, but there are bits of Edward in here.
Secrets and Encounters
Bella's Point of View
Had I been more normal, I was sure that there would be a hard lump in my throat and hot tears trying to fall from my eyes. As it was, I had my jaw clenched tightly as I fought to keep myself under control, my body begging for me to give into the hunger it felt. I refused, turning to board the plane that would take me to Seattle, and my father. I knew my mother, Renée, didn't understand why I felt the need to leave. Even after I sat down in my seat, I could still taste her confusion and hurt on the back of my tongue. It was a rather distasteful flavor, a mixture of lemon and black licorice, and should have been easily overshadowed by the flavors of everyone else around me. Still, being my mother, I was more in tuned to her than them, and so her emotions were the prominent ones that danced on my tongue.
There was a part of me, a small, drowned part of me, that wanted to go back. That part wanted to tearfully explain why my staying would end up only hurting her – everyone around us – in the long run. I wanted to reveal the only secret I'd truly wanted to keep from her, wanted to tell her why I'd been so withdrawn for the past year, why I'd become even more of a recluse after the accident. I wanted to tell her the real reason why I wanted to leave.
But, there was also another part, stronger than the drowned one, harder to control, that wanted to go back for an entirely different reason. This was the part of me that was the reason for my leaving. This was the part, when I chose to feel, that scared me the most.
This want was the part of me that wanted to go back, just to feel the energy and emotions running like electric charges through her veins.
This was the part of me that begged me to let my instincts take control and pull the emotion right out of her. It was the part of me that wanted to make her feel so intensely that her body became exhausted by the effort. It was the part of me that wanted to take the energy that her emotions would inspire and her body required, to make it my own until her heart didn't have the strength to beat, her lungs couldn't find the energy to expand, and her brain lost its ability to send signals to her vital organs, which would eventually cause everything to just shut down.
It would kill her, of course, but, the part that wanted this, the part that I did everything to control, didn't care about that. That part of me – a predator who only cared about itself – just wanted to be sated. That part of me, which had become stronger the longer I denied it, didn't care who it killed. It didn't care if it killed the woman sitting in front of me, whose sadness coated my tongue like rich dark chocolate. Nor did it care if I killed the teenager across the isle from me, whose fear was the unappealing taste of copper. Any of them would do, just so long as it's hunger was sated.
This predator was the reason why I had to get out of Phoenix. There were so many people – so much fundamental energy fueling everyone, from the smallest child to the oldest adult. It thrummed in every single cell of every living person. So many rampant emotions, coating my tongue with flavor after flavor all day long, teasing it with the tiny tastes of the feast I'd forbidden myself to eat.
It was a constant temptation, a never ending war of hunger versus morals. And it was a tiring war as well. Not only were my own emotions run raw – my humanity seeming to slip away, leaving an apathetic person in it's place – but my resistance were beginning to wear down. Phoenix, being a city, meant that people could easily go missing without a whole lot of trouble, something that weighed on my mind. Not only did I not know how long it would be before I snapped and killed someone, but it wasn't only my mother in danger. Phil – her husband; someone in my class at school, or even the random stranger on the street could easily be a victim of mine. It was the idea of taking one of the lives of those who no one cared about, who were so tempting in that I could easily dispose of them, and no one would care about it.
That was why I had to get out. I couldn't stand the idea of killing someone I knew or a stranger, but it was the idea of killing one who no one cared about that haunted me the most. I couldn't risk the predator winning, couldn't risk hurting anyone. I needed to get away before I did hurt someone...again.
Without my permission, a face that I had been trying to forget, one that had been haunting me for almost a year, appeared in my mind. A harried looking face, painfully thin, with a pinched mouth; small, hectic brown eyes; short, rumpled, gray-streaked brown hair. He looked harmless, but his face was agonizing to look at. It was agonizing because I'd made sure that those brown eyes would never show life again.
The agony this face caused me broke through my indifference, causing me to ground my teeth together and my hands to clench into fists. The tears feel of tears that had been absent when I left my mother tried to make an appearance, and I squeezed my eyes shut to keep from crying. While I had a year to get used to my crime, there were still times when his face made me want to weep, particularly when it came when I didn't want to remember it.
I'm sorry, I thought, wishing that he could hear. It was an accident. I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know how to stop myself. These apologetic pleas meant nothing, though. Just as I had caused the life to disappear from him and allow his eyes to never see again, his ears would hear nothing I said.
I clenched my fists tighter, anger running through me. She'd promised that the dead faces went away after a while. She'd sworn that, given time, the memories wouldn't hurt anymore. But, then, why was I holding onto her promises? She was a liar and a murderer. I knew that for a fact. I was conveniently ignoring that the only reason why what she had said hadn't happened was because I had been refusing to let it happen, still thinking about it and keeping it fresh while refusing to forgive myself for it.
I felt desperate to keep from forgiving myself for killing him, to keep myself from letting what she'd said actually become true. Instead, I forced myself to believe that the real reason why the memories had just faded for her was because she was used to killing – something that wasn't entirely untrue, after all. She was cold, and didn't seem to care about whose family she tore apart at all.
I didn't deserve to forget about him and be forgiven. This torturous regret was my penance, a penance I would endure forever.
The memory of the man I'd killed was just one cog of why I couldn't stay in Phoenix any longer, though. Not only was my resistance wearing down, but I could no longer stand to be in Phoenix, because everything seemed to a reminder of what I'd done. And, despite my resolution to to pay a penance for what I'd done to him, I could stand being reminded of him.
However, there was a less moral and more person reason for leaving Phoenix as well. I'd been sixteen when I'd become...what I was – it was still hard to even think the word – and, though no one seemed to notice that I had neither grown nor changed in any way since the accident, I knew that I wouldn't be able to avoid detection for much longer.
