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Sing me to Sleep

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Chapter 1: Batman

 

“Oh my god,” Edward, of all people, gasped out loud. Rosalie, along with the rest of her siblings, looked at him with raised eyebrows.

“What crawled up your butt?” Emmett asked teasingly, although he seemed curious about the uncharacteristic behavior of his brother.

“She’s going to do it tonight,” Edward blurted out, obliviously not explaining the context. Alice opened her mouth to say something but as soon as she did, her eyes glazed over as she was hit with a vision. Then, she too, gasped out loud and shared a horrified look with Edward.

“Will either of you explain your dramatics or just be quiet,” Rosalie demanded impatiently. Edward and Alice shared another glance, a sad one this time, and they both looked at the blonde with what could only be explained as sorrow or pity, which irked Rosalie even more.

“Now Alice,” Jasper bit out, his face scrunched up as he battled with Rosalie’s anger.

“I…it’s…look…” Edward trailed off, struggling with words. Rosalie’s anger deflated for a moment, too surprised by his stuttering. Edward was usually uptight and always had a smartass response at his disposal, in Rosalie’s opinion at least, so this was definitely a rare moment.

“Just out with it,” she ordered.

“It’s about your mate Rose,” Alice spoke up in a serious manner, which was also uncharacteristic of her. Rosalie swallowed thickly but retained her aloof expression, trying to mask her worry and apprehension. Up to this point she refused to acknowledge the fact that she did actually have a mate, let alone that her mate spent at least seven hours each day in the same building as her. Most importantly, she tried to ignore that her destined one was actually human. It filled her with sorrow, rage and self-hatred. She would not condemn a human to her lifestyle if she could have any say in it. She wished no human the life she had, much less the-so-called love of her life. If Rosalie could choose, she would want nothing more than to abandon her vampire life and go back to being human. To be able to grow old, raise a family and eventually die, was nothing but a bittersweet wishful thinking at this point. There was no going back for her.

“What about her?” Rosalie said in a disinterested tone as she inspected her perfect manicure.

“She has… plans tonight,” Edward tread carefully.

“Great for her,” Rosalie deadpanned, almost smirking when the bronze haired boy ruffled his own hair in frustration.

“She plans to kill herself tonight,” Alice picked up where Edward had left off. Rosalie entire body froze, and her eyes widened in shock.

“Remember to breathe,” Jasper reminded her gently, when the blonde still hadn’t moved an inch nor let out a breath in almost a full minute. On reflex, Rosalie exhaled, but her mind was fixated on Alice’s words.

“Why do you… why would she… how do you know?” Rosalie finally asked. “I thought you couldn’t read her mind,” she narrowed her eyes at Edward, who had the gall to roll his eyes at her.

“It’s a bit glitchy but sometimes I can. It comes in dozes and there is complete silence in between. I have no idea how she does that, but I reckon it’s something she’s doing unconsciously. It’s really frustrating at times and I have to concentrate – “

“Get to the point!” Rosalie practically growled.

“Sorry,” he looked oddly sheepish. “Short version; sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. It’s spotty,”

“Not a reliable source then,” the blonde remarked unimpressed. “Maybe it was just a stray thought,”

“No,” Edward shook his head. “I thought it was just a few days ago but now she’s determined,”

“What?” Rosalie bit out. “She’s had that thought before and you didn’t tell me?” the terror was replaced with anger.

“To be fair you told me you want nothing to do with her and we shouldn’t even mention her to you,” the bronze haired teen folded his arms, although he faltered under Rosalie’s intense glare. “Like you said, it might have been a stray thought. Humans think a lot and often it’s just random tidbits that make no sense,”

“She has it planned?” Jasper jumped into the conversation, sensing Rosalie’s feelings of wanting to attack Edward.

“She does,” Alice answered her husband.

“We have to do something,” Emmett said sombrely, his usual childish glee forgotten. Although Rosalie had forbidden any of them to converse with her mate, he still had fondness for the human. He did not talk to her, but he observed her regularly and he genuinely thought she was a good person.

“Like what?” Rosalie spat out. She knew she was being overly harsh, but she was panicking. Emmett, fortunately, knew her well enough to understand that, for he did not look offended. “It’s not as if I can walk over and talk her out of it. She doesn’t even know me!” she muttered under her breath, feeling very frustrated with herself and her strict rule to not acknowledge her mate.

“We’ll figure something out,” Jasper said soothingly, sending a wave of calm her way. This time however, Rosalie didn’t want his comfort. She felt ashamed of herself and had no idea how to fix this situation. She wanted her mate to have a long life as a human, find real happiness. Suicide had never crossed her mind.

“We’ll help you,” Alice offered sincerely, which was echoed by Edward and Emmett. Rosalie nodded absently as her eyes scanned the cafeteria. Finally, she found what she as looking for. Her mate was sitting at her usual table with her friends, listening intently at some story Angela was telling her. She didn’t look any different than usual, in fact if Rosalie didn’t know better, it was as if there was nothing wrong. Breaking her own rule, she dared to look closer and longer than usual. Bella was smiling and nodding along with Angela’s story, and while she seemed a bit tired, Rosalie didn’t see anything that raised any red flags. About to scold her siblings for frightening her without any reason, her words died on her lips as for the first time since Rosalie ever saw her, her eyes met Bella’s. Rosalie’s breath hitched and she felt unusually vulnerable under the scrutiny of dark brown eyes. It was then when she noticed it. The spark that always resided in Bella’s eyes, was gone. Realising that fact, Rosalie began to see other pieces to the puzzle fall into place. Bella didn’t just look tired, she seemed jaded almost. The more Rosalie stared on, the more worried she got, and it must have shown in some way, because dark brown eyes seemed conflicted all of the sudden. Rosalie wasn’t sure if she wanted to hug Angela or punch her when she grasped Bella’s arm to get her attention, tearing dark brown eyes away from topaz. Rosalie felt winded and oddly empty after the small exchange, something that did not go unnoticed by her siblings, whom all stared at her in pity. Emmett was right, they needed to do something. Or more importantly, she needed to do something. With that in mind, Rosalie steeled herself and began brainstorming for ideas to intercept Bella’s plans.

It was already three o’clock in the afternoon and Rosalie still hadn’t figured out a way to stop Bella from killing herself. Last bell of the day rang, and the blonde felt little hope as she walked down the hallway.

“Help her up,” Alice appeared next to her, looking pointedly at Bella, who was walking calmly towards the exit. Rosalie frowned in confusion, wondering what her sister was on about. Not offering any explanation, Alice ran away, at human speed thankfully, and lightly shouldered Bella. It wasn’t enough blow to actually hurt the human, but it was enough to trip her. Alice called out an apology as she skipped out the door. Rosalie blinked in surprise as she watched Bella sprawled out on the floor, cursing softly under her breath. Remembering Alice’s words, Rosalie hurried towards her mate and held out her hand. Bella grasped it and the blonde gently pulled her up.

“Thank you,” Bella murmured gratefully as she dusted herself off. Finally, she looked up and her eyes widened briefly in surprise as she realised it was Rosalie who helped her.

“You’re welcome,” Rosalie replied calmly. “I’m sorry about my sister,”

“It’s fine,” Bella waved her hand dismissively, as if it was no bother. “She’s a whirlwind that one,”

“She is,” Rosalie agreed, inwardly cursing at herself for sounding so stiff and formal. Luckily Bella only gave her a small smile, unknowingly sending a spark of joy to Rosalie’s heart. She had seen that smile multiple times, even committed it to memory, but never directed at herself. It felt different and she didn’t know what to do with the feeling it gave her.
“Are you okay?” Bella hedged, staring at her worriedly.

“Huh?” Rosalie blinked in confusion. “Yes? Why?”

“Well you got this far-away look in your eyes,” Bella explained and adopted a small smirk. “And there’s the fact that you’re still holding my hand,” as if burned, Rosalie dropped her hand and took a half step back. If she was human and actually capable of it, she would have blushed scarlet.

“I’m sorry,” Rosalie stuttered, hoping with every fiber of her being that her siblings were not listening to their conversation. She was acting so out of character and a far cry from her usual calm demeanour.

“No worries,” Bella’s smirk slipped into a soft smile. A moment of silence passed between them. “Well we should probably head out,” Rosalie nodded in agreement and the two started walking down the-now-empty hallway. Bella seemed content with the silence but Rosalie was struggling to find something to talk about.

“I liked your presentation!” she finally blurted out in sheer desperation.

“Thank you,” Bella gave her a sideway glance. Rosalie nodded tightly, almost sighing when there was another lull in the conversation. “I’m surprised you were listening. I thought everyone was half asleep,” her mate offered another way in.

“Not me,” Rosalie spoke too fast. “It was very interesting,”

“That’s very nice of you to say,” Bella replied politely, yet genuinely. “Angela thought I was laying it a bit thick there in the end,”

“I disagree,” the blonde argued. “Misogyny is a disease. Plus, this is a small town, you kind of have to be clear in order for people to get the memo,”

“True,” Bella quirked a smile. “I’m afraid I missed your presentation though,” she honestly seemed sad about that.

“You didn’t miss much,” Rosalie frowned. “Emmett picked the topic and I pretty much just stood there while he rambled on about Batman,”

“Batman?” Bella let out a light laugh. Rosalie was torn between feeling proud that she made her mate laugh, and feel embarrassed that instead of presenting something important and intelligent like ‘the continuous dangers of misogyny in modern society’, as Bella did; she was stuck with a dumb fictional superhero her brother insisted was the ‘coolest’.

“Not my idea,” Rosalie muttered, definitely feeling the latter. “I couldn’t exactly say no,”

“I never mistook you for someone who was afraid of speaking their mind,” Bella countered.

“Very true,” Rosalie quirked a smile, satisfied with the observation. “The fact is that I’ve picked the last four,” more like twenty, “topics so I felt he should at least choose one,” she admitted.

“That’s kind of you,” Bella smiled. “To be fair, Batman is pretty awesome,” she added with a mischievous glint in her eyes. Rosalie let out a small laugh in surprise.

“If you say so,” the vampire glanced at her smirking mate. “They classify him as a superhero but to me he’s still a rich bored bachelor with superior complexes who likes to run around in leather at night,” this time Bella laughed.

“That’s one way to explain it,”

“How would you go about it?” Rosalie asked in a teasing voice, although really curious about the answer. Bella adopted a thoughtful look.

“Well I agree with the assessment of the rich guy superior complexes however I like to think there’s a bit more to it than that. Batman might be just a man running around in leather at night, but he’s a symbol,” the brunette began, oblivious to Rosalie’s rapt attention. “He fights corruption and does what the laws cannot promise us,”

“He’s no Superman though. Just a man with expensive gadgets,” Rosalie pointed out.

“And that is the heart of it,” Bella nodded. “Like you said, he has no superpowers. He’s just a man,”

“I don’t understand,” Rosalie frowned.

“He symbolises that you don’t have to have any special powers, literal or metaphorical, to fight for what is right. He’s only human, like the rest of us. I’m not saying we should all become vigilantes and literally fight criminals at night, but it tells us that just because you are not in a position of power, doesn’t mean that you are powerless. We all have voices and if we choose to, we can speak up when we know something is wrong. You can interpret that as you wish, whether it is on a political field, with the law, your personal circumstances, discrimination or even in situation you witness that go against your sense of justice. In a way, Batman represents all of our potential to fight for what is right,” Bella finished with a small shrug. Rosalie blinked in surprise, not expecting such an intellectual in-depth answer. She stared at her mate in admiration, wondering if Bella would ever cease surprising her.

“I like your explanation better than mine,” she blurted out when she realised that she had just been staring at Bella for a long minute. Rosalie wondered if she came off as seriously unbalanced as she felt. “Or Emmett’s,” she added.

“What was his explanation?” Bella wondered.

“That he was cool, had a theme song, fought bad guys and drove a kick ass car,” the blonde deadpanned, making Bella laugh once more.

“He’s not wrong,”

“Maybe I’ll give Batman a chance,” Rosalie admitted with a small smile. “Just because you are not in a position of power, doesn’t mean that you are powerless,” she recited softly. “I like that,”

“It took me a long time to realize that,” Bella murmured with a far-away glance. Reacting on pure instinct, Rosalie gently grasped her mate’s hand, squeezing it once in reassurance.

“Some things we learn the hard way,” Rosalie smiled bitterly, pictures of her own life flashing before her eyes.

“Are you okay?” Bella asked gently, making the blonde snap back to reality.

“Yes, why?”

“Well you got this far-away look in your eyes,” Bella explained with a familiar small smirk. “And there’s the fact that you’re still holding my hand,” she echoed the words at the start of their conversation and yet again, Rosalie quickly dropped her hand. She wanted the earth to swallow her. She was acting more like a fumbling schoolgirl with a crush, and not the graceful hundred-year-old vampire she was.

“I’m sorry,” was the only thing she could offer.

“Don’t be,” anyone else probably would seem smug but Bella only offered kindness.

“I’m not usually like this,” Rosalie shook her head, feeling completely out of her element.

“You surprise me, and I rarely feel surprised,” Bella told her with a small smile. Rosalie wasn’t sure what to say so she said nothing. “There’s a lot of talk about you around school and everyone either are in awe of you or feel intimidated, mostly the combination of the two. This is the first time we talk, and it was nothing as I pictured,”

“You did not expect a philosophical conversation about superheroes?” Rosalie quipped jokingly.

“Oddly enough that was not the surprising part,” Bella mused thoughtfully.

“Then I’m afraid to ask,” the vampire chuckled nervously, almost shifting under the small smirk she received.

“I won’t answer then,” her mate replied cheekily and started walking again. Rosalie blinked and hurried along, wondering when they had stopped walking. They walked in silence until they were outside of the school and halfway through the parking lot. Only a few students remained, Rosalie’s siblings being the obvious ones, and some of Bella’s friends. While they all tried to seem casual, it was clear that they were curiously watching Bella and Rosalie. Rosalie herself was having an inward panic attack, realising that she never accomplished her task and the small interaction with her mate was over. She had to do something. If would have been painful enough to lose her without ever properly meeting her, but now when she already caught a small glimpse inside Bella’s mind, it would destroy her.

“Got any plans tonight?” she tried to sound casual. Bella gave her a curious side glance.

“I do,”

“Oh. Anything interesting?” Rosalie’s voice betrayed her, and she sounded more anxious if anything. She closed her eyes and cursed herself for sounding so pathetically invested.

“Depends on what you find interesting,” Bella replied with that same damned smirk. She was definitely amused by the vampire fumbling behavior. If it had been anyone else in any other situation, Rosalie would have punched them for it.

“Are you always this deliberately vague?” she almost pouted.

“When it suits me,” Bella exclaimed smartly. Emmett’s booming laughter across the parking lot reminded Rosalie that her siblings were definitely listening to their conversation and probably having a field day with her behavior. She would never live this down.

“Brilliant,” Rosalie sighed in both frustration and exhaustion. A warm hand on her arm made her look up. Topaz eyes met dark brown.

“In another world I would say that I am not busy tonight. I would in return ask what your plans are, in hopes that you are free as well,” Bella’s tone was gentle in great contrast with her intense stare. “I would then ask you to spend the evening with me. I would walk you to your car and say that I look forward to tonight. Then I’d drive home and think about all the things I want to ask you, to find out what more surprises you have in store for me,” Rosalie’s breath hitched in her throat. If she were human, her heart would be racing by now.

“And in this world?” she asked shakily, dreading the answer. Bella’s answering sad smile said it all.

“Do you know what I discovered about you that I found surprising?” the brunette asked instead. Rosalie shook her head gently. “Everyone is intimidated by you, but I find it to be the exact opposite,” Rosalie frowned. “You are exceptionally cute,”

“I am not!” the vampire argued in an indignant manner, finding the notion ridiculous. Never before had she been described as cute. Her siblings seemed to share that thought since they all started laughing at her expense.

“Borderline adorable,” Bella continued, unfazed with Rosalie’s protests.

“Maybe Angela is right. You lay it on a bit thick,” Rosalie complained, feeling delighted when her mate laughed.

“I’m rarely wrong darling,” Bella winked playfully, and Rosalie’s heart fluttered at the pet name.

“Arrogant, are we?”

“Occasionally,” the brunette answered airily before sobering up. “Do me a favor and never stop surprising people Rosalie,” Rosalie swallowed when she heard her name from her mate’s lips for the first time.

“Why does this sound awfully like a goodbye?” the blonde asked in a small voice, hating the empty feeling that washed over her. An array of emotion flickered in dark brown eyes.

“Forgive me for being selfish,” Bella murmured, which made Rosalie frown in confusion.

“What are you – “then Rosalie’s words were swallowed with a kiss. Warm and impossibly soft lips touched her own as a hand gently grasped her waist. Taken completely by surprise, it took Rosalie several seconds to respond. It was as if something clicked inside of her and all the restriction she had put on her feelings, flew out the window. Nothing mattered anymore expect soft warm lips and a steadfast heartbeat. Too soon, the kiss ended, and Bella drew back. A thumb touched Rosalie’s lower lip.

“In another world,” Bella quirked a small smile and took a step back away from her personal space, as if she hadn’t just flipped Rosalie’s entire world around. Rosalie stood frozen in the same spot as she watched Bella hop into her car and drive away, too stunned to think of stopping her.

“Rose?” Alice’s voice snapped her out of her trance.

“I… did that just happen?” Rosalie asked her sister in a distant voice.

“It did,” Alice replied, cautiously watching her, as if she was afraid, she might break down.

“She sure has balls!” Emmett appeared next to them. “I never thought anyone would dare to kiss you without warning in public,” he gave her a silly smile.

“Although many wish to,” Edward scrunched his face up, as if he was remembering something. “Too many,” Rosalie rolled her eyes at them, although she secretly agreed. It did take her by surprise that Bella did something like that.

“It pegs the question if she would have done that under any other circumstances? She’s planning on dying tonight, I guess impulsiveness is a high factor. Maybe it was just something to check off her bucket list,” Rosalie muttered under her breath in an odd show of insecurity.

“You forget that I felt what she felt,” Jasper said gently. “The intent was pure,” Rosalie’s shoulders relaxed a fraction at his words.

“It sure looked like she meant it,” Emmett nodded firmly with a devious smile. “Plus she thinks you’re exceptionally cute,”

“Borderline adorable,” Alice added teasingly. Rosalie was thankful that she couldn’t blush. She was never going to live this down.

“No, you’re not,” Edward grinned.

“Whatever,” Rosalie rolled her eyes and folded her arms. “She doesn’t know what’s she’s talking about, we’ve only had one conversation. Obviously, she’s going to realize that I’m not adorable,” the notion was a strange one to her. Beautiful, hot, gorgeous, sexy, cold, bitchy, indifferent and intimidating were words that people used to describe her; no one had ever used cute or adorable.

“In her defense you were stuttering a lot back there. I’ve never seen you so off your kilter,” Emmett grinned happily.

“We need to keep her around,” Edward smirked. “It’s entirely amusing to see you so out of your element,”

“Shut it!” Rosalie spat icily, feeling a lot calmer when the boys took a step back at her tone. At least she hadn’t lost her character completely. “You’re right though,” she added as an afterthought.

“He is?” Emmett asked in surprise.

“We need to keep her around,” Rosalie stated seriously. Emmett whooped; his joy mirrored in his siblings’ expressions. “I need a plan,”

“We’ll help,” Alice offered without hesitation, reaching out to give Rosalie’s arm a small squeeze in comfort. Rosalie glanced at her sister for a moment before shifting her attention to her brothers, who nodded in agreement. Gratitude filled Rosalie and she exhaled in relief.

“Let’s go home and figure out our next move,” Jasper suggested softly.

“Operation Save-Bella is a go!” Emmett intoned dramatically, making a ridiculous superhero pose.

“Batman,” Rosalie murmured to herself. “I am not powerless,” she steeled her resolve and with newfound purpose in her steps, she strolled to her car with pure determination in her eyes. She missed the questioning looks her siblings exchanged before they followed. Poor Emmett misinterpreted her Batman comment and barely managed to dodge the textbook Rosalie flung in his face when he started singing the Batman theme song in the backseat.

“I thought we were playing Batman?” Emmett pouted.

“We are,” Rosalie assured him. “Just no theme songs,”

“Lame,” the big man whispered to Alice, who only just managed to keep her face neutral.

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

TRIGGER WARNING for suicide attempt

 

 

Bella’s POV

 

She was utterly exhausted. That was the most apt description she had of her state of mind. Rationally Bella knew she was giving up but at that point she just didn’t care, she only needed it to stop. She didn’t have energy to keep this façade up. Truthfully it had ended a long time ago, but she was straining herself at this point. Even always-oblivious-Mike was starting to notice her disconnection to reality. Angela, ever the perceptive one, had been studying her with quiet concern for weeks now and while she never asked her directly, her eyes said enough. Bella was through with deflection and awkward subject manoeuvring. She felt explosive, like a ticking bomb just waiting to go off.
Bella glanced down at the materials she had gathered for the night and wondered if she might be overdoing it a bit. A gleaming kitchen knife lay innocently on the sofa table, next to a bottle of vodka and a pill bottle.

“It’s at least enough to make it permanent,” Bella muttered to herself as she plopped herself down on the couch. Her eyes wandered around the room, taking in her living room for the last time. Truthfully there was not much personality in the décor, she hadn’t cared enough to add any real flavor; mostly furniture and one-half dead plant in the corner. However, there were a few memorabilia scattered around the room in honor of her late father. Her eyes rested on one picture for a long moment. Charlie Swan was beaming in full fishing gear attire, holding out a fresh catch; obviously proud of his achievement. Seven-year-old Bella Swan seemed completely unimpressed with the whole thing and wore a deep scowl, eyeing the fish with disgust. A faint smile touched Bella’s lips, always amused with this particular picture. Charlie had been too, since the picture rested upon the mantlepiece above the fireplace. A place of honor, he would exclaim with a smirk.

“I’m so sorry dad,” Bella choked out. For the first time ever, she almost felt relieved that her father wasn’t alive anymore, at least he didn’t have to deal with the aftermath of her own departure. She exhaled shakily and grabbed the vodka bottle on the table, opened it and took a big swig.

“I don’t know if you’re watching me now old man, with that typical fatherly disapproving look but… I just can’t do this anymore,” she began with a sad chuckle. “Don’t worry, I still remember your lectures about how we are never powerless, which I agree applies to most situations. However, this is different…” she wasn’t sure who she was trying to convince at this point, the imaginary ghost of her father or herself.

“It’s just…too much. I feel like I’m losing grasp on reality and every moment I feel this suffocating shadow following me around. I never know if I am here or not, you know?” another swig of the bottle. “Since we’re on the subject on losing grasp on reality, I’d like to point out that I’m currently speaking to the ghost of my dead father,” Bella snorted with a shake of her head.

“I’m completely off my rockers,” She scrunched up her nose in distaste and looked at the empty page she had ripped out from one of her notebooks. Then she lay down the bottle and grabbed the pen that rested beside it.

“This is traditionally what people do, isn’t it?” she asked no one. “Everyone except René maybe, but she was never the traditional sort,” a bitter smile touched her lips.

“Right, let’s keep this short,” she adopted a thoughtful expression, the pen hovering over the paper for almost two whole minutes before she hastily scribbled down her last words. She chose the words carefully, mostly a string of apologies and thank you’s. Angela was the only one who got four sentences.

To be fair there weren’t many people she had to write. Her mother and father were both gone, and she had been an only child. Billy Black and his son sometimes invited her for dinner, but they weren’t exactly close. Without Charlie being the buffer, Billy and Bella almost always ended up arguing. Bella knew the old man only checked up on her as an obligation to her father, not out of genuine concern for her well-being. Jacob Black was a whole different matter. He was nice enough, but his puppy love towards Bella made her feel uncomfortable and she did her best to avoid him if possible. The only people who really mattered in Bella’s life, were her friends. They weren’t extremely close, but she was still fond of them. She regarded Mike and Eric as her adopted idiot brothers, despite their insistence that they were in fact men and not related to her. The latter part was always added because of their completely unrequited crush on her. Still they were funny at times and their silly antics often made Bella’s day. Lauren was more of an annoying associate than a friend but still somehow belonged in their group. Her jealous biting comments mostly served as an amusement, which was why Bella tolerated her at best. Jessica was a little too self-absorbed and honestly a bit over the top at times, but she had a kind heart and was surprisingly fiercely loyal. Angela was the best of them, in Bella’s opinion. The girl had been by her side through almost everything and her quiet understanding nature worked as a calming balm when everything got overwhelming. Angela almost always seemed to understand Bella, even before she understood herself. She was the only reason Bella felt guilty about her decision. She knew the sensitive girl would be broken up about her death, but Bella knew she would eventually get over it. If not get over it, then hopefully forgive her with time. It was better this way, at least Angela wouldn’t have to worry so much anymore.

“This should be enough,” Bella declared and carefully folded the letter and positioned it in the middle of the sofa table. “This goes out to you Pops,” she lifted the bottle and saluted before taking another sip. She wracked her brain for anything she might have forgotten. She knew was stalling. Bella cleared her throat and shook her head slightly. “Well… no time like the present!” With shaky hands, she opened the pill bottle and squeezed her eyes shut.

“Here we go,” she disposed the entire bottle into her mouth and reached for the vodka to help her swallow. Before the bottle could touch her lips, an odd sensation overtook her body. A sharp pain in her lower abdomen startled her enough to spit the pills out and they went flying in all directions, scattering around the room. Another invisible blow made it hard to breathe and she sucked in a sharp breath.

“Not now!” she cried out, desperately reaching for the knife. She fumbled for a few moments, her body starting to feel heavier and her movements uncoordinated. Finally, she grasped the handle and made a victorious sound as she crudely sliced up her inner forearm, hoping she would hit a vein. Worrying amount of blood immediately started trickling down and she hurriedly went to copy the move with her other arm. Before the blade could pierce the unblemished skin, her vision clouded over, making her drop the knife. It made a clinging sound as it hit the hardwood floor.

“Fuck,” Bella murmured, doing her best to fight the incoming sensation. She knew however that it was a fruitless endeavour. This was one of those situations where she was powerless. She absently registered someone calling her name in the distance, although she wasn’t completely sure if it was real or not. It was hard to think clearly. Her body swayed dangerously, and she topped forwards. The fall seemed to take forever, before Bella finally hit the ground harshly and blacked out

 

 

 

Rosalie’s POV

 

Rosalie paced back and forth, getting increasingly more worried by the minute.

“Tell me her plan again,” Emmett requested. Edward sighed and repeated the same thing he had been continuously asked of since that the afternoon. It was approaching dinner time and they still hadn’t conjured a plan.

“She will be home alone. She has already purchased alcohol and some pills from a questionable source. She also has a big kitchen knife,”

“Seems a bit excessive doesn’t it?” Emmett asked no one in particular. “I mean, the pills and alcohol should do the trick. Why a knife as well?”

“To make sure,” Edward intoned sadly.

“Well-“

“Stop it!” Rosalie practically exploded. “Stop talking about her chosen method! That’s not what we need to concentrate on!” Emmett, to his credit, looked apologetic. “We need to find a way to intercept her plan without revealing we actually got our intel from a mind reading Vampire!”

“She’s your mate,” Alice began hesitantly, almost flinching when Rosalie’s wild eyes met hers.

“I’m aware yes,” the blonde bit out darkly.

“I mean we don’t have to hide the fact that we got our intel from a mind reading vampire,” the pixie explained.

“There are rules,” Rosalie protested, staring at Alice as if she was an idiot. “We cannot reveal ourselves to humans, or have you forgotten the Volturi?”

“She exempts from that rule,” Jasper came to his wife’s defense. “She’s your mate, so she’ll eventually find out we are vampires anyway,”

“No she won’t,” Rosalie argued right away. Her stance on protecting her mate’s humanity had not changed. She just needed to convince Bella to live her human life. Privately she wanted nothing more than to get to know the enigmatic girl who declared Rosalie as exceptionally cute, but it was a selfish reason. Maybe in time she would change her mind, but she needed time to let the idea sink in.

“You’re still denying the bond?” Alice asked incredulously. “Rose she’s about to take her own life-“

“I know that!” the blonde growled. “Just because she’s currently unhappy as a human, doesn’t mean that won’t change. I won’t condemn her to our lifestyle if I can help it,”

“She’s your mate! Which means she’s literally made for being a Vampire, you stubborn fool!” Alice shot back in frustration. The rest of the Cullen family eyed the sisters in apprehension. Alice rarely, if ever, raised her tone against Rosalie. Rosalie herself looked as if she were about to attack the smaller vampire.

“What if we contact some family members?” Esme, ever the pacifier, suggested into the tense silence. “Ask someone to go over and check on her?”

“There are none left,” Carlisle answered with a sigh. Everyone’s attention shifted to the doctor. “Charlie Swan died two years ago,”

“Her mother?” Esme wondered with horror in her eyes.

“Died a year before Charlie,”

“Fuck,” Emmett swore. Rosalie’s eyes closed at the information, although she had expected as much. Despite doing her best to avoid learning anything about her mate, Forks was a small town and there were constant rumours going around. She had discovered that Charlie Swan was dead but didn’t know about Bella’s mother.

“She has no one?” Esme eyes filled with tears that would never shed. “That poor girl,”

“Rosalie Lilian Hale!” she turned towards her adoptive daughter. “She needs a family,” Esme said sternly.

“I’m not turning her,” Rosalie protested stubbornly.

“We are running out of time,” Edward informed them. “She planned it at 8’o clock,” he glanced at his wristwatch. “We have literally ten minutes,” Rosalie’s eyes widened in panic. They had been talking in circles ever since they got home from school and they still had no plan.

“Go!” Alice pointed at the door. Rosalie hesitated for a moment but quickly jumped into action under the expectant and slightly exasperated expressions from her family. She nearly ripped the front door from its hinges in her haste to exit the house. As soon as she stepped outside, she started running towards Forks. She only slowed down as soon as she entered the down and started jogging from there.

“Okay,” Rosalie stared nervously at the Swan residence. The vampire walked up to the front porch and stopped in front of the door. She closed her eyes and listened to any movement inside the house. The sound of the familiar heartbeat almost brought her to tears. She wasn’t too late. Rosalie mustered up all her courage and knocked and waited. Rosalie frowned when it seemed as if Bella wasn’t about to answer the door.

“Guess I got to do this the hard way then,” she murmured under her breath and let out a relieved breath when she realised the front door was unlocked. She hesitantly opened the door and took a step inside.

“Bella?” she called out softly. There was no answer, but Rosalie could hear the increased heartbeat. Her face grew ashen when she realised Bella’s heart rate was growing at an alarming rate. Deciding to ditch the previous hesitation, Rosalie moved further into the house. “Bella?” she called again. The only answer was a loud crash. The vampire flashed into the living room and stopped dead in her tracks. The sound of the heartbeat was gone, as was Bella. There was a splatter of blood on the couch, broken bottle on the ground; liquid staining the carpet, a dozen of pills scattered around the small area but no body. Rosalie’s heart would have stopped it were still working. The scent of her mate still lingered in the air.

“Bella?” her cry was more desperate now and she checked every corner and room in the house but there was no evidence of Bella. It was as if she had disappeared out of thin air.
The vampire collapsed on the sofa, staring at the stain of fresh blood. A piece of folded paper on the sofa table caught her attention and she hesitantly picked it up and read. It was a suicide note. A pang of raw sorrow hit the blonde, so intense that she felt rooted on the spot.

“Rose,” Rosalie’s head snapped up and noticed Alice standing in front of her, eyes filled with tears. “She’s gone,”

“I know,” Rosalie shook her head in bewilderment. “I don’t understand, I could hear her heartbeat but then it just stopped. But there is no body or anything,”

“I can’t see her in my visions. Her future is blank,” Alice clarified. Rosalie’s horrorstricken eyes met her sister’s.

“I…no,” Rosalie whispered. “She can’t be…I couldn’t tell her…I….she,” the vampire stumbled to her feet. “I never got the chance to…” Rosalie shook her head unbelievingly. “But where is her…”

“Rose,” Alice murmured gently, taking a step forward but deciding against touching the distraught blonde. “I’m so sorry,”

“Fuck!” a hot flare of anger erupted in Rosalie and she picked up the table and flung it against the wall. Pieces of wood went flying in all direction and while the sound was oddly satisfying in Rosalie’s ears, it did nothing to calm her. A broken picture frame lay innocently in front of the fireplace. The face of an unimpressed Bella, taken when she was a child, seemed to mock Rosalie and she let out a broken sob.

“I’m so sorry Bella,” she whispered.

 

 

 

Bella’s POV

 

When she woke, it was with a groan and throbbing sensation in her arm. She did her best to overcome the disorienting feeling as she struggled to open her eyes. After several unsuccessful attempts, she finally managed but soon wished she hadn’t.
It was cold and dark, and the air was so thick that it was hard to breathe. A row of rusty steel bars came into view and it took a second for her to realize those were prison bars. Where was she now?

Bella blinked and with great caution, looked around. Behind her was a mouldy stone wall that looked as if it had never been cleaned; with several cracks and scratches in them. She peered at it and almost flinched backwards when she noticed those scratches were made by fingernails. Gulping, she looked down and saw that she was sat on a muddy floor; with various spots and pools of something she did not want to know what was in them. For the first time she realised she was not alone.On the wall to her right were five women propped against the wall, with slumping shoulders and head bowed. They were covered in filth and dirt and only wore shapeless brown dresses that resembled potato sacks if anything. Their hair was greasy and dirty and looked like they had not been washed in years. Turning her head to the left she saw a similar sight, four women sat on the opposite wall in the same position. So far no one had noticed her presence, in fact Bella wasn’t sure if they were alive or not. What now?

It was then when she noticed the smell. It was if a brick had hit her nose by the overwhelming scent; a mixture of dirt, blood, body sweat, body fluids and something rotten that she could not properly place. It was without a doubt the worst smell she had even encountered in her life. Scrunching up her nose in distaste, she tried to breathe through her mouth and focus on the situation at hand.
Bella wanted to cry at this new predicament. Where was she?

 

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

Rosalie's POV

 

Rosalie stared dejectedly up at the ceiling. She hadn’t moved an inch for two whole days. Her family had come and gone into her room, but no one could get a word out of her. Jasper had tried to console her during the first hour since she came home after the incident, but the blonde had merely growled at him and ordered him to keep his calm emotions to himself. In all truth, it would be best thing in the world to get some relief from her haunting state of mind, but she felt as if she didn’t deserve it. She was the one who had repeatedly rejected the mate bond, refused to even look at Bella. Her stubborn pride had neglected to see that her mate had been hurting. She deserved to feel the repercussions of her failures. Sweet intriguing Bella, who managed an impossible feat with just one conversation; to turn the unflappable Rosalie Hale into a stuttering mess. That’s all what it took, one conversation and Rosalie was hooked, but now her chance was gone forever.

“You’re such an idiot,” Rosalie whispered to herself. Flashes of dark brown eyes and a teasing smirk taunted her memory. “This is all my fault,”

“No, it’s not,” Edward walked in without knocking. Rosalie hated when people didn’t respect her privacy and if she were not practically comatose, she would have thrown him out the window. “Her decision was not your fault,” Edward pushed on.

“Not in the mood Edward,” Rosalie’s tone lacked its usual bite. The bronze haired boy frowned momentarily, seemingly unnerved by her reaction.

“I know you’re not,” her brother replied carefully. “Regardless, you need to hear this. While this whole event is tragic, you play no part in it. Bella Swan was an independent individual who made her own decisions. Don’t take responsibility for her feelings or actions,”

“I know you think you’re trying to be helpful Edward, but I swear to god I will rip off your own arms and beat you with them if you don’t stop talking,” Rosalie warned him.

“Eddie! We told you not to bother Rose,” Emmett entered the room.

“I’ve told you to not call me Eddie!” Edward narrowed his eyes.

“And I never listen,” Emmett replied without skipping a beat. “Now leave Rosalie alone,”

“But she’s taking responsibility for what happened!” the mind reader almost pouted, which would have been a hilarious sight under any other circumstances.

“Let her grieve in peace,” Jasper appeared next to Edward.

“Are you kidding me?” Rosalie sat up and glared at her brothers. “This isn’t a fucking intervention, get out of my room!” she took small satisfaction with the way they all took a step back at her tone.

“We’re just worried about you Rosalie,” Edward exclaimed cautiously. “This isn’t healthy,”

“My mate just died! I’m entitled to my grief!” Rosalie practically exploded.

“I got news!” Alice flashed into the room with a giddy expression. The blonde threw her hands up in frustration, not in the mood for the Brady Bunch vibes she was getting from her family. Edward, ever the dramatic one, gasped. Rosalie eyed him and Alice’s beaming smiles with a mixture of irritation and apprehension.

“If you tell me, will you leave?” the blonde deadpanned.

“At once,” Alice promised with a twinkle in her eye. Then she took an unnecessary breath. “Bella is alive,” Rosalie froze at the words.

“If this is a joke Alice, I am not amused, and I will – “

“I swear,” the pixie looked offended at the notion of her making this up. “I just had a vision!”

“I don’t understand,” Emmett frowned in confusion.

“Me neither but I just had a vision of her attending school tomorrow,” A disbelieving silence followed her statement.

“Are you sure?” Rosalie locked eyes with her sister, terrified of getting her hopes up and not wholly comprehending the situation.

“Positive,” Alice promised solemnly. Relief, hope, joy, confusion, incredulity and excitement hit Rosalie all at once and if she weren’t a vampire, she would have fainted.

“How is that even possible?” the blonde breathed out.

“I guess Bella Bear has a trick up her sleeve,” Emmett said giddily. “She’s not the average bear,”

“You’re an idiot,” Edward told him with no small amount of exasperation.

“Don’t be a such a sourpuss Eddie,” the big man shot back.

“Don’t call me Eddie!” the mind reader ordered but Emmett merely smirked.

“Thank you for the information Alice but will you all please get out of my room,” Rosalie requested faintly, still trying to process everything. Her siblings exchanged worried glances but eventually nodded and left her alone.

Rosalie stared blankly at her wall for a long time. Did this mean she had another shot?

“At least go hunt and take a shower before school tomorrow,” Esme’s voice called from a different room. “You can’t let Bella see you in this state,” Rosalie privately agreed, glancing down at her torn and muddied clothes. Esme’s garden had taken a brutal hit when Rosalie had come back from the Swan Residence. She definitely needed a change of clothes.

“Wear that red shirt you love with the black skinny jeans,” Alice piped up helpfully.

Even though they couldn’t see her, Rosalie nodded and slowly rose from the bed. Alice’s visions were rarely wrong, albeit subjective but her sister would never give her false hope.

“A second chance,” Rosalie murmured with a ghost of a smile.

 

 

“Will you calm down,” Alice hissed under her breath, glancing at her fidgeting sister.

“Let her be, she’s just nervous,” Jasper told his wife, sending another wave of calm to Rosalie, who gave him a fleeting smile of gratitude.

“She needs to act casual,” the pixie frowned. “Otherwise she’ll scare Bella,” Rosalie immediately straightened up and ceased fiddling with the bottom of her shirt. “That’s better,” Alice nodded in approval, ignoring the eyeroll from the blonde.

“She’s here!” Emmett stage whispered and Rosalie’s head snapped towards the beat-up truck, which slowly entered the parking lot. She waited with bated breath as Bella parked the car, physically straining herself to not blur over to see her mate.

“What happened to her?” Emmett asked no one in particular as the brunette exit the car. Rosalie sucked in a sharp breath, her enhanced sight taking in the state of the girl.

Bella looked pretty banged up, sporting a black eye and a split lip. There was a faint scar starting on her left temple, stretching down to her cheek. Rosalie watched her as she fumbled with her book back and noticed how stilted and awkward her movements were, as if she was hiding an injury underneath her clothes. She looked exhausted but alive.

As if by an invisible force, Rosalie’s legs started moving on their own.

“Not yet,” Alice’s hand shot out and grabbed her arm. If Rosalie wasn’t as prideful, she would have pouted at the command. “You’ll get your chance,” that settled some of her anxieties.

“Come on,” Emmett gently pushed her towards the school building. Rosalie shot her mate a lingering look, before sighing and following her siblings.

The day passed at a snail pace and Rosalie grew more agitated by the hour. Her classes had never before seemed so useless and the endless chatter around her made her want to attack someone. Her siblings did their best to not antagonize her and opted to talk quietly amongst themselves, only shooting the blonde a few worried looks from time to time.

Lunch was the hardest. It was bad enough to be stuck in a room with every student; surrounded by the smell of sweat, hormones, all different kind of human food and being forced to listen to pointless conversation. But having Bella in her sights and not being able to talk to her mate, that was pure torture.

“Soon,” Alice whispered soothingly, which did nothing to help Rosalie’s frustration.

Instead of addressing her sister, Rosalie tuned in on the conversation at Bella’s table. The girl in question had skilfully managed to avoid the subject of her obvious injuries; only giving her friends a short explanation of ‘home invasion’ and that she was ‘Fine, don’t worry. I’m tougher than I look,’. That was the extent of it and her friends started a new conversation about homework, although Angela Weber kept shooting Bella a concerned look, obviously not buying the story.

“She’s definitely suspicious,” Edward confirmed her theory. “She’s planning on talking to her after school,”

“Not until I get to her first,” Rosalie murmured stubbornly.

 

Finally, after what seemed like the slowest day in Rosalie’s vampire history, the last bell of the day rang. Rosalie had to force herself to walk calmly out of her last class, and not sprint like she wanted to.

“Help her up,” Alice called out as she ran down the hallway, bumping into Bella, who dropped the books she had been carrying. The mischievous pixie yelled out an apology to the baffled brunette.

“Déjà vu much?” Rosalie muttered under her breath before walking over to her mate to help.

“I sense a pattern here,” Bella exclaimed casually as she accepted Rosalie’s help.

“Sorry about her,” Rosalie did her best to keep her tone steady. Judging by Bella’s unreadable look, she hadn’t been successful.

“No worries,” Bella shrugged but couldn’t hide the small wince that accompanied the action. She was clearly in pain. Just as Rosalie was about to ask her about the injuries, dark brown eyes met hers and she fell silent. “I hope you’re not here to punch me,”

“Punch you?” Rosalie asked appalled. “I would never!” she inwardly grimaced at the passion behind the statement. Luckily Bella found it amusing. “Why would I punch you?” the blonde added in a softer tone.

“I did kiss you out of the blue,” Bella explained with a sheepish expression, which melted Rosalie’s heart; although she would deny it if asked. “I have a feeling most people would be sporting a limp by now or maybe a black eye,”

“Pretty sure you managed that without my help,” Rosalie stated dryly.

