"I have a, shall we say, morbid personality"
Russia is at its most finest when covered in a thick layer of the whitest snow. Cotton-like pricks falling slowly to the ground. Even in the pitch blackness could I see the tiny imperfect beings, each different than the last. I've always liked snow. There's something about looking out the window to a brighter world.
The plane lands with a heavy thumb of metallic screeching. We both wait as the compartment empties and then make our moves. My contacts have but five minutes left before completely dissolving. The papery screen does nothing to hinder my flawless vision but nevertheless… it feels better when I'm all me.
We hurry out the airport. Each carrying one bag. I've parted with a lot of things over the years. Many I've thrown but some I have stored. I would soon place my yellow rose necklace there as well. But there wasn't time for personal matters now.
We search the lot for an appropriate car – code for the most over the top vehicle within our line of sight. Noticing a silver Mercedes idling far away from the entrance to make it appropriate to steal, we threw out respective bags in the back before I hotwired the metallic heap and sped off much too fast.
The roads were horrible. Even for me it was hard to say where they ended and the field started. And the constant mess of rain and snow and hail was not making matters easier.
"Perhaps we should stop for a while," Edward suggested. I don't like admitting other people are right even when I'm not in a position to be wrong but he did have a point. We would travel faster by foot in weather like this but I didn't want to get my hair wet again nor did I feel like ruining my brand new clothes. I'd have to find a store and who knows where the nearest one is in the wilderness of Russia. At least we made it out the city before leading the car odd the highway and onto a small dirt road where I pulled off to the side and shut the power.
I heard the distant honks and thought it glad we'd stopped now rather than having to face yet another accident with blood. Humans drive much too carelessly.
"If it's not better in a few hours we drive either way." Edward agreed and I reclined my seat, already feeling boredom looming not far away.
"What are you doing?" I continue watching my hair, laying one strand after another to the counted pile.
"And counting how many hair strands you have is helping?"
"At the moment." I fall back with a sigh, beginning to think I was losing it. Can vampires suffer from cabin fever? That's a disturbing thought. My eyes roll, searching the car for… anything before landing on Edward. "I'm bored," I say with a raise of my eyebrows.
"What do you want me to do about it?" I shrug.
"It was your brilliant plan to stop."
"I thought it best to do it now than later when one of them drives off the road." A wide smirk etches into my face. "What?"
"You called a human one of them." He rolled his eyes at my juvenile behavior. But what does he expect? Everyone always says you're supposed to act your age. I'm eighteen years old and therefore a constant and per petulant moody, self-righteous control freak teenager. My behavior should include me slamming the door of my bedroom multiple times a day but since I don't have a bedroom not a door I'd have to do with playing games. I love games.
"What are you smiling at?" he ventured, voice cautious.
"My inner voice is too hilarious sometimes."
"I was thinking how you find my juvenile behavior, juvenile."
"And then I though how in angry conversations in movies and TV shows they always say to act your age. I'm a teenager so technically you can't find my juvenile behavior irritating or juvenile since I'm mentally right where I'm supposed to be." He stares at me.
"I sometimes think you experience delirious outbursts." That only makes me chuckle. "If I didn't know any better I'd say you were high."
"I wonder if we can get high," I muse, reclining my seat further back.
"Are you feeling okay?" The question is preposterous. There is no alternative. We cannot get sick and therefore we're always okay. But I suppose there's an arterial meaning to his words. So instead of correcting him in my irritatingly juvenile way I simply nod, not making any further motion into a conversation.
"Do you think there're aliens out there?" I blurted, one arm strew across the head rest, playing with a strand of hair.
Edward had reclined his chair as well and turned his head – with scrunched eyebrows – towards me. "What are you doing?"
"I'm trying to start a conversation. Prolonged silences make me nervous. Just answer the question." He looks back up the skylight, shrugging.
"I suppose it's naïve to think that in the entire universe ours is the only planet sufficiently stocked with lively inhabitants." I nod my head slowly and absentmindedly.
"How articulate," He tries to punch my arm but I neatly dodge his attack. "We are so going to get snowed in here."
"Then we'll walk."
"I'll ruin my hair," I pouted at the disappearing sky. "Not to mention the shoes."
"That's very girly of you."
"Fuck you," I exclaim.
"Such language," he chastised. "Is that what they taught you in Sunday school?"
"Like you weren't forced to church every fucking Sunday." He nodded.
"That's true. And the clothes." I made a gagging noise.
"And they talked for hours. I get they love God but no one can talk that much about another being for that long. At least they shouldn't. It's kinda creepy."
