DISCLAIMER: Stephenie owns the original recipe, I just try to make it finger lickin' good…

A/N: So, my dear friend, my FB babygirl and my awesome pre-reader, reyes139, is having a birthday next week. After all the hours she's put in pre-reading for me and talking me back from ledges, I couldn't say no when she asked for a custom one shot. When asked what she was looking for, I was told: dark domineering Vampward and a HEA…with a dark spooky feel. Well, I know I got the dark and I've got the emotional Vampward…and I promise this IS a HEA, though you might not think so as you read…I just ask that you get all the way through! Ya'll will have to tell me how spooky this ended up…I don't think it's too bad. I had fun trying something different with this…hope you enjoy!

Thanks to my pre-readers, Nicole, Sammy, Cheryl and kitkat681...this one isn't beta'd, so all mistakes are mine.

Warning: Some parts of this are a little graphic...

Happy Birthday Massy…you know I freakin' LOVE you darlin'!

When you say it's gonna happen "now"
well, when exactly do you mean?
See I've already waited too long
and all my hope is gone.

How Soon is Now? ~The Smiths

June 20th (the year does not matter for this is a tale that will span the years)

Dear Reader,

My name is Edward Cullen. I am 100 years old today, though I look seventeen. I can read minds…every memory, every desire, every inconsequential thought of those around me. It can be rather maddening at times. Especially since this 'gift' has been of no use to me in my quest. I am penning this because the Volturi are coming…for me. Though I am finally mated, they will not believe it. I have refused to join them. So I must die. This is the story of how I found salvation.

9 months ago…

Another town.

Another failure.

I leaned against the wall of the study of the house that is about to go up for sale as we moved yet again. I didn't deserve the support of my family but they don't seem to mind. I know their words are true because I can read it in their thoughts. They only want my happiness.

I don't know what the word means.

I'm impatient as Alice's eyes glaze over. She is 'searching' for our next destination. Time is running out. We may have no choice but to choose a sunny place this time, after years of choosing locations with dark dreary weather to allow us to blend in easier. No continent has escaped us as I have sought out an eighteen year old virgin to call my own.

"Forks," Alice declares with confidence as her eyes return to their normal golden amber.

"Where the hell is that?" I snap at her.

"Edward," Jasper warns me with a low rumble in his chest. "She does not deserve your ire," he states protectively of his mate.

I know this. But I can't help myself. My attitude has gotten worse with each decade that has passed.

"Sorry Alice," I reluctantly apologize. "Please enlighten us with where exactly we are headed to next," I continue sarcastically.

She lifts her petite figure from the couch and proceeds to the large map on the wall, her manicured nail landing on the upper left corner of the United States. "Forks, Washington. We need to leave tomorrow or we may miss the chance and we can't afford to have that happen. Samhain is only six weeks away…and it must happen on that day or she will not truly be yours."

Let me interject in my tale to explain that Alice is a rarity amongst our kind. She joined our coven when Jasper first saw her tied to a stake with orange flames licking at her ankles. Her black dress was already smoldering as the people of Salem crowded around her with their chants of 'Witch' and 'Burn in hell.' Yes, Alice is a witch as well as a vampire. Jasper, moved by her strength as she silently endured what was happening to her, slaughtered the townspeople and claimed her as his mate on the bloodied ground at the foot of her pyre.

"What if you are wrong…again?" I snarl at her. "I don't have another year Alice!" I groaned as I fisted clumps of my bronze locks. "My century mark is upon me. You know the law. If I am not mated by June, I must join the Volturi ranks or be executed. They will not allow unmated males to roam as rogues once the insanity takes over, leaving behind devastation and evidence of our existence. On top of that, you continue to insist that MY mating must occur on Samhain for some reason that you refuse to explain to me!" I yelled, my behavior abhorrent.

With each year that had passed, I'd lost a little more of my hope. The guard was ruthless and I had no desire to be a part of them. I would choose death before I joined them.

"You have to trust me Edward," she said in her bell like voice. "I have seen how the whole thing will play out. We ARE going to find your mate this time," she said with a hint of sadness in her tone that put me on edge. This should be a happy thing, so why was she not bouncing around the room in her usual fashion if she were so sure of this?

Why did I not just dip into her mind to view her vision for myself you ask? Being a witch, she has ways of blocking her mind from me. She is very protective of her gift, citing the potential to lose it were she to abuse the knowledge she gains. She only gives just enough information to steer us in the right direction, but she refuses to ever share a full vision with us in the event that we try to take fate into our own hands. "Events must play out naturally or the natural balance of the cosmos could be tipped," is what she often tells us. Yes, she is a little strange at times.

The front door opened and closed and I heard the approach of the rest of our coven just returning from a hunting trip. Human blood was our preferred choice, but it left our eyes crimson. Samhain is the one time of year that we cave to our cravings on the dregs of society. The foolish people around us always assume it is all in fun for Halloween. The rest of the time we have had to resort to the blood of animals which leaves our eyes in various hues of gold and honey…it is easier to interact with the humans without too much attention.

Carlisle and Esme entered the study, followed by Emmett and Rose. Seeing the rest of us already gathered, they knew that Alice had had a vision and their thoughts were a whirlwind.

Carlisle began thinking of whether our new destination would afford him the opportunity to continue in his guise as a doctor.

Esme was excited at the prospect of a new home to make over.

Emmett was happy just to be on the move and the unknown adventures that waited.

Rose….well, Rose was just pissed. She didn't trust humans and hated that we continued trying to integrate with them, all for the sake of my finding a mate. But she would follow Emmett wherever he went so she kept her thoughts to herself, except for me, of course.

The rest of the day passed quickly as we finalized our plans. Per Alice's instructions, Emmett and Rose were going to Klamath, Oregon. She would only tell us that they would need to be in place to gather ingredients for the Samhain ritual. The rest of us were headed to Forks.

As I sat on the plane, holding my breath to avoid the luscious scent of all the human blood around me, my thoughts wandered to the last time Alice had been so sure. Twenty years prior. A small village in remote Switzerland and a lonely sheep herder girl named Heidi. We'd arrived and I had watched her from behind the craggy rocks of the mountain side. She'd been pleasing to the eye, but nothing that locked me in and made it so I couldn't look away. Still, she appeared to be eighteen and innocent.

I'd approached her as twilight came upon the mountainside. Invited her to our hut for dinner which she cautiously agreed to as she was unable to resist the allure of me. Before I allowed myself to accept that she could be the one, I requested Carlisle's assistance in confirming her virginity.

She'd cried as I held her down on the table.

Whimpered as I'd pulled her legs apart and divested her of her bloomers.

The faint scent of blood had hit my nostrils as Carlisle's long cool fingers had spread her nether lips.

Then the tang of her arousal became sharp as he slid two fingers into her, searching out the barrier that would cement her fate.

Carlisle had not had to speak the words out loud.

As his fingers probed her, her mind became a minefield of lust as she recalled the stranger she had come upon just the night before. He'd told her his name was James. As the picture formed in his mind, I hissed, recognizing him for what he was. One of our kind. A rogue vampire that had escaped the notice of the Volturi.

I'd run from the hut as her memories had turned to the loss of her innocence.

James could have her. I hadn't truly wanted her anyways.

We stepped off the plane in Seattle to a glorious cloud cover. I stood by quietly as Carlisle arranged a taxi to take us to a car dealership. My doubt had grown tenfold as my memories had plagued me on the plane. If Alice was wrong…

We arrived in Forks the morning of September 13th. We dropped Esme at the local reality office to procure us a house, then we dropped Carlisle at the local hospital so he could offer his services as a 'traveling volunteer doctor.' Finally, I let Alice and Jasper out of the car on the outskirts of town. They needed to feed and wanted to get a feel for the wildlife that would sustain us while we were here.

On my own now, I decided to drive through town, familiarize myself with our new haunting ground. The low gas alarm beeping shrilly dragged me from my fog and I guided the car to the only gas station in town.

Where I saw her for the first time.

Her too thin frame tenderly picking at some type of human food as she huddled under a small cover out of the rain. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I was overcome with the desire to bolt from the car and run to her, take her in my arms and run away with her…forever.

As the rain poured down, I watched her.

I know, dear reader, that you are anxious to hear what happened next. However, I feel this is the appropriate time for you to meet my wife. For you to hear her story. I warn you…it is not a happy one.

