FYI: This work of fanfiction contains mature themes at times. Please read at your discretion.
Disclaimer: The following is a work of fanfiction using characters from the Twilight world, which is trademarked by Stephenie Meyer. I do not claim ownership of said characters. If I were as rich as her, I'd be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping fruity drinks, not toiling away at the old folks' home. No copyright infringement is intended. No squirrels were harmed in the making of this fic.
Dedicated to my real life
Carmen, who encouraged me to take
a terrifying stab at fanfiction,
and for Tia,
for just being a trill-ass homie.
Y'all mean the world to me.
This is for you.
CHAPTER ONE: MISSISSIPPI PINES
It was only by chance, or some late night chocolate-chip cookie dough ice cream cravings, that led to me laying face down in aisle five of a small grocery store in a slightly shady part of Memphis at two a.m.
In the front of the store stood two masked men armed with guns, robbing the store. I hadn't really paid attention to my surroundings as I'd made my way to the freezer section, and I now realized that super absorbent tampons and foot-long maxi pads surrounded me. Great. I'm gonna die in the feminine hygiene aisle. Just my luck.
To my left, also laying face down, was a tiny, raven haired girl; a shapely blonde Amazon beauty; and a thin man wearing shiny leather pants, a cropped top, and rocking a spiky do, brown with frosted tips. It was a true travesty of a hairstyle, and I could tell immediately, before this man even opened his mouth, that he had a little sugar in his tank. The girls were relatively calm. Their friend was not.
"OMG, Roooose! We are going to die!" he sobbed and wailed, rather loudly considering attracting unwanted attention probably wasn't the best idea. "What are we going to do? Our Las Vegas trip! Celine Dion! I'll never get to see her in concert!"
"Shut up!" admonished the Amazon goddess between gritted teeth, her bright red lips stretched out against her pearly whites. "You are going to get us killed."
"Think, Rose! Think!" he moaned, sweat forming on his brow, dark smudges beneath his watery blue eyes. Was he wearing eyeliner? "This is your specialty…getting out of these situations! Do something!"
"If the two of you would please keep it down, I'm formulating a plan in my head. But it's kind of hard to do with the two of you yapping!" the tiny, dark-haired girl whispered.
She was twitching and practically vibrating with excitement. Her eyes were bright and darting all about her, taking everything in at one time. Her eyes would flash to her friends and then to me.
I broke her gaze when one of the two masked men quickly trotted down our aisle. He was wearing all black, from head to toe, standing about 5-foot, 6-inches tall and severely pigeon-toed from his gait. Dark brown eyes glared at us through the cut-out hole on his mask. The only other distinguishing feature about the man was that he was holding a relatively small, black pistol.
The theatrics and production of the thin man laying near me dissolved into quiet sniffles as the masked man approached. He met my eyes and I quickly planted my right cheek back on the dirty floor of aisle five. My heart was beating so loudly in my chest, I imagined my neighbors could feel it through the floor. My face positioned towards them, I noticed the raven haired girl and thin man were copying me, face on the floor, looking anywhere but at our assailant.
"Alright people. Listen up," the masked man growled down at us. "Hand over your purses, wallets, jewelry, and anything valuable."
Begrudgingly, I reached into my jeans pocket, pulling out the pitiful wad of tip money I had made that night waiting tables. I held it up to the man with a trembling hand. He snatched it from me, staring down at the pathetic wad in a disbelieving stare. My neighbors shoved expensive looking watches, earrings, and designer purses towards the man, but he never looked down. His stare went from my sweaty wad of cash to my terrified brown eyes.
"This is all you have?" he demanded in a disbelieving tone, gripping the cash tightly in his left hand while pointing the gun down at me with his right one.
"Y…y…yes, sir," I answered softly, my customary politeness creeping through.
Being raised in the South, I was unnaturally polite to everyone, including the man who was wielding a pistol at me.
The man's eyes changed rapidly in that moment from evil to slightly maniacal and entertaining. I watched through my tears at the cut-out below his eyes as he began licking his lips. His eyes begin to shine and he crouched down near me. Cowering away and turning my head, I met the eyes of the tiny raven haired girl and her sympathetic gaze. There was a look of understanding and pain etched on her face as though she knew what was about to happen and felt extreme pity for me.
