Protecting the Innocent Swan

Revenge or Forgiveness?

Is the question we must ask?

Is it worth hurting yourself over for?

Is it worth turning your heart black with anger and hatred?

To cry yourself to sleep

To dream of waking up to guns and officers

To see her face again

Laughing at how pathetic you look

To scream as they grab you again

Just like last time

Then to wake up

And realize that you're home and safe

Five years in prison for a crime I didn't commit

Two days after he admitted that he killed her

A day after I was released

An hour after I fell asleep in the plane

The dream starts

I wake up

I look outside

I see the rain, clouds, fog, and stars for the first time in five years

I am home

Revenge or Forgiveness?

I must decide before it tears me apart

His name was James Hunter. His mistress was Victoria Daniels. Their victim was Tanya Sophia De la Luna, known more as Sophia, lead singer from the internationally known band 123 Wonderland. Her ex-boyfriend's name was Edward Cullen, singer of another band, Sunrise Strikes, which he led with his own family. Both bands led the music industry into new heights. They combined where worth billions.

But Edward Cullen was the only one who attracted me to Sunrise Strikes.

He fell in love with me and Tanya hated me for it. She blamed me for their relationship falling apart, she blamed me for the affairs she had with countless men, and she went far enough to stage her own death.

She visited me the day before they found her body. It was funny how I was in Paris, the city of love, yet everything and everyone I loved fell apart on that very day.

She scratched my arms, and little did I know then that my DNA ended up embedded under her fingernail.

She screamed and said that I would pay. And I did.

The case literally built itself up. My DNA under her fingernails convinced the jury that I was guilty.

My name is Isabella Swan. And I was convicted for a crime I did not commit.

He finally admitted it. Of course, after a little persuasion from my step brother Seth Quiletera and his best friend Jacob Black.

As soon as the detectives received the new information, everything fit. Why she was stabbed, why she was chained up. According to James Hunter she had paid him to stage her death. And she had promised five million dollars. Her plan was to pretend to die, than kidnap Edward and take him to her private island off the coast of Brazil where they were going to fall in love and be happy forever. I was going to be framed for her death and live in jail for the rest of my life.

The latter did happen, except that James confessed and I was going to be set free after five years of prison.

She had promised him money yet she didn't deliver. Victoria was dying of stage three leukemia and needed money for hospital treatment. He snapped and killed her.

The trial itself was a nightmare. Press everywhere and people who wanted to kill me. I remember my nights in prison like yesterday, since yesterday I was in prison.

My roommate inmate was Angela Webber who was also being released because they finally found who killed her husband Tyler Jameson. She too had been framed, except that she was framed by her husband's mistress Lauren Crowley.

It was funny how bonded we became. She was my best friend, and lived in L.A. I lived in San Francisco but I was going to stay in her house when I was set free. She had given me her keys and told me that L.A. was magical and it was a place for new beginnings. I wasn't sure at first since L.A. was Hollywood but she convinced me that I would have a week before she was released to clean up her home, buy groceries, and help her settle in.

It made sense. We had both been in jail for the same amount of time and understood the horrors yet hope that existed in that place.

She was on a trip with her husband Tyler when his mistress killed him. Of course Angela found the body and there was so much blood on her hands that the police just assumed it was her. Prison in France was not very welcoming to American's. The only comforting sight was the city from a small barred window in the prison.

I learned French quickly and learned to survive.

But my family and friends were no help. My parents, Charlie and Renee had split years before everything happened. Renee was living happily with her new husband Phil in Italy.

Charlie had remarried Sue, who already had two kids, Leah and Seth.

Charlie Swan was the CEO of Swan Corporation, the leading military and medical supplier in the world.

He cut off all ties after the verdict was decided and cut off my assets.

I used to live in a world where appearances were everything.

A place where you had to be perfect, or else you were banished forever.

I learned Self Defense at the age of ten, a black belt in Karate at age fifteen, and a Master Belt in Karate at the age of seventeen, the same year I was convicted for the murder of Tanya.

I knew how to defend myself, and the ladies in the prison learned that quickly.

Yet after every fight, every injury nothing hurt more than Charlie's betrayal and Edward condemning eyes.

I saw him at the trial. The glare he gave me spoke a million words. He hated me; our love was never real, just him trying to find a normal life in such a public life.

He might as well have stabbed me then and there.

I spent two years mourning over it, until I woke up. I was in prison for the rest of my life. I might as well make it something.

I paid Jessica, a fellow inmate who made the most beautiful tattoos and was in prison for prostituting, to tattoo '"It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one."' On my back, ironically it was a quote by Voltaire one of the greatest French authors and philosophers.

The tattoo was a masterpiece. Around the quote wove a beautiful rose and vines that spread through my back and down my arms curling around both wrists, except the right one curled around to form a key.

Then I paid her for another tattoo on my hip of a white swan.

It was the only permanent reminder of the betrayal of my family and the one I loved.

The dismissal of charges, I did not know of, until they whisked me away and put me on a plane heading for London. Then from London to New York, then from New York to Los Angeles.

Watching the stars and the sky for the first time in five years was magical. I had to constantly remind myself to speak in English and not French.

But the one moment when fear set in was when the flight landed. It was a passenger plane, so people stared when I got on and when I got off. They knew my face from the press I assumed.

I walked through the small tunnel leading me towards the security point. The man's eyes widened when he saw who I was, but he said nothing. The next man who checked my bag, which was only filled with a few pieces of clothing Angela had made, didn't seem surprised. He had been warned.

People stared as another police officer put me in his cruiser in a private parking space and led me towards the exit of LAX.

All I could see were police cars and on a barricade around hundreds of cameras and paparazzi.

For the first time in five years I felt the sun on my skin.