Twilight is owned by Stephanie Meyer.
I'm branching out into writing about vamps, previously I've been stuck on all human stories. I hope you all enjoy it!
Burn baby burn.
"Hi Bee, its Dana at 'Petals' here, can I order ten bunches of the white Asiatic lilies, five bunches each of the yellow, pink and the crimson lilies? Then a few bunches of the silvery-grey eucalyptus foliage, five of the those wax..."
"Geraldton wax? The white, or the pink?"
"Can I have some of both please? And have you got any interesting gold or orange blooms at the moment?"
"I've got a heap of golden grevillea and some of those banksias and kangaroo paws in a rusty-orange shade, which you liked last time, then there's a heap of nice yellow and gold leucadendrons and proteas would they be useful to you?"
"I think they might work, I initially thought I would use some gerberas, or roses. Now that I think about it, those banksias, kangaroo paws and grevilleas and the leucadendrons would work even better. They are perfect for the client who 'wants something that no one else has'. Can I have as much of those as you've got please? This woman has suddenly decided to have a wedding in two days time, and she's got this gold theme going on. She's expecting really big things on short notice ...crazy woman!"
"Sure, I'll probably be able to give you a hundred stems of each, there's some nice creamy grevillea flowers and some hot pinky-red eucalyptus in flower, would they be of any use?"
"I could do something with the cream grevilleas in the wedding arrangements, but the eucalyptus flowers, no. Although if I get some of those, I could put them into a couple of arrangements for Steve, he likes something new in his salon's arrangements every week."
"Ok, anything else?"
"No, that's it!"
"Right, so there's ten bunches of white, and five each of the yellow, pink and burgundy Asiatic, five eucalyptus leaf stems, five of the Geraldton wax, white and pink, a hundred stems of the golden grevillea, some cream grevillea, how about fifty of those?...and a hundred stems of the rusty orange banksias, the same of kangaroo paw, and leucadendrons and a few stems of the red eucalyptus flowers? I'll have them to you tomorrow at twelve, ok?"
I finished putting the order through the computer system which sent out an invoice, ready for tomorrow's order. I send a copy for the packing shed and cool storage.
The majority of the blooms needed to be freshly picked early tomorrow, preferably before dawn, especially the lilies. I had all of the leucadendrons, Australian flowers and eucalyptus foliage already picked, stripped, bunched and in buckets with floral preservative in the cool room.
They lasted a really long time, and looked great.
I had finished my day, and was looking forward to the excitement my after-hours hobby gave me.
I'd changed and hardened into an entirely new woman. I'm twenty two, tough, tanned and wiry, a world away from that weak, pale, eighteen year old who escaped from Forks.
I shook my head. I was as far and as different from that shy, retiring, depressed skeleton of a girl, as could be. Once I left, I never went back. The only way for me to return to Forks, was to be certain Victoria was dead and burnt down to a nice, small, harmless, pile of ash.
Charlie and I still sent each other the occasional e-mail message. We never saw each other, and I didn't tell him too much about where I was. I lived a strange, but happy existence, living and working hard as 'Bee', outside a lot of the day in the flower fields, and then inside the storage, packing rooms and office taking orders from florists and other customers.
I enjoyed keeping a quiet existence, away from the cities and centres of fashion and learning, away from the cold, grey gloomy places where they all seemed to live.
I drove as far away from Forks as I could get, until my prehistoric truck completely died in Portland. I cashed it in for scrap and bought a greyhound ticket down to Texas, not because I knew much about Texas, it was because it was warm and bright, and a long way from Forks.
At least it was sunny here.
I met some great people on that long, slow bus-ride, who happily changed my life. I ended up becoming friends with them. They were the closest, funniest group of crazy misfits I'd ever met. They didn't mind about who I was, or how I dressed, or if I had ever travelled anywhere important, or had much money. They showed me how to live and survive, living on the edge, performing on the street, in the fairs and outdoor concerts around the state.
The main thing that 'scared little Bella' learnt, was fire twirling.
I got hooked, seriously madly hooked on it! I found something I was really, really great at it!
Who would have thought?
Me a fire twirler?
