Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer owns it all.
Rated M for several reasons.
Nine Months After the Cullens Leave in New Moon
I have done terrible, despicable things. I have slaughtered, murdered, tortured and abused. I have been a monster. There were circumstances and reasons but there are no excuses, one day I will pay for my crimes.
Fate smiled on me and I was rescued from a life that was killing me and almost everyone I came into contact with. Escaping the murder, mayhem and manipulation allowed me to start re-assembling the pieces of the man I once was.
But I was still broken when my wife found me. She spoke to me of peace and tranquillity and love, she was so beautiful and happy, how could I help but follow her?
She gave me all the things she promised but they weren't enough, I just didn't realise at the time.
The last 60 years have been balm to my battered soul but they didn't heal it. When it ended it was like waking from a deep dreamless sleep to find that all the painful things from the day before still waiting for you. Alice and the Cullens were a sticking plaster not a cure and I resent them now, they didn't fix me, they mixed up the pieces so I don't know where anything fits any more.
Living up to their high ideals was hard enough but the emotional climate caused by my struggles was excruciatin'. I was a disappointment and a burden. A soulless monster they felt obligated to police, with less self control than a human toddler and all the appeal of road kill.
I don't know when the love Alice and I shared died, I think it bled away slowly in the endless cycle of school and college. It isn't a natural way for vampires to live, always pretending to be something we're not. Denying our instincts is hard enough but that too? Too much.
Work In Progress
So tired of being weak. I used to be strong, didn't I spend most of the first 17 years of my life looking after my scatty mother? When did I become weak? Was it when I wandered blithely into the realms of the supernatural, where everyone was physically stronger and faster than me? Where everybody fit, except me.
Always needing to be protected, physically and mentally. Always made to feel safe and always feeling grateful, honoured, humbled and inadequate.
Am I destined to always feel like an outsider, I don't fit with people my own age and I don't fit with the beings that surround me?
I don't feel safe any more. All I feel is terror, guilt and self loathing. Terror that I will die, terror and guilt that someone I love will die trying to protect me. And self loathing because despite the risks to others my biggest fear is that I will be stuck like this forever, buffeted around by circumstances I cannot control and beholden to others for my continued existence.
How I long for the time before. The time when I felt myself to be complete, before I learnt about love. And loss.
My beloved. How I ache for her, to hold her to smell her heavenly scent and to gaze into her beautiful chocolate orbs.
I must stay strong. I must keep my promise. She is too good for this half-life, her soul too pure and her potential too great.
Bella, Bella, Bella.
Four Years Later
Squinting into the mirror I carefully apply my eyeliner, not too much but enough for definition. Just a little blusher and a hint of lipstick, perfect.
I step back to admire my handiwork. My chestnut hair is rigidly confined to a tight bun, ready to receive my hat but my face has filled out over the years and I can carry it off swept back like that.
Intellectually I am aware that I have grown into a beautiful woman because despite my reserved nature I am never short of male attention. Mostly unwanted but a boost to the ego nevertheless. I feel a bit like a priceless work of art, always in tip top condition but encased in glass and kept separate.
It's entirely my choice, I have far too much to hide to make friends easily.
Speaking of which, Chadwick has recommended that we all start diaries today to record our first year released into the big bad world. He's an asshole but I think it's actually a good idea. With a resigned sigh I mentally hoist up my big girl panties knowing I should start with the past before moving onto the future.
Four years ago I moved to Forks, Washington to live with my Dad, the Chief of Police. I started my new school in the middle of a semester and apparently I was the most exciting thing to happen for a while. I hated the attention, still do.
I fell in love with the cutest boy in school and for some reason he fell in love with me. It was intense and romantic, like something out of a story. Eventually he dumped me and left, taking his wonderful family and my best friend with him. I didn't deal with it well which is pretty normal for a first love as far as I can tell. I made a new best friend who helped me heal and start living again, also fairly normal.
But none of it was normal. The cute boy was Edward Cullen and he was a vampire. My new best friend was Jacob Black and he was a wolf.
There was a time when I thought my future was to become a vampire and live happily ever after with Edward so like the naïve innocent that I was I stopped planning for a human future, I stopped doing everything really, there was only Edward.