My name is Isabella Cullen. I am eighteen years old…and that will never change. In life I was Bella Swan. My husband has requested I dictate my side of this story as he transcribes it. This is the story of how I found escape in death.

My mother, Renee, was a workaholic. Or, at least that's what she wanted us to think. She was the manager for one of the ritzy hotels in Klamath, Oregon and claimed her 'job was never done,' as she was called in to work all kinds of odd hours. Personally, I think she was having an affair. Or should I say affairs…fucking the patrons.

She certainly wasn't fucking Charlie. My 'father.'

This was the theory I had come to as Charlie's actions around me became more inappropriate. Pulling me into his lap to watch the game with him, his large hand rubbing over my back, stopping to finger the clasp of my bra. Bedtime hugs that were lasting longer and longer as I felt my breasts pressed against his chest. The night he pressed his lips to mine and allowed his tongue to flick out against my lips, I knew.

He wanted to fuck me. And I needed to get out of there.

I avoided home as much as possible in my final year of school. I turned seventeen in the fall. I got my diploma in the spring. No one was home as I tucked my diploma into the hidden zippered area of my backpack. I added a couple pairs of jeans, t-shirts, underwear and finally my favorite hoodie. I grabbed the sock hidden beneath my mattress where I'd been stowing my meager paychecks from the diner, after I'd cashed them, and crammed it into my bag.

With a final look around my room…I left. I ran away from home. I ran away from the abuse that was going to happen if I didn't.

Everyone knew I hated anything cold and wet. I gambled on that as I headed towards Seattle. I needed them to assume I'd gone south towards California, towards warmth and sunshine. Not deeper into the dark despair of the Northwest.

I did not have a car. Well, I did, a beat up old rusty Chevy truck that he had given me for my sixteenth birthday. I refused to take anything he'd given me. Not to mention that it would have been too recognizable when they started looking for me. So I had only my feet to carry me away to a new life.

I lived on the road. Occasionally managing to get a ride to the next town but usually relying on my feet for travel. When my money got low, I would pick up a waitressing job for a week or two. I could pull in $20-$30 a shift easily. Sometimes as much as $100 if I really worked the tables for tips.

But I would never stay more than two weeks in the same place. That was too dangerous. Put me at too much risk of being found. So, in this manner I slowly made my way north.

May…I got as far as Grant's Pass.

June…a friendly grandmother took pity on me and gave me a ride to Eugene where she was headed to see her grandbabies.

July…I worked my way to Lebanon, then Salem and finally Oregon City, just outside of Portland. I was almost to Washington.

August…I had saved enough for a bus ticket. So I caught a bus from Portland to Tacoma. Seattle was the next large town, but I had depleted my funds on the ticket. I knew I needed to build them back up if I were to find a place to stay and get some new clothes as the meager belongings I'd taken with me were in sad shape. If I hoped to find a respectable job, I would need the new clothes.

I'd been in Tacoma for two weeks and it was time to move on. Paranoia was creeping in with every new car that pulled into the small café right off the main highway. There was too much traffic for my liking. So when I was offered a ride, and a job, by a nice boy named Mike, I took it.

That's how I ended up in Forks. Working, not at a restaurant where I was leered at by the male patrons and sneered at by their dates, but at a sporting goods store.

The town was small and out of the way. I liked it immediately when we passed the 'Welcome to Forks' sign. Before I knew it, it was September. I would be eighteen in two weeks. Officially 'free.'

I settled into a comfortable routine and decided getting to Seattle wasn't such a high priority anymore. I really did like it here. The people were friendly, yet managed to keep to themselves and with my emancipation so close I took the chance that I could settle for a while.

If I had known what was to come, I still wouldn't have left. For what I found in the end was worth every bit of the pain.

The job with Mike's parents required a uniform. This was a good thing as trying to be inconspicuous with only three outfits had not been easy. Thankfully the weather had been warm during my travels and I either slept in parks or bus stations. I'd take advantage of rest stop bathrooms with showers to clean myself up. I'd forgotten what a bed and a roof over my head felt like.

My various employers never questioned where I went or what I did once I left my shift. All that mattered was that I managed to show up on time and I appeared clean and tidy. I floated along under the radar, waiting for my birthday.

September 13th.

This is the day I turned eighteen. This is the day that Edward Cullen walked into my life. More aptly I should say, this is the day I stumbled into his.

I'd worked the morning shift. It was pouring down rain when I left, rushing across to the gas station to buy myself one of their premade $2 sandwiches. They tasted awful, but they provided nourishment. At least I told myself they did.

I stood outside under the awning, picking at my meal for the day. I took my time with the food. I wasn't sure where I was going to go today. It was too wet to sleep outside. There was no bus station here in Forks. Even if there was, the town was so small that I would surely have been recognized…and questioned. As I ate the last bite, I decided I could go hang out at the library until it closed. Perhaps I could hide myself in one of the back corners and go unnoticed when they locked up.

Unbeknownst to me, I was being watched. (As the one holding the pen dear reader, I must interject to say that my wife just gave me the most beautiful smile as her words drifted through my mind.)

I twisted around to toss my trash in the can next to me. Pulling my hoodie up around my face, I focused on my feet as I set out from under the awning, prepared to go to the library. Instead I walked into a wall of flesh.

"Oh excuse me, I'm so sorry. I should have watched where I was going," I stuttered out as I lifted my head from the wet ground.

I lost my breath when my eyes landed on his face. Although his eyes were an unusual color, he was the most handsome man I'd ever seen. An electric sensation ran through my body and I wanted to launch into his arms, wanted to be wrapped up in the safety of this stranger who had just dazzled me with his very presence.

"That's quite alright. I should have made my presence known. The fault is not yours, it is my own," he said formally, his voice thick and rich. "I was just fueling my car and noticed you over here, yet there are no other cars nearby. I was concerned that you might need a ride. To avoid the weather, of course…"

The ability to speak had left me as I just stared at him. Could I trust this beautiful creature to take me across town to the library? Could I trust that if I got in his car he would not drive me off into the woods and have his wicked way with me before slitting my throat?

Admittedly, things low in my body tightened at the thought of him having his wicked way with me.

I slowly nodded my head. "A ride would be…lovely. Thank you. Um, I just need to go across town, to the library," I said shyly. Then he smiled…and I was done for. He could take me wherever he wanted.

He wrapped a gentle arm around my shoulder as he led me to his waiting car. Once inside the dry warmth, I relaxed.

"I'm Isabella…Bella," I said, correcting myself as I felt my eyelids flutter, and I extended my hand to him.

"Edward. Edward Cullen," he answered as his shockingly cool hand enclosed mine and he raised it to his lips to place a soft kiss on it, "It is a pleasure to meet you, Bella."

He seemed to sense that I wasn't ready to offer any more information about myself and did not pry. The soft strains of some classical music I didn't recognize trickled into the car, the only thing to break the silence as we drove.

He pulled up in front of the library and told me to stay put as he got out. He stopped by the trunk before appearing at my door with an umbrella in his hand. He was a perfect gentleman as he escorted me to the door of the library.

"Again, it was truly a pleasure to meet you Bella and thank you for allowing me to help keep you a little drier," he smiled as he once again brought my hand to his lips for a farewell kiss. I noticed his nostrils flare and his lips twitch into a slight grin. Could he tell that although I was dry on the outside, the situation was not the same in my panties?

"Thank you Edward, this was very kind of you," I managed to get out before I waved at him and headed into the library…where I did, in fact, end up spending the night.

Isabella grows tired from her efforts to manifest her thoughts into my head. So I will pick up the story from here dear reader, as our paths had intermingled at this point and I was pretty sure that I had found my mate. I wanted to damn Alice to hell for insisting that I had to wait until the 31st of October to claim her as mine. How different things might have been if I had not listened…

I returned to the car with the intention of sitting there until she came back out so that I could offer her a ride home. As I sat there, the smile that had wanted to erupt when I noticed her physical reaction to me spread across my face. It felt foreign.

I wanted to know everything about the beautiful, quiet girl. It was then that it dawned on me that she had been silent to me. I'd been too enamored in her presence to realize that I wasn't hearing her thoughts. Strange.

Alas, my plans of waiting were interrupted when Carlisle texted, asking that I come pick him up. Angrily, I sped straight away to the hospital and then we went to collect Esme and the keys to our new house on the outskirts of town.

