Fire and Ice
Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight saga. These characters aren't mine. I just play with them a little. Or a lot.
Summary: When blazing passion meets icy calm, there's sure to be some resulting steam. New Moon, without the teenaged angst brigade along for the ride. Paul's a hot headed werewolf and Bella's his opposite. An imprint might just determine whether opposites really do attract. Outrageously, unabashedly Alternative Universe from New Moon onwards. Obviously, non-canon pairings.
Rating: M because I say so. Language, mild lemons, mild violence and character death. You've been warned.
Chapter One: Morpheus
She's sprawled out on the homemade ramp outside the Black family home. She doesn't want to be here, but her father's insistent that she spend time with Jacob, so here, she sits. Never mind that Jacob doesn't want to be near her and is currently sick as a dog anyway, Charlie is adamant and he always knows when she's lying. No point in trying to convince him that she tried; he wouldn't believe her anyway.
As she sits, bored out of her mind and wondering why on earth her father's so adamant, four figures emerge from the woods. She almost doesn't recognise Embry, but he's got that stupid smile on his face and his walk is unmistakeable. He stands with whom she knows to be Sam Uley, Paul Lahote and Jared Eddington, but she's never met any of them in person. Jacob claims he hates them, because apparently they've corrupted his best friend, but aside from looking like he's overdosed on steroids, Embry looks as stupid as ever. Stupid in a good way, but stupid nonetheless.
She waves half-heartedly and hopes they don't approach her. Charlie's put her in a bad mood and she has no desire to play nice with four overgrown boy-men. Hell; she doesn't want to spend time with Jacob. She wants to be in her room sketching, but we can't all get what we want and, instead, she's stuck on the Black's porch waiting for an appropriate amount of time to pass for her to go home without getting her metaphorical ass handed to her by her own dad.
Lady Luck, unfortunately for Bella, is not on her side. It can be argued that she's never been on Bella's team. After all, encounters with insane vampires, nearly being crushed by an out-of-control van and pouring sour milk into her bowl of cereal that morning isn't what anyone would call lucky, no matter how pretty the vampires are. As a result of her poor luck, Bella watches, dejected, as all four of them approach. Jared and Paul are tussling as boys do behind the other two, Sam and Embry conversing too low for Bella to hear. She's not really interested in the conversation; they four just happen to be the most interesting thing in her line of sight since the grasshopper about half an hour ago.
When they get into her hearing range, Embry greets her with a pleasant, if distant, hello. She's known him for years, but she wouldn't really call him her friend. She's only ever known him as Jacob's friend and has never bothered to try and befriend him herself. As such, she returns the greeting with one equally as distant and returns to staring at the landscape around her. She has no interest in being introduced to Sam, Paul or Jared, but apparently, her disinterest doesn't show, because while Sam pounds a heavy fist on the Black's front door, Embry starts introducing Bella to his buddies.
"Bella, these are friends of mine, Jared Eddington and Paul Lahote. Guys, Bella Swan – Chief Swan's daughter." Of course everyone knows who Chief Swan is, she thinks sourly, but doesn't comment on that. Instead, she nods dully.
"I know. Pleasure to meet you." She holds out a lax hand and Jared shakes it amiably. Paul doesn't shake it at all, but instead of being insulted, she simply drops her hand to her lap and continues staring blankly ahead.
Bella jumps to her feet as Billy opens the front door. Before Sam can start speaking, she asks, "Billy, if Charlie asks, I've spent all this time hanging with Jake. I don't really need the Chief bitching about me being unsocial again, yeah?" He nods, amusement in his eyes and they all watch her as she walks off to her truck. She looks over her shoulder to wave – she can be polite – and meets Paul's eyes. She gives a two finger salute, turns back around and hops into the cab of her truck. She revs the engine, beeps the horn twice and is on her way.
Charlie's not home when she returns and she's relieved. She doesn't need the Spanish Inquisition while she's trying to relax. Charlie's been acting weird. She thinks that her father is under the impression that, because their house is bordered by the forest, whatever's killing the hikers can break into the house and kill her too. His concern is sweet, and she knows full well that what's killing those hikers can very well do that, but she also knows that time spent on the Reservation won't keep the monsters at bay.
She brings out her beloved art journal and opens it to a new page. On it's own accord, Bella's hand starts moving and, slowly, the image of four shirtless, muscled boy-men come to life on her page. When she realises what she's drawing, she's surprised, but nonetheless, continues until the image is done. In the foreground, Paul, Jared and Embry are standing, while in the background, Billy is sitting in his wheelchair, Sam standing beside him and, in the shadow of the doorway, Jake can be seen lurking. She'd only caught a fleeting glimpse of the scene, just as she was leaving, but her memory is photographic and like all her other still lifes, the scene and it's characters are spot on. She likes the contrast between young and old and it quickly becomes one of her favourite pieces. She initials the bottom right hand corner and, slightly above the I and S of her name, she rights a single word: Life.
