Disclaimer: All characters and dialogue related to the Twilight Saga are owned by their creator Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended. This story is for entertainment purposes only.
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The Chronicles of Bella & Emmett: Two Fated Paths—One Eternal Love
(Formerly "Fate or Flight?"—but this is the new revised version)
Chapter 1 – Ramble On
"Leaves are falling all around. It's time, I was on my way. Thanks to you, I'm much obliged, for such a pleasant stay. But now it's time for me to go, as the autumn moon lights my way. Because, now I smell the rain; and with it pain; and it's headed my way. Oh, sometimes I grow so tired, but I know there's one thing I've got to do. I've got to ramble on …" – Robert Anthony Plant
I sighed to myself as I gazed out my living room window; the icy rain pelted the glass. As much as I detested the idea, I knew in my heart that it was time. I had been living here in Holyoke, Massachusetts for the past seven years. The whispers started a few weeks ago. In truth, the whispers stemmed from jealousy. Women were complaining about the fact that I managed to stay looking so young. I knew that no one had put the pieces together yet, but it was only a matter of time before more people started noticing as well.
Part of me had to laugh. Some of the women in town were beginning to gossip that I had some cosmetic secret that kept me looking so young; if they only knew the real reason.
That's why it's time to go Bella, I admonished myself mentally.
I really did not want to leave. During my time here, I had made several close human friends. But alas, that was the downside of the gift—or curse depending on how you looked at it—of immortality: no lasting relationships. Sure, I could join a coven. However, my lifestyle had made me a freak among freaks, an outcast among outcasts. My refusal to live off of human blood, and hunt animals instead, was not looked at as an honorable characteristic by my kind. It was seen as some type of mental illness. I was a social pariah among the vampire community.
In my near fifty-five years as a vampire, I had yet to meet any others who lived the way I did. Judging by the reactions of most vampires whenever we crossed paths, it seemed that I was unlikely to any time soon.
I liked to think that I had done the best I could with the hand that had been dealt to me. But the truth was, I was lonely. I had walked this planet for nearly a total of seventy-five years as a both a human and then a vampire, but alas. I have never been in love. I am honest enough with myself to admit that I crave to know what it is like to love, to be loved. Since the chances of finding another vampire who shared my feeding habits seemed slim to none, I often silently wondered to myself, What if I ever fell in love with a human man? I would like to think that I would be strong enough to be able to leave that man to his human life.
It would be selfish of me to fall in love with a human.
However, because of my lifestyle, humans had become my only outlet for social interaction. Sure I could give him immortality, but I would be taking away all the things that really mattered. Important things, like the chance to fall in love with a human woman and have a family with real children. In the end, I would be taking away much more than I could ever give back. So fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how I wanted to look at it, no human males had yet to come close to even piquing my interest. That was not to say that many hadn't tried. It was just that not one of them had yet to even make me think twice.
The notion had on more than one occasion crossed my mind. The thought of creating a companion or, even better, a mate that I could teach my way of living, share my life with. However, I could never bring myself to take anyone's human life away from them. I had promised myself shortly after I was created what I would never do to someone else, what was done to me.
The year was 1880, when my life was changed forever. Most of my human memories were muddled. Yet, I did manage to remember a few important things. I recalled my parents and parts of my childhood, but not much else. However, I remembered September 13, 1880, my twentieth birthday, as if it were yesterday.
I was walking home from a birthday party thrown for me by some of my closest friends. It was unseasonably cool for that time of year, even in New York City. I remembered looking at the stars as I walked through the unusually quiet streets of the city. They were out in full force that night, not a cloud in the sky. As I gazed up at them during my walk home, my mind had drifted back to my dear friend Lucy telling me about her engagement earlier that evening. Apparently, her boyfriend Frank had proposed to her two days prior. As I thought about it, I felt a lump rise in my throat. I was twenty-years-old and alone. A woman my age was expected to be married, and to have bore children.
I wondered if I would ever find love. It wasn't for a lack of suitors; I just had yet to find someone that I could imagine sharing a life with.