So, my need to move to Forks were because of several reasons. Firstly, the town had a much smaller population than Phoenix did. Not only did that mean that there were be less of a struggle for me with the lack of compressing emotions that Phoenix had, but I no doubt would find it harder to feed off of a stranger, since I was sure that, in a town like it, people knew pretty much everything about everyone.
And, well, I hadn't seen my dad, Charlie, since the year before the accident, having chosen not to see him this summer. I might have a little time before he noticed that something was off about me – a little time before I had to disappear. And, with there being a lot of conveniently located woods to get 'lost' in, woods that would be easy to take a walk in one day and never come back, the rain that was pretty much a permanent fixture around Forks washing my scent away, and a lot of animals that had the ability to eat a human girl, Forks would be a good place for me to disappear from. And I owned my father time to at least get to know me more than he had in the past, since I usually only saw him two weeks during summer.
He deserved to have some time with me before I disappeared – and I even knew exactly when I would be doing it, too. I would be staying here for the rest of my junior and senior years, and well into what should be my freshman year in a college, though I didn't plan on doing that. I'd be giving my father roughly two years to get to know me, two years to have more memories of me. Then, after those two years, during spring, when the bears come out of hibernation...
It would appear like a stupid mistake, a mistake a city girl would make. They'd find a mutilated backpack of mine, the remains of a packet of beef jerky nearby, possibly splashes of my blood and shreds of my clothes, if I really wanted to go all out. With that evidence, it would be easy to come to the conclusions I'd want them to. And the searches for what would remain of my body would stop soon afterward. I was sure of it.
I knew that this would hurt Charlie and Renée, but it was necessary. More than necessary, in fact. It would be for the better. I wouldn't – couldn't – let them know what I was. I would leave them with happy memories of me; I wouldn't leave them with memories of them knowing that I was a killer, a monster.
After I arrived in Seattle, I had to take a much smaller plane to Port Angeles, which was as much of a curse as it was a blessing. There were fewer humans, but the closer proximity had me tense the entire time. I practically fled the confines of the aircraft when it landed, running straight into Charlie on accident in my hurry, for he had been standing at the arrival gate.
"Oof," he huffed, his breath knocked out of him due to my speed. He staggered a step back, but remained on his feet. I stood like a brick wall, the impact feeling like nothing to me.
"You all right, Bells?" he asked, looking at me critically. I knew what he would see – that I had changed. I was definitely more beautiful than I'd been as a human, and it showed, calling attention to me. And, while I hadn't fed on a single person since my first one, the beauty still lingered, though it was much more subdued than it would be otherwise. However, it was also clear that there was something else wrong with me. One could easily see that, past the beauty, I appeared to be a dull, lifeless person. The vibrancy of life seemed to have been drained from me. So I knew what Charlie was thinking, particularly as caramel, lemon, and honey coated my tongue.
"I'm fine," I said, giving him a smile. His concern – the caramel flavor on my tongue – disappeared with his other emotions, strawberry-tasting happiness, marshmallow excitement, crème brûlée love, and the general buzzing of life of my father. They all emanated from him, the tastes making me yearn for more, an ever-present burning in my mouth escalating until it felt like I'd tried to swallow a hot ember.
I was glad that he turned away at the moment, missing the hungry look I was sure had crossed my face. My eagerness to get off the plane had distracted me from my control. His emotions and energy caught me off guard, making resistance ten times harder. Now, as I swallowed with my muscles tensing, I tried my hardest not to kill my father. If I hadn't gotten used to denying myself, I was sure that the struggle would be harder, though it was still intense. The two parts of myself – or three, if you wanted to be technical – were waring with each other, the first – the part that hated hurting my mother – only able to match the predator because of main whole of myself siding with it. I was able to gain the upper hand over my hunger, the fight becoming easier that, by the time Charlie turned back to me, I was under control.
"So, how have you been, Bells?" he asked, his curiosity – the honey flavor from last time – filling my mouth. "It's been so long since I last saw you."
How had I been? I'd been in near-constant pain because of the hunger I refused to acknowledge. I'd been either apathetic or filled with self-loathing most of the time because said hunger even existed in the first place. I'd been angry at myself a few times for endangering everyone I came into contact with. I'd been torn apart by guilt, shame, horror, and pain because I'd unwittingly killed an innocent person.
I was, basically, no longer the Bella he'd known before the accident.
"I've been fine," I answered, sounding so truthful. The near constant stream of lies I had begun to tell were becoming easier to tell every time I spoke. At least, that's how it seemed to be for me.
"Good, good," Charlie said. However, his curiosity, the honey flavor of his emotions, changed ever so slightly, becoming more salty than sweet as he grew nervous. Surprise colored me as I realized that he hadn't bought what I said.
"Are...are you sure, Bells?" he asked. "Renée's been saying that you've been having trouble ever since the accident and...well, you know."
I kept from frowning. I knew exactly what he'd been about to say. 'Ever since the accident and the surgeon assigned to your case dropped dead right over you for no apparent reason.' That was what everyone thought had happened to him, but it was far from true. There most certainly had been a reason for his death. Me.
Of course, my parents – and everyone else – didn't know that. The traumatic story was that I, the unconscious victim of a car crash, had woken up to find a dead doctor sprawled across me. More than that – though my parents and everyone outside of the police and the nurse who'd come running into the room at my screams – was the fact that the police believed that the doctor had been about to take advantage of my unconscious state, due to the way he'd been found sprawled on me.
No one else knew the truth, save for me and one other. Only she knew what had happened, and it was because of her that it had needed to happen to begin with.
I felt a moments irritation at Renée for having told Charlie that I was bothered. While it was true that the surgeon's death bothered me because I'd caused it, it was none of her business to spread it around. Just because I kept secrets from her didn't mean that she had a right to assume I was different, even if I was. A flash of hate went through me due to her gossipy ways, shame taking over when I realized that I'd just felt the for my mother. I took a deep breath, making sure that nothing of what I was feeling was evident to Charlie.
