Familiar Strangers by Delilah_Cullen
Summary:

In a world full of supernatural creatures. Things can change with the direction of the wind. Post - New Moon. Edward has been gone for two years. As Bella's life continues to unfold in the worst of ways. Will one mysterious person that enters her life, bring the Cullen clan back? If so, can she forgive? Can she allow them to be in her heart once more? Come with me. Let's explore the world in which she is about to be immersed in. 

This is a tale of old love, new love, and betrayels.


Categories: Twilight, Non-Canon Pairings, Alternate Universe Characters: Bella/OC
Genre: Supernatural
Language: English
TWCS Romance Contest: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 2 Completed: No Word count: 7747 Read: 3322 Published: 24 Oct 2015 Updated: 27 Oct 2015

1. Chapter 1 by Delilah_Cullen

2. Chapter 2 by Delilah_Cullen

Chapter 1 by Delilah_Cullen

 

Familiar Strangers

 

Chapter One

“No! You have him mistaken for someone else, you...have...to...” My words felt foreign to me, as did my slumping body that melted into nothingness behind me. I felt my body hit hard as I fell, not able to stand upright. I couldn't describe my pain, my shock, my disbelief, nothing felt right, as if the whole world was off its orbit. I looked up to the stars and found nothing but a vast black mass of emptiness. My ears felt muffled as a strange shadowed figure came into view, his lips moving as if he were speaking, but I couldn't hear him.

 

“Ms. Swan, Bella, can you hear me?”

 

He didn't look quite right to me. Nothing looked right. I couldn't form words. Why was he looking at me like that? His eyes bulged, his mouth moving so fast that he carelessly spit as he spoke.

 

“Bella, breathe, you have to breathe for me. Everything will be alright, just breathe.”

 

“Officer Platt, maybe we should call the ambulance. She's taken it pretty hard.”

 

The lights were so bright that it hurt my eyes. I wanted to cover my eyes, but I couldn't perform that simple task because I couldn't feel my arms or anything else for that matter. What was wrong with me? Why couldn't I feel anything? I was beginning to lose focus of the pretty lights. Where was my dad? Why wasn't he here to help me? Surely he must have heard something was wrong with me. Did I get hit by a car or something? It wouldn't be the first time, I suppose. I could barely hear the voices around me, and I tried my best to listen to them so I could find out what had happened to me.

 

“Oh no…! You shouldn't have told her like this, not after that family just dumped her the way they did. You should have had Billy Black come to tell her,” Adele, Bella's neighbor, scoffed the officer.

 

“We are to tell the next of kin, ma’am. There isn't anything else we could have done in this situation,” Officer Platt countered.

 

“Charlie was all she had left here. That poor girl, you should let her boss know that she won't be in for a while. How is she supposed to handle the details of the funeral all by her lonesome?”

 

No, no, no, it can't be… Char…Dad is...gone…Funeral? If I couldn't feel anything before, I sure couldn't now, except for a piercing scream which I couldn't quite place.

 

“Adele! See what you’ve gone and done? Ouch, she has some lungs on her,” Officer Platt almost screamed out.

 

“I'm going to give her a sedative and then we'll take her in.” The EMT stated.

 

“He was a good cop, Arlene, and this was his only child, so take good care of her. Geez, she's gonna need a lot of support. We should round everyone up and help with the arrangements. I don't think Bella is going to be in any shape to handle all this,” Officer Platt suggested to the rest of the officers.

 

“Well, I'll get a hold of the Blacks and let them know, and I will get a hold of others that can help. That poor girl lost everyone she cared about. I wouldn't be surprised if she loses her mind after this,” Adele almost said to herself as she walked away with curlers and a pink long ruffled nightgown on.

 

My head was spinning, darkness invaded my brain. I couldn't feel, couldn't stay coherent enough to hear anything, and the pretty lights were fading fast. What was happening? Why did I feel so lost, so alone, so...desperate to let it all end right here and now? The lights dimmed out like the wind blowing out a candle. The lights were the only thing keeping me at the surface and at one point I wanted to stay at that surface, but now, for some odd reason, I couldn't exactly say why, but now I welcomed the darkness. It was home to me for so long inside, now it felt right to allow it to consume me on the outside as well. Ceasing to exist, lingering in the dark, never to feel the pain, the loss, the utter desperation that I felt every single day.

