Bella stepped out into the meadow, and a cold breeze whipped through her hair. She shuddered and wrapped her arms around her body in an attempt to keep the air out of the threadbare jacket she was wearing. 'Their' meadow had changed so much in the lonely months that had passed. It's now brown, bleak appearance mirrored the remnants of her broken heart, dead but not gone. At times she was sure that her grieving organ would just give up and let her agony end, yet here she was, as dried up as the shriveled blooms that crunched beneath her feet.
She made her way to the center of the clearing, to the spot where Edward had declared his love for her. His passionate sentiments and consuming intensity had taken everything she had to give. At first, they seemed to be perfect for each other. But as time went on, she began to see it was Edward that was perfect, and she was left chasing behind, trying to live up to his standards and expectations. Every breath she had drawn was for him. Still, it hadn't been enough.
She descended to the ground and lay upon its dead carpet. Clouds almost completely obscured the grey sky above and she cursed this place that had brought her so much joy and so many tears. Nothing here was as it should be. Here there existed vampires, werewolves, and deranged, red haired, vengeance seeking mates. Where were the once upon a times? Where were the happily ever afters? Silent tears streamed slowly down her pale cheeks. "You are meant for the supernatural life", Alice had told her many times. But she was not fulfilling her prophesied destiny. Instead she lived as a shadow, on the edge of a world that only seemed to push her away.
Edward didn't want her anymore. It was too trying for him to continue 'playing human'. Aside from Jacob, the wolves were lukewarm at best. They couldn't understand the loss she felt from the absence of her family of 'leeches' and some resented the fact that the threat of Victoria was related to her as well. She had considered taking up her mother's offer to live in Jacksonville, but despite the fact that she currently needed the wolves to prevent her imminent exsanguination, she still felt tied to the area. Something was holding her here. So here she remained.
Drying her tears, she prepared for her return trek through the brush and brambles. She didn't want to worry Charlie with an extended absence from home. He'd been through so much dealing with her crushing sorrow and nightmares, yet he never treated her like the burden she knew herself to be. He always gave her a small smile and a gruff "Love ya Bells" to start the day, and night after night he was there to dry her tears.
As she rose and brushed her, too loose jeans, clean of debris she noticed that the forest was lacking its normal volume. There were no birds chirping, no squirrels chattering. The forest had gone completely silent. This phenomenon was forever linked in Bella's mind with the presence of vampires. Animals could sense the undeniable threat of such a predator. Wondering if she had finally tempted fate enough for Victoria to end her misery, Bella took in the perimeter of the meadow.
Peering directly along the line of her right shoulder, her eyes locked with gleaming red. 'Jasper!', her mind screamed. No, it wasn't Jasper. On closer inspection, Bella noticed that although they could have passed for brothers, this was definitely not a vampire she was familiar with. His tall frame stood frozen, as if startled, though that didn't make sense to her because he surely would have smelled her blood from a distance. One foot was planted flat as if he had just finished a step and the other was still stuck mid-step with toes on the ground and heel in the air.
Bella noticed that while he was not wearing top of the line fashions like those favored by the Cullen's, he was decently clad in sturdy black boots, light faded jeans, and a plain black t-shirt. His blonde hair was long and fell in gentle waves to his wide shoulders. Heart racing, but determined to show she wasn't a coward, she turned to fully face him. It's not like running would aid her in any case.
He remained where he was for a few more moments. Bella studied the expression on his handsome face as she tried to swallow the lump that had formed in her, now extremely dry, throat. If she didn't know better she would say he looked almost...frightened by her presence. Ha! He couldn't be anywhere near as terrified as she was right now. So this is how it would all end, alone in a barren meadow, home to the beginning of a great love that would eventually shatter all her hope for the future. It seemed oddly fitting.
The vampire approached her slowly, even by human standards, measured step after measured step. He kept his eyes locked on hers, never dropping his wide eyed glance. Closer and closer he came until he was about five feet away. Bella's heart was hammering. She was beginning to tremble. How much longer would he delay his inevitable attack? Unbidden, a single tear escaped and trailed down her cheek. Immediately his eyebrows lifted, his expression communicating...concern? He then dropped to his knees and hunched his shoulders.
'What is he doing?' Bella's mind was struggling to comprehend. His actions were so different from all the other vampires she had come to know. He was obviously not accustomed to interacting with humans. He hadn't even spoken. Where were the taunts and speculations of how good her blood would taste as he drank her dry? Wasn't that part of vampire 101? He lifted his head once again, the blonde curtain opening to reveal surprisingly gentle crimson eyes. Still moving with obvious caution, he shuffled forward on his knees coming within arms length to the spot where Bella was rooted. The vampire lifted his perfect pale left hand and gently traced the path her tear had followed. Bella's breath caught. The moment his finger touched her skin, she'd felt the most amazing sense of warmth, instead of the icy sensation she had expected. Even after his hand was gone her cheek was still warmed.