Then suddenly he was gone, he took away his love, he took away my second family and he took away my happily ever after. He told me that it would be as if he never existed but he was wrong. He left me my memories and he left me my dreams but he also left me something tangible to remember him by. He left me an enemy.
Edward's brother killed a vampire who was stalking me and that vampire had a mate, Victoria. I'd like to think she was psychotic in her desire for revenge but if I'm honest I think it was instinct and she was just pissed, vampires mate for life, like swans. Yeah, the irony is not lost on me. She wanted a mate for a mate but I'm pretty sure knowing I wasn't Edward's mate wouldn't have stopped her.
The first vampire she sent after me was killed by giant wolves, which is ultimately how I found out about Jake and his tribe being werewolves. They protected Charlie and me, driving Victoria away whenever she would get close but never managing to catch her. The tense stalemate continued for several months before coming to an inevitable and bloody conclusion.
She had been trying harder than ever over those last few days which was why we decided to pick up Charlie and drag him down to the bonfire at the beach.
I open the door on a nightmare. Victoria crouched over the bloodied form of my father. Time stands still as we stare at each other, she has a satisfied smirk on her face and I can feel the absolute horror on mine.
Jake's hands grip my arms and in a blur I am swung round finding myself in a heap back out on the porch. Shock freezes me in place.
Jake transforms before my eyes, the shreds of his clothes fluttering down like leaves and lunges for her throat. She dodges to the side, flipping over and coming to rest by the back window. Unable to stop Jake's hind legs rake Charlie's chest causing him to scream in agony. Using the stairs as a springboard Jake doubles back and leaps for Victoria again this time he connects sending them both crashing through the window and out into the night.
The sudden absence of growls and splintering wood is eerie. Without conscious thought I crawl slowly towards my father who is now writhing on the ground. The closer I get the more of his slick blood soaks though my jeans. Distractedly I wonder why I don't feel sick.
Reaching his side I try to take his hand jerking back as I encounter the cold steel of his service revolver.
"Daddy?" I ask quietly. No answer other than his sharp pants.
Carefully I take the gun from his twitching hand.
"Bella!" Sam's commanding voice demands my attention and unwillingly I look up to find him standing in the doorway with Paul.
"He's changing." I whisper.
"Then he must be destroyed." Sam is chillingly matter of fact.
"No! He's my father!"
"We cannot allow him to become a vampire."
"No, please, no. I'll find someone to take care of him, take him far away. You can't kill him, he's my father!" Instinctively I lean in to cover his body.
Over Sam's shoulder I can see Paul starting to tremble.
"Bella." Sam's voice is filled with compassion. "He cannot be allowed to complete the change. You have to let him go, he's already dead."
"Sam please, he's my father. He'll be a good vampire I swear!" Even as I plead I see Paul's shaking escalate and the tell tale vibration in the air as he leaps towards my father and begins to phase.
My own trembling body stills and in an instant I raise Charlie's gun and fire.
I killed to protect someone I loved, I made a choice and I have to live with it even if it was ultimately futile. Years of poor eating choices had taken their toll on Charlie's heart, he didn't survive the change. He and Paul died within minutes of each other on my living room floor.
Jared and Quil arrived in time to help Jake destroy Victoria, we piled her shredded remains in the house and burnt it down with the bodies inside to cover the evidence. I lit the match.
I had no right to expect understanding from the wolves and I didn't get it. Except for Sam, he truly had the heart of a warrior, he at least understood why, even if he could not forgive. Jake told me it took a command from the Alpha to prevent retaliation for Paul's death. Something else I didn't deserve.
Jacob tried very hard to forgive me however his efforts did nothing but fan the flames of my desperate desire to escape and start again. As soon as I could I left. I have never been back.'
I re-read my words, they don't do justice to the horror and heartache but I've worked so hard to forget that they are all I can manage. Even this bland re-telling has tears pouring down my cheeks for all the people I have lost and all the people I've hurt. This will be the last time.
I am Bella Swan, loner, survivor, killer, sorry ingrate and today I am graduating.