Four years of running, always staying one or two steps ahead of them. I was growing tired and I was beginning to give up. When I needed breaks from having to worry about my decisions, Jacob would come to me whenever I would set up somewhere new. I never stayed more than a few months in any given place and I made sure it was the sunniest places I could find. He provided me the cover to think freely so that I couldn’t be seen as my moving had been carefully planned to the last possible detail. He or one of the other wolves would handle all decisions with each move so that nothing would accidentally slip.
Four years. I was going be 22 and had absolutely nothing to show for it. I wanted to go to school, to have friends. I wanted my life back. I knew what I needed, but the problem was executing it and praying it would work. Supernatural beings, in my experience, meant my death but I’d rather go out on my own terms than to be held a virtual prisoner of my ex-boyfriend’s because he didn’t know how to take no for an answer.
Mates. What a crock of shit. He didn’t know what a mate was if she showed up and slapped him on his ass. Then again, maybe it would be a he and he was upset with me not taking him back because it would mean he would have to come out of the closet.
Months of careful research led me to this relatively small town, though not nearly as microscopic as Forks. As it turned out, vampire legends weren’t as taboo as the Cullens had implied. Perhaps for their race, but I had eventually learned of another race that even the Volturi did not seem aware of and I wasn’t about to let them know of them. I had plans and my plans hinged on a lot of factors, but it all depended on whether these myths actually turned out to be true. Mystic Falls was nice from what I saw of it so far, but I was more interested in the liquor that was in front of me at the moment.
It was a busy and crowded night in the place. I could only assume it was because it might be one of the only decent places to hang out, what with it being a bar and restaurant with some entertainment in the form of a small dance floor, pool tables and dart boards. I was well on my way to being sufficiently plastered that guaranteed me fucking last minute decisions to piss Alice off. I knew I shouldn’t be as hard on her as I was, seeing as she tried her best to play mediator between Edward and I but I wanted nothing to do with him despite how much she wanted me to give him another chance.
The only allies I had in that family anymore was with Jasper, because he could feel how genuinely I felt in regards to Edward. The other was surprisingly with Rosalie. After they had come back and were surprised with my new outlook on life and attitude, she was much friendlier and promised to thwart her brother whenever she could. They were the only ones I actually kept in regular contact with and Edward was none the wiser.
I had been so focused on the past and my bourbon that I didn’t notice the man that took up a seat a stool down from my lonely corner at the bar. When I did notice him, I wasn’t surprised at the flash of lust that ignited in me. He was definitely hot. And so totally the bad boy that you didn’t really want to bring home to meet dad, but he appeared just as desolate and lost as I did. I continued to appraise him as I raised my hand to order another round for myself when he took notice of me and my choice of poison.
His slips pulled back into a sexy smirk and gave a little toast before throwing back his drink and slid over next to me. “I must say, for a fine lady like yourself, you do have just as fine taste in your drinks,” he said in greeting. I just stared back at him, trying to decide if I wanted to talk with him, take him into the bathroom to fuck him, or just walk the hell out of the door. It would give Edward something to chew on if he was anywhere near Alice to see the possibilities. It certainly made me smile.
“Well, when you had a shitty day as I’ve had – or rather a shitty year, then yeah, I would say splurging in the finest alcohol is at the top of my bucket list,” I replied, letting out a resigned sigh at the thought of my impending death. I knew I screwed myself when I made that deal with the Volturi but between them and Edward, I would always choose anything else but him.
We stared at each other for a moment, seemingly trying to figure out the other’s story and falling short since neither was giving. When I felt my phone buzz, I closed my eyes and groaned when I saw the message.
He found you. I’m with him to try to control shit but be prepared. About ten minutes away ~Jasper
“Fuck,” I cursed as I snapped the wretched device closed and shoved it back in my pocket.
“Husband calling you home?” The gorgeous stranger questioned and I found myself transfixed by his icy blue eyes.