 

Bella just let it all go. Just disappear, and you will not feel anything anymore. An unknown voice whispered.

 

I could swear that was my voice bouncing off of something, yet I didn't mutter a word of it. I never contemplated suicide, it really never crossed my mind, but whatever had happened to me or was happening to me, I knew it wasn't suicide. I was sure it was death coming, creeping up on me slowly. Even though I should have been afraid of it, I wasn't. It had become my closest kin and I embraced it with open arms. No matter how death found me now, it was here and I wasn't going to shy away from it. What was the point really? Somehow I knew I had lost everyone deep down in my bones, so why should I fear the ultimate ending?

 

I relaxed my mind and hoped for the best in the next life, if there was one. I wondered if I would see that bright tunnel of light from near-death experiences that others have talked about. I didn't belong in hell that I was sure of, so I was truly hoping not to feel the depths of hell's burning flames crawling up my feet to engulf me. So I waited; I waited for something to happen, and it took forever to happen to be honest, but finally the bright light came. Only glimpses of it came in between the darkness. It played its own game back and forth for a while. It confused me. Wait...was this a sign telling me that I was in limbo? Even in death nothing could go right, why am I not surprised?

 

“Bella, you're back…?”

 

A voice... I heard a voice! Was it a long lost family member that perished some time ago? I wondered on that idea at first, until I took in the words that voice spoke. Am I back? What did that mean? Had I been here before in another life or something? The statement begged me to ask for the answer, and so I did, or tried really, but my throat constricted against me and left me little to work with, but I tried a little harder, and finally I said “Back?” That was all I could muster. My throat screamed in agony for relief, for...water? That threw me off. Why would I need water, why would I be thirsty? I was dead after all, right?

 

“Bella, open your eyes for me please. It will be alright, sweetie. We'll take care of you.”

 

I couldn't really explain what was happening now, but I had this sneaking suspicion that maybe I hadn't died. I could feel my body, I could smell a distinct aroma of rubbing alcohol, and I could most certainly feel the woman that spoke to me touching my arm, patting if you will. As she asked, I slowly opened my eyes and I was blasted with the bright light above me. Then the woman came into view with her blue button-up nurse shirt that was covered with clouds. Her smile saddened me and I couldn't figure out why.

 

“There you are, sweetie. We have been waiting a while for you to come around. Did you know you have been out of it for almost a week? They were worried that your comatose state would stick its ugly face around longer than it has, but I knew you would come around sooner. You're a strong young woman, Bella. Charlie would be proud of you...”

 

“Would be?” Why did she say that? I was confused.

 

“Oh no, I’ve gone and said too much...Please forgive me, Bella. I-I will go and get someone for you. I'm so sorry...” she spat out, covering her mouth in disgust as she walked away quickly, not giving me any time to ask her again what she meant. It didn't take long to come to terms that I was still alive as I sat there in the hospital room alone, and it didn't take me much longer to pick apart what she had said, and I lost it.

 

My dad, my dad was gone. I remember now. Officer Platt caught me as I was walking to the house. He looked grim, his eyes were empty. I greeted him with a nice tone, although his expression worried me a little. I wondered what had happened. Police business, I was sure of that, and he was probably looking for Char…Dad, so I smiled hiding the worry I had and told him that my dad wasn't home, that he should be at the station, but he would have known that, right? I stopped mid-sentence, stiffening my body. I couldn't quite explain why I did that, but I knew I should have. Another officer came into view and stood behind him, and before I knew it my mouth opened and asked the question that anyone dreaded in this situation.

 

“What is this about officer?”

 

“Ms. Sw…Bella, can we go inside and talk?”

 

“No.” My voice was stern; it had to be, because I couldn't move from my spot if I tried. Just tell me what it is. Where is my dad? Why isn't he here? Just tell me what is wrong?” I was asking questions so fast that I swear I couldn't breathe. My chest constricted, my legs wobbly, my heart sped so fast that I felt that a race car wouldn't be able to keep the same pace, and there it was, the answer to all my questions came in the form of three words...he passed away.

 

My heart sunk, no, it just evaporated right there in the hospital room and I couldn't breathe again, but my tears welled up so much that I couldn't see anything anymore. Almost a week…? That's how long I've been out of it the nurse said. Did I...Do I not get to say goodbye to my dad? Did they have the funeral without me?