"I'm fine," I repeated, not looking my dad in the eye. While I wanted to see that he believed me, wanted to make sure that he believed me, I knew that looking directly into his eyes would be a disastrous course of action.
Thankfully, Charlie believed me this time. His salty-honey curiosity melted away, mint – a flavor I had yet to actually experience – along with strawberries and crème brûlée taking it's place. We kept to ourselves as we exited the airport, loading my bags into the trunk of Charlie's police cruiser. My father was the Forks chief of police, a job he'd held since I was three.
The drive to Charlie's small, two story house was equally silent, but, when we pulled into the driveway, I was surprised enough by the sight of an ancient, faded red Chevy truck parked there that I spoke up.
"Is someone here?" I asked, wondering if Charlie was expecting visitors. If he was, he hadn't warned me.
"No," Charlie muttered gruffly. I frowned slightly as his emotions shifted, blueberries coating my tongue – a flavor I disliked immensely, both as a regular deal, and for what it represented. I wondered why Charlie was feeling embarrassed. And there was some saltiness to it – he was nervous. I soon understood his emotions when he continued, though. "That's your homecoming gift."
"Really?" I gasped, looking at the old truck with new, critical eyes. It was huge, solid, and, for some unknown reason, I absolutely loved it. Still, I was apprehensive about accepting the gift.
"Dad, you shouldn't have!" I said. "I brought money..."
"I wanted to," Charlie countered. "Besides," he added, a grin making it's way onto his face as the amused taste of pineapple filled my mouth, "I didn't think that you'd want to driven around in the cruiser while you were looking for a car."
I had to laugh at that, sounding happier than I have in months. While Charlie may not have seen me in a while, it seemed that he still knew me well enough to know that I hated being driven around in the cruiser.
"That you, Dad," I said warmly as I looked at him from the corner of my eye. "I love it."
Charlie blushed, the faint taste of blueberries raising up again. However, thankfully, it was overpowered by the strawberries that represented his happiness.
"You're welcome, Bells," he said, climbing out of the car. I followed his actions, grabbing one of the bags from the trunk and following him into the house. It was just as I remembered, right down to the yellow cabinets that I could just see from the kitchen. A frown found itself to my face; I had never really liked the color, just tolerating it because of the fact that I wasn't at Charlie's house that often. However, now, with my eyesight being much better – if not still weaker in several ways – than it was as a human, I knew that I wouldn't be able to live with it like that, nor would I really be able to live with the orange-brown walls of the house. I wondered when he'd had those done, for they weren't like that the last time I was here.
Luckily for me, as I walked into the room that had been mine since I was born, I was glad to discover that everything was left unchanged. The walls were still the light blue I knew from my childhood, with the yellowing white curtains around the windows and a rocking chair in the corner. The only new things really were the adult-size bed, desk, ancient computer, and bigger dresser. The room was kind of cramp, in all honesty, and I knew that I would need to do some rearranging to make everything fit a bit better. Still, it wasn't too small.
I sat down on my new bed, listening to Charlie bumbling a bit as he asked if I liked the color purple. I nodded, smiling at him before he left. Charlie didn't hover, something that I was thankful for. It gave me more time to acclimate myself to my new surroundings, and, already, I could tell that it would be easier here than in Phoenix.
The closest neighbors Charlie had were just under a mile away. I could only taste emotions close around me – about twelve feet – so there was no way for me to taste theirs. In fact, except for Charlie, there was no temptation. The relief was amazing, particularly as this was the first hint of relief I'd have in almost a year. My mouth had been burning painfully due to the emotions that ran high in Phoenix. Having less people here definitely helped.
I knew that it would return, though. There was no way it wouldn't. I would eventually have to leave the seclusion of Charlie's house, and go to school. Forks High, small-town school with around three hundred people, from ninth grade to twelfth. This would prove to be a mixed blessing. With fewer people, it would be less of a challenge to keep form killing them. However, with such a small student body, I wouldn't be able to fade into the background like I had in Phoenix. As the new girl, I was bound to be interesting to these simple-minded folk. A shiny new toy, as it is.
People were bound to notice me, talk to me, try to be my friend. Anything I said would be magnified and talked about. Any mistake would only be done more so, and, if the mistake was too glaring, everyone would know that there was something wrong with me. I would have to disappear that much sooner, which would still not completely solve the problem, for I'd leave rumors behind me, rumors that would take a long while to calm down.
I would have to be careful – then again, I always had to be careful lately. It shouldn't be too hard for me to do so.
Sighing, I got up, beginning to put my things away while mentally calculating just where I should put everything in the room. I sighed with disgust at the ancient computer – a stipulation from my mother in order for her to let me come here, as if she could actually stop me from doing so anyway. I had been careful not to laugh when she made that stipulation, particularly as Charlie was actually more suited to taking care of me that she was. I wasn't planning on keeping my promise the way that she expected. I'd e-mail her and answer hers, but I wouldn't be hanging on the machine to do so, nor would I divulge everything to her that she probably would want me to do. Eventually, she'd except it.
Charlie called up asking me what I'd like on the pizza that he was ordering as I was putting my scant amount of clothes away. Even though my mother and I'd pooled our money together to buy more Forks worthy clothes, I would need more. After answering him back, I finished putting my clothes away, heading downstairs just as Charlie opened the door to pay for the pizza, my mind already wrestling with the problem that food presented.
For the first few months after I'd changed, I hadn't needed to eat at all, at least, not regular food. It just wasn't necessary – my body hadn't craved it at all, doing nothing that would suggest needing it. I'd faked eating, of course – I could only say 'I'm not hungry' so many times before my mother got suspicious – but, for the first four months, I hadn't needed it. Then, one day, as I was sitting in my Algebra II class, I'd started experiencing the gnawing sensation in my stomach that had been absent, a gnawing that I recognized as it wanting food, one that was different from the need for energy. My stomach rumbled; I was starving. I'd eaten a huge lunch that day, the then foreign sensation of being hungry passing and staying gone for another three and a half months. Then, I'd gotten hungry again, and had to eat a huge meal once more before the sensation passed once more.