“Touché,” Bella let out a light laugh, gingerly touching her face in a self-conscious move.

“Home invasion was it?” Rosalie asked innocently, almost smiling when Bella’s eyes narrowed playfully.

“News travel fast,” the brunette gave her a scrutinising look, long enough to make Rosalie shift uncomfortably on the spot. Something about Bella made her feel nervous. “That seems like a logical explanation doesn’t it?” Rosalie frowned, unsure if she was actually asking her of it had been a rhetorical question.

“Is that the truth?” the blonde hedged carefully. “You certainly seem like you were attacked,” she decided to not mention the fact that she had been there when this so-called home invasion was to take place.

“You should see the other guy,” Bella chuckled humourlessly.

“What actually happened?”

“Do you think what we do in order to survive, defines us?” Rosalie blinked in surprise at the unexpected question. It was a bit alarming to hear someone ask a vampire that particular question, someone who drank blood to survive, albeit on an animal diet. She wasn’t sure what to answer.

“I want to say no,” Bella continued. “I think we do desperate things when our survival instincts kick in. We have no control over our primal brain after all. I will not try to argue that point. I just sometimes wonder how much has to happen for the line to get blurry?” Bella looked straight into her eye with unusual clarity. “When does the thing you convince yourself is a necessary evil, become natural to you? Where does it stop? What do you do when you lose your identity?” Bella looked away, oblivious to the way Rosalie let out a breath of relief. She felt as if those dark brown eyes were staring into her soul and that unnerved her.

“What do you do if your moral compass fails you?” the young woman whispered to herself. Rosalie was at loss. Bella as clearly burdened by many things, awful things, and there was nothing Rosalie could say that would ease her pain.

“I like to think that our moral compass never fully goes away,” the blonde mused out loud. “After all, everything points to it when the fact that you’re wondering about it in the first place. If you didn’t have it – the thought wouldn’t even occur to you,”

“I suppose that’s a fair point,” Bella nodded faintly. “You can also argue that the environment shapes you. Society dictates what’s right or wrong. The unwritten rules that everyone know. It can be difficult to enter such a society as an outsider. The line becomes blurry,”

Rosalie noticed that the words were more for her own benefit than Rosalie’s. Still it was interesting to listen to her. It seemed as if her mate was set on changing her world view with every conversation. “It’s not an excuse of course, but an explanation,” Rosalie nodded faintly in agreement, even though Bella was not looking at her anymore. The blonde didn’t know what to say and felt completely out of her depth. Bella seemed too small in that moment, as if she were carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. It was obvious that something terrible had happened to her and she was having a hard time coping. Rosalie was intimately familiar with an existential crisis, it came with the package of being an almost hundred-year-old self-loathing vampire, but she felt Bella was a bit young for those type of thoughts.

“I’m sorry,” the brunette said in an awkwardly endearing manner with a small blush. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” It was impressive how she went from solemn to adorable in the spam of two seconds. Rosalie’s heart fluttered. “I’m also sorry for my dark mood and depressing disposition,” Bella continued in the same apologetic tone.

“Don’t be,” Rosalie gave her playful wink. “It takes more than that to make me uncomfortable,” Bella chuckled lowly in appreciation.

“That bodes well for me,” the brunette sent a wink back, albeit a more flirtatious one. It flustered the vampire enough for Rosalie to drop the book she was holding. Feeling completely mortified, the blonde quickly snatched the book from the floor and avoided her smirking mate. “You okay?” the question was innocent enough but the playfulness in dark brown eyes betrayed her amusement.

“Peachy,” Rosalie drawled, thanking every deity out there for the fact that she was incapable of blushing.

“Come on,” Bella took pity on her and gently grasped her arm and led her outside. Rosalie followed in a daze, hyper aware of the heat emitting from her mate’s hand.

“Your family seems to be waiting for you,” the words startled Rosalie back to reality. As a replica of their first conversation, Rosalie’s family and Bella’s friends were the only one left on the parking lot.

“They share a bad habit of not being able to mind their own business,” Rosalie addressed her siblings pointedly.

“Family is nice. Bad habits and all,” a ghost of a bitter smile touched Bella’s lips, as if she were lost in a memory. “You are close with them?”

“I suppose,” Rosalie replied reluctantly, feeling awkward all of the sudden.

“You’re lucky,” Bella told her seriously. Rosalie paused at her tone, cursing herself for forgetting that Bella had none.

“What about you? Any family?” she asked in return, knowing it was pretty stalkerish for her to know Bella’s personal history.

“Not anymore,” the brunette shook her head. “They’re all gone,” Despite already knowing that, Rosalie’s heart still dropped. Pity flared up for her mate. She was so young but had lost so much already. “It’s okay,” Bella must have recognized her expression, for she gave her a reassuring smile. Rosalie nodded unsurely.

“Fuck,” Edward’s voice floated over the parking lot. “She’s planning on doing it again tonight,” terror seized Rosalie at the news.

“Are you busy tonight?” the blonde blurted out, shifting nervously on the spot when dark brown eyes shot to her.

“I haven’t scared you away yet?” Bella teased, although there was something strange in her tone.

“No,” Rosalie swallowed thickly.

“If I had known all it took was philosophical ramblings, I might have tried my luck ages ago,” Bella smirked.

“You’re not too late,” Rosalie flirted back, the irony of the words not lost on her.

“But I am,” the sad smile she received was heart wrenching. “You’re too good for my sullen company Miss Hale,” the words were meant to be teasing, but they sounded foreboding if anything. Rosalie couldn’t help but to let out a dark chuckle of her own. If only Bella knew she was talking to a bloodthirsty creature.  

“I think you underestimate yourself,” Rosalie argued. It was Bella who deserved much more than she had to offer.

“Which brings us back to a full circle. Does what we do in order to survive, define us?” Bella looked at her. Rosalie opened her mouth and closed it several times. The brunette stared at her imploringly for what seemed like ages.   

“No,” Rosalie decided finally. “What we do and who we are, is not the same. We often do things out of necessity and not moral conviction. It’s all about context,”

“Very good,” a small smile tugged Bella’s lips and for the first time Rosalie wondered if she was being tested. If Bella was asking her not for her own benefit, but for Rosalie’s as well. That food for thought left Rosalie speechless. It was as if she knew who she was, what she was.

“How did you…” Rosalie trailed off.

“I suppose I saw a kindred spirit in you,” Bella admitted. The vampire didn’t know what to say. “I think I should get going,” the brunette smiled. Then she let go of Rosalie’s arm, who missed the contact right away.

“Thank you for an enlightening conversation and pleasant company. If I may leave you with a few words of wisdom?” Rosalie nodded her head faintly.

“Life is complicated. For some of us it’s fleeting and complicated, but for others it’s longer but no less complicated, if not more so. What we all share is the occasional moral dilemma and the explicit need to find ourselves and more importantly, define ourselves. The most overused philosophical question is: What’s the purpose in life? I’m no academic but I believe there is no one truth to that question, but each answer is different for every individual. Find your passion and what brings you the most joy and hold on to it,” dark brown eyes stared deeply into topaz ones. “Laugh a lot, make new memories, never stop being curious about the world and always ask a lot of question. But most importantly,” Bella paused there for theatricals. “Cherish your loved ones. You are lucky in that regard Rosalie, so don’t take them for granted,” Rosalie nodded when she realised Bella was waiting for a reaction.

That brought a charming smile to Bella’s lips and she leaned in and planted a soft kiss on Rosalie’s cheek. “I wish you all the best that this world has to offer,” she said sincerely before giving a final nod and walked away, leaving a stunned blonde in her wake.

“Well… that was unexpected,” Emmett summed up Rosalie’s thoughts, who simply stared after the departing brunette. Rosalie felt raw and oddly exposed after the whole ordeal.

It wasn’t until Bella’s truck drove away that she realised that her mate had never answered her question of what happened or what her plans were for tonight. In fact, she left Rosalie with more questions.

“I guess we need a new plan,” Jasper said hesitantly. Rosalie blinked at the statement and groaned out loud.

“Fuck,”

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

Bella's POV

 

Bella whimpered as she took off her jacket, the sharp pain indicating that she had torn out a few stitches, yet again.

“Great,” she mumbled and tossed the garment away. She could deal with that later. Instead of doing the sensible thing and looking at the extent of her injuries after the gruesome day of pretending that every joint wasn’t on fire, she simply limped over to the couch and gingerly sat down.

It was then she allowed herself to sigh and the tension in her shoulders seeped away. Bella wondered why she had even bothered to attend school today. It was hard enough to endure the pain but combined with the stares and endless questions about her state, it was pure hell. She should have stayed home. Angela’s worried looks still haunted her somewhat. She had done her best to evade the onslaught of questions, but she knew the other girl did not believe a word she said.

The only good part of her day was Bella’s conversation with Rosalie Hale. A small smile touched her lips at the thought of the beautiful girl. She was a delightful surprise. Bella had always felt a certain kind of pull to Rosalie but chalked it up as curiosity. After all the girl’s name had been on everyone’s lips ever since the Cullen’s had moved to Forks. She always seemed so untouchable, holding everyone at a certain kind of distance with an aloof expression, which Jessica had declared as resting-ice-bitch-face. There were a few other unkind words directed towards the blonde beauty, but Bella decided early on to not form an opinion until she actually interacted with the girl.

Their first conversation shattered any illusion she had about the blonde. Rosalie Hale was undoubtably adorable. She was clearly intelligent and always seemed so sure of herself, but Bella couldn’t help but to think Rosalie was nervous around her. Which was a strange notion in itself, as Bella didn’t think of herself as particularly intimidating. Still, the beautiful blonde stuttered and even dropped a book at one point. It was entirely endearing. Bella knew there was a lot more to Rosalie Hale, a complexity she was truly fascinated by.

“I struck a nerve before,” Bella mused to herself out loud, remembering Rosalie’s startled expression at Bella’s question about morality. If things were different, she would love nothing more but to unravel the mystery that was Rosalie Hale. Bella knew that was a selfish endeavour.

If only Rosalie knew what Bella was capable of. The blonde would run for the hills and not stop there.

 

 

Flashback 

 

It was then when she noticed the smell. It was if a brick had hit her nose by the overwhelming scent; a mixture of dirt, blood, body sweat, body fluids and something rotten that she could not properly place. It was without a doubt the worst smell she had even encountered in her life. Scrunching up her nose in distaste, she tried to breathe through her mouth and focus on the situation at hand. Bella wanted to cry at this new predicament. Where was she? How could she get out of here? She needed information and fast.

An unexpected loud clinking noise from afar made her flinch backwards. She glanced to her right and watched as every head snap up at the noise, panic evident in their eyes. Bella gulped, her heartbeat racing as she wondered what was going to happen next.

She  caught the eyes of one of the women, who was staring at her in surprise and no small amount of suspicion. Bella studied the woman and her worries only intensified as she took her in. The woman was incredibly thin, bruises littered all over her exposed body parts, greasy black hair hung limp; a few stray locks stuck to her forehead. She had a big black eye on the right and a few smaller ones on her cheeks and jaw alongside a huge scar that reached from her forehead, through her left eye (which was miraculously undamaged) and disappeared down her jaw. It wasn’t exactly the most reassuring sight for the assessment of her situation or whereabouts. What surprised her though was the intelligent gleam in those eyes as she studied Bella in return.

Another loud noise, this time sounding nearer, broke off the staring competition and Bella flinched again. She glanced fearfully at the prison bars and wondered if this was the way she was going to die, in some dingy prison dungeon surrounded by filthy broken women. She honestly thought karma existed, especially after all the things life had put her through and couldn’t help but to think of the injustice of it all if this was her sealed fate. However, this could also be perfect since she had already made a decision to die.

The noise sounded again, and Bella closed her eyes in resignation, she might as well give up now.

A pair of hands grabbed onto her and her eyes snapped open, only to see the same woman from before kneeling in front of her, her face uncomfortably close to her own. Her bad breath made Bella’s eyes sting with tears, and she never thought human hygiene as important as in that moment. The woman spoke to her in a frantic raspy voice in a different language that Bella couldn‘t place. Maybe Greek? The woman stared at her expectantly, but Bella could only blink in confusion. The woman let out an annoyed huff and repeated her words, but Bella made no sense of them.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand you,” she said apologetically, and the woman’s eyes widened in surprise.

Throwing one look at the prison bars, the woman took a fistful of dirt and smeared it across Bella’s cheek. Startled and quite affronted by the action, Bella reeled back and glared at her.

The woman said something again and looked completely exasperated by Bella’s lack of understanding. After a moment she simply grabbed another fistful of dirt and made a gesture for Bella to rub it on her face. Puzzled by the request, Bella simply stared at her. If the situation had allowed it, Bella would have been amused by the way the woman rolled her eyes at her, but alas no humor was to be found at the moment.

Finally, the woman pointed at Bella’s clothes and then at her own sorry excuse of a dress. Following her line of sight, Bella looked down at her own blue T-shirt and black skinny jeans and shoes before looking back up to meet the woman’s eyes. She was staring at Bella with that same expectant look as before and a lightbulb went off in Bella’s head. She wanted her to dirty up her clothes and attire to draw less attention to herself with for what was to come.

Nodding her head sharply, Bella grabbed a fistful of dirt and quickly started smearing it on her clothes and face, even in her hair as much as it disgusted her. The woman looked relieved that she finally got her meaning and began helping her. Soon the two of them had covered Bella in as much filth as possible in that short amount of time. When the task was done, Bella looked up at the woman for further guidance. The woman pointed at Bella’s shoes and Bella quickly caught on and discarded them, along with her socks and threw them in the corner. Bella noticed then she was still bleeding profusely from the wound she had meant to kill herself from and quickly ripped a strip from the bottom of the shirt, using it as a bandage to put pressure on the wound. She swallowed the bile that threatened to come up her throat at the nauseating feeling and  blood loss and forced herself to concentrate at the situation. She knew without a doubt that her face was drained of its usual healthy color. With a satisfying nod, the woman finally pulled Bella towards the wall and gestured for her to sit beside her and copy her movements, which Bella did without protest.

The noise sounded awfully close now and she was more afraid than she had ever been in her life, and that spoke volumes. Bella had only just fixed her stare on the dirty matted floor when the loud voices of men could be heard just outside the cell. It was also in a language Bella did not recognise for the life of her, as she scrambled to go through her limited knowledge on the sounds of different languages. The only plausible thing she could come up with that it sounded like Latin, but then again, she was not sure. After all, no one spoke Latin anymore. Sadly her knowledge of languages was lacking, mostly English and a few chosen phrases in Spanish and French. Whatever language it was, Bella could tell they were saying something crude and offensive, followed by harsh laughter.

She wasn’t sure how many of them were but at least more than three. Suddenly the door to the cell flew open and someone entered. Bella did not dare to look up, in the fear of being exposed as someone new and alien. The men barked something at the prisoners, but no one answered.

Then a sound of something hitting flesh and a painful whimper made Bella glance up. A big man in a long red tunic, a sword and knifes strapped to his waist, full unkempt beard and an equally unkempt hair poorly hidden under metal helmet. He was towering over one of the women on the opposite wall, hand in the air as she had one hand cradling her cheek, it was clear he had just struck her.

Rage blossomed within Bella, but she forced herself to remain still. Judging by the warning glare from the woman beside her, she figured that was the correct move. Another pointed look from the woman, Bella averted her eyes to the floor once more.

The man spoke harshly in words Bella did not know and was answered by a meek woman’s voice in the same tongue. Bella’s thoughts started to race, this language barrier was a huge disadvantage, at least last time she was still in America, now everything was an unknown factor. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried desperately to picture Forks clearly in her mind and concentrate as hard as she could, but it was difficult with the man shouting constantly. To be fair, it was not as if that had ever worked before.

Another sound of something hitting flesh, cracked her attempts and she shot out a prayer to every god or higher power she could think of. The man’s voice drew nearer and her body started trembling in fear. To her dismay she felt someone stop right in front of her, and when she opened her eyes, she saw crude boots of soft leather directly in her line of sight. She was done for now.

The man shouted something, presumably at her but she did not dare to reply. What could she say anyway? It was not as if he spoke English. A hand grabbed her chin and forcefully pulled up her head. Bella looked into the man’s beady eyes. The cruelty in them almost made her shudder, but she stood her ground, staring back at him as calmly as she could. He spat some words at her, but she did not react. His eyes flickered in anger and before she knew it, he slapped her hard across the face. In fact, so hard that she fell into the woman next to her. The woman quickly pushed her back up, probably afraid of the repercussions, and Bella blearily looked back up at the man, who once again shouted something in her face. When she failed to respond yet again, he slapped her again, and again, and again. Bella could feel blood pooling in her mouth and bruises forming but she refused to cry out or show any reaction, which only angered him more. When he put his hand up for the fifth time, the woman beside her cried out, speaking hurriedly and gesturing towards Bella. She was pointing towards Bella’s throat and repeating the same words over and over. After a moment Bella deduced, she was trying to convince him that she was mute. She was so grateful for the kind act of a stranger that she was loss for words anyway. The man obviously got bored with the woman’s explanation and struck her this time. The woman fell back and mumbled something, to which the man screamed at and brought his hands up, fist this time.

Reacting without thinking, Bella brought her own fist up and took a swing. He took the blow to the stomach, grunting in pain as he stepped backwards. The woman snapped her head towards Bella, wide and fearful, and that was the moment that Bella realised the implications. That was a stupid error and she was about to pay for it now.

The man recovered quickly enough, and his eyes looked at her lividly, then he shouted something at his comrades and before Bella knew it, she was being hauled off out of the cell and down a long dim hallway made completely out of stones. Bella knew she was in a dungeon of some sort as they passed many cell doors on the way, some held prisoners and other didn’t. She wondered if they were going to simply kill or torture her.

She got her answer as soon as they opened a door that seemed to be some sort of an office, judging by a wooden desk and countless scrolls stretched across it. A man was sitting by the desk and looked up as Bella was hauled inside by the man she had struck. He wore a cleaner tunic, obviously made with finer materials and his head was clean shaven. It was obvious that he held a higher rank than the other men Bella had encountered.

The guard said something angrily to the man, who looked incredibly annoyed with the interruption. Then, to Bella‘s wonder, he let out a sharp laugh and eyed her, his eyes sparkling with mirth. He smiled coldly and said something to the guard, who seemed displeased but nodded anyway. The man looked Bella directly in the eye and said something, which made the guard snort. Bella could not understand his words, but she could detect his tone.

Whatever it was, she was in deep trouble.

 

-End of flashback-

 

 

Bella laughed humourlessly, remembering the terror she felt when the guards hauled her away. If she had only known.

Her mind briefly flashed to the woman in the cell. To this day she had no idea why that stranger decided to help her, but she was beyond grateful, nonetheless. She wondered what had been going through the woman’s mind when a random girl appeared out of thin air, wearing strange clothing and didn’t understand a word she said.

“Wherever you are, I hope you’re okay,” Bella whispered forlornly. “Thank you for helping me,” It only strengthen her belief that some people were good to the core, despite the hardships they had to go through in life. Bella wondered if she could still be classified as a good person, although she sincerely doubted it.

Some things could simply break you.

 

Flashback

 

They threw her into room, unceremoniously dropping her on the floor without any care. The guards left her with cruel laughter. Next thing Bella knew, an angry looking woman practically hauled her up and barked some order at her. She wore a brown woolen dress; some sort of sandals and her black hair was pulled up in a long braid. She looked to be only a few years older than Bella, but her eyes were pained, and her lips were stretched in a thin line.

Bella just blinked in confusion, which made the woman sigh impatiently and point at a wash basin in the corner. Not wanting to irritate the woman further, Bella stumbled towards the water and hurriedly tried her best to clean up. Finally, the woman gave a short nod, as if she thought Bella’s efforts were satisfactory enough, and pointed at Bella’s outfit. When Bella made to protest, the woman struck her across the face.

T hat was enough to make Bella strip, albeit reluctantly. The woman handed her a brown woollen tunic, which looked incredibly uncomfortable. Deciding not to test the unknown woman’s patience any further, Bella simply followed the instructions. Next the woman took off the clumsy attempt of a makeshift bandage on Bella's forearm and replaced it with a clean one, fastening it enough to put pressure on the wound. Bella winced in pain at the rough manhandling. Then the woman handed her a leather and cloth strips, which Bella fumbled with for a few moments, until the woman snatched them away from her and roughly strapped them to her arms and wrists.

When Bella was finally dressed, she was ordered to sit down at the only chair in the room. As soon as she was down, the woman stood behind her and hurriedly braided her hair. Bella refrained from wincing at the pain. The woman clearly did not care if she was pulling too hard on her hair.

The door flung open and the guards returned, eyeing Bella in a leery way which made her shift uncomfortably on the spot. The woman said something to the men, before nodding at Bella. The guards grabbed ahold of Bella and dragged her out the room. Their grip was painfully strong, and they moved at a steadfast pace.

She wasn’t sure where they were leading her, since the hallways were poorly lit, but she could make out faint cheering noise in the distance. Finally, they stopped in front of a huge wooden door and finally let go of her. While Bella was deeply confused and unsettled at that point, having no idea what was happening, it wasn’t until one guard handed her a rusty short sword that the panic reached its high point.

The cruel guard she had punched before, looked at her and said something in a mocking tone. The only thing Bella caught was the word ‘gladiatrix’. Before she could ponder upon that, the huge doors opened and the daylight came pouring in, momentarily blinding her.

The faint cheers she heard before, were practically roaring now and she winced at its volume. Bella blinked heavily to adjust but the guards apparently thought she was taking too long, since they roughly pushed her outside. The door closed behind her with a loud thud.

I t was by pure chance that she managed to keep her balance as she stumbled forwards, especially since she felt like she were about to faint or go into shock. When she straightened up, her eyes roamed the new location. Bella’s jaw dropped when she realised she was inside what seemed to be the Colosseum. The arena was packed with people, all shouting and cheering. Dragging her eyes away from the crowd, she looked ahead and noticed for the first time that there were twenty other women inside the ring, all wearing similar outfits and holding weapons.

“What the fuck,” Bella breathed out. Was she now the female equivalent of a gladiator?

There was no time to process that thought when suddenly a bell rang, and the women jumped into action. Bella could only watch with wide eyes as one of the women started sprinting towards her, sheer desperation in her eyes and her sword held high.

 

-End of flashback-

 

 

Bella visibly shuddered as memories from the arena assaulted her mind. She was not proud of her actions, but pure instincts kicked in before she could even dwell on it. Bella thought about her discussion with Rosalie that afternoon. “Does what we do in order to survive, define us?” It was a legitimate question.

Rosalie caught her at a bad moment, and she had been perhaps a bit too free with her thoughts, but she did not regret it. Bella also had a feeling Rosalie needed to hear her words, maybe more than Bella herself. While she believed every word she had told Rosalie, she still had a hard time grasping the concept.

Did that make her a fraud? Or was she simply too broken to live by her own words?

Maybe it would have been easier at one point, but this never ending roller-coaster she was somehow strapped to, made it difficult so see reason. Every time she somehow managed to come to terms with her past actions and experiences, life threw her a curveball and she was back where she started.

Bella wondered if she had been some kind of a dictator in past life, it would sure explain her fate. She remembered the first time it had happened. The utter astonishment and disbelief, and even excitement for a few minutes. Bella had always been a fan of the supernatural, deeply fascinated by the potential of unearthly gifts. She absently wondered if this was a punishment for her morbid curiosity. Be careful what you ask for and all that jazz.

Time travel. Maybe if she had any control of her outlandish power, things would be easier. However, that was not the case. It always came without prompting and she had no means to stop it from happening, much less return to her own time. She was quick to discover that she only traveled to the most horrific periods in history. She had yet to experience anything pleasant. The only thing Bella could do was to hold on and go with it.

That was much easier said than done. In fact, it was a wonder she was still relatively sane. Key word being relatively.

“I can’t keep doing this,” Bella exclaimed out loud.

Every time she travelled; she lost a bit of her humanity. What would she do when she had none left? The thought of some soulless monster travelling through time was a terrifying thought. What if she accidentally changed the course of history? What if she kept doing horrible things without any moral compass to guide her? Rosalie pointed out earlier that she still had one, since she was even thinking about it in the first place. What happened when those thoughts ceased?

Bella’s musings were interrupted by the loud chime of the doorbell. She blinked in surprise, wondering who on earth would be visiting her. She told Angela she would call her later tonight and it wasn’t as if Billy Black would visit her without announcing himself first. Bella shakily pulled herself up and limped towards the front door. Pulling up a neutral expression, she opened the door.

“Oh,” she tilted her head with a small frown. “Not to be rude but what are you doing here?”

 

 

To be continued.

Chapter Text

Previously:

Oh,” she tilted her head with a small frown. “Not to be rude but what are you doing here?”

 

Bella's POV

 

“I wanted to hang out,” Emmett Cullen stood on her front porch, smiling cheekily. Bella’s frown deepened.

“You realize this is not a normal behavior, right?” she asked him rhetorically. “People who I say hi to in the hallway don’t actually randomly show up at my house,”

“Normal is boring,” Emmett pouted. Bella blinked, torn between amusement and irritation.

“Are you…sulking?” she couldn’t help but to tease.

“I don’t sulk,” the big man scoffed, as if the notion was ridiculous.

“Pretty sure that’s what your face is doing right now,” Bella pointed out with a smirk. A snort escaped her when Emmett’s face smoothed within a second. “Convincing,” she added with a drawl.

“My non-sulking-self requests your splendid company,” Emmett beamed. Strangely enough, something about his presence made Bella feel at ease. He was a lot friendlier than she had expected of his bulking figure. Then again, she only just had a lesson at how appearances could be deceiving, Rosalie Hale made sure of that.

“You’re assuming a bit too much big guy,” Bella replied dryly. “Splendid is not a word I’d use,”

“Terrific?” Emmett tried again. “Wonderful? Dazzling? Impressive? Superb? Magnificent? Exceptional? Outstanding?” he paused. “Spectacular?”

“Did you swallow a thesaurus before you came over?” Bella huffed out a laugh.

“I’m both beauty and brains,” Emmett stated proudly.

“Pretty sure that spot is already occupied in your family,” the words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.

“Oh?” Emmett’s grin grew devilish in its nature. “Care to tell me who owns that title?” his eyes were far too knowing for Bella’s taste.

“I know a trap when I see one Emmett Cullen,” Bella narrowed her eyes playfully. She was so not answering that.

“No need to full name me,” he muttered, which made Bella crack a smile. “Only mom gets to do that,”

“And does she know where you are?” the brunette raised one eyebrow.

“I choose my own bedtime,” Emmett crossed his arms and stuck his tongue out childishly. The situation was so bizarre that Bella couldn’t help but to laugh loudly. This was certainly not what she expected for her afternoon. Emmett seemed highly pleased with himself that he managed to make her laugh.

“So, will you hang out with me?” he asked again, his eyes wide and hopeful.

“Put that weapon away,” Bella pointed sternly at his puppy eyes as soon as her laughter died. Emmett merely grinned. Bella blamed her weakened state for even entertaining the idea of taking up on his offer.

“Come on! We can play video games. No one wants to play with me anymore,”

“Was that supposed to be a selling point? Do I even want to know why everyone stopped playing with you?” Bella asked with a small smile.

“Because they’re all pussies,” Emmett shrugged. “You don’t strike me as a pussy,”

“I might be. After all, you are what you eat,” Bella quipped without thinking, momentarily forgetting she was talking to practically a stranger, and not trying to make Mike and Eric uncomfortable. 

Emmett’s answering booming laughter startled her in its volume.

“I like you!” he declared with a shit eating grin. “We are going to be friends,”

“Is that so?” the brunette asked with an amused smirk.

“It’s written in the stars bro, we’re an epic duo in the making,” Emmett said gravely. “So…video games?” Bella laughed lightly with a shake of her head. She decided then she could postpone her plans for at least one more night, Emmett might be good distraction for a bit.

“My PlayStation broke down,” she informed him honestly. She meant to get it replaced a long time ago, but it wasn’t as if there was any point in it now.

“We’re going to my place anyway,” Emmett shrugged, ignoring Bella’s hesitant look.

“Won’t your family be there?”

“No, only Esme… I mean mom,” he corrected, wincing slightly. Bella frowned at the usage of his mother’s first name, before dismissing it. After all he was supposedly adopted.

“I…”

“Please?” the puppy eyes made their return.

“Fuck dude,” Bella huffed out a breath. “Fine, just… stop that,” she averted her eyes. Emmett laughed gleefully.

“I’ll wait in the car!” he told her with a pleased grin. Bella watched him jog to his truck with a shake of her head. For some reason she had a feeling she would regret her decision.

 

“This is your house?” Bella asked incredulously, staring at the glass mansion. “Seriously?”

“Mom is an interior designer,” Emmett shrugged carelessly.

“She designed this?” Bella’s jaw dropped. “You’re loaded, aren’t you?”

“We do okay,” the big man smiled sheepishly. He parked the car in front of one of two garage doors, which made Bella wonder how many cars they owned.

“More than okay,” she shot him a rueful grin. “I bet you’re a spoiled brat,”

“I’m not a brat,” Emmett exclaimed with an affronted look.

“Whatever you say big guy,” Bella drawled.

“Come on,” Emmett rolled his eyes and jumped out of the car. Bella was equally embarrassed and grateful when he went over to her side and helped her out of the giant truck, mindful of her injuries.

“Thanks,” she muttered with a small blush. Emmett only winked playfully and gestured towards the house. Bella started following the excited man, albeit at a more controlled pace. Emmett gave her no time to inspect the house fully when they entered, and quickly ushered her inside the living room. A huge TV hung on the wall in front of comfortable looking couches. Bella wasted no time and claimed one of them, releasing a relieved breath. The couches were just as comfortable as they looked.

“Have you played this before?” Emmett held up a video game cover. Bella shook her head absently, taking in the décor of the room. Esme Cullen was definitely talented.

“Then you’re in for a treat!” the big man insisted and handed her a console.

“Okay,”

“This is a multiplayer game. Basically, kind of like Call of Duty but in space!” Emmett explained enthusiastically. “And there are also monsters! It’s totally awesome, you’re going to love it,”

“If you say so,” Bella shrugged, her attention finally drifting towards the screen.

“So… we need ranks,”

“What?” Bella frowned in confusion.

“It’s boring otherwise. We got to stay in character Bella,” Emmett said seriously.

“Is this why no one wants to play with you?” the brunette asked, her lips twitching as she tried to hide a smile. Emmett’s answering look was the definition of sheepish. Deciding to throw him a bone, she only nodded with a small laugh.

“Fine,”

“Really?” Emmett beamed in surprise, obviously thinking she would refuse.

“Why not?” Bella wondered. “Like you previously stated, normal is boring,” Emmett laughed in agreement with a small nod. “I only have one requirement,”

“Okay?” Emmett cocked his head.

“I’m higher in rank than you,” Bella smirked. Emmett rolled his eyes dramatically but nodded.

“Commander Swan,”

“Lieutenant Cullen,”

“Let’s do this!” Emmett grinned and started the game.  

 

Bella decided right away that Esme Cullen was the ideal mother and housewife. Bella and Emmett had been on their second game when Mrs. Cullen had arrived. Bella was initially surprised by how beautiful the older woman was but considering her kids were all pretty much models, maybe it wasn’t such a stretch. Maybe that was a clause in the adoption papers; Dr and Mrs. Cullen only wanted beautiful children. Bella had the tact to not voice this out loud, joke or not.

Esme’s smile had been incredibly welcoming, although she did at one-point look at Bella with such sad eyes that it made her highly uncomfortable. Maybe Esme had picked up on her discomfort, for she was quick to mask her expression. Then the woman had insisted that she needed to bake cookies. Half an hour later, she placed a plate with freshly baked cookies and a tall glass of milk in front of Bella, before drifting back into the kitchen.

Bella had to stifle the moan that threatened to come up at the first bite. She didn’t even remember the last time she tasted freshly baked cookies. Her own mother had never baked, and her father had been even more useless in the kitchen. The thought of her parents sobered her for a minute, but Emmett was quick to distract her with some sort a joke. Emmett Cullen proved himself extremely talented at putting Bella at ease, which she welcomed with a smile on her face. In truth, she couldn’t remember the last time she smiled so much in one afternoon.

Despite Emmett’s reassurance that only his mother would be home, Jasper and Alice came home an hour into their gameplay. Bella had stiffened at first but luckily they didn’t ask her a lot of question and were just as welcoming as Esme had been. Bella relaxed eventually and didn’t even mind it when they sat down on the opposite couch and watched her and Emmett play. If someone had suggested that morning that she would end up at the Cullen residence playing video games, she would have laughed in their face.

“Have you stopped inhaling those cookies so we can finally play?” Emmett brought her back to reality.

“You haven’t even tasted these cookies. If you knew how good they were, you would inhale them too,” Bella insisted stubbornly.

“Special diet bro,” Emmett shrugged, not even glancing at the two remaining cookies.

“Whatever weirdo, let’s just play,” she muttered, making Jasper and Alice laugh. Emmett gave her one last grin before starting up the game. Soon enough all smiles were discarded for the more serious expressions Bella and Emmett wore when playing.

“You take the left wing and I’ll flank them to the right,” Bella instructed as she hit the buttons with relish.

“Roger that,” Emmett responded. “Permission to use grenade?”

“Permission granted,” Bella returned with a nod. She chewed on her lip thoughtfully as she focused completely on the screen. “Fuck! He’s changed tactics. Abort mission!” she called out nervously.

“Meet me at the safe house,” Emmett replied. “Lay low and check your surroundings. You got this Commander,” 

“Roger that Lieutenant,” Bella nodded and they fell silent for a moment.

“You guys take this seriously,” Alice spoke up in an amused tone.

“Pretty much the only thing Emmett takes seriously,” Edward appeared out of nowhere.

“They use ranks and everything,” Jasper wore a private smile. “It’s an entirely amusing affair,”

“I have to agree,” Alice said with a chuckle. “They are adorable,”

“Safe house compromised Lieutenant Cullen,” Bella told her comrade, studiously ignoring the peanut gallery.

“Damn it,” Emmett muttered, pushing the buttons furiously.

“Language!” Esme yelled from somewhere in the house. That prompted laughter for everyone in the room, except for Emmett and Bella who were completely immersed in the game.

“Die!” Bella suddenly stood up; her face scrunched up in concentration. “Oh no! Hold on!”

“I can’t go on for much longer, they all sprung up on me!” Emmett shouted back. “Leave me!”

“No!” Bella shook her head. “Stay where you are, I’m coming to get you!”

“It’s not safe Commander, save yourself,” Emmett said gravely.

“This is better than TV,” Alice commented with a large smile.

“So dramatic,” Jasper said with a chuckle.

“I will not leave you behind!” Bella growled back.

“It’s too late,” Emmett said seriously. “I’m two minutes away from dying, even if you get here in time I will bleed out,”

“Fuck,” Bella breathed.

“Language!” Esme called again.

“It was an honour fighting under your command – “ Emmett began.

“No! Lieutenant don’t give up,” Bella shook her head in denial.

“Listen to me. You have to complete the mission. Don’t forget about me as you rejoice over our fallen enemies. The Empire is counting on you,”

“This is hilarious,” Alice told Edward and Jasper, whom nodded in agreement.

“I can’t – “Bella’s next words died on her lips.

“Yes, go in there!” Emmett encouraged, pointing at the screen. “Okay so you got this in the bag. Just focus,” Bella nodded without looking at him, her tongue poking out in concentration.

“I see you’ve robed Bella into your silly antics,” a familiar voice exclaimed. Bella’s head snapped up and the video game was all but forgotten. Rosalie Hale was leaning against the doorway with a small smirk, only wearing a pair of old jeans and a T-shirt stained with what looked suspiciously like motor oil. It was as if Bella’s brain turned into a mush at the sight and she couldn’t tear her eyes off the other girl.

“Damn it,” Emmett groaned. This was followed with a crashing sound from the TV. Bella blinked and looked back at the screen, which was now black with ‘You lost’ flashing in big bold letters.

“Oops?” Bella offered sheepishly, feeling embarrassed at how she was easily distracted by the blonde goddess.

“You couldn’t wait five more minutes Rosalie?” Emmett complained loudly, frowning at his sister. Rosalie only smirked, looking almost smug with Bella’s reaction. Bella however was mortified and wanted the earth to swallow her whole. “We were about to win!”

“Why is this my fault?” the blonde challenged with her arms crossed.

“Pretty sure it’s my fault,” Bella cleared her throat, avoiding Rosalie’s eyes.

“Of course it’s not your fault,” Emmett said unreasonably, still staring daggers at his sister.

“I wasn’t playing, was I?” Rosalie shot back. Bella glanced at the other siblings, who seemed incredibly amused with the exchange. When Bella realized no one was going to stop the argument, she sighed.

“No but – “

“I take full responsibility for being distracted,” Bella cut Emmett off. “I’m pretty sure it’s not it’s not your sister’s fault for being…” she hesitated there.

“Yes?” Rosalie asked, challenge in her eyes. Bella narrowed hers playfully in return.

“…for being easily the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen or will ever see in my life,” she ended with. Rosalie had no idea the extent of the compliment, coming from a time traveler and all.

“Now that’s how you give a compliment,” Emmett whistled lowly.

“More of a fact,” Bella adopted a small smirk. “You can put it in the obvious category, between the sky is blue and grass is green,”

Rosalie’s cocky attitude disappeared right away, replaced with a timid half smile. The transformation was entirely endearing to Bella, who couldn’t resist to add a wink. Rosalie cleared her throat awkwardly and averted her eyes. The fire in her eyes returned when her siblings started laughing at her expense.

“I swear to god, if you don’t stop laughing I will – “

“Continue your transformation into a pool of mess?” Alice quipped with a mischievous smirk.

Bella’s eyes widened as Rosalie took a step towards her sister, promising murder with her eyes. Alice, seemingly realizing her error, leaned back into her boyfriend.

“I will set your wardrobe on fire,” Rosalie finished with a promise.

“You wouldn’t,” Alice declared, although unsurely.

“Try me,” the blonde said cockily. Bella shifted in her seat, trying to ignore how extremely sexy she found Rosalie in that moment.

“Okay!” she captured everyone attention. “So how about everyone leave Rosalie alone so we can avoid any impromptu bonfires?” Bella suggested pleasantly. Alice muttered something under her breath, which made Rosalie’s eyes flash. “Alice!” Bella said sternly, surprised when the smaller girl nodded with a sigh. She didn’t think Alice would actually listen to her.

Rosalie shot Bella an appreciative look.

“Bella laying down the law!” Emmett grinned cheekily. “You better watch yourself Alice,”

“Don’t get me started on you, big guy,” Bella shot back. “Pretty sure you were the instigator,”

“Cracking the whip already?” Emmett pouted dramatically. Bella couldn’t help the shiver that ran through her at the word ‘whip’, which didn’t go unnoticed by the others. “I thought we were best friends?” Emmett added with an easygoing grin, although it seemed a bit forced. Bella appreciated the diversion nonetheless and gave him a faint smirk in return, forcing the memories away.

“We moved from an epic duo in the making to best friends in a spam of one second?” Bella was definitely amused.

“It is only inevitable, I’m saving a lot of time,” Emmett waved dismissively.

“I have a feeling I may have signed up to something I will end up regretting,” Bella said dryly.

“Probably,” Emmett said in a sing-song manner. “No take backs though,”

“I suppose I have to endure this hardship,” Bella smirked, trying to ignore the inner turmoil she felt at his words. Gaining a best friend was not part of her plan and would certainly not make things easier. It could be even considered a bit cruel of her to befriend the Cullen’s, when she was planning on dying. Another part of her, a much smaller one, felt a spark of hope. She quickly pushed those thoughts away.

“There are worse things in life,” Emmett countered. Bella almost laughed. She could shout that statement off of roof tops.

 

 

 

Rosalie’s POV

 

She stared at her mate with masked worry. She had the most curious reaction to Emmett’s words, something that filled Rosalie with dread. She had a feeling that there was a lot more to Bella’s story than any of them was prepared for. Rosalie quietly observed as Emmett pulled Bella in a conversation about the game they had been playing. Somehow Emmett had managed, effortlessly too, to befriend her mate. Something about their interaction was easy, as if they had been friends for years and not half a day. It made Rosalie both immensely happy that her favorite brother got so well on with Bella, but another part was insanely jealous that it had been so easy for him. She could barely form a sentence around her mate, yet Emmett had robed her into becoming his best friend in one afternoon.

A wave of calm washed over her and Rosalie glanced at Jasper, who was smiling at her kindly. The blonde exhaled softly and nodded her thanks.

“Give it time,” Edward whispered, obviously listening in on her thoughts. Rosalie silently asked him to stay out of her head, although she privately was glad for the encouragement.

 

Flashback

 

“Relax Rose, we’ll figure out something when we get home,” Jasper said reasonably as Rosalie ignored all speed limits.

“If I were still human, I’d be getting grey hairs at this rate,” Rosalie muttered. How on earth was she supposed to come up with a new plan to keep her mate alive? It was not as if it worked the first time.

“She’s going to be fine tonight,” Alice spoke up. Rosalie glanced at her sister, who wore a big smile.

“How on earth do you know that?” the blonde asked suspiciously.

“I just had a vision,” the pixie explained. “Emmett is on his way now. He’ll bring her by later,” If Rosalie didn’t have the reflexes of a vampire, she would have crashed the car.

“Emmett?” she repeated incredulously.

“Yeah,” Alice grinned. “He decided to take a detour,”

“What? He’s just going to show up? They don’t even know each other!” Rosalie’s voice rose an octave. “How is – “

“It’ll work out,” Alice cut her off. “We just need to stay away from the house for a bit. Jasper and I can go hunting,”

“What am I supposed to do?” Rosalie wondered.

“Go work on your cars or something. Just don’t make an appearance right away,” Alice advised. “Trust in Emmett,” she added. Rosalie frowned but sighed eventually.

“If this doesn’t work – “

“It will. In fact, they will hit it off right away,”

 

-End Flashback-

 

“Do you want a pain killer or something?” Rosalie tuned back into the conversation. Jasper was staring intently at Bella, who gave him an awkward smile.

“I’m good,” the human assured him, although judging by Jasper’s small grimace, he knew better. Rosalie wondered with no small amount of worry, in how much pain Bella was if Jasper had to comment on it.

“You sure? No offense but you don’t look so good,” Alice piped up.

“Not everyone can look like they just stepped off the runway Alice,” Bella shot back in a strained voice. Rosalie noticed it seemed like second nature for Bella to deflect.

“I’m not the model that just got beat up,” Alice raised one eyebrow.

