A/N: I own nothing to do with Twilight. Never have, never will. :-)

This Edward is a ruthless mob boss, who deals with some seedy people. He will be dark and possessive of Bella, striking up meaning that their little run-in is "fate". Of course, it probably is ;)

Dark Paradise

I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.

Today was just not my day. I had a finals exam to sit for in barely an hours time and here I was, attempting and miserably failing at fixing my wayward hair. I must not sleep with it in a tight ponytail, I must not sleep with it tied up. Reciting this several times, I attempt, once more, to bring my long hair under control by straightening it with the hot styling iron.

It's just no good; It refuses to sit flat, to sit straight. I glare at the pale skinned, brown-haired girl's reflection staring back at me in the mirror, then ultimately have no other solution but to give up.

My only option now, is to forget straightening it, and tie my hair up into a wayward topknot and hope that I look semi-presentable for the busy day ahead of me.

I curse my hair- Damn you, for not being able to behave for me- and then, as I glance out through the yellow lace curtains of my apartment, I start on other things. This wretched, miserable looking day, for one thing. Already, dark grey clouds are starting to pop up and appear in the sky and there is a heavy wind, rustling and blowing around the maple trees that line my window outside.

Today was just not going according to plan for me. Let's hope I ace my final exams, since I had crammed for them long and hard two weeks straight in a row.

My bleak outlook on the day softens multitudes, once I am greeted by my best friend, and fellow roommate, Alice, who is huddled on the sofa underneath a blanket in the living room.

"Good luck on your exams today," she says, in a distinctively sore, raspy throated voice.

It occurs to me then, that she has been overtaken by a dangerously contagious sounding flu. I had to marvel with her enthusiasm. Even on her worst day- hell, even ill, lounging around on the sofa with the flu- she still manages to find that pluck of optimism in even the greyist of days. I don't know how she does it, when I certainly couldn't.

"I know you'll kick ass and pass them, you've been studying for weeks!"

Her positive attitude was just what I needed this morning, I discovered then. Even though she is ill, and her dark eyes are rimmed red, and her nose is runny, it is hard not to catch her enthusiasm.

"Thank you, Alice. It helps a lot to know I've got your support on this." But then, my appreciation for her is quickly churned into one of flaring sympathy, when she blows her red raw nose into a tissue. "Can I help with anything? Did you need some Tylenol?"

"I'll be fine, thank you. No Tylenol is needed. Think I just need a major sleeping session, then I'll be right as rain."

"You sure?"

Even in her exhausted, lethargic state, she still manages to send me a weak smile. "Absolutely, magnificantly, one-hundred percent positive! Now, go. Go kick butt on your exams and I'll be right here when you get home to hear all about it!"

I smile down at her fondly. Thank god, I have such a good friend as Alice. No matter how bad a mood I'm in, she manages to pull me out of it and back into reality.

"I'll see you later, when I get home. Get some rest. Love you!"

"Love you, too," she mumbles back mid-yawn.

Gathering my leather handbag, I check to see all my necessities are inside- tuna sandwich for lunch, spare pencils and rubbers for the examination, calculator- then head to the door.

Just as I open it, Alice calls out, "Don't forget to take an umbrella! News forecast said it's bound to pour today!" Smiling wryly at her life-saving advice from getting drenched in my clothes, I take Alice's pink umbrella off the hanging rack, and head out to the garage.

Yet again, I'm thanking my lucky stars for having a dearest and closest friend, like Alice. In a way, she's like the sister I never had as a child. Insightful, supportive, beautiful, deadly devoted to her friends, and ever so optimistic, she was the lifesupport of my hard and trying days. She always welcomed me back- with an empathetic shoulder to bawl on, of course.

The roads are wet and traffic-heavy as I start down the highway on my journey to Seattle University from Washington.

Even though I've gotten an early start by leaving as quickly as I possibly could, I can't see myself reaching the college grounds on time. Of course, since I'm in my trusty old '05 girl, Kristen, my beloved black VW Mini Cooper, I would have made it on time had it not been for the slow moving traffic due to the dangerous weather and slippery asphalt.

It has really started to pour, thick bullets of rain thumming down against the windshield a mile a minute. Headlights pan back and forth blindingly into my vision, from the cars rushing to and fro on the other side of the highway.

"Promise me, you'll be a good girl and make me get there on time before the examinations start," I coo to Kristen, lovingly fondling the dashboard with a set of ringed fingers. So it was one of my little quirks, having one-sided conversations with my car. But honestly, it made the journey that more enjoyable.

Even in my hooded anorak, I'm shivering. I lean down to switch on the heated airconditioning and, so fast, I take my eyes off the road for one fleeting second and- -

My heart feels its in my throat, with the dreaded clamouring thud that sounds off at the front of my car. Oh, god. This cannot be happening! Not on today, of all days!

