We all know that I don't own the Twilight Saga. I just own this story. Thanks to SMeyer for allowing us all to play in her world. Let's hope that she doesn't pull the plug on us.
Song: "Pumped Up Kicks" Foster The People
Edward was gone long before the early light of morning crept into my small room. But the bed remained saturated with his scent, and I could still feel the kiss goodbye he had given me before he left.
I lay there in the early gray light of another new day thinking about how he had treated me differently last night. Almost as if I were made of glass.
I smile as I think about the way he has kissed me, adored my body with his mouth and tongue, and then held me as I slept. You wouldn't think one could sleep so soundly in the arms of a vampire, you'd be surprised.
With Edward I felt .. Safe. An oddity, I know. My brain knew the score, knew how dangerous this whole situation was. But for some reason, I couldn't make my heart feel anything but excitement, lust and cared for when he was near.
Clearly I was going mad.
As I pour myself a bowl of cereal, the front door opens and in walks Charlie.
I can't help but frown as I look him over. I hadn't even know he was gone.
"Are you just getting in from work?" I ask as I follow his slow movements through the kitchen and directly to the coffee pot.
All Charlie does is nod his head while staring the coffee pot down.
Taking my bowl to the table, I eye my father while he watches the coffee do its gurgle-gurgle-fizz-fizz thing. I can tell by the way his shoulders are curled inward that something was bothering him- more than just being tired.
"Long night?" I ask in the hopes that he will say something. Anything to give some clue.
"You could say that."
He remains turned from me. His head hung low, his arms gripping the counter as he waits.
Sitting my spoon down, I open my mouth to ask what's wrong but the ringing of his cell stops me before I can utter one word.
I watch as he carries on a conversation with someone, grunting out words, frowning and shaking his head while making his coffee, and then with a great sigh, walking up the stairs to his bedroom. Followed by the click of his door closing.
I don't see or hear from him as I leave for school.
Making my way across the parking lot of school and then into the building was a bit like being in the Twilight Zone. Everyone seemed quiet and on edge. A lot of the cutting of eyes to the left and right, whispers and sad expressions on the teachers faces, left me wondering if someone had stolen the school's mascot or something.
Maybe they canceled the fall carnival? This was Forks Washington for God's sake, what the hell else could be bumming the towns folk out so bad?
I reach up to open my locker, frowning as my ponytail gets pulled.
"Hey girly," Angela says with an upset look upon her face. Much the same expression as everyone else walking around here.
"Hey," I say back while digging through my bag. "What's the deal with everyone here today. It's like someone died." I give a slight laugh that falls flat.
Angela's eyebrows rise and her eyes widen. "Holy shit. You didn't hear?" She grabs my arm, squeezing hard.
I turn all my attention to her. Frowning, I shake my head. "Obviously not."
Looking around before leaning in, Angela whispers, "Mike Newton was murdered last night."
I feel all the blood drain from my face. It feels like the bottom of my stomach has hit the waxy floor below me. I look over Angela's shoulder to see Edward coming around the corner.
"No," I say, not realizing I had said it aloud until his eyes connect with mine.
He stops where he is as if he had heard me all the way across the hall. Like my voice had carried over all the other voices and noises. And then I realize that he probably has heard me just as clearly if I were standing in front of him. Damn vampire hearing!
Could he hear my heartbeat pounding like drum?
I remember the scene with Mike yesterday by my truck. I remember the feel of his nasty hands on me, the threats he made. And then there was Edward. Beautiful and angry. Demanding Mike come with him after seeing to my safety.
Oh God. He didn't do this. He couldn't have. Could he?
Breaking eye contact with him, I focus on Angela. With a shaky voice I manage to ask, "How do you know he was murdered and that it wasn't just an accident?"
"Mr. Peterson, a local hunter, came across him a few miles from the school. And if what I heard from my mom is correct, Mike was strung up between two huge trees in the middle of nowhere. They said he was naked and …" A shiver runs through Angela's willowy frame, "There were carvings. Like, made into his flesh. Mr. Peterson was pretty fucked up afterwards from what my mom told my dad."