Alice, of course, had seen the outcome of the afternoon and we found her and Jasper standing on the porch when we pulled up the long, tree shrouded driveway. She also gave me a knowing look to which I could only nod and give her a small smirk.

With everyone dropped off, I had rushed back to town, hoping I hadn't missed my angel. I sat there until the library closed. When she never came out, I assumed that I had missed her in my absence.

I had her scent memorized and I used it to find her the next day at the sporting goods store. I had been tempted to go in and try to talk to her again but opted to stay outside and wait for her. When she emerged, she seemed tired. I watched her walk across the street to the gas station and come back out with another readymade meal in her hand. This caused me to frown.

Before she could start eating it, I was standing at her side, offering to take her to the diner for a proper meal. She had seemed unsure but finally relented and allowed me to take her, to nourish her.

When she questioned why I hadn't ordered any more than a Coke, which sat untouched in front of me, I explained that I'd had a large breakfast. Guilt washed over her features so I quickly assured her that it was my pleasure to see her eat something hot. A beautiful blush of embarrassment crept into her cheeks, causing her scent to overwhelm me in that moment.

To distract her, as much as myself, I started making idle conversation with her.

I found out her last name was Swan.

I found out that she had just turned eighteen yesterday.

I found out that she loved to read.

When I asked about her parents, she got a faraway look in her eyes and her body tensed up so I steered away from the topic.

Her lunch finished, I paid the tab and guided her back out to my car. When I asked where I could take her, she asked to go back to the library.

As we pulled up and I parked, wishing I could go in with her but knowing I couldn't because Esme needed the car, I asked if I could take her to lunch again tomorrow. She blushed and accepted.

And so this was our routine for the next week. I would meet her after her shift, take her to lunch and take her to the library. Then I would have to leave to take the car to one of my other family members. I always rushed back, hoping to catch her and walk her home. Wherever home was for her.

After two weeks of this, I insisted we get a second car. I couldn't believe that I kept missing her.

I walked her up to the library and returned to the car, to wait vigil. The sun began to set and she had not come out. The stars came out as darkness descended and she still had not come out. 10:00 rolled around and I watched the old librarian come out and lock the door behind her.

There had been no sign of Bella.

Concerned, I went and checked all the windows and doors until I found a basement window unlocked. I lithely slipped in and started to search the library. I finally found her in a media room, sound asleep.

That was when I realized she did not have a home.

My first impulse was to grab her up and take her home with me where I could tuck her into a warm, comfortable bed and make sure she had food and clean clothes. The voice of reason spoke up in the back of my mind, however, and I knew that if I did that I would scare her and most likely embarrass her. Neither of which did I want to put her through.

Instead, I quietly made my exit and then raced home to unleash my anger on Alice. She had to have known what the situation was and I was beyond pissed that she hadn't said something to me.

"Alice!" I roared as I threw the front door open. "Get your ass down here you little Witch! You have some explaining to do," I yelled into the seemingly empty house.

I was not surprised when Jasper appeared first, growling his warnings at me in his mind. My loud entrance also brought Carlisle and Esme hurrying into the foyer to see what the commotion was about, their thoughts a mass of confusion.

Alice slowly descended the stairs, a guilty yet sad look upon her face. "I'm sorry Edward, but this is the way it had to be." As she reached the bottom of the stairs, Jasper wrapped his arm around her tiny waist, pulling her in against his side, clearly telling me to behave myself. She leaned into him and whispered a quiet 'it's alright' as he leaned down and brushed his lips across her haphazard hair.

I could feel my icy venom squirting into my mouth as my body readied itself for a fight, yet I managed to swallow it down as I seethed. "Explain!" I snapped. "Explain why that beautiful troubled girl has spent the weeks that I have known her, having to reduce herself to a common stowaway in the library when she could have been here…safe and comfortable."

Esme gasped at my accusation and turned her attention to Alice to hear the answer. Her compassionate nature appalled that we had allowed something like this which had been within our means to fix.

Ever the moderator, Carlisle stepped forward and suggested we move this to the dining room table for a family discussion, emphasis on discussion. Silently he added a plea to me to hear Alice out before I did anymore yelling.

Begrudgingly I stomped, yes stomped… like a child, behind them into the dining room where I dropped into a chair. With a huff, I waited for them to take their seats before turning my glare on her. "Why?" I demanded.

All eyes turned to Alice as she took a deep, unnecessary breath.

"I won't tell you her story. That's for her to share with you on her own terms. I will say that she has not had it easy for quite a while. She's been on her own since June…"

"What?" I shrieked to the unanimous chorus of 'Edward, please,' from everyone at the table. I flippantly waved my hand at her to continue.

"She felt it necessary to run away for her own safety. She is scared and does not trust easily, but she is strong." Alice quickly shifted seats until she was right next to me, grasping my large hand in her petite one. "Edward, think about the last couple of weeks. Think of how skittish she has been. How grateful for the one hot meal a day she gets. Think of your talks with her and the little bit of information you have been able to garner from her." Her eyes boar into mine, pleading with me to understand.

As her words sank in, so did rationalization. I began thinking out loud. "She has been letting me in a little at a time. I've been earning her trust and friendship. I don't know what her past was, but am sure that some strange man trying to whisk her away to his house out in the woods would have surely scared her into running."

Alice's eyes glimmered with the tears that she could not shed as she nodded in affirmation to every thought that fell from my lips. With a weak smile, she said, "This was the only way for you to build that connection with her. That connection that must be in place and unbreakable when it comes time for the ritual or you will lose her."

My gut turned at the very thought. I would do anything, endure anything, to keep Bella by my side for eternity.

Be careful what you wish for dear reader, for wishes are not always granted in the way you expect them to be.

In her true bi-polar fashion, Alice suddenly sprang from her seat, tugging on my hand as she did, with a big grin on her face. "Now, we all know that you will be unable to ignore the knowledge you gained tonight so let me share the preparations I have made!"

I let her lead me down the hall to a bedroom I had not even paid attention to. Granted, I had paid very little attention to any part of our new abode since lying eyes on Bella. So I was surprised by what was exposed as she pushed the door open.

The room was done in soft purples and satiny greys. A simple twin bed rested in the corner. A bookcase against one wall filled with everything from the classics, like Austin and Chaucer, to modern day best sellers, including a large selection of vampire stories which made me roll my eyes. A simple dresser was placed across from the bookcase. As Alice opened a drawer, I saw that it was filled as well and a grin finally won its freedom on my face.

I could tell the clothes were used and to know that she had gone against her love for all things upscale and name brand to shop at a second hand store for clothing that Bella would feel less ashamed about accepting, spoke volumes. Opening another drawer, I smirked. She could provide second hand outer clothes, but the neat rows of satin and lace that I had no doubt would be a perfect fit, were all brand new.

"So…" Alice hedged as she rocked on the balls of her feet, "I was thinking that maybe it was time to invite her home for dinner? Give the rest of us a chance to finally meet her. A relaxing evening in a stress free environment that leaves her tired and voila," she made an exaggerated gesture with her hand, "we have a guest room to offer her."

My smile was genuine and true as I picked Alice up and spun her around, hugging her tightly. "Thank you," I breathed against the shell of her ear.

I sat on the edge of the bed as the others departed, only Alice lingering to ask me an odd question. "Have you found out her last name?" I briefly looked up at her as I said 'Swan' and then she was gone, leaving me to build my fantasy of bringing Bella into this room and seeing the joy on her face.

Little did I realize that upon her departure, she put in a call to Emmett and Rose.

The next afternoon I was waiting for Bella in my usual spot right outside the store. She smiled as she emerged, waving sweetly at me and I felt my icy heart thaw just that much more. I hurried to open her door for her, inhaling her fragrance as she slipped in past me.

Once I was seated and ready to start the car, I turned towards her. "Bella, I was thinking…well, I was wondering, would you mind coming to my house this afternoon? My family would really like to meet you and my mom's been dying to have someone to cook for," I rushed out.

"Oh, um, I wouldn't want to impose, Edward," she said bashfully, her eyes darting around.

I shook my head. "It wouldn't be an imposition, I promise. Please, Bella, come to my home?"

She became fascinated with her thumb, picking at a torn cuticle and I had to hold my breath as she tore it further, her blood welling to the surface. Inside the car, with the heater on, she might as well have opened a vein for me as the concentrated scent swirled around me and settled on my tongue.