“No husband. Ex-boyfriend, current stalker,” I muttered as I tried to think of a plan. Running was out of the question. He would track down my scent and there was no way I could move fast enough. “Can I ask a question from a guy’s perspective?”
He raised an eyebrow at me as he debated with himself. Curiosity evidently won out and he nodded, leaning in closer after I did so that I didn’t have to speak to be overheard. “How would I get a guy off my back that just won’t accept that I want nothing to do with him? That I’ve moved on and want nothing more than for him to just fuck off?”
Sexy laughed and shrugged as he thought of a response. “For me, if I wanted to give a great big fuck you to my ex, I might fuck someone hotter or the opposite of her in her own bed. But then I’m an asshole to start with so…”
“Hm,” I hummed as I narrowed my eyes on him, the idea being very tempting. Another text message came through and this time it was from someone else. Someone who actually surprised me with her approval.
He drove his Volvo. Can’t wait to see his face! He’s going to be there in two minutes. Jasper will temper him down and distract him long enough for you and hot stuff to sneak out the back door. ~Alice
I chuckled and shook my head. Sexy continued to watch me like I was something to snack on but where it would normally freak me out or even scare the living shit out of me, I was actually turned on even more. “That just might sound like it would have potential to really fuck up his day,” I smirked, looking past him to the door. Sure enough, there was Edward standing there, looking around at the crowded place. Giving Sexy my best flirty look, I winked, “How would you like to join me on making that suggestion a reality?”
The man very nearly choked on his drink as he stared back at me in shock, at a loss for words. “What? You not into something like this because I’m sure I can find someone else here very willing,” I taunted. I wasn’t an idiot. Since I noticed him, I certainly did not miss the way he was checking me out.
“Well, sure thing,” he grinned as he finished his drink and threw money on the counter before he took my hand and I pulled him towards the back exit. My eyes looked around the street for the familiar car and found it within a minute. The idiot had left the door unlocked which made it all the better.
Shoving Sexy into the back seat, I didn’t hesitate as I climbed on top of him. As we started on a really heavy make out session to get warmed up, he tried to make nice with boring pleasantries. “You know, hitting home within an hour of meeting is great and all but I don’t even know your name Beautiful. I’m Damon.”
“You talk too much,” I muttered, silencing his mouth with my own. When we finally broke for air, I offered my own name. “Bella.”
“Now you’re just teasing me with what I called you,” he smirked, his hands working to undo my pants. “But I’ll let it slide for now. I expect a full story one day though.”
I didn’t answer because I wasn’t sure just how long I was sticking around. I needed to find the nearest group of Mystic Falls’ friendly neighborhood vampires faster than I anticipated. That and find out who the fuck slipped on my location. I turned back to focusing on getting myself off as quick as possible.
Now, I knew without a doubt this man had stamina. I mean, he was just dripping sex which made him my choice as a pansy for this payback even better, and in any other scenario, I wouldn’t mind going a few rounds in the comfort of a bed, but I was on a time crunch. Evidently he picked up on my need for speed and accommodated accordingly.
He looked at me a little odd when I ran my hands over the both of us before running them all over the seats wherever I could reach but I only smiled and winked back at him. “Damon?”
“Yes Luscious?” He replied as he helped me get dressed and cleaned up somewhat.
“When we go back inside, I want you to think of every second that you were inside me in this car,” I grinned as I went to lick along his earlobe, causing him to shiver.
“Anything for you,” he murmured, dropping a chaste kiss on my lips with some confusion in his eyes. “Can I ask the reason why?”
“Please? For me?” I asked again, refusing to elaborate and he nodded without any further prying.
That was down and now I just had to deal with him face to face. I couldn’t wait so I patted Damon’s cheek and walked with him to the front entrance. I held back slightly and narrowed my eyes. Turning to him I grinned. “You go in ahead. Be sure to think about you and I just before and strut those peacock feathers.”
“Sure thing,” Damon winked and went on.
