I ground my teeth in pain as the truck I was in bounced up and down, causing my bruised body to slam against things and give me a jolt of pain every single time.
The truck gave a hard break and my body went sliding against the back until my head collided with metal separating the cabin from the bed of the vehicle. A stream of copper invading my mouth alerted me to the fact that I had bitten my tongue upon impact.
A curtain of blinding light came in from the back and I was hauled out by my ankles and made to stand up.
I shook my head to get my sweaty hair out of my eyes and almost growled when I was grabbed and made to walk through some humid place.
To think that no more than a year after Edward left, I would be in the same position I was when around him—awaiting my imminent death.
I was staring down death's door as the creature yanked me around by the forearm, a clear line of slobber going over it's black lips and down its protruding chin.
It grabbed me by the hair and cheerfully slammed me against the wall laced with lobelia, so I felt the exact moment my head, shoulders and back slammed against the wall, erupting into raging fires and electricity. Immediately I felt the need to release the contents of my stomach, feeling the acrid bile tumble out of my mouth and decorate the cold, jagged stone in shades of putrid lime with chunks of mashed up ravioli I had eaten recently floating in it, a stench coming off of it like death.
I howled in pain as shackled were slammed across my wrists, my throat aching and burning as if I had been screeching out my anguish for a thousand years rather than the few minutes in which my body made contact with the poisonous plant.
And then came the final agony as rods as sharp as knives and the width of my wrists were shoved straight through the joints of my wings until the came out the other side.
Chapter 1: La Tua Cantante
It all started the night of my party.
I was getting ready for whatever horrors Alice was going to subject me to. After all, giving free reign to a diabolical pixie vampire to organize a birthday party, with unlimited funds, is about the worst masochistic torture someone can bring onto himself or herself. Especially when the ideal birthday to them is pretending it was a regular day.
As I pulled on the straps of my blue dress (another torture method implemented by the crazy pixie I called my best friend) I couldn't help but notice this sense of dread that lodged itself in the center of my stomach.
I made my way downstairs and came face to face with Charlie, who was running his hand through his hair, still clad in his police uniform, his gun holster up on the coat rack.
"You feel it, too?" I asked, knowing he would know what I was talking about. I crossed my arms and leaned against the wall.
"Yeah," he furrowed his brow. "I don't know what it could be though."
Charlie was like my father, in more ways than one. He was my guardian, someone who could ground me while we stayed in Forks. Most people assumed he was my father, and we were all right with that. Between him and Renee pretending to be my parents I was good, fitting into the human façade like a foot fits a sock.
He had always been in tune with my feelings, whether they were my human feelings or my instincts. It was a comfort, to be able to lean on someone without having to have to open my mouth to spill my guts out the way some girls had to every three seconds for fear of spontaneous combustion.
"Maybe, I should tell them what I am…" I trailed off at the conflicting stare Charlie gave me, knowing he was in the midst of an internal battle, trying to decide what to make of my words.
The Cullens had fallen for the human façade a long while ago. And I don't blame them; my kind had the ultimate camouflage abilities. If they didn't believe the act, then I would have had to go to the Big Guns and fix the blue prints of our abilities until even vampires could fall for it.
Of course, there was a tiny flaw. Our scents when camouflaged were extremely potent and intoxicating to vampires. They called us singers. Many of my kind had their bodies drained of all blood at the hands of vampires, but came back in a different form.
"I think that's a good idea," he nodded. "If they know what you are, they might be able to help with whatever is coming this way."
I blinked at him in slight disbelief; he had always put up such a big argument when I brought up the idea of revealing the existence of my kind to the Cullens that now that he accepted it with such calm ruffled my feathers.
"You sure?" I hedged, looking to see if he was turning red or purple, the usual signs that he was displeased with me and was waiting to unleash his fury on me.
He quickly shot me a glare, "Yes, Bella, tell them. Before I change my mind."
I nodded my head quickly and hurried up the steps to my room, stubbing my toe on the doorframe and hobbling into my room muttering "Ow!"