"Hey, are you okay?" Angela puts a hand on my arm to steady me.
I hadn't realized I was shaking. It felt like someone had dumped a bucket of ice water down my back.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay. It's just, I don't even know what to say. This is awful." I said quietly.
I grab a few of my books, throwing them into my bag carelessly. I felt like running away.
"I know. The whole thing is so sick." Angela pauses, tilting her head. "Shouldn't you know this before anyone else? After all, it's your dad that is the Chief of police. If anyone should know before the rest of us, you should."
"Yeah, well, Charlie isn't exactly chatty." I say as I shut my locker.
I feel sick thinking about what might have happened between Mike and Edward. Because of me, a small voice whispers in my mind. Is Mike Newton's death my fault?
"Yeah. I get that. Chief seems like a simple man of very few words. Wants some M&Ms?" Angela holds the small bag up for me before popping a few into her mouth.
"My mom forbids candy or chocolate of any kind in our house. So naturally I crave it even more. I have to get mine on the streets." She nods her head with a serious frown. "Eric and Ben keep me in supply when we're at school."
I look down to the colorful candy. Taking a green one, I bite down on the crunchy sweetness.
"Thanks. So what you're saying is Eric is your dealer?" I go for a smile but can't seem to pull it off.
Giving a small laugh, Angela pops another candy. "I pay him back well. Damn, if only my mother knew. She tries to keep me from rotting my body with a little sugar because 'We must keep a clean temple'," Angela says in a voice just like her mom. "All the while my boyfriend gets me all the candy I want in exchange for BJs! It's totally wicked."
I feel my face heat up in a blush. Thankfully I'm saved from having to hear about Angela's sex life when Jessica Stanley comes down the hall wailing at the top of her lungs like the drama queen she is.
"I think I should at least be excused from any and all school-related functions and classes. Right? I was after all his girlfriend. And any bad grades I receive should be excused as well. On the count that I am heartbroken over my loss!"
Angela, shaking her head, looks over to me and roll her eyes. "Leave it to Jess to turn Mike's death into her own personal drama to get out of classes. That girl is a piece of work for sure."
Through the loud speaker Rosalie Hale's voice rolls over us all like something from a damn redneck porn video.
"All students please report to the Gymnasium immediately. I repeat ALL students to the gymnasium. And remember, please, manners!"
Angela and I look at one another before following our classmates to the gym.
I couldn't wait.
I pour myself a cup of the engine oil the staff calls coffee. Taking a sip of the bitter shit, I cringe and add more sugar to try and at least make it tolerable. I use the drink as my excuse to have my back turned to the other teachers as they offer up their own sad and idiotic words over the death of dumb-shit, aka Mike Newton. Maybe if I continue to drink this black toxic poison I won't have to join the conversation- thus showing all the fucks I don't give.
Rosalie walks up to make herself a cup of tea. I can sense she wants me to look at her. Hell, I can feel her eyes burning a hole into the side of my face. Not really, but it feels that way. I imagine this to be what the sun feels like.
She sighs to get my attention. Women make it too easy to read them.
Don't look. Don't look. Do not make eye contact. It'll only mean you will have to speak to her..
"Rosalie. Not braving the coffee, I see." I go for small-talk. I should have known I was doomed.
"What's wrong with the coffee? Did I make it too strong?"
She made the coffee. Of course she made the coffe. The only talent, I'm sure, the woman has would be flat on her back. Or on her knees..
"Its great! Best coffee. Ever." I smile while lying through my fangs.
If I weren't already damned to the deepest pits of Hades with the whole blood-sucker-undead-killer of humans- thing, I sure as hell am now over that big-ass lie.
What I really wanted to say was, 'No Rose, your coffee sucks like a black hole of despair just like your personality.' But with her standing there all butt-hurt because of our cancelled evening, looking like something from a sad and cheesy Disney movie, I never stood a chance.
