Author's note: This story is set in an alternate universe (AU) and is somewhat out-of-character (OOC). I started this five years ago and I feel like a lot of things can be improved so I'll probably be editing it pretty drastically; a number of scenes will be cut and the overall flow will be improved. The title has also been changed. I've been itching to do this since last year but couldn't find the time. Thanks to everyone who has been supporting the story and I hope you'll enjoy the new and improved version :) I'll be posting whenever I can, about once every two or three weeks, probably more often :) For those of you who are in the middle of reading, the old, completed version is still available on ArchiveOfOurOwn and StarsLibrarymy username is also Wonwordful on both. I think the new version will be much better than the old one though!


Acknowledgements

Special thanks to:

EdwardsFirstKiss, my awesome beta for all the chapters

MsChocaholic.24 and ggb-luma, my wonderful pre-readers

IpsitaC77, the talented banner-maker of this story (link in profile)


I. The Kidnap

Edward—that was his name.

My breathing was laboured as his weight pressed against my supine body.

"Last chance," he murmured, his soft voice velvety and undeniably vampiric.

I locked eyes with him, shivering inwardly at the vivid red of his irises.

"I'll let you run away now, if you wish… but not after." The last few words were a hiss, a threatening promise.

He scrutinised my face indifferently, waiting for my answer.

"I'm sure." I was firmly decided. I had searched him out and offered myself to him after all. Enough was enough and I wanted it to end.

He didn't hesitate. One moment his cold gaze bored into my eyes, and the next he had pushed my chin up—away from my neck, his tongue sweeping across the flesh to soften the skin. I felt his fingernail slide against it, slicing deeply.

The pain was delicious. I stilled, closing my eyes as his lips pressed against the wound and drank.

So this was how I would die. It was ironic—before, I had feared vampires, having nearly been killed by James if it hadn't been for Jacob. But now, when my heart hurt at the very thought of him, I was grateful to this one; grateful that he would bring me relief from my pain.

Too much, that was what it was. If the James incident hadn't pushed me over the edge, the imprinting did. And of all the people, it had to be Nessie, my best friend.

"You're not changing your mind then?" he had spoken again.

Weird.

"No." My voice was dull.

His next words hit my guts like a bucketful of ice.

"But I'm not thirsty anymore."

My eyes flew open. Shocked, I stared at him for several long seconds, waiting for the punch line. It didn't come.

"What did you say?" My voice came out low, trembling with a mixture of anger and disbelief.

His previously intimidating expression shone with amusement now. "You're human. You don't need me to die."

By now, I was so furious I was having trouble finding my words. What the hell was he playing at? "Y-y-you don't understand," I managed finally. Jacob may have left me, but that didn't mean he didn't monitor my actions—or asked one of his stupid minions to. I had tried everything, but I was being too closely watched. By my father. By the wolves. By the doctors. It was a miracle that I had managed to get away at all.

I covered my face, so frustrated that I couldn't even scream. My hands were wet, and it was a while before I realised I was crying.

Cold fingers pried at my hands, and to my immense shock, I felt him pull me into his arms.

"What the fuck?" I was more astonished than anything.

"Believe it or not, I don't actually murder people," he said, with a whimsical little smile.

"What the fuck…"

He put his finger against my lips, looking offended, "That's very vulgar."

I was too stupefied to answer. 'What the fuck' seemed again to be the most appropriate response, but I couldn't muster the energy to pull myself out of my shock.

"You must be the first one who hasn't bothered trying to run. No survival instincts at all," he clicked his tongue disapprovingly, "I would have let you."

I could only stare at him.

"Now, what is it that has made you lose your will to live, little one?" he asked, his voice gentle. "It isn't every day I meet someone without so much as an ounce of self-preservation." I didn't move as his hand ran down the side of my neck. "See what I mean?" he whispered.

"I don't want to live."

"Would you like to talk about it?" his tone was sympathetic.

I swallowed, marvelling at the peculiarity of my situation. Here I was, lying with a vampire, and he was acting like my shrink.

I shook my head.

He raised his eyebrows, propping himself up on an elbow, waiting silently until I finally gave up.

"It was my wedding day…" I began, "And my best friend was my bridesmaid. He… he imprinted on her." I didn't know if he understood.

"Ah." His eyes lit up, and he was quiet for a moment as he digested the consequences of that, finally understanding my situation. But when he spoke, it was not what I expected, "Silly girl. Find another man."

I glared at him. There was so much more. James, Juilliard, my mother, the attacks, my pseudo-captivity in La Push... but I wasn't about to spill my life story to him. "Just because your heart is made of stone, doesn't mean mine is."

"I'm being practical here," he replied, his eyes twinkling as he stroked my hair.

"I can't do this anymore."

"Such an old soul," he murmured, "Poor, poor girl. Why don't you let me help you?"

"I am here, after all," I replied bitterly.

"Yes, yes," he said absent-mindedly, "Not in the manner you're thinking of. Let me mend your heart."

I had the sudden mental image of him fumbling with superglue and the shattered pieces of my heart. "Very funny," I snapped.

"Mmm. You can stay and conveniently provide me with blood, and I can help you through your ordeal. Then you can leave, and we'll both be better-off. You'll be happier, and I'll be happier too, since you'll be indebted to give me blood the next time I can't find a willing soul. Wonderful." He smiled a glazed smile to himself.

Wonderful seemed to describe nothing of my situation now, whatever his mad plan was.

I was about to say so when I was whisked off my feet. Before I knew it, I was clinging to him for dear life as the trees flew past us at a dangerous speed.

"Where are you taking me?" I shouted over the whistling sound of us cutting through the air. I was terrified.

"My castle. You'll like it."

"WHAT? No, put me down!"

"Don't be silly, if I put you down now you'll drown."

"What do you m-… oh my god!" I clung to him more tightly now that I realised he was running over water.

"Isn't it fun?" he asked, turning to look at me, eyes alight with excitement.

"Keep your eyes on the road!" I ordered, terrified.

He only laughed.