She flips back on the earlier pages, stopping on one. The image is of Edward, but his expression makes him nearly unrecognisable. It's actually the lack of expression that does that, she observes. She remembers the epiphany she had as she finished this picture. After that one encounter, she realises that Edward was true all along. He really is a monster. So that's what she called the drawing, full of hard lines and heavy strokes.
The face is out of her last memory of Edward, in the woods behind her house. He broke up with her that day and she thought he'd broken her heart for good. But she was only young – she still is - and didn't understand that their relationship, if it can be called such, was never love. She held him up on an undeserving pedestal and he treated her as if she were a child. They were imbalanced and unhealthy and now she can only be relieved that they are over.
Her time with him was a learning curve, one that she will always be grateful for, but she knows it's time for her to move on with her life and let go of the past. Still… she can remember. She'll never forget, in fact. Her mind won't allow it.
The image before that is one of James, Victoria and Laurent. It's the baseball scene, when they introduced themselves and before James set out to make a meal out of Bella. It's titled 'Lost' and she's not sure if she's referring to the three nomadic vampires or the human girl cowering behind Edward.
She sets the art journal down on her study desk and stretches out on her bed. Drawing the four boys and Billy has calmed her, but now she's bored. Soon though, she's drifting off to sleep, to be woken by Charlie. He looks tired and, as she notes that he's dressed in hiking attire, she realises he's been out searching the woods again, looking for what's killing the hunters. Alone.
Her stomach fills with dread and she grips onto her father's hand firmly. She can't bare the thought of losing her father to the monster that she knows is lurking in the forest. "You went hunting in the woods again," she states, ignoring his enquiry about her afternoon supposedly spent with Jacob.
Charlie must see something in her face, because he ignores the fact that she's ignored his question, instead nodding in response to hers. "Yeah, I did. Whatever's out there…"
"Can very clearly kill you," she interrupts, her voice shrill and eyes wide. "Please, dad – please don't go out there again. At least not alone." He opens his mouth to object, but she whips out the big guns before he can. Eyes widening in the best puppy eyed expression she can manage, she whispers, "Please, daddy? I don't want to lose you."
He caves instantly, grudgingly muttering a "Fine, I won't go out there alone," before leaving her room. Her interruption has had the added benefit of making Charlie forget about asking her how her afternoon spent with Jake passed, but her stomach is still clenched with anxiety. She's scared. She hates admitting it, but it's the truth nonetheless.
When the sun starts sinking below the horizon, Bella descends the stairs and enters the kitchen. Aside from art, her favourite pastime is cooking and she falls into the familiar routine of cooking spaghetti Bolognese easily. She can cook this dish with her eyes closed and one hand behind her back, she's sure. She melts butter with the pasta, just how Charlie likes it, and adds just a bit of chilli in the Bolognese sauce. It's his favourite dish after fish fry and pizza and she takes pride in knowing that he enjoys the things she cooks for him.
He devours his first serving and goes in for seconds, devouring that, too. He washes it down with a bottle of beer and, after cleaning up the dishes (it's their deal – Bella cook, Charlie clean), he kicks back in his favourite recliner and settles down to watch a Seahawks game on Fox Sports. He's asleep before the pre-game commentary is over. She's not surprised.
Charlie's been waking up before dawn and, these days, rarely ever comes home before sundown. He's determined to find out what's killing the people in the woods. He feels he's failing to protect the people of Forks by failing to stop the murders from occurring. He's always believed in duty and honour and, as the Chief of Police, he feels it's his duty to keep this town safe. He's succeeded up until this point and he doesn't want to stop now.
She can't tell him that what's killing him won't go down with a tranquiliser gun, though she desperately wants to. She wants to tell him everything, but no – he's passed down his views on duty and honour to his daughter and she wouldn't break the Cullen's' trust like that. Not even with her father, whom, above all, she would trust with her life.
She switches off the television, wakes him and sends him up to his room. She locks up the house to give her some peace of mind and makes her own way upstairs. She showers, uses the toilet, brushes her teeth and hair and cleans her ears. When she enters her bedroom, she dresses in her pyjamas and locks her bedroom window, shutting the blinds after ensuring it's well and properly sealed. She curls up into bed and closes her eyes. And she dreams. She doesn't remember what about, but she wakes up sweaty and wanting and frustratingly wet. She finishes off what her dream has started, cleans her hands, changes her underwear and returns to bed, where Morphius awaits once more, this time, her dreams far sweeter.
Author's Note: My attempt to hold onto a pastime I'm growing out of. I've written three and a half chapters – hopefully, I'll manage to finish the story. Drop me a review, if you will. I might send you a sneak peek if you do – no guarantees though.