"I hope you're feeling better today. Last night when you called to say you couldn't come to dinner you sounded just awful. Are you okay now?" She places her hand on my arm.
"I'm still a little weak. It must have been something I ate.." Or someone.
"Well, anytime you want to cash in that rain check just let me know."
Oh she's a little eager beaver.
"You bet. Thanks" Not on your life Malibu Barbie!
I watch Rose as she sways her way out of the room. Sighing because I still can't help but think she'd make a very tasty snack, at least.
As Angela and I file in behind our classmates into the gym, I notice all the teachers, some parents and even a few of Forks Police are gathered at the front of the room on a large stage that is normally only used when announcements are made.
As far as I know never have those announcements been because a student had been murdered.
As we take a seat, the principal begins a speech about 'our fallen classmate' and how no matter what we must rise above and show our support. He goes on to talk about the community banding together, and some other nonsense that I tune out as I search the room for Edward.
My search is interrupted when Jessica Stanley is lead away after she starts screaming and crying about being too young to lose her soul-mate. The fake fainting spell was a little over the top if you ask me, but I have to commend her on the fat purple tears she had streaming down her pale face. Very believable.
Rosalie Hale gets up to say a few words. I automatically visualize what it would be like to slam dunk her head through one of the basketball nets on either side of the gymnasium. I imagine her head to be just as full of air as a basketball. Then I remind myself who it was that Edward was with last night. Who was the girl he was deep inside as he came..
I'm awful. Truly awful to be thinking such things when Mike Newton has been killed- possibly because of me and my attachment to a hot vampire with a twisted soul.
And they say high school is the best time of your life. Ha! Whoever said that clearly never had a vampire lover hell-bent on killing.. Everything in his path.
"I know this is a trying time for us all. I also know that our fall break is coming up in a few days. With that said, I hope every single one of our students will show their support for the Newton family by wearing the black arm bands we have set up at tables around the room. Also, those of you who have your parents and guardians' go-ahead, Chief Swan and a few of Forks' finest would like to ask a few questions. So please answer any of their questions and be respectful. Thank you.
Now please join me in a moment of silence in memory of Michael Newton."
As the room of people bows their heads, a quiet hangs thick in the air, I lock gazes with Edward who stands against the wall at the back of the room near an exit.
His eyes flash as they connect with mine. I feel fire and ice rush through my body. He looks like a hungry animal. There's a teasing glint to his gaze. Danger. And then he smiles and winks at me before lowering his head.
I feel fear but also desire. I want to be near him. Not just because I need to know what part he played in all this, but a bigger part or me, a darker part, just wants him and all the danger he brings.
I turn away from my conversation with Angela to see Charlie making his way towards me.
"I'll see you later, B." Angela says as she leaves with her parents.
'Dad," I rush into my father's arms. Not caring that we're in a room filled with my classmates and teachers. I suddenly feel very scared.
"Hey now. It's okay Bells. I promise everything is going to be okay." Charlie runs his hand up and down my back in a soothing motion. Such a fatherly thing to do that it makes hot tears sting behind my eyes.
"Listen, Bella. I want you to do me a favor. Okay?"
I nod my head, not trusting my voice to hold.
"I want you to answer all of Mark's question as best as you can." Charlie says as he motions Mark over.
"Why can't you just do it?" I ask.
"Because with me being your dad.. I just think Mark should be the one to ask. I have to speak with a few of the teachers as well. Just tell him anything at all you think could be helpful. Can you do that for me?"
"Sure." I shrug.
Why not. Answer some questions. Right. Not worried at all over this.. Not over the fact that my vampire lover is probably the killer they're looking for. I'll just keep that little piece of info to myself.
"Hey Bella." Mark says with a smile.
I try to smile back but fail miserably. I really want to hide away.
"Why don't we head over here so we can sit down." He says as he moves towards the bleachers.
Once we're seated, Mark pulls out a pad and pen. Does he think I'm going to be a wealth of knowledge? I start getting nervous thinking about how much I do have to keep secret. And half of that I'm not even sure if I really know!