I briefly recalled my father, Charlie, yelling at me the year before. "Isabella, what is wrong with you? You have been courted by several respectable men. I don't know what you are waiting for."
It was one of the last conversations that I had with my father. He died two months later from pneumonia. My mother had died along with my younger brother during his childbirth when I was seven years old.
Fortunately, my father was perhaps the wealthiest banker in New York, perhaps one of the richest men in the country. As his only living heir, he had left everything to me. I had an ungodly amount of money—far more than I could spend.
As my thoughts flickered back from my father to the present moment, I began quickening the pace of my walk. I suddenly felt unsafe. Call it intuition or paranoia, but I couldn't help the feeling that I was being watched.
Moments later, I felt a cold hand cover my mouth, muffling my screams. I was pulled into a dark alley. As my back was thrown against the wall of a brick building, I felt a sharp sting in my neck, as well in each of my wrists. One of the last things I remembered was an angelic voice attempting to offer words of comfort. "I am terribly sorry for the pain you are about to experience, Isabella Swan. However, there is nothing that can be done about that now. The only thing I can tell you, if it's any consolation, is that the pain will be over in three days. Then we will explain everything. Until then, I am afraid there is nothing that can be done about your suffering."
For three days, I burned as if I had been thrown into the very fiery pits of Hades. I kept going back to what the voice told me. It was the only way that I was able to convince myself that I wasn't actually in Hell. He said the pain would end. Sure, he could have been lying. Heck, I didn't even know who he was at all. In fact, I didn't even see his face for that matter. But I had to believe him because the only other alternative was that this burning would not end. And that scenario was just too frightening to accept.
Finally, the pain began to recede from my limbs. It was as if my heart was drawing all the pain from the rest of my body and absorbing it in that one centralized location. It soon took off beating with more speed than the footfalls of the fastest thundering horses.
And then there was nothing.
No heartbeat, but more importantly, no pain. The only remaining annoyance came in the form of a dull burning in the back of my throat.
I took a few minutes to relish the blissful feel of my new pain-free environment. However, I was suddenly startled out of my calm state by a voice. It reminded me of the last voice I had heard, yet at the same time, it was different. In fact, other things seemed different as well. I was experiencing complete sensory overload. I could smell everything. And even the bed I was apparently lying in felt completely foreign against my skin.
"Isabella, can you open your eyes?" the voice asked.
I did as I was asked and immediately gasped. Everything was so sharp and defined. I could see dust particles floating in the air. I could even see colors that I never knew existed before. I had no idea where I was, but I could hear movement of all sorts outside.
I immediately sat up and noticed three men. The one of to my left was enormous. The man in front of me was the smallest of the three and had the darkest complexion. To my right, there was another large man. However, he was nowhere near as big as the first. Lastly, I noticed a small petite girl staring at me as well. She stood the farthest away.
I instinctively leapt off the bed and crouched against the wall, growling.
Wait, why am I growling? I thought to myself.
I began to panic. "Who are you people, and what have you done to me? Where am I?"
As I rapidly fired off these important questions, I was immediately struck by the inhuman beauty of all four onlookers, as well as their startling crimson eyes.
"Isabella," the smallest and darkest of the three men called my name. "My name is Eleazar. To my left, is Demetri, the big fellow to my right, is Felix, and the young lady over there, is Jane. I know you must be confused. Isabella, I assure you that you are not in any danger. I know you have questions that you want answered, but I am sure that your thirst is unbearable at the moment. Let's get you someone to drink, and then perhaps you will be more comfortable, and we can answer your questions."
"Is that what that tickle in my throat is?" I asked, still confused.
What did he mean by 'someone to drink?' I silently wondered.
"Tickle?" The big one named Felix chuckled. "Surely you feel more than a tickle? Your throat must feel as if it's on fire."
I shook my head. "No. Honestly, it's not that bad at all. I would much rather know what is going on." I started to panic again. "Someone please tell me what has happened to me."
