Disclaimer I do not own twilight! That honor goes to Stephenie Meyer's!

31 Days of Halloween

Title: Beauty and the Beast

Rated: M

Pairing: Edward and Bella

Word count: 1855

Picture prompt #18

Summary: Can a Halloween Ball change everything? Can beauty find true love with an evil beast in one glance? Edward and Bella will find out.

Disclaimer: Please . . . like I have a chance at owning Twilight! Seriously, do my initials say S.M.? Nope, Nada, no way, no how.

Edward's POV

I've travelled the spans of the world and years of time. I knew, the moment I'd seen her in Alice's vision, I had to have her. Ditching my family years ago, I searched her out. We barely exchanged calls anymore. They didn't approve of my stalking Isabella. In my mind, I was simply protecting what would one day be mine.

She never saw me watching her over the years. The trees had become my home away from home. I'd bought a rundown estate not far from her father's house when she moved to Forks. It was rarely used, though, only to shower and entertain myself when she was unwatchable.

The woods separating our homes were the only barriers between us, not that they could stop me. Creeping through the gloaming shadows, I traversed the distance every night to watch her sleep. The sight of her, scantily dressed, tossing amongst her sheets, her scent penetrating every fiber of my being, kept me coming back every night.

She had turned eighteen a month ago. The time to act had arrived. A Halloween dance at her school gave me the perfect enchanted evening to charm her and lure her away. I wouldn't be denied this time.

Arriving at the school, I parked my bike and slipped on the mask I'd bought to ensure my appearance of Erik "the Phantom" from the Phantom of the Opera. Halloween offered me one night each year when no one would think twice about my gleaming red irises. Mingling, unobserved, with the students entering the school, I drifted around in search of her. While I appeared no older than they were, they'd always be children to me. After a century of being a vampire I'd seen and experienced more than they could ever imagine. While my physical body appeared only seventeen, I'd lived an eternity already.

With the lights dimmed and sheer black swag draped around the walls, the gym glowed with eerie holiday festivity. There she stood, my single obsession: Isabella Swan. The antique, 1908, black lace overdress gown and red velvet underdress I'd secretly sent her hugged her form perfectly. The red colored velvet hat from the same era perched precariously on her hair; a feathered, full-bodied blackbird perched on its crown completed the look perfectly. With her ethereal beauty, she looked as if she'd just stepped onto the decks of the Titanic.

Charlie had accepted the package from the delivery boy thinking Bella had bought it. She, in turn, had no idea who'd sent it, assuming Charlie had been the one to make the fanciful purchase. No on all accounts. First of all: her "costume" would cost a year's salary. Second, it had belonged to my mother, before she became ill and passed from this earthly coil, leaving me the very night I was turned into a blood-lusting creature of the night.

I murdered more than my share of humans, seeking the precious serum pumping through their veins. I'd tried to stay with the vegetarian diet of my adopted family, only to slip time and time again. Nowadays, the societal vermin in Port Angels or Seattle cured my need for the thick, crimson ambrosia.

Just being surrounded by the delectable banquet on display in the shrouded room had my mouth watering. Any one of them would sate my craving, squelch the searing burn in my throat, but it wouldn't win me my prize: the gorgeous creature shying away from the unworthy masses by hiding in the darkest recesses of the gym.

Slinking through the crowd of undulating teens between us, I approached her, my eyes drifting along the delicate lines of her lace-covered back. "Good evening, Isabella." She shivered at my tone, tensing, but not turning to see who had joined her. I drew in a breath, the air heavy with her scent. She smelled good enough to eat, in more ways than one. Reaching around, I handed her a long stemmed, blood-red rose. "Dance with me." With a firm grasp, I took her arm, allowing her no opportunity to decline my demand.

"I'm not the dancing type. You may regret the offer." I led her to the dance floor anyway.

"Very doubtful," I purred, pulling her into my arms.

Another disadvantage to being a vampire, we dazzled our prey into submission. Her eyes glazed over while her body molded to mine. A sigh slipped from my lips when her supernova, frail arms draped around my frigid neck. When she stumbled over her own feet, I lifted her by her hips, settling her tiny feet atop my own.

"Doesn't that hurt? My boots I mean?" she gasped.

I couldn't help but chuckle, "Not one bit. I've waited too long for this moment."

"Really? Who are you? What classes do we share?" she quizzed, nibbling on her lower lip.

"I don't go to school here, Isabella. The only reason I am here is for you." My voice took on a new tenor, one of lust and desire.

Whirling her around, I savored her scent on me. "Should I be afraid?" she whispered, leaning her cheek to my chest.