A peculiar knot began to form in the pit of my stomach and a wave of realization and painful, unwanted memories assaulted me as I too understood what was about to happen.
"Well then, I guess you're going to have to pay me in other ways," the man hissed, grabbing my hair and twisting a handful around his hand.
He yanked me up from the floor as I yelped in pain and horror, and he jerked me up on wobbly legs. I screamed my protests and he paused, momentarily, and gave me an option.
"Fine. If you don't wanna pay up I'll just have to collect from someone else," he growled, his gaze settling on the two women at our feet.
I gazed down at their eyes, simultaneously angry and scared. The blonde goddess glared at me and the tiny dark-haired girl just stared at me solemnly as if she already knew her fate. But how could I do that to someone? How could I willingly inflict pain and horror on an innocent person? I couldn't be like this man beside me. So I knew what I had to do.
"Take me," I whispered, tears forming in my eyes.
The man laughed maniacally and twisted my hair even tighter around his hand. I slid across the floor as he dragged me down the aisle, ignoring the protests of my wide-eyed former aisle five companions.
"Tony," the man barked as we approached the front of the store.
Tony was emptying one of the cash registers. A teenage boy wearing an ugly blue smock lay nearby, still as death as blood trickled from his nose. I sighed in relief as the boy's chest rose and fell periodically, indicating that he was, indeed, alive. Tony stopped what he was doing momentarily to look at my assailant and then at me, venom in his eyes.
"What are you doing, Vic?" he spat, cleaning out the rest of the cash and slamming the drawer shut. "We've got to finish here and move out before the cops show up. I'm not going back to jail."
"It won't take long," Vic spat back, twisting my hair around his hand a little tighter and laughing at the bark of pain that erupted from my lips. "I've got to collect from this little tramp and then we can leave. There's all kinds of valuables on aisle five near the expensive looking broads. Grab that stuff and let me finish with her. I'm gonna see if this mouth-of-the-South tastes as sweet as she sounds."
Tony nodded at him grimly, demanded that he make it quick, and the next thing I knew I was being yanked to the back of the store, passing down aisle five again, and ignoring the pathetic sympathy-filled eyes of its occupants as we entered a small office. Vic slammed the door shut behind him, shoving me against a rickety metal desk. He placed the gun nearby on a metal filing cabinet and slowly began stalking towards me. My ass pressed painfully into the metal desk as I tried with everything in me to pull away from him as he approached.
"There's no way out. No way to escape," he whispered, grabbing me to him roughly, his hands in a vice gripe on my upper arms.
Pain shot through me as he squeezed my arms tightly. He pressed his lips to mine and forced his tongue inside of my mouth, making my stomach roll. The urge to puke on him was almost impossible to keep down as fresh memories invaded my mind.
Flashbacks of the last time this happened to me raced through my brain. The person I thought I was changed while in that tiny office, morphing into someone else entirely. The will to live surged throughout my body. I would not give up. I would not quit. I would not die. This would not be my demise. I may not have much of a life, but it was a life, and it was mine. I was going to fight for it, even if it did end up killing me.
So I did something so bizarre, so daring, that even the henchman was caught off guard. I responded. I kissed him back, trying to envision him as the hot guy on the cover of the vampire books that I'd recently become addicted to. The man became so perturbed as my tongue swirled around his that his grip on my arms loosened and he momentary broke away from me, staring at me with a questioning glare, and releasing me. He stepped back and cocked his head sideways and stared at me in confusion.
"I don't want to die a virgin…." I said in a breathy whisper, hopefully sounding seductive, although I typically felt like I was born lacking that trait.
I twisted a long lock of my brown hair around my finger and batted my eyelashes in an alluring way.
The man moaned in pleasure, but before he could take a step towards me, I took all my anger and aggression and used it to shove the heel of my hand into his nose. His head snapped back at the force. He screamed and grabbed at his face as blood began soaking the black mask, making it even darker in color. As his hands reached for his face, I grasped his shoulders and shoved my right knee as hard as I could into his groin. The man doubled over, hitting the floor, and I began kicking him with my size seven, brown leather cowboy boots…my favorite ones with the flower pattern stitching.
