Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are owned and created by S. Meyer.

Chapter 1 - Like Any Other Night

~000~

My life had always been normal; there was nothing special from my looks to ever make me stand out from the crowd. Yet I was now different…the sole keeper of a secret so deadly it was a miracle I was alive. There was no rhyme or reason to our passion…our partnership. He was the lion and I was the foolish lamb that choose to love him. He was my darkness…and I relished the freedom of that dark embrace.

~000~

The night I meet him was no different then any other night before it. The sun had set hours ago and once again I walked into my lonely Seattle condo - alone. Nothing was there to greet me…only the darkness. Thanks to my parents I was an only child who was too shy to make many friends growing up. Granted there were a few classmates I was close to in high school but life and time had caused us to drift apart. Last I had heard, Alice Whitlock was living her dream in Paris working in a high end fashion company. Jacob I knew, would never leave our hometown of Forks and still worked at his dad's garage. And then of course there was Lauren Jessica…the high school porn queen. News had drifted back that she was pregnant with some married guy's bastard….no surprise there.

If someone had told me even an hour before that my life would change that night I would have never believed them. I was one of those people who never experienced anything exciting, let alone life changing. Yet out of all the places he could have picked he selected mine. Neither of us knows why we let things go this long. I should have made that phone call when he told me I was free…should have made the run to safety like my brain screamed. But I stayed…and I've never regretted it since….I embraced the darkness that surrounded him – excepting it as my own.

~000~

I had selected the ground floor model toward the back of the complex for the sole reason it provided an excellent view of the water. While I never actually liked to swim, I did enjoy the view of the bay my condo provided me. The rent was slightly higher then the other options that were open when I moved here, but the breeze and the sound of the gentle waves at night made the price worth everything.

Once my parents passed I rented the house in Forks to a young couple. I had no desire to live there; however, I couldn't bear to part with my childhood home just yet. Living here in the large city was lonely sometimes since I really didn't know anyone. I wasn't close to my co-workers although I occasionally went to lunch with some of the girls. I had graduated last year with my Master's Degree in Library Science, my undergraduate studies being in Children's Literature and enjoyed the library fellowship I received from the Settle Public Library. My hours were random although I often worked more hours then was needed; everyone knew that I practically lived there anyway so what was a few more hours? As coordinator of the Children's department I was in charge of scheduling the reading events, summer program and book selection for my rather large center. The Settle Library boasted an above average children's center set up in its own wing of the four story building. Located downtown we came equipped with three offices, a reading room and two event rooms for our various after school and summer programs. It was my dream job and I had worked hard during my internship last summer to make it the best program in the state.

My condo wasn't large but it was spacious and reflected my love of books. I had turned the loft into a mini library/reading nook since there was no need for a game room like the realtor had suggested. The extra small bedroom and bath never saw any use since I never had guests…I didn't even own a pet. I wasn't big into shopping or decorating so the furniture was simple and modern - just stuff you would pick up at your local Target. A smattering of family pictures throughout the place was the only sign that a human lived here. Since it was just me the place wasn't very dirty and I was rarely there anyway to do much damage.

I closed the door behind me with my foot then made my way blindly down the hall not bothering with a light switch since I knew the place so well. I put the mail I had picked up from the box out front on the empty counter and switched on the kitchen light. Pulling a water bottle from the near empty fridge I snapped the top while glancing through the pile of letters. It was mostly junk - I wasn't a big spender so I didn't have much in the way of bills. Grabbing the bottle I walked into the nearby family room and turned on the TV, plopping myself down into the soft couch.

TV announcer:

"The Seattle Police are still on the look out for the serial killer known as The Angel of Death. A new body discovered just hours ago reveal no new evidence of this brutal attacker's identify. FBI profiler Jim Saw tells the Seattle News that the killer is most likely in his mid to late 20's, quiet yet highly volatile. There seems to be no pattern in his selection of victims although all murders were done while the victim was alone. Police recommend caution when traveling alone and in dark or unlit areas of the Seattle area. Anyone with information are encouraged to contact the local authorities."

I turned off the news, the announcer simply droning on with additional boring news. All Seattle had been living in fear the past three months with this rash of killings that had suddenly hit our city. The killer was highly skilled as no evidence or witnesses had appeared to give a description. The first few deaths had been young women which led some to believe that he might be a rapist. But the police quickly disproved that since no sexual evidence were ever found on the bodies. A few men had now been targeted which then led to widespread panic. The deaths had all occurred at night, the bodies being discovered in the early mornings. So far police hadn't come up with a motive for the killings and the victim profiles were too random to establish a pattern of selection. The media had started calling him The Angel of Death after the Biblical angel of death which stuck the Egyptian first born during the Jewish Exodus. All the bodies were discovered with a small white card bearing the image of angel wings clasped in the victims hands - a calling card if you will.

Although I knew that I should be more careful, I wasn't afraid...nothing ever happened to me. I was too plain to be noticed even by some psycho serial killer. I was just Bella Maria Swan...brown hair, brown eyes and boring. Putting the now empty water bottle in the recycle bin, I turned off the lights and walked down the hall to my bedroom.

In all fairness nothing had been out of place so I would have never known had I been more observant. I like to think this was just fate finally catching up to both of us. We were destined to be together...light embracing darkness...darkness eclipsing the light.

I saw him before I turned on the light, my hand frozen over the switch. The light from the moon danced behind him as if peeping through the sheer curtains like a frightened child. His voice was deep and strong yet dripped like velvet honey from his lips.

"Welcome home Bella..."

~000~