 

“Oh, Bella,” I heard a voice say, but I couldn't respond. I couldn't breathe. I was trying but I couldn't.

 

“Thomas, get a paper bag, quick. She's hyperventilating.”

 

A few seconds later I was feeling something pressed against my mouth and told to breathe and try to relax. I shut my eyes tightly and tried to heave their pleas and then finally, gradually, I had calmed down enough to open them again, but not without tears still claiming their destination down my cheeks. An older woman was bent over the side of the bed, trying to console me with her saddened eyes.

 

“Bella, my name is Pamela, and I'm the grief counselor here at the hospital. It's clear to me that you understand the tragedy of your father's death and I'm truly sorry for your loss...”

 

“Please...I just want to know if his...funeral has already taken place. Did I...miss saying...goodbye?” I interrupted her. I didn't want to hear the babble that she was taught to say, it wasn't important to me. What was important is what I had asked her.

 

“Bella, you can always say your goodbyes in other ways, sweetie. It doesn't have to...”

 

“So what you are trying to work around is the fact that I did miss saying goodbye to him, am I right?”

 

Her eyes fell to her lap, realizing that I wasn't going to let her finish as she'd hoped, and then she said in a whisper, “Yes, I'm afraid so, Bella. They tried to wait...”

 

“I wasn't strong enough...”

 

“No sweetie, don't blame yourself. It wasn't that you weren't strong, and no one is blaming you for not being there. Some people take this sort of news harder than others. What happened to you only shows how much you loved him, is all. You should never try and blame yourself. As I said before, you can say goodbye in other ways. He knows you loved him and not being able to be there for the funeral doesn't mean that you loved him any less,” she trailed off with a somber look.

 

I couldn't talk anymore after that. I needed to think, to grieve, and she understood that and let me be.

 

****

 

Another day had gone by and I was to be released today. I was told that Billy and Jacob were going to take me home, which was of little comfort to me. Although my health was good, the hospital argued with me about their protocol to seat me in a wheelchair to get to the entrance downstairs. I was fine and they knew that, but my stubbornness apparently didn't win them over and I was stuck in a wheelchair. I was greeted at the entrance by Billy, and it was odd because I was actually eye-level with him in his own wheelchair, and then Jacob came strolling behind with his head down, watching his feet.

 

“Bella,” Billy strained to keep his voice steady. “I'm sorry, honey. Charlie was my closest friend. He will be greatly missed. Here, I have something for you, it's a picture...”

 

I held out my hand for him to stop. I just couldn't handle anything right now but going home. I needed to rest and wrap my head around all this...alone. I was grateful for the ride, but other than that, I just couldn't handle anything, and he understood quickly. Almost to my street I felt guilty for the way I treated him earlier, and whispered that I was sorry for my behavior, but it was his turn to stop me.

 

“Bella, I understand, I really do. No need to be sorry. I will keep the picture until you're ready for it, alright,” he said as he smiled as big as the Grand Canyon trying to ease my worry.

 

We pulled into the drive and my body tensed. I wasn't expecting this, or better said, I just didn't think about how it would affect me, coming back to the house knowing my dad wouldn't be there. My hand that had a hold of the inside knob tightened its grip as the rest of me began to shake uncontrollably. Jacob ran to my side of the vehicle and opened my door gently. Although I didn't know him that well, he could see my fear and his eyes reflected mine. He held my hands and helped me out and said “Bella, if it's too soon for you to be here, we can take you somewhere else.”

 

It became clear to me as soon as he said that that yes, it was too soon and I knew where I wanted to be, but I wanted to be there alone, so I asked them to take me to my dad's resting place and they had no problem with it, but what they did have a problem with was dropping me off after I said thank you for their help and that I would walk home. They argued, but in the end it was my decision, and although they almost growled at me over it, they finally left me at the front gate of the cemetery, where above me it said.

