AN: This is my new story, and it's a little different from my previous ones. It's a bit darker, more angst, and more violence. It will be a slow build as well, Bella has some issues to work through first. This story came to me when I was listening to the radio- I wanted to do a Bella/Garrett story but didn't have a plot in mind. The song Independence Day by Martina McBride came on and this is what I came up with. Not sure how often I'll update, as Objects in Mirror is still my top priority, I just wanted to get this one out there to see what everyone thinks!

Disclaimer: SM owns all, I just screw around with them.

Chapter 1- Prologue- Time Ran Out

"Some folks whispered and some folks talked
But everybody looked the other way
And when time ran out there was no one about
On Independence Day."
-Martina McBride, Independence Day


Pain. Excruciating, unending pain. All around me, all over me, all I can feel is pain. He still doesn't stop hitting me, even though he has to see that I am all but dead already. His fists, his feet, even his elbow, they all keep trying to break me. Between punches and kicks, he's throwing words at me as well. He has to know it's hopeless- I've been broken for two years. The empty shell is all that is left. "Stupid leech fucker. I'm done with you now."

Despite the pain, I still manage to flinch when he spits at me. I can't even see him clearly, only a dark shadow hovering far above me. I want to laugh when the irony of his statement reaches me; he knows it's not true. He knows I was a virgin when he took me, but the insults never stop. My one mistake- loving the wrong family- will finally lead me to my death after all.

I breathe a small sigh of relief when he turns to walk away. It's short-lived when I make out his trembling form, the slightly blurred figure indicating an imminent phase. The man may be finished with me, but the wolf is not. A harsh growl is the last thing I hear as his razor-sharp claws tear through my body like tissue paper, finally allowing my mind to give up. I let the blackness carry me away and hope to never wake up again.


The heat is the first thing I notice. Not warmth- heat. The all-too-familiar heat of a wolf. The arms around me feel wrong though, they are tender in their care, not rough or painful. Hot drops of water fall on my face and chest, startling my eyes open. I make out a face bowed over me, and I think I am being held on his lap. Is he crying? It can't be him- he would never cry over me. He laughed at the few tears I couldn't hold in over the years, and then beat me some more. He said tears were too good for me. I wasn't allowed to cry, because that's something humans did.

The face above me lets out a sob and tucks his head closer to me. "Oh, Bells, I'm so sorry. I'm sorry I didn't get you out sooner. I should have been there before he came back for you. I don't know what to do now, I don't know how you're still alive. I can't take you back there and I can't stay here with you." I finally recognize the voice holding me; it was Seth, of course. My only bright spot of hope in the midst of the hell I have been living. He is so young, and has seen too much evil around him, but he held tight to his humanity despite the opposition he faced.

I try to get my mouth to work, but I think my jaw must be broken again. I manage to gasp out a quiet whisper, "Seth?"

"Bella? Oh my god, Bella! I don't know what to do! I can't believe he did this, I never thought he would go this far. I really thought the imprint would make him forget about you, not try to kill you!" He breaks off crying again and tries to run his hand softly over my hair, but even that hurts. "Bells, I tried to fix you up the best I could, but it's bad. It's really bad. I- I just- Bella, look. I'm so sorry. I just don't think I can watch you die."

He bows his head lower and takes a deep shuddering breath. I feel a tender kiss on my forehead and want to cry at the first sign of affection I have felt in so long. I feel him start to lay me on the ground and I panic, wondering where I am now. "Shh, Bella. It's ok. I didn't know where else to bring you, but I hope this is ok. I don't think he'll look here and you can have your dignity at the end. I know I haven't been there for you like I should have, but I do love you. I hope you can find peace here."

As he pulls away, I gather the strength for one more word. "Where?"

He stands and looks down at me. The amount of blood on his bare chest makes me wonder how I still have any left inside me. Well, at least I won't have to worry about a vampire draining me. Ha ha. Not like there haven't been plenty of those around since they left. Ouch. Even with my chest literally clawed to pieces, it still hurts to think of them. Of course Seth had to go and say it.

"You're at the Cullen house, Bella. I put you on the pretty white couch they have. Maybe that little fortune-teller will see this and know what they did to you when they left. I know you blame Jacob, and he's definitely the main culprit, but he would have never touched you if they hadn't left you here with us. If Edward hadn't left your heart broken first." His bitter words cut the final shred of sanity I am holding onto. This time I know I won't come out of the darkness.


God, what is wrong with me? I can't even die right! This time it's an icy hand on my forehead that draws my eyes open once again. I have to blink slowly before I can finally focus, just in time to wish I hadn't opened them at all. The cold hand should have warned me, but the red eyes staring back at me seal my fate. I have come full circle. After all my near-death experiences with vampires, then werewolves, and a few attempted suicides thrown in for good measure, it's going to be a vampire that will finally kill me in the end.

Cool breath fans across my face, filling me with an old longing for my favorite frozen family. "Fuck, little one. What the hell happened to you? Does Carlisle know you're here?" His voice is smooth and deep, touching me somewhere deep inside. Hearing the name of my vampire father figure brings an ache to my heart, and I have to close my eyes against his intense gaze.

He brushes his hand across my face again, gentle as a feather, and I feel something cold press a bit harder, just above my left eye. Did he kiss me? No, it must have been his thumb. "Please, just kill me," I manage to whisper, keeping my eyes shut tight. He sucks in a sharp breath as his hand stills, still touching me softly.

"I'm so sorry sweet girl, but that is the one thing I cannot do. Please, forgive me." I definitely feel his kiss that time as he moves down my neck, and I feel the burn just after his teeth slice through my skin. "I'll be here with you the whole time, and I will explain everything when you wake up."

Once again, I give in to the pain, but this time I know I will be stronger when it's over; then I will get my revenge. No man will ever hurt me again- not the one who broke me, and definitely not the one who bit me. Whatever his motive, he just filled me with independence along with his cool, fiery venom. Time ran out on my human life a long time ago, but now my eternity has finally begun.