This is my try at creating a Twilight fanfic based loosely on The Beauty and the Beast. I know it's been done before but I started it and couldn't stop...soon realizing I didn't want to. This isn't set during a specific date in time and the locations are used loosely. They are not as we know them today...and don't try giving me a history lesson...they probably weren't there in the time that I am trying to create. This entire story is FICTIONAL and it isn't all sunshine. For many of you, it will bring unexpected surprises. Be warned.
A Bittersweet Beginning
"Father! Oh, thank the heavens! You're home!" Isabella cried, running through the large gate surrounding the gardens and her childhood home. Her father looked tired, almost weak, and definitely weary. "What is it? What's happened? You're home, this calls for..."
"Bella, my sweet, your father is no longer as strong as he used to be. He needs his rest," her father, Charles, responded, putting an arm around her shoulders and kissing her forehead. "How is my darling?"
"Good, father. I'm glad you're home. Miss Charlotte is preparing your favorite meal and Alice is going to have dinner with us. Oh, I hope that's okay..."
"All is fine, my dear. Ah, Jacob, how are you?"
Isabella blushed as Jacob Black stepped in to retrieve her father's luggage from the carriage. Jacob Black was a wanderer as her father had called him many years ago when he wandered into their lives. It was only a few months after her mother passed away and she was out picking berries for a pie that their servant Charlotte was going to make for dinner. She was just shooing the birds from the beautiful blueberry bushes when he had approached her. Her father, Charles Swan, had always told her to stay away from strange men but he was different. His skin was a darker color, though not as dark as Charlotte's. He had deep brown eyes like hers but they seemed to come alive as he had looked upon her. Peter Randall, the man in charge of the stables, had found the two laughing easily together.
Isabella had practically run to keep up with the two men as they made their way to her father so that Jacob could be introduced. That was four years ago and he never wandered away from them. She was to turn eighteen in less than a week and wished more than anything to be betrothed to Jacob. He could always make her smile. So, the day her father returned from his trip abroad and asked her to take a walk with him, she hoped that it was about this subject that he seemed so weary. There was something off about him and she knew that no matter the suitor, father's had a hard time giving away their little girls.
"Isabella," he began as they crossed the wooden bridge that lead into town, "my sweet, your mother and I had always hoped that you would find someone...special...who had the ability to love you as much as we have."
She bit her lip. This was it. While she and Jacob would steal looks from each other when no one was paying attention, she knew her father had to know her feelings. Since she was a little girl he'd always been able to read her like an open book. Surely he knew. He must know. "Oh, father..."
"I've made an arrangement for you. In Seattle. There's a man there by the name of Edward Cullen. He's a few years older than you but his wife has just recently passed."
"I've spoken with him and he's rather wealthy. In fact, I owe him my life, Isabella. You see, I was delayed in coming home because I was attacked. Master Cullen found me and fought to help me. I dare say that I wouldn't have made it back here without him."
"What are you trying to say, father?"
"I feel that he's more than qualified to care for you the way you should be..."
"What are you saying?" Isabella asked again, this time her eyes wider, scared of what was actually happening.
"You are to be wed a week from today..."
"To whom?" Bella breathed, her hand coming up to cover her chest. Knowing well and good who he meant—and it wasn't Jacob.
"Father, please, I do not even know this man! Jacob is right here..."
"Jacob Black has no family. He has no money."
"So that makes him...him," Isabella fought for the right word, "unworthy?"
"My sweet, please. Your mother would want you to be with Master Cullen. Do you not see what this could mean for you? His family is one of importance."
"We are Jacob's family now. Are we not important?"
"It's not to be negotiated, Isabella Marie. We will make the announcement at dinner, when we happily celebrate my return home. Alice will be there. I need you to see Isabella that Master Cullen is better for you. He can give you what Jacob can not. He can protect you from what Jacob can not."
Isabella bit her lip to keep from crying. She tried to remind herself that this man had saved her father. Her father was all she had left. Therefore, she owed him as well. Swallowing hard, she closed her eyes and nodded before opening them again. "We shall make the announcement tonight."
Standing in the doorway of the small kitchen, Isabella watched as if from a distance as her family laughed at the stories her father was telling. They were stories he had collected from his travels, and had he not just sealed her fate while on that trip, she would have been laughing right alongside him like the others. Tonight was different. She would be joined to Master Cullen in just a short week.
"Isabella, come!" Alice Brandon, her best friend and closest neighbor said cheerfully. Isabella sat down beside her father who was at the head of the table while Miss Charlotte brought out fresh bread and vegetables.
"Smile, Isabelle," Jacob said, using her shortened name—he was the only one who ever did so, "Master Charles has returned!"
She tried to smile, the Lord knows she did, but it was forced and the good Lord knew that as well. Her father cleared his throat. "Well, young Jacob, we have even more reason to celebrate tonight. This time next week, our lovely Isabella will be joined in hand to a man worthy of all her beauty."