He continued to scream as I kicked him over and over. I began pounding him with my fists; my thin white eyelet shirt became covered with blood. I saw red. I saw black. My vision flooded with another man's face as I pounded my attacker. He screamed after each blow. As I became slightly weary, I hopped away from him and grabbed the gun from the top of the filing cabinet. My mind became blank as I trained the gun at his face, disregarding his pleas for his life, and squeezing the trigger. A disappointing click sounded. I stared at the gun, confused as I pulled the trigger over and over only to hear the click.
"It…it's not loaded," the man gasped, blood momentarily cutting off his airway.
I stalked towards him, infuriated that this man had the gall to hold up a store and attack me with an unloaded weapon. It was almost comical the way the man scooted backwards away from me, slipping and sliding against papers that had fallen from the desk and littered the office floor. In a flash I was on the man again and pistol whipped him into unconsciousness.
I cleaned the gun thoroughly with the bottom of the man's shirt and threw it across the floor under the desk.
Hesitantly, I pulled the dark mask away from his face and stared at the man in surprise. He was just a teenager. Probably not too much younger than me, with soft features past the bruising and battering I had inflicted on him. I stood up, pushing away the wave of momentary sympathy, and jumping in shock as the office door swung open.
The blonde woman, Rose, burst through the door, wielding a gun of her own, and looking frantically around the room. She glanced first at me, and then her eyes finally landed on my would-be assailant, passed out cold on the floor.
"Is he dead?" she asked, crouching down and pressing the fingers of her free hand against the side of his neck.
After several seconds of checking his carotid artery, and no response from me, she finally murmured an answer to her own question.
"He's got a pulse. It's faint, but it's there." She straightened up and looked from me to the man in the floor. "You did all that?" she asked, raising her eyebrows and looking me up and down incredulously.
"Who else would have done it?" I snapped, wiping my hands on my jeans and feeling the stress of the night finally weighing down on me.
She narrowed her eyes and snapped back, "God, you don't have to act like such a..."
Rose was quickly interrupted by the small black-haired girl who burst through the door like gangbusters.
"Ohmygoshyou'reokaythankGod!" she screeched, grabbing hold of me and squeezing me in a death-grip hug.
I openly gaped at the pint-sized woman squeezing me into submission, while she jumped up and down in excitement.
"How could you do something like that, you stupid, selfless girl!" she yelled, letting me go and wagging a finger at me.
My mouth opened and closed like a fish gasping for air, but still I couldn't get a word in as she squealed again. "We're gonna be the best of friends, just you wait and see!"
"Calm down, Alice," Rose admonished her, rolling her eyes, raising her head snobbishly, and looking down her elegant nose at me. "You don't even know her. You're probably never going to see her again, and besides, she's just some commoner."
"Commoner!" Alice cried, as I glared at Rose.
Really, who did she think she was? I sacrificed myself to the henchman and this was the thanks I got from her?
"Who do you think you are?" I spat, glowering at Rose. "The Queen of England?"
"No, just the daughter of a senator," she replied smugly, her eyes narrowing down at me even more.
This girl was infuriating! Before I could come up with a comeback, their friend burst through the door.
"The cops are here girls! Do you want to….arrrggghhhhh!" he screamed when he saw me, pressing his hand against his heart, and backing away from the door. "Ewww. You're covered in blood! Disgusting!" he gagged.
He bent over dramatically and took deep breaths. "Let me get my chakras aligned…silence please," he demanded.
"Okay, this is the oddest conversation that I have never been in. The cops are here?" I clarified.
The man finally stood up straight, wrinkling his nose in disgust, and nodded at me. I noticed that he was wearing a flashy silver belt with a loud buckle that screamed 'Mike'.
"Okay, Mike, what happened to the other robber?"
"He's….indisposed," Alice giggled, clapping her hands and jumping around like a pogo stick. "After that guy took you away, Rose and I caught the other guy off guard. Let's just say that he won't be waking up for a few hours, if ever."