The intervals between when I got hungry like that, and needed to eat got shorter as the months passed, until, as of now, I needed to eat at least two times a week. This confused me. I'd wondered why it was happening. She hadn't eaten food in over twenty years, and hadn't experienced a hunger for regular food as I did. Was I somehow different that she was? Was I weaker because I was new? Or was I becoming weaker because I refused to feed the way I was supposed to? Did the need for human food be the result of my the fact that my body needed energy, and was willing to get it that way over the normal way?
It didn't change me much, of course. Food still didn't give me energy, just got rid of that hunger. It didn't stop me from wanting the food I should be eating. And I didn't bother thinking about asking her. I didn't have an idea of where she was, and I'd rather die than ask her for anything.
"So, um," Charlie started as I grabbed a slice of pizza. "I, uh, I enrolled you at the school earlier today. They're expecting you tomorrow."
"Okay, cool," I answered, and that was pretty much it for conversation, though there was a new worry in my mind. It appeared that the fact that I would have to leave the house was coming much sooner than I thought it would.
I ate the pizza Charlie presented me, eating two slices before declaring that I was full, and placing the rest into the fridge. Heading upstairs, I decided to take a shower, enjoying the heat on my body as I washed myself with my strawberries and cream scented things. I had to admit, I was kind of glad that I hadn't needed to change my taste in scent on my body products, like I did for a few other things. I'd been afraid that, due to my ability to taste the emotions of everyone around me, I'd have to do it for my personal tastes, particularly since I wasn't sure what strawberries had meant at the time. I was glad to know that my favorite fruit was among happier emotions, being that which actually meant happiness.
And I really needed the positivity around me. So, as I rubbed by shampoo into my hair, I breathed the scent in deeply, thinking positively. I would have a good day at school tomorrow. I would not such the life out of my classmates. Those were the kind of thoughts that I had running through my mind, thinking them so much that, as I finished my shower, I was even able to convince myself that they would be true. I was actually smiling as I slipped into my room afterward.
Of course, my happiness was unable to last long and the reason why became apparent almost immediately.
"Hey, sweetheart," a female voice said, bright and mocking, from the corner of my room. I froze, my good feelings vanishing to be replaced by the sensation that something cold was crawling up my spine. I swallowed, my hands fisting in rage, and turned slowly to glare towards that corner, and, specifically, the woman who was sitting in my old rocking chair.
At first glance, no one would find her threatening. She was African American, with darkest brown eyes that almost seemed black, a small, slightly peaked nose; full, perfectly portioned lips; and generous curves. At first – and even second and third – glance, it was pretty obvious that she was beautiful. However, if you managed to look into her eyes without catching her gaze, you could see the predator in her, a predator that was not like any other.
This predator hunted you down. Instead, it made you want to be hunted, made you want to walk towards it, want to die just so that she would be happy, and you could help feed her. This was what I was trying desperately not to become. I refused to become someone who easily beckoned people to their deaths, who reviled and glorified in it, the way she did.
"You," I whispered flatly, despite the fact that my fury was curling into a ball inside my chest. Charlie was still downstairs, and I didn't want him to discover her there. I didn't want to risk him.
Her eyebrows rose, and a look of mild insult crossed her face. I was slightly glad that I didn't actually get to taste it – I couldn't taste the emotions of those like me for some reason, which could be both a good and bad thing. After all, while I didn't want to taste her emotions, I also didn't like the fact that she could sneak up on me, like now.
"'You'?" she repeated mildly, her dislike of what I preferred calling her evident in her tone. "Is that all I get? You know my name, Bella, why don't you say it?"
"Because I don't like you," I hissed her, glaring at her stonily. She sighed deeply.
"Still mad, are we?" she asked condescendingly. "I thought we'd gotten over this."
My teeth curled over my teeth in a silent snarl. How dare she think such a thing!
"We will never get over this," I hissed. Her mouth hardened – I was getting to her now. Her anger and frustration was evident on her face, after all.
"I can't believe we're having this conversation again," she muttered, turning a glare of her own at me. "I saved your life!"
It took all of my self-control to keep from screaming at her, for her words made me angry; it made me angrier still to know that they were the truth.
"You made me a monster," I accused fiercely. I didn't mind the saving my life so much as the fact that I now needed to kill to truly ever be fulfilled, and the the burning in my mouth to fully dissipate.
"You were dying!" she protested heatedly, though her voice still stayed low. I took a step forward, my fingernails cutting into the skin of my palm as my fist tried to tighten even more than they already were.
"Then you should have let me," I snared. She threw her hands up into the air, giving a disgusted sigh and shaking her head, muttering to herself. I clearly heard as she called me a 'stubborn, pig-headed child'.
"Enough of this!" she finally snapped at me, before I could say anything to her muttered words, for I felt rather insulted by them. "I don't want to go in circles with you about this again. That's not why I came."
"Why did you come?" I asked, forcing myself to relax. If she wasn't going to try to once again persuade me to be like the rest of our kind, I could try to be somewhat civil. If she did start that, though, all bets were off.
She grinned, at ease rather quickly. "I came because, like it or not, you are a -" she started to say. I cut her off rather quickly.
"Don't say it," I said. I hated to hear the word, hated to be reminded what I was. I didn't need the word to be said, I knew very well what I was. I was reminded of it everyday without the word actually being said. She glared exasperatedly at me.
"Fine," she said, stressing the word a bit. "As I was saying, you are what you are, and I made you that way. That makes you my responsibility for at least the year, and, guess what, we still have a few months left until you reach the end of your first year, a few months before your first birthday of sorts." She smirked. "I have to make sure that, when you eventually come to your senses, you don't leave behind a trail of pretty, dead boys and girls. After all, it would spell disaster if you made everyone suspicious of you."
I clenched my jaw. Just thinking about doing what she described was making my stomach heave.