Eleazar nodded and began, "Isabella—"
"Bella," I corrected him. "I prefer Bella."
"My apologies, Bella," he said as he bowed his head.
"Bella, we have had our eye on you for a while now. You were chosen because you are special. Do you remember what I said to you in the alley three days ago?"
I nodded and he continued.
"Well, I bit you and injected you with my venom. The burning you felt for the past three days was the venom spreading through your body transforming you. I know this may be difficult to believe, but you are no longer human. You are like us now. You are a vampire."
I gasped, willing it to be untrue. But in my heart, I knew that I was being told the truth. It was the, only logical explanation for the burning, their inhuman red eyes.
Eleazar continued. "First, I want to explain to you that real vampires like us are very different than the ones you have most likely heard about in myth and scary stories. We are virtually indestructible. Sunlight doesn't burn us, although we cannot go out in the sun, publicly at least. You see the sun reflects off of our skin, giving off light. I guess you could say the sun makes us sparkle very brightly. So you see, if we ventured into the sunlight around humans, we would be noticed immediately. We don't sleep in coffins. In fact, we can't sleep at all. Your skin is virtually impenetrable. Even a bullet from a rifle would bounce off of you. Basically, the only way to be destroyed is by another vampire. Our teeth can penetrate our skin, but even then, the only way to truly die is to be burned into ash. You will no longer age, Bella. You are now immortal. You will physically be twenty years old for the rest of time itself. Unless of course, you are somehow destroyed by another vampire," he added.
I growled at his threatening words.
"I am sorry, Bella; I did not mean to frighten you. As I said before, we mean you no harm."
I still didn't fully understand.
"Why me?" I asked.
"All vampires have super human speed and strength, as well as enhanced senses. The last one I am sure you have already noticed?"
I nodded not trusting my voice. In fact, my voice scared me. I didn't even sound like myself anymore. It now had a bell-like, musical quality to it, like him.
"You see, dear Bella, some vampires have even more special abilities. For instance, Demetri here is what we call a tracker; he can locate anyone in the world, no matter how far away they are. And Jane here can cause a person to feel incredible pain, just by focusing her thoughts on another individual. It is actually quite similar to the pain you felt during the transformation you just went through."
I gasped at the thought, earning a smirk from the one called Jane.
I immediately growled again in panic. I was trapped. And with the gifts Eleazar just described, any hopes of escaping were gone because of Demetri. And any chance of fighting my way out was now nil, because of Jane's gift. I didn't ever want to feel anything like the pain I had experienced during my change again.
Eleazar clearly noticed my panicked state. "Dear, please relax. Fortunately or unfortunately for you, depending on how you see it, that is why you are here. None of their gifts work on you. I also have a gift; I have the ability to assess the extra powers that any vampire has. I have to concentrate harder with humans, but I can tell if they will have a special ability if they are changed. However, that was not the case with you. Your abilities were so pronounced even as a human that I barely needed to concentrate at all." He smiled smiled at me.
"Me?" I squeaked. "What can I do?"
"You are what we call a shield. You have a mental and physical shield. That is why Demetri and Jane cannot affect you. You see, their powers work inside the mind. Demetri can find someone by following an individual's mental signature, and Jane causes pain by making your mind believe you are in pain. Your mental shield blocks them both. In fact, you even confounded them both as a human. So imagine the possibilities now as a vampire. Your gifts have the possibility to magnify one hundred-fold. Eventually, you should be able to cover others with your shields and protect them. Your physical shield is harder for me get a grasp on. I know it's there, but I cannot get a sense as to how strong it is at the moment. But eventually, you should be able to surround yourself with an impenetrable force field. Your shields alone are enough to make you very special. Amazingly enough, however, that is not even the most impressive thing you can do." Eleazar beamed.
"And what is that?" I asked hesitantly, almost afraid to find out.
"Your shield, Bella, when you want it to, can act as a mirror of sorts."
"A mirror?" I hedged.