The pipsqueak looked considerably proud of herself. She rubbed her hands together like a villain, an evil gleam in her eyes. I shivered as I was temporarily scared of the tiny girl.
Suddenly, we heard the cops calling out for everyone to show themselves. Rose dropped the gun she held and we walked out of the office, hands held up. The very core of my existence filled with dread.
"I…I can't talk to the cops," I hissed and Rose shot me a particularly curious glance.
"Why is that?" she asked suspiciously, looking down at me like I was vermin.
I didn't answer, but merely followed them out of the office and into the store, dreading what was about to happen. I could not let the cops find out who I was. My name could not be released in the papers, and I racked my brain for any ideas on how to avoid that. Only one idea would work and that would be to simply lie to the cops. I hated to lie. I hated liars in general, but that was the only answer I could come up with.
Snubbing Rose, I kept my mouth shut. As we walked up the now familiar aisle five, a robust cop with flaming red hair and a smart navy uniform greeted us. He took in my roughened appearance and questioned me briefly as another cop whisked my newfound friends away. I quickly explained what happened and motioned to the back room where the other assailant lay. The cop moved away and I realized that he'd never even asked me for my name.
Easing through the store towards the front door, I was completely ignored by the other customers and cops. I eventually made my way outside and straight into the middle of a mad house. Cop cars were everywhere, their lights flashing rhythmically against the dark buildings and curious onlookers. The crowd of people were straining against yellow caution tape, trying to get a good look at what was going on in their neighborhood. News vans were parked precariously on the street. A curvy, tan woman with helmet-hair and thick makeup stood in front of a cameraman, and I could catch tidbits of her broadcast.
"If you are just tuning in, we are standing live outside the 158th Street Market. Around two a.m., two men attempted to rob the store and were eventually detained by some of the customers. The details of the robbery are unclear at this time, but our sources say that Rosalie Hale, daughter of Tennessee Senator John Hale, and Alice Cullen, daughter of real estate mogul and alleged local crime boss Carlisle Cullen, were in the store at the time of the robbery. Their roles in this incident are unclear at this time, but we are told by police that they were merely victims and were not involved in the attempted robbery."
As the reporter continued to schmooze the camera, two brawny policemen assisted Rose, Alice, and Mike out of the store. Cameras began flashing along with the lights of the cop cars, and suddenly the street seemed to light up.
I scrambled away towards the yellow tape, hoping to somehow melt into the crowd and disappear into the night. Suddenly, as my former cohorts followed the policemen towards a nearby cop car and ambulance, a man could be heard yelling frantically above all the commotion, and everyone seemed to pause and go quiet.
"ALICE!" the male voice yelled in a frenzy, and a man broke through the crowd, his face masked with worry. "Where is my sister?" he screamed, breaking through the crowd and grasping at the yellow tape.
Suddenly the crowd became alive, yelling at the man "Edward! Over here Edward!"
The female reporter looked as though she was about to swoon, and Alice ran screaming towards the man. "I'm okay, Edward! I'm okay!"
Edward tore through the yellow tape as though it were butter, and I watched as it fluttered to the ground. He ran to Alice and swung her around like a rag doll as she giggled. Then he paused, let her down, and took a good long look at her.
"Are you alright? Have you been hurt?" he asked frantically, taking in her appearance.
She shook her head 'no.' He quickly hugged her again while looking towards the sky and seemingly saying a silent prayer.
"There was a girl. She saved us!" Alice squealed, and my heart stopped in my chest for a second before racing at a full gallop.
"Who saved you?" he asked, his thick, dark eyebrows knitted in confusion, looking up at the store front.
I finally snapped out of the haze I'd succumbed to and began to press into the crowd of people just as Alice's eyes fell upon me.
"There she is!" she yelled, pointing directly at me. "That's the girl who saved us!" Her face broke into a grin.
The crowd, helmet-head reporter, and Alice's brother, Edward, all peered in the direction Alice was pointing, and I felt the weight of what seemed like a million eyes on me, but only one pair seemed to matter and they belonged to Edward.
They were green, but the word green couldn't even begin to adequately describe his eyes. Even in the near dark, and several feet away, I could tell you the exact shade of green. Edward's eyes were a vivid pine green, like the tall pine trees that shaded my childhood home back in Mississippi. His eyes were paralyzing, intimidating, and mesmerizing.