I cooed, giving her a heavier dosing, "Yes, you should be."

She quivered against me. "So why am I not afraid of you?" she nuzzled her heated cheek against my chest.

Could I be honest with her? "You know that answer. I've been watching you," I hinted.

"You're the one I felt in my room. I thought I imagined it. My guardian angel, always there to protect me," she hummed.

"No, you didn't," I sighed. "And, I'm no angel." My brow furrowed, guilt washed over me. "I came to take you away, but now, I can't. You're too innocent for me to destroy." Releasing my grip, I pulled away.

"Wait, don't go!" she called when I weaved away from her.

Pulling my mask from my face, I paused and looked back. She gasped at the sight of my grotesque face. I'd finally scared her. Since when did I develop a conscience? I would do anything for her, for my love of her. I'd endure the rest of eternity alone, visiting her in the darkness, remain her guardian angel, as she phrased it.

For someone who didn't have a heart, it ached anyway. Once outside, I kick-started my Harley, before regretfully pulling away from the school.

~8~

Walking through the rundown heap I called home, I made my way to the second floor. The stairs I'd never fixed creaked under my feet. Debris and broken glass littered the hallways. Raking my hands through my hair, I growled out, dropping to my knees. Every ounce of pain I felt vibrated off the windows, shaking them.

She'd called last week and warned me, but, as usual, I didn't listen to her. I hung up when she put Carlisle on the phone. I'd heard it all before.

There was nothing left to do except sit there and let the pain have me. Time would no longer matter to me. Without her, there was nothing left inside me. I'd planned everything so perfectly, but seeing the gentleness in her eyes, the hope in her voice, and the innocence of the simple gesture of biting her lip had rendered me helpless.

Sniffing the air, I picked up her scent. She was in my home? And she wasn't alone. Alice and Carlisle. Why had they brought her? Were they trying to torture me more?

'Edward, you need to hear her out,' Carlisle thought.

'We know you can't hear her in your mind,' Alice mentally giggled, pleased no doubt.

"Why are you doing this to me?" I hissed not bothering to whisper.

"Because I need you," she whimpered.

Jumping to my feet, I spun, seeing her standing in the doorway. Clenching my hands into tight fists, I fought the urge to go to her, to touch her. "You shouldn't be here. Go, now, before it's too late," I snarled, hoping to scare her.

"No. I know what you are. They explained everything to me. I feel safe around you even though I shouldn't." She shook her head. "You came tonight to take me? Make me your mate? Why did you change your mind? Was I a disappointment to you?"

"Never, you're perfect. I'm the hideous beast." I turned away to hide my face.

"You're not hideous. You're beautiful to me. Is it that you don't want me forever?" Dropping my head, I cinched my eyes shut.

"I've always wanted you," I sighed when she crept closer.

"The scars . . . Alice said you were protecting me when you got them?" Gently, she stroked the groves running from my temple to my chin.

Something in her eyes twinkled, or maybe I imagined it. "The wolves were at your door. You needed me to keep you safe." I huffed, turning away.

Slipping her arms around me, she cuddled between my shoulders. "She said you'll love me, care for me forever. At night, when I dreamed, I dreamt of a shadow. It was you, you were that shadow. Don't leave me." The aroma of salt tickled my nostrils.

"I will always love you, and never leave you. You need to go and live. Love awaits you elsewhere." I removed her hands forcibly.

"Then you leave me no choice."

A human wouldn't hear it, but a vampire could hear the tearing of her skin. The sweet aroma of her blood filled the room. My head snapped back in time to see her smiling before crumbling to the floor, the glass shard she'd used still in her hand. I hissed at the movement at the door.

"Save her, Edward. She had no life ahead of her. Charlie decided to clean his guns tomorrow. It's going to misfire and kill her." Alice grinned.

"I won't be able to stop!" I gurgled, my mouth filling with venom.

"I'm here to help you stop. It's what family does." Carlisle nodded.

Looking down, her eyes pleaded to me, to my heart. How could I say no? If she was destined to die anyway, why not one day early and be with me for an eternity?

Pulling her lithe, blood soaked arm to my mouth, I saw nothing but acceptance in her eyes. She wanted the monster I was. I latched onto the tender flesh and gave as I took. If she was set to be my mate, I'd give her anything. For once in my existence there was no problem letting my bloodlust go. Licking it gently, I caressed the wound shut. Her fate was sealed.

A/N Happy Halloween everyone!

Many thanks to Busymommy for betaing this in rush and Butterflybetty for prereading in a hurry.