“A model?” Bella batted her eyes. “Are you saying you find me pretty?” Alice opened her mouth to answer but her retort died on her lips when a low growl escaped Rosalie. Everyone’s eyes snapped to hers, including Bella’s. Rosalie’s eyes widened at both her reaction and its volume, that even the human could detect it. The sound had been instinctive. The primal beast in her had clearly disliked the idea of someone else complimenting her mate. Luckily Bella only seemed amused, curiosity her eyes. She was definitely not as amused as Rosalie’s siblings, who all wore poorly hidden shit eating grins. Rosalie wanted to hide at the attention or break something.

“I only meant you look like you’re about to faint or something,” Alice tactfully told Bella, shooting Rosalie a wary look.

“I’m fine, but thank you,” Bella replied politely.

“Our father is a doctor and he’ll be home later. He can-“

“I’m fine,” the human interrupted firmly. Her stern expression slipped into embarrassment when the others looked taken aback at her tone. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to get all defensive. I just…” she cleared her throat. “I’m okay,”

“If you’re sure,” Alice half questioned, half stated. Bella just nodded.

“Want to play another game Bella Bear?” Emmett asked before thing could turn awkward.

“Bella Bear?” Bella cocked an eyebrow.

“Yes,” Emmett nodded. “That’s obviously your nickname,”

“That’s a terrible nickname,” Bella protested, although she seemed amused now.

“It’s a great one,” the big vampire defended. “I’m great at giving nicknames,”

“He’s really not,” Rosalie couldn’t help but to butt in. Warmth spread in her chest when Bella’s amused eyes met hers.

“What are you talking about? Everyone loves my nicknames,” Emmett frowned. Jasper, Alice and Edward all voiced their protest at the same time, making Bella laugh loudly. Rosalie’s smirk shifted into a soft smile at the sound.

“I’ll find the perfect one for you Bella, mark my words,” Emmett promised, adopting a thoughtful expression.

“Dear god,” Edward muttered under his breath. Rosalie hid a smile, wondering what Emmett was thinking, making Edward look positively exasperated.  

“Queen B?” Emmett questioned.

“Pretty sure that’s Beyonce,” Bella pointed out.

“Bell?”

“A resounding no to that,”

“Taco Bella?”

“Definitely not,”

“Princess Bella?”

“Do I look like a Disney Princess?”

“Belly Button?”

“Wow, you really are terrible at this,”

“Bellapeño?”

“Amusing…but no,”

“Bella Boo?”

“You’re not even trying at this point,” Bella drawled, mirth sparkling in dark brown eyes. Rosalie stifled laughter at Emmett’s concentration.

“I got it!” Emmett snapped his fingers. Everyone present waited with bated breath after another ridiculous suggestion. “Aristotle,” he declared grandly.

“Aristotle?” Bella blinked in confusion. Emmett glanced at Rosalie with a mischievous grin, which filled her with dread.

“A little birdy told me you are quite the philosopher,” Emmett shrugged. Dark brown eyes met Rosalie’s.

“Is that so?” Bella asked slyly, studying the blonde with quiet intensity. Rosalie shifted awkwardly, fighting the urge to throw something at her brother. It wasn’t as if she could deny the claim and honestly tell the human that Emmett’s vampire hearing picked up their previous conversations. Rosalie wanted to kill the him in that moment.

“I thought Aristotle would only be awfully fitting,” Emmett recaptured Bella’s attention.

“Not sure I’m completely sold on the idea,” Bella began and Emmett deflated. “It’s better than Bellapeño though, I‘ll give you that,“ she added. Emmett kept pouting.

“Yeah okay,”

“Stop it,” Bella pointed at him sternly. Rosalie shared a confused look with Alice. “I told you not to use that,” the brunette complained. Rosalie wondered if she was missing something. Emmett just kept looking at Bella, who eventually averted her eyes with a curse word. “Fine,” she agreed reluctantly, to which the man cheered. “I’m including a segment in our friendship contract,” Bella pouted.

“You have a contract?” Edward asked surprised.

“A verbal one,” Bella answered easily. “No puppy eyes,” she told Emmett, who shrugged with a small grin.   

“You like philosophy?” Jasper spoke up.

“Somewhat,” Bella shrugged, before shooting Rosalie a look. “Not exactly a philosopher though,”

“I must disagree with you there,” Rosalie teased lightly, delighted when Bella blushed.

“I have a question for you,” Alice said with a sly grin, which usually meant she was plotting something. Rosalie inwardly sighed, knowing she would not like this.

“Shoot,” Bella requested, although seemed a bit wary of Alice’s grin.

“What do you think about destiny?” the question was innocent enough, but Rosalie wanted to scream at her sister. Was she honestly trying to get Bella’s feel on what she thought about mating bond? Of course Alice would never pose that question outward, but she was obviously building a foundation. If it wouldn’t seem out of place, Rosalie would have told Bella that she didn’t have to answer that. After all the question was innocent, despite the intent behind it was not.

“Destiny?” Bella repeated in an odd tone. It was enough to make Rosalie forget her ire towards Alice. Bella was quiet for a long time, enough to worry Rosalie and the others. The emotions in dark brown eyes were ever shifting, as if her mind was overworking itself.

“In what context?” she finally asked.

“Well let’s say…” Alice paused for a moment. “How about if everything happens for a reason?” Rosalie’s let out a relieved breath. She was at least glad Alice hadn’t outright asked about soulmates or something. Bella’s reaction was strange, however. She muttered something under her breath that sounded suspiciously like ‘I hope not,’ but Rosalie couldn’t be sure.

“Do you want the answer from the cynic in me or the optimist?” Bella asked after a long moment of silence.

“Which one is more dominant?” Alice seemed intrigued.

“The cynic,” the human said without skipping a beat.

“Let’s start there then,”  

“Then no,” Bella blurted out. They all waited for more, but it seemed as if Bella had finished.

“And what does the optimist say?” Edward finally asked. Rosalie unconsciously leaned forward in anticipation.

“Yes,” Bella nodded hesitantly.

“Care to elaborate?” Alice was clearly not satisfied with the one word answer this time. Bella’s whole body had tensed up and her eyes drifted towards the door, as if she was ready to bolt.

“Enlighten us, Aristotle, o’ wise one,” Emmett piped up in a mocking fashion.

“I feel unloved with this attitude,” Bella deadpanned, although her shoulders relaxed a fraction.

“I humbly apologize,” Emmett said formally.

“Humble apology accepted,” Bella replied in the same formal manner. Rosalie couldn’t help but to roll her eyes with a small smile at their easy banter. Emmett’s intention on relaxing her mate had been successful though.

“The universe is a curious place,” Bella finally began thoughtfully. “There are many unknowns and sometimes we think all there is, is chaos and no reason as we try our best to navigate through life. We often lose hope when we don’t understand. Once in a while, we find ourselves in situations, that might seem random, but proves the theory that there is a pattern to it all,”

“Everything happens for a reason?” Alice summarized in an equally thoughtful tone.

“The optimist in me finds that quite comforting,”

“Why is that?” Jasper asked before Rosalie could. Bella was silent for a whole minute.

“It helps to make sense of things, I guess. It’s hard to accept hardship and pain without some kind of reassurance that it is worth it in the end, that it was supposed to happen in that way. It gives suffering meaning and purpose,” a pause. “Not purpose exactly, but there was a reason we have suffered. That no matter what happens, there is a reason for it. Kids have a wonderful outlook on this. Let’s make an example that simplifies this. When you go to the dentist as a kid, you are promised a small toy as a reward. Going to the dentist is never a pleasant affair, especially for children. Sure, it may hurt or be uncomfortable while they are in the chair, but then they remember the toy they are promised and how much fun they will have playing with it, and they endure because they know it will be worth it. Maybe it’s a bad example…” Bella trailed off.

“No. It makes perfect sense,” Alice assured her kindly. Rosalie rather liked that reasoning herself.

“Well okay, good,” Bella let out a small awkward laugh, as if she were feeling self-conscious.

“I like that theory,” the pixie decided. “Have you found your ‘dentist toy’ yet?” Rosalie wondered if Bella would find it rude if she were to throw something at her sister’s head.

Bella’s eyes held pain in them.

“Not yet,” she answered quietly. Rosalie wondered if it would be egotistic of her to suddenly declare; ‘Here I am!’ – although she loathed to be considered a toy, metaphorical or not. Perhaps Bella didn’t mean a person.

“Can this toy be a person?” Edward asked Rosalie’s unspoken thought.

“Before I answer that, let me clarify that people are never toys,” Bella stated seriously, which calmed the storm inside Rosalie. The blonde still held her breath for the answer. “I might have chosen a bad example if we’re going there. But yes, in a sense. It is quite rewarding to be in love, is it not?”

“That’s romantic,” Emmett grinned, and Rosalie couldn’t help but to agree, her stomach fluttering at the notion.

“I’m not a block of steel,” Bella deadpanned.

“I’m aware of that Aristotle,” Emmett teased back. “Philosophers are known romantics,”

“Are you referring to Dante’s inferno? Because that’s kind of our Romeo and Juliet,” Bella said cheekily, and Emmett was not the only vampire that laughed. Rosalie shook her head with a smirk at the dark humor.

“Definitely what I meant,” Emmett replied seriously.

“Well both end with death and despair,” Bella quipped and while she was joking, it still bothered Rosalie.

“That went from dark to a blackhole,” Alice said frowning.

“It is what it is,” Bella commented vaguely.

“You stated earlier that you leaned more towards the cynical answer,” Jasper noted. “Is that because you haven’t found this so-called metaphorical toy?” Bella was oblivious with the way every vampire stared at her intently.

“Perhaps,” Bella mused out loud. “It’s twofold, I guess. Mostly it bothers me that you have to suffer to be rewarded in any way. Does that mean you aren’t allowed happiness unless you go through some traumatising shit? What does it mean for people who find their happiness without the trauma - why are they any more special than the rest of us?”

“Important questions,” Edward nodded. Rosalie felt incredibly conflicted, understanding both the cynic and the optimist in Bella. She couldn't help but to reflect on her own life.

“Will you keep searching?” Alice stared at Bella seriously. The brunette simply stared back with a queer expression. Rosalie stopped breathing at this point and previous thoughts on Bella's philosophical theories were pushed away for later inspection. Alice’s question was simple in its nature; are you still planning on killing yourself?

“Breathe,” Jasper whispered to Rosalie, who automatically exhaled. Her breath hitched on the way when dark brown eyes bored into her own.

“The jury is out on that one,” Bella asked after a long pause. The tension in the air was practically stifling. Finally, after almost half a minute, Bella looked away and Rosalie shifted nervously.

“Thank you for answering,” Alice spoke into the silence. Bella simply nodded. Emmett quickly defused the awkwardness.

“Since you’re my best friend, does that mean my life will be now filled with questions that will only produce headaches-“

“It’s physically impossible for you to get a headache,” Edward reminded him amusedly in low tone that only the vampires in the room heard. Emmett pointedly ignored him.

“-and I will forever keep questioning my existence and life choices?” he finished.

“For your sake I’m hoping you never stopped doing that in the first place,” Bella remarked.

“I feel an incoming headache,” Emmett joked.

“You’re an idiot,” Bella told him in a fond manner.

“And now that’s your headache,” the big vampire said gravely, prompting an eye-roll from Rosalie. When Bella looked away, Rosalie caught Emmett’s eyes and mouthed ‘thank you’. The big man gave her a beaming smile and a playful wink.

“Do you like history?” Jasper asked Bella randomly, probably hoping they had something in common. A strange little smile was painted on Bella’s lips.

“I really shouldn’t but yes,” she laughed a little, as if there was some private joke in her answer. Jasper’s eyes practically lit up and he was quick to start a conversation about his favorite topic. Bella listened and gave her input from time to time, although there was a sad glint in her eyes.

Rosalie realised then that it was probably a pretty strange behavior of a human to stand for such a long period of time without getting tired, so she hesitantly walked over to the unoccupied seat next to her mate. Bella glanced up momentarily from Jasper’s lecture and offered her a small smile. Warmth blossomed in Rosalie’s chest as she carefully sat down. Rosalie wasn’t sure if it was an unconscious move or not, but Bella shifted slightly towards her. The blonde smiled privately and felt contentment settle over her.

She could sure get used to Bella spending evenings at the Cullen home. She knew they were on borrowed time but she couldn’t fault herself for enjoying the moment.

 

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

 

EDIT: To those who read the chapter when I just posted it, I accidentally uploaded the wrong file, so an essential portion of the story was not included. My bad. I've fixed it though, so I hope you read it again and it will make sense. 

 

Bella's POV

 

Bella sunk to her knees, clutching her heavily bleeding arm. Did that just happen?

She let out a shaky breath and made an honest attempt of standing up, but her tired legs could barely hold her up and she fell flat on her face.

“Fucking hell,” the muttered into the carpet as she carefully picked herself up and half crawled into the bathroom. Then she set out to the gruesome task of showering and bandaging the cut on her arm. The whole ordeal took almost an hour, her movements slow as she battled with fatigue. It wasn’t until she made it to the bed that she let her mind to wander.

A brief glance down her unbandaged arm made her grimace. Three long pale scars stood out on her otherwise unblemished skin. More scars decorated her other arm, and now a fresh one added to her collection. Her body was leaning towards being just a map of scars at this rate. Bella hated that she had to be covered in layers all day long, but knew people would immediately start asking questions if she were to show up in T-shirts. She just felt so hot all of the time. She’d rather take the heat than the questions though, so she endured.

A part of her was still trying to come to terms with the recent events. Had that just happened? How was this even possible? It must have been a different person. Before her mind could even begin to process the idea, her body promptly shut off and she fell into a deep sleep.

 

 

 

Bella adjusted the straps on her book bag for what seemed like the tenth time in ten minutes. It was a nervous tick. She had woken up early, got dressed and basically rushed off to school. If her mind had been playing tricks, she would find her answer soon enough.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, a familiar car drove up and parked in its usual spot. Bella held her breath, ignoring Jessica as she tried and failed to get Bella’s opinion on if Mike would ever ask her out or not.

Truthfully Bella usually tuned Jessica’s rambling out, but the other girl was being especially annoying that morning. Angela, the sweetheart she was, had done her best to capture Jessica’s attention, but she was persistent. Despite Bella had on numerous occasions, informed Jessica that she was in fact gay and had no interest in dating Mike, it seemed as if the girl just didn’t accept that answer. It didn’t help that Mike’s crush on Bella had never really ceased.

“What do you think Bella?” Jessica tugged on her arm impatiently. The contact was enough to set Bella’s instincts off and she flinched, hard. She practically reeled back, her entire body shaking. Bella was never fond of people touching her to begin with, but after her time-traveling experiences, even less so. Jessica and Angela stared at her gob smacked, the latter wearing a worried frown. “What the hell is going on with you?” Jessica demanded in a hurt tone.

“Listen Jess, I’ll say this as clearly as I possibly can,” Bella turned to her. “I have no interest in Mike, none so ever. In fact, if you’d fuck him in front of me, I wouldn’t even twitch,” the crudeness shocked Jessica, whose jaw dropped. “I would probably make myself scarce but only because I never want to witness that, not because of jealousy. I am very gay,” Bella emphasised the word, to leave no room for misunderstanding. “Mike is oblivious as fuck and probably hasn’t even realised you have a crush on him. So just ask him out! Guess what? It’s the 21th century so women can ask men out! Just grow a lady pair and stop fucking bothering me about it!” Bella clenched her fists, trying hard to calm down.

She knew she was being unfair and quite rude to her friend, but her emotions had been going haywire ever since she woke up and Jessica always knew how to push her buttons. The girl in question, was staring at her with wide eyes in disbelief. Even Angela’s mouth had dropped, although she seemed more worried than hurt, like Jessica was.

“Shit,” Bella closed her eyes and took a big breath. “I’m sorry Jess, I didn’t mean to go off like that. Just…ask Mike out yourself,”

“Yeah, okay,” Jessica said faintly. Then her eyes narrowed, and the hurt was replaced with concern. “Are you okay Bella?”

“No,” she whispered to herself before clearing her throat. “I’m fine Jess,” she mustered up a smile, which probably looked painfully fake. “Just tired,” Jessica opened her mouth, but Bella turned away from her and looked where she had wanted to for the entirety of the conversation.

The Cullen siblings stood across the parking lot, all staring at Bella with various expressions of worry, surprise and suspicion. To be fair, only Edward seemed suspicious. Bella ignored the way Emmett was trying to catch her eyes and instead looked at the one person she had been waiting for.

Rosalie  was talking to Alice, but kept shooting concerned glances at Bella, who was frozen in place. 

Ignoring Angela’s incoming question, undoubtably something expressing her worry, Bella’s legs automatically started walking towards the blonde goddess. Her heart was hammering in her chest and cold sweat ran down her spine. Everything pointed to the fact that she hadn’t been making everything up. 

“Rose-“ Bella started as soon as she was within reaching distance, but quickly fell silent again. She had no idea how to approach this. Rosalie just stared at her with patient, yet worried eyes. 

"It's strange to see your eyes topaz and not violet," was the dumbest thing Bella could say, and that was exactly what came out. Rosalie's startled expression was enough to make Bella second guess herself. .

"I'm not imagining things am I? Or did you perhaps have a grandmother who looked exactly like you and had the same name and lived New York in the beginning of 1920's?" Bella asked nervously, ignoring the fact that she sounded completely insane to anyone else. Rosalie's face was telling enough. 

"I guess someone did help after all," Bella remarked a bit awkwardly. As a last resort to test her theory, she added. "May I still call you Rose?" Then, as if something clicked inside the blonde's mind, Rosalie's jaw dropped

"It was you," Rosalie breathed out after a moment. It was somewhat mesmerising to watch the ever-flickering emotions in topaz eyes. Disbelief, surprise, tenderness, incredulity, relief, concern and something incredibly soft, before circling back to disbelief.

Bella could only nod, unsure how to proceed.

Luckily, Rosalie solved that dilemma and before Bella could properly register it, she was enveloped in a tight hug. Curiously enough, the touch did not make Bella’s skin crawl, as it usually did. Instead it made her feel warm and even safe. The last part was a strange notion. Bella couldn’t remember the last time she felt safe. Her body unconsciously relaxed into the embrace and the tension in her shoulders all but disappeared. It was as if someone had flipped off a switch.

“How?” Rosalie’s warm breath hit her ear, which made Bella shiver in response.

“Right back at you,” the brunette murmured in return, her voice weaker than she anticipated.

“I think we need to talk,” Rosalie whispered shakily. Bella’s body shook slightly as she let out a hollow laugh.

“I think you’re right,” she reluctantly drew back. “Not now though,” Bella added, casting a cautious glance at the other Cullen’s, who were staring at the exchange in bafflement.

“Not now,” Rosalie agreed, topaz eyes searching for something Bella didn’t know. Rosalie’s gaze had always been an intense sort, a hidden emotion in them. This time however, there was such tenderness in them that Bella had to look away. It was too much and she didn’t know how to interpret it.

“Everyone’s staring,” Alice spoke up, which made Bella look back. As Alice stated, everyone present in the parking lot were staring at Rosalie and Bella with interest, Bella’s friends being the most obvious ones. In fact, Jessica looked as if she was on the verge to run over to ask Bella about her behavior. Angela, bless her heart, seemed to read Bella’s uncomfortable look and whispered something to Jessica, who rolled her eyes but finally looked away.

"What is going on? How did you-" Edward began but Rosalie shot him a look that quickly shut him up.

“We have math first,” Emmett declared with his usual boyish grin. Only those who knew him well, could see the small tension behind it. Still Bella appreciated his effort at trying to display normalcy, despite the fact that her world had been turned upside down.

“Right,” she offered him a faint smile of her own and reluctantly stepped out of Rosalie’s personal space.

“My Lady,” Emmett offered his arm with a theatrical bow.

“My Lord,” Bella curtsied clumsily and placed her hand on the outstretched arm, although her smile was a bit more genuine this time.

“May I have the honour of escorting you to class?” the big man continued pleasantly.

“You may,” Bella drawled airily, her tone the very definition of snobbish.

“Let us leave with haste. A lady such as yourself ought not to sully herself by associating with such uncouth company,” Emmett stuck his nose in the air.

“Quite right you are My Lord. Do accept my gracious gratitude for rescuing me from these…peasants,” Bella adopted a nearly perfect upper-class British accent, almost cracking a smile when Alice cried out ‘Hey!’.

“Lead the way good sir,” she continued and the two of them started walking away from the group, disinterested masks firm in place.

“Those two really shouldn’t spend time together,” Alice commented dryly. Bella and Emmett merely exchanged devilish grins and kept walking. Bella was wholly unaware of a pair of soft topaz eyes that followed her until she disappeared into the building.

 

 

 

Bella was distracted the entire day and she could honestly say that she did not learn anything new in her classes. Thankfully, she shared two classes with Emmett, and he insisted that they spent the entire time playing hangman, each trying to outdo one another with the crudest words they could think of.

That was the only part of her day that Bella felt somewhat calm. Her friendship with Emmett had been a pleasant surprise and she cherished it dearly. Unfortunately they hadn’t had the chance to hang out much, seeing as Bella had been whiskered away into the past only a week after they established their friendship.

Bella had surprised herself; as she usually wasn’t the one to procrastinate but after she started spending times with the Cullen’s, her suicide plans had been pushed back. Sometimes she got a bit suspicious, seeing as the Cullen’s were always quick to occupy her time so she barely had time for herself. It was as if they knew something.

She and Emmett obviously got on well, after all he declared her as his best friend right away, but the other Cullen’s were quickly earning a place in her heart as well.

Bella and Jasper connected on their shared interest in history, although Jasper tended to focus more on American History than Bella.

Alice had tried, without any success, to get her to go shopping but finally relented when Bella shot her down every time. Instead they talked about art and movies.

Esme constantly cooked and baked for Bella, which earned her so many bonuses points that Mrs. Cullen was quickly on her way to become one of Bella’s favorite people.

She had met Dr. Cullen one night and he had been very nice, although insistent on checking over her injuries. He respected her boundaries though when she politely declined.

Edward spent more time observing her with the others, offering a comment occasionally. They had struck up a conversation about music, but it died quickly when Bella realised Edward’s music taste didn’t reach over the 1900th.

There was one person Bella hadn’t spent enough time with, although she had wished to, and that was Rosalie Hale.

The beautiful blonde was an enigma to Bella. She was constantly in the background, but rarely participated in the conversation. Sometimes she shot off a witty retort but always seemed to retreat into herself when Bella looked at her. Rosalie was a strange combination of fierce fire and nervous energy and Bella longed to understand her. She didn’t know if this was a normal behavior for the blonde but her siblings seemed to enjoy teasing her a lot. There were odd moments where Bella would swear Rosalie was a second from punching her siblings, but she couldn’t be completely sure.

Bella wondered if something about her own presence that made Rosalie nervous, or if that was simply a wishful thinking. Bella was not unaffected by Rosalie’s presence, and was constantly on guard to not ogle at the girl or ramble nervously. She thought she was doing rather well considering everything, although she would catch Emmett’s teasing eyes sometimes.

Maybe that was one of the reasons she hadn’t tried to engage Rosalie in a one-on-one conversation, she felt uncharacteristically awkward sometimes around the blonde. Mostly it was because she had no idea how to behave when the blonde displayed such nervousness, albeit being adorable. Bella usually never had problem talking to girls but something about Rosalie threw her off. She remembered the bravado she displayed during their first exchange, and she honestly chalked it up to the fact that she had planned to die that night. She was still waiting for Rosalie to bring up their kiss, but the blonde never did. Bella wasn’t sure if she that made her feel relieved or frustrated. A combination of both, she supposed.

Whatever it was, she was constantly fighting the urge to figure out Rosalie Hale.

 

 

 

Bella walked to lunch, deep in thought, and moving more on autopilot than anything else. Mike was rambling on beside her, something about his father’s store but Bella wasn’t really paying attention, just nodding occasionally when he paused a few times to look at her.

It was more of a habit than any real desire when she sat down at her usual table. If she hadn’t been so out of it, she might have sat with the Cullen’s, who were all watching her from their place.

“Look who decided to grace us with their presence,” Lauren drawled with an eye roll. Bella simply cocked an eyebrow, not even mustering the strength to come up with a comeback. She couldn’t be bothered today. Instead she focused on her lunch, which she had no appetite for but still made an effort to eat.

“Okay that’s it!” Jessica declared loudly, making everyone at the table look at her, including Bella. “What the hell is going on with you?” Jessica pointed accusingly at Bella.

“You’ve been coming to school for a few months, always sporting new injuries with flimsy excuses for,” Bella’s heart sank. “Then suddenly your chummy with the Cullen’s! You even hugged the Ice-Queen this morning!”

“Don’t call her the Ice Queen,” Bella defended the blonde on reflex. Jessica’s eyebrow rose.

“That’s all you have to say?” she challenged.

“What did we talk about regarding the tone Jess?” Angela scolded lightly.

“To not sound so confrontational,” the girl mumbled with a small frown. “Still… Bella what’s going on?”

“Is this an intervention or something?” Bella asked defensively, suddenly feeling cornered in.

“Of course not,” Angela said in a soothing voice. “We’re just worried. We’re your friends, you can talk to us,”

“Speak for yourself,” Lauren inspected her nails with a disinterested expression.

“Literally no one was speaking for you Lauren,” Angela rebuked with no small amount of annoyance. Then she turned back to Bella with a softer expression. “Please Bella, what’s up?”

“I’m fine,” the response was automatic, rehearsed.

“Clearly you’re not,” Jessica rolled her eyes.

“You’re wasting your time,” Lauren informed the others. “Bitch has gone crazy,”

“Lauren!” Jessica hissed, obviously unimpressed with her behavior.

“What it’s true!” Lauren defended. “It’s like she’s constantly getting into fights, I mean she always looks like shit. Plus, I know for a fact that she occupies a bar in Seattle my uncle owns,” the last piece of information brought attention back to Bella, who shifted in her seat.

“So I drink sometimes, sue me,” she retorted, feeling deeply uncomfortable with where this conversation was heading.

“Sometimes is a gross understatement,” Lauren did not let up. “I’ve heard you drink almost until you black out. All alone too, like…a middle-aged alcoholic,” she sneered. “Very attractive Bella,”

“Fuck you!” Bella hissed. “Why the hell do you think you have the license to judge me?”

“I’m just saying,” Lauren rolled her eyes.

“Well don’t,” Bella bit out.

“You never want to go out partying with us though,” Mike pouted, blushing when everyone gave him a look of disbelief.

“Priorities Mike,” Jessica slapped his arm.

“That’s because she has no interest in partying. Her interest lies in getting alcohol poisoning,” Lauren snickered maliciously. “Sounds like a familiar pattern. Anyone up for a trip to the past?”

“What the hell is your problem Lauren?” Bella spat out, feeling attacked. Her drinking habits were her own business.

“No need to be so defensive,” Lauren rolled her eyes. “Just because – “

“Okay zip it,” Angela cut her off. “Listen Bella, no one is here to judge you. We just want to know if there’s something we can do to help?” despite her initial anger at the confrontation, Bella felt touched by their concern. “I thought you had stopped all your…previous activities,” the last part was said quietly, warily.

“I…thank you guys, really,” she pointedly did not look at Lauren. “I know I haven’t been…my usual self lately but I got this under control. It isn’t like last time,”

“Lately? Try ever since your mom offed herself,” Lauren snorted. Collective gasps echoed around Bella, who was staring murderously at the girl. She hadn’t even realised that she was on her feet, her body trembling with rage.

“I don’t even know why you guys bother. She’s obviously a lost case,” Lauren continued. “Even her own father didn’t– “ before she could finish that, Bella practically leapt over the table and punched her squarely in the face.

Chaos followed, as the entire cafeteria went quiet in shock while Mike and Eric tried, and failed, to drag Bella off of Lauren. Bella herself was so consumed by blind rage that she didn’t even realize she had elbowed Mike in the eye and accidentally punched Eric in the process. Finally, before Lauren would end up as bloody mess on the floor, Bella was effortlessly picked up from the floor. She resisted for all but half a minute before she connected the dots on who the cold strong arms belonged to.

“Calm down Aristotle,” Emmett murmured into her ear, and just like that all the fight went out of Bella. She fell limp in her best friend’s embrace.

“Holy shit,” Jessica’s voice cut in the silence. Bella blinked a few times before focusing back on the present. Lauren lay in a heap on the ground, clutching her face with a cry. Mike was whimpering painfully as Jessica inspected his eye. Eric was holding his stomach, staring at Bella in surprise. Angela’s jaw had dropped, and she stared at Lauren’s pitiful state. Everyone else in the room was staring at Bella in silent shock.

“Oh no,” Bella sucked in a sharp breath. She had completely lost control. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She shouldn’t have reacted like this. She wasn’t fighting for her life this time; she had no excuse for this violence. “Let me go Em,” she requested softly. The big man lowered her gently to the ground and as soon as he let go of her, Bella practically bolted out the door.

 

 

 

Bella registered someone sitting beside her on the bench, but she did not look up from her hands. The brunette wasn’t completely sure, but she was good idea on who had followed her. She had found a spot a bit hidden from view on the school premises, somewhere she wouldn’t be bothered.

“I would have figured Emmett would be the one to come after me,” the words were slightly muffled but still audible.

“He wanted but I beat him to the punch,“ Rosalie said after some hesitance. Bella almost smirked at the accidental pun. The two of them sat in comfortable silence.

“I must applaud you for doing a thing I’ve always dreamt of doing,” Rosalie finally said, her tone dripping with amusement. Bella quirked an eyebrow and finally raised her head to look at blonde curiously. “Punch Lauren,” Rosalie elaborated, and Bella couldn’t help but to snort.

“I aim to please,” Bella exclaimed dryly with a faint smirk. Rosalie mirrored her expression, although there was concern in her eyes.

“It was inevitable that someone should take it upon themselves to put her into place. I couldn‘t hear what she was saying but...“ Bella paused in thought at Rosalie’s words. There was subtle anger in her tone that made the brunette curious. “Of course there is no pressure if you don’t want to share,” Rosalie added hurriedly.

“There‘s not much too it, she brought up my parents deaths in a unflattering manner. She was out of line and I lost control of my anger,” Bella replied after a beat.

“No one is blaming you for snapping,” Rosalie shrugged carelessly.

“No one except me,” Bella muttered, drawing Rosalie’s eyes to her once more. “It was wrong of me to result to violence, no matter what she said. I thought I had gained better control, so I am somewhat disappointed with myself,” she explained. Rosalie cocked her head in thought, the action being completely endearing.

“We often don’t have control of our emotions,” this was said rather bitterly. “You have every right to be angry,”

“Perhaps, but we do control our actions,” Bella said in return. “Maybe I have every right to be angry over her words, but I don’t have the right to spread my anger. Anger is never constructive,”
Rosalie remained silent as she mulled over her words.

“That is true,” Rosalie stated after a while, albeit reluctantly. Bella reckoned she had touched upon something Rosalie needed to think about and this was not a moment to push her. Bella stared at one laughing student, who was clearly entertaining a small crowd. They soon all burst into laughter themselves and Bella wondered how simple their lives must be, or at least somewhat carefree.

“They all seem so happy,” she murmured after a moment, her eyes widening when she realized she spoke her thoughts out loud.

“It appears so,” Rosalie replied diplomatically, a small sneer on her lips as she watched the same scene.

“I don’t remember when I was happy,” Bella confessed in a low tone. Rosalie stared at her with a thoughtful look, topaz eyes softer than Bella had ever seen them.

“Me neither,” the honest words struck a chord with Bella, not being used to the straightforwardness Rosalie offered her. Maybe that was the reason why she kept on going.

“My life is pretty messy, “ she said, pointedly ignoring how Rosalie’s head snapped to hers.

“My mother died three years ago, and my father a year after that,”

“I’m sorry,” Rosalie offered quietly, and Bella nodded distractingly.

“After that I feel like everything is sort of crumbling from my hands,” The blonde said nothing to that.

“When Charlie – my father died I just started running away from everything, keeping myself as distracted at possible, trying to numb out the pain of the loss and the crippling loneliness. I went into great lengths too,” she looked up at Rosalie, who was studying her with open curiosity and sympathy. “I only recently somewhat came to terms with that they are truly gone and there is nothing that could change that fact. I have to move on with my life, or at least try to. At first my lifestyle was not exactly desirable, to say the least. I lashed out and treated everything with carelessness, more often with violence and reckless behavior. I nearly lost myself in the process,” she murmured in a regretful way.

“With some help I finally reinvented myself and I honestly try to do better... be better. Punching Lauren, no matter how hurtful her words were, was a step backwards. I cannot allow myself to go back in that pattern. Lauren might be a bitch, but more importantly she is an insecure girl with complexes that have nothing to do with me, I was merely a target for her pain in that moment. I should have known better than to lash out my own pain,”

“We all have our weak moments, no one is perfect,” Rosalie replied quietly.

“That much is true,” Bella agreed with a shallow laugh. “Lord knows I’m not, but that doesn’t mean I have to consult to petty behavior,”

“Is this connected to our conversation about ‘does what we do to survive, define us?” the blonde asked after a moment. A hollow laugh escaped Bella. The truth was a bit more complicated than that.

“It plays a part,” she replied cryptically.

“Are you always this deliberately vague?” Rosalie teased. The words brought forth the memory of their first talk and Bella smirked.

“When it suits me,”

A comfortable silence stretched between them, both lost in their own thoughts.

“Are we going to talk about it?” Rosalie finally spoke. Her voice was so small, almost fragile. Bella’s eyes met hers and got her breath stolen away.

There was that same tender wonderment, a quiet disbelief and raw vulnerability. The eyes might hold a different colour to them now, but everything else remained the same.

 

 

-Flashback-

TRIGGER WARNING!

 

Bella stumbled forward, shivering violently in the cold air. For the fifteen time she cursed herself for only wearing sweatpants and a thin sweater. To be fair it was not as if she ever knew when it was going to happen, it always happened unexpectedly. She glanced down with a small scowl, she at least wished she had on something other than slippers.

A piercing shriek disturbed the otherwise quiet night, and she immediately stiffened, eyes scanning the area for any visible threat. She was alone. Another scream followed, the sound chilling her to the bone. Before Bella could even stop to think rationally, she was already running towards the danger.

The screams got louder with every step she took, the definition of pure agony, making Bella’s skin crawl. Normally Bella was cautious in her time travels, shifting away from danger and doing her best to avoid attention, but her instincts were urging her on, acting on a force she couldn’t stop.

Another scream, louder now, was followed with laughter.

After what seemed like hours, but was probably only a few minutes, Bella finally arrived at the scene. Her eyes narrowed and she clenched her fists.

A group of men were laughing and drinking on the sidewalk, surrounding a woman that lay on the street, one of the men laying on top of her and obviously thrusting into her. Bella felt a great surge of hatred and disgust run through her and she acted without a thought.

She grabbed an empty beer bottle off the street and threw it at one of the men and by pure chance hit him in the face. The man gave a startled shout and clutched his now bloodied face. The rest of them snapped their heads towards Bella in surprise, even the man that was raping the poor woman.

“Hey look Royce, there’s another one!” one of the men called out with a laugh. “She might not be as beautiful, but she certainly is pretty. Got a lot of spunk too judging by Henry’s face,” the others laughed, and the same man took one step towards her.

“Hey sweetie, looking for a good time?” Bella simply walked towards him and when he was close enough, she took a swing at him, surprised when the blow was heavy enough to send him sprawling to the ground.

The rest of the men shouted in alarm and two of them started walking towards her. Bella’s fist hit man number two in the stomach this time and he staggered backwards.

The other man took a swing at her and she did not manage to duck fast enough and took a blow to the left side of her face. She stumbled back as her vision went white for a moment, only her instinct saving her when she narrowly escaped another blow.

The group was not laughing anymore and instead were sprouting angry things at her; even the man was no longer on top of the woman and instead running towards her.

What followed was a series of blurred actions that Bella could not describe properly if asked afterwards. With newfound strength and nothing but pure hatred for the men, fueled her blows and kicks.

A few minutes later only she and two other remained standing, the rest groaning or unconscious on the ground. Bella of course had taken more than several blows herself and was in much pain but ignored it for the sake of the poor girl lying on the ground behind the men. The girl had not moved during the whole exchange and Bella was worried that she was not breathing.

“Who are you?” one drunkard blurted out. That had also been in Bella’s favor, the fact that they were all obviously quite drunk. Plus, she had previous history of fighting skill set under her belt. Despite being competent enough, she was sure that she would not have done as much damage if they had all been sober.

“I’m the one that’s going to bash your head on the sidewalk,” Bella growled out, surprised at the venom in her voice.

“Leave girl, this is not your business,” the other one ordered with a sneer on his handsome face.

“Yeah that’s his fiancé so it’s none of your business what happens between man and his wife,” the other one slurred, missing the sharp look he received from his buddy. Bella’s eyes widened in horror and disbelief.

“That’s your fiancé?” she bit out. The man only quirked an eyebrow.

“What’s it to you?” he asked in a superior manner, eyeing her like she was dirt under her shoe.

“You sick fuck!” Bella yelled in rage.

“Finish her Charles,” the man gave a humorless chuckle and patted his friend on the shoulder. Charles retrieved a knife from his pocket and staggered towards Bella.

Bella swallowed nervously but refused to let this deter her. Luckily the man seemed to have trouble walking straight, his eyes unfocused as he stumbled towards her. Not giving him enough time to act, she bent down to retrieve a discarded beer bottle and chucked it at him. The bottle broke on his hand and the man cried out in pain. He had no time react as Bella lunged at him and hit him squarely in the face, making him drop the knife and loose his footing and fall to the ground. Bella wasted no time and jumped on him and punched him again, and this time he slumped down unconscious.

With a painful intake of breath, Bella grabbed the knife and stumbled to her feet, staring at the last man, the supposed fiancé.

The man eyed her knife nervously and let out a weak chuckle.

“Do you know who I am?” he asked pompously, obviously trying to sound confident although it fell flat on Bella’s ears as she could detect the fear in his eyes.

“I don’t give a flying fuck who you are,” Bella spat out, advancing on the man.

“I’m Royce King the third!” he said firmly, as if that should hold some meaning to Bella.

“I don’t give a fuck if you are the Queen of England,” she retorted. “You disgust me,”

“You don’t want to know what happens to you if you lay a hand on me. I’ll have you prisoned,” the man, Royce, said with narrowed eyes.

“Listen here buddy, I don’t have anything to lose so I don’t give a fuck,” Bella insisted as she walked towards him, noticing how Royce’s eyes darted nervously around, probably hoping his friends would come to his rescue. Unfortunately for him the rest of the group was scattered around the street in a bloody mess, all unconscious.

“She is to be my bride and-“ he began but Bella did not let him finish.

His words spiked hot anger in her, and she lunged at him with the knife, plunging deep into his stomach. Royce cried out in pain and clutched his wound. Bella blinked in surprise as she watched the strain of blood spread out on his white shirt.

“You stabbed me!” Royce exclaimed in disbelief.

“No shit Sherlock,” Bella spat out and took his moment of surprise and punched him squarely in the jaw. Royce hit the ground with a painful thud and Bella loomed over him, as he was sprawled on the ground and groaning in pain. Deciding he was dealt with at the moment she let out a breath.

A whimper of pain brought her back to reality and her eyes snapped to the woman on the ground. Bella sprang into action and fell to her knees in front of her, her eyes widening at the woman’s condition.

Her legs and lower body were covered in blood, making Bella wince in compassion. Poor woman. She crouched nearer and looked at the woman’s face for the first time. Bella drew in a sharp breath as she took in the woman’s beautiful face.

In fact she looked younger than Bella had originally assumed and was more of a girl than a woman, perhaps around 18 or 19 years old? The girl’s face was scrunched up in pain and eyes closed but it did not hide her beauty; high cheekbones, full lips, straight nose, well puckered eyebrows and long flowing blonde hair.

That however was not what captured Bella’s attention, but the fact that she knew that face.

“Hey,” Bella began lamely, not sure what to say in this situation.

The girl’s eyes snapped open and Bella’s breath was yet again stolen from her. Violet eyes, not topaz, that were filled with such fear, sorrow and pain met Bella’s dark brown ones. The girl’s eyes flashed a surprise as she took in Bella’s face. There was just no way this was the same girl, was it?

“I’m not going to hurt you,” Bella said in a soothing voice. The girl opened her mouth to speak but winced in pain and Bella assumed her vocal cords were badly damaged from all the screaming.

Bella’s heart went out to her and she wanted to cry but she knew she had to hold it together. She would get her answers later, this was not the time.

“Don’t speak,” she said gently and paused in thought before pulling off her sweater and placing it on top of the girl’s exposed lower body. She wanted to spare her for at least a small amount and give the girl back some dignity.

She knew with every fiber of her being that the girl was in fact dying. Bella had heard enough stories from her late father about similar cases.

“I’m Bella,” she offered the girl needlessly, her heart tugging painfully at the broken look in the girl’s eyes.

“I’m so sorry that this happened to you,” Bella muttered. “I tried to come sooner but I was too far away,” she added mournfully. The girl’s eyebrows knotted in confusion.

“No one will harm you now, I made sure of it,” Bella promised. The girl gave her a questioning look. “I took care of them,”

“Rosalie,” the girl croaked out in a weak voice and Bella’s mind froze. What were the chances of that? A doppelganger with the exact same name? She had no rational explanation for this. Rosalie, while surprised by her presence, bore no recognition in her eyes. 

“That’s a beautiful name,” she murmured instead and took Rosalie’s hand in hers. "May I call you Rose?" she didn't know why she asked, maybe to fill the tense silence, but Rosalie nodded anyway.

“We need to get help,” Bella raised her head and looked around the surrounding buildings. Did no one hear them? Or did they just ignore it?

Bella wanted to scream in frustration. Were people honestly so heartless that they just let this happen without any interruptions?

“I’ll go find- “Bella’s words trailed off when she felt Rosalie squeeze her hand and she look down. The girl was giving her such a fearful look and shaking her head weakly. Bella deflated at the action.

“Okay I’ll stay,” she agreed and was rewarded with a small smile, albeit weak, but it made her heart race nonetheless, just as it always did when the other Rosalie smiled at her.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she promised the girl solemnly and squeezed her hand gently.

A shuffle of noise grabbed her attention and Bella glanced away from Rosalie only to see Royce stumbling away, holding his bleeding abdomen. A growl escaped Bella then and she was about to go after him when she felt a weak squeeze on her hand.

Bella sighed and looked down to meet Rosalie’s worried eyes.

“It’s just your fiancé,” Bella bit out, eyes widening at her mistake when Rosalie’s eyes flashed in panic and fear.