I was starting to sweat.
"I won't keep you too long. I promise. I just wanted to get your story."
"My story?" I ask with a frown.
"A few of Mike's buddies say one of his last interaction in school was with you. Something about the parking lot."
"Um, Mike and his friends were messing around. That's all."
Mark eyebrow raises. "Messing around?"
"Yeah. Mike got a little … aggressive. But nothing came of it."
"Because one of your teachers stepped in. Is that correct?"
Play it cool, Bella. Play it cool. Don't let him know how much you're freaking out right now.
"Um," I look around the room, hoping to buy some time to think of what to say. And of course my eyes lock with Edward's again. I know the second he feels my fear. His eyes darken, his nostrils flare, and his eyes cut to Mark.
Shit. Shit. Shiiiiit! Last thing I need is for old Mark here to end up as one more dead guy. I don't need another death added to my already overwhelming guilt.
So I laugh. Which made Mark look at me like I had two heads.
"Mr. Masen just made sure that Mike and the other guys weren't bothering me. That's all."
"And were they? Bothering you, I mean." He paused in his writing to look up. "Bella?"
"Mike just got a little too forceful, Mr. Masen saw this and he put a stop to it. The end."
"How forceful did Mr. Newton get? Look, I can't figure out much here with only half the story. I need to know if Mike was less than the honorable son and student that his friends and family keep insisting he was."
I blew out a breath and went for it. Might as well lay it all out there.
"Mike was a pig. He liked to think he was some kind of stud but truthfully, he had about as much game as Mr. Gibson over there."
Mark and I both looked to Mr. Gibson who, at Ninety-three, looked kind of like the old turtle from Kung Fu Panda.
Mark's lip twitch before he turns serious again.
"Did he hurt you Bella?"
I look to where Edward had been moments ago to find him gone. That had me a little worried.
"No. He didn't get a chance to. Do I think he would have if Edward hadn't stopped it? Yes, I do."
Mark studies my face for a few seconds before nodding his head. "Okay. Thank you for telling me. But Bella, your father isn't going to be happy that you didn't tell him about this. Just be prepared for his questions next. And if you think of anything else, just let us know."
I watch Mark as he stands, crosses the room and moves on to another person.
And still, no Edward around anywhere.
Making my way out of the girls' bathroom, I run right into Jessica Stanley.
"Move it, freak." She snaps.
Saying nothing, I proceed to wash my hands as fast as I can. I knew if she said another thing I would end up going off on her.
"Would it kill you to be nice to me? I mean, like, you don't understand what it's like to lose your boyfriend. The love of my life is gone. Like, forever."
At that point I had had just about enough. Spinning around, I pin Jessica with a hard look.
"For fucks sake, Jess, get over yourself! Mike was your fuck buddy and nothing more. We all knew it. So stop acting like you guys had some deep love that was tragically cut short. You're just using his death as an excuse to add more drama and attention to your pathetic life. It's sad. Grow up."
I didn't take a breath until I was outside the school. I had to admit I felt a little better.
I look up to see most of the cars that had filled the parking lot were now gone. Including my dad's. I must have been in the restroom longer than I thought. I felt relief that being alone with my thoughts was close at hand.
"He's evil, you know?"
I jump as the soft voice is spoken to my right. God, but my nerves were shot to hell.
Alice Brandon, sitting at the base of a huge pine tree near the edge of the parking lot. She's holding on to a bright red apple.
"Who is?" I ask knowing I wouldn't like her answer.
Looking up to the clouds in the sky, she says, "Your beau."
"My what? I don't have.." I take a deep breath, trying in vain to calm myself "You're mistaken." Ignoring the weird vibe she gives me whenever she is near, I go for a bored look. Who the hell says beau anyway?
Her eyes flash back to mine, causing a chill run over me as those clear blue eyes seem to look right through me.