Her knee was bouncing and I could hear the way her heart had begun racing. She was panicking over my simple invitation. I gently placed my hand on her knee, her heat soaking into my skin. "Please Bella, I promise you'll be safe…and warm."

"Well, I guess a short visit would be okay, but I can't stay too late," she acquiesced.

Allow me to explain dear reader, that Isabella has since explained her concerns of that afternoon to me. She had wanted to jump at the invitation, yet was worried how she would get back to the library…and shelter for the night.

"You just let me know when you're ready to go and I'll take you home," I hedged, hoping she would confide that she had no home, but she remained stubbornly silent. However, I was confident that Alice would not have suggested this if she were not going to end up staying.

The afternoon had gone well. We'd arrived to find a fire burning brightly in the fireplace along with a carafe of hot cocoa and a plate of hot chocolate chip cookies set out on the coffee table, giving the house a welcoming scent and feel.

Carlisle and Esme had come through, allowing me to introduce them briefly before they feigned 'errands' that had to be tended to. Esme's mind as she walked away was at peace, her parting thought of 'she's lovely, Edward' only confirming what I already knew.

Bella and I had sat by the fire, partaking of the snack as she warmed up and relaxed. Jasper and Alice arrived and to my amazement, Alice was very low key around Bella. I raised an inquisitive eyebrow at Jasper as he answered in his head. Yes, I'm making her be calm…and I assure you, it is no easy task as she is bursting to take Bella under her wing. He winked at me and I covered my smile with my hand as I pretended to cough , excusing myself to the bathroom for a moment so I could empty the vile contents of my stomach…the cookies and cocoa I had ingested for her benefit.

I gave Bella a tour of the house as it began to fill with the smells of whatever Esme was in the kitchen preparing for dinner. It smelled awful to me, but Bella had commented that it 'smelled wonderful,' so I knew I would once again be emptying my stomach later on…with no regrets.

I'm sure you are wondering, so I will answer. Yes, we can chew and swallow food, but we do not like the taste and we do not digest it. It can go in, but the only way it comes back out is through regurgitation…and the sooner, the better.

The sun had set by the time we were called to dinner. Thankfully, Bella did not seem concerned at the amount of time that had passed. She was content and relaxed. We all convened at the table as my family got to know Bella a little better, though she did not tell us much about herself. She somehow managed to keep redirecting the conversation to focus on one of them.

I listened to everyone's murmurs of relief when Bella announced that she was full and couldn't eat another bite…neither could we. Bella offered to help clear the table and clean up in the kitchen but Esme wouldn't hear of it.

Trying to prolong her inevitable attempt to escape, I suggested a movie in the den. My plan backfired when she realized it had gotten dark and asked about the time, then insisted that she really should be going when I told her.

It was time to put my foot down. I was not going to allow her to spend another night curled up in a plastic chair, nothing more than a stowaway.

"Where do you need to go, Bella?" I asked, my tone sharp.

"I, um, need to return a book to the library…before they close…"

I felt my anger building as she lied to me.

"I know," I said with a frustrated sigh.

"Kn—know what?" she asked, confusion marring her features.

I pinched the bridge of my nose and then looked directly at her. "I know you're lying to me. I know you're sleeping there." She gasped as tears started forming in her eyes. "I know you're running from something," I pressed forward. "What I don't know, is why? Why won't you let me in, Bella? Why won't you let me help? Why can't you trust me?"

"I…I…" she scrambled for words and I couldn't stand it any longer.

I closed the distance between us, bringing my lips to hers as I gathered her in my arms as tightly as I dared to without crushing her.

She pushed against me halfheartedly. I flicked my tongue out, running it over her lips, tasting her pulse…tasting her. Her weak pushes stopped but she remained tense and stiff.

I pulled back briefly so I could growl at her, "Damnit Isabella! Let. Me. In." My voice was demanding but pleading as I played the alpha male card and used her full name. She relaxed ever so slightly in my arms and nodded once before closing her eyes and angling her head back, offering her mouth to me.

This time, when my cold hard lips pressed against her soft warm ones, she opened to me. As I sought out her tongue with my own, her hands tentatively glided over my biceps, then over my shoulders, behind my neck and into my hair. She clutched at me, pulling me closer as she desperately tried to get deeper into my mouth.

Never breaking the kiss, I managed to hook an arm behind her knees, sweeping her off of her feet and into my arms. I cradled her to my chest as the appendage between my legs, which had never so much as twitched in all of my vampire existence, swelled painfully tight in my pants.

A low rumble emerged from my throat as one word screamed in my head…MINE.

I was moving down the hall, towards my room, when I heard Alice in my head.

Be strong, dear brother. If you want to keep her forever, she has to remain a virgin until Samhain. Tonight is not the night…

Damn meddling witch.

I reluctantly pulled back from our kiss, her tongue catching against my razor sharp teeth so that the tiniest drop of her blood landed in my mouth just as we separated.

Sweet merciful Goddess, she tasted exquisite!

I almost plowed into my room anyways, hell bent on having her, making her mine right now, when Alice projected again, her tone laced with exasperation.

Tonight or forever…

It was an easy choice. I willed my beast into submission as I changed course and carried her to her new room. She was freely crying and breathing heavy, the aroma of her arousal permeating my very being as I gently lowered her to the floor. I managed to suppress a groan when her body bumped against my erection.

"Don't cry mi amor, my Isabella. I promise you are safe here. This is your home now, if you choose to stay," I said quietly as I wiped her tears away with my thumbs.

She hiccupped as she fought back her tears and looked around the room.

"Wow, Edward. This room is pretty amazing," she said as she wandered over to the bookshelf and reverently ran her fingers across the spines. "These are all of my favorites…how did you know?"

"This is actually all Alice's doing. Let's just say that she is very…intuitive. Do you really like it?"

She nodded her head rapidly. "I love it."

"So, you'll stay…" I asked.

"I don't have anywhere else to go, Edward," she admitted, her look becoming sad once more.

I hated seeing her sad, yet I couldn't deny the way my heart burst at the news that she would not leave me. "Will you please tell me?" I pushed her, reaching out to take her hand in mine as I led her over to the bed.

I climbed on and helped her get settled in my arms. "I want to know everything, Bella."

She remained quiet for several minutes. I had to assume she was gathering her thoughts as I was reminded once again that I couldn't hear her. The one time I could have appreciated my gift, and I was denied it.

Finally, she took a shaky breath and began.

She told me everything.

From her childhood up until the day we met. I won't deny that as she divulged the way her so called father had treated her, a part of me wanted to run from the room. Wanted to hunt down the bastard and drain him dry. But my girl needed me more. So I remained quiet, softly stroking her arms or playing with her hair as she bared herself to me.

"So, that's it…that's how I ended up here and though I'm now eighteen, I have no idea where to go from here," she concluded with a yawn.

I leaned down to catch her lips in another searing kiss, pulling back before we could get too carried away. "You need to sleep mi amor. Please, rest now and we will talk more in the morning. Everything will be fine," I assured her as she lost the battle with her heavy eyelids and drifted off to sleep, in my arms.

I stayed by her side all night, only moving when she began to shiver so that I could tuck the quilt in around her and gather her back to my side. It had been an enlightening evening, and continued to be so even after she fell asleep. I discovered that my girl talks in her sleep.

Completely random musings that made my body shake as I silently laughed.

By the time the first rays of sunlight filtered through the curtains, I had no doubt that Isabella was my mate. The woman I'd searched for all these long years. I also knew that she was worth the wait and I would have endured it all over again just to be with her.

Her heart rate picked up as she started to wake. Her eyelids fluttered briefly, just before she opened them. She appeared disoriented for just a second until she focused on me, gracing me with a beautiful shy smile.

"Good morning, mi amor," I whispered as I leaned down to chastely kiss her. But she had different plans.

As my lips brushed hers, she growled and threw her arms around my neck, pulling me down on top of her as she greedily kissed me. My erection was back and pressing into her thigh. One of her hands left my hair and moved to my cock. I almost came undone when her tiny hand gripped me firmly through my jeans.

To distract myself, I returned the favor, moving one of my hands to cup her breast through her tee shirt, earning me a guttural moan from her as I applied gentle pressure to her mound of flesh and her nipple pebbled against my palm.