“Hey no worries it’s okay, he’s gone now,” she added soothingly. Rosalie looked doubtful.

“I stabbed him so he’s limping away like a fucking coward he is, he’s not coming back,” Bella promised in a strained voice, missing the way Rosalie’s eyes flickered in surprise.

“This is a clusterfuck,” The brunette mumbled to herself and desperately looked for a distraction, opting for stroking the back of Rosalie’s hand with her thumb, not knowing if it was comforting for her own benefit or Rosalie’s. What to do now?

A sudden sharp pain in her a face made her wince, the action clearly not gone unnoticed by Rosalie, who looked at her in worry. Bella couldn’t help but to smile gently to the girl. How can someone gone through such a horrible ordeal, lying bleeding and dying on the ground and in obvious excruciating pain, worry about a stranger? Or maybe she wasn’t a stranger? Either way, this girl was a treasure, Bella was sure of it.

“Don’t worry about me, I’m okay,” Bella assured her. Ironically enough, a familiar sensation washed over her. She grimaced and squeezed her eyes shut to fight off the nauseating feeling, accompanied with sharp pain.

This couldn’t be more of an inconvenient time for her to travel back to her own time. When the worst had passed, she opened her eyes and looked down at Rosalie.

“Listen to me carefully,” she told the girl seriously. “None of this was your fault so don’t ever think that for a second. I cannot emphasise this enough. You did nothing wrong and this is not your fault. This was all on them,” she closed her eyes for a moment.

“I can’t explain it properly, it won’t make much sense to you but I’m leaving in a moment,” Bella drew in a shaky breath. “I swear this is something I can’t control and if I could, I would stay here with you,”

She was about to say more when voices in the distant gathered her attention. Bella’s head snapped up and she noticed two figures walking towards them.

“Hey!” She called out, immensely glad that someone was finally arriving. Maybe Rosalie’s fate was not sealed just yet?

“Over here!” the two voices stopped talking and Bella could hear hurried steps instead. Another wave of pain hit her. “They will help you,”

“Don’t go,” Rosalie rasped out, her eyes wide and desperate and Bella choked down a sob, hating that she could not provide her with more comfort, a familiar feeling of powerlessness stabbing her heart.

“I’m so sorry my sweet Rose,” Bella whispered brokenly and bent down to kiss Rosalie on the forehead gently. “Don’t forget my words,” another invisible blow and she fell backwards.

The last thing she remembered was Rosalie’s tear-stricken face and the sound of hurried footsteps.

After that everything went black.

 

-End of flashback-

 

 

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” Bella breathed out shakily, before pausing on her choice of words.

“Okay that sounded dirtier than I intended,” Rosalie’s laugh was like calming balm. “You know what I mean,” the brunette added with an eye roll.

“I…” Rosalie hesitated, her eyes wide and fearful, as if she was afraid of Bella leaving if she told her the truth. The expression tugged at Bella’s heartstrings. She had seen that same face on Rosalie but under graver circumstances. It was enough to make her start talking.

“I’m a time traveler,” she blurted out, wincing when she realized she had declared that too loudly. Luckily everyone were too far away to listen in on their conversation.

“That…” Rosalie’s eyebrow knotted. “…that actually makes a lot of sense,” Bella huffed out a laugh and pushed a stray lock of hair out of her eyes.

“I guess,” she offered lamely, not sure what to say. “Quid pro quo Clarice,” Bella cleared her throat.

“Silence of the lambs, really?” a small smile curved Rosalie’s lips.

“You’re stalling,” Bella observed knowingly. The blonde sighed heavily.

“I am,”

“Surely it can’t be that bad?” Bella cocked her head. Rosalie let out a sardonic laugh.

“Rosalie?”

“I’m a vampire,” the self-hatred in the tone was practically dripping.

“I…wait what?” Bella blinked in surprise.

“Yeah,” Rosalie swallowed thickly. “I wouldn’t have told you under any other circumstances, but this is definitely a special case. I understand if you stop associating with us, after all any sane person would. I just ask you to not breathe a word about it to anyone else. There are laws-“

“Whoa, Rosalie, calm down,” Bella gently touched the blonde’s arms, her head reeling at the new information. “Just… give me a minute here,” Rosalie’s mouth snapped close.

“I’m not afraid if that’s what you’re getting at,” Rosalie just stared at her incredulously. “This is just quite the plot twist,” Bella laughed with a small shake of her head.

“That’s… your reaction?” Rosalie’s expression was the epitome of disbelief.

“I just told you that I’m a time travel, it’s not as if you too belonging to the supernatural world is a stretch. I’m just a bit confused here,” Bella admitted.

“Confusion is understandable,” the vampire agreed solemnly. “It’s a lot to take in,”

“Yeah,” Bella nodded, before pausing. “No. Well yes but not what I mean,”

“What are you talking about?” This time Rosalie looked confused.

“I just thought all of you guys had red eyes. Are there different types of vampires or something?” Bella wondered. Rosalie looked at her, absolutely gob smacked. “What? It’s a legitimate question,” Bella frowned.

“Red eyes?” Rosalie echoed faintly. “You’ve met a vampire before?” her tone was slightly panicked now.

“No one as nice as you,” a small grin tugged at Bella’s lips.

 

 

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

Bella’s POV

 

“So, let me get this straight,” Emmett paused dramatically, a thoughtful expression on his face. “You’re actually a time traveler?” Bella nodded. “You are completely cool with us being vampires?” Bella nodded again. “You travelled to Rosalie’s past and saved her?”

“Not really, I mean she still died,” Bella offered quietly with a small frown. A warm hand covered her own, which made her look up. Rosalie’s eyes were filled with gratitude and something else Bella was unable to decipher.

“You still kicked the shit out of everyone and stabbed her ex-fiancé?” Emmett pressed. Bella nodded.

“That’s so epic!” Emmett’s smile was beaming. “You guys hear that?” he turned to his family. “My best friend is literally the coolest,”

“Pretty sure you are the colder one of the two of us,” Bella rolled her eyes good-naturedly.

“Hah!” Emmett seemed incredibly pleased about her bad vampire joke. “I’m so glad we don’t have to hide our secret anymore,”

“Speaking of which,” Carlisle caught Bella’s attention. “Rosalie mentioned you’ve met other vampires before?” he seemed intrigued at the prospect while his wife looked worried.

“I have,” Bella smiled tightly, uncomfortable at the reminder.

“Vegetarians?” Emmett wondered, which brought a queer look from Bella. “That’s what we call ourselves,” the big man explained with a childish grin. “Because we drink from animals and not humans,” Bella’s frowned thoughtfully.

“This is why our eyes are not red,” Carlisle added. Bella digested that information.

“What about your body heat?” she glanced down at Rosalie’s hand, which still rested on her own.

“What do you mean?” the doctor wondered.

“Are you guys on a different diet than Rose?” Bella asked hesitantly, bewildered when the other exchanged glances. “What?”

“Why do you think that?” Jasper leaned forward in his seat, very interested in her answer.

“Because she’s not freezing cold like the rest of you?” Bella stated more than asked.

“I am not?” Rosalie’s eyes widened, staring at their entwined hands in fascination.

“Is that so?” there was clear excitement in Carlisle’s eyes, as if she had just made a scientific discovery.

“Okay I’m starting to think that’s new information for you guys,” Bella deadpanned before adopting a playful look, eyeing Rosalie. “Does that mean you’re going about this vampirism business the wrong way?”

“Vampirism business?” Rosalie’s eyes shone with mirth.

“Yeah, I mean you’re obviously special,” Bella’s eyes lit up. “Are you like a super vampire?”

“No,” Rosalie laughed musically, the sound mesmerising Bella for a moment.

“That would be me!” Emmett butted in.

“Whatever you say big guy,” the brunette drawled, eyes still focused on the beauty next to her.

“I am!” Emmett insisted. “I have super strength,”

“That’s nice,” Bella didn’t even blink, resisting the urge to smirk at his downtrodden expression.

“It’s awesome,” the big man muttered to himself. Rosalie shot her an amusing look, obviously catching on to her teasing.

“Not as cool as mine!” Alice enthused.

“Some vampires possess different gifts,” Jasper explained to a very confused Bella.

“Really?” Bella’s eyebrow rose in surprise. “What’s yours then?” she asked the pixie.

“I can read the future!” Alice seemed particularly smug about that. Bella simply blinked at the information.

“That’s…uh…nice,” Bella offered lamely, not sure how to respond. “Does everyone have different gifts?”

“No, it’s rather rare,” Jasper answered. “Emmett has super strength and Alice can read the future. I myself have Pathokenisis,” the brunette tilted her head in confusion. “It means I can feel and manipulate other people’s emotions,” he looked positively sheepish. “I try to avoid it if I can,”

“Wow,” Bella looked at him fascinated. “That’s so awesome,” Jasper’s hesitation shifted into a pleased smile. Bella wondered if he was ashamed of his gift.

“My gift is awesome too!” Alice whined almost childishly, and Bella had to suppress laughter.

“Sure,” Bella nodded with a straight face.

“It’s much better than Edwards!” Alice said sulkily. Bella noticed for the first time that Edward was not there. She was pretty sure he was there when she arrived at the Cullen house.

“He’s gone hunting,” Jasper told her before she could even ask.

“What’s his gift?” Bella wondered.

“He can read minds,” Jasper answered promptly, and Bella froze. Jasper must have noticed that or at least felt her discomfort for he was staring at her curiously.

“It’s super annoying though,” Emmett complained grumpily. “There is literally no privacy around him,” Bella knew her heart began to race madly. If Edward could read minds, that meant they knew.

“Everyone’s?” she asked faintly.

“Everyone except yours,” Alice explained with a nod. Bella’s shoulders immediately relaxed, and her heart calmed. “Well only glimpses really,” the pixie added, unknowingly making Bella tense up again.

“Why is that?” she asked tightly but Alice just shrugged.

“Not sure but it drives him insane,” the smaller girl gave her a toothed grin.

“But he sometimes can?” Bella’s voice did not come out as casual as she intended it to. Rosalie squeezed her hand gently, which oddly enough relaxed the brunette.

“Rarely,” Alice hedged carefully. Bella opened her mouth to ask further questions but was quickly interrupted by Emmett.

“Which vampires did you meet?”

“What?” Bella blinked.

“You said you’ve met other vampires,” Emmett elaborated.

“Oh, yeah,” Bella couldn’t stop the shiver, avoiding Rosalie’s concerned eyes. “During one of my travels,”

“Where?” Carlisle wondered.

“When?” Jasper spoke at the same time.

For some reason their sincere curiosity made Bella relax further, and she chuckled.

“England,” she answered the doctor. “I’m not sure the exact date, but sometime during the 8th century,” Bella told Jasper.

“Truly?” Carlisle seemed fascinated.

“Yeah,” Bella winced. “They were really into witch trials back then,”

“Fuck,” Emmett’s eyes were wide. “Did you witness one?” his tone indicated that he was unsure if he found it interesting or horrifying. Maybe a combination of both; morbid curiosity.

“Yeah,” Bella sighed. “Almost stopped one too,” an intense feeling of sorrow washed over her.

In an attempt to distract herself from the memory, she glanced at Carlisle and hesitantly added. “That’s where I saw a vampire actually,”

“Do you remember how they-“

“He,” Bella interrupted quietly.

“How he looked like?” something about Carlisle expression seemed guarded.

“Pale, red eyes,” Bella scrunched up her nose in thought, oblivious to the fond look from Rosalie at the small action. “Blonde hair,”

“Very informative,” Emmett teased, which made Bella roll her eyes.

“I apologise for not asking him for a name,” she mocked in return.

“I reckon she was busy fighting for her life, Em,” Alice piped in with an eye-roll.

“Not my life,” Bella spoke without a thought. “He did lend me his sword though,” the absurdness of the statement made everyone stop and look at her in disbelief.

“What?” she shifted under the attention. “It was not as if he needed it,”

“What the actual fuck?” Emmett laughed in shock.

“Language,” Esme reprimanded, although as it was more of a reflex, since she too was staring at Bella in surprise.

“You took his sword?” Rosalie asked slowly, as if she wasn’t sure she was hearing this correctly.

“No I borrowed it. I asked him for it, and he gave it to me,” Bella answered nonchalantly.

“He had red eyes though,” Jasper remarked. “You weren’t scared?”

“Terrified,” Bella acknowledged. “But he was the least of my worries in that scenario,”

“What was more terrifying than a human drinking vampire?” Rosalie asked incredulously.

Bella’s eyes darkened at the memory.

 

-Flashback-

 

Bella blinked a few times, observing her environment in confusion. She wondered where on earth she was this time, and more importantly; when.

She was positioned of the outskirt of what could only be considered a small village and judging by its state and the materials of the buildings, she had traveled far back. It must have been early morning, since the sun had yet risen and it was remarkably quiet, as if everyone was still sleeping.

The houses were more like huts if anything, made of wood with roofs thatched with straw. They were all pretty small, apart from one big hut, which Bella reckoned housed someone important. All around the village was a high fence, which luckily Bella found herself inside of. It seemed to serve purpose of protecting the inhabitants and keeping the herd safe, from wild animals and enemies. That was Bella’s logical assumption anyway.

A sound of bleating made Bella look to her right and notice a few sheep staring at her uninterestedly, munching on grass. The brunette stifled laughter at their deadpan expressions and shook her head lightly, reminding herself to focus and figure out where she was.

“Okay,” she took a calming breath. “There are trees and the temperature is a bit chilly, which rules out a lot of places,” she whispered to herself, her eyes drinking in her surroundings. “The buildings are rudimental but there are a few hints that give away advancement,” she spotted a sword lying against one of the huts. “Think Bella,”

“Ōþstand!“ someone called out, halting her thought process.

Bella glanced up and froze when she noticed someone staring at her suspiciously. Bella wasn‘t sure if she was relieved or not when she realised it was only a boy, about 12 or 13. His youthful face was quite pretty, half hidden under a mop of dirty dark brown hair. He wore some sort of a green tunic, hip length with long sleeves over brown woollen trousers. His shoes were made of leather, fastened with laces and their state was honestly quite pitiful. It was obvious he was not wealthy.

“Hū hāttest þū?” the boy took a few wary steps towards her. Bella frowned, not understanding his words but somehow, they felt familiar.

“Spricst þū Englisċ?“ he continued, this time in a slower voice, his light blue eyes growing more suspicious with her silence. Bella gave a start at the last word, she at least recognised that.

“I’m sorry,” she said when she knew she couldn’t hold her tongue anymore. “I’m afraid I don’t understand. I speak English though,” the boy’s eyes widened in surprise. He let out a spew of words, his speech growing rapid. Amazingly he did not sound alarmed, as Bella had feared, but more curious.

“Whoa,” Bella held her hands up in defeat, signalling him to stop talking, which he thankfully did. “Can you slow down a bit?” she requested apologetically. Understanding filled the boy’s eyes and he adopted a sheepish look. Bella softened at the sight of it and gave him an encouraging smile.

“Iċ hātte Alec,“ he stated proudly and waited. Bella frowned in confusion. The boy repeated the words, this time pointing to himself.

“Alec?” she tested it out, almost laughing at the beaming smile and the enthusiastic nod she received. “Nice to meet you Alec,”

“Hū hāttest þū?” Alec asked in return and this time Bella didn’t need a translation.

“Bella,” she replied. ““Iċ hātte Bella, “she clumsily tried to repeat his words. Alec apparently found her attempt hilarious because he laughed gleefully. Bella simply smiled, feeling lighter under the happy sound. When Alec finally calmed down, he asked another question but Bella got distracted.

Noises were starting to come from the huts, as if people were starting to move around, accompanied with voices. She froze and her eyes snapped to Alec, who was staring at in curiosity and apprehension.

“Fuck,” Bella swore under her breath. “Alec,” she caught his attention. “This is going to sound strange but where are we? Are people here as friendly as you?” she knew her voice sounded too panicked, judging by Alec’s surprise. Bella could tell he couldn’t understand her words, but he must have caught the gist of her emotions, because he hesitated

for all but two seconds before motioning her to follow him. Without any other option, and the painstaking memory of her past travels being discovered, she followed without question.

Alec quickly ducked between two huts and masterfully avoided a few villagers that stepped outside. Bella kept her head down and followed, narrowly avoiding collation with one door that swung open unexpectedly. Alec simply pulled on her sweater impatiently and dragged her along. They only slowed down when they reached a lone hut, standing a bit further away from the others. More people were beginning to rise and exit their houses. Before Bella’s curiosity could properly take over, Alec pushed her inside. She barely caught her footing and turned her head to glare at the boy, who wore an amused smirk.

“Alec?” a new voice exclaimed. Bella broke eye contact and looked to the direction where the voice came from.

A girl, bearing remarkable physical likeness to Alec, was staring at her with pale grey distrusting eyes. She was very pretty and if Bella could guess, around Alec’s age. Maybe they were twins? Her hair was a shade lighter than Alec’s and a bit longer, although no less dirty. She wore a haggard woollen dress and similar leather shoes as Alec did.

Alec started speaking in hushed notes, gesturing towards Bella, who was eyeing the girl warily. She caught her name in between words but other than that, she remained clueless of what was being said. The girl was staring at Alec with an unimpressed expression, obviously not approving of Alec’s actions. Then they started arguing, albeit quietly, but there was no doubt in Bella’s mind now what they were arguing about. Apparently Alec grew frustrated with the other girl words and threw his hands up dramatically. Despite the urgency of the situation, Bella couldn’t stop her quiet amused snort at his adorable scowl. Alec paused and glanced at Bella, who gave him an innocent smile. The boy blushed crimson and cleared his throat, before looking back at the girl. His words were quieter now and almost pleading. The girl looked between Alec and Bella with what could only be described as pure exasperation, before she rolled her eyes. Alec turned to Bella with a dazzling smile.

“Þes pæs Jane,“ Alec said slowly, gesturing towards the girl. “Sweostor,“ he added proudly.

Bella‘s suspicions were confirmed and she looked at the girl, Alec‘s sister.

“It’s nice to meet you Jane,” she told her kindly. “My name is Bella,” Jane merely rolled her eyes and stormed out the hut. Bella blinked in surprise and looked at Alec, who gave her an apologetic smile. Bella’s answering smile made the boy blush and nervously look away.

Bella inwardly smirked. She already charmed Alec, now she just needed to work on Jane. She needed their help if she were to keep herself alive and find information about her whereabouts. She glanced at Alec, who was staring at her shyly. Bella reckoned she should start right away.

 

Time went by slower than Bella could ever think was possible. She had been stuck in that village for a few weeks now, a longer time than she usually traveled, and she was counting the minutes to go home. She knew however that she had no means to go home, her power never worked like that. Either she got home eventually, or she didn’t.

To pass the time she helped Alec and Jane with their daily chores. The brother and sister, who Bella was almost certain were in fact twins, reluctantly accepted her help. Sometimes she thought they considered her more of a hindrance than real help, but they were patient. Well Alec was patient; Jane had no such qualms although she got better with time.

The siblings somehow managed to convince the other villagers that she was their cousin from another village. They added to the story that she was mute, which Bella was entirely grateful for. She had found out that she was in England, somewhere around 8th century, but Old English was not modern English, and while she could understand a few words here and there, most of it was lost on her. So she was glad for the excuse to not speak to anyone. Bella did notice that the locals thought she was slow in the head, assumption made on her lack of understanding and limited amount of knowledge on the basic tasks, but she would rather be considered dimwitted than an enemy.

Despite the language barrier, Bella was slowly getting to know the twins. Alec was much easier of the two. He had a calming presence and a bright smile. It did help that he seemed to have developed a small crush on Bella, much to his sister’s annoyance. He answered Bella’s questions, when he understood them, and tried to answer hers in return. Bella couldn’t understand much of it, but there were a few things she learned.

Jane was a whole different matter. She was distrustful and sometimes downright cold and only Alec seemed to manage to thaw her icy demeanor. Still, Bella was nothing but stubborn, so bit by bit she started to grow on Jane. She scowled less and her eyes didn’t narrow as soon as Bella was in her sights, once she even caught a fleeting smile from the usual stoic teenager. That counted as win in Bella’s book.

Bella understood Jane’s attitude better the more she stayed in the village. The locals were extremely unfriendly towards the siblings and eyed them with thinly veiled distaste. They stared at them as if they were waiting for them to grow horns at any moment and declare their unwavering loyalty to the devil. Bella had glared right back when she noticed this, which apparently was enough to make the locals to dislike her just as much. Bella didn’t care about that but apparently the twins did. Alec had offered her an adoring smile while Jane’s features softened slightly. Their approval was more than enough to Bella and she vowed to herself to try her best to protect them as long as she was stuck in their time. They had won over her affections with frightening ease and she started viewing them as her adopted siblings. Bella didn’t know much about the twin’s history, only that they were orphans and she guessed their family life hadn’t been a happy one. Alec always shied away from the topic and Jane promptly ignored it when Bella tried to bring it up.

Life in a small village in the 8th century was relatively boring, mostly just chores and a lot of dead time. Bella reckoned she could have arrived to a worser place in this particular time period, so she was rather thankful for the boredom. She realised on the fifth day that she had celebrated too soon. It was then she witnessed her first witch trial.

She had been horrified as she watched two men dragging a screaming old woman through the town. Her legs automatically started to move but Alec caught her hand and shook his head firmly. She was not to intervene. When Bella asked Alec about the woman’s crime, it was Jane who answered. In a dull voice she explained that her healing plants worked suspiciously well on wounds. Bella had just stared at her incredulously for a long time, wincing when she heard a high pitch scream overpowering angry shouts. The screams died after a few moments, followed with a cheer. Bella balked in disgust, both at the horrific event and the defeated expression on the twins. They acted as if it was a normal occurrence.

Bella was surprised the twins never gave her up to the superstitious locals, or never even asked her questions about her own origin. In fact, everything about her arrival, her inexperience at the basic daily tasks and general being, suggested there was something supernatural at play, which anyone else in the village would have taken as witchcraft. Yet Jane and Alec never did. Bella privately wondered if they never did because they too were different. She had no real evidence, but something was strange about the twins. Once she swore she saw one of the villagers bow down in pain when Jane glared at him for too long. She couldn’t be sure though, and she couldn’t even put her finger on it, but Bella instinctively knew the siblings were of the supernatural kind.

Bella witnessed a few more witch trials after her first and the accusations, the so-called-proof, was more absurd after the other. One woman was trialed for being barren, another for ‘having too many strong opinions’, one man was supposed to have signed his name in the book of devil and one old woman spoke to harshly to the Chief of the village. Bella felt utterly powerless and longed to help but the twins were always quick to intervene her rescue attempts. Normally Bella would have argued and made a point about morality but there were always emotions in the siblings’ eyes that stopped her from doing so. Defeat, sorrow, anger but most of all, fear. It broke Bella’s heart every time she had to witness it. For the first time ever, Bella feared of going home, but not for herself.

There was also another reason that worried Bella, aside from the witch trials. There was a new arrival to the village who gave Bella the creeps. He came one night and managed to charm almost every local. He was undoubtably beautiful, lean figure, pale skin and fair blonde hair. He wore more expensive clothing than anyone else Bella had seen in that time period and carried around a gleaming sword. Despite his obvious wealth and unearthly beauty, his most noticeable features were his red eyes. Bella knew for a fact that contact lenses hadn’t been invented, so she grew suspicious right away. The women in the village fawned and blushed over him, while the men grudgingly accepted his gifts; although not without shooting him distrusting looks. Bella herself, was not so easily charmed. She disliked him immensely, and it had nothing to do with envy or lust, but because how he stared at Jane and Alec. He never engaged with the twins, but he watched them carefully, unnervingly. One time he didn’t even blink for two whole minutes and on reflex, Bella had pulled Jane behind her back protectively. Jane protests died on her lips when she noticed the serious look in Bella’s eyes. The stranger had merely raised one eyebrow with a mocking smile before his red eyes landed on Jane and winked. The gesture shot blind fury to Bella’s chest and she practically growled and took a step towards him, as if preparing to attack. Jane caught her hand and shook her head gently, although her eyes were softer than usual. Under the softness was surprise, as if the concept of anyone defending her was alien. The look momentarily calmed the fire inside of Bella, and she allowed Jane to lead her back inside their hut. Jane set out to distract her as soon as she stepped inside the threshold, and Bella played along but mentally reminded herself to keep an eye on the stranger.

Two weeks later the stranger left, much to Bella’s relief. Bella knew he had been amused by her attempt to shield the twins, and she wasn’t sure if her presence made any difference, but he never bothered them. Jane and Alec found her protectiveness bemusing, but they indulged her, nonetheless. While Alec always gave her a fond exasperated smile and Jane continuously rolled her eyes, Bella knew they appreciated the sentiment.

Bella estimated she had been in the past for almost two months when everything crashed and burned. An uneasy storm had been brewing for quite some time, so it was only inevitable when they came for them.

They has been peacefully sleeping when the first knock came. Alec and Jane immediately shot to their feet, while Bella still lay on the cot, trying to comprehend the situation still half asleep. Someone shouted and pounded on the door. Bella took one look at the fear in the twins’ eyes, before she too got up. Jane and Alec exchanged glances, one of which Bella had dubbed ‘twin speak’. They often talked without words. Bella was about to speak when Jane turned to her and pulled at her night dress. The force was enough to make Bella stumble.

“Leáfa!“ the younger girl urged, pushing her gently towards the only window in the hut.

“I’m not leaving,” Bella frowned, ignoring Jane’s annoyed expression. “I’m not going without you,” she insisted.

“Bella,” Alec’s soft murmur caught her attention. “Leáfa,“ Bella opened her mouth to protest. “Please,” he added in broken modern English. Bella sucked in a harsh breath and looked between the siblings, who both wore defeated yet stubborn expressions.

“No,” it came out pathetically small. “Come with me,” Bella pleaded. Jane’s stared at her with conflicted emotions, as if seriously considering it, before her lips thinned and she shook her head gently. More banging on the door, accompanied with several angry shouts. The volume indicated there were many people at the other side. Before Bella could say anything else, the door sprung open and Jane pushed her out the window. She fell harshly on the muddy ground, headfirst.

Bella saw stars for a few seconds, and it took her a few more moments to fight off the disorienting feeling. When she finally pulled herself up, she remembered why she was there in the first place, and panic began to seep in. She had to stop them. She immediately broke off into a run, following the sound of angry shouts. She only just reached the Chief’s house when her body automatically froze, and she came to a screeching halt. Fear crawled up her spine as she stared at the unbelieving scene.

The beautiful stranger was back and had a young woman pinned up against the house. Normally Bella wouldn’t have blinked, after all sex was natural and she was no virgin, but this she had not seen before. He wasn’t kissing her neck, as one would assume, but drinking from it. One of his hand held the woman’s body up while the other muffled her screams. Bella could do nothing but stare in horror and disbelief, every limb refusing to cooperate. Almost half a minute passed until the woman slumped down, obviously dead. Bella gulped loudly, the sound drawing attention to her. The stranger’s eyes gleamed with mirth as he stared at frightful state, giving her a bloody smile.

“Vampire?” Bella blurted out loud, her brain trying to comprehend what she had just witnessed. Unbelievable, the man’s smile grew bigger.

“Vampyr,” his melodic voice confirmed. He eyed her for a moment, as if he had underestimated her. They stared at one another for a long time, Bella terrified while the man seemed intrigued. A piercing scream snapped Bella out of her stupor and pure desperation overtook every other sense. It was as if she forgot in that moment that she had a supernatural predator in front of her, one who could easily snap her neck, and her whole mind was consumed with the danger the twins were facing. Bella frantically tried to think of some sort of a plan, when the man shifted and a gleam caught her eyes.

“May I?” she pointed at his sword, which she now suspected was more of a play than real need to carry around. The man tilted her head in curiosity.

“Not to kill you,” Bella rolled her eyes. “I need to help them,” she knew in all likelihood that he had no idea what she was saying, so she pointed in the direction of the screams. Red eyes lit up in understanding and his lips curled into a smile. He said something back in a soft voice, although Bella could neither hear nor understand him. She caught the gist of it anyway. He didn’t believe she could save them.

“Let me try at least,” she huffed out and held out her hand impatiently. A small voice at the back of her mind asked her if she had lost her mind. Luckily the vampire found her amusing and instead of killing her, he simply unsheathed his sword and handed it to her.

“Hearding,” he bowed his head theatrically with a mocking smirk. She grasped the handle.

“Ic þancie þē!” Bella whispered reverently, one of the few words she knew in old English and broke off in a run. She was completely oblivious to the amused red eyes that followed her fleeing figure.

When Bella finally arrived at the spot the locals performed their witch trials, she slowed down and took in the scene. Every person carried a torch, which illuminated the dark night. They stood in a semi-circle around a huge bonfire, which was thankfully unlit.

Alec was already tied up on top of the pile of wood, fastened to a wooden plank. His eyes were wide and fearful, staring down at the angry faces. Jane was being hauled up by two men, but she was resisting; shouting and fighting out of their grasp. The sight steeled Bella’s resolve and she acted without hesitating.

She pushed through the crowd with her borrowed sword raised high. The men let go of Jane in shock, surprised at her entrance and fierce expression. Jane took the opportunity and rolled out of the way, which Bella was incredibly grateful for. She then slashed the sword without the fear of accidentally hitting Jane. She managed to stab one of them in the stomach, who fell down on his knees with a pained howl. The other man scrambled away, eyeing the sharp weapon in fear. Bella wasted no time and pulled Jane to her feet and shielded her body, glaring at everyone in the circle.

“Bella,” Jane’s relieved gasp made Bella’s heart clench painfully. Had the girl really thought she would abandon them this easily?

“Stay behind me Jane,” Bella ordered firmly.

“Drýicge!” someone shouted from the mob. Bella knew that word. Witch.

“Stay the fuck back or I’ll gut every single one of you!” she screamed back, knowing that even though they couldn’t understand the words, they understood their intent. The crowd shuffled, no one daring to step forth and meet her ire.

Bella eyed them warily for a few moments before glancing back at Jane, whose eyes were filled with tears and unbridled fear. It was such an uncharacteristic look on someone who usually tried their best to show no emotion, and it tore at Bella’s heartstrings.

“Jane-“

“Bella!” Jane cut her off with a warning cry, eyes fixated on something behind her. Bella turned around on pure instincts and barely managed to block the incoming sword with her own. One of the men had decided to risk attacking and while he was obviously no fighter, the hatred in his eyes was enough to fuel him. Bella threw her body weight into her block, the force of it making him stumble back. He quickly recovered and was about to swing his sword again when he unexpectedly fell down, his body writhing as he screamed in pain.

Bella blinked in confusion and looked up. The mob was yelling in fright and pointing at something. Bella followed their eyes and noticed Jane staring at the man in quiet fury. Bella shook her head, deciding that was not the time to ponder over the implications and gently grabbed Jane’s arm. The screams of the man quieted down to pitiful moans when Jane’s eyes met Bella’s.

“We need to get Alec,” Bella urged her. Jane’s eyes lit up in understanding and snapped to her brother, who was staring at the scene in bewilderment and with no small amount of hope. Jane rushed into action and climbed the unlit bonfire while Bella faced the mob, whose fear had been replaced with its previous anger. Bella knew it was only a matter of time when someone decided to engage her again. Her eyes scanned the area, quickly trying to come up with some sort of a plan.

Her eyes caught the still lit torch one of the men had dropped, and she hurriedly picked it up and threw it in the tall grass in front of the mob. Not her brightest plan but she knew this area was mostly used for witch trials, which meant that the grass was dead and hopefully flammable enough. Smoke started to form almost immediately, and a small fire began to grow. It was pure dumb luck that she stood in a pool of mud. The mob took a step back but otherwise did not react, only kept shouting curses and accusations at Bella and the twins.

“Bella,” a tug on her sleeve made Bella look down. Jane had freed Alec and they were now standing behind her, shivering and afraid but very much alive. Bella let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.

“Good,” she murmured, mustering up a small, albeit forced, smile. Bella looked back and saw that despite the fact that the fire was growing at an alarming rate, the mob was not leaving. Something red caught attention and she noticed the beautiful stranger stood in the back, staring at them as if this was the funniest thing he had ever witnessed. A cold shiver ran down Bella’s back. While the mob couldn’t get them now easily, a vampire sure could.

Bella turned towards the twins, who were staring at her expectantly, as if she should know what to do.

“Alec,” she looked into light blue eyes before shifting them towards grey. “Jane,” they both perked up at their names. “Leáfa,“ she said slowly but firmly.

The siblings exchanged incredulous looks and simultaneously shook their heads. Bella almost smiled fondly at their shared stubbornness. She had no idea how to make them understand how dire this situation was.

“You have to go,” she urged them, before looking pointedly at the crowd where the beautiful stranger was watching. Their eyes followed hers with confusion. “Vampyr,” Bella stated as clearly as she could. Jane’s eyes snapped to hers in disbelief. Bella nodded.

“Go, I’ll hold them off,” Bella knew they would understand her. Alec shook his head vehemently while Jane just stared at her, seemingly at loss. Bella let out a sigh and pulled Alec in a one-armed hug, before repeating the action with Jane.

“Leáfa,” she whispered in Jane’s ear and softly kissed her forehead. “Now!” she ordered firmly and reluctantly looked away.

“Bella!” Alec cried out, obviously refusing to leave her. Bella turned back but as soon as she came into contact with light blue eyes, a familiar pain hit her.

“Fuck,” she hissed. “No, no no,” Bella bit back the tears. “Not now!” alarmed, the twins rushed forwards. Another invisible blow hit stomach, a telltale sign of what was to come.

“Not yet!” she practically demanded, although no higher power was listening.

“Bella?” Jane’s frantic whisper was enough to make a sob escape. Bella swallowed and her vision swam with tears.

“I’m so…so…sorry,” she murmured. “I can’t stop it,” smaller hands caught her as she fell to her knees. “Run!” Bella only just managed to take a final look into pale grey eyes before everything went black.

 

-End Flashback-

 

 

“Bella?”

Bella blinked, snapping out of her thoughts. She looked up and found worried topaz eyes.

“You okay?” Rosalie murmured gently, her eyes searching hers questioningly.

“Yeah,” Bella sighed and offered a small sheepish smile. “Just lost in thought,” she blushed slightly, wondering how long she zoned out for.

“You sure?” Bella made eye contact with Jasper, who looked hesitant. “Your emotions are all over the place,” the brunette frowned momentarily, before remembering his gift. She inwardly sighed, realizing his inner knowledge of her emotions would get old pretty soon.

“Yes,” she nodded stiffly. The Cullen’s exchanged dubious glances but luckily no one pressed her.

“How about one game before you go home?” Emmett suggested lightly, pulling out a gaming console. Bella could have kissed the man in that moment and grinned.

“You’re on,” she winked, forcing the painful memories away. Distraction was always her chosen method. Not a healthy option for the long run, but it would do for now. Perhaps one day she would face her feelings and mourn the twins, but today was not that day.

A soft squeeze to her hand made her look at Rosalie, who rewarded her with a small smile. Oddly enough her usual plan was all but forgotten in that moment.

 

 

Rosalie parked the car in front of Swan residence but Bella made no move to get out. Instead they sat there in comfortable silence. The car ride had been the most peaceful part of Bella‘s day and she truly treasured the blonde‘s company. The conversation had been relatively light, which Bella had been thankful for.

Despite Emmett‘s best efforts of pulling her out of her funk with video games, she still felt a bit raw with her emotions. Rosalie read her mood correctly and while she was a bit awkward, she still managed to make Bella smile easier.

“You don’t like being a vampire,” Bella observed, studying the blonde quietly. She had noticed the girl had shied away from every questions Bella had about vampires. Rosalie scowled and shook her head.

“I detest it,” Rosalie’s honesty was refreshing, as always. The blonde adopted a wistful expression. “Humans have no idea how good they have it. They can eat food, grow old,” something dark entered topaz eyes. “Have children,” Bella didn’t know what to say, so she said nothing. “I hate being this monster,” Rosalie whispered, more to herself than anything. Something about that quiet confession broke Bella’s heart and she felt compelled to speak up.

“You’re not a monster,” her voice was firm. Rosalie shot her a sad smile, as if she appreciated the sentiment but clearly did not believe it.

“I’m serious,” Bella continued. “I’ve seen true monsters Rose, and most of them were humans,” Rosalie seemed skeptical but at least she seemed to be listening. “Have you forgotten our conversation?”

“Which one?” Rosalie teased half-heartedly.

“You know which one,” Bella admonished lightly. “If our actions to simply survive, define us?”

“I drink blood Bella,” Rosalie’s smile was sardonic. “Drinking blood is literally what defines a vampire,”

“Perhaps,” the brunette agreed calmly. “But not from humans,” dark brown eyes met topaz. “Why is that?” Rosalie’s expression shifted into something Bella liked to describe as reluctant understanding.

“So we don’t have to kill anyone,” Rosalie explained tiredly, which brought out a small smile from Bella.

“And you’re trying to convince yourself that you are a monster? Pretty sure that’s a noble thing to do, going against your instincts like that,” the brunette pointed out and Rosalie shrugged sheepishly.

“The easy way would be to give in. That’s what a monster does, isn’t it? It has no regard for other people’s feelings, it just takes without thought because that benefits them. They never question their decisions because they have no moral compass to guide them. They are driven by their primal instincts and never stop to question their actions. To put it simply, they just don’t care,” Bella caught Rosalie’s eyes. “That’s not you. I see you Rosalie Hale. You care,” she added a small smile. “Even though you do your best to hide that from others,”

“Yeah well…” she seemed to be at loss what to say, as if the thought hadn’t occurred to her.

Bella instinctively knew Rosalie needed time to process her words, so she decided to lighten the mood.

“So… I guess I should postpone my plans on adopting a dog?” Rosalie gave her a queer look. “Believe me, I’m whole heartedly on board with your diet but I don’t want you to eat my future pets,” Rosalie rolled her eyes, a small smirk tugging her lips. The expression was illegally sexy, Bella couldn’t help but to notice.

“I would never lower myself to drink from some Cujo,” the blonde snarked, obviously disgusted with the mere idea.

“Are cats safe too?” Bella couldn’t help but add. She almost made an inappropriate joke but managed to catch herself. “What do you eat then?” The inquiry was sincere. Bella meant to ask about that earlier but forgot.

”I like deer,” the blonde mused out loud. Then she raised one eyebrow. “Plus, we drink. No one is eating,” Bella gave her a devilish grin at the words, that Rosalie looked apprehensive of.

“That’s a pity,” the brunette teased and added a wink for good measure. She mentally facepalmed herself for her dirty mind and impulsiveness. She had honestly tried to make no inappropriate jokes. Emmett was a bad influence.

The reaction she got was much better than she expected. Bella could only imagine that Vampires didn’t blush but if they could, she was pretty sure Rosalie would be doing that now.

“Err…” Rosalie said intelligently as if her brain had paused and despite her own embarrassment, Bella couldn’t help but to laugh at how adorable she looked.

“I’m sorry. I’m only teasing you,” she admitted after a moment, grasping Rosalie’s hand. Rosalie shot her a playful glare that told Bella that she was more amused if anything. Still, there was tension in the air now, that wasn’t there before. Bella wasn’t sure what to do with that.

Under any other circumstances, with any other girl, she might have made a move. This was Rosalie, however. The fact that the other girl was a vampire played only a minuscule part, or the fact that she looked like a goddess. It had everything to do with that despite the hard demeanor, Rosalie was sweet and kind. She was strong, intelligent, funny, patient and understanding.

Rosalie Hale deserved the whole world. The only thing Bella could offer was pain and broken pieces of herself. Not exactly a sweet deal. On top of that, Bella was still on the fence if she wanted to live or not. Rosalie didn’t deserve that.

There was also the fact that Rosalie had not remembered meeting her at first, which suggested she had suppressed the memory of her due to the traumatic circumstances she technically first met Bella. Bella had to use key words to trigger the memory, which she did without thinking about the consequences. She never should have said anything to begin with. It was highly likely that Rosalie would now only associate Bella with her trauma, which could develop into an unhealthy communication pattern. It was also a probability that she somehow felt indebted to Bella, which was the last thing she wanted. If Rosalie wanted her company, it should only because of that reason and not because of a guilty conscience.

Bella should distance herself now before Rosalie would be reeled into her drama. Being around Bella was dangerous. Just because Rosalie was not human and therefor stronger in the physical sense, she was still susceptible to emotional pain. Bella refused to be responsible for that. 

“I should go,” Bella said quietly, reluctantly dropping Rosalie’s hand.

“Oh,” Rosalie blinked, obviously confused by Bella’s shift in mood. “Okay,”

“I’ll see you tomorrow?” the brunette mustered up a smile, which was probably very unconvincing. Rosalie seemed to think so, since she gave Bella a skeptic look.

“Of course,” Bella flashed another smile and before Rosalie could say anything else, she opened the door and fled the scene.

It wasn’t until she was inside the house when she heard Rosalie start up the car again. Bella sighed heavily and leaned back against the front door. She was in over her head.

A flashes of red eyes, fire and pleading pale grey eyes unexpectedly assaulted her mind, and Bella flinched hard. She let out a shaky breath and peeled herself off the door, making way to the kitchen.

It looked like Mr. Jack Daniels was about to help her forget tonight, again. 

 

 

---------------------------------

 

Old English translation (taken off a website, not exactly an expert here)

Drýicge: witch
Ic þancie þē: thank you
Hearding: Hero
Leáfa: leave
Þes pæs Jane: This is Jane
Sweostor: sister
Hū hāttest þū?”: what is your name?
Iċ hātte: my name is
Spricst þū Englisċ? – Do you speak english?
Ōþstand! - Stop
Hū hāttest þū? – what is your name?

Chapter Text

 

Rosalie's POV

 

Rosalie nervously chewed on her bottom lip for a few moments, before reminding herself that she was Rosalie Hale, and Rosalie Hale did not get nervous. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Edward giving her an amused grin, obviously listening in on her silent reprimand. Rosalie shot him a venomous glare, which unfazed him. The blonde decided she needed to stop acting so unlike herself, her family must think she was growing soft. They kept shooting her sly glances and were unusually forward with their teasing. Her reputation was going to ruins at an alarming rate. Rosalie scowled. They had no business behaving like this around her. She was Rosalie Hale god damn it, not an adorable puppy.

“Your recent behavior matches that description though,” Edward quipped with a cocky grin.

“I will set your piano on fire,” Rosalie threatened with a growl. “And your precious music sheets,” It was entirely satisfying to watch Edward’s expression sober up. Serves him right.

“Relax Rosie,” Emmett said in a voice he probably considered soothing.

