Yep it's another one, hopefully a bit different to the many great stories out there. SM owns all original characters
I love my car. The entire world has changed in the last few years but my car, the beast, has stayed the same. It's much older than me, a 1967 Mustang. Pitch black with silver pin stripes and white wall tires. She's a classic and she's all mine.
I take a deep breath smelling the reconditioned leather and it calms me, despite the fact that I'm driving to vampire military headquarters. If you look back a few years vampires and all the other supernaturals were creatures of fantasy and horror. But the invention of CCTV soon caught them in action and thrust them into the spotlight.
The government tried to keep it hush hush but really how could they? The government itself is made up of people and people like to do silly things, like post top secret security videos on you-tube. Many thought them just hoaxes until some local Washington idiot posted a vampire munching down on a young woman and a shape shifter changing into a wolf in a second to attack him.
I live in a small town called Forks in Washington state. When the world found out that the stuff of nightmares was real, people here felt relatively safe. It's funny to remember eating at the local diner and hearing people calm themselves by insisting that this was just another big city problem. It still makes me chuckle, after all, vampires are not heroine.
It turns out that this part of the world is a hot bed of supernatural activity. The continual overcast weather is perfect for vampires in hiding because they sparkle in direct sunlight. Does anyone else find it difficult to fear something that sparkles? Yeah, me too. The local Indian reservation is home to the same breed of shape shifter that was caught on film. Other tribal people who can shift throughout the world have been found as well, and each tends to change into a different animal. Some are for attacking like the locals who turn into wolves capable of killing vampires. Others have defensive shifts. Certain tribes in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia can turn into birds and fly away from danger.
I work in Port Angeles about an hour away as a nutritionist. It's a small practice but it's not a highly populated area and I enjoy the personal feel and being able to devote time to each of my clients. There is only me and Leah to run it. She is my receptionist and a Quilute, one of the shape shifting locals. She is the only woman ever to have shifted but she thinks this will change now. Apparently the presence of vampires is what sets off the gene and we have quite a few around here. Because of the weather, relative isolation, and access to the ocean Washington houses the vampire equivalent of West Point and their Pentagon.
I remember Leah coming clean to me that she was one of the supernaturals on the news.
"Um, Bella, there's something I think I should tell you." Her dark eyes looked straight into mine but her hands were twitching and wringing her skirt. Leah never looked nervous, so her appearing that way sent my own nerves on edge.
"Ok Leah. What's up?" Please don't tell me she's quitting, please don't tell me she's quit...
"You know all those news casts about shifters and stuff?" I nodded dumbly," Well, I'm a shifter. I'm actually the only woman to shift out of the Quilutes. And I know who is a vampire because it causes my hackles to rise and I want to kill them. It's instinct. I...I hope you can understand."
I laughed in relief. "Oh Leah I thought you were quitting!"
She looked at me puzzled. " So you're not angry and I'm not fired?"
I may lose points as her boss by saying this but what the Hell, "Honey you've worked here since the start. You've seen me turn into a bitch. Just because you can turn into a bitch literally doesn't matter."
Her mouth hung open in shock for half a second before she smiled, "Oh you are so going to pay for that Bella. I'm gonna get one of my pack mates to piss on your tires!"
I had seen some of those wolves, they would more likely pee on my roof they were so big. In the end I was happy to know that about Leah. In a strange way it made me feel safer. She had been a good friend and an exceptional employee. If this was the supernatural world I figured it must be like the human world. Some of them would be unkind, rude, and selfish. But others, like Leah, would be strong, caring, and always good for a laugh. Sarcasm is the universal language around here.
So saying this you can see why it was odd for me to see her as she was yesterday. Her shoulders were tense and her lips drawn into a tight line. When Leah tries to put on a "professional face" it usually comes across as cold, but this was seething.
"Miss Swan, you have a visitor, a Mrs. Charlotte Whitlock." My brows furrowed and I mouthed "is everything ok?" To which she shivered and mouthed, "Vampire."
Ah, now I see. Leah's natural instincts were telling her to eat my visitor. "Show her in please and if you need to, go get some fresh air." She nodded tightly and left the room.
In the time it took me to turn around in my chair there was a beautiful lady vampire in my office. She was smaller than my 5' 4'' by an inch or two. Her hair was like white gold and hung long and straight down her back. She was dressed casually in jeans and a fitted shirt. She would look like a petite model if she wasn't smiling at me with glowing burgundy eyes.
God I feel frumpy around vamps. I have dark long hair and brown eyes. My skin is pale by human standards. I'm also in my late twenties and swear that gravity is getting to me early. I'm about as average as you can get.
"Mrs. Whitlock, I'm Bella Swan. Please sit down."
She moved like a whisper and shook my extended hand," Oh Bella thank you so much for seeing me without an appointment."
I noticed a southern drawl to her voice and smiled remembering my younger days growing up in Phoenix with my scatter brained mother. "That's quite alright, luckily I had some free time. So how can I help you?"
She took a deep breath and said, "I have a proposition for you, well really my husband does. I wanted to invite you to our home so that the two of you could talk."
She looked at me with hope and open kindness before she said, " And I'm sorry about upsetting your receptionist. It's tough for shifters not to spring out at every vamp they see. She did really well to control herself especially since she seems so young."
I laughed nervously, " In the service industry there is always someone who makes us want to attack them but Leah is very professional. What is it exactly that your husband wants with me?"