Knowing she needed to breathe, I trailed my lips down along her jaw, to her neck where I lapped and sucked at her pulsing artery. She smelled and tasted extremely divine and I couldn't wait until it was time to sink my teeth in.

We continued to let our hands roam as pieces of clothes fell away and our mouths explored every bit of flesh that was exposed. Her warm moist breath teased my nipples. I made her nipples hard as glass with my icy tongue. Her hand, hot and slick with perspiration, easily slid up and down my cold cock. I cooled her overheated sex with my long chilly fingers as I probed and teased, never allowing more than the tip of my fingers to penetrate her.

Our mutual orgasms left us messy and drenched, trembling in each other's arms, and completely sated…for the time being.

Without a word, I led her to the shower where I worshiped her body, using my tongue to draw another orgasm from her. Before we got out, she had done the same for me.

We were happy.

I discovered what it felt like to truly smile in the days and weeks that followed. Being around Bella was so easy. She brought warmth to our coven.

Alice had gained a new sister.

Esme had gained a new daughter.

Even Jasper was more relaxed as he no longer had to bear the brunt of my depressive emotions.

I should not fail to add that Bella was smart…and observant. Now that she was spending all her time, when she didn't work, in our home, it didn't take her long to realize that she was the only one eating and sleeping.

We had one week to go until Samhain when we had a family discussion while Bella slept upstairs in her room.

I sincerely wanted her with me at night, but our intimate actions would have led us to going too far, we were pushing the envelope as it was. Telling her no, that we needed to wait, was one of the hardest things I've ever done.

She'd been upset with me and had stormed to her room, slamming her door without even telling me good night. She was frustrated and I understood, while she had no idea. Hence, the family meeting.

"We need to tell her what we are. What we are hoping for with her," I started once we were all gathered.

Alice remained quiet as Jasper said, "It could scare her off, make her run."

I sighed heavily. He had a point, but so did I. "I love her. If she can't handle this, then I certainly can't trick her into this life with us. I won't steal anything from her…her virtue or her soul, I'll let the Volturi kill me first. I want her to give those to me willingly and with full disclosure," I said firmly.

I chanced a glance at Alice and she was beaming, as were Esme and Carlisle.


"I'm proud of you son," Carlisle said calmly as Esme hugged him and nodded at me.

"It's good to see you happy, Edward. And, making the right choices," Alice said, tapping her head to let me know that I'd come to the right conclusion to make this work.

"I'll make her favorite for dinner and we can tell her tonight," Esme said with a smile, her thoughts already turning to a shopping list.

With us all in agreement, I decided I would sneak into her bed and at least hold her while she slept, but Alice stopped me.

"She was pretty upset, Edward. You did the right thing, but she just needs some time tonight." Something was off in her voice and I had a feeling she was keeping information from me, but I also knew better than to grill Alice for information…she would only tell me what I needed to know.

I turned my attentions to my piano that had been unused for so long and before I realized it, the sun was up and the new day was starting. Even when Bella barely said three words to me as I drove her to work, I was hopeful that after tonight's revelations, she would understand.

Unfortunately, our discussion never happened.

Dear reader, my lovely Isabella has rested as I've recounted our first few weeks together and now feels that she should be the one to pick up the telling of our tale. As the turning point from this last fateful week occurred when I was not present, I must concur with her. Though, I do not relish the retelling of this part. As ever, my hand only holds the pen, the following words are all hers.

Meeting Edward had been like being transported to another world. As I said before, just being in his presence made me feel safe. As the days passed and he continued to tenderly bestow affection on me, I knew I was falling for him.

With that came the growth of my inner shame at my past, my homeless state and knowing I was lying to him. All in the name of protecting myself.

Even though I was legally an adult, the possibility that Charlie might still come for me was never a distant thought in my mind. It was always front and center…until that fateful night when Edward tore down my carefully constructed wall.

The pain that had been prevalent in his eyes as he begged me to let him in had crumbled my resolve, so I did. Amongst sweet kisses and gentle caresses, I'd told him everything. To have shared my dirty little secret with him, and still see his love for me in his eyes when I was done, had left me feeling cleansed and ready to move forward with him.

The next week had been the best of my life. Regular showers, a warm bed, a room to call my home, an eccentric family that had accepted me, and last but not least, my burgeoning physical relationship with Edward…all combined to plant me in the middle of a happy bubble.

As my wall continued to come down, my desire and love for Edward built up, replacing the wall. After that first morning, we continued to have nightly cuddle time that quickly turned into heavy make out sessions in which we explored and discovered each other, inside and out. To my disappointment, he kept regaining control whenever I was ready to say 'to hell with the consequences' and beg him to take that final step with me…the penetration that would end my virginal status.

I came to the conclusion that I just needed to ensure his loss of control.

I spent extra time in the shower scrubbing, buffing and shaving until I was as clean as I could get. I dried off and worked the cherry vanilla lotion into my skin then retrieved the lingerie set I had discovered at the back of my underwear drawer. The bra, which clasped in front, and the panties, which tied on the sides, were a pale pink satin overlaid with black lace. There was a matching pink robe also trimmed in black lace along the hem, cuffs and collar.

I felt amazing, like a bonafide sexy woman, as I left my room and went down the hall to his. My plan seemed to be working perfectly. Our clothing was gone, he'd already brought me to ecstasy, twice…with his fingers and his mouth. I was never going to be more ready.

He was on his back, his cock thick and straining when I straddled him. He didn't catch on to what I was doing until just the head had slipped into me and I started to push down.

Faster than humanly possible, I found myself on my side, discarded. He was across the room with a death grip on the doorjamb behind him, his chest heaving, his eyes squeezed tightly shut.

"Edward?" I whispered, rejection washing over me.

"I can't, Bella…" he choked, refusing to look at me.

I stayed there for a couple of minutes, willing him to just open his eyes and look at me. When that didn't happen, I got off the bed, pulled my robe on and left. I only stopped long enough to whisper coldly, "Can't…or won't?"

I slammed my door shut and turned the lock. It was several hours before I finally fell into a fitful sleep. I'd used the time to let my mind roam and analyze everything. I came to the conclusion that I had become complacent, that I'd allowed myself to get lost in the fairy tale. I wondered how I'd ever really thought someone as kind and beautiful as he was could really want someone like me.

I still couldn't deny that I had fallen in love with him, however, and the decision I made was even harder than when I'd decided to run away from home. Seattle was back on my agenda. I just needed to work a few more weeks to have enough to get a bus ticket, as it was too late in the year to try to walk, and have money left over to get set up once I arrived.

I rose the next morning and got ready for work, bypassing the kitchen as I had no desire to eat, and quietly asked Edward to drive me, as everyone else in the house seemed to be gone. When he softly said my name, I just turned and looked out the window of the car, refusing to acknowledge him.

I didn't want his pity.

I just wanted to move on…to forget as soon as possible.

Work went by slowly, only a few patrons coming in. One of the customers was a stranger and gave me a funny feeling…but he just browsed and left after a few minutes. I'd told myself I was being silly, strangers came through all the time, buying gear for camping and hiking.

And so the week went on. I rebuked any attempt Edward made to speak to me. I didn't come down for meals and they started leaving a tray outside my door which I would devour after it had grown cold. I managed to get rides to work from Alice or Esme, but Edward was always there to pick me up and we endured the silent ride home.

The stranger returned for the next three days, always browsing, never buying or saying anything…until the third day.

Ironically it was Halloween, a day for tricks, for scares.

Mike had left for lunch, leaving me to cover the store by myself when the blonde haired, black eyed man came in again. I glanced up from my book as I sat by the register and noticed he seemed to be sniffing the air and my body erupted in goose bumps as some warning signal started going off in my head.

Again, I told myself I was being silly, that I was just tired.

He approached the counter and I stiffened.

"Can I help you, Sir?" I asked politely, my voice shaky slightly.

"Hmmm, excellent question. But perhaps a better question would be…can I help you, Bella?" he sneered.

"I'm sorry, how do you know my name?"

"Isabella Marie Swan. Age eighteen, seventeen at time of disappearance. Missing from her Klamath, Oregon home since May. Beloved daughter of Renee and Charlie Swan."

I was finding it very hard to breathe and he only made it worse as he continued to talk.

"You've been living with the Cullen's. Do they know you are a runaway, Bella?"