"Yes, I suppose that is the best way to describe it," Eleazar responded to me. "When you are using your shield, and someone tries to use their gift on you, well, you have the ability to send that gift right back at the attacking vampire. So your shield can act as a reflector of sorts and be used as an offensive weapon as well. That is of course only when you choose to do so."
I nodded my head again. I was in information overload. I knew what the most important question was. However, I was afraid to ask it. So I stalled by repeating one of my first queries.
"Where are we now?" I asked him.
"We are in a small cabin in upstate New York at the moment," Eleazar replied. "Do you have any other questions?"
"Yes, and it's the one I have been not wanting to ask." I hedged again.
"Please ask anything you want."
I inhaled and exhaled, realizing that no relief came from that action. Apparently my lungs no longer required air to breathe.
"Well, Eleazar, when I asked you 'Why me,' you told me it was because of my shields. But that really doesn't answer the question. I mean … so what … what I am saying is: why do you need me? What are you planning on doing with me?"
"First, may I say that for a newborn vampire, your control is nothing short of miraculous? Newborn vampires, as a rule are ruled by their thirst, bloodthirsty animals unable to be reasoned with. And here you stand talking calmly as if you were still human. I have never seen anyone like you. You are a complete anomaly. Secondly, and I am willing to bet that both Felix and Demetri will both heartily agree with my assessment, your beauty is second to none, Bella. The transformation has turned you into the most stunning creature I have ever seen."
I noticed both Felix and Demetri nod in agreement. The lust in their eyes was unmistakable. I ducked my head at the compliment. If I still could have, I would have been a blushing red tomato. Unfortunately, I couldn't shake the fact that Eleazar was trying to butter me up. He must have been worried that I was not going to like his answer, which in turn, was only serving to make me even more worried.
"Bella, the four of us are members of the Elite Volturi Guard. The Volturi reside in Volterra, Italy and are the ruling family for all vampires. As I said, we are the guard, but the Volturi consists of three ancient vampire kings, each over three thousand years old. They are named Marcus, Caius, and Aro. Aro is the founder and official leader of the Kingdom. The Volturi are the police the vampire world. We uphold the law, in order to maintain that our existence stays a secret from the human world. Bella, I am sort of what you would call a talent scout. I came across you by accident during my travels to America several years ago. When I returned to Italy and Aro learned of your potential, it was declared that on your twentieth birthday that you would be turned and made a member of the Volturi Guard. Aro is very eager for your arrival in Italy."
His reply angered me to no end. Some pompous jerk decided he wanted me for his personal guard and ordered that my life be taken away from me. I was furious! There was no way I was leaving with them. I would rather they kill me now.
"Eleazar, please do not take this personally. You have been very gracious in answering my questions. And for that, I thank you. However, just because someone living in Italy thinks I would be of use to him, does not give him or you the right to force me to go. I am afraid that your Aro will be disappointed. I have no intentions of joining his guard."
"Bella," Eleazar tried to reason. "I am afraid this is not a matter that you have a choice in. We were ordered to bring you back with us to Volterra."
"Bella," the one named Demetri addressed me. "I have been with the Volturi for centuries. I have seen the world many times over, and there is still no place that I would rather be. Please reconsider your position. I think I speak for all of us when I say that you would be a most welcome addition."
I noticed Felix nodding his head.
"Thank you for the kind words, Demetri. Still, I have no desire to up and leave my home and country, just because someone I don't even know says that I have to. Can you not see how I might find this entire scenario a bit off-putting?" I asked, still trying to be polite.
"Eleazar." The big one named Felix finally spoke up. "Maybe if we have her feed, her feelings will change. Perhaps once she realizes that Volterra will provide her all the blood she could desire, her opinion will differ."
Eleazar nodded. "Demetri, would you be so kind as to fetch Bella a meal?"
"Of course, Eleazar, it would be my pleasure." Demetri nodded and slipped out of the door.
I was mortified. Did they actually expect me to kill a human being?
I began plotting. There was no way I could fight my way out against four. However, Eleazar did inform me that I had the potential to create a physical shield. He even admitted that he could not tell how powerful it was at this point. But he did say that eventually it would be like a force field. If I could get that shield to work, then there was no way that they could force me to go anywhere with them.