"That won't happen," I grounded out. I refused to be her. She shrugged, that infuriating smirk still in place.
"If you think that you can continue to ignore you instincts and never give into them, that's your prerogative," she said. "Either way, I'll be watching."
She slipped out the window before I could say anything else. It was a few minutes before I could make my fury-rigid body move. Then, I stalked over to the window, closing it before I collapsed face-first onto my bed, groaning at what I'd just been told. She was going to be here, watching me like a freaking stalker. Perfect, I thought sarcastically, growling into my pillow. Like that would help me keep my cool. I really wished that she hadn't come to me and told me that – I would have been perfectly fine not knowing that she was going to be my stalker once more.
I didn't move once after I got into bed. I didn't sleep – didn't need it anymore since she changed me. I had been planning on looking around my new home, seeing if there was anything in the forests that was interesting, but had changed my mind since I knew that she was here. The only time I had moved since falling into my bed was to get into the position I was now I: on my back, staring at the ceiling. I had heard when Charlie had gone to bed moments afterward, and was thankful that he hadn't tried to check up on me like Renée would have.
After that, it was silent, and I was left with nothing but my thoughts. I still wondered why me. Why had she decided to turn me? She never, not once, gave me the feeling that she cared for people; why would she decide to suddenly 'save me' as she had called it? These thoughts and more turned round and round in my head as I kept still, watching my room begin to lighten lightly as morning came. I heard Charlie getting up and moving around. Everything that had my tongue coated in mint, leading me to realize that this was a routine of his.
I sighed, smiling a bit at knowing that, then looked at the clock, eyes widening as I realize that it was a bit too early for me myself to actually get up. I wondered what he would do if I did. Probably wonder if I got any sleep at all, and end up concerned for me. No, I would either wait until he left, or until my alarm went off. As it was, they pretty much happen simultaneously.
I turned off my alarm, getting out of bed and leaving a Bella-shaped depression in my mattress. I kept my outfit simple – black jeans and a loose purple blouse. Over it, I threw on an oversized hoodie sweater, as I knew it was cold outside. I could feel it, the way one could feel their teeth sinking into their cheek when it's been numbed. It was there, but it didn't really effect me. I didn't really need the sweater, but I didn't want to stand out and call unnecessary attention to myself. I would be in the spotlight enough as it was.
A part of me was glad to know that Charlie had already left as I walked down to the kitchen. I didn't have to worry about him wondering why I wasn't eating, nor did I have to ignore when he looked at me weirdly as I started and competed my morning ritual. It was a kind of stupid ritual, but the day was always harder when I didn't do it.
I pulled out one of the kitchen chairs, sitting down and going completely still. I made my mind go black, and started to breathe in and out, going slowly and deeply until my body was completely relaxed, and my heartbeat had slowed down a bit. I did counts of seven, four, and seven repeatedly, in time with my breaths, until it was second nature, and my mind was just as relaxed as my body.
Having relaxed both my body and mind, I began the second part of the ritual, which was imagining invisible barriers around myself – walls that no one could enter, and, perhaps most importantly, that I could not pass. This accomplished two goals – the predator inside me was somewhat contained, and the humans around me were unable to reach it. It was all in my head of course, but I'd gotten good at convincing myself that the barriers were real, and that they somehow made a difference.
That done, I sighed and opened my eyes. Now that I was so relaxed, I was reluctant to move, but a glance at the clock told me that if I didn't get going soon, I would be late. So, I got to my feet and walked out into the Washington chill to my truck. The truck started easily, if loudly, and didn't seem to have trouble with the drive to the school. As I began to enter the more populated area of town, my mouth began to slowly start to burn as everyone's emotions began to spread across my tongue. Peppery irritation, onion frustration, garlic impatience, minty familiarity; all the usual cheery, morning feelings. Of course, every now and then, I'd get the not as common morning feelings – strawberry happiness, crème brûlée love, vanilla peacefulness. I tried to ignore the bad ones and focus on the good ones as best as I could, despite the fact that they made me hungry.
I could taste the school long before I could see it. Peppy marshmallow excitement, club soda insecurity, sugary attraction, cinnamon desire, black licorice angst. The usual emotions that graced high school. I shuddered as it got stronger. Still, even if the feelings themselves weren't all that different from my school back in Phoenix, at least there were less people to feel them. The quantity, if not the quality, was at least a bit better. I set my mouth with grim determination as I drove into the school parking lot.
As soon as the students gathered in the parking lot saw my truck, their honey curiosity blossomed across my tongue, easily wiping away the taste of the other emotions. I winced as I found a spot to part, turning off the engine as soon as I could. Pulling up my hood – a plus to having to wear an unnecessary hoodie – and walked up to the front office as quickly as I could, ignoring everyone else around me. I could tell by their emotions that they definitely weren't going to be leaving me alone today.
The secretary, who identified herself as Mrs. Cope, gave me a list of my classes and a map of the school. She was nice, if not displaying the same signs of curiosity that the others were. She pointed out the best routes to my classes on the map before handing it to me.
"But if you still get lost, dear," she added as I gathered the papers and prepared to leave, "I'm sure that there will be plenty of people willing to help you out."
"Probably," I agreed, rather glumly, and walked out the door, ignoring Mrs. Cope's lemony confusion from my answer.
The first class I had was English with Mr. Mason. I went straight for a seat in the back of the room and sat down, leaving my hood up. If anyone asked me about it, I had a good excuse already lined up – I was from Arizona and unused to the cold. IN truth, I just really didn't want to deal with people staring. The classroom filled up around me as chattering teenagers took their seats. I kept my head down, and, at first, was ignored. The others assumed that I was just another regular student, until the class began to fill up more and they realized that they were recognizing the faces of those still arriving. Then, they began to stare at me, realization and curiosity overcoming them.
I didn't need to be looking to know they were now looking at me more, able to feel their stares. And I didn't need eye contact to hear what they were whispering, which was loud to my predator's ears.