I inch my foot down on the brakes very slowly, then turn on my hazard lights to signal to the driver in the car behind me. I've hit something, and yet, it is impossible to see through the thick sheets of clear rain hammering down on the windshield.

I pray internally it's nothing of subtantial importance. A wild rabbit ran out onto the road, maybe? A bird flew out and misjudged how close my car was to it, even?

But as I turn the key to shut the ignition off, and manage to finger out my umbrella in the passenger seat, it all comes crashing down onto me with haunting awareness.

Hyperventilating, I pull open the door and slide out of the seat, bringing the umbrella with me. I unlatch it and it unfurls open, covering the top of my head from the uncontrollable rain outside.

My breaths are shallow and coming out in foggy streams from my mouth, as I inch closer and closer to the front of my car. I'm ultimately scared of what I'll see, at how much damage and bloodshed there is between It and my car.

A twitching boot comes into view, connected to a long dark faded denim jeaned leg.

"Oh, god no." A wretched moan tears from between my clenched teeth, as at long last, I close off the inches between the front of the car and the twitching, wounded human I've just had the bad luck to hit and injure on the slick road.

How fatally I've injured the person, it's impossible to tell. But as, finally, I round the hood of my car to inspect the wounded person frantically, I realize it's a male.

I've hit a man, about in his early or mid-twenties in appearance.

He's trembling from the rain, hunched over and shivering, long arms wrapped around himself, as he rests the side of his head against the concrete. My eyes search and search for any sign of just how extensive his injuries are- any sign of bleeding- and am relieved to find there is none whatsoever.

Still, the uncertainty of not knowing whether I've killed him, or not, is unsettling.

My nerves of not knowing for certain, makes me fidget and shudder.

A shudder ripples through me, as a low whimper clatters and breaks through my parted teeth, and has nothing to do with the low temperature outside of the car whatsoever, but the eeiry predicament I've found myself in.

It kills me, not knowing whether my car hitting him will be the death of him or not.

But... there was only one way to be certain, I guess.

I crouch down over him, inspecting his facial features closely. Oh, god- he is so young-looking! Attractive!

The only concerning tell-tale sign of an injury, is the cheek resting on the concrete underneath him. His cheek is grazed, and swollen a little. A very insignificant daub of blood oozes from it.

I steel myself against the concrete as I kneel beside his trembling form, positioning the umbrella directly underneath the both of us so that his face is, at least, shielded from the pulsating drums of rain.

He wears a leather jacket, his hair is an untidy coppery color and his eyes... Oh thank goodness, his dark grey eyes are open, staring straight up at me, his line of sight constant and steady. No lolling off into another direction that suggested to me, that he may very well have been knocked unconscious from the hit.

Without warning, he lets out a guttural groan in pain.

It takes a moment for me to find my voice.

"Sir, are you all right? Are you in a lot of pain?" Those were stupid questions to ask because, clearly, he was in a whole lot of pain. It just calmed me down a bit, to ask.

His mouth falls open, he's about to speak and... nothing. Absolutely nothing comes out!


The mouth closes up, but he's eyeing me wildly.

"Sir?" I try to swallow down the panic in my voice. "Sir, please! Can you hear me?"

The eyes are fixated on the way my lips move, when I talk. He takes in the movement of them while I speak eagerly.

"Sir? Please say something! Oh god, oh Jesus!"

He extends a white, long-fingered quivering hand out to me. I look down at it, uncertainly. There are tiny cuts on his hands, tattoos on his fingers. I can't figure out what he wants.

"Uh, S-S-Sir?" I stammer, unsure. "Is there something you need?"

There is something there- something urgent- in his expression, in his wide, frantic wet eyes, that I cannot quite pick up on. It's maddening.

"Please," he mumbles incoherently.

I feel like screaming at the top of my lungs in pure exultation, that he is alive, he has made it through, somehow. His hand clings onto my arm, and tightens.

I'm aware then that he has black-ink tattoos, give or take an inch or less in size, on his left hand, above each finger; Thumb, three dots. Forefinger, a cross symbol... all in intricate detail, it would have been easy to miss, had his hand not been gripping onto my arm. I don't know what they mean, or what they signify about him and, frankly, I'm too concerned over his state of wellbeing to even muster the curiosity to care.

A desperate moan breaks through his teeth, "Please... stay."

I'm struck by how frightened he seems. Did he honestly believe I was going to leave him there, on the road injured, after having hit him with my car by accident?

My heart contracts painfully in my chest, when it becomes clear to me, he obviously does. What kind of person would do that to another, though? Just leave them there injured and hurt?

His hand moves up towards my face, clutching at thin air, until it catches a piece of my hair that has come uncurled from my ponytail.

It's a little disarming, when he rolls over on his side to be closer to me, the way he rubs his fingers over my hair gently... the way he brings it to his nose, inhales in deeply, and then releases it, his breathing subdued. My cheeks feel they're flaming, after having seen the way he seemed to calm momentarily, at the fragrance of my hair.