Rising again to his feet, he closed the final distance between them. Leaning forward he brushed his nose up the length of her forehead and drew back. Again, Bella felt the surprising warmth. Seemingly encouraged by her lack of screaming and flailing, he glanced again into her eyes. He looked to be asking permission, but for what? Bella wished she could bring herself to speak, but he seemed to have cast a spell upon her and the power of speech was far from her grasp at the moment. Leaning in again, this time he placed his cheek against the side of her neck.
By this point Bella's fear was waning, and her curiosity increasing. How could this vampire she'd never met so easily calm her, and what was behind the sensations his touch created? His face moved up the column of her neck, until it came to rest on her own cheek. He took in a large breath then, and let it out in a long sigh. He seemed content to remain standing this way, but when another gust of wind tore through the meadow Bella shuddered violently. This action apparently startled the blonde vampire, but he seemed to quickly realize that Bella was freezing, not frightened. He took her then, in his arms, his large body protecting her from the gusting wind and subsequently warming her through with whatever magic was in his very touch.
She relaxed against his strong body her mind in a jumble. What is this feeling growing inside me? If I had to label it I would almost call it...joy? I haven't felt warm since Edward left, and I have never felt this all-encompassing warmth, ever. I feel...safe.
She noticed a small rattling/rumbling sound that seemed to be coming from his chest, growing increasingly louder. She'd heard this sound before, but where? She gasped as the memory returned to her. It was in Phoenix. While she was with Alice and Jasper at the hotel. She was just walking out of the bedroom to see what had Alice sounding so upset. Standing in the doorway she saw Jasper wrap his arms around Alice and nuzzle her hair. It was then Bella heard the soft sound he was making. It sounded almost like a soothing purr. Jasper had been trying to put Alice at ease. Pulling back slightly Bella looked questioningly into the vampire's face. In response, he touched his forehead to hers and closed his eyes. He unwrapped his arms from around her back and slid his hands down her arms, leaving his hands encircling her wrists for a few moments.
When his hands finally took hers, Bella's world ended. Nothing in her painful, lonely past mattered. Here was the reason she had stayed in forks. Her future was coming to find her, claim her. Warmth rushed through her veins, reaching every part of her, healing and renewing, making her the person she was, before heartache ripped her apart. Gone was the pain of Edward's rejection. Gone were the months of longing. In its place was an unspoken promise that she would never again be alone or feel unworthy. Here she had found her home, and she didn't even know his name.
Ah, the Olympic Peninsula, a place that was truly designed for vampires. This is one of the special places in the world where a combination of weather and an abundance of forests make it easy for us to be out and about without calling unwanted attention to ourselves. Here there's most often no need to cover my body head to toe when I want to hunt during the day. Makes me feel a little less like a mythical creature of the night, if you know what I mean. So, for a fairly stationary coven/family, whatever, like the Cullen's, I can see the obvious appeal. Maybe I'll stop and say hello on my way through. I would have called ahead to be sure they're still living in the area but they usually stay as long as possible in one location before moving on, so they should be around.
I hiss at the still irritated bite newly imprinted just behind my right elbow. You would think coming across a vampire with as many scars as I have would encourage others to just keep out of my way. Unfortunately, apparently venom can't heal idiocy. Cause they're out there. Those vampires looking to prove they're the biggest, baddest vamp in all the lands. Yeah, I know, delusions of grandeur much? I've ended a dozen vampires in under a minute. Asshole wouldn't have even gotten that lucky shot in if I hadn't been busy contemplating the meaning of my existence. Deep, I know.
I usually steer clear from wandering down that path. Nothing ever good comes from it. Usually I just end up wallowing in self pity for a while wondering if I will ever find my someone, the one made only for me. My sister tells me to just suck it up and keep on truckin' - that you can't force fate. Women. Still, I don't know what I would do without her. It's a mostly solitary life for ones marked as I am.
My skin is a billboard telling others, in flashing neon letters, of my skill as a fighter. Not that I want to fight. I'm a peaceful man at heart. But when I was created the beast in me fought hard to keep from being destroyed. That's what it all boiled down to at that point in time. Kill or be killed. I learned my lessons well. I'll never forget the screams, the keening of limbs as they were torn from vampire's bodies, or the smell of the thick purple smoke that always followed in our wake. It's been decades now, but with my perfect recall the memories, nightmares, will never leave me.
I could tell I was almost to the clearing about ten miles from the Cullen house. The trees were thinning as I followed the gentle rise of the forest floor. A little ways back I had passed the ashes of another of my kind. Wonder what the story is there. I've never known the Cullen's to react with violence unless there was no other option. The meadow wouldn't be much to look at this time of year, but in full bloom it really is a sight to behold. Hey, I'm comfortable in my masculinity. I don't mind admitting I find enjoyment admiring places and things of beauty.