 

Forks Cemetery

 

My skin ran cold. The sky began to turn different colors as it came close to turning to its slumber for the night. I never asked them to show me where he was in there. It was silly to do so when I knew I just had to look for the freshest grave. Just thinking of that made me cringe. From now on, whenever I wanted to speak to my dad, this...this place...is where I would have to come. Never will I see his smile warm me, never will I hear his laughter or see the smirk on his face when he was at a loss for words, never would I hear him screaming at his favorite team on the television when they would lose a game and never...would I hear him say...I love you, Bells. It just didn't seem real to be standing here right now, standing here knowing that I had to say goodbye in this way, having to say goodbye to him period. Why did I lose everyone that I cared about?

 

The night sky was coming fast; I could see hues of gray, pink and yellow off on the horizon, darkening the quiet, too quiet, deafening cemetery. I had to mentally push myself to walk past the gate and enter. It was almost like a force of nature fighting against me when I tried. Trying to get past it after dark was like a warning from beyond saying:

 

No living person allowed past this point after dark

 

Acting as if I was about to alter the worlds of the living and the dead, I quickly chalked it up to just being nerves, and I was almost certain that my brain was against me too, trying to convince me that I shouldn't be here yet.

 

I wasn't strong enough when he passed to be here when they had the funeral, so I was adamant that I was going to be strong enough to do this now, no matter how much I wanted to put this off, so I pushed through the invisible force that tried to stop me, whether it be the powers of beyond or just me trying to stop myself, and I walked through, but not without still having reservations of what I was doing so soon. I walked what seemed like forever, even though this cemetery was small to me. I knew I was walking at a snail's pace, but I had to find my courage and make it strong, because it was fading fast, and then two rows to my right in the right corner, there it was, a heaving pile of fresh dirt below a plaque that I was certain had my dad's name on it. I stood still for a long, long moment and I felt the tears flow, the cold night air chilling them down my cheeks. I shut my eyes tightly and opened them forcing myself to walk. The closer I got, the closer the name on the plaque came into focus, and when I knew I could read it clearly, I stopped again and read it,

 

Charles D. Swan

Loving and Devoted Father

In the arms of an angel

May you reach your heaven

Rest in Peace

 

I read everything but the dates. I couldn't read that part, the last date would have been too much. Too... final. I wasn't ready to let go that way yet. I knelt down beside the lump of dirt and cried aloud. I wept not only for the loss of my dad, but for the loss of the only man that I would ever love, the loss of the only person I would ever call my sister. In this...place, I felt that it was the only place that I would be able to finally say my goodbyes to them in the end when that came. In a sense, I would have to bury them all in this one grave. I knew moving on wasn't an option, but to come here and speak to my dad and to the rest of them as if they all lied here somehow gave me a strange yet comfortable feeling. My mind truly worked backwards.

 

I decided to lie down next to my dad and talk to him in whispers, hoping somehow, somewhere, he would hear me, and I stayed that way for a while until I heard a familiar voice that stunned the air right out of me and I knew I must have fallen asleep.

 

“I'm so sorry, Bella. I would have come sooner if I would have known.”

 

That...voice...it haunted me for so long, and I tried my best to bury that part of my brain that kept it to memory and I thought I had finally erased it, but I see now that I was very wrong. I shut my eyes tightly, whispering under my shaken breath “You're not real, you're not real. Please stop haunting me. I can't take it anymore, especially not now.” Chanting that over and over until... again... I heard that voice that made my heart pound in my chest and also made it plummet to god knows where in despair.

 

“Bella, I can assure you that I am real. I promise I'm not haunting you.”

 

I don't know what came over me then. I stood up so fast that I surprised myself and went in the direction of his voice, finger ready to push through his ghostly image to prove he was haunting me. I stared the trickster in the eyes while I went at him saying “Not real, huh, what do you call this then?” I pushed my finger towards his chest hard and ---just as I thought--- it went right through Edward’s ghostly image. The mirage of Edward returning after I buried him inside for so long had squeezed my heart tight, as if there was much left to hurt. I felt one single tear fall down my cheek and it enraged me.

 

Chapter 2 by Delilah_Cullen

 

 

Chapter Two



“Not real, huh, what do you call this then?” I pushed my finger into his chest and---just as I thought---I went right through Edward’s ghostly image. The mirage of him returning after I buried him inside for so long squeezed my heart tight, as if there was much left to hurt. I felt one single tear fall down my cheek and it enraged me.