"Is that -" a boy breathed.
"...Isabella Swan, Chief Swan's daughter," another girl whispered to someone near her.
"She's from Arizona, right?" another boy murmured. A male who had to be close to him gave a small chuckle.
"Why the sudden curiosity, Mike?" they said. "You seem really interested."
"She's new," the first boy – the one the other boy had called Mike – said defensively. "I'm just wondering."
"Right," the other boy said, clearly not believing him.
They were forced to stop talking then, as Mr. Mason entered the room. I was lucky enough that he only mentioned that I was here, just long enough to have a class syllabus passed back to me before he began his lecture on the book being read in class. I looked over the list, ignoring the fact that I could still feel the stares of everyone else. After familiarizing myself with the list – and noticing that there were quite a few books I'd already read on it – I sighed quietly.
If the boy named Mike hadn't presented me with a new problem, I would have been bored out of my mind. But, as it was, I could taste Mike's emotions, sliding like a sugar cube across my tongue. Sugar – attraction. Mike, whoever he was, for I hadn't looked up to catch a glimpse of his face, was attracted to me, even without knowing how I looked, as far as I knew, anyway. Also, now that I was looking for the flavor of that particular emotion, I could detect it from at least several others in the class, including from someone who was sitting close to Mike.
I gritted my teeth as the monster in me crowed. This was not going to be helping anything. It would be rather difficult to protect those boys from myself if they continuously hovered around me, trying to get my attention. And, if they were just this way without having seen me, I knew that their attraction would end up mixed with desire, which had an even better taste to it, so long as the attraction stayed. And those emotions that tasted the best were always the hardest to resist.
It had been easier at my school in Phoenix, with most people wavering between dislike, jealousy, and pure non-attraction desire. The first two had always been able to overshadow the latter, which – as far as I knew – only sprung up after my change. People always thought of me as a freak there in Phoenix, because I appeared so different from them. I wasn't blonde, sporty, and, before the change, I'd been clumsy to the point of being disabled. That had made me a lot of enemies, in fact, particularly when it came to PE, where I'd often caused harm to myself and quite a few others. So, their emotions had always tasted bad – at least, when it came towards me – which made the struggle just a bit easier to deal with. But the sweet, delectable, mouthwatering tastes of Mike's, and the others', emotions would be much harder to resist. I would have to find a way to deter them...
I made it to the end of the class without looking at anyone, my hood staying firmly on my head. However, once the bell rang, it was proven that my 'safety' wouldn't remain, for they immediately came at me. No, that's the wrong terminology. They swarmed around me.
A boy with blond hair and a boy with jet black hair were the first to speak as I stood.
"Hey," the blond one said, his voice bright and cheerful. I recognized his voice as being the unknown Mike's voice, concluding who he was. "I'm Mike." His introduction was unneeded, and I wished to get away from him as what I feared began to happen – being so close allowed him to get a look underneath the hood of my coat, and his emotions began to add a bit of cinnamon to them.
Maybe if I said as little as possible, they might get the message that I wasn't interested.
"Hi," I said in a monolog, my disinterest evident. Everyone's interest shot up several hits, and Mike kept talking.
"You're Isabella, right?" he said. As if he didn't already know.
"Bella," I corrected coldly, shouldering my backpack. I began to push my way through the crowd, ignoring all the other students as they tried to capture my attention. Unfortunately for me, Mike and the black haired boy were apparently dense, because they didn't seem to realize that I wanted nothing to do with them, and followed me, a hint of confusion in their emotions.
"That's a pretty name," the black-haired boy said as they caught up to me at the classroom door. "My name's Eric."
"I really don't care," I muttered, so silently that I knew that they hadn't heard, for there was no hint of hurt in his emotions. I was tempted to look them in the eye, to Draw them in and feed from them, their attraction too close to me. However, that wasn't really an option for me, and, while I knew that subterfuge was a better idea than what I was doing, I didn't want them to get their hopes up.
"What class do you have next?" Mike asked me eagerly. His hope would have been obvious even if I hadn't been able to taste the caramel that always accompanied the emotion.
"None of your business," I told him, disappearing into the girls room before they could follow me. I rubbed at my temple, a headache forming as I realized that the two were waiting for me. I tasted the surprise and slight hurt of Mike's emotions, and heard him as he muttered that he was just trying to be helpful.
After a few moments, I left the room, ignoring the two as I quickly walked to my next class. I had memorized my schedule, so I didn't need to pull it out to find out what was next. The two boys tried to follow me, but lost me in a crowd of girls as I found the classroom door, and entered the room. Once again, I went to a desk in the back of the room, hoping that, this time, I would be ignored.
"Um, hi," came a voice to my right. I looked over, discovering that the person who was talking was a girl. Her emotions tasted friendly – in fact, they were quite calming. While there was a hint of curiosity in them, she was mostly feeling the effects of familiarity. This calmed me, and I found myself more willing to talk to her than Mike and Eric.
"Hi," I said.
"I'm Angela, Angela Weber," she said, introducing herself. "You're Isabella Swan, right?"
"Bella," I told her, my tone definitely warmer than it was when I told Mike and Eric. She nodded, then went back to what she was doing. I couldn't help but immediately liking her, simply for that action. I ignored as the other students came in, immediately making sure that I wouldn't be bothered by anyone else as I was ready to bolt once government was over, darting out before anyone could get to me.
Trigonometry was next, and, this time, the teacher – Mr. Varner – had me pull down my hood, stand in front of the class, and introduce myself. I felt desire in the room triple from the males, while the the jealousy from most of the females turned up, though there were a few who were also attracted to me. I avoided making eye contact, as that was what caused the Draw to happen. That was a weapon of my predator, and I'd yet to meet, much less hear, of a human who could fight it.
