The black carriage and horses matched the night so well that if there was anyone around to see the road, it would appear that two flickering lanterns were propelling themselves up the rocky slope in ghostly apparition. But there was no one around. No one was fool enough to venture onto Cullen land, especially at night.
The driver marched his horses carefully, for although there was a road, the terrain was rocky and dangerous. Normally, he would never have agreed to drive up here, especially at night, but the pay was too good to pass up. Now, in the blackness that surrounded him, he wasn't so sure it was worth it. And yet, he drove on, in a steady upward climb.
The inside of the carriage held two passengers. Bella, a young woman-eighteen. Her long brown hair was tied back in a fancier style than she had ever worn before. The dress she wore was new, another novelty for her. Her hands were covered in short, stylish leather gloves as she clasped them together on her lap. Her slight frame bounced along readily with bumping of the carriage.
Her companion was a man of about forty. He was ugly and fat, not a good person by any means, though not wholly evil either. Bella could no longer see her companion, ever since night had suddenly fallen upon them, but she was just as well for that.
They did not speak.
There are no words to describe the emotions Bella was feeling as the horses moved on in a steady pace like the unstoppable passage of time. But then, without warning, they stopped, for the little party had arrived at their destination.
The driver hopped down to open the door for them. The man stepped out first, then helped Bella down as though she were a lady. They stared at the front door, and as Bella turned to look at her escort, he refused to meet her eyes.
They were on on top of a large cliff. Though Bella couldn't see it now, she knew what it looked like, just as she knew the ocean's breakers were hundreds of feet below her, to her north, south, and east.. She couldn't see them, but she could hear them and smell them.
"Go on then," he waved his thick hand nervously toward the front door whilst simultaneously taking a step back in fear or revulsion or both.
Coward, Bella thought as she walked alone toward the mansion. Though she knew she wouldn't be going home ever again, she carried nothing with her. In a way, she felt free of Earthly restriction in that moment, the moment between knocking on the door and it being answered.
When it was opened, it was by a handsome, blonde man, probably in his mid twenties. He was holding a flickering candle.
"We've been expecting you," he said as she stepped back so Bella could enter. Bella studied his face. Was this him? Turning around, she saw that her escort had already reentered the carriage and the driver was turning his horses about to return the way they came. Without her. Bella was truly alone now.
The man that answered the door was very tall, and despite the ominous flickering light the candle threw upon his face, he did not look quite as menacing as she expected, though certainly not friendly.
"This way, please," he said, he voice flat, his expression blank. Bella's shoes made soft tapping sounds as she walked on the stone floor, through to the parlor. Was this him?
"Wait here," the man said as the door was closed behind her. No, it wasn't him.
The room had a fire going, and Bella instinctively moved toward its light and warmth. She didn't know how long she stood there, and wasn't sure if the solitude was decreasing or increasing her fear and apprehension.
Bella looked around the room as a distraction to herself. There were large windows, in which she could see her reflection. Only average, Bella thought of herself, despite her fancy hair. She took a moment to stare, though, in a sentimental way. Looking at the familiar curve of her nose, her chin. She forced herself to turn away.
Book shelves were on the far wall, there was a small card table, some settees and chairs. Bella's attention was then drawn to two portraits above the fireplace, clearly visible in the warm light. One was of a man, young and handsome. The other of a woman, her expression gentle. Bella stepped closer for a better look.
"I hope your journey wasn't too tiring," a voice suddenly spoke, making Bella jump. She hadn't heard anyone enter the room. She turned around, but all she could make out was a tall figure in shadow.
Bella didn't know what to say, so she didn't way anything. Her heart started racing. The voice that had spoken was deep, but there was something else about it. It had an other-worldly quality to it, like a secret, rich undercurrent.
"Your name?" the voice demanded.
"Bella Swan," she squeaked out. She knew right away that this was him. Edward Cullen. She knew by the shivers that ran down her spine when he spoke. She wanted to run, to scream, but instead she stood stonily in place.