"I'm old enough to make my own choices," I whispered, evading his question.

"Ah, right you are. Well then, I have a choice for you…"

I didn't like where this was going and I had a feeling I was really going to have no choice.

"You are going to come quietly with me or I will be putting in a call to the authorities and to Charlie, whose number just happens to be in my phone," he stated, waving his phone around casually.

I didn't know what he wanted with me, but I did know that I never wanted to see Charlie again and until I could figure out what was going on, perhaps going with him would be the best.

"But, I can't just leave the store unattended…" I said, trying to buy time as Mike was actually due back soon.

"You can…and you will. Let's go, Bella," he ordered.

When I didn't move, he started punching buttons on his phone and I caved. I left my book on the counter and followed him out. Instead of leading me to a car as I had expected, he gripped my elbow and started dragging me into the woods behind the store.

"Where are we going?"

"Just going for a little walk," he laughed as I stumbled, my knees banging into an exposed tree root painfully. He yanked me back to my feet and froze, his black eyes dilating as he inhaled deeply. I looked down and saw that my jeans were torn and blood was trickling down my leg.

I thought I heard him mumble 'later' to himself as he turned forward and resumed walking, pushing me in front of him so he could keep an eye on me. As we walked, he talked.

"It's too bad for you that Edward couldn't be a man and just fuck you. You wanted it didn't you Bella? Wanted him to tap that sweet little pussy of yours?"

I felt the bile rising from my stomach at his vulgar words and the fact that he knew so much. I stopped abruptly and spun around to glare at him.

"So surprised little one?" he laughed darkly. "You see, I have a special 'gift.' I'm scentless, therefore untraceable…even to your precious Cullen's. They never knew I was outside their precocious house, watching."

I had no idea what he was going on about with his talk of scents and gifts. I just knew I was in a shitload of trouble.

"That little black and pink number you had on was something else. Oh, and watching you suck his pathetic excuse for a cock…yeah, I enjoyed handling my rod over that one. Maybe I'll let you have a go at a real cock before we're done. Would you like that, Bella? Do you want to taste a real cock on your tongue?"

"Who are you?" I spat at him, disgusted.

"Not that it matters, but I'm James," he said, taking a step towards me. I took one back, tripping and landing on my butt, my hand getting pierced by a rock. I lifted it to see that it was bleeding as well.

"You really should be more careful, Bella. You're going to make it very hard for me not to just eat you up!"

I was scared.

I flinched when he reached down to grab my wounded hand and pull me back up. I watched in disdain as he licked my blood from his hand, his eyes rolling back in his head. "Fuck, you taste good," he stared at me as he made his declaration.

Now, I was officially petrified.

I turned and tried to run, but was scooped up and thrown over his shoulder in no time. I had to close my eyes as he started running…really fast.

When he stopped, we had reached a meadow. Any other time and I would have been able to appreciate its beauty, the almost perfect circle it formed. In the center was a large rock that reminded me of a table, an altar of sorts. But with James as my companion, I saw no beauty here.

My face was tear stained and my hand and knee were throbbing painfully as he dropped me onto the rock.

"What do you want with me?" I whimpered.

"That's simple, Bella. You are bait. You see, my employers are very interested in adding Edward to their collection," he began talking as he moved around me, somehow tying my legs to the rock.

"I was sent to check in on him as his time is almost up. In just a few months he will have been in this life for 100 years and the law is clear. If he is unmated at that time, he must join our ranks…or die. Good thing I got here when I did, seeing as he was so close to claiming you. I'll admit, I can't work out what he was waiting for…"

He stopped talking when he noticed the confused astonishment on my face, and then started laughing. "Oh, I see…not only did he not have the balls to fuck you, he couldn't even tell you the truth about what he is…what they all are."

I was afraid to ask, but I was hoping if I kept him talking, maybe help would somehow arrive before this nut job took his game too far.

"I don't know what you're talking about, James. Please enlighten me," I said coyly.

"We're vampires, Bella."

I fainted.

I came to as he smacked my cheeks. Taking stock of my surroundings, I noticed it had gotten darker and that I was no longer wearing any clothes. Nothing hurt, other than my hand, knee and pride, so I assumed he had not raped me while I was out. I also noticed an ornate knife lying on the table next to me.

"Welcome back, sleeping beauty," he leered at me. "Well, the time is upon us little one. I'm sure Edward will be arriving shortly; we left a brazen enough trail for him to follow, especially with all of your stumbles and the spilling of blood."

I shook my head. I wanted help, but I didn't want Edward hurt and to know that I was being used to reach those means was destroying me.

"So," he said, bringing my attention back to him. "You see, I could just bite you, or make the cuts myself. However, the bite would just bring on the change and he'd still be able to claim you as his mate. If I just cut you myself, then Edward would swoop down and bite you, turning you himself. Again, you would still end up his mate."

He was pacing around me as he rambled.

"I think I've made it clear that you cannot become his mate. That would displease my employers."

The guy was a certified lunatic. He had officially checked out of reality and was trying to take me with him.

"So, what we're gonna do is take a little leap of faith. You're gonna pick up that knife and make a couple of pretty slices along your wrists for me…"

"The fuck I am!" I blurted out, cutting him off.

"Aww honey, don't be like that. No matter how this goes down, you will be dead before the night is over. Now, you can cooperate and we can keep the pain of your death to a minimum. Isn't that nice of me?" he grinned and I noticed how white his teeth seemed, how sharp they looked.

"Fuck YOU!" I screamed.

"Mighty tempting, but I've already thwarted his first attempt at mating by doing that." He shook his head. "For some reason, he's bound and determined to have a virgin…"

His words were my breaking point. There was a small part of my brain that was trying to rationalize that he was just talking, not telling me the truth. But hearing that I wasn't Edward's only love, broke me. I was tired, cold and just done with it all.

Was this the life I had to lead, always on the run, forever alone?

I picked up the knife.

"Why does it matter if I do it or you do?" I whispered.

"Well, I don't know if there's any truth to it, but according to our legends, a suicide cannot be turned. So you just go ahead and give each wrist a good deep slice, then lay back. It'll be like falling asleep. I'll handle Edward when he gets here."

"But you're making me do it, that's not suicide…that's forced self-inflicted murder," I rambled out, not making any sense to myself.

"To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to…you slice your own wrists, it suicide…" he shrugged.

"What if I refuse?" I asked daringly. If Edward was coming, I needed to stall. He was my savior, my love and I couldn't break his heart this way.

He blurred and I felt a sharp pain in my ankle. I cried out as I looked down at my ankle, now hanging loosely from the end of my leg, as if only the skin were keeping my foot attached.

"I told you Bella," he hissed, "I can make this very painful for you." To prove his point he proceeded to break my other ankle.

It was excruciating, almost to the point of blacking out. Instead I found myself leaning to my side and vomiting over into the dead grass.

"Enough playing, Bella. You need to make those cuts now…I need you to have mostly bled out by the time he gets here…"

I was sobbing as I brought the blade to my left wrist. I didn't want to do this. But I wanted the pain to just…go away.

I pressed the tip into my skin and yanked. The flesh of my arm parted as the blood pooled and started dripping, picking up as my heart continued to pump.

I lined the blade up with my right wrist. In my head, I whispered my apologies to Edward and professed my love to him to a silent audience. The edge broke through my skin and with a scream, I opened my other wrist.

The last thing I remember before succumbing to the darkness were the Cullen's…all of them, barreling into the meadow and Edward's anguished cry of "Bella…NO!"

Ever so gradually I began to become aware once again. But as I regained consciousness, I didn't. It was as if I were in a dream. I was disoriented as I looked around and realized that I was floating, light as air and in no way solid.

I felt a sense of peace, of freedom, then concern as I focused on what I was seeing…below me.

I recognized the meadow that James had dragged me to.

I gasped as I realized my naked body was still bound to the rock, pale except where the bright red blood was seeping from my wrists to the ground. Quickly, I looked over myself…well, the 'self' that contained my conscious being. I was ethereal, my limbs nothing more than cloudy wisps, but as I moved my hands and feet, a tingling traveled through me and I thought I saw and felt those wispy limbs become more dense.

I looked back to the scene unfolding below.

Jasper and Carlisle were going head to head with James and it was only moments before his head was torn from his body and hurled into the dense foliage outside of the meadow.