She couldn't look away from Alice's face, which was full of shock and wonder. Not because she was transfixed but because she couldn't bring herself to look the other way, the way of Jacob. Surely, he was not going to take this news well. While she was looking at Alice, she wasn't actually paying attention to her until a shrill squeal broke the silence. "Isabella, how lucky you are!" Alice exclaimed.
"I'll start work on a dress. A proper dress, white as snow," Miss Charlotte said, looking down lovingly on the child she had been there to help raise. Isabella gave her a weak smile. It wasn't until she'd pushed her vegetables around her plate about ten times that she stole a glance at Jacob. He was eating, almost furiously, his head down as he avoided looking at anyone. He didn't speak a word for the rest of dinner.
"Alice, would you like to come with me?" she asked, standing up after all of her ham was finished. "I'd like to go for a walk. Father, is it okay that I walk her home?"
"Not by yourselves. Ask Peter to accompany you. Go straight there and straight back. Whatever you do..."
"Don't talk to strangers," she finished, giving him a smile. "Let's go Alice."
Completely forgetting about Peter, the girl's busted through the door and into the cool, fall night. "Marriage! Oh, Isabella..."
"I want to stay here, Alice. I don't want to leave home. I don't want leave Jacob."
"I see the way you look at him. I had a feeling that was why you seem so unhappy. You should not be, though. You should be very happy. Your father said that Master Cullen is very wealthy. Around here, that's rare. Maybe he's a prince!"
"I sincerely doubt that, Ally. I guess I am afraid because it is all new. Alice, I have no idea how to be a wife. My father was so rarely home...I do not know how to be a wife to a man who is home all the time. I doubt even my mother could have taught me that. She missed father but they were not together often."
Alice's father had passed away when she was only a year old, fighting off pillagers who had been in their small village. Isabella supposed her best friend really could not help her much either. "I'm sorry, Ally. This is all so..."
"New?" Alice asked, using the word Isabella had before. "You have yet to meet him. Maybe you will like him the way you like Jacob."
Lowering her voice, Isabella whispered, "I love Jacob, Alice. How can I possibly like Master Cullen that much?"
"I implore you to hold still," Miss Charlotte begged, desperately trying to finish tying up Isabella's white corset before lifting her beautiful, lace dress over Isabella's head. "There."
Being taken by the shoulders and turned towards the mirror, she couldn't help but suck in her breath and bring her hands to her mouth. "Oh, Miss Charlotte, it is beautiful."
"With permission from your father, I added a few pieces from your mother's own wedding gown. The sleeves were taken from it as well as this," she smiled, lifting a sheer, white veil from a box on top of her bed—a bed she would never again sleep.
"Perfect," Isabella whispered, tears stinging her eyes. "Father told me that my mother would want this. Do you think that is the truth?"
"I know it is, Isabella. Master Cullen has the means to care for you the way a man should care for his wife. Your mother is looking down on us now and always. You will never be away from her."
They could hear someone skipping down the hall and she turned to see Alice stop abruptly in the doorway. "You look...like...a...princess..." Alice burst.
"Thank you, Ally," Isabella said, tears pouring down her face now. "I wish so very much that you could be there for it."
"My mother does not wish for me to travel so far. Besides, Jacob will need me here."
Their arms will still wrapped around each other and she whispered into Alice's ear. "Tell him I'm sorry. Tell him I'm very, very sorry and that I feel as strongly for him as I have no question he feels for me."
"I will. I promise."
"Please write to me."
"Alright, Isabella, are you ready?" her father asked, stepping into the room as Jacob came in behind him. Her heart broke as she watched her dear friend open his mouth to say something before closing it and carrying her trunk out of the room. She wanted to run to him, to hug him, but knew she couldn't. It would change nothing, and if it did, it would only make things more difficult.
When they were seated in the carriage, her father smiled at her. "I like what Miss Charlotte has done with your gown. Your mother would be so proud of you."
She smiled at him, placing her hand on his. "I worry for you, father. Please promise that you will come visit while on your travels."
"Of course. My dear, I know you are nervous but remember to have faith. If you have faith in our Creator and faith in your husband, anything is possible. Are you tired? You look pale."
"I always look pale," she smirked. Since she was little, the dark mahogany waves in which her hair framed her face made her skin look even more pale than it was. No matter how much sun she got, her skin never changed the way Alice's did. The way Alice's sometimes looked like Jacob's at the end of he summer when she was helping to work the fields.
She must have been tired, though. A trip that normally took three hours by horse felt as if it took ten minutes because she had fallen asleep. She awoke when the carriage started down a bumpy path and then up to a sprawling castle. It was huge with water surrounding it and a large draw bridge that was lowered for them to cross. "He is a prince?" she asked, breathless.
"No, his late wife was a princess."
"But he's not a prince?" Bella asked, still confused. She had always thought that a princess was married to a prince.
"He is not. Their marriage was...unconventional in arrangement. Princess Katherine had gone to her parents and begged for them to consent."