Had I calmed him down and suppressed all his worries, with the smell alone? It was extremely peculiar. Surely, I didn't smell that great?

"Wait here," I command of him quickly. In protest, he groans, a mingled mixture of hurt-riddled curse words, and panic. "I'll be right back, Sshhh. I need to call an ambulance, after all. My phones just in my car."

I glance down at his face, searching for a confirmation to go-ahead and do it. His eyes flutter closed- dark, thick eyelashes swooping underneath his sunken eyelids- as he gives me one singular jerk of his head.

Once inside my car, as I'm dialing the ambulance's number and waiting for them to pick-up, dread caves in on me. I catch sight of the illuminated numbers on the dashboard, telling me the time.

Oh, shit. I'll definitely miss the start of my examination.

But that concern seems selfish, considering there is life outside my car hanging in the balance.

I let out a deeply moved sigh, as a tinny woman's voice comes on the other line. I tell her to send an ambulance as quickly as possible, she says there may be a slight delay due to the unstable weather conditions and the level of traffic.

Satisfied, I hang up and return to my wounded companion outside the car.

This time, I am able to scrutinize his face more clearly, now that he has rolled fully over onto his back.

His dark eyes stare ahead, unwavering and impassive, at the bleak, cloudy sky. He clearly hasn't had the chance to shave in some time, either; He has a few day's worth of dark stubble growing on his chin, and above his upper lip.

His cheeks are hollow- like he hasn't consumed a good, nutritious meal in some time- and the fresh graze there on his cheek seems a lot more imposing than at first glance. Another tattoo; This time, a centimeter or so below his eye. A faded, thinly inked, teardrop. Clearly, the man had a penchant for marking his own body.

It does not detract from his rugged good looks one bit, unsurprisingly.

I return to him, sitting with my knees on the cool wet hard asphalt.

His eyelids flicker closed infinismally, as they seem aware-or at least, sense- of my return next to him.

"Thank you," he murmurs softly over at me through the lingering tense silence, his voice husky.

I think he is letting me know he is very relieved I haven't left him all alone there on the pavement, but it needn't to have been said. It was common sense to stay there with him, after all.

"It's okay," I whisper back. My voice is soft and hesitant. "I wouldn't dare leave you alone, like this."

"Oh, I know, you wouldn't." His low voice wavers with profound emotion."But others would. I appreciate it, all the same..."

"Who would dare leave you like this?" My voice is strongly tinged in trembling outrage.

"They would." He sounds perfectly blase about it. "The people I know, the company I keep. I'll never forget this, your display of endless generosity in helping me, a stranger, in staying with me until the ambulance arrive..."

The way he says it, he sounds so sad and resigned.

My heart clenches madly in pity and, I find myself dying to find at least some other way to offer him my assistance, my comfort, my company... while we wait it out until the ambulance arrives.

Who were these people he spoke of? If anything, they sounded heartless and cruel- not company you wanted to keep often.

It seemed to me that he needed a friend right now, and it wasn't merely because I was responsible of hurting him, that I felt that way. "Say no more about it. You don't need to thank me, honestly! I'm just doing what I should, and that is waiting with you."

Still, he says it again. "Thank you." It's just below a whisper this time around.

I feel a weak smile tugging at my lips, warming me.

In return, I lean over him and press a set of fingers gently to his rain drenched mouth. His lips part a fraction- in surprise over the unexpected gesture, I think- his breaths warm and ragged as they brush against my fingertips.

He whimpers around my fingers. I gather the impression then, that it has been a very long time, since he's had such comforting attention from someone of the opposite sex.

"What... what's your name, darling?" he mumbles underneath my fingers, weakly.


"Well, Bella..." A tiny crooked smile pulls up the sides of his mouth. He shakes silently, gently, in laughter, finding humour in the situation somehow. It has me feeling weakened inside. My pulse races like a crazy thing. "Aren't you an angel? You believe in fate, because surely this is it?"

Reaching out, he grasps my hand in his weakly, draws it over to his face, turns it over to his wet lips, and kisses each of my knuckles slowly. It's out of immense gratitude, the gesture, I'm sure. His grey eyes are ablaze.

"Two paths- light and dark- that were meant to cross eventually?"

He's so overwhelming; his voice so gentle and tender. It was about the most sweetest, and mind-boggling thing, a guy has ever said to me. Not that I could make any sense into it.

"No, I'm no angel." Even through the frosty temperature, my cheeks feel insanely warm, flushed with heat. All because of this stranger. "I'm just Bella... a normal girl trying to find her way in the world." I cringe a little, at the latter part, "And no, I can't say I do believe in fate."

"Bella..." It's like a low whine in his soft, breathy voice. "It's an angel enough name for me."

There he goes, making me blush again. I know it is easier for him to murmur nonsense in the fragile near-death state he is in. But it warms me somehow.

Hope you enjoyed the first chapter. Does it sound like something you would like more of? Thanks for reading!