Edward was crouched over my body, his shoulders wracked with silent sobs. I could hear the faintest whisper of 'Oh Isabella, mi amor, why? How? Is there no God? No Goddess? I can exist no longer without you!"

Esme was untying my legs as she whispered soothing words to Edward, reminding him that Alice had seen me as his mate, so he had to have faith. That although things looked bad right now, it was going to be okay. She rubbed his back as she pulled off her coat and got him to move enough to lay it across my torso.

Even though I felt myself being pulled towards Edward, I fought it and shifted my gaze again. Alice was stood at my head, adorned in a hooded white cape lined with red satin. Next to her were two people I'd never seen before.

The man was huge, and though his muscles rippled and flexed with tension, I got a sense of loyalty and protection from him. A beautiful blonde woman was next to him, holding a metal chest. The emotions radiating off of her were…mixed. Sadness, anger, adoration and acquiescence…I didn't know what to make of it.

"Alice, what the fuck is happening? You assured me she was the one…and she is…was…SHIT!" Edward screamed, rising to his full height as he bore down on his tiny sister.

Jasper was between them in an instant. No words were spoken, but as Jasper stared Edward down, his hand placed on Edward's chest, I saw his body go limp and he took a step back as Jasper relaxed.

"Edward, all I have time to explain right now is that this HAD to happen. The two of you had to build your love, then practically lose it, and each other, to cement your bond. She is not gone, yet. She is so very close," her eyes flicked upwards, directly at me as she said this. "The hallowed hour is upon us. It is time for the ritual while we have the favor of the Goddess."

Her body began convulsing as if she were having a seizure. Jasper went to grab her but as he touched her, there was a flare of light and he was suddenly lying on the ground several feet away, shaking his head.

Almost as quickly as it had begun, her body stilled.

She seemed taller, more statuesque. When she began speaking, it was no longer Alice's pretty bell like voice that came out. It was deeper, royal, as an awed silence fell over the group.

She turned to the blonde. "Rosalie, by presenting the items for the ritual, you will be accepting this union. Please move to my right." Rosalie did not hesitate in taking her place.

"Emmett, please take your place on my left, opposite your mate." The large man moved into position.

"Carlisle, please stand next to Rosalie, two feet down. Esme, across from your mate, next to Emmett." No one argued as they did as instructed.

I didn't know what was happening, but it was fascinating to watch. I became absorbed in their actions and felt myself once again becoming denser, heavier.

Jasper staggered back up to the group. "Ahh, my troubled Jasper…please take position at the other end, opposite of me."

She looked around at the group. "Now everyone spread out until a protective circle is formed around the altar. Edward, please stand and remove your clothing, then climb onto the altar and kneel between Isabella's legs."

He hesitated but then did as requested. I became aware of a pulsing beat throughout me as I took in the vision of him, kneeling naked near my lifeless body.

Alice closed her eyes and lifted her arms, the sleeves of the cape falling back to reveal glowing patterns and symbols over her limbs. A low murmuring came from her in a language I did not recognize. Slowly she let her right arm come down and touch Rosalie's shoulder, the glow spreading to her until she was highlighted like an angel.

Without a word, Rosalie lifted the lid of the chest she was holding. If I could have screamed, I would have. Seated inside were the heads of my parents, their eyes open, forever frozen in fear.

The chest open, Rosalie extended her right arm to Carlisle and again the glow spread to him. He shuddered as he absorbed it and then reached to Jasper. A couple of minutes later, they were all touching and shining.

Alice stepped forward and the glow dimmed, but did not fade completely. She reached into the chest and extracted what looked like a length of skin, still bloody on the underside.

"I am the Goddess, Mother Earth. True love does not go unrewarded. Edward, turn your arms up, present them to me." She stepped forward and collected the knife I had used and quickly gave him a matching set of wounds that seeped not blood, but a clear viscous fluid.

"Now, align your pain with hers and grasp firmly." As his wrists made contact, I felt the tingling sensation growing, overtaking me. I watched as she set the knife down and proceeded to wrap the skin, bloody side down, around one set of our linked wrists.

"Edward Anthony Cullen, I bind you…your soul, your sanity, your heart no longer belongs to you."

She turned and pulled another length of skin from the chest and moved to the other side, repeating the action. "Isabella Marie Swan, I bind you…your soul, your sanity, your heart no longer belongs to you."

My wrists were now throbbing.

Alice, the Goddess, returned to the chest again and retrieved my father's head. She moved to the side of the altar and reached inside the cavity, extracting his brain, she hovered it above my body before squeezing firmly. Blood oozed out of it and dripped onto my exposed sex, where it puddled before she trailed a line of it up my stomach and between my breasts.

Edward's cock became hard as he watched, his fingertips digging into the flesh of my body's forearms and I could feel it as I watched from above.

Once again, she returned to the chest, this time removing my mother's head and brain. This time she extracted the blood over Edward's erection until it was shining, slick and red. She tossed the head aside, then grabbed Edward's hips with her bloody hands and guided him to my entrance.

He was shaking with the restraint of not plunging into my body. The tingling was now a fire, a blaze burning through my being.

Alice resumed her position at the head of the circle, the glow flaring brightly as she closed it by laying her hands on Emmett and Rosalie.

"With this sacrifice, I call upon the elements. FIRE! WATER! EARTH and AIR!" At her words a ring of fire erupted from the ground outside the circle, followed by a circle of rain and then a whirlwind of dust and debris enclosed the whole thing.

"Inside this fourfold circle of protection, I call upon the SPIRITS OF LIGHT! Guide Isabella Cullen back to her true right. Edward Anthony Cullen, with the blood of her blood and the flesh of her flesh, claim your mate by thrust and mesh."

All around me were sparkling lights and friendly whispers, caressing me and pulling me down to the scene below. The closer we got, the lights faded as I absorbed them into myself.

His hips rocked forward as he pierced my body with his blood coated shaft. A shockwave reverberated throughout the circle, knocking everyone but Edward and I out of it as I was sucked back into my body and gave a final gasp of air before my body went limp once again.

Alas, dear reader, Isabella has grown weak once again and must rest. The darkest part of our tale is over as I resume our chronicle, whilst she wraps me in her love.

Baring myself in front of my family should have made me feel embarrassment.

Claiming Isabella for the first time in front of my family should have appalled me.

Knowing that I was basically committing an act of necrophilia…I didn't even let my mind go there.

All these years, all of Alice's visions, all my loneliness and heartache had led to this one moment in time. I was in the presence of the Goddess and surrounded by the love of my family…I would do whatever I was told if it meant not losing Isabella.

As the Samhain ritual was enacted I could feel her presence. I knew she was hanging on and would be mine again, somehow. Though as I laid there, collapsed over her body, I was not sure how that would come to be.

I slowly propped myself up on my arms and withdrew from her tightness. It had been warm, but not the fire I had imagined our first time would feel like…my Isabella was dead.

I knew the legends, I'd seen her make the final slice therefore I knew she had done this to herself, though I did not why. Did not know what that bastard, James, had done to her to cause her to make such a drastic move. The thought of quickly biting her, pushing my venom into her, never crossed my mind because you can't turn a suicide.

I gathered her limp body into my arms and cradled her to my chest as I slowly rocked her. Our skin stuck where the blood was drying and becoming tacky. The smell of it was repulsive.

Eventually the others began stirring and rising from the ground where they'd landed as the circle blew apart. Everyone seemed dazed as they came to my side and offered their condolences. Alice was the only one I could focus on as I again asked "Why?"

"This isn't over yet, Edward. Please do not lose hope. Come, let's take her home…we have to prepare her funeral," she said softly.

Yes, dear reader, her funeral. Her life was gone from her body and I had to put it in the ground, forever saying good bye to her…to her smile, her laugh, her warmth…her.

For the next two weeks I refused to hunt, refused to speak to anyone, especially Alice. She kept trying to project her thoughts into my head, kept trying to assure me not to give up hope. I scoffed at her. My Isabella was rotting in the earth…how could I find hope in that?

To escape their pitiful thoughts, I fled from the house, going I knew not where. I can't say I was surprised when I found myself back in the meadow. I approached the stone altar with caution, almost afraid of it, yet I was drawn to it.

I crawled onto it and lay down on my back, closing my eyes as I listened to the sounds of the forest around me. I don't know how long I was there before I noticed the air had grown warmer and I felt a weight upon me.