While Demetri was out fetching some poor innocent human, I tried to make use of my time. I began visualizing an impenetrable barrier encircling me. I kept focusing, and several minutes later, I noticed that I was surrounded in a blue bubble.
This has to be it, I thought to myself.
I waited for one of the three vampires to notice the strange blue bubble that now encased me. To my delight, they never reacted to its presence. Apparently, I was the only one able to see the physical shield.
Confident that I could summon it again when needed, I dropped it for the time being. Just as I did, Demetri entered the cabin. I could hear the beating heart that he brought with him. The human wasn't screaming. So he must have either knocked him or her out, or somehow lured this unfortunate soul back to the cabin willingly.
Once they entered the bedroom, a look of fear crossed the woman's face as she took in our appearances. She gazed at my blood red eyes and began to scream.
Eleazar looked at me and smiled. "Bella, just follow your instincts. They will guide you in your first feeding."
I was expecting to have to fight the urge to kill, to maybe hold my breath. However, I felt nothing. She didn't even smell appetizing. I had no desire for her blood. The still dull burn in my throat told me that I obviously required something. However, human blood did not appeal to me whatsoever.
I looked around and immediately noticed Felix's look of triumph. I couldn't wait to wipe the cocky smirk off his face. He was so sure that I would tear into her and begin lusting after blood so heavily that I would follow them anywhere, as long as they promised me more.
"Bella, don't feel bad. If you don't feed off this woman, one of us will. Either way, she isn't leaving here alive. Therefore you have no reason to feel guilty. Like I said, just let your instincts take over," Eleazar tried to coax me.
I was angered beyond belief. That poor woman was brought here because of me. Just because I wasn't going to be the one that killed her in the literal sense, it didn't mean that I wasn't responsible for her death.
"Bella?" Eleazar raised his eyebrows.
My tone did not surprise me in the least, as I balled my fists in anger.
"I told you, just let your instincts guide, and the rest will come naturally."
"Oh but I am letting my instincts guide me, Eleazar. And they are telling me that this poor innocent woman isn't a food source. Nothing about her is appetizing to me. She doesn't even smell like something I would want to put in my mouth."
All four vampires' jaws dropped to the floor.
"She can't be serious," Demetri replied. He looked more in awe than angry.
Felix looked utterly confused. Jane looked like she would rather be somewhere else. Meanwhile, Eleazar just looked flat out frustrated.
"Bella, you need to feed."
"Then find me something edible," I replied harshly.
I was done playing around. These people took my human life away. They had done enough as far as I was concerned. There was no way any of them were going to have a say in how I lived from now on. Clearly I didn't have any blood-lust for humans. So the way I saw it, there was no reason that I couldn't still interact with them as long as I was careful, extremely careful. I would have to stay out of public when it was sunny and would have to move often. I would need to move locations every six or seven years, so people didn't notice that I was not aging.
My mind was made up. I put my physical shield up and expanded it around me in a circle. I extended the shield several feet in every direction. I wanted to make sure no one could get close enough to think that they even had a chance of laying a hand on me.
"Well, Eleazar, Felix, Demetri, and Jane, it has been a pleasure. But I think I will be on my way now. You may have stolen my human life from me, but I will not let you steal my free will as well. Good day."
Eleazar closed his eyes, as he shook his head and let out a frustrated growl. "Bella, you don't have an option. You either come willingly, or we force you back with us, and you will have to deal with Aro's wrath. Please for your own safety, just come with us."
Despite everything Eleazar had done, I could honestly see that he didn't want to harm me. In fact, I think he actually cared deep down somewhere that he didn't even want to see harm come to me. However, he wasn't privy to the capabilities of my physical shield.
"Sorry, Eleazar, I am leaving." I got up and started walking to the door.
Eleazar looked pained when he finally gave the command. "Felix and Demetri, grab her. I didn't want to do it this way, but it looks like I have no other choice."