As he gazed at me, I stood as still as a statue, unable to move under his penetrating stare. He took in my appearance, blood soaked from my favorite boots up to my face. As Edward's eyes penetrated me, I felt raw, exposed, and splayed open for him to look at. It was as though he could see every thought, every emotion, that I had ever had. It was exciting, exhilarating, and completely uncomfortable. Time stood still, there was no noise or movement. Everything changed when he took one step towards me, for, I did what I do best.
Swinging around quickly, I pressed through the disgusted crowd who were shrieking and avoiding my bloody hands as I shoved my way passed. I was only slightly aware of a man yelling and the sound of shuffling behind me, but pure, raw terror overtook me. Adrenaline began pumping through my veins, sending me into a frenzy. It pushed me to run at a full sprint past the crowd, cop cars, ambulances, and news vans, and down the dark street.
I could hear my heart beating through my ears but those green eyes, and the awareness that not only would he question me, but everyone would find out my name, caused me to continue on. I ran block after block, street after street, until I bumped into a man pulling out his keys to enter his building.
"Sorry," I gasped, bending at the waist and placing my hands upon my knees.
Taking deep breaths, I tried to calm myself down until I heard the pounding of feet and a man's voice nearby asking if anyone had seen a woman running in my direction.
Straightening up, I met the eyes of the man I'd bumped into. He was middle-aged and somberly peering at me over a small pair of eyeglasses. Backing into the nearby alleyway, I hid behind a dirty, stinky dumpster, but not before begging the stranger with my eyes not to give me away.
"Excuse me, sir," I heard a hypnotizing voice clearly say, not as out of breath as me. "Have you seen a woman running through here?"
There was a slight pause before the middle-aged man asked, "You mean a pretty girl covered head to toe in blood?"
My eyes filled with tears and my body trembled with resentment and dread.
"Yes!" Edward exclaimed, and I sunk down even further behind the dumpster, the pure terror of being found overwhelming me.
"Nope, haven't seen her," the man answered, and I couldn't stop the relief that took over my body and the smile that spread across my face. There were still gentleman in the world.
"I need to find her," Edward said in a dangerously threatening tone.
My smile quickly melted away, and I suddenly felt sorry for the man.
"Son, I'm not scared of you. Do what you want to me, but I'm not going to tell you where that poor girl went. People like you, beating your wives and girlfriends, you make me sick," the man spat.
I awaited what would happen next as I imagined the poor soul was about to be pummeled. But that didn't happen. I heard keys jangling, the door of the apartment building slamming, and then nothing but a heavy sigh and silence.
I waited several minutes but heard nothing else; there was no scuffling of feet, no hurried steps.
Taking a chance, I peered around the dumpster, out of the alleyway, and at the street. There were no passers-by, no pedestrians, and definitely no Edward.
Sliding down the dirty wall beside the dumpster, I counted to a thousand in my head until I was sure the coast was clear, and I scurried out of the alley. Glancing down both sides of the street, I signed in relief that there was no sign of Edward, police, or reporters. The street was eerily calm as the sun was beginning to rise, and I made my way quickly toward my apartment.
It's funny how people avoid eye contact when you're covered in blood. The few people I did meet on the sidewalk avoided me at all costs, even stepping away from me as I approached them.
Most people who I'd met since moving to Memphis were purely concerned about themselves, except for a few people like my neighbor, Angela. We'd immediately clicked upon meeting one another, but then again, she was a lot like me. She was not born and bred in Memphis, but in Kentucky, and was a sweet, kind, single mother to a chubby little cherub of a baby boy named Eric.
Finally, I'd made it to my building, pulling my key deep from within the pocket of my ruined jeans, and opened the front door. The elevators remained busted, so I trooped up the stairs to the third floor and unlocked my apartment door. Relief washed over me as I quietly shut the door behind me and slid to the floor.
I don't know how long I sat there, but as I imagined the blood from my clothes touching the door, the floor, and anything else that belonged to me, I quickly scrambled up. I locked the door behind me and rushed to my small bathroom.