"They really like their God."
"Let's not talk about an imaginary deity. It's putting a damper on my mood."
"You could get more bored? That's troubling."
"Oh yes. You didn't see me during the sixties. Wow that decade sucked."
"What are you talking about? The thirties sucked. Sixties were… decent at best. At least The Beatles made it durable."
"First off, not even The Beatles could save that decade. Secondly, the thirties only sucked at the beginning with the depression and all that. Such a downer. Oh and that little war thing the Germans thought they could win. They never learn."
"That little war thing? Bells, you need to work on your people skills."
"Whatever does he mean?" I used, resting my hands on my stomach, sometimes twirling my thumbs.
"You can come off as…"
"But I'm not sensitive."
"You don't have to let the whole world know that."
"So I should learn when to shut up?" I offered. Edward nodded. "Alright. But you're not without flaws either."
"I kno- what exactly are my flaws?" I laughed as he made the mistake of actually wanting me to tell him. Cocky much?
"You're self-righteous. Stubborn-"
"You're stubborn too."
"But I'm cute when I'm stubborn. And sometimes you treat me like a kid."
"Technically you are," he pointed.
"I have two hundred years on you."
"Years don't really make a difference."
"Then why treat me like I'm five?" My voice carries with a higher pitch.
"It makes you mad," he replied with a smirk.
"You're cute when you're mad." My top lip pull back slightly as I think if I should be mad or flattered by his statement.
But the snow starts relenting. Time has gone long enough for the cars to have diminished on the highway. I raise my seat again and start the car. Somehow it had not set yet so we're on the road within minutes.
For an hour we travel further into Russian wilderness. Finally we're on another dirt road, and I know we're on the right track. But this is as far as we'll be able to take the car. There's no way to turn it around later and we can't have it stuck in the middle of the woods. I turn to Edward with a sigh.
"Looks like we're walking."
"I thought you didn't want to walk," he said while I zipped my jacket halfway up so it wouldn't get caught in the wind. My hair does though but I can't seem o find when the snow falls exactly like I remember it. Not that it was long since I saw snow. But it was a while since I was standing in this very forest watching it fall in juts this order.
"That was before when it was hailing, raining and snowing at the same time."
We set a human pace. The ground tilts with an eight percent increase for every meter. The hill takes us into the center of the forest. Only one of us would know the differences around. There were no animals around. Even if I didn't know Dmitri kept to the deepest parts I'd know another vampire had a place nearby.
"Is it far?" I stopped with a grumbled look. "What?"
"When we meet him, don't talk. He probably won't be pleased I brought someone with me so stay in the shadows."
"Fine," he grumbled back. We had to be a sight. Two people wandering in the middle of the woods, neither fully dressed for outdoors and me in five inch full heeled boots.
A small path appeared in-between a group of trees. I peered into the darkness and spotted the cabin. It's an older model. Though having been renovated over the years, the house still showed signs of aging. Old hunting cabin with a stone fireplace that hasn't been lit for centuries.
"Invisible," I mumbled before setting a faster pace. He must have heard us by now. I detected movement inside but no words yet.
As I stepped on the creaking porch and braced myself to knock, the door flew open revealing Dmitri.
His face remained impassive for three seconds before a full blow grin stretched onto his face.
"Isabella. What a marvelous surprise." His gaze finally lands on Edward. He gives him a once over before returning my eye contact.
Dmitri stands at just below six feet tall with a moderate weight. He stands out no different than the rest of us. Of course his eyes are the same as mine though much more vibrant now. It's been over a week since I fed. His hair light brow. Slightly longer than what's in fashion. His clothes are out of date though impeccably clean and without tears. His skin is whiter than either Edward's and mine. Almost translucent. He stays most days here, reading. He prefers books over the internet. Can't say I blame him.
"May we come inside?" Dmitri nodded.
"Yes. Of course." We come inside to a room filled with nothing but flaming candles. "What brings you to my safe haven, little one?" He picked up a book from an old carved wooden desk. The interior was quite different. Modern-ish. Desk, couch, Persian rugs, expensive paintings – some of which I recognize from their previous homes.
And books. Hundreds – possibly thousand books filling every nook and cranny of each bookcases and various other shelves and drawers. Old leather bound with crinkled brown papers. Others with leather sheets instead of paper. And some new. I noticed several books on various religions in a far corner.
"The necklace is gone," I say bluntly. My gaze travel over the dusty fire mantle. Antique picture frames demand the spot. Each from a different ear. But non with him. The tick tock of an old silver pocket watch steals my attention. I pick up the piece, pressing the top to get the latch undone.