Two years. Edward’s not coming back. Why should I cry anymore? It doesn't do me any good. Maybe I should do what he said. Forget him. Go on with my life. Could I really do that? Could I just pretend that I didn't love him? Would it be fair to anyone else? All relationships that I would have in the future would just end in misery because in the end they would all falter. I would never stop loving Edward and I knew this, but did I have to sit here and be swallowed by his forever absence? No! As much as I want to never forget and always hope for his return, sitting here with my insides decaying every single second wasn't going to happen. I have spent the last year and a half trying to get better and I know I’m much stronger than this.


I turned my head towards the permanent image of where my dad lies forever. I made Charlie a simple promise that I swore to myself I would keep. “I promise you dad that I will become stronger than what you saw before you had to go. I will not let Edward rule my heart any longer. I love you... I miss you. Don't worry about me anymore. Sleep well. See you soon.”


With that I felt stronger already. I made my promise and it was one that I would keep. I hugged myself and closed my eyes and pictured my dad's face in front of me and I shivered when I could clearly hear him say, “I love you Bells, never forget that. I'm always here.”


Again, tears fell down my cheeks. But these, I believe ,were happy tears. My dad was my guardian angel. My lips quivered slightly as I said, “I love you daddy. I will never forget.”


Everything felt surreal and I realized that coming here whenever I wanted shouldn't be a sad portion of my life, but a happy one. I would feel that much closer to him. Hearing his voice wasn't like hearing Ed—his. Dad was talking to me, he was actually talking to me. I opened my eyes to see nothing but the cold dark night and plots all around me, but I never wavered. I had to be strong from here on out. I had to learn how to open my heart again and let it heal and move on. This would be my first priority. I didn't tell my dad goodbye, instead I told him that I would see him soon and I began walking away to leave.


I was halfway through the cemetery when I felt a cold gust of wind rip through my core, my hair flying in every direction. My breath sped up a little with hope, but I quickly put that to rest. Of course, it wouldn't be him. Even so, I still looked around. To my right, I saw nothing but plots and in front of me the same. I turned to the left and felt the cold air suffocating me where I stood. I wasn't aware that anyone would be in the cemetery this late. It was only around eight, but night fell early here in Forks; even in the day, most times looked like night. The sky cast shadows hardly ever revealing the sun.


A guy about my age slumped over a grave. He didn't seem to realize that I was there. I heard his voice: slow and deep with emotion. He was talking to whoever lay beneath the soil below him. I walked as gracefully as I could to see who it was he was talking to, trying not to make any sounds. I didn't want to scare the him. I finally reached the side far off to his right, trying to see the writing on the headstone. Only the moonlight guided me. I froze when he tensed up, but he never turned; instead he began speaking again.


His voice reeked of remorse. “Father, if I could I would have saved you. I would have saved you all. My weakness brought you to your grave prematurely and for that, I will never forgive myself. It's that time of the year...your birthday and as you know, I will never miss it no matter where I am. Please forgive me for what I have done, but I swear to you that I had a reason. You guided me to be a man and I followed your words and example throughout the years. I do hope that when it is my turn to join you---wherever you are---that you do not turn the other cheek. I will respect your decision which ever way you choose. I did not choose to be this way and I hope you remember that when we see each other again. Until next time, Father. Happy Birthday.”


Why was I intruding on a man's private moment with this father? Had I gone mad? His voice entranced me. I couldn't walk away and I had no idea why.


He rested his right hand on the top of the headstone and lowered his head. He closed his eyes, seeming to say a prayer. I took that chance to look at the engravings.


Elias Dubois

 

1829-1860


Father



His father?No! This is what I get for prying? The only way that that person could be his father was if...


“Have I entertained you enough yet?” the voice called out with sarcasm on his lips.


I froze in place. For once, I would like to have a normal day. It was me, Bella Swan, a magnet to all things supernatural. Of course, I sagged and lowered my not-so-smart prying head and couldn't find the words to answer him. My legs were shaking with embarrassment and fear, I started to leave, but he stopped me. Please, please, please, don't be a James or Victoria. My brain spun to the last time I saw a vampire...Victoria. I thought she came to finish me off, but I was very wrong.


Flashback...


Just do it Victoria, just put me out of my misery.”