Ignoring the shower for a minute, I became fascinated as I scrubbed my arms with a bar of white soap. The bubbles turned into a light pink color that made my nose wrinkle in disgust. Once my hands were clean and the bar of soap deposited into a nearby wastebasket, I stripped down naked, kicking my boots to the side, and shoving my bloody clothes into the same wastebasket as the soap. I stepped into the shower, immersing myself under the scalding hot water. The knots and kinks in my body began to dissolved under the spray, and I scrubbed from head to toe about ten times, until finally satisfied that every speck of blood was gone.
Wrapping a large, brown terry-cloth towel tightly around my body, I entered the small kitchen area and poured myself a glass of milk. After downing the milk, I glanced at the clock and saw that it was six a.m.
I wandered into my bedroom and sat on the bed, crossing my legs beneath me, and picking up my phone from the nightstand. There was only one person in the world I wanted to talk to, the only person who understood me, and that person was my cousin, Jasper.
He answered after a few rings, his voice weary with sleep. Apologizing profusely, I quickly explained what happened to me only a few hours ago. I glossed over a few details, like how I'd sacrificed myself for Alice and Rose, so that Jasper wouldn't worry too much, but in the end that didn't really help.
"I'm coming up there," he declared, his Southern drawl more pronounced when he was angry or agitated. I imagined it was the latter.
"Please don't," I begged, knowing that he couldn't possibly take time off from his new job. "I don't want you worrying about me, or coming up here. You may lose your job. You just started there. I just wanted you to know what was going on, just in case…"
I couldn't even explain aloud what 'just in case' might entail, but he seemed to know what I meant.
"I won't lose my job. I need to check on you, make sure you're really okay," he said unconvincingly.
"I'm fine," I muttered. "But if you can't reach me or don't hear from me, please check on me then, okay?"
He agreed and we ended our conversation.
I spent the rest of my day puttering around my tiny apartment, cleaning it from top to bottom, and ignoring the urge to turn on the television or even think about what had happened just hours before. I tried not to concern myself with the fate of the men who'd robbed the store, but no matter how much I told myself they deserved whatever fate had in store for them, I couldn't help but wonder if the man who'd attacked me was okay.
Then I would think of Edward Cullen.
Those green eyes would pop into my mind and I would promptly shove the image away. I tried to keep myself busy to keep my mind occupied, an act that I had learned early on from my grandmother who was in constant motion. After paying some bills online, rearranging my furniture twice, and eating some leftover Chinese food, I was shocked to find that it was nearly two o'clock in the afternoon.
Exhaustion had quickly taken me over and I slid under the purple comforter on my tiny bed. After setting the alarm on my phone for five o'clock and tossing it back on my nightstand, I rested my head down on my pillow and immediately fell into a surprisingly deep, dreamless sleep.
I awoke several hours later, groggy and disoriented. Stretching and rubbing my eyes, I sat up in the bed. The room was dimly lit. In a panic, I reached blindly to my nightstand for the cell phone, knowing from the scant amount of sunlight filtering through my blinds that I'd overslept and was late for work. The towel that was still wrapped around me fell slightly as I reached out and grabbed the phone, pressing a button and illuminating the screen.
Before I could even comprehend the time, the unmistakable sound of a throat clearing broke the silence.
Whipping my head around, I screamed out in alarm. I gripped the towel tightly to my chest as I met the eyes of a man sitting comfortably in a chair beside a tiny old bookshelf in my room.
The man was sitting with one leg crossed over the other, dressed in a smart, expensive looking grey suit with a pink silk tie. My well-worn copy of Emily Dickinson poetry lay open in his hands. As he brought the book down from in front of his face, I was close enough to see that he'd been reading a page I'd dog-eared.
The man was disgustingly handsome, but not in an obvious way. He had very sharp details, high cheek bones, and a slightly flat nose. His hair was an odd copper-penny color and was in disarray as though he'd run his hands through it many times.
His most interesting feature, however, were his vivid, Mississippi pine-colored eyes.
Thanks, AliCat0623, for beta'ing chapter one! You know I lurve you! Let's see how long it takes you to beta chapter two ;) *snicker*
Reviews = lurve