The water was ice cold and I started to panic as I fought the current. It was stronger than I expected and I began to panic as I ran out of breath. I instantly regretted even trying this. Edward wasn't coming back; I was going to die without ever seeing him again. But, I suppose that's how it would have happened anyway.

I was going to die.

Everything began to go dark. Water pressed in from all sides with enormous weight. It was in my ears, my eyes; my nose. I wanted to submit myself to this watery grave, but my body refused. My limbs flailed weakly and uselessly as I sank down and down.

Just before I lost consciousness, I saw something amazing.

Fire was hurtling toward me through the water. A meteor was approaching with incredible speed and when it hit me, I blacked out.

I coughed violently. I choked as my lungs automatically pulled air inward, and gagged when there was still water inside. Someone grabbed my shoulders and pushed me onto my side where I vomited a good deal of water. When I was finished, I looked up to see who my apparent savior was. I froze in fear at the red eyes staring down at me.

Victoria's fiery hair was plastered to her forehead and water still trickled from it and dripped down her chin. She stared back at me, completely motionless.

I couldn't even scream. I scrambled from her arms toward . . . where were we? It looked like some sort of cave. The floor was covered in sand and I crawled desperately over the footprints Victoria had left in it and back toward the opening. She didn't move the entire time, and for a few moments I actually thought I had some crazy chance of escape. But then I reached the entrance to the cave.

We were up high in the cliff face. I gripped the edge and gazed with horror at a number of large rocks protruding from the water below. I couldn't jump again. There was no way to escape.

Suddenly, I was gripped by my ankle and pulled back into the cave. I tried to grab something, anything to stop me from heading to my doom, but there was nothing but sand. I grabbed a handful and rolled onto my back as I threw it into Victoria's face. It was a direct hit, landing in the center of her face and getting in her eyes and mouth.

Unfortunately, it only caused her to pause for a second before she raked her hand across her face and pounced upon me, slamming me down.

Her face was inches from mine. There was still sand sticking to her pale skin and in her eyebrows. My eyes went to her piercing red ones and I was transfixed. My heart was racing and my breath came in short bursts. She didn't breathe at all.

"I don't know how he can stand you."

I was shocked to hear her voice. I didn't reply.

"I haven't taken a breath since I dragged you in here, and I can barely control myself." As she spoke, she pulled clumped strands of my wet hair from my neck. I swallowed nervously and her eyebrow twitched in response to the small sound it made.

"Why didn't you just let me drown?" That would have been so much easier—and probably less painful.

She was looking into my eyes again, but didn't want to get stuck looking there, so I kept my eyes locked on her mouth. She said,

"I thought about it. I was quite enjoying watching you drown yourself."

She had very red lips. They contrasted sharply with her shockingly white teeth.

"I wasn't," I struggled to speak coherently, "trying to drown myself. It- it was an accident."

"An accident? I'm sure it would have made a very romantic story, this accident. Do you think your precious Edward would even care? I can guarantee you—if he left you alone when it was this dangerous for you, he probably wants you dead."

With her words, my misery came flooding back. She had said what I'd feared since the moment Edward had left me in the woods.

"No-" I started to protest, but my voice was weak and I couldn't go on. Victoria's mouth twisted into a terrifying and beautiful smile.

"I wanted to kill you to avenge James. I was going to do it so extravagantly . . .

As she spoke, she stroked my hair again, but this time her hand slid down to my throat and she wrapped her long fingers around my neck. Panicked, I looked pleadingly up into her eyes. They were like embers, burning their way into my brain and making it impossible to think of anything else. There were only those eyes.

"Now that he doesn't care about you, you're nothing more than a useless human. I should really just drain you dry and be finished with you."

Still entranced by her eyes, I was only half-aware of what she was saying. She continued,

"But after all this time of pursuing you, I've found I've become . . . quite attached to you. It's odd, really. It's obviously not natural. There's just something about you. Hmm . . ."

She leaned down to push her face against my neck and breathed in deeply. She let the breath out with a shudder and squeezed my shoulders harshly. I whimpered in pain.

"You think that hurts? You don't know what real pain is."

She dug her fingers into the soft flesh under the bones in my shoulders and I choked back a sob.

"P-please, stop! I'm sorry!"

She laughed. The sound was musical and eerily out of place.

"You're sorry? Allow me to accept your apology and put this all behind me."

I couldn't take it anymore.

"What do you want from me?" I screamed into her face, "What can I possibly do to fix anything? You want to kill me, right? So do it!"

She sat up suddenly and yanked me into a sitting position. The movement jarred my neck and left me dizzy. I'd hardly regained my senses when her hand slipped up my back and into my hair. She pulled my head back and I felt her mouth against my neck. I closed my eyes. This would be the end.

But she didn't bite down. She pressed her lips there, then her tongue, and then she began moving across my throat doing the same thing the whole way. The fingers in my hair began massaging my head. Her other hand slid around my back.

"What-" I was surprisingly breathless, "what are you doing?"

She stopped and pulled back from me and looked me in the eyes. Once again, I found myself hypnotized. Everything else faded to black and white except for her deep red lips and eyes. Those eyes grew bigger and bigger until they filled my whole vision. Her nose brushed against mine before her lips pressed against my mouth. I gasped, which was a bad idea because I was immediately overwhelmed by her scent. My eyelids dropped and my hands rose of their own accord and entwined themselves in her hair. I kissed her back passionately. My mind was going blank. I thought I might faint. Her hands moved roughly up against my ribs and stopped to rub my breasts. I pressed against her, breathing in deeply and becoming more intoxicated. She gripped my shirt and growled. The sound sent shivers down my spine and I felt goose bumps rise along my skin despite feeling the heat rising in me.