Taking a deep breath, I followed after a minute. Edward and Jasper were almost right there when I got through the door and I sneered up at him when he grabbed my wrist. “What the hell are you doing? Have you lost your mind Bella?”
“You aren’t supposed to be here Edward,” I snapped at him. “I told you I wanted nothing to do with you, now leave.”
He was just livid as he looked at me. “Do you even know the kind of danger you have put yourself in by coming here? Instead of going somewhere and live out a normal life, you head straight for danger! At this point you would be better off with our family!”
“Fuck you! I’m not going anywhere with you – ever!”
“Bella, be reasonable. If you want me to change you, then fine. I will,” he tried to negotiate but I could see clearly he would likely refuse anyone changing me when the time finally came. “I’m actually surprised you’re alive now considering the monsteryou chose tonight. Do you have any idea what he is?”
Here comes the mud slinging, I thought to myself. I looked at Jasper who hid his amusement well enough, but his eyes were focused over my shoulder making me look at what caught his attention. I found Damon staring at us with concern and horror as he tried to answer whatever questions his friends were asking. I didn’t have time to deal with their curiosities and glared back at Edward.
“What the fuck are you talking about Asshole?” I asked, bored with his games already.
“Bella – he’s a vampire. Not like us, obviously, but his kind are more deadly than you can even imagine. Worse than Jasper when he first changed,” he tried with scare tactics. Perfect. I can certainly handle that after facing off with the Volturi and coming out on top. I looked at Jasper and he was careful with his thoughts but his eyes communicated that his brother was full of shit. What else was new.
“Really?” I asked incredulously. Glancing back over my shoulder, I could see that the group’s concern at being outed raised their hackles. I couldn’t blame them. That only confirmed that they could hear the argument and it made me smile. Winking at them before facing my ex, I shrugged. “Well then if I have to fuck every vampire of his kind in this town to get my point across that I want nothing to do with you, then I will.”
Edward tugged on my wrist again, holder tighter to the point that it was beginning to hurt but I refused to show my discomfort. “They will kill you Bella. Why won’t you listen?!”
I stared him straight in the eyes as I stepped up closer. “Let go of me,” I warned. “Let go of me or I will make a scene that would certainly capture the attention of the Volturi.”
“And the Volturi will kill you. You know Aro said you would be killed if you weren’t changed within the year. Changed or dead. Would you really sign our death warrants?” he asked, faking hurt.
“Wrong. All I have to do is call Demetri and he’ll be all over your ass. You see Edward, after Alice and I went to save you from your stupidity, and you left – again – I went back and cut a very lucrative deal with them. Give me time to get the shit I needed done, and if was changed into one of you before my deadline, then I would serve in the guard for a hundred years.”
“And if you didn’t?” he questioned carefully.
“What do you mean if I didn’t? What makes you think I wouldn’t have a plan to get out of that shit? I fully intend to be dead,” I scoffed at him. Of course I’d be dead – figuratively speaking.
He studied me closely and shook his head. “You know you chose the best town to be killed in. This place is swarming with original vampires and werewolves.”
“No. I came here for protection you stupid asshole! You really think I just happened about to choose Mystic Falls for shits and giggles? I knew what the fuck I was doing. Now if you excuse me, I have some real vampires to find so that I can talk them into kicking your sparkly ass for me,” I replied, trying to yank my arm free but he kept his hold.
I hadn’t seen anyone appear behind me but Edward froze as he looked up from our stare down that I refused to walk away from without winning. “I believe she said to let go,” a male voice spoke up behind me. I looked over and it was one of the guys that Damon was talking to at the booth. He was with him, coming up on the other side of me and winked a gorgeous eye at me causing my lust to spike again.
Jasper couldn’t hold back the moan of irritation and Edward looked back down at me incredulously. “Seriously?! He’s not good for you. He’ll do nothing but break your heart.”