Oh Bella, the fun is over. What I wanted is nothing compared to this. You see human, I only wanted you dead because he wanted you for himself, but now, well now I find that he really didn't want you at all, so my fun---like I said---is over. Watching you for the past few months, I see this is a better punishment for you. Living...living without him has hurt you worse and for that I am grateful to you, because I know you can't stop how you feel. I want to kill you---trust me I do---but walking away knowing that you will continue to suffer like you do, well, that makes me smile. So Bella, you see, I am done playing with you. He ruined you, you know. It's the worse thing one of us could do to a human to be honest. Allow you to love him unconditionally and then leave you without a trace. I would feel sorry for you, but I don't have a kind bone in my body. See you around Bella...”




That was it. I never saw her again. I understood what she said and that just made it even harder to know that I couldn't even get Victoria of all people to stop the excruciating pain.



The vampire in front of me with his coal black eyes looked somber. He stared at me, but I couldn't find my voice yet to say a word. Quickly, our encounter became a staring contest... or so I thought.


“I don't mean to frighten you. I...I accidentally overheard you talking...” he slowly said.


I found my voice.“You...heard me?” My face flushed, knowing he heard me.


“Accidental, of course. I'm sorry, but I think we have evened the score, wouldn't you agree?” his eyes focused on the ground. In shame perhaps, but a wicked almost hidden smile suggested he knew full well that I was listening in on him, too.


“You...truly loved him, didn't you?”


Oh crap! I wasn't sure who he was referring to. I didn't know how to answer this at first, but I managed to fix it. “Yes, I loved my father very much and I still do.”


“I'm sorry if I'm prying, but I was wondering if you would tell me who it was that you thought wasn't real? If you would rather not, I wouldn't blame you, I was just wondering, intrigued more or less.”


For a vampire, his voice sounded very innocent. His eyes so much darker than my own. His dark shoulder length hair straight as a board and, even in the light of the moon, I could see his well-formed muscles through his tight black shirt. To say he wasn't captivating would be an understatement---not to mention I would be a fool as a woman to ignore it---but I was sure that he already knew that. I decided to not answer his question. I didn't know him and that was too personal. I decided that I should be the one asking questions instead.


“Why are you in the middle of a cemetery at this time of night?”


He snickered lightly to himself and his laughter was alluring. I didn't expect to have a smile crease my face from it, but it did. “I could ask you the same question especially you being a...woman and all.”

I got a little petulant about his remark. Just because I was a woman shouldn't mean that I couldn't go where I wanted when I wanted. “So you're trying to...” he cut me off. He actually cut me off.


“I don't mean any disrespect. It's just so late and in the middle of nowhere. Most woman wouldn't dare think of doing this alone. Please, before we become enemies because of my own carelessness, I would like to introduce myself, if I may.”


I could see now that he meant no harm by his former words so I let it slide and agreed that introductions were in order. I waved my hand gesturing to go ahead.


“My name is Gabriel. I'm new around here and what is the lovely lady's name?”


His demeanor was warm and inviting and that scared me... a little. Vampires had the gift of making a person feel the way they wanted them to, but with this one, I believed, was genuine and so I answered, “I'm... Bella. Now, can I ask you something?” What was I doing? Where did that come from? I cursed myself for thinking aloud.


“Please Bella, ask me anything and please, you have my name now, use it. It would make you feel more comfortable.”


And he's---Gabriel---considerate? I am in deep trouble. “Okay, uh, well, if you're new around here, why would the cemetery be the first place you would go to and at night no less?” He looked at me oddly, almost bewildered even. My legs began to twitch uncomfortably. Maybe I shouldn't have asked that yet.


I saw a smile crease Gabriel’s thick lips and finally he spoke, “Bella, you're very perceptive. If you must know, like you, I have relatives in this cemetery. Long passed, of course, but still my family.”


“How long ago? I would guess that it was someone you knew before your death... vampire.” What the hell was I doing? He could kill me now and never think twice about it. “Damn, I’m such an idiot...idiot... idiot...”


“Are you done chastising yourself, Bella? I should be the one with shock written all over my face, although it appears that shock has painted itself over that beautiful face of yours.”


Correct me if I'm wrong here, but didn't I already proclaim myself an idiot? I had nothing now. No answer to give and my voice came to halt...again. I just stood there like a child after realizing that the word I just used was a bad one and waited for my punishment.