As soon as he gave the command, both vampires came rushing at me. As soon as they came in contact with my blue bubble, they both went flying backward ten feet.
The look on Eleazar's face was priceless.
"How is this possible?" he murmured
"Why do you look so surprised, Eleazar? You're the one who told me about my physical shield. So as you can see, no one is touching me unless I allow it. As I said before, thank you for graciously answering my questions, but I am leaving now."
Eleazar nodded, this time with a bit of a smile playing at his lips. "I can see that. Don't forget, Bella, you must protect the secret."
"And, Bella," Eleazar said to me as I exited the door. "Please take care of yourself and be safe."
I turned back one last time. "Thank you, Eleazar. I know that you are just doing your job, but I can tell that you are a good man, too good to be serving as Aro's lackey. You are better than this," I said as I pointed back to the other Volturi members and their human prisoner.
Just before I turned away, I saw a brief flash of emotion shadow across Eleazar's face. As I started running away, I faintly heard him whisper, "Good luck, dearest Bella, until we meet again."
I could not believe the speed I ran with. It took no effort. I expected to get tired after a while, but it just came so naturally. I was literally running faster that a bullet shot from a rifle. As I ran, a mouthwatering aroma washed over my senses. I silently prayed that it wasn't human. I was suddenly worried that maybe that one girl in the cabin was some strange exception. I didn't want to be a monster. I vowed right then and there that even if this aroma turned out to be human, I would never take a human life. I would rather die a slow agonizing death than kill a living breathing person.
However, my curiosity got the best of me, and I followed the scent. When I reached the source, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't a human after all, but a massive grizzly bear. Without even thinking, my instincts, which, Eleazar kept talking about, finally took over. I pounced on the bear and latched my teeth onto its throat. My new razor sharp teeth cut through the fur and muscle like butter until I finally reached its jugular. The taste of the bear's blood was indescribable. It was better than any human food I could remember tasting. I let the warm blood slide down my throat, relishing every gulp. The dull burn was put out completely just as the bear's blood supply ran out.
In truth, I even felt bad that I killed an animal. But the realization that I could live as a vampire and not harm human—well, the trade-off was worth it. Obviously, I would much rather take the life of an animal then a human, someone with a life and family that would miss them.
After I finished feeding, I realized that I had been a rather messy eater. I found a nearby stream to wash off. As I bent down to clean myself, I was startled by two very different things. One, I was indisputably, ridiculously beautiful. Apparently Eleazar wasn't lying to me about that fact. My skin was now a flawless pale snow white. My lips were fuller and a luscious vibrant red. My high cheek bones were new as well, adding to my beauty. My hair was fuller. It fell three-quarters of the way down my back in mahogany waves with subtle gold and red highlights. I was stunned speechless. I looked down at my body and noticed I was perfectly toned with large perky breasts, a round tight bottom and long silky legs. It was unsettling; I had never thought myself to be pretty before. Now, I didn't even have words to describe my own appearance. It may sound vain, but it was undeniable.
However, what were even more unsettling were my eyes. They were a vibrant shade of red. I thought this unfair. If I wasn't going to live the lifestyle of a monster, then why did I have to wear the eyes of a monster?
This new fact would put a serious kink in my plans to continue living among the human population. No one could be allowed to see me with eyes like these.
Was I destined to a life alone, apart from civilization for all eternity?Maybe I should have gone with the Volturi.
At least I would have had some form of social interaction.
I stayed in the forests of upstate New York for the next month. I was addicted to the taste of grizzly bear. So much so, that I hunted them several times a day. I actually began to worry that I was going to turn them into an endangered species all because of my appetite. I practically filled myself to the brim daily on bear blood. I settled for deer whenever one could not be found. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't grizzly bear either.
After one particular messy meal, I went to wash off in a stream. I gasped when I saw my reflection in the water. I was so disgusted by my eyes the first time I saw them, I had refused to look at them again. Yet when I saw them today, I no longer had the eyes of a monster from children's nightmares. Instead, they were a beautiful golden color. "Topaz," I said to myself. That was what they reminded me of: the golden, honey yellow gemstone known as Topaz.