“No worse than what you did Fucktard,” I snapped back and tugged my arm again and thankfully he let it go. I pursed my lips as I considered my next move and smiled when I made a decision. Not a second later his phone was ringing. “Answer that Edward. I’m sure Alice will be telling you to scram if you don’t heed my advice. I’m not above sacrificing a few humans, and myself, just to be free of you.”
Edward! Get the hell out of there before you ruin things for everyone. We warned you repeatedly not to go after and let her be. If you decide to continue this, it won’t be pretty. And you certainly will never gain her even as a friend in the future, Alice’s voice rang out clearly as she screamed into the phone.
I narrowed my eyes on him as I changed the decision to call the Volturi for backup if he didn’t leave and that sent Alice on a whole other rampage with him.
Damn it Edward! If you don’t leave you most certainly will die! Aro has Jane and Demetri available to Bella for when she is ready to make her decision to return to them! All it takes is one call and they will be there to kill whoever she wants and turn her! She told you she has the Volturi in her pocket and she wasn’t lying!
“Thank you Alice,” I grinned, knowing she could hear me just well over the phone.
Edward glared at me as he hung up with her. “You know these two aren’t friends. They are planning on interrogating you on what you know. They are killers Bella. This one that you – you – had relations with has been planning on feeding on you.”
I raised an eyebrow as I turned to look up at Damon. It amused me that he didn’t seem remorseful for being caught and shrugged slightly, even if I didn’t believe a word of it. “I’m a vampire. It’s what I do.”
Rolling my eyes I leaned into him with a smug smile on my lips. “There are worse ways to go,” I teased. I continued on, looking even more excited. “Tell me. This interrogation. Will there be whips and chains involved?”
“Bella!” Edward exclaimed in disgust and disbelief.
“Edward!” I whined back, imitating his annoying voice. “Just leave. And never come back. You’re boring me now.”
“Wow,” Damon’s friend muttered as he stared at me looking a little bewildered.
I turned to him and glared. “What’s your problem?”
“Oh nothing. You just remind me a lot of my brother. It’s kinda scary actually. I don’t know if its a good thing or bad, but – do you want us to get rid of this idiot for you?” he asked, seeking my permission.
“Oh would you? I would greatly appreciate it,” I smiled at him, batting my eyes. “I promise that I’ll explain this whole mess to you though I seriously doubt you’d believe me. It wouldn’t be the first time Doucheward lied to me anyway.”
Before I knew it, there was a blond girl looking rather pissed off at Edward and a guy that kinda reminded me of Jake trying to pull me back. Edward’s face changed to one of disgust again, but one I was familiar with. Huh. Maybe there really were werewolves around here as well.
“It’s okay. Stefan and Damon will take care of them,” the blond chic told me. Her grip on my arm was firm and much stronger than I would have thought by looking at her which made me have to give some credence to Edward’s accusation of more vampires.
“He’s right, right? They are really vampires?” I asked her, disappointed that it was a bit sobering. I was more upset about my losing my buzz over this drama.
She hesitated as she continued to lead me out through the back of the restaurant that Damon and I snuck through earlier. Once free from them she guided me to her car and once inside she stared straight ahead as she seemed to come out of her own state of shock. “Yes, they are vampires. I am too. I’m sorry but I’m just a bit nervous about a stranger coming into town that knows about our kind as we don’t have much luck with new faces.”
“Understandable,” I replied. “But why help me? You and your friends owe me nothing. I was just looking for someone to cover for me until he was dealt with and then offer myself up as food. Guess my plans are going ahead of schedule.”
She glanced at me curious and confused. “Do you really want to die?”
“I don’t have much choice. I have been resigned to my death for three years now. It’s better than being changed into a sparkling idiot and serving the Volturi though.”
“Well, seeing as Stefan and Damon decided to stand up for you, that means we’re in your mess with you. My name is Caroline,” she smiled.
“Bella,” I replied as I sat back and let out a breath. For the first time in four years, I actually felt a sense of relief.