Then I got some tattoos. I started small with delicate butterflies across my back, and as I earned more money twirling, I added some more body art, softly shaded waterlilies and tendrils around my torso.
My long hair was a pain to keep all straight and neat, so over that first few months, I got it formed into thin dreadlocks. It was as different as the old Bella as ever. I never had to worry about all the fussing around with my hair after that. It was a relief, not to worry about it.
So there I was, travelling around with my wild bunch of friends, sleeping in all sorts of places, carrying my worldly goods on my back, performing fire acts with my friends for money.
I also met him. The first guy I ever let myself get close to, after Edward and Jacob.
Nick was sweet and wonderful, he showed me a few things, like how to enjoy my body, and find pleasure in his. Apart from the great, fun sex, he taught me something I will forever be grateful to him for!
How to breathe fire!
I learnt how to be safe and use the right fluids to do the best job.
I learnt about wind direction and what to wear, or not wear when breathing fire. I put my hair up. I fashioned a tiny, leather outfit in which to perform in.
I bought myself a sturdy pair of Doc Martins, which I pretty much never took off, unless I was asleep or showering. They did a great job of protecting my feet and shins, around all the fire twirling and breathing me and my friends did.
Initially I wasn't too worried about getting everything perfect with my fire breathing... I practiced but wasn't so serious, until fire breathing was something that saved my life.
I knew from Jake's e-mails that Victoria was still on my trail. With my exodus from Forks, I had managed to go underground.
I occasionally thought about Victoria and all the crap she had pulled down in La Push, killing some of the local tribal school kids, before the wolves could capture and kill her. Those three little kids, so sweet and innocent were just pawns to her, it devastated the community and outraged me. She was cruel, vindictive and crazy. Her obsession with my death, seemed to have switched up to another level of evil.
What happened suddenly woke me up from my stupid, naive romantic idea, that it might be great to be a vampire. What an idiot I was! For the first time I came face to face with the devastation that vampires could inflict. I had brushed off my own encounter with James, pretending it was nothing, but seeing the sorrow, the horrible pain the La Push families suffered, made me see reality for the first time.
Vampires were bad news. Victoria has warped and twisted and wasn't going to stop trying to punish me.
That's why I left Forks, to get Victoria away from my dad and my remaining La Push friends.
I didn't want anybody else to die because of me.
I didn't know how to ask for help either. The Cullens had all disappeared, without a forwarding address, e-mail or phone number.
Alice hadn't bothered contacting me. She should have seen Victoria coming after me in revenge, and before her, Laurent.
Why did Alice stay away?
She certainly would have seen first Laurent coming and then Victoria visiting, threatening, hunting, taunting and then killing those little kids, wouldn't she?
If Alice did see it all, then staying away was the cruelest, most deliberately awful thing, she could ever have done.
She was certainly nosy enough, when she decided that she was 'my new best friend in Forks, seeing this and seeing that. Always forcing me to wear her choice of clothes, or taking me here or there, or having stupid birthday parties, where I was the only one who ate. (That was the most ridiculous idea ever!) I didn't even get any cake, after all of that craziness with the broken glass, and blood.
But during the time that terror struck the tiny community of La Push, there was nothing...nothing from any of the Cullens. Not even Miss Nosy Parker... Alice Cullen came back to assist.
It just confirmed that I wasn't worth it.
I wasn't her best friend.
I wasn't a member of their family, and I didn't deserve their care, support or protection.
Apparently I wasn't worth any of the Cullen's effort, time or trouble.
I became a wild street performer, a fire twirling, tattooed, dread-locked, free spirit instead.
I wasn't afraid. I no longer tried to fit into other people's hopes, ideals and expectations.
I lived on the edge of society.
I realized that I only had myself to look after. Renee and Charlie could finally get to look after themselves.
When I drove off down the road... away from Forks, alone, I let them all go and cut my ties to the place in which I was born.
For the first year it was cool and fun getting tatts and dreads, and learning the craft of fire breathing and being with Nick.
But that all changed, when I had an unwanted encounter at the back of the venue we had been performing that night.