I lifted my foot to cup the injured toe in my arms and muttered a couple curses when a knock came from downstairs, and I limped to my window, seeing the telltale shiny Volvo in the driveway. I smiled and made my way back downstairs, stubbed toe suddenly forgotten.
Edward had wanted to watch Romeo and Juliet with me afterschool, but I had told him that it was okay; it wasn't as if I didn't have the movie memorized. Plus, I needed to get ready so that Alice wouldn't feel the need to attack me with a Kabuki-brush and accessory kit.
I came straight back down the stairs, stumbling a bit in the heels I was wearing, and came face to face with Adonis.
Edward stood before me, crooked grin on his lips when he saw me. He wore fitted pants and a button up shirt that screamed designer, and his hair almost floated around him. His topaz eyes smoldered, as they looked at me with breath taking intensity, stopping me right where I stood.
"Well, Bella," Charlie came up and hugged me, snapping me out of my vampire-induced dazzlement. "Have fun at the party, and say hi to Alice for me. She hasn't been over in a while."
"It's been three days, Charlie," I reminded him, stopping myself short of rolling my eyes playfully. Charlie had grown attached to Alice after James mauled my leg last spring. She helped me take care of myself and rescued Charlie from the horror of seeing his charge naked. Nonetheless, I nodded at him with a little smile, "I'll tell her."
"Okay, you kids enjoy yourselves tonight." He was clearly sending us off, but shot me one last meaningful look, speaking volumes to me about what we had discussed.
I nodded and turned back to Edward, grinning when he opened both the door to the house and my truck for me, then got into the driver's seat and revved up the engine of my little grandpa truck.
I didn't argue that much, the turn to his house was difficult for a human to find, and I had to make sure that I kept up the act until I could gather his family and confess my secret to them—then beg them for acceptance.
Well, maybe not beg, but close enough.
Before I realized it, we had pulled up to the house, having spent the drive in a comfortable silence.
He zoomed around to my side of the car, opened my door and helped me get down from the truck with the manners of any gentleman born in the early nineteen hundreds.
"Wait!" I said, as we arrived at the front door, "Is everyone here? Rosalie and Emmett too?"
Rosalie and Emmett had gone to Africa, on another honeymoon under the guise of having left for college. When I asked why on Earth they went on a honeymoon to Africa of all places, Edward chuckled and had replied that Emmett wanted take down a rhino or two and see if a Nile Crocodile could compete with the taste of Black Bear.
"Yes, Emmett wanted to come back to celebrate your birthday," he said, giving me a mischievous look that really didn't comfort me.
I suppressed a groan knowing the vampires inside would be able to hear me. That meant that Rosalie was in there too, probably furious that she had been dragged away from her honeymoon to celebrate "the human's" birthday.
It wasn't that I disliked Rosalie; it was just that a girl could only handle a couple thousand death glares before it got tiring.
Edward opened the door with a little, "Ladies first, mademoiselle," and I was met with a chorus of "Happy birthday, Bella!"
I blushed and stared around the room.
Alice had gone insane. Everywhere I looked and every flat surface in sight had crystal bowls filled with dozens of roses, so much so that it form a perfect little dome, and pink candles on white cloth. The birthday cake had to have been the most intricate thing I had ever seen, with little designs that would've been unnoticeable to a normal human etched into the frosting, and little loops of white frosting decorating the edges. In the center, in impeccable cursive, was "Happy Birthday Bella!" with eighteen candles spread throughout the pastry.
Square porcelain plates sat in a stack next to the cake, along with a cacophony of delicious smelling food that only I would eat.
I was worse than I'd feared.
Esme and Carlisle, Edward's perfect and youthful parents practically floated over to me, Esme's caramel colored hair brushing against my cheek as she kissed my forehead while Carlisle wrapped his arm around my shoulders
"I'm sorry about this, it's impossible to reel Alice in once she's gone on a rampage," he whispered theatrically, even though everyone could hear him perfectly.