Suddenly Dmitri is in front of me. He gently takes the watch with a disapproving look. "We mustn't touch what isn't ours, Isabella." He put the clock back and strode towards his desk. "This is very troubling news." His voice is low and grave. "I told you to keep it safe."
"I thought I did."
"Did you keep it on your person?"
"I put it in a jewelry box and threw it into the lake at Versailles." He sighs, leaning against the desk.
"Someone must have seen you."
"Does it matter? It's gone and we need to get it back."
"What's the deal with the stupid necklace?" Both Dmitri and I flash our faces towards Edward. I roll my eyes and mutter unintelligent words.
"Who are you?" Dmitri asked, turning towards me for confirmation.
"Edward." Dmitri quirks a brow. "Cullen." Now both brows rise in recognition.
"Any relation to Carlisle Cullen?"
"Do you know him?" Dmitri nods, folding his hands together in a very old fashion.
"Yes. We met while I was staying in Volterra with the Volturi." Edward face turns to mine. I shrug, possibly feeling bad for not mentioning that small detail.
"Forgot to mention that," he muttered.
"I do not share every Volturi vision, I can assure you." Dmitri looks back to me.
"Does he not know?"
"Can someone just say it?" I sigh, deciding to blurt it out.
"A witch gave it to me."
Edward seems confused but then his lips draws back in a chuckle.
"You can't be serious."
"Well she didn't exactly give it. I took it. Though she was dead so it's fair game then." He looks at me for a long time.
"About as ridiculous as three vampires standing in the middle of the woods in Russia having this conversation," Dmitri spoke up. I inclined a hand towards him.
"But there are no witches. We would know."
"Would you? Would you really?" He looks away, probably questioning his sanity. I looked back to Dmitri. His lips were pursed in deep thought.
"Do you think they…" Dmitri shakes his head, still pensive.
"No. No I don't believe they have it. But since it's not in your possession anymore we'll have to make a lot of assumptions." I look down, feeling my lips tremble with rage. "You'll have to find a descendant. They'll have an emotional connection."
"It's not like they're listed in the yellow pages," I say with deep sarcasm. Dmitri laughs short.
"No. Find Ben."
"And who's Ben?" Edward asks.
"A sponge. He's only been around since the eighteen-twenties but he knows his stuff. And he would know how to catch a witch's scent. So to speak."
"You keep in touch?" Dmitri shrugs. Edward's eyes flash to mine, just now realizing I've left more out than he thought. I've told him he can't trust me. Why does that make me more trustworthy?
"Now and then we communicate, yes."
"Where can I find him?"
"So impatient," Dmitri muttered with a roll of his eyes. "You'll take any reason to leave as soon as possible."
"I'll come back soon enough. We'll reminisce when this has been dealt with." Dmitri likes our talks. He craves them. He doesn't like anyone really but if he did, he would like me. He'd probably adopt me if he could. Or take me as a lover. Sometimes it's hard to know with Dmitri.
"Excellent. And I shall have to hear everything." He turned with a wicked grin and started flipping through a thick book of old and brittle pages. I felt Edward at my side but made no move to acknowledge him. I could feel his irritation vibrate onto me. It was hard not to smirk.
"Ah! Here." Dmitri handed me a newly written piece of paper. A single address adorned the paper.
"Narrow lane 67, Conway, Mississippi. Never heard of it."
"Not surprising. It's a very small town. It's his last known location. I don't know if he's still there but you'll know it's him when you see it."
"His give-away." Dmitri holds up a crime scene photograph. The image was disturbing beyond means. Two women posing on the couch. Wide eyed, stiff. Clean cut marks on their necks, legs and arms suggest they've been separated and then put back together. There was little to no blood along the incisions'.
"Remorse," I whisper, remembering the craft. It had shocked Louisiana in the thirties. No one could explain the bodies nor was a culprit found.
"Maybe he shouldn't eat humans," Edward mused. Dmitri looked up with apprehension.
"Yes," he said slowly. "I've heard of Carlisle's unusual diet. Though I thought it was a mere rumor."
"It's not." A sly smile lit Dmitri's face as he pondered the possibilities, no doubt.
"Fascinating," he whispered.
Little over three hours later we were on a plane towards Zürich where we would change to New York before boarding yet another one to Mississippi. But before, I had to do one more thing. This time it was not negotiable whether Edward was coming along or not. This mine and when I want to share, I will. But not today.
That brought up thoughts of the necklace and when I had seen it last. I hadn't dared remove it from it submerged grave for fear someone would witness me. But I tried to tell myself I hadn't seen the box been moved until today. I thought back and the placement seemed sufficiently similar to that of the eighteenth century.