Nick and I had come to an agreement to end our 'thing'... he went off with a new girl. I knew Nick and I weren't ever going to be a long term, serious thing, and what we had was bound to come to an end, at some time.
That night it ended, and he went off with an exotic-looking Asian girl. I put on a brave face, but it hurt anyway.
And for the first time in twelve months, I was really alone and emotionally distracted by Nick wanting to be with someone else.
That's why the guy who got crept up close to me, at the end of our performance and my quiet breakup with Nick... was a vamp.
Any other time, I would have seen and felt him coming, but I didn't even notice until he was close enough to start talking to me quietly. That's when I saw his crimson-red eyes and super-white teeth under flickering of the streetlight.
I should have felt his predator's movements and unearthly presence ...instead I had been wallowing.
There was no one else around and the middle of the night, a perfect vampire attack moment. It was just like handing myself up on a platter!
"Ahh, Miss Bella Swan, just the girl I've been after! Victoria hasn't forgotten you!"
Before the vamp could say anything else, I'd gotten a large mouthful of my lighter fluid, and blown it hard and fast, right into his face, lighting it up as it left my mouth with my trusty Zippo lighter.
A big, fire ball shot forward, leaping the ten feet between us and it completely engulfed his head.
His hair lit up first. As he gasped at the sudden shock of his hair being set alight, his venom caught fire rapidly, his breath sucked the ignited fuel right into his body.
The venom in his eyes, nose and mouth started burning, cooking him internally, from his head downwards.
He staggered backwards, in fear and horror.
It was amazing to see the creature being cooked from the inside out. His hair flamed like a torch and his open mouth and nostrils were shooting out small, white-hot flames. Inside his body, the incinerating took place rapidly, as all of the remaining venom caught alight. Cracks appeared on his skin, as his body collapsed on the ground.
The sound and smell was indescribable... kind of like a high-pitched, squealy, scratchy sound, like rocks scraping up against each other and splitting.
A dense plume of cloying, clasping, sticky, smoky incense appeared.
The flames didn't leap too high, and the odd high pitched sound didn't last too long, it was over quite quickly. It must have been only a minute or two after I blew the fire ball into his face, to when it was suddenly all over, like nothing had happened. Only the strong smell lingered.
He was burnt down to a pile ashes and some of the charred fibres of the clothes he had been wearing, caught in the wind and blew off, swirling down the street.
I took a while to believe... that I had just managed to kill a vamp!
I was shaking, but alive. I shook my head, attempting to clear my thoughts.
I needed to make a change, and fast. Hopefully this vamp was all alone, and had just accidentally happened to catch me here.
I wasn't going to wait around and let Victoria catch up with me.
I chuckled crazily at the thought.
I was really lucky to have the wind assisting me, my leather performance outfit on, my lighter fluid in a flask at my hip and my trusty Zippo with me.
Accurately shooting my flame, right into his hair and face was the trick to surviving a vamp!
Any other time he would have caught me, severely unprepared and I would have certainly died a horrible death.
From now on I was going to carry a small amount of lighter fluid on me around my neck, or somewhere close, just to be on the safe side.
I needed a new place to live and a new job. And preferably a new completely new look while I was at it! I couldn't easily change the smell of my blood, I'm sure that's how he must have identified me, from something I'd worn, or left behind with my scent on it.
I ran back to our rundown squat, changed, packed and left. I managed to catch the first bus out of there.
My note to Nick was to 'have a great life, without regrets'.
We never loved each other deeply, but it was easy to be with him. We never argued, only laughed, until he wanted another. That's when I felt alone and sad for the first time ever, since leaving Forks.
I had jumped on the greyhound bus to Galveston Texas, without deciding it was where I needed to be.
As soon as I got off that bus, I knew I'd found somewhere I liked, it felt good. Don't ask me to explain exactly why it was that I felt so at home in Galveston ...maybe it was the delayed reaction to surviving a vamp directly attempting to kill, or capture me for the third time in my life. Or maybe it was the fresh sea air, the warmth and sparkling light, but I really liked it in Galveston.
I walked around checking out the downtown area, and saw a cafe and florist shop, next to a bookstore and hairdresser's shop. The tables and chairs were set into a small paved garden and the cafe's cooking smelled fantastic.