The Draw – which was what my kind called it – was used to hunt. It was pretty much a hypnotic thing, befuddling the mind and breaking down any inhibitions someone might have. It made it so that all a person could think about was us – how beautiful we were, how much they wanted to do anything we wanted them, and how we could keep them from stopping us as we killed them. More often than not, they never came to their senses before they died, slipping away still believing that the monster that had killed them was good.
Of course, an experience monster like me could control the Draw, was able to meet a person's eyes without problem unless they wanted to feed. My abilities, however, were still in the novice stage. Just meeting someone's gaze for a second could confuse them. I was learning how to control it, of course, but it was harder than you'd think to do so, and it wasn't worth risking to see if I could do so or not.
After Trig was Spanish, and, after Spanish, was lunch. I was able to shake off those who wanted me to sit with them, finding a table where I could sit mostly alone. Angela – the only one I wasn't cool to – sat with me. I asked her about the two girls who were glaring at us, and she let me know that they were Jessica and Lauren, the so called 'popular girls' of our grade. I snorted at that; it sounded as if they had a high opinion of themselves, mostly due to the fact that their table didn't seem to have that many people around it.
I asked her if she had an idea why they were glaring at me.
"Oh, that's because Jessica was not only hoping to find out everything about you that she could, but because of the fact that, had you sat with them, Mike – her crush – would have sat with you as well. She's mad to have missed the chance, as well as the fact that Mike seemed to want you over her," Angela said. "As for Lauren, well, she's been bitter since it got out that you were coming. She feels that you're trying to supplant her place. It doesn't help that you're nothing like she's been trying to say you are, which has caused the rumors she's been spreading about you to backfire. Right now, people are not all that happy with her."
"So, basically, they're just bitter people," I said.
"Yeah," Angela said, and I tasted her discomfort over my words. I got the feeling that they were friends with her, though why she'd lower herself to be friends with them was something I couldn't figure out.
After lunch – in which I ate to keep people from wondering about me – I had Biology II. Angela was also in that class, so we went together. Mike, unfortunately, joined us, beginning to chat the entire way. Angela and I exchanged a look of dislike, and did our best to ignore him. I focused all of my energy on Angela's emotions, which were pleasant but not tempting, unlike Mike's sugar and cinnamon mix. Even we we got to the room, I focused on her. Mike, however, seemed to think that I wanted him around me, coming to stand by me after having been directed to the table I was to sit at, talking about things that he thought would interest me, but just made me want to shut him up someway, preferable in a permanent way.
I was aware of an encroaching emotion on my tongue, though my focus on Angela kept it from overpowering me. I was looking steadily at the table, desperately thinking of a way to get Mike to leave me the hell alone, when a quiet, musical, male voice spoke.
"Excuse me, Mike," the voice said, and it was so beautiful that it snapped my focus away from Angela's emotions.
I wish to god that it hadn't, for as soon as I no longer had a specific person to focus on, The one emotion I'd felt on my tongue intensified. I was made – quite painfully – aware of the fact the energy that thrummed through this new boy's body, an energy that was like a million humans combined, practically radiating off of his skin, crackling in the air around him.
I realized that I had done something wrong, letting this boy's voice distract me. Even though I had felt him coming, I had been able to miss his emotions thanks to my intense focus on Angela. However, with so much energy, being so close to me... it was impossible to resist. It shredded through the feeble walls in my brain, as well as wrecking havoc on my weak control.
I was no longer the monster trying to be good that I'd been an instant ago, nowhere near the human I'd once been. I could taste the boredom and slight curiosity he felt – rice, with just the barest tint of honey. I smiled viciously. So he was bored, was he? That wouldn't last long. I would make him feel things he'd never imagined before, right before I tore into that energy running through him and fed to my hearts content.
I was a predator that had not hunted in almost a year. This boy whose name I didn't even know was my prey.
I was a succubus, and this boy had a bottomless supply of energy.
As soon as I'd become aware of him, a terrible fire had ratcheted up to an unprecedented level of burning pain, once that was spreading. First, from my lips, which felt like I'd kissed a white-hot poker, then in my mouth, followed by my throat, like I'd tried to swallow said white-hot poker. And then, the burning became a terrible hunger, spreading through my veins, my arteries, my capillaries, until it felt like every inch of me was on fire.
It was fire that could only be quenched by one way; it could only be quenched by the colossal amount of energy stored in the body of the boy who was just now sitting down next to me. All I would have to do was look up, into his eyes, and make him forget where he was, who he was – everything but me, and the fact that he wanted to kiss me more than he'd ever wanted anything else. No, it wasn't that he wanted to kiss me. I'd make it so that he felt that he needed to kiss me, that there was nothing more important that little fact.
And then, once that easy part was out of the way, once the connection between our minds and bodies had been established, I would will his every ounce of life into myself, pulling it from him and absorbing it. It probably wouldn't even kill him – I could detect no limit, no end to the energy I could feel. I had the feeling that I could feed off of him for day, glut myself until I was so full I'd want for no more, and not hurt him in the slightest.
Not even a second had passed since he'd arrived. He sat down beside me, in what I assumed was his assigned, seat, and I heard him turn to face me. He couldn't see my face – I'd shifted my hair over my shoulder to hide my face from Mike, and this new boy would be just as blind to my expression, which was surely one of primal, immense hunger. I was just about to turn to him and wipe all thought from his mind – the fact that there were others around us, that I shouldn't do this at the moment barely crossed my mind. I tensed, my head beginning to turn towards him. Before I could look him in the eye, but just as his face came into view, I saw and heard him take a deep breath, most likely preparing to speak.
And, in an instant, everything drastically changed once more.
Before he'd take a whole breath, before he'd pulled more than a fraction of a breath in, he froze too. The rice and honey taste of his bored curiosity vanished, and new flavors danced across my tongue, enough to shock me and bring me back to my senses, making me realize what it was that I had just been about to do.