"He trusts you." We hadn't spoken to each other since leaving the cabin. My mind had been filled with too many questions to bother with pleasantries and Edward had apparently been following my lead. But in the darkness of the plane and almost every human snoring into oblivion, he must have found the silence too tedious.
"Is that so?" Leaning back, I finally relented on folder of crime scene photographs Dmitri was kind enough to give me.
"And he likes you."
I breathed a chuckle. "Are you jealous?"
He didn't even blink. "No. But it makes me nervous." I had gone back to the pictures, paying him little attention.
"He's… a little mentally unstable." I tried to keep the laughter in but it was hard. "His mind is irrational."
"We're all irrational," I minded him, putting down the pictures for good.
"Yes but he makes it deliriously obvious." The back of my head hit the headrest as I looked at him.
"It's cabin fever. He'll get better when he's been around people."
"He doesn't like people."
I sighed. "Yeah well neither do I but look where I am." I gestured towards the rest of the first class compartment. My hand fell to the armrest with a thud as my head tilted, displaying exhaustion even though I felt nothing but exhilaration.
"You're not too bad," he said, looking out the window.
"Not too bad? Well I guess that's step up from being the devil." He chuckle but doesn't turn his head.
We descent into Zürich. We're off the plane before any other passenger. When I make my way towards the exit Edward makes his first play to hinder my movements.
"Where are you going?" I yank my arm out of his grasp and keep on walking.
"You may wait for me here. I won't be more than two hours." He stands in front of me. I tilt my head, narrowing my eyes."I realize this is a very public are but that won't stop me from making a scene." Edward's eyes soften and he takes a step back.
"You don't have to threaten to get what you want, you know." I feel my face contort into a grimace.
"My existence says otherwise. Two hours." I keep on walking, watching his reflection in the sliding doors to know for sure if he's staying put. Hearing a sigh he sits down. I feel myself relaxing as I step into the cold air, not bothering with a cab. I needed a fast car.
Once I'm in the bank and my number is called I present a card. The woman at the register takes it with a puzzled look. Turning it over, however, she is hit with recognition her eyes flash to mine. I look more than innocent. She is undoubtedly valuing my age since this pass is usually given to those with right connections and a long heritage. And of course those with a lot of money. Technically I'm all three.
I'm immediately ushered into an office. The door closes behind me and I'm facing a man who looks to be around the age of sixty. His hair is grey with silver streaks, his suit is expensive. He wears a white gold Rolex and black rimmed glasses though I'm not too sure he needs them. His face is impassive as he waves a hand to the unoccupied chair in front of his impressive old English desk.
I take my seat, knowing not to speak unless spoken to.
"Here you are," he says in a deep German accent. I still say nothing. It's better if he makes up his own mind than to have it confirmed by me. "I don't know how… but you look exactly the same as fourteen years ago." That's not too long, is it?
"Do you remember the proceedings?" He's startled by my voice. His blood starts pumping faster. But he's brave enough to dare and meet my eyes.
"I do." The man turns his chair and brigs over an envelope with a plastic padding inside. He sets it to the side and lays a simple white paper box next to it. "Is the size alright?" I give one nod and watch him retreat to give me privacy.
I fish the brittle necklace from my pocket and lay it gently inside the box. I tape the sides and put down a date in black ink on the top. Making sure the envelope is properly sealed I place it back on the man's desk before exiting his office. He's standing right outside, watching the door for my reappearance.
"You are much braver than most," I say quietly, overly aware I'm being watched. As I usually am. The man stares at me. "There is no use wondering or asking yourself or others, questions. Do you understand what I am saying?" He takes a break before nodding. I give a small smile. "Make sure it gets there safe," I whisper, walking out without a second glance back.
The envelope would be catalogued as a procession of the Bank of Zürich but would never stay here for more than twenty-four hours. It would be privately delivered to Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena in Siena, Italy where along with countless other memorabilia and priceless artifacts of mine have lain for a time span of approximately two-hundred years.
It is the one building that I dire to see the most but won't ever let myself enter. Whenever I need an item I come here to Zürich. They send the request and I will have what I want. This gives me the fullest control. And it's the only secret I will always keep to myself.
I wish I could afford the luxuries of trust and forgiveness but since I was damned into an eternity of lonesome and vengeance I can't trust anyone but myself. And for the time being there is an old man who is currently sitting behind his desk, wondering if he might have just met the devil herself.
AN: So moody. I really hope she'll trust someone soon.