I love you, Edward.

I was going insane. I so desperately wanted her near me that I was now imagining her.

No, my love, you aren't.

Her giggle filled the air and I very slowly opened my eyes. She was there, floating just above me, only it wasn't her…she was transparent. I could see the tree tops and the clouds beyond her.

"Isabella?" I croaked.

Yes, it's me. I'm sorry it took me so long to come back to you. I had to find my way and learn how to use my new form.

"What do you mean?"

Shhh, just close your eyes and let me show you.

I nodded as I did what she'd asked. Perhaps I had gone completely mad, but I wouldn't argue if my madness was going to include visions of her.

The weight on my chest lessened and I felt my pants being worked and then my cock was exposed to the cold air. Only briefly, however, before I felt my shaft enveloped in a tingly warmth.

I couldn't resist, so I opened my eyes and looked down the length of my body. My cock was shrouded in her gauzy mouth, her head slowly bobbing up and down. I watched in amazement as the suction and friction increased until my orgasm shot from me, erupting into the air around us.

Her weight settled on my chest again and I could the vibrations of her purring.

She sensed when I had settled enough for the thoughts and questions to form.

I'm still with you, Edward. The Goddess herself performed our hand fasting so we are wed. The blood ritual and your claiming of my virginity as my final breath left my body bonded me to you as your mate, forever. But, I am a ghost.

She shrugged and I had to laugh at how awkward it looked when there was really no matter to her to be moved. It did not concern me though, my Isabella had returned to me and I would take her any way I could.

Dear reader, the hour grows close as I can now hear the thoughts of the approaching Volturi so time is short. I would love to go over in detail how we spent the upcoming months, from November until now, but all that really matters in regards to our tale is that we have found each other again. We discovered that Isabella (she never wants to be called Bella again as that was what her parents called her and our hand fasting joined her to me as Isabella) can manifest herself into a semi solid form for brief periods of time. It is in these moments that we share intimacies. We also discovered, as expressed just now, that I can finally hear her in my mind. In fact, I am the only one she can communicate with.

We have relished these last months together and it is with sad hearts that we know the Volturi approach. As I am the only one who can see or hear Isabella, we have no proof to offer them as to my mated status…and I will NOT join them.

We are hopeful that because of our unusual circumstance that when they destroy me, for we have no doubts they will, that I will be able to join Isabella on the ethereal plane.

I lay down my pen now and go to meet the Volturi with peace in my heart and confidence in destiny that everything will be okay.

Never lose faith,

Edward and Isabella Cullen

June 30th

Hello again, dear reader! Please forgive my sloppy handwriting, it is nowhere as majestic as Edward's, but seeing as I again have the ability to hold the pen myself, I wanted to make this final amendment to our story.

When we began the telling of our story, we had hoped that we would be able to complete our tale and provide you with closure. In the event that we had been unable to return to this annal, at the very least it provided us with the closure we needed to face what was to come.

I can happily say that it did all work out…just as Alice predicted!

It has been just over a week since Edward walked out of the house and met the Volturi with his head held high and his family right behind him. I was never far.

Did I want to see him destroyed? No. Would I abandon him in his final moments to ease my suffering? No.

I will let you in on a little secret. While Alice could neither hear nor see me, she could sense me. On the eve of Edward's birthday, she travelled to the meadow altar and called me forth, so she could talk to me in private.

She knew when I arrived and as she sat on the altar, once again adorned in her white cape, she began speaking softly.

" 'Ah, Summer Solstice! The longest day of the year; the beginning of full-on summer weather. This is the Wiccan celebration of Midsummer.

There is a fundamental shift in the Power of the Wheel at this time. The Life Force has been growing since Yule, and has reached its peak by the Summer Solstice. Now this Power begins to ebb.

Midsummer is a celebration of paradox. The Sun King begins his decline, and so we mourn; yet he is still shining strong, bringing beauty and the fullness of life, and so we celebrate.

The Wheel turns, the days now shorten again toward Midwinter. This can be a challenging event for many people, particularly sensitive folks like Wiccans. Yet we're really gearing up for the full height of a summer just beginning, and this is a joyful time.

So Midsummer is a festival that invites us to live in the moment. Will we face this Sabbat with sorrow for the constriction to come? Or will we celebrate the beauty of the summer that embraces us now?' "

She paused to allow me time to absorb her words.

"Tomorrow is the eve of Midsummer which means the Goddess will be near. I want you to pray to her with every ounce of your love for Edward in your heart when you say the words. I have a feeling you will be rewarded. However, Isabella, it is imperative that you say nothing to Edward about this conversation. He must face the Volturi with the firm belief in his heart that he is making a willing sacrifice."

Again, she allowed time for the importance of her words to sink in before continuing.

"Memorize these words, The Prayer to the Sun, you will know when the time is right... I will see you soon sister of mine."

She climbed down and slowly walked away, saying the words aloud.

" 'The sun is high above us

shining down upon the land and sea,

making things grow and bloom.

Great and powerful sun,

we honor you this day

and thank you for your gifts.

Ra, Helios, Sol Invictus, Aten, Svarog,

you are known by many names.

You are the light over the crops,

the heat that warms the earth,

the hope that springs eternal,

the bringer of life.

We welcome you, and we honor you this day,

celebrating your light,

as we begin our journey once more

into the darkness.' "

The words seeped into my soul and I returned to Edward with hope anew.

We met the Volturi at the edge of the yard.

"Greetings and birth wishes to you Edward, dear boy. I trust you know why we are here?" said the leader, who I learned was Aro.

"You come to ascertain my mated status," Edward simply said.

"Straight to the point. I like that," laughed Aro. "So, tell us Edward, are you mated?"


Aro's face scrunched up in disappointment. "Well then, let us meet the lucky woman," he sneered.

"I regret to inform you that is not possible," said Edward, his resolve holding firm.

"What kind of mate is this, that she abandons you for such an important meeting?"

"I did not say she was not here. I said I could not introduce you. Only I can see her, converse with her."

"You befuddle my aged brain, son."

"I am not your son. She died upon our mating, but she is present in the air around us."

Aro said nothing for several minutes as he pondered Edward's words. He pulled Marcus and Cauis to the side and conversed with them. By the pleased look on his face when he turned back to Edward, I knew the decision he had made.

"Unfortunately, since you have no physical proof of your mate, we cannot accept your claim. The choice is yours Edward, join our ranks or meet your end," he declared.

"I will never be one of your pawns," Edward stated.

"So be it. Destroy him!" Aro commanded as every part of his guard approached Edward, prepared to use their various gifts in a destructive deluge.

My time was now. I gathered every bit of my energy, drawing from the life forces around me as well, as I wafted to Edward, encompassing myself around him as I chanted the Prayer.

The sensation was the most painful thing I had ever experienced as I absorbed everything they threw at him. With each moment that passed, the pain grew worse until I thought I would die again.

"HALT!" Carlisle suddenly yelled. "Look what is before you. Meet Edward's mate, Isabella."

I was shaking and hurt all over, but I realized I could feel Edward's arms around me. I looked down and could see naked flesh. I'd become corporeal again.

Edward gripped me tightly as he began planting kisses all over my face. "What? How?"

Alice approached us, a huge grin on her face, her eyes sparkling. "By the power of the Goddess and the power of Love. I told you it would be okay, Edward," she added playfully at the end as she offered me a bathrobe that she had brought with her. Leave it to Alice to always be prepared.

So, there you have it, dear reader. The Volturi were not pleased, but they had to retreat. Edward and I wasted no time disappearing to a private island where he claimed me over and over. That claiming included a few well-placed bites that brought about my change.

Yes, I got a second chance at a human life and I readily exchanged it for a vampire existence with my soul mate. We will never be apart again.

Now, dear reader, you may ask why? Why did we write this all down and leave it to be read by strangers? Simple. We asked Alice to spell this diary so that only those in need can read it. If you are reading it, it is because you have reached a dark place in your life. You are questioning the validity of love and its existence.

I leave you with this final thought…

True love really does exist.

There is no doubt that love will conquer all…even death.

~Isabella Cullen

A/N: Soooo…thoughts?

By the way, the birthday girl has two WIP's on FF that are fan-freakin-tastic…go check them out:

Until I Saw You

It's Not Over Yet

Go read, leave her some love and wish her happy birthday! I promise she won't bite…unless you want her to