I sat down and ordered a big southern-style breakfast, which was more than I could normally eat in a week to be honest, but I was famished.
I asked the waitress about any work available in the area, and she told me her friend Dana who ran the florist's shop, knew of work available on a flower farm, close by to Galveston.
Apparently they had a hard time keeping staff, because they worked long, hard hours and started at four in the morning. It was very labor-intensive growing flowers. They required lots of hands during the big celebrations too, especially on Mother's Day and Valentine's Day which were the worst, with never enough people to do the work needed to supply the large demand.
Dana from the 'Petals', came over to my table and sat down. We chatted as she checked me out over her coffee. She asked me if I was willing to work, harder than I ever had before in my life. I said I didn't care how hard I worked, as long as I was able to live in peace.
A big smile crept onto her face and she pulled out her phone and called someone. She told this person about me, and said she would send me over to the flower farm, with Jack in the delivery truck.
"Now that's all sorted, Marie is expecting you. When her truck comes by with my delivery of flowers, you can go back with to the flower farm with Jack, the truck driver. Jack and Marie are my best friends, and although Jack's a tough looking guy, he's as sweet as a beat up, old teddy bear."
I chuckled; there wasn't a human being on the planet I found frightening anymore, not since I had my run-ins, with the red-eyed variety of vamps.
"Do I have time for a quick haircut before the truck arrives?"
"Yeah, Jack won't be here for another couple of hours yet, so you can just relax."
"Would it be ok if I left my backpack in your shop? I don't want to be lugging it around all over the place."
"No that would be fine hon, come on and I'll show you where the storeroom is, you can leave it there."
"Thanks so much Dana, I have a really good feeling about this place."
"Yeah I felt the same way when I arrived in Galveston. I felt like I'd arrived home. I escaped an abusive husband and started afresh." Dana admitted.
"Yep, that's exactly how I feel too, like I'm finally home, although I'm not running from any husband." (If only she knew, who I was running from!)
"Can I give you a hand in here to help you out? I'm great with a broom, or wiping benches, taking out the trash, or making coffee?"
"Just go and get your hair cut sweetie, come back here when Steve's finished with you and then I'll see what I need doin', ok?" she smiled.
When I got back to her shop, I looked completely different. I'd had my dreadlocks all cut off and I was now sporting half an inch of fuzz all over my scalp.
Steve wanted to do a lot more with changing my hair colour, but I was quickly running out of time. I thanked him for freeing me of my heavy dreadlocks, and making me feel like a new woman.
Dana squealed and came running over and played with my new, short fuzz-head. I liked it! It was silky smooth and soft. It would be easy to care for and great in the heat.
I only had time to learn the names of the flowers she had in her shop, and Jack arrived with his flower delivery.
He had startling, deep blue eyes and pale blond hair, but a horribly scarred face and a bad limp.
I smiled and shook his hand. I helped him unload the multiple buckets of flowers and foliage from the truck, then waited while Dana and he sorted the paperwork and money.
I went to grab my backpack, but Jack got there before me, lifting it with ease and chuckling like a hyena with Dana.
"Come on Bee, can I call you 'Honey Bee'? I like your name, because bees and flowers always work together. This was my last delivery today and we'll head on back to the farm. There's good basic accommodation for all the workers, you can stay there." Jack said kindly.
"That's great! I was wondering where I'd find a bed. I take my sleeping bag everywhere, but it gets old sleeping in it all the time and it really needs a wash."
"Marie likes everyone to sleep in a comfy bed, there's also lots of solar hot water in the bathroom and she shares her meals with all her workers. It's covered by the pay and conditions at the farm and part of what you earn. It's her way of encouraging workers to stay, instead of leaving."
"That sounds like heaven, she must really care about her workers. I'm a pretty good cook, I used to look after all of my parent's meals when I lived with them, and maybe I'll be allowed to cook sometimes."
"Hell yeah! We eat pretty basic food; anything new would be a welcome relief to beans and potatoes, bean enchiladas and bean casserole, which are Marie's specialties."
"Are all the meals vegetarian?"