"Hey!" Alice called out indignantly, her button nose wrinkling up, "It's not as if I called a stripper to give her a lap dance!"
The vampires in the room laughed and my cheeks burned from blushing as I realized that she had probably had wanted that in the original plans. In fact, it was very likely she had organized the strippers outfit and everything down to how they would pivot their butts in my face.
Emmett strode over to me in a light blue button down shirt and slacks, with a grace that seemed unnatural to someone as huge as he was, and enclosed me in a bear hug once Carlisle let go. From the corner of my eye, I saw Rosalie—his impossibly beautiful mate dressed in a strappy red number—staring at us impassively, neither mad nor happy despite the energy in the room, simply enduring it.
"You just don't change," Emmett said, disappointed, almost pouting. "I expected a change, maybe some white hair, but your still the same blushing Bella."
If it was possible, my face burned even more, "Uh, thanks Emmett?"
He let out a loud guffaw as he watched my face change colors, "Imma step out for a second"—he sent a mischievous look at Alice, winking in an obvious manner—"Don't do anything I wouldn't do while I'm gone."
"I'll try!" Alice said, her voice achieving a bell-like quality humans couldn't.
She let go of Jasper's hand and danced over to me, practically a human energizer bunny with how much drive she had, chipper as always. Jasper gave me a smile but kept his distance. He was leaning against the stairs, his blond hair flopping in front of his eyes.
"Time to open presents!" Alice declared, bouncing around the table that held various sized packages.
"Alice, I told you I didn't want anything!" I said, my face twisting in odd ways. Behind me, Edward laughed.
"But I didn't listen!" she stuck her tongue out at me quickly and placed a big silver box in my hands. "Open it!"
I glanced at the box then around the room. "On one condition," I gave in, realizing my chance to confess. "You listen to me when the night is over. I have something I need to tell you. All of you."
Alice nodded so fast it was blur and then insisted I open the package.
I did so and came face to face with something that I didn't recognize at all. "Er, thank you?"
Jasper laughed at me, and even Rosalie sent me a rare grin. "It's a car stereo," Jasper helped. "Emmett's installing it right now so you can't return it. Edward said yours was horrible."
"Thanks Jasper, Rosalie," I said, grinning as I recalled how many times Edward had complained about the quality of my ancient truck's radio. "Thanks Emmett!" I called, a little louder.
A booming laughter came from outside and couldn't help giggling myself, too.
"Open the one Edward and I got you!" Alice trilled, holding a tiny flat box in her hand.
I gave Edward a seething glare that screamed mutiny, "You promised not to get me anything!"
As he answered, Emmett bounded through the door, "I didn't spend a dime," Edward assured me.
I shook my head and turned to Alice, taking the box out of her hand. I slipped my finger underneath the tape, hissing softly when a tiny droplet of blood dripped out of my newly acquired paper cut.
And then every thing happened in slow motion.
Jasper lunged at me, his eyes pitch black, lips curled back in an awful snarl that truly made him look like a ferocious vampire. Then, Edward jumped in front of me, throwing me back with such force that I slammed onto his grand piano with a horrible clang of keys, a gash appearing on my arm, oddly numb compared to the paper cut.
Jasper went limp and let him be carried away by Alice and Emmett, Rosalie going out with them. All three were sporting black eyes and bruises, as if they had spent a full two weeks without a drop of blood.
Esme cast me an anguished look, mouthing, "I'm sorry Bella," and left with them. The only two who remained were Carlisle and Edward.
Edward was stiff as a board as he looked at me, his eyes no longer the inviting topaz from just an hour ago. He looked pained as he stared at me, Carlisle having flashed to my side.
"Leave son, it's okay," Carlisle said, a mournful tenor to his voice.
Edward nodded, glanced at me once and was gone.
"I'm sorry," I muttered as later Carlisle dabbed a cotton swab dipped in alcohol onto my wound. I didn't really feel what he was doing, still in some sort of shock after the complete mess the party had turned into.
"It's fine Bella. It could happen to anyone," he said.