“Don’t call me that!” the blonde snapped. Edward and Emmett exchanged looks, which Rosalie promptly ignored. She knew she was being a bitch, but she honestly couldn’t help it. Esme had once mentioned it was a defence mechanism, throwing up walls when she felt overly emotional. Rosalie had rolled her eyes at the comment back then, but she privately knew her adoptive mother was right. She too had one taken a psychology degree after all.

Truthfully Rosalie was more worried than angry, not that she would ever admit that out loud. She couldn’t stop replaying last night in her mind. She had driven Bella home after her visit and things had been great. Until suddenly they weren’t. One moment Bella was flirting with her and in the next she grew distant and practically ran away. Rosalie wondered if she had done something wrong or if it had solely something to do with Bella herself.

The vampire knew her mate was struggling, who wouldn’t with her violent history? They had some things in common, but Rosalie did not delude herself by thinking that she understood Bella had gone through or the extent of her trauma. She remembered the dark look that had appeared in dark brown eyes at Rosalie’s question about what could be worse than meeting a human drinking vampire. There was a lot more to the story than Bella was willing to share. At least right away, Rosalie could be patient. She had to be.

Lauren’s comment from yesterday about Bella’s drinking habits were worrisome as well. Bella had admitted herself that she had a history with self-destructing behavior, and Lauren’s harsh words suggested it was still ongoing, or at least had restarted. Not that Rosalie blamed Bella, but it was an unhealthy way to cope. The blonde had an inkling that Bella knew that too. She was too smart and too self-aware not to.

There was also the matter of Bella wanting to cease existing. Rosalie wasn’t a fool; she knew those thoughts hadn’t disappeared just because she was now in Bella’s life. Rosalie was nothing but realistic. Her psychology degree, combined with her own life experience, taught her that Bella had to decide for herself whether she wanted to live or not, the blonde could not make that decision for her. That however did not mean that she couldn’t be there for her mate. She would do her best to help, but other than that; she was powerless. If there was something Rosalie loathed more than anything in life, it was the feeling of powerlessness.

“She’ll be here in a minute,” Alice’s voice brought her back to reality. Rosalie glanced at her sister and gave her a tight nod, not trusting herself to speak. Alice’s eyes were full of compassion and seemed to recognise Rosalie didn’t want any encouraging words, so she said nothing.

Rosalie almost sighed in relief. Despite her bitchy attitude and prickly words, she was grateful for her family’s support. Without them, she didn’t know if she was equipped to deal with her mate. Not that she was fully equipped at the moment, but she was a little better off.

She was also getting better holding up a conversation with Bella. Sure, she was still a bit awkward and sometimes fumbled with her words, but she had relaxed a considerable amount. Bella was either too polite to mention her previous behavior, or she simply decided to ignore it. Rosalie had a feeling it was the former.

“Finally,” Emmett huffed as a familiar car rolled up. Rosalie waited with bated breath as Bella parked in her usual spot. A small frown marred the vampire’s features when she realised Bella was not getting out right away, instead she sat in the driver’s seat for several beats. As if she was mentally preparing herself for what was to come.

“Something’s off,” Emmett shared her worries.

“Is that so surprising?” Edward asked sardonically. “Pretty sure it’s always something with that human,” he had the gall to roll his eyes. Rosalie stiffened and shot him a glare fierce enough to make the bronze haired boy to avert his eyes.

“Careful Eddie,” Emmett seemed just as pissed off, clearly insulted on his best friend’s behalf. Rosalie almost quirked a smile. It was nice that her mate had other people in her life she could rely on.

“I’m just saying,” Edward offered in a tight voice.

“You’re just sulking because you can’t read her mind properly,” Jasper commented lightly, although his narrowed eyes did not match the tone of his voice. Rosalie hid her surprise. Guess Bella had made a good impression on her supposed twin as well. The thought warmed her, which did not go unnoticed by the ex-soldier, who winked at her.

“It’s so frustrating!” Edward complained with a small whine. Rosalie rolled her eyes. Of course, he was just bitter about Bella’s mental radio silence. Edward shot her a glare but did not contradict her. Rosalie snorted. Trust Edward to be this petty.

“Behave you two,” Alice chided gently, staring at them warily. “She’s out of the car,” as Alice probably intended, Rosalie forgot about her irritation with Edward and her head snapped towards her mate.

True to the pixie’s words, Bella was slowly making her way towards the school, her head bowed and obviously lost in thought. Rosalie’s legs began to move on their own accord.

“Good morning,” the blonde greeted casually when she was within Bella’s earshot. Bella’s head snapped up with an adorable confused expression. It would have been barely noticeable for a human, but Rosalie’s enhanced sight could clearly see the way Bella stiffened. The change made Rosalie’s stomach drop.

“Hey,” Bella’s smile was forced. Rosalie studied her for a moment, taking in her unusual ruffled appearance. Her clothes were slightly rumpled, as if she had thrown on the first thing she had found that morning. Her hair, albeit clean, was unrulier than normally and her posture was slouching. She looked more tired than Rosalie had ever seen her, even her eyes were bloodshot.

“Are you okay?” the question was out of Rosalie’s mouth before she could rethink it.

“Yes,” the answer was too quick. The blonde raised one eyebrow. “Just tired,” Bella deflated.

“I hear coffee works wonders,” Rosalie suggested thoughtfully.

“Oh I’ve had at least a bucket of black coffee this morning,” Bella shot her a lopsided grin. The expression was incredibly charming.

“A whole bucket?” the vampire teased. “Sounds excessive,”

“Go big or go home,” the brunette smirked. “I rarely do things by half measure,”

“Sounds intense,” Rosalie smirked back.

“Why bother with anything less?” Bella joked. “Intensity brings out the colours in life,” There was something magnetic about Bella’s challenging smirk. Rosalie was instantly reeled in.

“What other things do you do intensely, aside from caffeine usage?” the underlying current in Rosalie’s tone was hard to miss. Bella’s eyes flashed with something that looked a lot like desire. The thought excited Rosalie and she couldn’t hide the smirk that curved her lips.

“Are you sure you can handle that knowledge?” Bella flirted back, her tone dropping an octave.

“I think you underestimate me,” Rosalie was surprised how steady her voice came out. Usually she was a bumbling mess around her mate but in that moment, she felt like her usual confident self.

The air was electrifying, as if the world around them was all but forgotten. Bella’s dark brown eyes had darkened considerably, pupils fully blown, which made Rosalie wonder how her own eyes appeared to the time traveler.

“I assure you that I am fully aware of you Rosalie,” the rasp in Bella’s voice shot shivers down the blonde’s spine. As if under a spell, Rosalie stepped into her personal space.

“I would be disappointed if you weren’t,”

“Would you?” the brunette breathed out, the tension crackling in dark brown eyes.

“Most definitely,” Rosalie murmured. “In fact, I’ve been craving for some colour in my life,”

Rosalie couldn’t deny that she took a great amount of satisfaction with the way Bella swallowed thickly at her words.

“Life can be pretty dull without it,” the brunette remarked quietly, her eyes fixated on the vampire’s lips.

“Dreadfully,” Rosalie agreed. “I’m not too keen on living without it,”

“Understandable,”

“So, tell me Bella,” she practically purred the name, almost smiling when Bella visibly shivered. “What else do you do intensely?” her mate seemed just as entranced as she was.

“Everything,” hot air hit Rosalie’s face as Bella leaned in.

“I require a demonstration,” the vampire zeroed in on inviting lips. She had forgotten the fact that they were positioned in the middle of the school parking lot and in full view. She forgot this was not what she had envisioned when she thought about their second kiss. Everything faded away in that moment and the only coherent thought she had was that she needed Bella’s soft lips on hers.

“Who am I to deny the lady?” Rosalie’s eyes fluttered close at the whisper and waited in anticipation. Their lips had barely touched when she registered a catcall in the background.

As if woken up from a dream, Bella sharply jumped back with a startled expression. Disappointment hit Rosalie like a slap in the face. Bella’s eyes were wide; filled with a turmoil of emotions. She looked as if she were at war with herself. Then, to Rosalie’s dismay, her face blanked and she took another step backwards.

“I’m afraid I got a bit carried away,” her tone was stiff. “I apologize,”

“Bella-“

“I must visit the library before class,” Bella cut her off. “See you later,” she snapped into action and Rosalie watched her retreating figure with a confused frown. The shift had been so abrupt that it gave the vampire a whiplash.

“Tough luck,” Emmett appeared out of nowhere, but Rosalie was too strung up to even muster a snappy retort.

Bouts of laughter sounded across the parking lot. The siblings followed the noise and noticed a group of students staring their way. Rosalie shot them a murderous glare, and the laughter quickly died down and everyone averted their eyes.

“You could have cut the tension between the two of you with a butter knife,” Alice walked over with a teasing smirk. “Is this going to be your thing now? Kissing Bella in the parking lot?” the memory of their first kiss flashed before Rosalie’s eyes. The irony was not lost on her.

“You’ll get another chance,” Emmett patted her arm in a comforting manner. “Perhaps with less eyes on you,”

“Maybe not the most romantic environment,” Alice agreed sympathetically. “Not anyone is comfortable with public display of affection,”

“I’m not sure that’s the problem,” Rosalie murmured, more to herself than her siblings. After all Bella had been the one who instigated the first kiss, which was in public and with an audience. No, this was because of something else. Bella didn’t seem embarrassed by the attention and that’s not why she fled. Something else was bothering her.

“What do you mean?” Alice asked hesitantly.

“I’m not sure yet,” the blonde answered. Bella was obviously attracted to her, that much was obvious. Her reaction and words could not be faked. It had also been very clear that Rosalie was interested.

No, Bella had stopped because of something else, although she wasn’t sure what. Rosalie intended to find out.

 

 

 

 

Two things became clear as the day dragged on. Firstly, her siblings were on a mission to tease Rosalie about the fact that she tried to seduce her mate in the school parking lot on a Tuesday morning. That was the words Emmett used anyway and the rest did not correct him. If they weren’t around so many humans, Rosalie would have thrown him out the window at the first given opportunity. Secondly, Bella was avoiding her. Both things annoyed her, but the latter hurt more.

They shared one class, and Bella had been quick to snag the empty seat next to Angela and proceeded to ignore everyone for the entire class. Even Angela barely got words out of her. In between classes, Bella was nowhere to be seen, which meant she was actively taking routes to classes that Rosalie didn’t take. That was an impressive feat in itself since the school was rather small. Apparently, Bella could be pretty stealthy if she wanted to. It was a small consolation that she wasn’t the only one Bella was avoiding, a fact Emmett had complained about for the entire day.

“I guess you scared her off,” the big man grumbled during lunch. “Couldn’t you wait until school was over? I wanted to spend lunch with my best friend,” the words triggered anger in the blonde.

“Will you quit it!” she practically snarled. A wave of calm washed over her. Rosalie shot Jasper a halfhearted glare, although she was secretly glad for his help.

“I’m just saying. Maybe next time choose a different timing,” Emmett pouted.

“Don’t,” Alice warned Rosalie, who considered throwing her lunch tray at Emmett’s face.

“Whatever,” the blonde huffed and redirected her attention. Her eyes automatically landed on Bella’s usual table. The brunette was noticeably absent from the group. Rosalie had listened in on their conversation earlier and discovered that none of them knew where Bella was. She had a feeling Angela knew more than she let on, but she was unusually tight lipped about it. They all had different theories, most of them circling around the near kiss that morning, the gossip traveled fast. Lauren’s theories were filled with its usual venom, although Rosalie felt smug that she was sporting a black eye and a split lip. It was obvious that the rest of them ignored Lauren’s opinions and were actually worried over Bella’s wellbeing. Rosalie was a bit surprised, as she always considered Bella’s friends shallow and immature, aside from Angela that is. It was a bit heartwarming to see they were sincere in their worry.

“Do you think she even wants to hang out after school now?” Emmett’s voice brought her attention back. She knew he never had a best friend before and that he was hurt over Bella’s avoidance, but Rosalie was getting beyond frustrated with his sullen tone.

“Maybe you should give her time,” Jasper suggested gently to his brother. Emmett sighed and nodded, although not without shooting Rosalie an annoyed look.

“Will you fucking stop with the attitude?” the blonde hissed. “I understand you are disappointed that you haven’t talked to her today, but you are not the only one. My mate is avoiding me and refused to even look at me in class earlier. I have no idea what I did wrong and it’s killing me. I don’t know how to fix this or how long she’ll keep avoiding me. So excuse me for not giving two shits whether you’ll be able to play Call of Duty this afternoon or not!”

She let out a harsh sigh when her family just stared at her after her outburst, which thankfully was not loud enough to draw attention to them. Emmett’s look shifted to something apologetic.

“I’m sorry Rose,” he offered ashamed. “I didn’t realize,”

“Yeah well…” Rosalie drifted off. Even Jasper’s calming wave couldn’t completely dispel her distress. “I need some time alone,” she abruptly stood up and stormed off, feeling vulnerable under the pitying looks from her family.

 

 

 

The next three days went by in the same manner and Rosalie was not-so-slowly losing her mind. Bella was like a ghost, alarmingly good at disappearing at will. Rosalie in fact had only managed to catch a few glimpses at her and the sight had been worrying enough. She looked more rundown each day and Alice had mentioned she was afraid she would show up like a homeless person if this cycle continued. Rosalie glared when her sister made that comment, but she privately agreed. Bella was like a walking zombie, her face pale and had purple bags under her eyes; it was quite obvious she was getting little sleep.

Bella wasn’t only avoiding her but seemed like every person she ever interacted with. Her friends were seriously considering showing up at her house and talk some sense into her. Rosalie imagined that scenario wouldn’t go so well with her mate. Still, she shared their thoughts and had considered on doing that herself. She needed answers.

“We need to do something,” Emmett declared seriously during lunch. Rosalie sighed but nodded.

“She doesn’t want to talk to you Emmett,” Alice leaned against her husband. “She told you this herself,” Rosalie’s eyes widened, and she looked at Emmett.

“You talked?” the desperation in her voice almost made her wince. Luckily no one remarked on that. The big man simply nodded. “What did she say?”

“I caught her before History class yesterday,” he explained sadly. “She didn’t say much. Just that she didn’t want to talk to me, and it would be in my interest to stay away,”

“She said it would be in your interest to stay away?” Rosalie frowned at the wording. The answer was hidden in the sentence.

“She didn’t say she wanted to stay away,” Jasper said thoughtfully, obviously on the same track as Rosalie. “She said specifically ‘in your interest’?” Emmett nodded.

“It’s not as if she can hurt us,” Edward scoffed. “Did she forget we are vampires?”

A lightbulb went off in Rosalie’s mind.

“That’s it,” she murmured, making everyone look at her. “She thinks she’s dangerous,”

“That’s ridiculous,” Edward rolled his eyes. “We are the monsters here. She only travels through time,”

“Exactly,” Rosalie nodded, and in any other circumstances it would be humorous to see the other three’s jaw drop when she agreed with something Edward said. Even the boy himself looked surprised.

“Not that we’re monsters,” she added hesitantly, although a bit unsure. Bella’s words were still swirling around in her head. “But the fact that she travels through time. Bella thinks that will affect us in some way. She’s afraid to hurt us,” the words felt strange on her tongue, as the thought had never even occurred her.

Humans normally wouldn’t be afraid of hurting Vampires, but then again; Bella was a rare bird. Rosalie both wanted to smile fondly at the notion and shout at the martyr behavior. A small voice at the back of her mind pointed out the similarity of her own thought process. It seemed as if she had more in common with her mate than she realised. Rosalie pushed the voice down and focused on the matter at hand.

“Us?” Emmett asked baffled.

“Sounds familiar,” Alice eyed Rosalie critically. “Quite ironic, isn’t it?” the blonde ignored the question and the accusing tone.

“They are made for each other,” Jasper agreed with his wife, although not unkindly.

“Bella wouldn’t hurt us,” Emmett said firmly, either oblivious or not caring about Alice’s observation. “She’s too good for that,”

“That’s the reason she is staying away,” Edward drawled, rolling his eyes when Emmett turned to him confused. “She doesn’t want us to get too close to her because she cares,”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Emmett argued.

“Of course it does,” the bronze haired boy sighed, running his fingers through his already unruly hair. “Most of the time I can’t read her mind, but sometimes I catch glimpses. She doesn’t exactly travel to Disney Land every time,”

“I know that,”

“No you don’t,” Edward lectured his brother. “In fact, none of us do. She’s obviously damaged,” Rosalie felt an instinctive snarl start to tug at the corner of her mouth at the word he used. She caught it before it took form, taken aback by her own response. Edward paused for a moment, eyeing her warily before continuing.

“There’s a reason she wants to kill herself Emmett. She’s trying to spare you the pain of having to mourn her. Or get sucked into her self-destructing behavior. I’ve read her friends thoughts about the alcoholic and substances abuse, and her behavior in the past. She’s not exactly an angel and everything is pointing to the fact that she’s going back to old habits. It’s not as if she had a lot to live for,” the last sentence felt like a punch to Rosalie’s heart.

“Of course, she has things to live for,” Alice added hurriedly, looking at Rosalie with concern.

“She doesn’t know Rosalie is her mate,” Edward pointed out. “So, she’s actually trying to shield Rosalie from inevitable pain. She’s acting on kindness,”

“This is not kindness,” Rosalie bit out, glaring at Jasper when he tried to soothe the raging fire she felt. “And don’t call it an inevitable pain,”

“I’m just reasoning how it might seem from her perspective,” Edward shrugged.

“Or you are simply deflecting because that’s what you think,” the blonde accused, although some of it made sense. Bella was the type to shield others from her own pain and not ask for help.

“I’m not. You even agree with me,” Edward adopted a smug grin, as if he won some argument. Rosalie wanted to bash his head in. How dare he sound so blasé about the situation?

“Edward,” Alice chided. “This is serious,”

“I know this is serious!” his grin was quickly replaced with an angry scowl. “She’s your mate after all,” the words were mocking and slightly bitter.

“Just because you’re jealous that you haven’t found your mate yet, doesn’t mean you are allowed to-“

“I am jealous!” Edward cut Rosalie off, his confession throwing her off. “You have a mate Rosalie but you’ve been acting like you don’t have one!” Edward glared at her accusingly.

“That’s a bit harsh Edward,” Emmett frowned.

“No, she needs to decide if she wants to have Bella in her life or not,”

“Of course I want to have her in my life,” Rosalie growled, offended he would even suggest otherwise.

“Really? Because from where I’m sitting, it isn’t clear,” Edward arched one eyebrow. “Bella is hurting right now and you’re just sitting and sulking about it. Either you talk to her and try to help her or we move away and you can go back to believing in that soul mates aren’t for everyone,”

“You’re giving me an ultimatum?” Rosalie let out a harsh laughter. “Really? Mr. We-are-soulless-monsters! The same guy that was in agreement only a few weeks ago that I should not turn a human. That’s rich, coming from you,”

“Okay guys let’s take it down a notch,” Alice suggested warily. “We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves,” Luckily only a few students looked up when Rosalie raised her voice a fraction, the rest remained oblivious.

“She’s not only a human though, is she?” Edward fired back in a lower volume. Rosalie opened her mouth but closed it right away.

“We don’t even know if she can be changed. What I agreed with was to not change Bella so she could live a fulfilling human life. We both know that’s not going to happen if things remain unchanged,” he adopted a harder tone. “Either she is going to die in one of her travels because she’s behaving recklessly or she’s going to take her own life,” Rosalie stopped breathing. “So, make a decision. Either back out entirely or try to help,”

“What if she doesn’t want our help?” Jasper asked when it was clear Rosalie wasn’t going to speak.

“Breathe,” Alice reminded her, and the blonde obeyed on reflex.

“Then that’s her decision. At least try,” Edward crossed his arms.

“I thought you didn’t care that much about her?” Emmett asked, although his eyes held more sadness to them after Edwards explanation.

“I hardly know her,” Edward huffed. “I do care about my family though,” he met Rosalie’s eyes for a brief moment. Rosalie felt oddly touched, despite still being angry at him.

“Listen,” he sighed tiredly. “We don’t always see eye to eye and sure, I have my personal beliefs about our…lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care about your happiness. Both of us have been without mates for almost a century, and out of the two of us – you’re way more deserving of one,” a playful twinkle entered his eyes. “Plus, you’re supposed to be the angry one and I’m the one who’s sulking in the corner. It would throw off the whole dynamic if we both end up sulking. We need a balance,” Alice giggled at that and Emmett and Jasper smiled. Even Rosalie felt amusement mix into the surge of affection she felt towards her brother.

They had never really gotten along, their personalities clashing right from the start, but with time they managed to co-exist somewhat peacefully. They still butted heads but mostly out of respect to Esme and Carlisle, they kept their arguments to a minimum. Sometimes, albeit rarely, they had moments of friendliness. Rosalie was honestly surprised to hear how much he cared about her happiness and was even willing to put his personal beliefs to the side to support her. Rosalie gave him a slow nod, trying to let him know that he acknowledged his words, a bit overwhelmed to say anything. Edward nodded back with a small understanding smile.

“Have I somehow entered the Twilight Zone?” Emmett broke the moment, staring at the both of them strangely. “Is this real life?”

“I think this is wonderful,” Alice clapped her hands excitedly, her smile beaming. Jasper offered his wife a fond look, although he too was smiling.

“Ease up everyone, this isn’t a Hallmark movie,” Rosalie rolled her eyes. “Just because Edward says one decent thing in 50 years, doesn’t mean we are best friends now,” Edward merely smirked and added a cheeky wink. Rosalie’s lips almost twitched in return.

“So, you’ll talk to Bella?” Emmett got back on track.

“I will,” Rosalie vowed.

“Good,” the big man seemed incredibly relieved. “It’s getting boring without Aristotle. Plus, I’m sick of playing single player all the time,”

“Priorities Em!” Alice reached over and swatted his head. Rosalie snorted in humour, knowing Emmett was simply trying to lighten up the mood. She knew his priorities was first and foremost Bella’s wellbeing. Emmett grinned at the blonde, obviously happy to bring her some amusement.

“No worries, I’ll work on getting your best friend back,” Rosalie told him seriously.

Maybe she had to take a page from Bella’s friends’ book and consider simply confronting the stubborn brunette. Preferably somewhere private and this time not on the school premises.

 

 

 

 

Rosalie steeled herself as she rang the doorbell. She could hear movement in the house although no one answered. She sighed and rang again. There was some rustling and a loud bang, accompanied with a curse, which brought a faint smile to Rosalie’s lips. Finally, after what seemed like hours, the door opened, and Bella’s head poked out.

“What are you doing here?” she sounded defeated. “I thought I made things clear – “

“You most certainly did not,” Rosalie cut her off a bit more harshly than she intended. “What you’ve done is avoid me and probably hope I’d take a hint,”

“Well yeah-“

“Which is incredibly short sighted, and I honestly expected more from you. We’re adults and adults talk instead of skirting around the issue. Obviously, you don’t want to see me, but I think I deserve an explanation in the very least?” Rosalie raised one eyebrow. Bella stared at her for a beat before sighing heavily.

“You do,” she murmured and opened the door wider, gesturing for the blonde to follow her.

Rosalie closed the door behind her and trailed after Bella into the living room, where the brunette immediately sat down at the couch. Rosalie eyed the room, both taken aback yet at the same time not surprised by the state of it. The place was a mess, broken glass on the floor, empty take out boxes and a considerable amount of alcohol bottles, almost every one of them empty. Nothing about it screamed like a party, only sorrow and anger.

“Please,” Bella pointed at one of the armchairs, which Rosalie gently lowered herself down on. “I’m sorry about this mess,” she waved her hand in a vague gesture. Rosalie wondered if she was referring to the room or herself, perhaps both?

“I didn’t come here to inspect your house,” the blonde offered gently.

“I know,” Bella had never seemed so small and in that moment. “I’m sorry for my behavior as well,”

“I might forgive you,” Rosalie began haltingly, waiting for Bella to look up. “If you promise me you’ll stop and instead just talk to me?” she added. Bella did not answer.

“What happened?” the blonde tried instead. “Why did you pull away?”

“People were watching and –“

“Bullshit,” Rosalie interrupted the weak excuse. “Don’t lie to me,” Bella fell silent at that.

“You were about to kiss me and then you stopped,” Rosalie continued. “You’ve kissed me before and you did not care if people were watching then, so don’t try to convince me you suddenly got shy,”

“Rose,” Bella sighed.

“Emmett said you told him it would be in his interest to stay away from him,” the blonde pressed on. “Your words suggested he should stay away but you don’t actually want to,”

“You’re reaching,” the brunette remarked, although her voice was unconvincing.

“I told you before that you underestimate me Bella. I am strong enough to handle the truth,” the vampire promised.

“I know you’re strong Rosalie,” Bella murmured. “That was never a question. I just don’t want to be the one who breaks you,”

“You make it sound like you hold an awful lot of power over me,” Rosalie quipped dryly. She did, but Bella didn’t need to know that right now.

“Perhaps,” Bella let out a small sardonic laughter. “I may overestimate myself but I’m not really willing to take any chances,”

“So, if I’m understanding this correctly, then you’re making a decision for me?” Rosalie questioned; the hypocrisy not lost on her.

“Well-“

“I have no say in what I want?” the blonde wondered.

“You don’t want this,” Bella shook her head, bloodshot and slightly glassy eyes meeting Rosalie’s for the first time. The vampire realised then that Bella had been drinking that afternoon too.

“Which you’ve decided for me?”

“Damn it Rose!” Bella ran her fingers through her tousled hair in a frustrated move. “Okay look, I understand you might feel some obligation towards me,” Rosalie frowned in confusion. “Perhaps even a misguided belief that you somehow owe me for New York but -“

“What?” Rosalie blinked, not expecting that in the least. “Bella, while I’m incredibly grateful for what you did for me in my human life, please don’t confuse that for my genuine interest in you. I like you because of who you are, and I liked you before I even remembered that you were there that night,” she stressed with as much sincerity as she could muster.

“You don’t know me Rosalie,” Bella sighed, switching tactics. “If you truly did, then you wouldn’t bother,”

“I want to get to know you,” Rosalie said softly. “I also wish for the opportunity to make that decision for myself. I’m well-versed in self-loathing Bella, your words won’t scare me away,”

“It’s not just self-loathing Rose,” Bella stated seriously. “My life is too complicated. I have no control over my powers, and I can be whisked away at any given moment, to any time in history. I never know when or if I get back and every time I return, I come home more broken than I left,” her tone was getting heated. “I’m a fucking mess Rose. Some days I don’t know what’s real or not!” Rosalie’s heart broke for her mate. “You deserve so much better. You are all kinds of wonderful and I’m just…” Bella trailed off.

“Bella -“

“I’m not a good person,”

“I thought we already had this discussion?” Rosalie raised one eyebrow. “Twice,”

“You can literally have any person on the planet. I have nothing to offer,”

“I don’t want any other person on the planet, and I ask for nothing,”

“You’re so stubborn,” Bella almost growled.

“Takes one to know one darling,” Rosalie quipped. Bella blew out a frustrated breath. The vampire observed her for a moment. “Let’s put your argument away for now and just answer me one question,” Bella nodded faintly, although a bit apprehensively. “Do you like me?”

“I…” the brunette hesitated, as if unsure what her answer would accomplish. “That doesn’t matter,” she finally stuttered.

“It matters a great more deal than you think,” Rosalie argued, her calm tone slipping up and frustration leaking in. “It’s a simple question Bella. Are my feelings one sided?”

“No,” the answer was timid and a bit defeated, yet it made Rosalie feel warmer than she had ever felt before.

“Why can’t that be enough for now?” Rosalie maintained her calm tone. “We’ll take one thing at a time,” she hesitantly stood up and moved to the couch, slipping in the seat next to Bella. “Let me make decisions for myself. Every argument you have made so far has been about me deserving more. What about yourself Bella?”

“What?” the time traveler blinked in confusion.

“Why don’t you deserve better?” Rosalie asked gently. She watched Bella frown, as if the thought had never occurred to her, which was heartbreaking in itself.

“I’m not perfect Bella,” she sighed. “I have many flaws and I too have warped opinions about myself, but I like to think that if given a chance, I’d love to try to make you happy and do my damn hardest to show you that you deserve more in life than what you have gotten so far,” it was the most honest thing Rosalie had ever said in her life.

“Rose-“ Bella began but trailed off, overwhelmed with the words. A lone tear escaped her eye and Rosalie’s finger caught it without a second thought. Topaz eyes bore into dark brown.

“Please give me a chance Bella,” Rosalie murmured, her finger softly trailing a warm cheek.

“I…” Bella shook her head gently, although it looked as if the action was more directed at her inner monologue than Rosalie’s words.

“Bella? Please say something?” Rosalie encouraged when a full minute of silence went by.

Bella blinked, as if awoken from a dream. A familiar stubborn glint shone in her eyes.

“No, I can’t,” she leaned away from the contact. “I’m sorry Rose,”

“So that’s it?” Rosalie’s patience snapped. She knew Bella was just being stubborn and keen on playing the martyr, but Rosalie still felt a bit hurt. Rosalie was never a patient person to begin with and a rejection from her mate, was enough for her to lash out. “You’re just going to drink your sorrows away? That’s your grand plan?”

“Excuse me?” Bella’s eyes flashed with hurt. “So that’s how it’s going to be? Because I said no, you’re going straight into questioning my life choices? What happened to ‘I ask for nothing’?” Shame washed over Rosalie at her petty behavior. Bella was right.

“Who are you to barge into my life and demand – “

“I’m sorry,” Rosalie cut her off gently. “I didn’t-“ she blew out a frustrated breath, trying to calm herself. “It came out wrong, I apologize. I’m just worried,”

“I’m fine,” Bella dismissed, her voice a bit hollow.

“You’re not,” the blonde insisted, not unkindly.

“So you’re making decisions for me now?” Bella mocked and Rosalie gave her a stunned look. She watched with quiet concern as the brunette picked up a flask off the table and took a large sip. Rosalie scrunched her nose at the foul smell of the drink. Perhaps she had underestimated just how much alcohol Bella had drank already.

“Of course not,” Rosalie said after a moment. “I just know you’re having a rough time and I worry you might-“ she cut herself off. She almost revealed that she knew of Bella’s plans.

“I might what?” Bella narrowed her eyes suspiciously.

“Do something you regret,” Rosalie finished vaguely.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” the time traveler demanded, and Rosalie knew she had to stop the conversation. Bella was clearly not in the right state of mind and was acting too defensive, which combined with Rosalie’s own defensiveness, could turn explosive within a second.

“Forget I said anything,” the vampire remarked and stood up. “I’m sorry for just showing up. I at least needed to try. I’ll give you some space,”

“So that’s it?” Bella’s laughed bitterly. Rosalie froze in her steps and slowly turned around.

“I thought you wanted me gone?” the blonde said stiffly. Bella frowned and looked down.

“I guess, yeah,” the uncertainty in her voice tore at Rosalie’s heartstrings.

“I’m not going forever,” the vampire assured. “I just feel like we both need to cool off for a bit. We’ll talk later,”

“You’re not afraid I’ll do something I might regret?” Bella arched one eyebrow. Rosalie couldn’t stop the flinch. She knew Bella was just lashing out because she was confused and drunk, and not so subtly trying to fish for information, but the mere idea of Bella trying to take her own life as soon Rosalie would leave, was unbearable.

“You won’t,” Rosalie spoke without thinking.

“What makes you so sure of that?” Bella challenged.

“Because I don’t think it’s what you really want,” the vampire hesitated and took a calculated risk. “I only think it’s an option because you feel like you don’t have any others,”

This time Bella flinched, hard. Dark brown eyes zeroed in on topaz with an unusual clarity given the circumstances.

“You know,” it was not a question. Rosalie knew she couldn’t play coy and simply nodded.

Something must have clicked inside Bella’s mind because the next word she said was simply; “Edward,” Rosalie inclined her head.

“Is that what this is? I’m some fucking charity case?” the brunette exploded and jumped to her feet.

“Of course not!” Rosalie stammered, taken a back with the anger.

“Really? Because if I can remember correctly, you only talked to me on that day I actually decided to end my life. It wasn’t until I wanted to die that you decided to notice me?” Bella laughed mirthlessly. “Am I a part of some vampire rehabilitation program?”

“I’ve always been aware of you Bella, from the start!” Rosalie denied. “You’re not a-“

“Very convenient to say that now when I’ve called you out,” Bella cut her off harshly.

“Bella-“

“Why didn’t you talk to me before then? If you’ve always been ‘aware of me'?” she said mockingly. Rosalie opened her mouth, but no words escaped her. How could she explain herself? That they were in fact destined mates and that she originally didn’t want to drag Bella into her supernatural world, so instead she ignored her existence? It sounded

both flat and extremely hypocritical, given her earlier argument. She had no idea how to approach this.

“I see,” Bella nodded to herself. “Get out,”

“What?” Rosalie froze. A desperation clawed at her chest, she needed to fix this.

“Please get out. I don’t want to talk to you right now,” Bella bit out.

“Bella please-“

“Now!” her mate pointed at the direction of the front door.

“Let me explain before -“

“I swear to god Rose, Vampire or not – I will throw you out,” Bella’s tone was cold and biting. Rosalie stared at her pleadingly for a moment, but the brunette would not budge.

“We’ll speak later,” Rosalie murmured and quietly let herself out. It wasn’t until she was back in her car that a sob escaped her. Her eyes filled with tears, although they would never shed. She had ruined things just because she had been hurt.

Rosalie should have known better than just one conversation to convince Bella she deserved to be happy. Rosalie was too impulsive and quick to anger and should have come better prepared. She should have taken into account that there was a chance that Bella would not be herself. The signs were there as soon as she stepped inside that living room.

Why couldn’t she have just waited?

Rosalie fished out her phone and selected the speed dial. It only rang for two seconds before someone picked up.

“I fucked up,” she whispered forlornly. “I need your help,”

 

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

 

Bella's POV

 

People rarely captured her attention. For her formative years it had always been music and books. She always got lost in the reality she created for herself. She had a therapist later on who called it a survival tactic. People always disappointed her, made her feel small and insignificant. Music and books never did that, instead they told a story. The most important part was that it was never her story, always someone else’s. She didn‘t need to be Bella Swan all the time, in fact if she had any saying; she never would have been in the first place.

Her mother used to complain about Bella never paying attention to her, and even at one point tried to take away her music collection and books. Luckily Bella had been quick enough to find the stash and hide it herself before Renée could sell it or give it away. She made a point to look as if she was listening after that, although most of the time she zoned out. Her mother never understood, or even tried to understand, why she tried so hard to escape reality. Bella reckoned she was incapable of it, she was too busy with her own life.

It happened gradually and not overnight, most likely started when she moved to Phoenix with her mother. Her parents’ divorce was not a quiet affair. Her mother had practically ripped her out of bed one night and carried her out kicking and screaming into the car. Bella remembered crying out for her father, but Charlie just stood uselessly in the background, never once making an attempt to stop Renée from leaving with his daughter. She could still picture his heartbroken face as she banged her little fist on the backseat window while her mother sped away from her childhood home. Bella didn‘t know who she resented more in that moment; her mother for taking her away or her father for not protesting.

Renée started their new life in Phoenix and then proceeded to forget all about their old one, acted as if nothing was wrong. Bella was enrolled in a new school and Renée expected her to make new friends right away to replace the old ones. Her mother got a job at an art gallery and made new friends of her own. Bella grew accustomed meeting new boyfriends every few weeks or so, although Renée insisted they were ‘just friends’. Even an eight-year-old Bella was not naïve enough to think adults had that many sleepovers.

Renée‘s attitude was brand new in the big city, it was as if she could finally breathe after being underwater for too long. Bella knew one of the reasons she left Forks was because the quiet town was too boring for her liking, and so in Phoenix she flourished.

Bella did not have the same experience. She was too like her father, respected the quiet air and nature, so the city life was too fast and buzzing for her taste. Renée grew frustrated with her daughter with time and tried every trick in the book to convince Bella that their new life was in fact better. It worked for a little while. Renée showed her different museums, music stores, malls, various art exhibitions and even took her to a few libraries. Bella slowly grew fascinated with the possibilities the city life offered. Sadly Renée‘s tours grew fewer with time until one day they stopped entirely.

Today Bella understood her mother was dealing with something far greater than simply the need to flee the boring quiet town life, but back then she was too young to comprehend the whiplash of emotions Renée gave her. Renée’s depression was confusing and her behavior unpredictable, so Bella never knew what to expect when she came home when school ended. Sometimes Renée was happy and fun, inventing creative games for them to play, or encouraging Bella to skip homework so they could binge eat cookies and watch Disney movies. Those was Bella’s favorite days, albeit rarer. Most of the time, she was still in bed and had short temper and yelled constantly or she was completely silent and seemed far away. Bella was ceaselessly tiptoeing around her mother and filled with anxiety whenever her day at school ended. This affected her ability to maintain any lasting friendships, since she was too concerned with getting home, or as the years went by, to stay away from home. Too many questions were asked if she stayed with friends so that was never an option.

The library and the music stores became her sanctuaries. The books never yelled, and the music drowned out the noises or filled the silence.

Bella still remembered the day as clearly as if it had happened only yesterday. She had woken up, got dressed for school and trotted to the kitchen to get breakfast per usual. Renée was already up, which was unusual. Bella hadn’t thought much of it then, but for a long time it was the only thing she could think of. Her mother had been uncharacteristically happy that day, biding her good morning with a kiss and a prepared breakfast. Bella had only nodded or made agreeing sounds when Renée had talked about Bella’s future plans but had not put much stock in it; after all Renée was continuously making different future plans, either for herself or Bella. It was as if she was always restless and periodically needed to come up with something new and exciting. As soon as Bella finished eating, she was out of the house. School itself was boring, since she already knew the material and spent most of the day with her head buried in one of her novels. When the last bell rang, she lingered in the parking lot, talking to a few of her classmates. Bella often wondered how different things would have been if she had gone straight home.

Only a horror show greeted her when she finally did. There was no note, only a lot of blood and a wide-eyed stare that felt accusing in that moment.  

Charlie had been distraught when Bella stepped out of the airplane. Bella didn’t remember much of the first few weeks, only him fussing a lot and her staring off into space. She loved her father dearly, but he was a stranger to her then. Renée had done her best to keep the father and daughter separated, never letting Bella visit and rarely letting Bella talk to Charlie when he called. After a few years the visiting offers and the calls stopped, apart from the obligating phone calls on birthdays and at Christmas. So when Bella moved back to Forks, Charlie was her father only in name. It wasn’t until much later that she found out that Charlie never did stop calling, only that Renée got better at lying. Bella would never know for sure why, but she imagined Renée had been terrified of the prospect of Bella choosing her father over her, so she did her best to take that option off the table.

Bella was fifteen when she moved back to Forks, filled with anger and loss and her poor father had no idea how to deal with the teen. Much less when Bella started rebelling and took up drinking and smoking. Charlie harboured much guilt for his absent years and turned a blind eye to many things, especially for someone who was the Chief of police. His daughter had gone from his life as a relatively happy child and returned as a rebellious, grief-stricken teenager.

It wasn’t until six months later that Charlie had put his foot down and tried to deescalate the situation. That was the first time Bella saw a psychologist. She didn’t care for it much in the beginning but slowly started opening up, if only because of the sheer stubbornness the psychologist, Claire, displayed. It didn’t matter how much shit Bella threw at her, Claire took it with calmness and never once stopped reminding her that Bella wasn’t a hopeless case. Her father often joked that Claire was their saviour, which Bella readily agreed with him then. With time Bella slowed down her drinking and sought out the company of her father and made friends with people at school. She finally got the relationship with her father she had always craved for and the two grew close. It would always make her feel guilty whenever she thought of it, but that period was the best one in Bella’s life.

Everything changed again when Bella got the phone call from the Police Station. It had been a robbery gone wrong and Charlie was caught in the crossfire. Once again, her world crumpled. Her last conversation with her father had not been a happy one, in fact Charlie had left for work in an angry state. Bella didn’t remember exactly what their argument had been about, but she remembered his disappointed expression. It was unbearable to think he might have been distracted that day because of her.

Books and music weren’t enough to escape from reality. Forks was too small, and she knew too many faces, so Seattle became her new sanctuary. The library and the music stores were replaced with clubs and random house parties. For the first time it became dangerous for Bella to escape reality, the further she sank, the worse it got.

Reality slapped her in the face when she woke one morning with her friends standing over her, their expression grim and worried. Bella had no idea how they found her in the first place, since she was not in her own bed or even in Forks. In fact, it had been too dangerous for them to be in that neighbourhood.

Jessica wasted no time and immediately kicked the naked girl next to Bella out of bed, while Angela made a heartwarming speech for Bella to get her shit together. Maybe it was because she was too hungover and deeply ashamed about her state or maybe she was simply touched by their concern over her wellbeing, whatever it was; Bella listened and promised to get better. Above all, Bella was simply tired. Tired of living in this endless loop of self-destruction with nothing but hazy memory from the day before.

True to her word, Bella stopped partying and tried her best to get her life back on track. She even started seeing Claire again. It was extremely hard at first, but she stayed sober for almost six months without any mishap. Alcohol and other substances were replaced with books and music and she made time for her friends and schoolwork as well. Bella tried her hardest to appear normal and it worked for a time. Then the first time-travel happened and any resemblance to a normal life flew out the window.

 

 

 

People rarely captured her attention, but the Cullen’s had.

Something that felt a lot like betrayal squeezed her chest. Despite everything she had gone through, Bella had never considered herself a victim before, not truly. She’s always seen the injustice of her circumstances, anything less was impossible, but she was only ever a survivor in her own story. The thought of the Cullen’s viewing her as someone to pity, akin to a charity case, was more painful than she cared to admit.

Bella was a guarded person, which was a learned behavior and not instinctual, and she rarely, if ever, let people in. The Cullen‘s, and Rosalie especially, were one of those rare cases. If Bella should be perfectly honest with herself, it was somewhat of a miracle how easy it was to let them in. That never happened with her. Of course, she hadn’t told them the whole story but it was easier being herself around them and maybe with time, she would have let them know everything. But now she knew why they were conversing with her in the first place, that idea vanished into thin air.

While it hurt, a part of Bella was relieved. She had been second guessing herself ever since she started hanging out with them, second guessing her plan. She had even felt a sliver of hope, a feeling she had given up on a long time ago.

Maybe it was better this way. It would have hurt even more to discover their true intent later on, at least this way it wouldn’t hurt as much.