“Bella...” Oh how that name sounded coming off of his tongue. Stop it, stop it! I knew I just let go of Ed-him for good, but this is a little fast don't you think?


“I would love to know why you think I'm a... vampire?” He tried to play it off. His arm rested on top of a headstone, leaning into it in a way that well, I shouldn't be thinking about.


What was I suppose to say? I could play it like he did, but we both knew he was one so why bother. I wanted to be honest and I hoped he did too. I really wasn't up for games or lies, for that matter. “Just let me know now if you're here to kill me? Anything past a no we could work on.”


Again that laughter filled me. The blushing claimed its purpose without my prior authorization. At this point I knew I should be somewhat scared of his response, especially with my new found promise to my dad, but for some reason I couldn't quite place, I knew his answer would be no. He did not intend to kill me. He walked a few steps towards me and by the look on that face of his, he thought I would in turn walk a few steps back but I didn't. He looked surprised and walked even closer. Now he only stood about five feet in front of me. My heart pounded in my chest, emotions bouncing in every direction. I knew he could hear and sense the reactions in my body. I tried to calm down, but this was the first time that I had felt my heart beat in so long that I wasn't sure how to contain what was happening.


He looked down at me with such peace in his eyes and said, “Bella, I am not hear to hurt you. I truly did come here tonight to visit my family and ran into you. Imagine my surprise when your chocolate brown eyes walked over here looking so vacant. Although I may not know you, Bella, it saddened me to see you so...dismal. I would never...hurt such a...remarkable beauty... which you are. Again I beg this time, why do you call me a...vampire?” His lips dancing on his face.


I was stunned to say the least. I had no doubt he was trying to make me feel the way I was. And here it came, I couldn't keep my mouth shut when I knew I should have. “I've known others like you...” He took two more steps in my direction and my breathing almost winced in pain or excitement, I really couldn't tell which. “Please stop trying to make me feel this way. I know you can do that to me.”


“Bella, I'm not doing anything to make you feel whatever it is you're feeling. I don't do that unless I have to. So you know others like me, you say? Care to tell me who they are and if they are in this area?”


In a stern voice I blurted out, “No! They aren't here anymore.” That was all I could muster. If he was being honest and he wasn't trying to make me feel this way on purpose then am I to believe...


“No, as in you won't tell me their names?”


“You just want info from me then, is that it?”


“Bella, my mortal, if you knew what you were doing to me inside, you wouldn't have asked that question. No, I was just wondering because you mentioned others and sometimes we don't get along very well, just like that of your kind. My question was to only find out whether or not I knew them.”


“Well, they won't be coming back at all so your question wouldn't help you any.” I wanted to stay away from his first comment. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go there. Hell, I just met him. I took in a deep breath and realized I shouldn't have done that with him so close. I could smell the intoxicating fragrance coming off of him. Oh No! Now I...had to take a few steps back.


His eyes washed with...fear. Why would he fear me? I had to explain whether I wanted to or not. “I'm sorry, it's just that well, I can smell you and it...” A sense of easiness filled him.


“I understand, I think.”


“You think? What does that mean?”


“Bella, I am also perceptive. You don't seem to be afraid of what I am but more so of how I could effect you emotionally. Has someone hurt your...heart? Someone like...me? I couldn't fathom why on earth anyone would want to do that to you.”


He seemed a tad bit upset about this and I wanted to lie. I really wanted to because I didn't want to talk about this based on past experience. I knew all too well that I sucked at lying. So what was I supposed to do or say? I didn't have a chance to decide when he spoke.


“I can understand why you wouldn't want to answer that. I will take your unspoken words to mean that, yes I was right ,and that doesn't set well with me at all. At this point we know this much: one, you know what I am and that doesn't seem to frighten you in the least, which is good; two, you have been hurt and deserted by one of my own kind; and three, you need only a friend right now. That I can help you with and I am willing to be that person if you allow it. I will refrain from telling you anymore of how I feel because at this time it would, sadly, not help you heal. Bella...?


Was I hearing all this right? How could I be having feelings for someone I just met? How could I be having feelings for someone so soon? I have to be dreaming this...


“Bella, are you all right?” I felt my body folding beneath me, darkness swelling in my eyes and I felt a soothing sensation when something grabbed a hold of me...



Minutes Later...