"Could," I emphasized. "But it happens to me." He gave a laugh at that.
The night melted away in a hazy, dreamy sort of manner once he had patched me up, with a sort of fatherly smile on his mouth, as if his whole family hadn't just tried to devour me.
Edward drove me home once he had regained his senses, but he did it in a manner that a Zombie would've been proud of, I think.
It turned out, that would be the last time I saw the Cullens that year. And my secret had been completely forgotten. I begged Edward to come stay with me that night, but was held off by his insistent refusals. So I ended up trudging inside.
And when Charlie asked how the night went, I listened to make sure Edward was gone, and when I was satisfied, and sat down on the couch and told him all the details.
"So the blond one lunged at you?" he asked again.
I nodded gravely, "But it wasn't his fault. I should've manipulated my body to open the package, been more careful. Who fault's a person for giving into a temptation?"
He nodded, "I know what you mean. So, I guess you didn't tell them your secret?"
This time, I shook my head, "There was no time for it. I told them I was going to tell them something after the party, but obviously that didn't really happen. It's not like I was going to blurt it out while they hauled Jasper away."
We spoke a bit more, before I went to sleep.
And then, two days later, after awkward moments with Edward, he pulled me out to the forest for a "talk." Somehow, that didn't really comfort me after the days of mumbled answers with zombified-Edward.
And then, he shoved a knife in me, "Bella, we're leaving."
I took a choking breath, before asking "Okay, when do we leave?" I hadn't really expected him to want to leave so suddenly, but I could handle, just change some papers, keep a line of contact with Charlie, hell, this would make confessing my secret easier if we left Forks.
"No, Bella," he stared back coldly, his eyes as flat as topaz gems.
And then, I felt nausea roll through me, bile pressing on the back of my throat repulsively. "When you say we—," I muttered, horrified.
"I mean my family and myself," he said, each word twisting the knife in my gut more and more.
I insisted I would join him.
"No, Bella, you can't go where we're going. It's not a place for humans."
A flash of resolve passed through me, "Don't be ridiculous, I'll go with you! I belong with you." I'm not human, anyways; I can abandon the façade for him.
An unidentifiable emotion flashed through his eyes, "I'm no good for you Bella."
I stared at him incredulously, pushing traitor tears back, "That's the most idiotic thing I've heard!"
"My world is not for you," he said grimly.
I kept my mouth shut, staring at him with my eyes wide.
He took a deep breath and aimed his dead, flat eyes at the ground instead of at me. "I don't want you anymore Bella.
A small amount of time passed where I mulled over the words, the knife turned into knives, ripping my heart out.
"You…don't…" I mumbled unseeingly, my crossed arms falling to my sides.
"No," he confirmed. "I don't want you anymore. You're not good for me, Bella. I don't love you anymore." He looked back up at me.
I could only imagine I looked like a gaping fish, but my confusion melted away, replaced by a crushing pain. "If…that's what you want."
I was numb, staring at his perfect face. Unfeeling, much like the zombie-state he was in in the days past, dying; hopeless and helpless.
"Promise me, don't do anything stupid or reckless, please," he ordered. "Do you understand me?"
I nodded, not really aware of the action.
"And in return, it'll be as if I never existed"—the blood rushed to my ears, and I think the façade was about to come crashing down all around me—"Don't worry, you're human—your memory is no more than a sieve. Time heals all wounds for your kind."
I didn't hear anything else after that, by the time I managed to utter the words, "Edward, I'm not human!" he was gone. Having disappeared from my sight.
And I collapsed onto the ground, a gaping hole in my chest, ripping me apart.
I let out a scream of agony, so piercing, birds flew out of the woods for miles, clawing my fingers into the ground, grabbing fistfuls of dirt. Tears tumbled out and the human façade fell, and revealing my true form in the middle of the forest amidst my emotional turmoil.
Edward, the love of my life, had left.
And from what he said, he wasn't coming back.
A/N: I'm really excited about this story and would love some feedback on it. I'll update when I get some reviews, I already have the second chapter written :)