Speaking of beautiful things, there is one de-licious human in the area. I'm not thirsty right now, but hot damn! That smell makes me almost giddy inside, and it seems that tasty blood is directly in my current path. Immediately my mind started making predictions. It's an odd pass time I share with my sister, to try and guess characteristics according to the smell of the blood. Inhaling once more, I predicted this person was fairly young. It's hard to explain but there seemed to be a certain freshness about the smell. The blood also seemed to be free of chemicals, although it could be said that this person was almost tart, so to speak. I've noticed this is usually the case with those who are too thin. I broke through the tree line and my thoughts came screeching to a halt faster than rush hour traffic.
I have no way of knowing how long I stood there like an idiot and just stared at her with my mouth hanging open slightly. She was ethereal. Her long dark hair was dancing around her ghostly pale face. I had been right. She was young, and she was thin, but she was stunning and when her rich brown eyes found mine, I knew something else. Deep down in my unbeating heart, I knew she was the one. My home, my life, my everything, was defined forever by this tiny slip of a girl.
When my logical mind began to surface, my first thought was, Shit! Shit! Shit! She's a human! I didn't want to frighten her. I was absolutely going to change her, but what the hell am I supposed to do? I don't want to just runs at her, bite her, and pray she doesn't wake up and resent me for all eternity. Dammit! Why couldn't she have already been a vampire?
Ok, we'll do this one step at a time. If I go slow enough maybe I can get close to her without her thinking I'm an unnatural beast, which I completely am, but that's beside the point right now. I started out across the meadow at what I guessed to be a casual pace for a human. It's not like I've paid much attention in the past. She's not running away yet, must be doing ok. I couldn't tear my eyes away from her, though I knew I should drop my eyes. The moment she saw the violent red, she would no doubt try to flee. Too late, her heart is already speeding, but she hasn't shown any outward sign of fear yet. That's my brave girl. I stopped just shy of arms length from her. Honestly, I have no idea where to go from here. I'm afraid if I speak it will break this spell we both seem to be caught in. That's when I notice a lone tear falling down the smooth ivory plane of her cheek and the pain of knowing just how much I'm scaring her brings me to my knees. Forget armies of rabid vampires, one tear and I'm a dead man.
No, no, no! I'm doing something wrong! She's crying. I can't take her crying. I have to comfort her. I have to show her that I mean her no harm, and I'm not getting there by staring at dead grass. Think! A man I may be, but I have absolutely no qualms against showing this slip of a girl that she owns me. I want to touch her! Hold her!
Remaining on my knees, hoping the blatantly submissive pose would ease her somewhat, I creep closer still to my new queen. With one finger I brushed as gently as I was able down the path the tear had taken wanting to erase it and the feelings that had caused it.
She will be happy. My life's goal is now her happiness if she will only let me try. Oh, feel the warmth. I've heard many accounts of the pleasure of physically connecting with ones mate, but I had begun to doubt I would ever feel it first hand. That undeniable feeling of home, belonging, it means I'm yours little girl, and you're mine.
Her heartbeat has continuously slowed while I've been down here at her feet. Time to push my luck again, any distance from her is too far. She didn't shrink away as I rose to my feet and closed the gap remaining. Had she felt the connection too? Are humans capable of recognizing their mate before changing?
Her skin, soft and smooth, as a flower petal, is calling me. The need to hold her is warring with my concern for her emotional state. Will she accept me? Brushing her forehead with my nose I tested her, all the while internally pleading, 'don't run, don't scream, please, please, I need you.' Looking into her eyes once more I saw...mild curiosity perhaps, but not revulsion. Unable to bear the separation any longer I nestled the side of my face into the graceful arch of her perfect pale neck. Ah, heaven, I sighed. This is all I would ever need.
Once again an icy breeze tore through the meadow swirling her delicious scent. It only occurred to me that standing out here on such a day could not be comfortable for her when she began to shiver. Figuring, 'fortune favors the brave', and all that jazz, I went for it. I wrapped her up in my arms, knowing that while I may not be able to offer body heat, I could at least protect her from the biting wind.
Astounding me and melting my long frozen heart, she actually leaned into me, resting her head lightly against my chest. The action was so moving and unexpected, I couldn't catch myself before a contented purr escaped. Her eyes, which had been momentarily closed, snapped open and a small gasp left her mouth. Oh, please don't let me have ruined the peace so soon! I think we were finally getting somewhere!
She leaned back, but didn't completely pull away. She just looked up at me, questions I was afraid to answer flickering in her chocolate eyes. Wanting to prolong contact, and delay the inevitable explosion sure to come, I took one more moment to enjoy her, pressing my forehead to hers and running my hands down her delicate arms. I pressed my luck, clasping her hands in mine, and gasped as overwhelming warmth went racing through my entire being. With her touch alone she's remaking me. I am not a warrior, I am not a killer, a beast. I am just hers.
How will she take the news of vampires, mates, and eternity? Just as I'm opening my mouth to try and find some way to explain all of this to her, she spoke. Her words low and soft still reached my ears with perfect clarity.
"What is your name?"
Well that one is certainly simple enough. "I'm Peter."