"I'm not wrong. You all think I'm crazy," She says as she twirls the apple between her small hands. "I know what's said behind my back. The looks and laughter. The whole school thinks I'm a nut job. But I see things. I see the shadows that dance around the corrupt. And those shadows, when Mr. Edward comes around," She licks her dry lips, a haunted look upon her face. "They hide from him." She nods her head before looking back up to the sky.
"Evil vs. good. The battle is coming. It's closer than you think. And it's going to get worse, Bella . Much worse before it gets better." Her eyes glaze over. "You will be the shift in that battle. What you do, how you handle this is what will change everything."
And with that Alice skips off towards Jasper who has pulled his dark blue van up near the curb.
I'm left staring after her like a fool.
Having had enough crazy for one day, I rush to my truck. I just wanted to be left alone. Who knew I'd crave the ripped seats and the smelly gasoline tinge that clung to the inside of that old truck. But it had become familiar to me. Like an old friend that I could depend on. A security blanket of sorts.
And that's when I tried to start the truck and got nothing from it. The engine wouldn't even turn over.
"Come on, baby. Please don't do this." I pleaded. For all the good it did me. "Reliable, my ass." I groan as my head hits the steering wheel with a dull thud.
Looking around, I see that there were only a few cars left in the parking lot. And I didn't know a single one of them. I wasn't about to go ask someone for a ride. I didn't want to have to answer questions. And Charlie and Mark had already left.
I reach for my cell phone, remembering it is exactly where I left it.. on my desk at home.
Great! A perfect end to this day.
I really didn't want to ask for a ride from someone I didn't know that well. Talk about awkward. That didn't leave me with many other options. I knew we didn't live too far from the school- just a few miles. I could walk home. Easy.
The clouds were thick but it wasn't raining. Yet. If I hurry..
With my mind made up, wanting to get home as soon as I could, I pull my bag over my shoulder, lock the truck up, and I start walking towards Charlie's house. Dumb move on my part. But I wasn't exactly thinking clearly.
And even though I knew -or suspecting- who had killed Mike, I was still afraid to walk home alone.
A light mist of rain began to fall as I am only a half mile into my walk. I grumble under my breath as I turn my ipod up. I knew walking with the music so loud was dangerous, but again, I wasn't thinking too clearly this day.
That must have been why I didn't see or hear Edward pull up along side me until he was able to reach out and touch me through his driver side window.
Jumping, I pull the ear buds out to stare at him with wide eyes.
"You shouldn't be out here alone. What if some wild beast came upon you?" I smirk as Bella pockets her music player with shaking hands.
I also note she had been walking on the wrong side of the road. My pet had a knack for danger, it seemed.
"I suspect you would just end up killing it." She says softly as she eyes me closely.
"As I've said before, I am what I am." I look in the rearview to make sure nothing is coming down the road.
"Get in. I'll drive you home."
I can tell she thinks about it before going around to the passenger side. This action, her unease and second-guessing around me has my teeth on edge.
"Thanks," She says as she closes the door. "My truck seems to be having a bad day."
Her eyes cut back to me, then to the road ahead. She's afraid.
I move closer to her, reaching across the console, I wrap a strand of her dark hair around my finger as it blows across her face from the open window.
"I take it you've heard," I say. I never was one to beat around the bush… Much.
"You did it, didn't you?" She looks away as she asks this.
"Did what?" I ask.
I watch as she twists her fingers in her lap. I can hear her heartbeat rising, pounding faster the longer we sit. Her scent is something so new to me. Like being hunger and lustful at the same time. I want to consume her in every way. The animal in me and the man in me are, for once, in agreement.
"You killed him." She says quietly, turning towards me with tears in her eyes.
"I kill a lot of people, pet. Care to narrow it down?" I say this in a distracted manner. Because her eyes are so deep and sorrowful in this moment that I find myself drowning in them. I feel things stirring within me. Things I have no use for.
I watch as she raises her chin, squaring her shoulders, straightening her back. Brave little thing that she is, she asks the one thing she clearly doesn't want to know.
"You killed Mike. And all those bikers at the bar that night."
Unable to lie to her, I nod my head once.