I locked my muscles into place, desperately clinging to my reason like it was a rock and I was drowning in the ocean. The control was like a thin sheet of glass, ready to shatter at any moment, but it was there. His emotions passed quickly, changing from one to another so fast that I could hardly register them. Maraschino cherries, representing shock, was the first, which was followed by cinnamon desire, a raw want that was stronger than anything I'd ever felt. It hit me like a physical blow, almost knocking me off my chair.
However, unlike everyone else, this desire tasted darker, like it was mixed with a chili powder, signaling that this want was the want I was used to tasting. This want was like my hunger. The realization struck me – this boy was a predator as well. And, just he was making me hungry, I was do the same to him. Just as he was my prey, I was his prey. If both of us snapped, each trying to feed off the other, who would win? It was a challenge that I almost, almost, was willing to find out.
Then, after his desire almost broke through my control once more, desperation came over him, coating my tongue in burnt plastic. It seemed that he didn't want to succumb to his hunger anymore than I did. The burnt plastic taste was disgusting enough to help my control. And when his hate – like acid – enveloped over him, it helped me even more. Oh, I could taste how he hated me, hated me with a passion as strong as my hatred for her. It was hate that became mixed with anger – no, fury – coating my tongue like ashes, oddly fitting, in my opinion, considering the burning in my mouth. He despised me almost as much as he wanted to hunt me.
And the feelings of hatred and fury were mutual. Who was this boy? What right did he have to make me burn like this, to tempt me so badly that I was willing to let everyone know what I was? What right did he have to make me clench my hands until my fingernails almost cut into my palms, to make me clench my teeth so hard my jaw hurt? What had he done to me? I'd been fine until he'd come! Why? Why now, why me?
I could feel that my control was tedious at best, and would be easy to slip. Why did he have to make me so hungry? Why did he have to call the predator inside me? Even now, I could feel it shaking off the bonds I'd hastily put around it, coming closer to the surface once more. Even though his hatred and fury was still flowing, my predator had locked on the desire he still felt, using it to fuel it. It would break free soon. Why was he going to make me kill him? I didn't want to kill him! I didn't want to be a monster!
You won't kill him... There's no end to his energy...You can take as much as you want... Those were the words that my predator began whispering to me as it grew stronger. The words repeated, becoming louder as it got stronger. I locked my every muscle into place. I wouldn't do it, I wouldn't. Neither he nor it could make me. I beat back my hunger furiously, clinging to my self-control with everything I had, using my hatred for him and her, my desire to be nothing like her, my fervent wish that she had never made what I was, my love for my mother and father, everything to keep my control. And I found that I was just barely able to do so.
I could last until the bell rang. Just one hour. I could do it. No, I would do it.
The minutes passed by slowly, agonizingly, as though someone were pushing bamboo slivers under my nails with every tick of the clock. I was never able to relax, never able to look up. I never glanced through my hair to see who the boy was. If I happened to glance at him at the exact time he glanced at me – and I could feel his eyes on me from time to time – if I met his eyes, saw his energy and emotion there, it would be all over. It wouldn't matter what emotion I saw in his eyes. I'd take him.
I didn't hear a word of Mr. Banner's lecture.
The stream of powerful emotions coming from the boy never ceased. They all stayed, fluctuating occasionally on my tongue as he felt one more strongly than the others. Acid, ash, burnt plastic, cinnamon, vinegar, garlic, pepper... over and over again, they danced on my tongue.
He was, I noticed, feeling almost the exact things that I was feeling. Of course, our situations weren't that different, but still, it surprised me. I thought about it more that strictly necessary. I was grasping at detail to distract myself from the boundless energy I could still feel in him. I could only imagine how it would feel to press my mouth to his, and pull it into myself, feeling it rush through me, feeling the tingle, the rush, the adrenaline, the satisfaction – NO! I stopped myself fiercely. That was not the way to keep myself in check.
RRRIIINNNGGG! Oh, thank God. I was about to stand, to rush out of there like a bat fleeing hell, but the boy was faster than me – before I could raise my head, he was out the door. I only caught a glimpse of a tall, slender frame and bronze hair before he disappeared down the hall. I unlocked my rigid muscles, darting away before Mike could catch me – I had no control left.. The boy had used up what little I had to begin with. I was too dangerous right then to even risk going to Gym, which was my next class. So, I pulled my hood up, hiding my face, and walked too fast out of the school, through the parking lot, and into the forest that bordered the asphalt.
Once I was in the cover of the trees, I started to run, to really run, so fast that no human could have ever caught me, whether through running themselves or even looking. I didn't stop until I was far enough away from the school that I could no longer feel the pull of the boy's incredible energy. Then, I collapsed to my knees on the forest floor, breathing hard and trembling, trying to forget what that boy made me want to do. I staggered upright, lurching over to a nearby fallen tree, where I sat down, bringing my knees to my chest and wrapping my arms around my legs as if to ward off the cold.
I took a deep, shaky breath, about to burst into uncontrollable tears. But a wry, amused voice spoke up from behind me, making me – tense and on-edge already – jump a foot into the air. I whirled around, seeing her leaning against a tree almost right behind me.
"Well," she said lightly, "that was interesting."
And there it is. Hope you like it. Did anyone guess what Bella was before reading about it? Now, as I was writing this, I actually had another idea of how it could go, and I might actually take the part of this story that goes the same up to where it changes, and make an AU of it. Do you think I should do that? If I do, you'd mostly be reading a lot of the same stuff from this one at first, but, other than that, once it gets to the part where it changes from how this chapter went, it'll be mostly AU from this one in events.
Anyway, if you'll give me a week or so, I'll have the new second chapter - which were originally the third and fourth chapter, and are now the second and third chapter - finished and put up, in which case, afterward, reading the rest of the story is pretty free to be done, as those chapters need minor changes - mostly, it's just editing that needs to be done, you know, fixing words, changing a sentence so that it's right, that kind of thing.
Tell me what you think about me doing a story that takes this chapter, but changes into a completely AU at a certain part.
Please Review, I want to know what you think of this chapter.
Hearts In Strangeness