Hmm, I felt cold but cozy. Calm washed over my heart. Even with Ed-him, I had never felt this way, I was sure of it. What was making me feel this way..?


“Bella, open your eyes, sweetie.”


Huh? I opened my eyes to see that I was being cradled in the arms of...Gabriel? I shot up fast. As usual too fast. I was falling back down just as fast as I had shot up and Gabriel was right there to keep me steady. I pulled my arm away from him out of instinct, but in that same moment, I didn't want to let go. What was happening? What did happen? How did I end up in his arms and...feeling the way I did?


“Bella, you fainted from my barrage of questions. I am truly sorry. I shouldn't have asked you all of that. It was too much for you to grasp so quickly. I...”


I raised my hand up to him to remain quiet because I wanted to say something. Except I couldn't figure out what it was I wanted to say. So I took a moment to catch my breath and think. Did I want to invite Gabriel into my life? Did I potentially want Gabriel as a friend? Or was I hoping for more? Was this somehow my way of getting past everything else? Would my heart betray Gabriel and myself in the end, when I realized that he was only a crutch for me? Could I do that to Gabriel? Maybe getting past Ed-him would be harder than I thought. Or was this feeling towards this fairly unknown person in front of me real? How was I supposed to find out if it was real or not? What do I do? I became a silly little girl then and didn't know what I said until it already came out.


“Why don't we start with phone calls?” Really Bella? That's what you wanted to say? He smiled, happy about this. He must have thought that I would say no to all of it.


“Bella, you are unpredictable, did you know that? Yet so endearing too. I can agree to those terms. We can work our way to wherever you want this to go. I will...be there for you Bella. I won't hurt you physically or emotionally. I begin the dreaded part of my life next week and that is called school...”


“Wait, so the ones I knew aren't the only ones that go to school?”


“No, I suppose you couldn't begin to know how many of us are in the schools across the world. It's just...”


“Easier to blend in.” I finished his sentence.


“Yes Bella, my intuitive new friend. It's become common practice for most of us young enough looking to do so.”


“I have one more question. Please don't get upset with me for asking it okay?”


“I couldn't get upset with you if I tried; what is your question?”


I felt like I was cocooning myself while I asked it. “Do you uh, take the lives of other humans to feed or do you use the animals?”


“Cullen's...”


I cringed when he said that. Oh crap! Well maybe I wasn't as smart as I once thought. He knows now who had been here and didn't look at all happy about it. His eyes eased up apparently seeing me realize my mistake.


“Bella, I will not lie to you. If this changes your opinion of me entirely I can understand that, but I will not lie to you, ever. I do take the lives of others. I do not however take the lives of the innocent...”


“Wait, what does that mean exactly?”


“It means that I only take from those who have taken the lives of others.”


“I see.” I had to think on this for a moment. Did it upset me that he still took life at all or was I happy to know that some kind of justice in this world was being done whether or not he deemed himself judge and jury? His eyes are black in color. It would have been too hard to see any redness in them as Victoria. His skin wasn't as white either, how could that be? A question to ask later...later? Apparently I have made my mind up already. I did want him to be in my life. So I would not turn him away even though he did take the life of humans. I did have some comfort that he only took from those that has taken themselves. I reached out for his hand and took it and said...


Wait. The surge of happiness running through me gripped my heart, crumbling the emptiness that has plagued me for two years and his hand...felt, well, as if I were ice cream melting right into his...perfect...



He was just as bewildered as I was. I pulled back and shook it off for the time being. We just looked at each other in wonder and finally I could speak getting back to what I was going to say before.


“Gabriel.” Wow, saying his name was so natural. “I accept. I accept you the way you are.”


He smiled that incredulous grin of his and said, “I am thankful. Would you like me to call you or rather you call me... when you like?”


“Um, I'll call you, bye... Gabriel.” and I began to walk, but my steps felt as if on air. So light.


“Bella, are you forgetting something?”


I turned too quick, feeling my neck jerk and crack. “Am I?”


“Would you like my number?”


Oh crap! Yep, I was in LaLaLand for sure. “Um yeah, sorry.” that was all I could say, knowing my blush had said the rest for him. He wrote his name down on a card from his wallet and handed it to me. “Don't be afraid to call Bella. I'm here for you.”


With that I smiled and walked away. For some reason, I felt that my dad was there with me the whole time.

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