 

 

 

The sound of the doorbell ringing felt so unexpected that Bella jumped up from her seat, clutching her chest in fright. She had been too lost in her thoughts and mentally berated herself for being so twitchy. The doorbell rang again and when she realised she couldn't simply ignored it when it rang for the third time, she got up and reluctantly went to answer.

“I’m not in the mood,” she said as soon as she opened the door. Then she closed it right away, a petty part of her taking satisfaction in seeing Emmett’s crestfallen expression.

“Wait!” he called out and she paused in her steps but did not open the door again. She knew Emmett would know she was listening. “Will you please listen to me?”

Bella was glad the wood acted as a buffer since she was sure Emmett was sporting his infamous puppy eyes.

“You have 30 seconds,” Bella deadpanned.

“30 seconds?” Emmett sounded appalled. “That’s not nearly enough –“

“29, 28…” Bella interrupted.

“Jeez, fine okay,” he paused. “Rosalie told me what happened. I think there’s been a huge misunderstanding,”

Bella opened the door and raised one eyebrow.

“So I misunderstood that you guys didn’t start talking to me until you found out I was going to kill myself?” she asked dryly, ignoring the way he flinched at her phrasing.

“Well…” Emmett hesitated, and his guilty expression answered for him. Bella let out a humourless laughter and closed the door again.

“Bella please!” he sounded desperate. Bella exhaled sharply and opened the door again.

“You only recently just started to get to know me so let me tell you something about myself,” she began icily. “Despite how it may appear, I respect myself enough to not take any bullshit,” Emmett opened his mouth but Bella shut him up with a warning glare. “I understand you guys live for an eternity and you get bored, so taking on a pet project isn’t a farfetched concept, however I want no part in it,”

“You’re not – “

“I refuse to act as some stray dog you take home to nurse to health. I will not accept pity or some 12-step program you have in your arsenal. Find someone else. Please respect my boundaries and stop contacting me,”

“We just want your friendship! I’m not offering any pity or – “

“Friendship,” Bella deadpanned.

“Yes,” Emmett eagerly nodded. “I just want my best friend back,” Bella studied his earnest expression.

“Our friendship is based on false intention,” she said after a long moment of silence.

“What?” Emmett looked horrified.

“It is my understanding that Edward read my thoughts, which resulted into Rosalie talking to me for the first time. I’ve been going over our past conversations in my head today and I remembered she was very focused on my plans after school, although she hid it well under the guise of hanging out or something of similar nature. When her plans failed, it was you who showed up at my door and insisted I’d hang out with you,” Bella’s eyes bore into his. “Do you deny our friendship wasn’t based on you trying to distract me from my plans?”

“I wanted to hang out with you before that,” Emmett insisted, although there was guilt in his eyes.

“You’re saying it’s a mere coincidence you chose that day?” Bella pressed on.

“No,” he sighed. “But I really enjoy your company, despite my intentions in the beginning. You really are my best friend,” the sincerity in his tone almost swayed Bella.

“I believe you,” Bella sighed, almost laughing despite herself when he perked up with a joyful expression. “I still feel betrayed though,” his smile slipped off.

“I know your intentions are good, but now I’m second guessing our every interaction. I am hurt and I’m confused Emmett. I never let people in, and I let you in. The trust issues I have are there for a reason. People often think they know what’s best for me, which is always something they decide for me,” Bella closed her eyes, feeling almost too vulnerable sharing the next piece. “The only one I’ve ever come to rely on in life, is myself. Everyone else have left me, in one way or another. They try their best until they realise it’s not enough,” I’m not enough, was left unsaid but Bella reckoned Emmett understood her true meaning, with the way his eyes widened.

“Bella…” he trailed off, unsure how to proceed.

“So I realise it might seem like I’m over reacting or sounding dramatic but my personal experience is a bit bitter. I’m only trying to take care of myself. I might be a lot of things but I’m also just a person, not a charity case for you to take interest in until you discover it’s too much. I cannot afford to be given false hope or lied to, despite how well intended it may be,”

“I’m sorry I made you feel this way,” Emmett’s tone was unusually subdued.

“So am I,” Bella replied honestly.

“Is there anything I can do to fix this?” he pleaded. “Some way we can get our friendship back?”

“Just…” Bella sighed. “Give me some time to mull things over,”

“Take all the time you need,” Emmett said with a sad smile. “You know where to find us,”

Bella nodded and watched him walk back to his truck. She needed to make a decision. Either she would forgive or let go. 

 

 

 

 

 

Bella parked the car in front of the Cullen residence and shut off the engine. She had done nothing but thinking since yesterday afternoon, when Emmett showed up, and had finally reached a decision.

She waited for a few moments before finally finding the courage she needed and got out of the car. The area was silent, but Bella knew the Cullen’s knew she was there. It was a bit surprising no one had greeted her already, but she reckoned they were waiting for her to make a move.

“I’ll be on the porch,” she cleared her throat. No one answered but it didn’t bother her, instead she calmly sat down on one of the designer lawn chairs on the porch and looked up at the night sky. It was quiet for all but one minute, until the door opened and closed softly. Bella knew right away who it was.

“I’m sorry,” Rosalie offered hesitantly, regret written all over her beautiful features.

Bella exhaled shakily. She couldn’t act petty or defensive this time, she was better than that and despite everything, Rosalie deserved better.

“So am I,” Bella murmured in return. Her gaze returned to the sky, although she was hyper aware of how Rosalie was watching her profile intently.

“I spoke to Emmett,” the blonde confessed after a beat of silence. Bella closed her eyes momentarily in defeat. Of course, Emmett told her their conversation. Nothing was ever private in that household.

“Well, more like I forced him to speak,” Rosalie amended, and a brief smile touched Bella’s lips without her consent. She had no trouble believing that. While the blonde was almost always sweet around her, Bella knew Rosalie’s siblings had a healthy amount of wariness when it came to the blonde. It was not as if Bella wasn't aware of the fierceness Rosalie possessed, that had always been clear. It did however make her think why she was the one Rosalie chose to allow to see this different side of her. A food for thought.

“I see,” was the only thing Bella could come up with.

“If you have the time and are willing to listen, I would very much like to explain a few things,” Rosalie proceeded. Bella turned to face her, quietly studying the sincerity in the vampire’s eyes.

Rosalie was giving her an opportunity to leave if she wanted to. She was letting Bella make the decision for herself. It was a small thing, but it softened Bella’s resolve.

“Very well,” Bella decided after a moment. “I can’t promise I’ll behave accordingly, I have tendencies to lash out when confronted,” she posed it as a joke, although there was a hidden apology in there. A small smile graced Rosalie’s lips, an acknowledgement.

“A trait we share,” Rosalie’s smiled apologetically.

“Indeed,”

“I’ve noticed you as soon as we arrived at Forks,” Rosalie began hesitantly. “As you’ve undoubtably realised, I have issues with being a vampire,” a bitter smile twisted her lips. “I am envious of humans,” Bella said nothing, as she already knew that.

“I didn’t want you in my life initially,” the brunette grimaced, something that did not escape Rosalie, for she hurriedly added. “Not because of who you are, but because who I am, what I am. I didn’t want to complicate your life by dragging you into the supernatural world. I didn’t want to be selfish,” that appeased Bella to a degree, but she still remained quiet. “Emmett often complained about that. He wanted to be your friend right away,” this time Bella had to smile, which emboldened Rosalie. “But I am stubborn,” the brunette chuckled.

“You are,” Bella couldn’t help but to tease, watching with fascination as Rosalie’s shoulders relaxed.

“I’ve always felt drawn to you,” the confession itself did not surprise Bella as much as the tone it was said in. It was an odd combination of sincerity and bitterness. “To be completely honest, I doubt I would have been able to stay away forever,” Rosalie laughed lightly and looked down, oblivious to Bella’s rapt attention.

“So when Edward announced one day at lunch that you had made a decision to leave…permanently,” Rosalie fumbled for the right word, which made Bella wonder if she was trying to sound sensitive or if she couldn’t bear to phrase it any differently. “A feeling of terror seized me,” the raw honesty shook Bella to the core. She doubted she would have been able to speak then, even if she wanted to.

“When I reached out to you, it wasn’t fuelled by pity, but because I couldn’t bear the thought of you leaving this earth. I felt like I was missing my opportunity to get to know you. Like I already had,” the last part was almost whispered. “In the beginning I had no means to tell you that I knew of your plans, after all I couldn’t reveal Edward’s powers,” Rosalie finally looked up and met Bella’s eyes. Bella was blown away by the array of emotions.

“I have no excuse for not telling you after you discovered our secret. Maybe it would have been an awkward conversation starter, but I should have told you. I never meant to make you feel like you are a charity case or that our… friendship is conditional,” Rosalie stuttered over the word ‘friendship’, as if unsure how to classify their connection. Bella understood, there had always been more between them than just friendship.

“You mean more to me than you know Bella Swan and I want to make one thing explicitly clear so there is no room for any misunderstanding,” Rosalie’s eyes were so intense that Bella had to force herself to not avert her eyes. “I want you in my life because of who you are as a person. I’ve not been spending time with you because I’m bored, and I most certainly don’t pity you, nor do I want to control you. I know only you can make the decision whether you want to stay alive or not. But I want you to know that I would love nothing more if you choose to stay,” the desperation in one word was enough to make Bella look away. “I most certainly don’t want to fix you. I’ve never seen you as something broken. However, if I can help you in any way, I’m at your disposal. Truthfully, I’d be only paying you back for all the times you’ve already helped me,” Rosalie chuckled.

Bella tried to recall a single moment she had helped Rosalie but came up short.

“Rose…” Bella trailed off.

“I also want to apologise for my behavior when you said nothing could happen between us,” Rosalie continued, which made Bella sharply look up. “I stand by my words that night,” the blonde elaborated calmly. “I like you Bella, and I do want to pursue a relationship with you, that hasn’t changed,” Bella swallowed thickly. “But I respect your wishes and I will back off if you are not interested. To be completely honest, I just want to be part of your story, in whatever capacity you’ll allow me. If you only want friendship? Then I’ll be your friend,” Rosalie took in a shaky breath, as if mentally preparing herself. “If you don’t want me in your life at all, I’ll respect that too,” panic rose in Bella’s chest at the thought of Rosalie disappearing from her life entirely. “This is entirely up to you,”

“I don’t want you out of my life Rose,” Bella finally found her voice, although it was a lot weaker than she intended. Rosalie’s heartfelt confession had kickstarted a storm of emotions within Bella, which she had no idea how to approach. It felt overwhelming. Luckily the blonde waited patiently as Bella searched for the right words.   

“I accept your apology, and I want to apologise too,” she started, which Rosalie seemed confused at. Bella almost frowned. Did Rosalie only think she was the guilty party here? “I should have not reacted in that way that night,”

“Your reactions were entirely understandable,” Rosalie protested.

“Not excusable though,” Bella corrected gently, to which the vampire had no response to. “I might have been drunk and emotional, but I was an asshole to you. I was goading you on during the end. You didn’t deserve my behavior. So, I’m sorry.   

“Apology accepted,” Rosalie said easily, still a bit surprised.

“I’ve been doing a lot of thinking,” Bella absently started drumming her fingers on her knee, a nervous tick. “I have no idea why on earth you like me,” she stated honestly. “Since I’m pretty sure vampires can’t suffer from head traumas,”

“Bella,” Rosalie said sternly with a small frown.

“Sorry,” Bella apologised. Self-deprecating humour was probably not the way to go. “What I mean to say that I don’t understand why you want to be involved with me, romantically, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I don’t want you too,” she shifted uneasily under Rosalie’s intense gaze. “Like we’ve established, I have a lot of issues with myself and most of the time I think I’m undeserving of any happiness. Of course, I don’t want to feel that way, and if I could, I wouldn’t. What I do know with every fibre of my being, is that you deserve it. I have made an argument for why I’m an awful choice for your pursuit, which you seem to be intent on ignoring. I mean you’re amazing and I’m just…Bella,” she chuckled awkwardly. “I’m not even sure we’ll make sense together. I’m kind of a lot, I mean I travel through time and I don’t know if I’ll be home for dinner. Not that you eat food, but I do and if – “

“Bella,” Rosalie interrupted gently, a small amused smile marring her features. “You’re rambling,”

“I know,” Bella exhaled shakily. “I’m nervous,”

“There’s no need to be,” Rosalie shifted closer, hesitantly reaching over to place one hand on top of Bella’s, stilling her movement. Miraculously, the small action calmed Bella.

“What I’m trying to say that my life is unpredictable, and I cannot give you any promises,”

“I know that,” the vampire nodded.

“I have a lot of things I need to work through, a huge load of baggage I need to sort out. Most of the time I don’t know who I am and I’m uncertain about almost everything,” Bella bit her lip. “What I am certain of, is that I like you and I enjoy your company,” Rosalie’s expression flickered between hope and apprehension. “So I’d like to…try,”

“Really?” Rosalie’s expression was pleased, laced with surprise.

“We’ll have to take it slow. I don’t hold the best track record with open communication and I often conceal my feelings and thoughts, which I’ll try to work on. I have abandonment issues and I tend to push people away when I feel overwhelmed. I am also a master of self-doubt, so you might get a whiplash somedays about – “

“Bella, darling,” Rosalie squeezed her hand gently. “Breathe. I’m not perfect either. You just listed up things I also struggle with. If you want to work on those things, maybe I can too, and it can be a learning process for us both. Like I stated earlier, I don’t want to change you or fix you. Simply put, I just want to be around you,” Bella broke into a smile, which Rosalie returned with one of her own.

“Okay,” Bella nodded slowly. “We’ll take it slow though?”

“Slow,” Rosalie agreed, topaz eyes twinkling with joy.

“So we’ll do this right, like adults,” the time traveler stated seriously, inwardly cooing at Rosalie’s confused expression, which frankly was absurdly adorable.

“We talk to one another if something is bothering us, or if we’re unsure about something. I’d rather you tell me if I’m crossing some boundaries, and vice versa,” Rosalie nodded with a smile. “No more concealed truths,” Bella added, pausing when Rosalie’s smile turned slightly forced. “I’m not asking you to reveal your every secret or private thought. I understand not everything can be said, especially right away, “ Bella clarified, relieved when Rosalie’s expression faded. It gave the impression that Rosalie wasn’t telling her something but would eventually. Bella was fine with that. “Just please don’t lie to me,”

“I won’t,” Rosalie vowed. “I expect the same from you,” Bella nodded.

“Of course,”

“So we’re in agreement?”

“I can draw up a contract if you’d like,” Rosalie teased, trying to lighten the mood.

“I think a verbal one will do for now,” Bella smirked. “We’ll revisit the idea when we decide to take the next step,”

“Next step?” Rosalie feigned an outraged expression. “I thought we would take things slow,”

“This is how lesbian relationships work,” Bella barely managed to keep a straight face. “I’ll probably show up with a U-Haul tomorrow,”

“I’m having second thoughts,” Rosalie deadpanned, although the mirth in her eyes gave her away.

“Not an option I’m afraid,” Bella clasped their hands together and narrowed her eyes playfully.

“Such dreadful fate,” Rosalie laughed.

“This is what you wanted darling,” Bella reminded her with a wink.

“It is,” Rosalie squeezed her hand, her smile softer than ever. Bella’s stomach fluttered at the sight of it. No one would have faulted her for staring.

“Have you two knuckleheads worked it out?” Emmett’s voice broke their eye contact, and moment for that matter. They both turned to see Emmett standing in the doorway, his expression hopeful.

“You couldn’t have waited?”

“Yes,”

Rosalie and Bella spoke at the same time, the former with an irritated glare and the latter with an eye-roll.

“Great!” Emmett looked entirely unconcerned if he had accidentally interrupted something. “So… can we play now?” he directed his words to Bella, who was shaking her head fondly.

“Why not?” the big man pouted. “We haven’t played in ages!”

“Emmett, you ruined a moment for them!” Alice appeared out of nowhere, glaring daggers at him.

“They weren’t doing anything,” Emmett insisted.

“Alice is right,” Edward materialised beside the pixie. “You definitely ruined a moment,”

“Oh my god,” Rosalie facepalmed, which only made Bella laugh.

“They weren’t saying anything or doing anything,” Emmett threw his hands up in defeat.

“Maybe they were about to kiss,” Alice argued.

“Rosalie was thinking about it,” Edward backed his sister up, unknowingly making the other one embarrassed.

“Edward, I swear to god…” Rosalie hissed and avoided Bella’s eyes. The time traveler couldn’t hide her smile, since she was about 99% sure that if Rosalie was human, she would have been blushing hardcore.

“You’re embarrassing Rosalie,” Alice informed the bronze haired boy accusingly.

“You’re all embarrassing me!” Rosalie growled. She appeared so genuinely exasperated that Bella’s smile only widened and she leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to her cheek.

“Don’t worry babe, I knew what I was signing up for,” Bella said teasingly.

“Babe?” Emmett perked up with a shit eating grin. “We’ve evolved to pet names, have we?”

It had honestly slipped out, more as a joke if anything and Bella knew better than to seem affected by her best friend’s teasing remarks, but her body betrayed her and a light blush coated her cheeks.

“Aw,” Emmett cooed. “Look how adorable she is,” he reached out to touch her heated face but Bella quickly batted his hands away.

“Rosalie’s right,” she complained. “You’re embarrassing,”

“I thought you already knew that?” the big man sassed. Bella sighed and looked at Rosalie, who was staring at her fondly.

“I was thinking about saying yes to playing with you, but I now changed my mind,” Bella told him, almost bursting into laughter when his face fell.

“What? No!” Emmett whined and turned to Rosalie. “Tell your new girlfriend to play with me,” Bella’s heart skipped a beat at the word ‘girlfriend’, a fact that did not escape the vampires, whose all eyes comically zeroed in on her chest. Bella gulped at Rosalie’s sexy smirk. She looked entirely too pleased with herself. Bella arched one eyebrow. The blonde would have to work for that title, they only had one conversation, and nothing had been established yet. Bella refused to seem that easy.

“I’m leaving,” Bella regretfully let go of Rosalie’s hand and jumped to her feet.

“What? Where?” Rosalie’s smirk was replaced with a pout.

“I’m going to hang out with Jasper,” Bella informed them casually, adopting a smirk of her own when every vampire in attendance frowned.

“Why Jasper?” Emmett looked deeply offended at her choice.

“Because he’s not intrusive,” he glanced at Alice and Edward. “Embarrassing,” she nodded at Emmett. “Or smug,” Rosalie rolled her eyes when Bella pointed at her.

“You can’t be serious?” the blonde raised one eyebrow.

“He’s out hunting!” Emmett rushed out.

“He’s not,” Edward offered, not bothered in the least when Emmett glared at him.

“Jasper is boring and only wants to play chess,”

“That’s not the only thing I do,” Jasper stepped outside.

“Are you busy Jasper?” Bella asked politely. Jasper shook his head with a small smile, most definitely feeling her playful mood. “You want to play video games?” she asked innocently. Emmett’s jaw dropped do dramatically that Bella had to bite her lips to not howl with laughter.

“Absolutely,” Jasper agreed and gestured towards the door. “After you,” Bella pointedly ignored everyone and walked inside the house.

“No!” Emmett cried after them in outrage. “That’s so unfair! I’m sorry Bella! I didn’t mean to be embarrassing! Play with me instead!”

Bella walked into the living room and shared a grin with Jasper, who seemed pleased to be in on the joke. The usually solemn man winked at her when he handed her the controller.

The night had gone better than she ever dreamed of and a small voice at the back of her mind, gently whispered that maybe this is where she belonged. Bella had always gone out of her way to avoid and flee when things got too serious or uncomfortable. That was what Renée taught her after all, and she had taken the lesson to heart. She had the same feeling now like she had that time when she listened to Angela's speech while she was half-naked and hungover in an unfamiliar bed. She was tired of finding ways to escape reality. Maybe this time she could stop running.

Feeling as if she was being watched, Bella looked up and noticed Rosalie standing in the doorway, observing her with a soft smile.

Maybe this time she really could.

 

 

 

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

 

Rosalie's POV

 

Rosalie barely just refrained from pouting as she stared after Bella‘s car. The night had gone better than she expected and she kept replaying Bella‘s timid words in her mind; “So I’d like to…try,” Truthfully a part of Rosalie had been prepared to be shot down, so it took a beat for Rosalie to realise the implication. Bella had given her a green light at courtship. If Rosalie was a different person, she would have swooned on the spot.

“You did swoon,” Edward called from his room.

“Stop listening to my thoughts asshole!” Rosalie bit back, beyond annoyed at his constant commentating to her private thoughts. She ignored Edward’s quiet apology and the murmur of conversation from the rest of her family, who were undoubtably talking about the night events themselves.

While she would forever deny it if asked, Edward was right. She did swoon. Bella brought out this different side to her, a side Rosalie didn’t know even existed. Her family certainly did not, to their never-ending delight. She had never put much stock in the concept of soul mates, despite spending all these years in the company of Esme and Carlisle, then later on Jasper and Alice. She always thought they were an exception, or perhaps that she was.

Royce had ruined her romantic side in her human life, or so she had thought up to this point. Although truth be told, she used to be horribly naïve about those things, only relying on information she read in frivolous romance novels and the rest she based off the relationship her good friend Vera’s had with her husband. Then her supposed ‘prince charming’ broke her.

The next century was spent in bitterness and self-loathing, dismissing every romantic prospect and suitor with a sneer and a cutting tongue. She thought she would never love nor be loved, not genuinely. She knew she possessed exceptional beauty, and she figured that was the only thing people saw her worth in. Until Bella came barging into her life uninvited, but most certainly not unwelcome. At least after a few months of denial. Bella was like a breath of fresh air after being stuck underground for almost 100 years. It was no wonder Rosalie behaved as she did around the girl. She was entirely new to the idea of dating, much less someone like Bella. She adored the girl, truly, but they were so alike in some ways that she figured it would be a challenge, at first at least. If not from Bella’s side, then definitely from her own. Rosalie knew they had a long way to go, after all they both had many demons they needed to confront, but for the first time ever she felt hopeful about the future. Maybe she wasn’t condemned to a life she never wanted. Perhaps Bella was her shot at a life worth living.

 

 

 

 

The next day Rosalie was buzzing with energy as she waited for Bella to arrive at school. As soon as she spotted the car however, she froze. They had agreed to try and explore something between them, but they hadn’t discussed further than that. Was she supposed to behave differently? How should she address Bella, should she use pet names like they did the night before? Would it be okay for her to touch her or was that inappropriate? Rosalie’s mind reeled with unanswered questions and a feeling she rarely felt until she met Bella, resurfaced with full force; panic.

“Relax,” Jasper encouraged gently. “Just be yourself and don’t worry about the rest,” Rosalie let out a shaky breath and nodded.

“Not too much though,” Emmett piped up. “Just the correct amount of yourself, so don’t threaten her with bodily harm and ease up on the glaring,” Rosalie wasn’t sure if he was genuinely trying to be helpful or simply teasing her.

“Although perhaps less of the nervous energy you display around Bella. It would be a lot easier if you could actually form a sentence or two,” Alice added with a smirk. Okay so definitely teasing.

“No dropping books either,” Edward joined in on the fun. To add on to his joke, he fished out a book from his backpack and handed it to Rosalie, who accepted it on pure reflex.

“Maybe she should?” Emmett looked pensive. “After all Bella finds that exceptionally cute,”

“Borderline adorable,” Alice drawled and the two exchanged high fives. Rosalie raised the book high into the air and she took a threatening step forward, which made the trio take a step back in response.

“Hey now, we said no bodily harm or – “

“Dear?” Jasper addressed his wife, who fell silent. “You’re not helping,”

“Fine,” Alice sighed dramatically, as if the task was a hardship. “I’ll be silent,”

“Now there’s a first,” Rosalie quipped, not intimidated by Alice’s glare.

“What’s a first?” a familiar voice asked and as if her siblings had rehearsed a comedy bit, Rosalie dropped the book in her hand. Edward, Alice and Emmett practically howled with laughter while Jasper was polite enough to hide his smile. Humiliation swept over Rosalie as she carefully bent down to pick up the discarded book.

“Alice being quiet,” the blonde answered Bella tightly, carefully not meeting anyone’s eyes.

“That only exists in a utopian world,” Bella patted Rosalie’s arm in a consoling manner. “Although I encourage you to keep dreaming Rose, one never knows. Miracles happen every day,” Rosalie’s embarrassment faded and she smirked instead at the joke made at her sister’s expense.

“Hey!” Alice’s laughter ceased abruptly, and outrage replaced her previous mirth.

“Hey,” Bella said innocently in return, although hers sounded more like a greeting.

“I take offense to that,” Alice informed her with a pout.

“That’s unfortunate,” Bella exclaimed pleasantly, as if discussing the weather. Rosalie snorted in amusement, her heart fluttering when Bella turned to her to give her a playful wink. The blonde wasn’t sure if it was instinctual or if she had heard a part of the conversation, but it was obvious that Bella was trying to dispel her embarrassment. Rosalie appreciated it immensely. A part of her wondered how on earth the human managed to sneak up on her so easily, especially since she was usually hyper aware of her mate’s presence.

“Aristotle is in savage mode this morning,” Emmett whistled appreciatively.

“Was that a request for a burn Em?” Bella batted her eyelashes dramatically, smirking when the big vampire laughed.

“Not at all,” Emmett shook his head, his eyes twinkling with mischief. “I’ve learned my lesson,” Rosalie scoffed. As if Emmett would ever learn to not poke fun at someone. 

“I agree with Rosalie,” Edward said calmly, although no one else was privy to her thoughts. Rosalie mused the noise had been telling enough.

“What? What’s with the doubt?” Emmett crossed his arms, although he looked more as a pouting child in that moment than the intimidation Rosalie guessed he was going for.

“Please,” Alice waved her hand dismissively. “I’ll give it five minutes until you piss Bella off,”

“Five is a bit generous,” Edward smirked. “Two minutes and Bella will cut him off from video games this afternoon,”

“She won’t cut me off,” Emmett declared with a scoff, although he eyed Bella unsurely.

“Don’t even,” Edward sassed. “You will never be in a relationship with her but somehow you’re still whipped,”

“I’m not whipped!” Emmett gasped, genuinely offended at the remark. Bella’s shoulders tensed at the word and without thinking too much of it, Rosalie discreetly reached out and laced their hands together. Bella relaxed at the contact and squeezed Rosalie’s hand gently in silent gratitude.

“Tell them Bella!” Emmett demanded, completely oblivious to Bella’s discomfort.

“Of course you’re not, dearest,” the brunette assured him, although a bit condescendingly. Rosalie had to bite her lip to not laugh out loud. Emmett frowned, obviously recognizing the tone as well.

“Come on, we have math first,” Alice told Edward brightly, grabbing his arm and practically dragging him towards the school building. Jasper shook his head with a small smile and followed. Emmett stayed for all but one minute until running after Jasper, asking if he was truly whipped or not. Rosalie stared after them with a quirk to her lips.

“Are you okay?” Bella’s voice captured her attention.

“Yes, why?” the blonde asked, eyeing her mate’s smirk with apprehension.

“You got that far-away look in your eyes,” Bella’s teasing smirk widened. “And there’s the fact that you’re still holding my hand,” unlike the previous times Bella had made that same remark, Rosalie did not let go or jump away in embarrassment. Instead she playfully rolled her eyes and squeezed her hand gently.

“Maybe I just wanted to hold your hand?” she replied. “Is…that okay?” she added hesitantly. Bella responded with a warm smile and a nod, which instantly quelled Rosalie’s nervousness. “Good,” Bella studied her for a long moment.

“I know we didn’t really talk about it last night but maybe we should,” the time traveler finally spoke after a long pause. Rosalie swallowed thickly, wondering where she was going with this. “I know we agreed to take things slow, but I don’t actually have a manual at hand,” the joke eased the knot in Rosalie’s stomach, and she smiled.

“Neither do I,” she confessed.

“We’ll decide the speed for ourselves,” Bella suggested, which Rosalie nodded at. “I’ll tell you if I find anything uncomfortable and expect the same from you,”

“Hand holding?” Rosalie checked, although she knew the answer already.

“Fine by me,” as if to prove her point, Bella gave Rosalie’s hand another soft squeeze.

“Dates?”

“I guess that sounds…nice,” Bella seemed surprised by the request for some reason.

“You don’t sound so sure,” Rosalie remarked, half teasing and half concerned.

“No,” Bella murmured. “I mean, yes. It sounds nice,” she nodded, although more at herself than to Rosalie. The blonde suppressed the urge to smile at the cuteness. “I’ve just…never been on one before,” the confession brought out mixed feelings for the vampire. She was both pleased that she would be the first one to take Bella out on a date, and nervous that there was now pressure for the date itself. It had to be perfect.

“That surprises me,” Rosalie exclaimed honestly.

“Why is that?”

“You seem…” Rosalie searched for the right word. Flirty sounded wrong in this context. “Experienced?” it was more a question than a statement. A shiver ran down her spine as Bella’s curious look shifted into a suggestive smirk.

“Don’t worry, I have plenty of experience in other…areas,” Bella stated in such a way that was abundantly clear what she meant by that.

“I wasn’t worried,” Rosalie cleared her throat, resisting the urge to fidget under that look. Now was not the time to think about the implications of Bella’s experience.

“Right,” Bella seemed amused and if she was anyone else, Rosalie might have punched them. Instead she wanted nothing more but to kiss that smug face away.

“Well… no one ever taken me out before,” Bella’s transformation from a teasing seductress to a shy young woman was a mesmerizing one and highly endearing. “They were never interested… or maybe I wasn’t… Anyway, it was never about…” she fumbled for words. “That,”

“I see,” Rosalie murmured, looking at her mate with what Alice might have classified as ‘adoring eyes’. “Well I am very interested,” she winked, delighted when Bella blushed. Usually Bella was the unflappable one and she was the one stuttering.

“So am I,” Bella cleared her throat and looked away.

“How about this Friday?” Rosalie proposed after a beat.

“Okay,” the time traveler smiled hesitantly. “Cool,”

“Cool,” the blonde echoed. Surprisingly the silence that followed was not awkward. Rosalie would even be so bold as to declare it rather comfortable. Unfortunately, more students were arriving and the bell would ring any moment, so they were forced to leave their little bubble. While Rosalie understood Bella’s reasons, she still felt disappointment when the brunette dropped her hand when they started walking towards the building. Everything was too new for obvious public affection but Rosalie’s hands itched to grab her mate’s hand again.

“I’ll see you at lunch?” Bella asked quietly when they stood in the hallway. Rosalie nodded and Bella offered her a cheeky wink before heading to her first class. Rosalie stood in the same spot for almost a whole minute before realizing that other students were starting to stare. She quickly schooled her features and walked to her own class. The blonde barely even spared a look to Emmett as she took a seat next to him in math, too distracted with coming up with potential date ideas. She had to plan this carefully.

 

 

 

 

“You’re just full of surprises tonight Miss Hale,” Bella exclaimed happily, her eyes darting around the quiet wooden area. “Is this the part where you’ll kill me?” Rosalie’s lips pursed, obviously not amused with the joke.

“That’s not funny,” she murmured with a frown. Bella realised the joke was in poor taste and smiled apologetically.

“I’m sorry,” she offered sheepishly. Rosalie’s face smoothed at the apology.

“I suppose I can let one comment slide, after all you have a pretty morbid humour,” Rosalie rolled her eyes good-naturedly.

“I’m afraid it comes with the job description,” Bella quipped dryly, wincing when she caught Rosalie’s glare. “I mean…” she paused and shrugged. “Yeah I got nothing,” Rosalie was amused despite herself. “To be fair you asked me out, so it’s completely your fault if you aren’t enjoying my company,”

“I’m enjoying it very much,” the blonde told her honestly.

“Well that’s good,” Bella cleared her throat awkward at the sincerity of the tone and looked away, oblivious to Rosalie’s private smile. It was good to see that her mate wasn’t unaffected by her presence.

“So why are we here?”

“To kill you, obviously,” Rosalie deadpanned, smiling when Bella barked out an unexpected laughter.

“Touché,” the brunette acknowledged with a wide grin. Twinkling dark brown eyes met her topaz ones.

“We’re here for the show,” Rosalie smirked, enjoying the confusion on her mate’s face. Taking pity on her after almost a minute of puzzled silence, the blonde pointed to the sky. Realisation lit up in Bella’s eyes and she adopted a teasing smirk of her own.

“Are you trying to seduce me under the stars?” Rosalie rolled her eyes, ignoring how the joke made her flustered, because yes that was exactly what she was trying to do.

“Are you always in a perpetual state of being a smart ass?”

“The doctors have tried everything,” Bella adopted a solemn expression, cracking a grin when Rosalie laughed.

“You’re an idiot,” Rosalie remarked fondly.

“We need to work on your terms of endearment,” the time traveler quipped dryly.

“I didn’t know those were an option for me yet,” Rosalie commented slyly. She had to bite her lip to avoid laughing when she noticed Bella’s cheeks reddening.

“Let’s see how the night goes,” Bella murmured vaguely. “So, what show are you promising me?” Rosalie rummaged through the backpack she brought with her and pulled out a blanket. She spread it out on the grass and gestured for Bella to lie down. The brunette raised one eyebrow but obeyed the silent command. Rosalie then lay down next to her, their arms barely touching.

“Meteor shower,” the vampire finally responded.

“Really?” Bella asked with genuine enthusiasm. “That’s so cool,” Rosalie allowed herself to smile, happy that her idea worked out. Initially she wasn’t sure if Bella would be impressed with that, but she wanted their night to be rememberable. Going to a dinner and a movie seemed too cliché and she figured Bella would feel awkward to be the only one eating at the restaurant. Plus, those kinds of dates didn’t really describe them. She had been wracking her brain for the entire week for something interesting to do and was close to having a full breakdown when Jasper made an offhand comment to Alice about a meteor shower taking place Friday night, and she jumped on the idea. Rosalie had a feeling her ‘twin brother’ had made the comment only for her benefit, since Alice rarely took interest in the stars, and she was incredibly thankful. Not that she would ever say that to him.

“I wasn’t sure this was something you’d be interested in, so I took a gamble,” Rosalie confessed in a neutral tone, trying to mask her nerves. Bella looked at her soft eyes.

“It was a good call,” a sly grin graced her lips. “There’s a lot you don’t know about me,”

“That’s true,” Rosalie acknowledged and hesitated for a moment. “I’d like to find out though,”

“Likewise,” Bella replied gently. “So when is this supposed to happen?” Rosalie did a mental calculation.

“After a few minutes,” Bella hummed and shifted closer. Rosalie held her breath when a warm shoulder came into contact with hers, only exhaling when Bella looked at her questioningly. She mentally berated herself for acting so stiff and forced herself to relax.

“Are you okay?” Bella’s voice held a hint of worry.

“I am,” the vampire replied quickly. Bella’s skeptical look forced her to elaborate. “This is all…very new to me,” she averted her eyes, feeling too exposed under those dark brown eyes.

“What is?” Bella inquired softly.

“Everything,” the blonde swallowed. “You’re not the only one with a limited dating experience. I’m not really used to…” she took a deep breath before continuing. “I don’t do dates or…”

“Or?” Bella probed with that same gentle tone.

“Or contact, aside from my family,” Rosalie’s hand shot out to grasp Bella’s arm when the brunette made to put some distance between them. “Don’t,” she exhaled shakily. “This is fine, more than fine so there’s no need to…I mean I’m definitely not uncomfortable with touching you, I think that has been obvious so far. I just meant that I don’t really…” she didn’t know how to explain herself. She had been incredibly forward when she asked Bella out but now when they were actually on a date, Rosalie felt completely out of her element.

“I’m staying put,” Bella reassured when Rosalie trailed off. “I’m surprised though,”

“Why?”

“I figured you’d have some experience,” Bella paused thoughtfully. “If only for the fact that you’ve lived so long,”

“I’ve never been interested before,” Rosalie replied dismissively. There was silence for a long time, enough to make the blonde look at her mate.

“Then I feel honoured,” Bella finally settled on, and true to her words, she looked touched and a bit disbelieving. Rosalie wondered how Bella would feel if she knew just how important she was to her. At this point in time it would probably scare her away. “What made you change your mind?” there was something fragile and vulnerable in Bella’s tone, which oddly enough soothed Rosalie’s inner turmoil.  

“You’re special,” was the only thing she could come up with. It was probably the most honest answer Rosalie could ever give her.

“So are you,” Bella blushed scarlet, clearing her throat awkwardly. Rosalie let out a soft chuckle, a bit relieved that she wasn’t the only one struggling with displaying her emotional side. Deciding to throw Bella a bone, Rosalie tore her eyes away from her and looked up to the sky. It was a shame to not properly take in the adorable blush, but she knew better than to make her mate feel uncomfortable.

“It’s starting,” Rosalie remarked, noticing out of the corner of her eye that Bella’s attention had shifted upwards as well. She couldn’t help the small smile when she felt Bella shyly grasp her hand and interlock their fingers. Bella was a contradiction, much like herself. She was confident and flirty in one moment and shy and unsure in the next. Rosalie was more delighted than confused of the ever-shifting moods and if Edward were there, he would call her a sap.

“Amazing,” Bella’s quiet awe snapped Rosalie out of her inner dialogue. It was true, the meteor shower was amazing, but Rosalie had seen too many of them, and although the sight was always quite extraordinary, it had nothing on Bella’s expression in that moment. Rosalie could only see her profile from that angle but the spark of joy in dark brown eyes was evident. Her mouth was slightly open in surprise, as if she was truly astonished by the scene.

“Yeah,” the blonde agreed just as quietly.

“It’s strange,” Bella began thoughtfully. “We humans act as if we are these superior beings, entitled to everything in this world when we are in fact such a small part of it, just a blimp in its radar. Astronauts have often talked about some kind of epiphany known as the Overview Effect,” Rosalie smiled, always charmed when Bella shared her philosophical musing. “From space, the sort of troubles and preoccupations that once seemed important evaporate in a wider context. But down on Earth, not all of us are so invigorated when we reflect on our place in the universe,” it sounded like she was quoting something.

Then she blinked and spared a glance at Rosalie, as if remembering she was there. Bella often got lost in her own little world, which Rosalie found incredibly endearing. Sometimes the blonde wished she possessed Edward’s gift, to only catch a glimpse at the fascinating thought pattern.

“Well… it’s just easy to forget how large the universe actually is and how our lives are so insignificant in the grand scheme of things,” Bella shrugged and smiled to herself. “The view from here is beautiful though,”

“It is,” Rosalie blurted without thinking, still staring at Bella. “Breathtaking,” her traitorous mouth continued. Something about her tone must have caught Bella’s attention, since she abandoned her view to look at the blonde, who mentally face-palmed. Of course, she managed to come off as a lovestruck idiot. Could she be any more of a cliché? Alice was probably laughing her ass off somewhere right now.

Rosalie cleared her throat awkwardly. “The sky too of course,” that comment did not help her case. “I mean…err…” it was as if her mind was in full shutdown mode and she hastily tried to recall a fact about meteor showers. “Did you know the earliest record of the Perseids meteor shower is found in Chinese annals from 36 AD,“ The words were rushed and sounded as if she was reciting from a textbook. Rosalie wanted to dig a hole for herself in the ground.

“You’re cute,” Bella stated, and Rosalie braved a look in her direction. The time traveler was looking at Rosalie like she was something extraordinarily precious, as if Bella was captivated and charmed by her mere existence. Normally Rosalie would have protested the description but in that moment she was just relieved that Bella found her cute and not seriously off-balanced.

“I’m glad you think so,” the vampire muttered sheepishly, averting her gaze.

“There’s no need to be embarrassed,” Bella’s told her fondly. “You make me nervous too,”

Rosalie’s eyes snapped back to hers in surprise. “I’m not used to feel nervous around anyone,” The admission hit close to home, enough to make Rosalie laugh softly.

“Me neither,” A hint of a smile touched her lips when Bella squeezed her hand gently. “My siblings find it hilarious,” Rosalie rolled her eyes.

“I feel like that’s a standard sibling protocol,” Bella said thoughtfully. “To give you shit,” Rosalie could not argue with that, after all she wasn’t exactly a saint in that area. “Luckily I find it cute,”

“Borderline adorable,” Rosalie quipped dryly, smiling when Bella laughed.

“Exactly,” the brunette hesitated. “To be honest it’s also very humbling,”

“What is?”

“That I get to peek behind your carefully crafted mask,” Bella answered easily, almost like she had been thinking about it for some time. “There is so much more to you than what you portray to the world. I told you in our first conversation that you keep surprising me, which is something that I really like about you,” Rosalie smiled shyly. “You are normally very reserved, so I cherish the times when you do let me in,” the sincerity in Bella’s eyes was replaced by something positively wicked. “Plus I think it wouldn’t help your street cred if the word got out how much of a dork you truly are,” Rosalie couldn’t stop the indignant gasp.

“I’m not a dork!”

“A huge one in fact,” Bella said gravely.

“Oh fuck you,” Rosalie tried to be mad but it was hard when Bella laughed.

“This is only the first date Rose, even with my limited dating knowledge, I know that doesn’t happen until after the third date,” the brunette gave her a smirk, which widened when Rosalie sputtered at the unexpected comment.  

“You’re an ass,” the blonde pouted.

“I’m sorry,” Bella sounded anything but sorry. “How can I make it up to you?” she shifted closer. Rosalie’s eyes flickered down to her lips before meeting her eyes again, not bothering to hide her intentions. Bella’s breath hitched at the action.

“I’m sure you can think of something,” Rosalie husked, hit by a spark of arousal when the human’s eyes darkened further. Emboldened by the response, Rosalie lifted her hand to gently cradle Bella’s jaw, shifting even closer to her mate. Warm breath hit Rosalie’s lips, and the vampire almost purred at the sensation. Just as their lips were about to touch, the universe interfered, and Bella flinched away when a few icy drops of water hit her cheek.

Rosalie growled lowly at the interruption and reached out to pull Bella back. The few drops of water suddenly turned into pouring rain, soaking them immediately.

“Where the hell did that come from?” Bella laughed in surprise with her head tilted up to the sky. Rosalie’s eyes followed hers, thinking the same thing. It was the oddest thing, one moment there was a clear sky and the next dark clouds. Rosalie wondered just exactly how absorbed she was in her mate to have missed this detail. Why didn’t Alice warn her about this? The blonde cursed herself for not checking the weather forecast. Normally her sister would tell her these sorts of things. Either Alice’s power failed her tonight, or she had purposely left this piece of information out. The blonde put her money on the latter.

Rosalie looked at Bella, who was now shivering and all of plans of kissing her went out the window. With a shuddering breath and a pang of regret, Rosalie jumped to her feet and offered her hand to Bella.