I was positively giddy. Sure my eyes would be strange, perhaps odd to people, but they weren't so strange that they would keep me out of the public eye. I could go back home again. However, I knew that I would need to move immediately. I couldn't maintain an animal diet and live in New York City. No, I would have to relocate. Find a town that bordered plentiful forest land that was filled with wildlife. That task would not be difficult. Thanks to my inheritance, I could move anywhere I wanted.
And move I did.
I first moved Gorham, Maine. Next it was on to Fryeburg, Maine and after that came White River Junction, Vermont. I stayed in each town for around seven years, never more than ten. I constantly had to worry about people noticing that I didn't age. I continued moving every seven years or so, gradually working my way south. Almost fifty-five years after that fateful day, my twentieth birthday, I found myself ready to move again. My seven years were up, and it was time to leave all the human friends I had made during my stay at my most recent home behind once again.
Present Day – February, 10, 1935
My thoughts finally drifted back to the here and now. I began packing quickly. I only needed to take a fair amount of clothing as well as my important personal mementos. I would leave my home in Holyoke, Massachusetts furnished in the event I ever came back. Wherever I went next, I would buy all new furniture and appliances.
I pulled out my map of the United States so I could make the decision of where to move onto next. Although the cold didn't affect me, I was tired of it. For most of my entire vampire life, I had lived in New England.
I made the decision right there. I wanted to live in a warmer climate. Sure it would be more difficult, as warmer climates tended to be sunnier. However, if I found a home bordering a large forested area, I just might be able to enjoy the sunny days deep out in the forest where no humans would dare to venture.
I scanned the map over and over for such a place. Although I wanted out of New England, for some reason, I still felt the need to stay on the eastern half of the United States. As I searched the map, my eyes landed on a particular area. It was an up and coming, yet still small town that bordered the mountain ranges of Tennessee. It would be perfect. There would be plenty of forest and mountain terrain that the humans couldn't access, but I could. It would be fabulous on sunny days especially. I was positively giddy at the thought of having the sun back in my life.
I had packed everything I was taking with me into one single bag. I waited for nightfall so I could make my escape under the cover of darkness.
"Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Here I come!" I said to myself enthusiastically.
At the speed I was running, I reached the outskirts of Gatlinburg within two hours. Since it was the middle of the night, I took the opportunity to soak in the town while everyone was sleeping. During my reconnaissance, I noticed several newly built homes for sale on the outskirts of town. I liked one two-story home in particular. It was white with green shudders. Most importantly its backyard was adjacent to the forested area that led to the surrounding mountain range.
I made my decision quickly. Provided it was not sunny in the morning, I would venture into town and purchase the home at the town's realty office.
As I waited out the night in the surrounding woods, I breathed a sigh of relief as I noticed the cloud cover moving in just before sunrise. From the looks of it, it seemed like I was in luck and today would be blessedly overcast.
I quickly found the nearest stream to bathe in. I was dirty from my run and wanted to make a good first impression, considering today would be my first public appearance in Gatlinburg. After cleaning up, I opened up my suitcase and chose a lovely green dress to wear. I spent a few minutes arranging my hair and then made my way toward town.
I made sure no one was looking as I emerged from the forest carrying my bag of luggage. I strolled down Main Street toward the brick building I had identified the previous night as Gatlinburg Real Estate.
I was already the center of attention as I heard the whispers of onlookers as I walked down the street alone.
"Who is she?" several women asked various people in voices that were tinged with a bit of jealousy.
"She is breathtakin'," I heard another man whisper to his friend who was nodding in agreement.
"I wonder if she is married," another person whispered, oblivious to the fact that I could hear him.
I have never enjoyed being the center of attention, so I quickened my strides to a pace that was just slow enough not to draw more attention to myself.
I finally reached the real estate office and entered the building. I immediately ghosted up to the counter, set my bag down, and rang the bell.