She let out a huff, "I'm not completely sure. He's the captain under Major Jasper Whitlock. They help to train newborn vampires and vampires with gifts for the Volturi. A while back they started talking about having to find a dietician for humans. Then today I was asked to come and invite you out."
I waited for my instincts to kick in and tell me to scream for Leah, but it didn't happen. Instead I was intrigued. The Volturi were well known and since humans could not govern vampires they did it. After all they could break out of our handcuffs and jails with the greatest of ease.
"You said Major Whitlock. Are you related?"
A brilliant smile crossed her glorious face. "I thought you'd pick up on that. He is our sire, he made us vampires during the Southern Wars. He also set us free, so while we treat him with the respect he deserves we love him like a brother."
That made sense in a strange familial vampire way, I suppose. The Southern Wars had been a hot topic when vampires came into public knowledge. It was the vampire version of the Holocaust, bloody and heartless. With my instincts still not kicking me but my curiosity rearing its head I nodded," Alright Mrs. Whitlock, I will at least come to see what this is all about."
Her smile almost blinded me, "Wonderful the boys will be so happy. Oh and I'll do my best to keep them on their good behaviour but they are men. If you meet the Major please don't think he's rude. He's just the quiet type. Unfortunately my husband, Peter, isn't."
That was just yesterday. All night my thoughts were racing. Should I rewrite my will? Maybe I could rub garlic, onions, and fish all over myself. I know it won't kill them but I doubt they would want to eat a woman who smelled like that.
In the end I skipped the repellent body rubbings and settled on my vanilla body cream. I popped on a sleek black suit with a shell pink top underneath. Topping it off were my favourite black pumps that made me feel powerful. I needed all the confidence I could muster for this.
I pulled up to the front gate and had to get buzzed through. It was wrought iron but moved as smooth and quiet as the wind. I was surrounded by tall trees on both sides of the winding drive. They almost blocked out the sun and added to my nervousness. Suddenly the lane widened and I was in front of an imposing mansion.
The bricks were a dark red and there were actual turrets on each end of the huge home. The accents were stark white with a bronzed eagle as the door knocker. I stepped out of my car and looked around. There were trees of every size and beautifully maintained flowerbeds. The lawns were vast seas of green cultured and cut to the perfect uniform height. I would expect no less for the home of a high ranking military man of any species.
I took a deep calming breath and ran my fingers through my hair before climbing the steps and ringing the doorbell. Guess the eagle is just for a show.
A moment later Charlotte Whitlock opened the door once again blinding me with her huge smile, "Bella! I'm so happy you came. Please come in."
I shook her hand and followed her inside. We stepped into a large open room decorated in gold and burgundy with occasional touches of royal blue. There was a dark wood staircase off to the side that matched the wooden furniture such as the bookcase and coffee table. Above the massive fireplace was a piece of art that portrayed an angel tending to men fallen in battle. It was a masculine room but classy.
"Oh honey breathe, it's going to be ok. Have a seat and I'll be right back." Charlotte patted me on the arm hard enough to bruise. As I took that deep breath she reminded me to indulge in I wondered if I would ever get used to pint sized gladiators like Charlotte.
As I blinked I felt a breeze blow through the room and as my eyes opened I noticed two figures in the lounge area. One was the mini hulk Charlotte and I'm guessing from the proud look on her face that the man standing next to her was her husband.
"Bella I would like to introduce you to my husband and mate Captain Peter Whitlock." The man in front of me had sandy brown hair tied back and a mischievous grin. His red eyes actually twinkled as he extended his hand.
"Howdy there Miss Swan. It's a pleasure to meet you." Well kiss my grits, a southern vampire gentleman.
I couldn't hold back the small giggle and I shook his hand, "Captain Whitlock the pleasure is mine, although I admit that I'm still curious as to what you would need with a human nutritionist."
He smiled warmly, "First thing, call me Peter. Second if it's alright with you I'd like to wait for the Major."
I understand rank means as much in the vampire world as it does in the human one so I started to say yes when I heard footsteps coming down the stairs. I turned and saw the most imposing man I've ever seen. He was also the most beautiful and then he unleashed his commanding and downright sensuous voice onto the room.
"I'm here captain, no need to keep our visitor waiting." I noticed the exhaustion in his voice or perhaps it was disdain for the mere human. Part of me was insulted while the other part wanted to go cry in my bedroom. In a matter of seconds he was standing in front of me where he finally raised his face to mine.
His hair fell in honeyed waves to his chin and surrounded a face carved from sin. High cheek bones gave him a regal look as did his strong straight nose. There was some kind of texture to his skin, especially around his jaw. I wanted to look closer but knew staring was rude and dumb considering who he was. He parted his lush lips to speak and I only had a second to notice that his eyes were the colour of caramel before he spoke.
"Thank you for coming today Miss Swan. We are in need of your help." I extended my hand in greeting not at all expecting the warm shock that his touch delivered. I looked at our joined hands with a furrowed brow before looking at him, seeing the same perplexed expression on his perfect face.
I had to speak to avoid bimbo status, " Yes Major but I'm afraid that I'm still unsure about what use you might have for me."
A telltale blush took over my cheeks as I realised how my comment could have been taken. His full lips quirked slightly before once again relaxing into their stern posture. "Well, Miss Bella please take a seat and we will tell you."