“Let’s go before you catch a pneumonia,” it helped that Bella too seemed annoyed at the interruption. “Come on, I’ll run back to the house. We need to get you into warm and dry clothes,” giving Bella no time to protest, Rosalie gently scooped her up and started running.

“You forgot your backpack,” Bella clung to her desperately.

“Fuck the backpack,” the blonde grunted. Bella only laughed in response and held her tighter.  

 

 

 

 

Rosalie had never seen her without so many layers and she understood why right away.

Bella was covered in scars. It took everything in Rosalie to not outwardly react. She knew Bella had been through a lot but so far she had only caught glimpses of the mental scars, aside from the times she showed up at school battered and bruised.

Somehow seeing the physical scars made the time travel element more real, even though Rosalie had firsthand experience from when she was human herself. Of course she saw the one on Bella‘s face daily; that thin scar that started at her temple and ran down to her cheek. This however felt different, seeing the hidden ones was sobering. Rosalie doubted she would ever fully understand the extent of Bella’s pain and past demons. It was a hard notion to swallow.

Her eyes zeroed in on her forearms, where a few scars stood out starkly on the otherwise unblemished skin, the most prominent one was a long and thick crude looking one. Rosalie could only surmised it was a souvenir from Bella‘s suicide attempt. There were a few faintly coloured spots on each arm that indicated that the skin had been badly bruised but was healing nicely. Dread filled the vampire‘s stomach at the realisation that Bella had only removed her sweater, so there was a high chance that even more scars were hidden under the remaining layers.

Her eyes darted up and instantly met brown eyes, which were already fixated on her; guardedly examining her reaction. Rosalie recognised subtle anxiety within brown orbs. Did Bella fear her reaction?

“I heal faster,” was the first thing that came to mind. Bella frowned in confusion. “That’s the difference between us. Otherwise I’d have a few scars of my own,” Rosalie added with a tight smile, trying to reassure her. She needed Bella to know that she was not repulsed by her body, when it was actually the exact opposite. Sure, she felt sympathy but most of all she felt pride, in awe of what her mate had endured and lived to tell the tale. The strength in the young woman humbled Rosalie. She did not know how to voice this out loud, without accidentally declaring her everlasting love or mating bond; which was a high probability of blurting it out in that moment. She seemed to be doing a lot of that around her mate, which frustrated her to no end. Usually she was well spoken but Bella simply flustered her.

To her immense relief, Bella offered her a soft smile and Rosalie instantly relaxed. At least she hadn’t screwed that up too badly, even though she didn’t say what she really wanted.

“If only you could see Jasper’s,” the blonde offered, the urge to console her mate still strong. “He’s completely covered in scars and bite marks. Your human eyes can’t detect it,”

“Bite marks?” Bella asked in morbid curiosity, most likely trying to draw up images in her mind.

“He fought in the vampire wars,” Rosalie explained. “After the civil war,”

“Vampire wars?” the brunette’s surprise was evident.

“A long story,” Rosalie didn’t want to go into Jasper’s history without him being present. Bella seemed to recognise her reluctance and dropped the subject.

“Where is everyone?”

“You tired of me yet?” Rosalie feigned offense. She excepted a teasing remark or a flippant comment, not the warm half crooked grin.

“You have to try harder if you want to accomplish that,” Bella took a step closer, invading Rosalie’s personal space.

“What if I desire a different outcome?” Rosalie swallowed when she heard vulnerability leak into her voice.

“Then I advise you to keep being yourself,” Bella’s hand came up to cup her cheek. Brown eyes searched topaz. “I’m afraid I’m growing addicted at this rate,” Rosalie couldn’t stop her smile, accidentally mesmerising Bella for a second.

“Sounds like a problem,” the blonde teased, which snapped Bella out of her daze.

“The best kind I assure you,” her mate exclaimed cheekily. Rosalie only hummed, afraid of breaking the spell between them and accidentally say something stupid. “May I kiss you?”

Rosalie blinked, pleasantly surprised and somehow altogether not at all. She nodded, almost cursing when she realised how eager she appeared. Luckily Bella was either too polite to comment on it or was just as eager herself. After all the rain had interrupted them before so the tension was already there.

Rosalie’s eyes fluttered closed when impossibly soft lips touched her own. It was even better than the first time when Bella had surprised her with a kiss outside at school, since she was now prepared for the sensation. It was innocent, just the smallest amount of pressure, yet Rosalie had never felt as ignited by a kiss. She could definitely get used to this. Addiction was indeed an apt description. Even if they weren’t already mated, Bella would have completely ruined her for anyone else.

Too soon it ended and on instinct Rosalie chased her lips when Bella made to pull back. The time traveler chuckled lightly and accepted another kiss. Rosalie knew they were taking it slow, but it was as if Bella had pressed some button inside of her, and this time she deepened it. The low moan Bella released only fuelled her desire and the blonde’s hands reached out and grabbed her hips almost possessively. Bella’s hands wrapped themselves around Rosalie’s neck in return and practically fused their bodies together. All of Rosalie’s restraint went out the window as soon as she felt Bella’s tongue swipe her lower lip, begging for entrance. It went from passionate to a blazing fire within seconds and Rosalie felt drunk on the other girl. Before she could even properly register it, she had backed Bella up to the nearest surface, which happened to be the wall, trapping her body beneath hers. She almost remembered herself then, but when Bella’s hands buried themselves into her blonde locks, a delightful shiver ran down her spine and she forgot why she even wanted to stop in the first place. Bella let out another moan when Rosalie’s hands grew restless and started roaming the soft curves, doing their best to map out her body. The blonde decided that was her favourite sound from now on.

“Fuck,” the brunette mumbled when Rosalie broke the kiss and trailed kisses from her jaw down her neck. “Rose,” the vampire growled at hearing her voice in that tone and sucked at her pulse point. Oddly enough neither hearing the increased heartbeat nor the feeling of the pulse under her lips did ignite hunger from the beast within her; only a different sort of hunger.

“This is slow for you guys?” Alice’s voice exclaimed amused. Bella instantly tensed up while Rosalie groaned and rested her forehead on her mate’s collarbone. She cursed her sister violently in her mind.

“Rose,” Bella cleared her throat awkwardly and glanced down. Rosalie shook her head, hoping that if they ignored Alice, she would take a hint and go away. She of course knew her sister better than that, but a girl can always hope. 

“Nope,” Rosalie mumbled into the brunette’s shirt. The body underneath her shook with silent mirth and Rosalie was almost tempted to look up but stubbornly stayed put.

“Pretty sure she’s not going anywhere,” Bella sounded more amused than embarrassed this time.

“Eventually,” the blonde insisted. Truthfully her primal instinct was going haywire, and she was fighting the urge to attack Alice. The mate bond was too new and according to Carlisle, this made her territorial and hostile towards other vampires, mated or not. It was almost ridiculous how she immediately relaxed when Bella’s fingers ran soothingly through her hair, and she purred at the sensation. That only increased Bella’s amusement and Rosalie hid her face in embarrassment. Had she honestly just purred like a cat?

“Putting out on a first date?” Alice was too entertained to simply quit. “I thought you had more class than that Miss Hale,”

“I swear to god,” Rosalie growled agitated.

“Was that a cheap shot at me or Rose?” Bella sounded remarkably levelheaded given their position.

“Both,” Alice replied without skipping a beat. “She’s a prude and you’re a…”

“I dare you to finish that word,” Rosalie whispered warningly, the volume too low for the human in the room to detect it.

“I’m a what Alice?” Bella challenged warningly, although not in such a hostile tone like Rosalie. The blonde almost laughed when Alice muttered something about them being too alike and she how she now saw why they were mates. Fortunately, she said so at vampire speed.

“…a wonderful individual?” Alice amended unsurely.

“Better,” Bella nodded approvingly. “Although you can do better,” the warning tone was back.

“…err…and the greatest gift to humanity?” the pixie tried again.

“Laying it on a bit thick,” the time traveler snorted. “No, I was satisfied with my description. I think you need to correct your previous statement,” Rosalie’s smitten smile was thankfully hidden from view.

“Rosalie is…” Alice paused. “Simply the best?”

“That will do Tina Turner, that will do,” Bella’s voice was laced with amusement.

“Whatever,” Alice rolled her eyes. “You guys are way too uptight,” then she turned around and walked away.

“And that’s how you make her go away,” Bella informed the blonde pleasantly.

“I heard that,” Alice yelled from the other room.

“I’m well aware. I didn’t whisper it, did I?” Bella sassed back. Rosalie laughed and finally lifted her head from her hiding place and pressed a fond kiss to her cheek.

“As much as it loathes me to admit, Alice is right,” Bella sighed tiredly, gently pushing a strand of hair out of Rosalie’s eyes. “This was…very enjoyable but perhaps we should slow down a bit,” Rosalie pouted for a moment, before reluctantly nodding.

“Yeah,” Rosalie untangled herself from Bella’s embrace and took a step back. It appeased her a bit when Bella frowned at the loss of contact, seemingly just as disappointed. Rosalie knew her mate had the right idea though; they couldn’t rush this. “I want you to know that the non-rational part of my brain is protesting very loudly right now,” Bella smiled brilliantly at the sulky comment.

“Mine too,” Bella stared at her longingly before letting out another sigh. “It might be for the best that I leave now. Not because I want to,” she held one hand up when Rosalie made to speak. “But because you are way too tempting and my 'Spidey Senses' are tingling right now. I’m pretty sure Emmett is about to barge in and demand to play a game with me,”

“How did she know?” Rosalie heard her brother complain from upstairs. Rosalie laughed and told Bella this, which made the other girl smile smugly.

“Okay,” Rosalie agreed, handing Bella the dry shirt she had fetched for her earlier. “I’ll see you tomorrow?”

“Definitely,” Bella quickly put on the shirt, eyeing Rosalie’s private smile with a puzzled expression. It was definitely satisfying seeing Bella adorning her clothes. Luckily the brunette didn’t question her look and simply smiled back. “Thank you for a lovely evening. I might even say it was the best date I’ve ever had,”

“It’s the only date you’ve ever had,” Rosalie deadpanned.

“Which should make you feel flattered. I was saving that experience for you,” Bella shot back with a flirty grin. Rosalie was disgusted with herself for swooning at that.

“Oh, I am,” she admitted in a much softer way than she intended on.

“Good,” Bella hesitated for a second before she walked over to the blonde and captured her lips gently, pulling back before Rosalie could even think of kissing back. The vampire blinked stupidly, shooting her a questioning look. “You can’t expect me not to kiss you when you act this cute. I only have so much restraint,” Bella declared solemnly.

“I wasn’t complaining,” Rosalie grinned happily. The time traveler stared at her in a daze, before shaking her head and stepping away.

“Stop it,” she scolded playfully. “Otherwise I’ll never leave,”

“Oh no,” Rosalie said as insincerely as she could. “What a horrible predicament I find myself in,”

“Yeah yeah,” Bella rolled her eyes good-naturedly, a small smile tugging at her lips.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,”

“Sweet dreams,” Rosalie winked, laughing lightly when Bella blushed. She didn’t need to possess Edward’s powers to read where Bella’s mind had just gone to.

“You too!” Bella rushed out when Rosalie opened her mouth to make a teasing comment.

“Oh I don’t need sleep,” Rosalie reminded her, adopting a seducing tone. The vampire watched gleefully as the blush darkened. It was rare she managed such a feat.

“Great,” Bella cleared her throat awkwardly, not meeting topaz eyes. “Or not?” she added. “Whatever… see you later!” then she fled the room. Rosalie listened to her throw a hasty goodbye to Esme before the front door opened and closed. Esme appeared only a moment later, her eyes all too knowing.

“I see the date went well?” her adoptive mother drawled in a humorous tone.

“It was perfect,” Rosalie answered happily. Esme eyed her dreamy smile with a fond look.

Her silly smile didn’t leave her lips for the rest of the night and not even her family teasing could ruin her good mood.  

 

 

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

 

Bella's POV

 

Bella had an extra spring in her step as she walked across the parking lot. For once she arrived before the Cullen’s, which could only be chalked up to her eagerness to see a certain someone, although she would never admit that to anyone. The past two weeks had been blissfully peaceful, a rare occurrence in Bella‘s life. She and Rosalie had only technically gone on two official dates but they hung out all the time, whenever Emmett didn‘t whisk her away in between. Even then Rosalie lingered in the background, opting to sit and read while Bella and Emmett played video games. Bella was slowly getting used to Rosalie‘s presence and felt more relaxed around her than before. Of course, she was still a bit nervous around the beautiful girl, but it was getting more manageable with every moment they spent together, more excitement and less of chaotic energy. Bella’s bafflement on why Rosalie chose her of all people never truly went away, but she did her best to not dwell on it. It was hard to not feel incredibly self-conscious around the goddess.

While her days were busy with hanging out at the Cullen residence, the nights were still tough. Every evening she felt upcoming dread at the thought of going home, hating the idea of spending the night alone in her house. Jasper always gave her a worried look in those moments, but thankfully never asked. Bella was too shy, or too proud perhaps, to ask Rosalie to spend the night with her. She didn’t want to come off as clingy or like she wasn’t capable of being on her own. Every evening she left with a smile and every night she cursed herself for not asking for company. Her house was too quiet, too dark for her liking. Sometimes she would turn on the TV as a background noise, but it rarely helped. Like clockwork, every time she lay her head on the pillow, the dark thoughts took over. Doubt and self-loathing were old friends, more than happy to talk to her when she was alone with no one to distract her. Sometimes she had to drink to be able to fall asleep, although she did her best to avoid that method; afraid she might do something stupid under the influence, again. Bella was terrified of going to bed.

“Bella!” Bella musings came to a halt and looked up, spotting Angela jogging over. Bella smiled at her pleasantly, ignoring the mixture of feelings that the sight of her friend invoked. Angela was one of Bella’s favourite people in the world and she had been there for her through one of worst times in her life, her loyalty never wavering. No one had supported her like Angela had, and while the others in their group of friends were also high on her list, excluding Lauren, Bella knew it was only because of Angela’s influence. She owed the girl her life and cared about her a great deal. Bella felt guilty for avoiding her friend, unable to look into her eyes and lie directly in the face. She knew it was fruitless to simply ignore Angela’s inquiries, since the other girl knew her well enough to know something was up. Angela had been watching her for weeks now, probably biding her time to get Bella alone. Her friend was worried, that much was obvious, and Bella knew it was well earned.

“Angie,” Bella greeted, carefully masking her uneasiness.

“I feel like it’s been forever,” oddly enough Angela managed to voice this without making it sound like an accusation, although it clearly was.

“Yeah, sorry about that,” Bella shifted awkwardly. A familiar car caught her attention and she was distracted momentarily, watching Rosalie park the car.

“I was starting to feel like you were avoiding me,” Angela commented lightly, snapping Bella back to reality.

“I was,” Bella knew better than to deflect so she simply nodded and settled on the half-truth. “I figured you needed time after that Lauren incident,” Angela’s knowing eyes held the tiniest bit of frustration in them. “I scared you guys,”

“Of course you scared us,” the pastor’s daughter rolled her eyes. “We’re not scared of you, but for you, you stubborn idiot!” Bella blinked in surprise. “Lauren had it coming, she had no business saying those awful things, so your reaction wasn’t exactly surprising. We’ve been worried about how you might be feeling,”

“Oh,” Bella offered uselessly.

“Your selflessness can be just as charming as it can be frustrating,” Angela groaned. “How is it so hard to get it through your thick scull that people actually care about you?” Bella opened her mouth, but no words escaped her.

“Bella,” Angela’s eyes softened marginally. “How many crack houses do I need to drag you out of to convince you of that?”

“It wasn’t a crack house,” Bella protested weakly, highly aware that super hearing vampires had entered the area and were doubtlessly listening in on the conversation.

“Honey please,” Angela’s voice was dry as sandpaper. “The house was filthy, there was broken furniture, ridiculous much amount of empty alcohol bottles, dubious substances and pills on the table and I swear I spotted a needle on the floor. Not to mention all the unconscious bodies scattered about and then that naked girl in your-“

“Got it, yes,” Bella quickly interrupted. “It was a bad place,”

“Understatement of the century,” Angela muttered under her breath. “Just… you don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to but please just answer me this?” Bella waited with bated breath. “Is it like last time?”

“No,” Bella answered honestly. Her current situation was nothing like before, although not better but Angela didn’t know the details. Time travel business was only okay to discuss with other supernaturals. The last thing she needed was for her friends to check her into a Psychiatric hospital. “There’s no need to bust me out of any…crack houses,”

“Good,” Angela’s posture relaxed a fraction. “You’ll also tell me if there’s anything I can do to help?” Bella hadn’t realised how much this must be weighting on her friend, so she swallowed her guilt and nodded.

“I promise,” she vowed, letting out the fact that it was highly unlikely Angela could be of any assistance. “I’ll be okay,” she knew better than to tell her she was okay at the moment. Angela searched her eyes for a moment, before finally nodding reluctantly. This was harder than Bella had expected.

“Good,” Bella let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding, only to tense up again at Angela’s sly smirk. “So are you going to tell me the deal with Rosalie Hale?”

“I’m sorry Jessica, I almost mistook you for Angela,” Bella deadpanned.

“I know,” Angela chuckled and waved her hand dismissively. “I’m really not looking for gossip, I’m just asking as a friend,” her expression sobered. “I’m neither blind nor stupid so I’m not going to pretend that I don’t see that there is something going on between you two. I’m just wondering if she’s good to you?” Bella softened at the question. Angela, always her protector.

“She’s wonderful,” the time traveler assured her, accompanied with a smile that probably looked silly, judging by the way Angela rolled her eyes playfully.

“And here I thought Jessica and Mike were nauseatingly sappy ones,”

“Did Mike finally pull his head out of his ass?” Bella inquired curiously.

“Yes, thank the lord,” Angela huffed out, the look in her eyes could only be described as pure exasperation.

“About time,” Bella agreed happily before pausing. “Wait, does that mean they are even more annoying now?”

“Yes, it means exactly that,” Angela heaved a sigh. “I thought oblivious Mike was irritating but he has nothing on lovestruck Mike,”

“Great,” Bella winced. “Maybe I’ll just take a few more days away from you guys,”

“Not sure that’s an option,” a small grin tugged Angela’s lips. “Jessica is half a day from hunting you down and forcing you to speak with her,”

“Yeah okay, let’s avoid that,” Bella frowned. “Maybe you can tell her I’m fine?” she suggested hopefully.

“Tell her yourself,” Angela crossed her arms, all previous mirth forgotten. “Although I don’t approve you lying to her,”

“I’m not lying Ange,” Bella insisted. “I’m fine,”

“You’re not fucking fine Bella, who are you trying to fool?” Angela snapped. Bella’s eyes widened in shock, wholly unprepared at seeing the normally quiet girl so angry. Bella guessed she hadn’t been as convincing as she originally thought.

“God damn! How on earth did you manage to make the Christian girl swear?” both girls turned to see Mike and Jessica walk up. “Did you just break Angela?” Mike wondered.

“What did you do Bella?” Jessica demanded with hands on her hips. “Where have you been? Why are you avoiding us? Are you dating Rosalie? Are you okay? Are you back to your old habits? How are you feeling?” the onslaught of questions gave Bella a whiplash.

“Whoa okay calm down,” the time traveler put her hands up in defeat. Jessica just stared at her with the same unimpressed look.

“Well?”

“Err…okay let’s take one question at a time,” Bella cleared her throat. “1. I’ve been around, mostly at the Cullen’s house or at my own. 2. Like I told Angela, I was worried you guys might be frightened of me after the Lauren fiasco. 3. I’m okay, I’ve been better, but I’ve also been worse. 4. No I’m not back to my old lifestyle. 4. At the moment I’m all right,”

“That’s good,” Mike spoke up, before quickly glancing at his girlfriend. “Right? That’s good?” he asked Jessica, who rolled her eyes and nodded.

“I hope Angela told you we aren’t afraid of you?” the girl asked sternly.

“She mentioned as much yes,” Bella smiled faintly. “I appreciate your concern but there’s no need to worry. I will be fine,”

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Jessica sassed. Then her eyes narrowed slightly. “Don’t think you fooled me thought, I noticed you didn’t answer one question,”

“Oh no, did you guys hear that?” Bella asked innocently. “Someone just called my name,”

“No they didn’t,” Mike frowned in confusion.

“I clearly heard someone say Bella,” the brunette insisted. “I guess that means I got to go,”

“Bella!” Jessica did not buy her flimsy excuse.

“Nice talk you guys! Let’s do this sometime again soon,” Bella gave them a salute before walking away.

“Bella! We’re not done! Get back here!” Jessica called after her, but the time traveler only walked faster towards the Cullen’s. She stopped in front of Rosalie, who wore an amused smirk.

“Smooth darling,” the vampire greeted her.

“She’s like a vulture,” Bella grumbled, hesitating for a beat before she leaned over and pressed a small kiss on Rosalie’s cheek.

“She cares,” Jasper informed her quietly.

“I know,” Bella smiled reluctantly. “She’s a good friend, truly. Just doesn’t have boundaries sometimes,”

“I know a few people without those,” Rosalie commented idly.

“Who?” Alice asked eagerly, oblivious to the way Rosalie and Bella exchanged a knowing look.

“Do I really need to bother with the names?” the blonde drawled, rolling her eyes when Alice blinked in confusion.

“Let’s see if she can figure it out,” Bella suggested with a private smile. “So Jaz, ready for our presentation?” the ex-soldier nodded. “Awesome,”

“I heard your friend Mike is doing a presentation on the Civil War,” Jasper’s eyes twinkled.

“Poor guy,” Bella shook her head sadly. “You’re going to be correcting him in your mind the entire time, aren’t you?”

“Naturally,” Jasper smirked. “Edward told me yesterday a few things what he heard from Mike’s thoughts on the presentation itself…” he trailed off deliberately.

“He’s going to fuck it up,” Bella summed up. “Either it’s going to be funny or a travesty,”

“A combination of the two,” Jasper nodded gravely.

“What’s your presentation about?” Rosalie asked interested.

“Oskar Schindler,” Bella answered promptly.

“Sounds familiar,” Alice mused out loud.

“He was a businessman during World War 2. He owned an ammunition factory in Krakow,”

“That’s…fascinating,” the pixie’s tone indicated she found it anything but fascinating.

“He also saved more than 1000 Jewish people,” Jasper added.

“Okay that’s better,” Alice nodded.

“Isn’t the movie Schindler’s list based on his story?” Rosalie questioned.

“Yes,”

“I love Liam Neeson!” Alice declared happily. “He was even better in Taken,” she turned to Jasper.

“Good morning,” Bella tuned out Jasper’s and Alice’s discussion about Liam Neeson movies and opted to speak to Rosalie instead.

“Morning,” the blonde smiled before quirking an eyebrow. “Crack houses?”

“I was hoping you’d miss that,” Bella groaned. “Let’s just put that on the list of ‘bad-decisions-Bella-made-back-in-the-day’, put the list in a box, lock the box, bury the key and throw the box into the ocean,”

“Sounds like a healthy coping mechanism,” Rosalie smirked.

“Hey,” Bella pushed her playfully, although the vampire did not budge an inch. “Dr. Phil would never lie,”

“Somehow, I find it highly doubtful Dr. Phil taught you that,” Rosalie laughed.

“The sound might have been off when I watched that particular show,” Bella adopted a faux thoughtful tone. “I was practicing my lip-reading skills so it’s possible I misinterpreted,”

“You’re an idiot,” the blonde said affectionately.

“Haven’t we already discussed this pet name issue of yours?” Bella pouted.

“I have selective hearing,” Rosalie waved her hands dismissively.

“That explains so much!” Bella gasped dramatically, laughing when Rosalie flipped her off. “Such anger in you,” the brunette tutted. “Maybe you should watch Dr. Phil instead,”

“Do you want me to flip you off again instead of kissing you?”

“Both at the same time, thank you very much,” Bella wiggled her eyebrows playfully. The blonde laughed lightly with an eye-roll and took a step closer. Bella leaned in and happily accepted the soft kiss, that unfortunately only lasted a second uninterrupted.

“So about before, who has no boundaries?” Alice poked Rosalie’s shoulder, ignoring the glare that followed the action. Bella was about to laugh before she realised Alice was actually serious. She shared a disbelieving look with Rosalie, who seemed to be on the verge of either punching her sister or stare at her blankly. “Is it Edward?” the pixie wondered obliviously.

“That was already given,” Rosalie rolled her eyes. “I had someone else in mind,”

“Jasper?” Alice frowned momentarily. “He can’t help his gift you know?”

“Definitely not Jasper,” Bella jumped in with.

“Oh,” Alice looked thoughtful. “Emmett!” she declared victoriously after a moment.

“He’s one of them yes,” Rosalie replied flippantly.

“One of them?” the pixie murmured to herself. “There is another?”

“Yes Alice,” Bella couldn’t fake the exasperation in her voice.

“I’ll figure this out,” Alice promised.

“Please do,” Rosalie pleaded.

“Preferably today,” Bella added jokingly. “Don’t tell her, this needs to be a learning process,” she told Jasper, who smirked in amusement.

“Wait, you know?” Alice turned to her husband with a betrayed look.

“May I walk you to your class?” Bella looked at Rosalie, who seemed equally as amused as her.

“You may,” the vampire’s eyes twinkled with joy. Bella fought the silly grin to form on her lips but was entirely unsuccessful. “Come on charmer,” Rosalie latched onto her arm and led her towards the building. Bella had to bite down on her tongue to not burst into laughter when Jasper shot her a dismayed look as they walked away, Alice still demanding answers from him.

 

 

 

 

Bella was almost halfway through with her math homework when the doorbell rang. The brunette tried to remember if she had invited anyone over but came up short. Usually Emmett or Rosalie at least called, excluding her first meeting with Emmett. Bella pushed the book away and walked to the door. She was surprised to discover Billy Black on her front porch.

“Billy,” she greeted with a smile, feeling oddly charitable towards him today. Truthfully, she wanted to avoid an argument with him if she could.

“Bella,” the old man smiled back. “I hope I’m not interrupting you?”

“Only something exciting as homework,” Bella joked. “I’m more than happy to take a break. Do you want to come in?” she offered hesitantly. It was more out of politeness than any real desire to have a lengthy conversation with him. Thankfully Billy just shook his head.

“No I’m afraid I can’t stay for long. I just wanted to give you this,” he reached into his pocket and withdrew a small package. Bella accepted it with a puzzled expression. “An old associate of mine, Joel, works in construction in Seattle. He found this in one of the lots they were tearing down,” Billy elaborated. “He recognised the name and linked it to me. I figured it should go back to its rightful owner,” Bella looked at the package in intrigue and tore it open, revealing a familiar watch. Bella’s heart lurched and she hastily blinked away the tears that formed.

“I thought it was lost forever,” she whispered, staring down in disbelief. It was her father’s old watch, the last thing her mother had gifted him before they got divorced. Charlie had never taken it off, even years after their separation. The watch had stayed on to his breath. Bella remembered bursting into tears when one of the Police officers had handed it to her when the investigation of the case was finally over. Like the sentimental creature she was, Bella had sworn to never take it off herself. And like the failure she was, that promise was broken when she lost it one night at partying. It had been the only thing she had from her father that she truly valued, and Billy had just given her that piece again.

“You have no idea how much this means to me Billy,” Bella gave him a shaky smile. “Thank you,”

“You’re most welcome Bella,” Billy smiled back for a moment, then his expression changed into something disapproving. “Although Joel told me about the place he retrieved it from. It was not reassuring to hear Charlie’s daughter visits such places,” Bella fought the initial urge to snark back, reminding herself that she was grateful for getting the watch back.

“She doesn’t anymore,” she said instead with a tight smile. “Don’t worry,”

“Joel also told me he has heard about some things about you. That’s why he reached out to me instead of you. The thought the watch would be safer with me,”

“Joel needs to learn to mind his own business,” Bella offered an overly sweet smile. She absently wondered, a bit bitterly, if Joel had any relations to Lauren.

“I see,“ Billy said slowly, studying her reaction intently.

“Billy,” Bella deflated and decided to take the higher road. “I appreciate your concern but there is no need to be worried. I was in a bad place and made some stupid decisions, one of them hanging out with the wrong crowd. I am fine now and am incredibly grateful to you and…” she paused. “Joel, for giving me back my father’s watch,” Billy gave her another long look.

“From what I hear, you still hang out with the wrong crowd,” the old man’s eyes darkened. “Worse crowd if anything,”

“What?” Bella frowned in confusion. Was this Joel guy spreading lies too?

“Those Cullen’s,” Billy’s lips curled in distaste, as if he was smelling something foul. The comment was so unexpected that Bella almost laughed.

“You have a problem with the Cullen’s?” she asked slowly, wondering if she was mishearing something.

“They are the wrong sort Bella,” Billy’s eyes turned almost pleading. “If you have any sense, you should stay away from them,”

“Was that a threat?” Bella stared at her father’s old friend incredulously.

“I’m not threatening you, but they are a threat to you,” Billy warned. “You don’t know what they are capable of,” he glanced around, as if making sure no one could hear them. “If you knew what I knew, you would run away. They are monsters Bella,”

“You should watch your words Billy,” A spark of anger, of which she rarely ever felt nowadays, hit her full force and she bristled. “I don’t approve people talking shit about my friends,”

“Friends?” Billy scoffed, unperturbed by her anger. In fact, he seemed disappointed more than anything. “If Charlie could only see you now,” and just like that, all wind was knocked from Bella. “Running around drug houses, consorting with criminals, drug users and monsters. Charlie was a great friend and it pains my heart to see his daughter ruining her life,” Billy shook his head sadly. “He would be ashamed of your behavior Bella,”

“Leave,” Bella ordered with steel in her voice. How dare he? He thought he could just show up, acting all judgmental and then throw this comment in her face?

“Bella,” he sighed tiredly.

“Thank you for bringing me the watch but we are done with this conversation,” the time traveler forced out in a clipped tone.

“I only want what’s best for you,” Billy tried a different approach, mustering his grandfatherly expression. “Someone needs to look out for you since your father isn’t here,”

“No Billy,” Bella’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t you dare try to pull that shit,” she laughed sardonically. “Your halfhearted attempts, once-every-few-months-phone-calls, does not make you a father figure or someone who has any say in my life. I have no idea what issues you have with the Cullen family and frankly I don’t care, so don’t try to force your prejudice views on me. They are my friends and I refuse to listen your wild accusation or let you badmouth them in front of me. Then you have the audacity to throw it in my face that my father would be ashamed of me?” Bella forced her to breathe calmly. “Out of the two of us, right now I’m not the one he would be ashamed of,” she threw him a last glare. “Goodbye Billy,”

“Bella – “ she closed the door in his face and stormed into the living room. The roar of Billy’s truck sounded a few minutes later, and only when the sound faded, did she allow herself to let go. Bella picked up a statue off the book shelve and threw it against the living room with an angry shout. She watched it bounce off the wall and crash into the TV, flinching when the screen cracked.

“Fuck,” she cursed her stupidity. That did nothing to ease her anger, if anything it increased it. “No breaking things Bella,” she muttered to herself and sat down on the couch.

“Fucking Billy,” she glanced down at the watch in her hand, one finger gently tracing her father’s engraved name on the back. “I’m so sorry dad,” she whispered brokenly.

Truthfully most of her anger wasn’t directed at Billy, but at herself. In fact she agreed with Billy, not about the Cullen’s of course, but the fact that Charlie would be ashamed of her. She was a fucking mess. Old self-doubt crept up on her, self-loathing following suit. Her father’s disappointed face flashed before her eyes; from the last time she saw him alive. If only she had been less angry back then, not so quick to argue and showed a little more affection, then maybe Charlie Swan hadn’t gone with a distracted mind to that robbery. Maybe he would still be alive now. Bella squeezed her eyes shut as she felt tears gathering. Her poor father had done everything imaginable to help her and she just kept slamming doors in his faces and ignoring his worried questions. Logically she knew she was only a teenager back then, filled with sorrow and anger she didn’t know how to deal with, but she had always been talented at blaming herself for everything. Bella sighed tiredly. She just wished she hadn’t wasted so much time with him.

“I miss you,” she looked at the watch. “I know I’ve already made this promise once, but I mean it this time. I’ll never take it off,” she vowed out loud, carefully fastening the straps to her left arm.

“I’m also sorry for being such a fuck up. I’m sorry for being the reason you weren’t able to focus that day,” tears ran freely down her cheeks. “I should have tried harder with you than I did with mom. I…” her voice broke. “I didn’t mean to kill you too,” a sob tore from her throat, which she quickly tried to swallow back. Her parents were gone and she had to accept that. The brunette repeated an old mantra of hers, in a desperate attempt to soothe herself. "It's not your fault, you were a child," she did this a few times but the guilty feeling lingered, added with gut-wrenching sorrow. This had been building up for a few days now but she always managed to push the feelings away. Normally she tried her best not to think too much about her parents but after spending so much time at the Cullen's house, where the loving Esme always greeted her warmly, eager to cook and fuss over her. Then in some evenings there was the calm Dr. Cullen, who insisted on being called Carlisle and always asked her if she was taking care of herself in that fatherly tone. They were perfectly loving and warm and Bella was so unused to this open care from potential parental figures (even if the whole adoption thing was a ruse), or having forgotten the feeling, that it poked at old wounds. This had nothing to do with the Cullen's, and everything to do with her and her unresolved trauma. Her mantra didn't work so well this time.

“Fuck!” Bella shouted and stumbled to her feet, wondering where she put that half-empty Jack Daniel’s bottle. She had almost crossed the room when a familiar pain hit her body.

“Seriously?” she screamed at no one in particular. “This is not the time! No pun intended. I’m kind of in the middle of something here!” another blow and the world went dark.

 

 

When Bella regained consciousness there were four things, she immediately took notice of, as they assaulted her every sense. First, the air was incredibly thick, and it was hard to breathe. Second, it was immensely hot and she felt like she was being squeezed from all sides. Third, the smell was a horrible mixture of sweat, dirt and something suspiciously like human waste. Four, the noises around here were startlingly overwhelming, shouts, cries and an overflow of voices all talking over one another. She blinked rapidly, trying to adjust her eyes to the darkness. After a few moments she began to scan her environment and panic began to rise in her chest. She was inside some sort of a room, although it felt like it was moving, and it was packed with people; almost every space filled out. It was hard to move, since she was in the middle of the throng, and she felt incredibly claustrophobic. She hated people violating her personal space in general, barely even tolerated with people she knew, much less a pack of strangers. Bella tried to find her center and force the incoming panic away. She needed to find out more about her whereabouts before having a complete meltdown, ignoring the fact that she had been having one in the exact moment she traveled.

“Focus,” she berated herself and breathed out slowly. It took a moment for her to sort through the sound and voices, in the hopes of locating where and when she was this time. To her dismay, there was no language she could latch on that gave her a hint. She was no expert, the furthest from it actually, so she quickly gave up on that theory when she realised that it was practically hopeless to even try. Amidst the crying and yelling, she could detect at least five different languages being spoken all at once.

“Fuck,” she closed her eyes and wished she had managed to take at least one sip of that whiskey.

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

 

 

TRIGGER WARNING!

 


Recap:

When Bella regained consciousness there were four things, she immediately took notice of, as they assaulted her every sense. First, the air was incredibly thick, and it was hard to breathe. Second, it was immensely hot and she felt like she was being squeezed from all sides. Third, the smell was a horrible mixture of sweat, dirt and something suspiciously like human waste. Four, the noises around here were startlingly overwhelming, shouts, cries and an overflow of voices all talking over one another. She blinked rapidly, trying to adjust her eyes to the darkness. After a few moments she began to scan her environment and panic began to rise in her chest. She was inside some sort of a room, although it felt like it was moving, and it was packed with people; almost every space filled out. It was hard to move, since she was in the middle of the throng, and she felt incredibly claustrophobic. She hated people violating her personal space in general, barely even tolerated with people she knew, much less a pack of strangers. Bella tried to find her center and force the incoming panic away. She needed to find out more about her whereabouts before having a complete meltdown, ignoring the fact that she had been having one in the exact moment she traveled.

“Focus,” she berated herself and breathed out slowly. It took a moment for her to sort through the sound and voices, in the hopes of locating where and when she was this time. To her dismay, there was no language she could latch on that gave her a hint. She was no expert, the furthest from it actually, so she quickly gave up on that theory when she realised that it was practically hopeless to even try. Amidst the crying and yelling, she could detect at least five different languages being spoken all at once.

“Fuck,” she closed her eyes and wished she had managed to take at least one sip of that whiskey.

 

 

Bella's POV

Despite the fact that Bella had somewhat adjusted to the darkness of the place, aided by a few cracked holes on one wall that allowed a sliver of light inside, it was hard to make out the faces. She mostly had to rely on her listening, which was even harder since the noise was deafening. The only thing she knew for certainty that there were women, men and children and they all came from many different places. She was flying blind here.

“English?” she called out, but no one answered. A different approach then. “Anglais?” not French. “Inglés?” Spanish was out. “Inglese?” No one was Italian either.

Bella cursed herself for not studying different languages. She needed to put that high on her to-do-list if she was doomed to this time traveling lifestyle. There could be no more slacking off, she needed to be prepared for every scenario.

“English?” she repeated louder, feeling utterly foolish when several people stared at her like she was going mad. Bella frowned. Did she hear someone speak Yiddish?

“Angliĭski?” someone poked her in the shoulder. Bella could not detect the nationality but understood the sentiment. She nodded so quickly that she immediately started feeling dizzy. The woman, who seemed to be around forty, although Bella couldn’t be sure, said something to the person behind her, who pointed at another man.

“Tam,” the woman turned to her, nodding towards a man leaning against one of the walls. Bella mustered a smile of gratitude and started to move slowly towards the man, careful of not pushing anyone to the floor; although it was extremely hard with the tight quarters. It seemed like hours, while it probably was only a few minutes, when she finally reached the man. He was in his early twenties; his clothes were torn, and his shoes were missing. It was hard to tell in the near darkness, but she guessed he wasn’t caucasian, had short curly black hair, a strong jaw and gentle eyes. Despite the chaos around them, he gave her a shaky smile.

“I was told you speak English?” she asked him hesitantly. His jaw slackened in surprise for a moment, until he nodded eagerly.

“Yes. Hello, I am Aleksi,” his accent was thick but luckily understandable. Bella breathed out in relief. “I understand English, I worked as translator for Pravitelstvo,” he paused and added. “The Bulgarian Government,”

“Hi Aleksi, I’m Bella,” she greeted in return. “Where are we? What is going on?”

“We are in train,” he replied hollowly, his expression defeated.

“A train to heading where?” Bella asked warily, eyeing the distressed people around them. She had a horrible feeling about all of this.

“We do not know exactly,” Aleksi quickly looked around before he leaned forward, as if he was about to share a secret. “I have my suspicions but only from rumours,” Bella resisted the urge to sigh. That did not help her in the slightest.

“What are the rumours?” she probed, doing her best to match Aleksi’s slightly lower tone, although it was hard with all that noise.

“They put all the evrei on trains and none of them return,” the man answered darkly.

“Evrei?” Bella wracked her brain for a possible translation.

“Jews,” Aleksi clarified. Bella drew in a sharp breath.

“What year is it Aleksi?” she tried her best to sound nonchalant but wasn’t entirely successful since he gave her a queer look. “I know it’s a strange question but just…please?”

“It is February the 16th,” Bella held her breath. “1943,” Aleksi finished. Terror seized Bella’s chest. She knew exactly that that meant. An unknown train ride, Jews going missing and the year 1943.

“Fuck,” she swayed dangerously on the spot, feeling lightheaded. Aleksi quickly reached out with his hands to steady her.

“You all right?” he looked worried. Bella didn’t have the strength to muster a convincing smile, so she simply shook her head. “You know rumours too?” his voice sounded urgent and a bit desperate. Bella’s mouth opened and closed several times, unsure how to reply.

“Yes,” she settled on after a long pause.

“This is not good, no?” Aleksi asked gravely.

“No, the furthest thing from it,” Bella squeezed her eyes shut. How the hell was she supposed to get out of this one? She was literally being shipped off to be murdered.

“They took my sister two days ago,” Aleksi’s voice broke on the last syllable, the pain tangible in the air. “I do not know where,” Bella’s heart broke for him. There was nothing she could say to ease his pain or qualm his worries. She had a fair idea what happened to his sister.

Before she could come up with a reply, the train suddenly stopped. Cold sweat ran down Bella’s back when everyone inside fell silent. She could hear men shouting outside and while she could not understand the language, she recognised it as German. Bella swore violently under her breath. She was doomed.

There was a loud click and then the carriage was pulled opened, daylight streaming in and half blinding everyone inside. Bella blinked violently, white spots swimming in her vision. Someone outside yelled an order and then chaos erupted. Men in Nazi uniforms gathered in front of the train started grabbing onto people and practically ripping them off the train. Screams and cries blended in with barking orders in German, creating a horrifying soundtrack to the scene. Aleksi’s hand somehow managed to find Bella’s in all of this, and they clung on to one another. Even if Bella didn’t know Aleksi, she still felt small comfort at holding his hand. That however didn’t last long. A Nazi soldier took ahold of her other hand and yanked it hard, sending her sprawling off the train and onto the platform. Bella hit the ground hard, headfirst. It was a miracle she didn’t black out, although she was dangerously close to it. White noise buzzed in her ear and her vision grew blurry. With a groan she raised her head, only to be grabbed by her shirt and roughly manhandled to the side. She fell back on the ground, thankfully this time she landed on her backside. Bella looked around, trying to comprehend the situation, dizziness overthrowing all her senses. After a few moments the white noise ceased, although she desperately wished it had remained. The noise was chilling and the sight even more. People were screaming, begging and crying all around her. Nazi soldiers had gathered a group of people and were mercilessly beating them with bats, some even laughing while doing so. A few men and women resisted, which earned them more hits, and some were pulled away from the rest and carried off, half-unconscious. Bella shivered at the thought of those people being killed only a few minutes later.

Bella tore her eyes from the beatings and looked around the platform. It looked like a regular train station in that time period; including a ticket sale, a giant wooden clock and rail terminal signs. There were three names for possible destinations; Przemysl, Bialstok and Ukraine. When Bella read the biggest sign that hung down from the ceiling platform, her heart almost stopped. Treblinka. She knew that name.

“God no,” Bella forced herself to take deep breaths when she realised she was in danger of hyperventilating.