He stepped into the light, and Bella gasped. His skin was so pale it was almost translucent. His eyes were black. The first thing she noticed, though, was that he was achingly beautiful. But he was clearly something other than human.
"Hello, Bella Swan."
He moved like a cat as he stalked closer to her. When he was standing in front of her, he picked up her hand and kissed the back of it. His hands were cold; his lips were colder.
She wanted to jerk her hand away, but she didn't.
"You smell divine," he whispered as she dropped her hand. Bella stood stalk still, her stomach clenching nervously.
He leaned in toward her, smelling her neck, before taking a step back. Bella stared at him, she couldn't help it. She had never seen anyone like him before. His beauty was like a disguise to mask the evil she knew him to be. She was both repulsed and entranced.
He smirked as he looked her up and down. "And you are quite lovely as well. I am pleased," he spoke with the confidence of a man who was used to getting what he wanted.
He circled her like a cat stalking his prey. Bella's heart sped up as he stood in front of her. He caressed her chin, then stroked her neck. He touched and looked at her as though she were a new toy for him to play with. Bella was too afraid to move.
"Would you like something to drink?" he asked, even as he walked over and poured a glass of whiskey from a decorative glass decanter.
"No thank you," Bella said as Edward held out the glass to her.
"Come now, it might calm that racing heart of yours," he said with a smirk.
Bella took the glass from him, but instead of drinking it, she set it stubbornly on the table.
"Do you know why you're here, Bella?" Edward asked abruptly. He sat casually back in a chair, stretching out his long legs and crossing his feet at his ankles. He looked at her contemplatively.
"Yes," Bella forced out from between her dry lips.
"Are you sure?" Edward spoke, a tone of malignant teasing in his voice, "It's not to clean, cook, or do any sort of household chores."
"I know," Bella ground out.
Edward raised his eyebrow, not expecting this as her answer.
"You do now?" he asked, "I wonder then, why are you here?"
Despite her fear, Bella looked him straight in the eye. She knew he was playing with her, trying to frighten her. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction.
"I know what you are," her voice rang out in a cool, crispness that surprised her, considering the fear she felt.
"Oh, do you now?" Edwards previously teasing voice now held a hint of hotness. He clearly didn't like to be challenged.
"Yes," Bella said.
"And aren't you afraid?" Edward was suddenly standing right next to her, towering over her.
"I'm not afraid of you," Bella ground out stubbornly, staring at his chest, which was only mere inches from her face. Even as she was saying the words, she knew she should just keep her mouth shut. She shouldn't make him angry. But she knew she was going to die today anyway. What could he do? He couldn't kill her twice.
"And why not?" Edward demanded. His voice was deeper than it had been, stronger.
Despite herself, Bella flinched. "There's nothing I can do about it anyway," she spoke, "So why be afraid?"
Edward stepped back and smiled. "Don't you know, Bella. Fear isn't something you can choose to feel. You either feel it or you don't, and despite your words, you are afraid. I can smell it on you. I can hear it in the pounding of your heart. You are afraid." He spoke the words with satisfaction in his voice.
"It's true that I can't help the way I feel," Bella's pension for stubbornness and argument reared its head, "But I can control my actions, and in those, I'll not give you anything."
Edward grabbed her chin in his cold fingers, speaking mere inches from her face. "You shouldn't say such things to me, little one," he said, "It makes me want to accept the challenge."
Bella, this time, shut her mouth. Her words had been foolhardy, she knew that. Edward stepped back and smiled at her, then in one quick motion, he tore her dress from neck to waist.
Bella gasped as she she scrambled to pull the her dress back together to cover her naked flesh. Before she thought about it, she reached back and smacked Edward's smiling face.