"Why! Why would you do that? How can human life mean so little to you?" She wipes at her fallen tears with anger.
With a sigh, I put the car in drive and head towards her home.
I can feel her eyes on me the whole way. I block her out until I can think about my reply to her questions.
Pulling up to the curb of her home, I notice her driveway is empty.
I turn the car off. Here in the quiet, with just the rain coming down harder, her heartbeat is so much closer and easier to hear. It pounds so hard that I can almost feel it. Feel her moving through the air around me.
"I am what I am." I hold back a snarl as I think about why I killed the boy. "He dared to touch what was mine. Same with those vile men you feel so sad for. They would have taken you had I not been there that night, Isabella. They would have shared you like a fresh kill among a pack of dogs. You would have been passed around like a tasty little joint."
She knows all this. She knows I saved her, damn it.
"How am I supposed to be okay with you killing people? How can I be anything but heartsick over this? How do I intertwine the man who made love to me all night long with the monster who hunts down and kills anyone he wants?" Her eyes flash with anger and confusion.
"What can I say here that could possibly sound okay to you? You want me to be remorseful over killing cute little college students and annoying jocks."
"How can you be so casual about taking a life?"
She pleads for understanding. An understanding I'm not sure she can find. An understanding I'm not sure I can bring to her.
"Because this is who I am! This is what nature made me." I pound my fist against my chest in frustration. "I am an evolved being who has, for the last seven centuries, lived this way. It is as much a part of my genetic make-up as your brown eyes are to you, Bella."
"There must be another way."
"What would you have me do? Feed to survive but afterwards wear all black, mope around quoting Edgar Allan Poe? Be the sorry, tearful vampire? That's not me. I can be so casual about this because I do not value life the same way you do, Isabella. A human life is nothing more than a flicker in time. A twinkle of a star and then it's over. I count decades like you count days."
I sigh as she wipes another tear away. She'll be the fucking death of me, for sure.
"But if it'll make you feel better, I'm willing to stick to killing only the bad guys. And I can try to be all emo about it after."
"This isn't a joke to me, Edward." She says in a scolding tone.
"I'm not laughing, Isabella." I give her the tone right back.
"But shouldn't it mean more to you? Life, because it truly is only a flicker in time, Shouldn't it hold more worth to you? Shouldn't you, above all others, view it as a beautiful thing?"
Her words, her sweet, innocent words, hold me still.
Edward brushes his thumb across my cheek. Catching a teardrop. The touch is so tender that I feel my heart skip a beat. I just wanted to crawl into his arms and beg him to hold me.
His voice catches as words I would have never dreamed of hearing fall from his mouth. "You are the only thing I find beautiful in this world," He says quietly "You are the only thing, in all my years walking this earth, I have found redeeming about the human race."
His words flow over me as softly and warmly as the caress of his fingers to my skin and hair.
He watches me for a long while before saying anything else. And I can't seem to find my voice to ask any more questions.
A shadow crosses his handsome face. A look of complete resolve.
"To me, humans are cattle. Sheep for the hungry wolves to sate their bloodlust on. I'm sorry that you don't agree with me on this subject, Isabella. But this is how it has been, how it must be. Evolution made it so." He looks as if he were a million miles, a million lifetimes away. " I can't go back."
And who was I, Bella Swan: Human Extraordinaire, to stand against that.
A/N: Oh dear. I'm sorry my lovely friends that this took me so long to update. Next chapter will have some flash backs in it of Edward's past. Anyone care to travel back in time to see just how our Darkward became a vampire? If anyone is still reading, hope that makes you excited! Lol
Thank you all from the bottom of my little heart for Reading & Reviewing. I didn't have time to reply back and I feel just awful about that. Just know I read every single one and adore them all- even the kind of harsh ones- I take those in and are mindful of advice. If I could, I would send you all hugs and sexy vampire/hot teachers of your very own!
The song choice is something I could so clearly hear Edward singing along to as he indulged in evil naughty things. ;)
Join me next time? Muah!