"And they did?" Bella asked, rather surprised.
"Her parents were killed before they could. She was the oldest heir. She has a younger sister but everything was left to the oldest. Master Edward acquired this castle and her money when she died."
"How did she die, father?" Isabella asked quietly, suddenly even more nervous to meet this man.
"During the birthing of their first child together," he answered even more quietly, as if he hadn't wanted to tell her that part.
The carriage came to a stop then and three men walked forward. She watched them from a little window beside her. Two of them were blonde and one had brown hair like hers. The blonde in the middle opened the door to the carriage and spoke to her father. "How were your travels, Charles? It is good to see you again."
The man looked to be her father's age and she immediately began to sweat. He seemed nice enough but she had hoped for someone her own age. Suddenly, a woman pushed her way through all of them. "Stop being rude, Carlisle," then peering in to look at Isabella, her face broke out with a huge smile, "at least let her out of that stuffy carriage."
Isabella smiled, allowing the woman to take her hand and help her out. She watched as the woman kissed her father's cheek and then felt the woman pull her into a hug. "You are very beautiful, Isabella. We've all been waiting desperately for your arrival!"
Isabella kept smiling but also kept glancing at the three men, trying to figure out for sure which was the one she was bound to be married off to. "Oh, heavens, I am being absolutely horrid. Allow me to introduce everyone!"
"You weren't being..."
"This strapping gentleman here is my husband, Carlisle," the woman beamed and Bella immediately relaxed with the knowledge that it wasn't him she was being given to. "This is our son, Emmett Cullen, you'll be meeting his wife soon enough. This fine young man is Jasper Whitlock. He's a military man and one of the best guards we have."
Bella swallowed hard, wondering where her future husband was. A small child ran out into the arms of the woman and she scooped her up. "Ah, and this is my angel. My darling granddaughter. Emily."
Bella knew the color was draining from her face. Her father hadn't mentioned that the princess's child had survived even though the princess herself hadn't. The little girl had bright gold locks, almost the color of Carlisle's but more youthful. Her blue eyes were brilliant and she wore the sweetest white dress. "Emily is going to be our flower girl."
"That would be lovely," Bella said, trying not to cry. She couldn't do this. It was one thing to become a wife...but she didn't know if she could be a mother. At least not immediately.
"Now," Esme said, turning as if searching for something, "I think we can head into the castle to exchange the vows. My dear son didn't want this to be a large, public gathering. If you'll follow me, I'll lead you to where everything will take place. Father Daniels is our priest; he's speaking with Edward now. Edward wished to have only the two of you and our little Emily in the actual wedding."
Her father took her shaking hand as they stood at the entrance of the small, dimly lit chapel. "I'm so proud of you, my dear. You make a beautiful bride."
Isabella could tell that he did not like the fact that none of their family had been able to attend. She didn't know if that had been at Edward's request or if it was just too far of a trip to make for something that wouldn't take very long. Still, he was trying to make the best of the situation and she just wanted to make him happy as they didn't have that much time left to be together. "Mother would have loved how close we are. Thank you for taking care of me, father."
Soon, little Emily skipped down the short isle, dropping flower petals as she went. Then, they stepped into the small room and Isabella had trouble breathing. Purple flowers covered the alter and lined the pews where only a few people sat. Beautiful, stained glass windows were on each side of her, letting small amounts of light filter through and throwing prisms of colors around the sacred room. The pews were a light wood and there was a cream colored isle runner leading to the alter. That wasn't what took her breath away, though. It was the person standing at the end of that runner.
Taking a step forward, Isabella was in awe. Edward Cullen had deep green eyes that she could see from the very back of the chapel. They seemed to be boring into her, searching her. He stood in a suit of black and gray and his brown hair had hints of red. He was tall and when her father lifted her veil off before placing her hand in Edward's, she saw that Edward was also taller than her him. Giving her shoulder one last squeeze and kissing her cheek, he went to the first pew. She willed herself not to cry.
As the priest began to speak, she lost herself in the beauty that was her soon-to-be husband and it wasn't until Edward was prompted to respond to something that she was brought back to the matter at hand. His voice was soft yet firm. Velvet yet rough. She had no idea what happened or how she knew when to speak because she definitely was having trouble focusing with him right in front of her. Suddenly, the priest took each by their shoulders and turned them to the small congregation, announcing that it was official. Before Edward took her hand in his to proceed down the isle, he turned her back towards him and kissed her very lightly on the lips. "Welcome home, beauty."
I hope you liked the first chapter and I hope you stick around for the second. Usually, I have a few chapters of a story done but this time it truly is up to the readers. If I get good feedback, it will be continued but until then I'll wait and see what happens. This is way different than anything else I've written. I know some of us expected a ghost hunting story and this is not that. I am working on that as well but I couldn't get this idea out of my head. Please, please let me know what you think but try to be nice about it. It's good to be back and I'd love to hear from all of you. Letzigprincess xx