"No, it's just a way to keep down the cost of the food bill, and Marie only seems to know how to cook beans when she's really tired... which is all the time."
"Maybe I can cook other stuff, I'm pretty flexible and I learn fast. Have you been working on the flower farm very long?"
"For the last five years. I came there after I got out of the veteran's rehab unit. I was injured in Iraq and I've got a prosthetic leg and a lot of shrapnel in my body and face, that's why I look like a monster."
I thought about Jack and how he saw himself.
I shook my head. "I haven't known you long Jack, but let me tell you it's not about what's on the outside that makes someone a monster! It's what's going on, on the inside. I've been unfortunate enough to meet a number of real-life monsters. I can tell right away, you're definitely not one of them. Being injured and scarred, isn't the same as being a monster, you and I both know that."
He gently nodded, listening to me carefully.
"Jack, all the monsters I've ever met were more attractive than super models, but their hearts were made of stone." (Literally) I smiled. "I want to try and start my life away from all of those monsters and lead a productive, peaceful life. I'll be as useful as I can and work my butt off, attempting to forget that those monsters really do exist."
Who would have guessed that I was destined to stay... living and working there for the next three years and become an assistant manager in a flower farm?
I locked up for the day, walked ten feet over to my rooms and pulled off my dirty clothes. I stood under the shower and scrubbed all the sweat and dirt off me. Even after three years here, I still got filthy after a day's work, there seemed that there was just no avoiding it.
The water was wonderful and I washed my short hair, I still kept it no longer than an inch. It was wonderful to keep it clean that way, and no trouble at all to maintain. Even though I wore a big hat all day outside, my hair had lightened, due to living and working in the sun.
I avoided all extra chemicals and artificial scents. Working with flowers, in the sun and sea breeze all day long, got me used to the best smells in the world. Anything unnaturally scented seemed pathetically second best to me now. My shampoo, body wash and skin crèmes were all unscented, for just that reason. I even found a laundry liquid that was unscented.
I can't believe that I used to actually like that artificial, strawberry-scented shampoo when I was a teenager! What was I thinking?
I made a sandwich and a cool, fruit smoothie and sat outside under the shade. Marie was taking a long holiday after so many years and I was in charge, with Jack.
There were other three staff here at the moment, who were employed to carry out the hand-weeding, fertilizing jobs, after we had picked the blooms in the earliest, coolest part of the morning.
I oversaw most of the work required, for the blooms to stay at their perfect, fresh peak, until delivery. That's why it was so important to get them into the cool rooms as soon as possible, out of the baking Texas sun, and why we harvested in the dark, before the sun came up.
I lay down in the hammock to read, and must have fallen asleep.
I felt the cool evening air waft past my face.
Oh heck! I had a performance tonight down at the local evening farmer's market! Normally I didn't perform in public, but Jack had convinced me to do some fire twirling and fire-breathing for a little crowd entertainment. Jack always watched me practice out in the flower field after work, and persisted in asking me to show the market crowds how talented I was. It only took three years for me to agree to do it.
This evening, Jack was selling bunches of our seconds at the farmer's market, he'd be giving me a lift there and back in the truck.
I thought it couldn't hurt for just this once, to get out and perform like I used to do three years ago. I pulled my leather gear out of storage, and dressed up, all of my skin suddenly exposed.
It had been three years since I'd worn this outfit. I hadn't used it, since I had last met that male vamp. Pity I missed learning his what his name was, before I torched him and turned him to ash.
The Galveston locals had all pretty much accepted me, but none of them had seen my fire performance before.
Just for fun, I thought I'd wear a mask, covering my eyes. I'd found the shaped, leather mask at a rummage sale at the local school fete. I was surprised that it fitted me like a glove, and was very comfortable. It added to my exotic, wild look. My tattoos were exposed on my back and abdomen to their best advantage, with my tiny, leather halter top and miniskirt.
I nervously put my costume on and a big, leather coat over the top of it. My fire twirling gear and lighter fluid were all set to go, in my sturdy canvas bag. My trusty Doc Martins still showed no signs of wear and I laced them up my calf, feeling their familiar support, grounding me and giving me strength.