It was a pointless gesture, though, like smacking stone. All it accomplished was to increase Edwards ire. He tore her dress again, this time shredding the material to bits in seconds. The pieces fluttered around Bella to the floor. Though her skirts were still intact, her chest was completely exposed. A strange, strangled cry came from her lips. Bella quickly wrapped her naked arms around her chest, taking a step back from the smiling monster. A blush stained her cheeks.
"How I do enjoy a virgin's blush," Edward spoke tauntingly in response to Bella's quivering shame. "I like to see the blood glow appetizingly beneath the tender skin."
Bella was shaking. "Do you fear me now?" Edward asked.
Bella fought to hold back tears. "No."
Edward smiled and chuckled. "Ah, you are making this very fun for me, little one," he said.
He suddenly grabbed both of her wrists in one of his hands. Bella struggled, but his grip was like iron. She kicked out at him, but he didn't even appear to feel it, and she only succeeded in hurting herself.
Edward held her wrists over her head, and lifted her feet up off the floor. He held her entire body weight suspended out in front of him with one arm. If there was any doubt that he was more than human, it was gone now. His show of inexplicable strength banished it.
Bella struggled uselessly for a minute, but soon gave up to just hang in helpless suspension. Edward grinned at her face before letting his eyes roam over her exposed breasts which were heaving with her heavy breathing. Bella flushed in shame. She was truly helpless, naked from the waist up and all she wanted to do was be free of his grasp, but she couldn't even move.
Edward opened his mouth and flashed his fangs to her. Bella cried out and kicked her legs helplessly at the sight. He lifted her up higher so her breasts were at his eye level.
"Just a taste," he seemed to say to himself.
Suddenly, he bit her nipple. Bella screamed in surprise and pain. A tiny pinprick of blood appeared and grew on her small, brown nipple. Bella watched as Edward licked it up. Despite her revulsion and fear, Bella was ashamed to realize that the sensation of his tongue on her nipple wasn't wholly unpleasant. Edward then licked her other nipple as well, even though there was no blood. Bella's nipples hardened. She flushed in humiliation and whimpered softly.
Edward lowered her back to her feet, but still held her wrists above her head.
"You taste even better than you smell," he spoke as though this were a compliment Bella wanted to hear.
"You monster," Bella spat out at him, tears now falling down her cheeks.
"I thought you knew that from the start?" Edward leered at her. As he spoke, still effortlessly holding her wrists, he reached up and pinched her nipple, the same one had bitten...hard. Bella screamed at the pain. She started questioning her resolve. It was a mistake to come willingly. She should have run. She should have escaped this, but it was too late.
"Why can't you just kill me and get it over with already? Are you so sadistic that you like to play with your food?" Bella forced herself to look him right in the face, into his black eyes.
Edward smiled. "Is that what you want? To die?"
"It doesn't matter to you what I want."
Edward didn't answer, though. He only lifted his cold, white hand and gripped her neck. He could feel her pulse beneath his dead fingers. Her flesh was soft and creamy and alive. He pushed her head back, exposing the tender flesh there, the succulent veins. He repositioned her hands so that he was now holding her wrists behind her back.
This was it, Bella thought. It is strange. The whole way here, she knew that this was how it was going to end. She knew she was being driven to her death, she thought she had been able to mentally prepare for this. But still, now, in this moment, she was afraid. She didn't want to die.
Edwards lips touched her throat.
Bella wasn't sure what she had been expecting, but it wasn't this. She thought she would immediately be lulled into unconsciousness, but she wasn't. She could feel the sucking on her neck quite clearly. She wondered when she would lose consciousness, when he would finally have taken so much blood that she would lose her own thoughts.
At the end, Bella thought about her family. It wasn't that her life flashed before her eyes. It wasn't an involuntary occurrence. She consciously thought about her mother and father. She wanted them to be the last things she thought of when she died. She thought about her father walking through their front door, smelling like fish, his skin tan from the time he spent on his boat. She thought how he would kiss her mother on the lips, then kiss the top of her head. "Izzy Bella Bee," he would say. She thought about her mother's laugh. Then she thought no more.