A middle-aged, slightly balding man appeared from the side office and greeted me. "Good mornin', ma'am. May I help you?"
I heard his pulse quicken as he looked me over. Whether it was from attraction or his body's instincts telling him that I was a dangerous predator, I will never know.
"Good morning, Sir," I said in a polite voice. "I just moved down here from Massachusetts, and I was looking to purchase a home."
By the time I had finished speaking, the man behind the counter seemed to have composed himself from whatever affliction I was causing him. Sometimes I had to laugh to myself. I had been vampire for so long now it seemed. Human reactions to me were so strange.
"Ah, well, welcome to our fine state then, my name is Richard. We have several properties on the market. Would you like to have one of our realtors show you 'round?"
"Please to meet you, Richard," I replied. It was impossible not to notice that his heart rate sped up rapidly again when I mentioned his name. "My name is Isabella, Bella for short." I had to stifle a laugh at his flustered look. "Actually I arrived yesterday and looked around a bit myself. If it is still available, I would like to purchase the two-story home on Forest Street. I will happily pay whatever the asking price is in cash. And if it's at all possible, I would like to do so immediately."
Richard looked shocked that I was willing to pay whatever the asking price was. I supposed I shouldn't have been surprised, considering I didn't even ask how much it even cost.
"Ah yes, the Forest Street Property. That home belongs to the McCarty's. They own a lot of land in Gatlinburg. The family owns a well-respected development company. Let me call their office and see if I can have one of their representatives come down now. If you are willing to pay the asking price in cash, then I don't see why we can't get you into your new home today," he said with a smile.
"Let me make a call in my office and I will be right back," he said.
I nodded and thanked him.
I waited patiently for several minutes for Richard to return. I knew what he was going to tell me. I could hear his end of the conversation quite easily in his office. Apparently one of the brothers that owned the development company was on their way down as soon as he hung up the phone.
"You are in luck, ma'am. I spoke with one of the owners, and he is on his way here as we speak. Shouldn't take him more than a few moments; it is not a very long walk from his office," Richard happily replied.
I smiled at him and heard his heart rate accelerate again. I tried my best not to chuckle, as I thanked him for his help.
"Can I get you anything while you wait, miss?" Richard asked.
I shook my head and smiled. "No thank you; I am fine."
I waited about ten minutes until I heard the door open behind me. I turned around moments later and saw a very large muscular young man with loose, curly black hair had entered. His height and bulk actually reminded of the massive Volturi vampire Felix. However, that is where the comparisons stopped. This young man had a kind of boyish charm to his face. Not to mention, he also happened to be incredibly gorgeous.
"Ah, Emmett, glad you could get here so quickly; this is the young lady I told you about over the phone that wants to purchase your property on Forest Street immediately."
The young man's breath hitched for a moment as he looked me over with his piercing blue eyes. I found his gaze to be hypnotic.
Wait a second, I thought. Aren't I the vampire here? Isn't it my gaze that is supposed to be the hypnotic one? What the heck is going on?'
He quickly composed himself, however, and held his hand out.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, miss," he said as he gently shook my hand. "My name is Emmett McCarty. Please, call me Emmett." At the moment our hands touched, I felt an electric current shoot straight up my arm toward my long dormant heart. I swear I felt it beat again. I gasped at the contact. Emmett did too.
Did he feel that too? I silently wondered, or was he just repulsed by my cold skin?
I was still trapped by his piercing blues eyes as I finally managed to reply. "The pleasure is all mine, Emmett. My name is Isabella Swan. However, please call me Bella for short."
"I can assure you, ma'am, the pleasure is mine," Emmett said as his slight smirk turned into the most breathtaking smile that I had ever seen. His grin displayed the two most adorable dimples.
Just minutes before, I was laughing to myself in regards to Richard's biological reactions whenever I smiled.
Now, however, I didn't think it was so funny anymore. Because, if my heart still worked properly, I knew that I would be the one with the thundering heartbeat and racing pulse.
A/N – Thanks for reading.