When Bella and Jasper did a presentation on Oskar Schindler, they dived deep into information about World War 2 itself. The Nazis set up a chilling amount of what they called concentration camps, along with six extermination camps spread out in Central Europe; which was a part of what they called The Final Solution. That was basically a code word for genocide. Everyone in the future knew about World War 2 and heard about Auschwitz, the most famous camp. Treblinka, while much talked about, was not as known as Auschwitz, but definitely should be. Bella read one testimony from a survivor of the holocaust, who lived through six such camps and said ‘Auschwitz was a walk in the park’, compared to Treblinka. That horrifying statement made Bella look more into Treblinka and afterwards she wished she hadn’t. Treblinka was a guaranteed death sentence. People were sent straight to the gas chambers upon arrival, aside from those selective few who were forced to help the Nazis with digging the bodies and loading people into the chamber. The treatment from the guards was cruel and some took pleasure in torturing before shipping everyone into the chambers. Only 67 people ever escaped Treblinka and that was only a pure miracle in itself.

“This is not happening,” Bella whispered to herself.

“Treblinka?” Aleksi was suddenly beside her, staring at the sign with a puzzled look.

“Poland,” Bella answered faintly and more on reflex if anything, since she was technically busy inwardly panicking.

“Why are we here?” Aleksi whispered, flinching when his eyes wandered where an officer was beating a woman. “We have to do something,” his eyes burned with determination. Bella’s hand shot out to grab his arm when he made to stand up.

“Don’t,” she warned him helplessly. “There’s literally nothing we can do,”

“I am not coward!” Aleksi protested vehemently, although the fear in his eyes could not be masked.

“I never said you were,” Bella told him seriously. “This is beyond horrifying but if you try to intervene, you’ll end up just like him,” she discreetly pointed at a man, who lay in a pool of his own blood. “We are defenceless and they have weapons,” the words sounded hollow in her mind. Who was she to argue? They were going to die anyway, so it technically didn’t matter which method was chosen. Everything about this was wrong and to bear witness to the most horrible part in history was soul crushing. Bella knew that she would have been just like Aleksi, if she didn’t already know what was about to happen.

She had never felt as helpless in her life, and that was coming from someone who used to be a gladiator in the Roman empire. She could stand up and run to the poor people who were getting brutally beaten, perhaps attack a few guards and if she was lucky, take some down with her. But ultimately, she knew there was no point to it, with or without her help – all of them were going to die. The only reason she had to even try to help, was to give herself some peace of mind in her last hour. Let’s say she was capable of carrying out such a task, which seemed unlikely at the moment, did she even deserve some peace? Even if she did, her body refused to work with her, every limb frozen with paralysing fear. A gunshot sounded in the distance, making both Bella and Aleksi flinch.

“I…” Aleksi trailed off, eyes conflicted as he stared at the scene. Bella eyed his clenched fists and reached out on instinct, prying his hand open and interlocking their fingers.

“I want to do something too,” she confessed lowly. “I just see no way how to help,” the young man’s shoulders slumped, and he nodded faintly in agreement.

“You know what is going to happen,” he posed it as a statement and not a question. Bella hesitated for all but two seconds before nodding. “We are dying in Treblinka, yes?” A lone tear slipped down Bella’s cheek. She wanted to scream at the injustice of it all. Aleksi and all the people around her, not to mention the six million just like them, were innocent. They had literally done nothing wrong. The more Bella had read about the holocaust, the angrier she got and poor Jasper had to use his gift the entire time while they did their research. However, it was one thing reading about the holocaust and a whole different matter to experience it. Even armed with all the history books in the world could not have prepared her for this.

“I’m so sorry Aleksi,” Bella murmured brokenly, feeling guttered when the man only squeezed her hand gently in return.

“So am I,” he choked out.

Their moment violently came to an end when soldiers started barking orders and those sitting, like Aleksi and Bella, hastily stumbled to their feet and followed the rest behind the platform. About 100 meters away from the track was a high barbed wired fence, surrounded by wooden area, which most likely served the purpose of hiding the location of the camp. Two barracks inside the fence were placed on each side of the gate.

Bella did her best to hold on to Aleksi, although it was a challenge amidst the chaos and screaming. As soon as everyone was inside, the group was immediately separated into two groups. Aleksi was torn from her grasp and pulled to the right side, along with the rest of the men, while Bella was pushed to the right with the women and children.

A Nazi with a cruel smile barked an order to Bella’s group, pointing at the barrack on their side. It took no genius to understand his meaning and everyone shuffled inside. They were led inside a huge room, void of furniture but had three organised piles on the floor. Bella drew in a sharp breath. A young teenage boy in ratty clothing yelled at everyone in German, although his accent was thick enough to make it clear he was from another nationality. His eyes met Bella’s for a brief moment and her heart broke for him. She had never seen anyone with such hollow eyes, dead, detached. It was obvious he was being forced to do this. The gaze only lasted a second, before he blinked and repeated his words. Women and children around Bella started getting undressed, putting their clothes in the first pile and tying up their shoes and placing them in the second. The third pile was for personal items, such as jewellery and anything else they had on their person. Bella glanced down at her father’s watch, and despite the terrifying moment, anger rose in her chest. This was the last piece she had of her father and she was supposed to hand it off to Nazis?

“Why are we even here?” Bella’s head snapped up at the spoken English. She blinked in surprise as two extremely attractive people entered the barrack. They both wore fine Nazi uniforms, which wasn’t unusual given they were in a Nazi camp, but the English accent confused Bella. Why would someone from England associate with Nazis? England was at war with Germany.

“Relax, I’m just curious,” the man answered the woman in an American accent. Bella frowned. American too? This was getting queerer still.

“I don’t like this,” the woman argued quietly, eyeing the women and children. Bella’s eyebrows rose in disbelief when she took in the woman’s facial features. Unearthly beauty, pale skin and crimson eyes. Vampire.

“A Nazi vampire?” Bella blurted out stupidly. As soon as the words were out of her mouth, two sets of red eyes zeroed in on her. The time traveler mentally cursed, what a stupid mistake.

“Now this is interesting,” the man was in front of her a moment later. His blonde hair was pulled back in a low ponytail, an oddity compared to the rest of the soldiers Bella had seen so far, whose hair was all shortly cut. “A fellow American?” he questioned curiously.

“Strange,” the woman with the English accent agreed. She had long, curly, brilliant orange hair. Although they were both vampires, the woman’s features were more striking. There was something oddly familiar about her, but Bella could not place it, only a feeling that she’s seen her somewhere before. “How do you know we are vampires?” she tilted her head.

“Pretty obvious with the red eyes,” Bella snarked. Under any other circumstances she would have reacted carefully but the shock of her current predicament and location, added with the fact that Nazi vampires actually existed, was too much for her brain to handle.

“My my,” the man laughed gleefully. “What a delightful surprise to see someone still with some spark in a place such as this,”

“Delightful indeed,” Bella deadpanned. The woman’s lips twitched at the sarcastic tone.

“Why are you here?” the man pressed.

“I’m on a holiday,” Bella wondered why the hell she was engaging them, much less making jokes. She was clearly losing her mind. The man laughed loudly, drawing shocked glances from the nearly naked women and children around them. Bella closed her eyes in despair. This was the last place for laughter, defence mechanism or not – it was incredibly disrespectful. What was wrong with her?

“I like you!” the man exclaimed happily. Bella knew it was definitely not a good thing to be liked by a Nazi vampire, so she refrained from commenting.

“As fun as all this is, can we go?” the woman commented in a bored tone, although her eyes spoke of her uneasiness. “This is fucked up James, even for you,”

“Patience Victoria,” the man, James, waved his hand dismissively.

“You wanted to see how evil the Nazis are, and you got your answer. I don’t wish to be here,” Victoria whispered angrily. Bella’s eyes widened in surprise. Okay so not Nazi vampires, just morbidly curious vampires – not that it was any better. They had the means to save everyone in the camp and kill all the soldiers and instead they went sightseeing? Definition of fucked up.

“You’re so sensitive,” James rolled his eyes. “We should take this one with us,” he pointed at Bella, who perked up. “Her blood smells divine,” What was worse? Being murdered in a Gas Chamber or murdered by sadistic human-drinking Vampires? Tough choices.

“You know we can’t,” Victoria replied firmly. “We’ve drawn enough wanted attention to ourselves already, it’s a miracle they even let us in here,”

“Such a pity though,” the man released a huge sigh. “Fine,” That option was off the table then. “Although…” a mischievous twinkle entered James’ eyes. “We can always change her here, see what happens,” Bella’s eyes bulged out in horror. As if the situation wasn’t bleak enough, changing into a newborn vampire in this environment was even more nightmarish. Jasper had told her about newborns, albeit reluctantly. As a newborn she would have no control over her blood-thirst and while the thought of killing all the Nazi’s was an attractive notion, there was no way for her to stop herself from killing the innocents too.

“No thank you,” the time traveler choked out. Victoria seemed relieved too with her answer.

“Suit yourself,” James shrugged. “Okay then, let’s go. I heard about one where everyone wears striped pyjamas,”

“Wait!” Bella called out as soon as they turned to leave. Both vampires paused and turned around. “I…know this is a strange request and you have no reason to say yes but – “

“We’re not saving you girl,” Victoria interrupted harshly.

“I know,” Bella swallowed thickly. “That’s not what I’m asking for,”

“I’m not allowed to kill anyone here either,” James shot Victoria a glare, as if it was her fault.

“Not that either,” Bella glanced down at her watch. “I have…” she searched for the correct word but came up empty. She had no idea if they were also homophobic, although all signs pointed to it since they were tourists in an extermination camp. “…family at home and I need them to know what happened to me,” she finally settled on.

She couldn’t bear the thought of Rosalie waiting for her, never knowing if she was alive or dead. What if she believed Bella had abandoned her? The smallest mercy Bella could give was to at least let her know she was dead. It would give the blonde-haired goddess a chance to move on.

“We don’t work at the post office sweetie,” James dismissed, obviously bored with the conversation. Bella looked at Victoria, whose eyes had softened marginally. Bella knew she was her best chance of seeing this through.

“Please?” she begged. The red-haired woman looked at James, whose attention was on the ruckus outside, and hesitated for a second before finally nodding.

“What’s your name and address?” the vampire requested softly. Bella almost cried out in relief until she realised her error. It was not as if she could ask her to find Rosalie now. While Bella once met Rosalie when she was human, the blonde didn’t recognise her until Bella sparked her memory later on. If Victoria would find Rosalie in 1943 then it would mess up the timeline and there was no guarantee if they would meet again in 2005. Plus, Rosalie never mentioned before she had heard about Bella in the 1943, so she couldn’t really change that fact now. Bella didn’t know how time travel worked properly so it could have catastrophic consequences. She had no idea if and how that would have an impact on Rosalie’s life. The only logical solution to this problem was to reveal her time traveling secret. Bella eyed Victoria warily.

“This is going to sound even stranger, but since you’re a supernatural being this should be easier for you to believe than most,” she said slowly. Victoria seemed both confused and intrigued by this, even James looked at her. “I need you to deliver this to Forks, Washington at the Cullen residence. My name is Bella Swan,” she took off her father’s watch and carefully handed it to Victoria, who plucked it out of her hand. “However, you need to deliver this at an exact right date and time,”

“Okay?” the woman frowned. “That’s specific,”

“Send this only, and I mean only, on September 14th, in the year 2005,” Bella stared at the two vampires, who gave her identical incredulous expressions.

“Are you drugged?” James laughed with a shake of his head. Bella ignored him and instead focused on Victoria, who looked equally skeptical and suspicious.

“This is not a joke,” Bella insisted firmly. “I am not from here,”

“Your accent makes that pretty obvious sweetheart,” James mocked but she spared him no mind.

“I’m a time traveler,” she stated, irritated when James laughed harder. “Give me the benefit of the doubt,” Bella thought furiously of a way to convince them. “The war will end in 1945,” Victoria remained unimpressed. “Adolf Hitler commits suicide by gunshot on 30 April 1945 in his Fuhrerbunker in Berlin,”

“It’s not as if we can confirm that now,” James pointed out, obviously finding great enjoyment in pointing out the flaws in her plan.

“I know,” Bella bit out. “Wait until that day before you make that decision,” she paused as she realised that would probably not be sufficient enough information. “If you’re still unconvinced by then, wait until 1963 when the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy will be assassinated by a man named Lee Harvey Oswald,” what if it wasn’t enough? “A man named Martin Luther King, a leader in the civil rights movement, will be shot in 1968 by James Earl Ray,” What the hell was wrong with her? Why can’t see find less creepy facts?   

“For a time traveler you sure are morbid. Do you only know facts about murders?” James paused. “Not that I don’t approve,” Again, not a thing Bella aspired for.

“Well excuse me for having a difficult time thinking about happy things when I’m literally about to be murdered myself!” Bella snapped. “Sorry, just…” she lowered her tone when she noticed the others in the room were starting to pay attention to them now. “Please?”

“Fine,” Victoria rolled her eyes. “I’ll send it if those three things happen.” She turned to James. “Can we go now?”

“Of course,” the man bowed theatrically to Bella. “I wish you a happy death,” Bella fought the urge to punch him, vampire or not. Victoria pocketed the watch and spared Bella a final look, her eyes almost sympathetic.

“Thank you,” Bella said as sincerely as she could. The vampire nodded her head and turned away. Bella released a breath she didn’t know she was holding. It was a desperate act to rely on those two vampires to carry out her message but for some reason Bella knew Victoria would deliver the watch. She was a good actor but no one with the slightest amount of humanity left in them would ever feel comfortable in this setting. Victoria clearly felt uneasy, so sadistic or not, she was a better bet than James, who honestly seemed to be enjoying himself playing Nazi. Were they honestly going to visit more camps?

Her thoughts about the vampires abruptly came to a halt when pain exploded in stomach and breath was knocked out of her. Bella barely managed to keep balance. An angry Nazi stood in front of her, holding a metal pipe. The time traveler sucked in a harsh breath, desperate to fill the air in her lungs. The man yelled at her in German, making angry hand gestures. Bella only blinked stupidly, which made him hit her again. Bella held her hands up in defeat when he raised the pipe for a third time. A quick glance to her right made her realise everyone else had already taken their clothes off, so she hurriedly began to strip, biting down on her tongue to stifle the painful moans that threatened to escape. It felt as if her stomach was on fire and she was pretty sure she had broken ribs, not that it mattered now.

Dutifully, she placed her clothes and shoes in the piles and stood naked and waiting, like the rest. Bella tried to ignore the frightened cries from the children and their mother’s (or sisters) frantic reassurances, but it was hard. Gunshots in rapid succession were fired outside, making everyone flinch in response. Bella knew it was only matter of minutes before someone would collect them all. She had read enough to know what came next, first the torture then death.

It was a surreal to realise you were about to die. Bella had tried to take her own life and had been pretty determined about it, but this felt a lot different than her failed attempt. Of course the reason for her death was the blatantly obvious difference, but it was still more than that. Bella had wanted nothing more but to die then, but now she wasn’t as sure. Her life was still complicated, and she still had difficult thoughts, but it had changed drastically. In that moment she realised how must she had underestimated the impact Rosalie and the rest of the Cullen’s made on her life. Truthfully, she wasn’t ready to give it up yet. It was like giving a dehydrated person a bottle of water, only to take the bottle back as soon as the person took the first sip. That was what this felt like. She finally got a taste of something that suspiciously felt like hope but now it was being snatched away.

Bella hadn’t known them for a long time, but the Cullen’s were slowly starting to become the family she never had. She thought of Emmett’s goofy smiles and jokes, Alice’s boundary-less teasing and obliviousness, Esme’s loving smile and freshly made cookies, Edward’s sly comments and eye-rolls, Carlisle’s curious questions and concern, and Jasper’s calming presence and quick wit. Most of all she thought about Rosalie. She would give anything just to see her one last time. Bella cursed all the times she didn’t kiss her like she wanted in those moments or when she had held back a compliment or a silly joke. She drew up pictures in her mind of the times Rosalie fumbled awkwardly around her, made a cutting remark at her siblings when they teased her, gave insightful comments whenever Bella thought out loud or just stared at the time traveler as if she was the only person who mattered in the world. Bella was quite positive that she had been slowly falling in love with the vampire, or maybe she already was. It was a blessing to meet Rosalie Hale, despite the short time they got to spend together. Bella decided not to dwell on regrets and instead felt incredibly thankful for having the opportunity in the first place. She hoped Victoria kept her promise and Rosalie would find out she didn’t leave this earth voluntarily, this time at least.

Bella thought about her friends at Forks, Angela especially. She cursed herself for being a shitty friend to the sweet girl. She hoped Angela would forgive her for seemingly disappearing. Like with the Cullen's, she felt lucky to have met Angela and cherished their friendship. Hell, she was even grateful for Jessica, even though she was 70 percent of the time a pain in her ass. Mike and Eric were okay too. She really hoped they would be okay in the future.

Next her mind drifted to her parents. She had never truly made up her mind about the afterlife but after her first-time traveling experience, she didn’t rule it out. It would be a pleasant surprise if she could meet them again, there were so many things she wanted to say to them. Maybe she would get a chance now. What did Albus Dumbledore tell Harry Potter; that death is but the next great adventure? Maybe she could turn into a ghost and haunt Emmett.

A Nazi officer walked inside the room, wearing a sadistic smirk.

“Ivan,” Bella heard an older woman breathe out in terror next to her. Bella quirked an eyebrow. Ivan the Terrible? Seriously? Maybe she could perform one last act in her life and take the bastard out. Fuck the consequences, that man deserved to die. Knowing she would most likely be shot down as soon as she would approach him, she took one final moment to herself. A strange wave of peace overtook her when she realised this was it. After all those years wishing for death, now the moment finally came.

“I hope you’re right Dumbledore,” she mumbled to herself and took a step forward. The women on her either side frantically whispered in what sounded like Yiddish, and although Bella didn’t understand the words themselves, she recognised the warning. Rosalie’s gorgeous smile entered her mind and she paused mid step.

Didn’t she just make an argument earlier for not fucking up the timeline? If she killed Ivan now, didn’t she doom the world? Would she really bet Rosalie’s life on it? Bella mentally rolled her eyes at herself, this was not the moment to contemplate the Trolley Problem, not equipped in the least to make a hasty decision in her state of mind.

Before she could think about the next step, quite literally, Ivan the Terrible was suddenly standing in front of her. He spat something at her in a mocking tone and withdrew a sword, of all things, from his belt. Bella hunched down when pain hit her. She yelped when a hand grabbed her hair and yanked her head up. She absently noticed the sword was raised high. Malicious eyes bore into her own. Bella closed her eyes and tried to replace those eyes with her favourite topaz ones. Two seconds later, she gasped out in pain, tasting blood in her mouth and her eyes shot open. The last thing she saw was Ivan’s twisted smile before everything went black.

 

 

 

Rosalie's POV

Rosalie stared blankly at the magazine in her hands, not really taking in the words. She was worried.

“Have you heard from Bella?” Emmett looked up from the video game he was playing, his eyes hopeful.

“You’d know if I had,” the blonde bit out.

“Yeah, sorry,” the big man deflated. “I’m just worried. She promised to watch the premiere with me and usually she’s here on time…”

“Me too,” Rosalie sighed, looking at her phone for what felt like the millionth time that evening. “Premiere of what though?” she added, mostly to distract herself than asking out of real interest.

“That new TV show Rome,” Emmett informed her with an excited grin. “I want to know if it’s accurate or not,”

“Seriously?” Rosalie raised one eyebrow unimpressed.

“What better source? She was literally there!” Emmett defended.

“Isn’t that a bit insensitive though?” Jasper asked from the other room.

“She’s interested in it too,” the burly man informed them.

“It was premiered yesterday,” Alice entered the room, plopping herself down on the couch next to Rosalie.

“What?” Emmett gasped. “No!” Rosalie eyed Alice, who was the picture of innocence. “I read it would be released on September the 14th!” Emmett almost sounded distraught at the thought of being misinformed.

“Alice,” Rosalie said pointedly, not in the mood for Emmett’s sulking.

“Fine,” her sister pouted. “You’re no fun,”

“You’re fucking with me?” Emmett crossed his arms with a glare.

“Language!” Esme berated from the kitchen.

“You’re too easy,” Alice laughed. Emmett opened his mouth but paused when someone knocked on the front door. Rosalie exchanged a puzzled look with Alice.

“Are we expecting anyone? Bella usually just walks in,” the blonde threw the magazine away and stood up. “There’s no heartbeat,” she hesitated. “There’s also a smell of human blood,”

“I didn’t get a vision,” Alice frowned. The blonde raised an eyebrow before heading to the front hall to answer the door. She paused in front of it and strained her ears, but there was no sound. Rosalie opened it hesitantly but no one was there. She scanned the area briefly before taking a step to go out to investigate. Her eyes shot down when her left foot grazed a small box. The blonde crouched down and curiosity got the best of her and she pried the lid open. A man’s watch lay innocently at the bottom, attached to a note. Rosalie picked it up and inspected it. It looked old and rather unremarkable, the glass was broken, and the leather was worn. She flipped it over and on the back there was name engraved; Charlie Swan. Bella’s father? The blonde’s breath caught in her throat when she read the note.

There, written in dry blood was, ‘Tic Toc, time is up. Now you will pay,’ before she could even begin to decipher its implication, there was a loud thud followed by a crash inside the house, accompanied with a shocked cry from Esme.

 

To be continued...

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Rosalie's POV

 

Rosalie ran vampire speed into the living room and froze in the doorway.

“My lord,” Esme clutched her chest, staring at what used to be her sofa table.

“Call Carlisle,” Rosalie growled, barely recognising her own voice, before snapping into action. It was as if her body reacted before her mind could catch up, because the latter was having a hard time grasping what was going on. Bella lay completely naked in the fetal position on the remains of Esme’s glass sofa table, her body bruised and bloody. Her left arm lay stretched out right above her head. What was uniquely unusual about the whole thing was the fact that there was a sword cutting through the arm, still somehow in an upright position. A voice at the back of Rosalie’s mind wondered absently how it was even possible, gravity vice. The scene was absolutely heart wrenching, and Rosalie quickly dropped on her knees in front of her mate in a daze, wholly unprepared to address the situation.

“Bella,” she whispered dismayed, reaching out to touch the girl. As soon as the vampire’s fingers came into contact with one bare shoulder, Bella flinched hard and then howled in pain. Rosalie drew back, as if she had been burned.

“Carlisle is on his way home, he should be here in a few moments,” Esme announced with tremor in her voice, but Rosalie didn’t dare to look at her adoptive mother, afraid she might break down if she did and Bella needed her strength now.

“Bella,” she whispered again, careful of not touching her mate. “Open your eyes beautiful,” A quiet whimper escaped the time traveler, but her eyes remained shut. “Jasper?” Rosalie turned to her brother, who nodded and focused on Bella’s profile. Rosalie almost sighed when Bella’s scrunched up face smoothed as soon as Jasper’s gift started working.

“Keep talking,” Jasper instructed lowly.

“I need you to open your eyes for me Bella,” Rosalie pleaded.

“Rose?” Bella mumbled in a voice that suggested she was delirious.

“I am here darling,” Rosalie did her best to keep her voice steady. Cloudy dark brown eyes opened to meet worried topaz.

“Am I dead?” Bella blinked in confusion.

“No,” the blonde shook her head gently, her heart clenching painfully in her chest at the thought of Bella dying.

“Huh,” Bella’s eyes closed. “Well that’s a plot twist,” was the last thing she uttered before she fell unconscious.

“Fuck,” Rosalie’s eyes roamed her mate’s bruised and bloody figure, suddenly aware of the audience and quickly shed her shirt and gently laid it on top of Bella, trying to preserve some of her modesty. Luckily Esme seemed to be of the same mind and added a blanket on top of the jacket, careful of not touching the arm with the imbedded sword.

“What the fuck happened?” Emmett growled, thankfully low enough to not stir Bella, even though Rosalie doubted she would have awakened even if Emmett had shouted. Before anyone could even sum up a response, the front door opened and Carlisle came rushing in, still wearing his lab coat. Like Rosalie had done earlier, he froze momentarily in the doorway before jumping into action.

“She’s out,” Rosalie informed her adoptive father as soon as he crouched down beside her.

“She arrived conscious though?” Carlisle asked, inspecting the sword with clinical eye.

“Yes,” Rosalie choked out, clearing her throat when the man shot her a worried look. Luckily Carlisle must have realised there was no time to be concerned and refocused on his task.

“Everyone out now,” Carlisle instructed without looking up. Rosalie shot her siblings a stern look and they hurried outside, Jasper looking extremely thankful for the order. Emmett and Edward practically carried him out, but Rosalie was still impressed by her brother’s restraint. Esme hesitated for a moment, before following the rest. Carlisle glanced up at Rosalie, who shook her head stubbornly.

“It doesn’t bother me,” she insisted.

“Rosalie,” the doctor sighed heavily. “I know you want to be here but it’s dangerous – “

“I am being literal. I do not experience any bloodlust around my mate,” Rosalie interrupted in a clipped voice. Carlisle’s eyebrow rose in surprise.

“Truly?” he seemed astonished.

“Yes, and we can have that discussion later, but can you save her first please?” it took a lot of effort to not sound rude, but Rosalie reckoned she pulled it off. Carlisle nodded and pulled out a gauze from his medical bag that lay at his feet.

“It’s good that she’s out, otherwise she would be in a great deal of pain right about now,” the doctor grabbed ahold of the injured arm, holding it firmly in place. Next he gestured towards the sword, and despite increasing nerves, Rosalie nodded and took the handle. Second later she pulled the sword out in an impressive precise manner, even surprising herself. The metal made a clacking sound as it hit Esme’s wooden floors. The smell of blood intensified as soon as wound was exposed, thick red liquid oozing out of the arm and dripping down to the floor. Carlisle wasted no time and pressed the gauze to the wound.

“She needs stitches. We need to move her to my office,” he informed the blonde, who nodded tightly. “You carry her but be mindful of the wound. I’ll go prep,” then Carlisle disappeared into the hallway. Rosalie carefully picked up the unconscious girl and followed the doctor.

“What have you got yourself into this time my love?” she murmured tiredly.

 

 

 

Bella finally woke up two days later and not in a quiet manner. She shot up in bed, eyes frantically scanning her surrounding, breath laboured and looking like the very definition of feeling cornered in. Rosalie had approached the bed with one hand reaching out to soothe her, but Bella flinched back violently. Carlisle arrived to check on his patient, only to stop in the doorway to survey the scene with sympathetic eyes. Rosalie was standing a few feet from her bed, staring at her mate with a helpless expression while Bella was attempting to make her body as small as possible, murmuring nonsense under her breath. The doctor told Rosalie that Bella was still in shock, and it took almost fifteen minutes for them to calm the distressed girl, until she fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion.

On the third day, Bella woke up with a coherent mind, although she still tensed up when Rosalie walked closer to the bed. Rosalie wasn’t sure if it was for her benefit or not when Bella visibly forced herself to relax, but she appreciated it nonetheless. Still, Rosalie was patient and didn’t push, even though she wanted nothing more but to hug the broken girl. The most painful part in Rosalie's opinion, however, was Bella’s silence. She only gave clipped yes and no answers when Carlisle came to check on her bandages but other than that, she said nothing. Rosalie had begged her siblings and Esme to stay out of view, afraid of overwhelming Bella and sending her into another panic episode.

Esme called the school and informed the principle that the family had gone camping for the week and Bella went with them. Since Bella was over 18, she didn’t need a parent’s permission, so no question was asked. Rosalie was  exceedingly glad for skipping school (since she would probably kill someone if she were to pretend to be a high school student instead of taking care of her mate) but a few times she wondered if even that preferable to spending time with a silent Bella.

On the fifth day, Bella finally broke her silence.  

“I can’t do this anymore,” the words startled Rosalie, who was sitting by her desk and flipping through a poetry book. The blonde turned to face Bella, who was on the bed, staring down at her lap. “It’s like being trapped in a nightmare and nothing I do ever makes a difference, I’m just there,” her voice was scratchy from disuse but still carried the emotion of pure frustration.

“Bella…” Rosalie began but stopped when she realised she didn’t know what to say.

“No! You don’t understand,” the brunette shook her head vehemently. “Do you know where I was?” Bella gave her no time to answer. “I woke up in a train,” the brunette’s tone was shaky and her eyes were cloudy, but Rosalie suspected in this moment it had less to do with the strong painkillers she was on and more with emotion she was feeling.

“On its way to Treblinka, 1943,” Rosalie sucked in a sharp breath, absently noting her family’s similar reaction from downstairs. The blonde forced herself to appear calm despite her urge to scream at the unfairness of it all. Her heart broke for her mate. Of all the places in the world Bella could have traveled to, that had to be it? Rosalie couldn’t even imagine the horrors of the experience.

“I knew that they were all going to die and I just…couldn’t change anything about it!” Bella squeezed her eyes shut, as if it would make it easier to say her piece in the darkness. “I have never felt as helpless in my entire life and those are some pretty big words,” Rosalie longed to take her mate into her arms and shield her for all the pain the world ever inflicted on her and would continue doing so.

“I held his hand while he told me he was worried about his sister, who had also been taken, knowing she was most likely dead already and he was moments away from death too. And I just sat there and said nothing!” the despair in the tone almost made Rosalie start to tear up, much like Bella had begun. Rosalie didn’t know who ‘he’ was and wasn’t sure if asking was appropriate in this moment.

“And all the children Rose!” Bella wasn’t nearly done but a selfish part of Rosalie wished she was, not wanting to hear more. But Bella needed this, so Rosalie stayed silent. “All the mothers trying to calm their children down, even though they themselves most definitely knew what was going to happen next…Just…fuck!” Bella’s frame trembled; eyes firmly shut while her lower lip was caught between her teeth. It was clear she was trying to hold herself together, albeit by a thin thread. Rosalie knew Bella had to let go, she was carrying too much by herself. She waited for more, but it seemed like the brunette was done for now.

“I have no idea how it feels like going through what you just did,” Rosalie kept her tone low. “So I’m not going to say that I understand, because I don’t,” she paused, taking a breath to search for the right words. “What I can do however is empathise and listen without judgement and try to help in any way I can. I can also just sit here with you in silence if that's what you need,” Bella let out a shuddering breath.

“May I point out one thing though?” she waited patiently until Bella hesitantly nodded. “While your last travel was…horrifying for the lack of better word, no one in your position could have done anything differently. You had no means to change anything, no weapons and so grossly overmatch that even though you had tried to attack the guards or shout out a warning to all of those poor people, there would have not been a different outcome for them, but it had most assuredly resulted in your own death,” Bella shoulders relaxed a fraction. “But please don’t think you are helpless in any situation. After all you saved me,” the time traveler cracked one eye open and met Rosalie’s earnest ones.

“You haven’t told me much about your travels,” Bar to nothing, really. “But I imagine you have changed more things than you realise. One of the first things you said to me was that ‘just because you are not in position of power, doesn’t mean you’re powerless,” Rosalie hesitated. “You may have been powerless in your last travel, but please don’t think you are powerless in every situation,” she desperately hoped something in her words resonated to her hurting mate.

“I said that?” Bella croaked out and the blonde nodded. “I don’t remember saying that,” her bottom lip wobbled. “God I’m smart sometimes, aren’t I?” the joke was weak and the tone even weaker. The deflection was transparent but Rosalie allowed a small smile at the attempt of humour.

“Modest too,” the vampire quipped, which made Bella chuckle.

“Thank you,” the brunette said after a moment and Rosalie knew she wasn’t thanking her for the comment.

“What can I do?” she hoped the desperation she felt didn’t travel to her voice.

“Will you hold me?” Bella wondered with a vulnerable expression.

“Of course,” Rosalie gently gathered her mate into her arms. ‘I’d like nothing more,’ she added silently in her mind. They spent the entire afternoon like that, Rosalie cradling Bella in a gentle but firm embrace. No one bothered them.

 

 

 

 

Two weeks passed and Rosalie kept a careful eye over her increasingly depressed mate. A light in Bella’s eyes had dimmed considerably since she returned to present time and Rosalie and her family didn’t know what to do. Bella had shared more about her last travel, which both devastated and elated Rosalie. Devastated her because she was beyond horrified and outraged over what Bella had gone through, and elated that Bella was beginning to share her experiences; she was beginning to let Rosalie in. Rosalie had ordered her family to not offer Bella pity or treat her any differently, she reckoned Bella would hate that. It had been hard for them to accept, especially Esme, but they did remarkably well consider everything.

Rosalie eyed at her mate, who was currently watching Emmett play a video game, although the blonde could tell that her heart wasn’t really in it. She kept glancing down at her arm with clear irritation. Carlisle had taken the stitches out the day before, but the bandages remained, since the wound had been so deep. The doctor prescribed Bella some strong painkillers, although extremely careful of the dosage considering her history of abusing substances, but still the wound bothered her. Carlisle had also called the school and informed them that Bella had gotten into an ‘accident’ during their camping trip. Carlisle was a respected member of the community and had a pristine record from the hospital, so the doctor’s words were practically a ‘get out of jail free’ card, as Emmett aptly put it. The others were still forced to attend, much to Rosalie’s frustration. Bella however stayed at the Cullen's house with Esme, who loved to spoil her with baked goods and experiment with foreign dishes. Bella never complained once about her injury or situation and even smiled at Emmett’s jokes, but Rosalie could see that she was disassociating with the real word. That worried her a lot.

“Oh I almost forgot,” Alice entered the room, pulling Rosalie out of her thoughts. “This came to us just before you…arrived back,” she handed Bella the watch Rosalie had discovered on their doorstep. No one had forgotten about it, in fact Rosalie was constantly wondering about it, but they refrained from mentioning it to Bella up to now. Initially Rosalie wanted to wait a bit more but Alice’s impatience was stretched thin.

“Oh good, it was delivered,” Bella smiled faintly down at the watch, a fond twinkle in her eye. “It was my fathers,” she informed them as she carefully strapped it to her bandage free arm.

“There was a note attached to it,” Rosalie began carefully, gauging her reaction.

“That’s nice,” the brunette seemed pleasantly surprised.

“Written in blood,” Jasper added warily, trailing into the room with Edward in tow.

“Maybe they didn’t have a pen on their person,” Bella shrugged.

“It read, Tic Toc, time is up. Now you will pay,” Rosalie recited.

“Maybe I should have been more specific with my instructions,” the time traveler mumbled to herself.

“Instructions? Who did you give instruction to, and why?” Rosalie asked.

“The Nazi Vampires. I wanted them to send my watch to you, to let you know I was dead,” Bella explained easily, like it wasn’t a strange thing to say.

“Nazi Vampires!?” Rosalie’s eyes bulged out.

“Okay technically they weren’t Nazi Vampires, just Nazi tourist Vampires,” Bella amended as an afterthought, oblivious to the jaws dropping around her.

“What the actual fuck?” Rosalie blurted. Bella had definitely left that part out if her story.

“Language!” Esme scolded, albeit weaker than her usual.

“Nazi tourist Vampires,” Alice said slowly, as if the pace would help her understand.

“Yeah they were pretty fucked up,” Bella shuddered, and this time Esme didn’t reprimand her language. “Apparently they wanted to see the camps,” she paused. “Well James wanted to; I think Victoria only came because of him. They were even going to a different one when they left me to die,”

“Okay, let’s put this on a pause for a moment,” Edward held his hands up, making Bella look at him. “Could you please start over,”

Rosalie listened intently as Bella explain her meeting with the two vampires, which evoked many different emotions. First, she felt completely repulsive by the idea of vampires visiting Nazi camps as some sort of a sport. Second, she was furious over James’ idea of changing Bella, let alone in the middle of the camp. If Bella would have survived as a newborn, she would have lost herself completely after accidentally killing all the innocent souls in there. Third, disgust that they simply didn’t care that Bella was about to die, nor all the other people in there with her. Four, reluctantly grateful that Victoria promised to deliver the watch, albeit in a very dramatic and puzzling fashion. Rosalie had a feeling there was something more to this message. Judging by her family’s reaction, so did they. Bella seemed blissfully oblivious, or perhaps wilfully oblivious. Whatever it was, Rosalie had a bad feeling.

  

 

 

 

 

Bella’s POV

 

She knew she was worrying Rosalie and the others, but Bella had no idea how to behave differently. The last travel put a huge dent in her soul, and she had no means to fix it. She did her best to distract herself, but the memories kept haunting her. Even Emmett seemed to have given up on getting her to play with him. She was also immensely thankful for despite Rosalie was clearly worried, she never pushed or forced her to talk. Instead she was simply there, respecting Bella’s boundaries but still making clear that she would offer help if Bella would ask. Bella had yet done so, unsure what she even needed. She wondered why she was even bothering continuing this delusion that her life could ever be somewhat bearable. Maybe it was time to revisit her old plans? 

“Bella?” She was so deep in thought that Jasper’s voice came without warning, making her drop the book she was pretending to read. The quiet man shot her an apologetic look, which Bella waved off dismissively.

“My fault, don’t worry,” the brunette assured him sheepishly. “What can I do for you?”

“I was wondering if we could talk?” Jasper asked hopefully. Bella frowned but nodded regardless, too polite to say no.

“What’s up?” she wondered as he took a seat on the bench beside her. Bella had gone outside to the porch with the pretence of reading in silence, although it was more of that she needed a place to escape concerned topaz eyes.

“You tell me?” the ex-soldier raised one eyebrow, almost smiling when a spark of irritation shot through Bella. Sometimes the time traveler hated that her feelings were not private at the Cullen household. It helped a lot that Jasper rarely, if ever, confronted her about it so she felt conflicted about why he was doing so now. She absently wondered if her emotions made it hard for him to be around her. Something must have triggered this conversation, since Jasper was hardly the one to instigate a heart-to-heart session.

“Wouldn’t it be easier for you to just send a wave of calm my way?” it was meant as a joke but came out flat.

“I’m not here to change your emotions,” Jasper barely flinched at the sardonic tone.

“Why are you here then?” Bella knew she was being rude, but her energy was already spent with all of the self-loathing she was doing.

“To talk,” he shrugged.

“I don’t want to talk,” Bella shot that idea down.

“With all due respect, I disagree,” Jasper said calmly. “I do however think you don’t want to talk to someone who doesn’t understand and only offers pity,” the insightful comment flabbergasted her.

“And you think you understand?” Bella raised one unimpressed eyebrow.

“More than anyone you know in this time period,” the man replied with a nod. “I too have survived wars,” Bella blinked at that, realising she had quite forgotten Jasper’s past.

“Oh, right,” she offered lamely. Luckily Jasper took no offence and only gave her a small smile.

“Are you familiar with the term Survivors Guilt?” he asked casually, his eyes fixated on a flock of birds flying over one of Esme’s hedges. Bella was irrationally glad that he wasn’t looking at her in that moment. Sometimes it felt like Jasper was staring into her soul. Bella took a moment to think about his question, vaguely recalling reading the term from a psychology book she once thought had the answers to all of her problems.

“I’ve heard of it,” she replied after a long pause.

“It’s a bit complicated but in essence; it’s about feeling guilty about surviving a traumatic event when others didn’t. Guilt over what you should have done or guilt over what you did,” Jasper explained in that calm ways of his, mercifully not reacting when Bella flinched at the words.

“I…see,” Bella said haltingly, feeling under scrutiny even though Jasper wasn’t looking at her.

“I imagine you have been struggling with a lot of Survivors Guilt from your time travels,” Bella opened her mouth to deny the claim, but Jasper beat her to it. “God knows I have a lot of my own,”

“You have?” she asked instead, somehow relieved with the admission.

“Yes,” the ex-soldier confirmed.

“How do… did you…” Bella faltered, unsure how to phrase the question.

“How did I overcome it?” Jasper offered kindly, seeing her struggle. Bella merely nodded.

“It’s a tricky thing,” he sighed tiredly, and Bella deflated. “It is doable though,” Bella perked up again. “It takes time and effort but it’s possible,”

“Not all of us are supernatural creatures with endless time,” the brunette rolled her eyes.

“Are you sure about that?” Jasper quirked an eyebrow. “You seem supernatural to me with all that travel you got going on,” that shut Bella up. What about the ‘endless time’ part? Surely she wasn’t meant to live forever? She tucked those thoughts away for later inspection.

“How did you do it?” she asked instead.

“Well… first I needed to understand and recognise what I was feeling guilty for,” Jasper met her eyes briefly, before shifting his gaze back to the birds. “I didn’t realise it right away, why I felt the way I did, but eventually I connected the dots to when I was turned into a vampire. As you know I was in the army when I was still human. I lost a lot of men under my command and in way I felt responsible for that. Then when I was turned, I felt guilty for surviving when all the others did not,” Jasper paused for a moment or two. “I thought I should have tried harder, been a better Major, should have avoided or fought back when I was turned,” although Bella didn’t relate to his experience, she related to his feelings. That was exactly what was repeatedly on her mind. She hadn’t done enough.

“Then later on in the vampire wars I felt guilty for taking all those lives, even though I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know any other diet was even possible. I didn’t know there was another way to live,” he chuckled ruefully. “Anyway, I avoided thinking about it and pushed it away whenever those thoughts emerged. Even long after I joined the family, I refused to talk about it,” that hit closer to home than Bella was prepared for. She thought of all of her avoidance methods; how she always resorted to alcohol and substances to numb the pain. She had a nasty suspicion that this survival guilt covered more than just her recent time travel. Bella pushed that thought away. Jasper shot her a knowing look, undoubtably recognising what she was doing and she scowled at him.

“How did you do it?” she repeated the question.

“Well… first I asked myself who was truly responsible for the situation? For example, in my case, it wasn’t me who started the war. I was merely a soldier,” Jasper began thoughtfully. “It gave me a false sense of control, the guilt was only a cover for the overwhelming feeling of helplessness and powerlessness,” Bella frowned as she mulled things over. Who was to blame in her case? Well, Nazis for one. She hesitated. The witch-hunting villagers. A deep breath. The Roman Empire and their bloodthirsty sports. Bella exhaled shakily. Her father’s murderer. Her mother’s -.

“What else?” the brunette blurted before she could finish her trail of thought.

“It sounds simple when you voice it out loud, but I had to constantly remind myself that I can handle loss and sadness,” Jasper thankfully ignored her panicked tone. “Focusing on guilt can be avoidance of feeling sadness or sorrow. However, that stands in the way of healing,” he looked at her. “Standing in front of intense emotions might feel unsafe – but it’s not. I had to allow myself to feel, in any way without constantly trying to change them when they arrived,” Bella almost snorted. Like Jasper pointed out, it sounded easy but she knew it was anything but.

“That’s it?”

“No,” the man shook his head gently. “Third, I thought about how the people I love felt about my survival. How they must feel relieved that I am okay,” it was evident by his smile that he was thinking of Alice in that moment. “Rather than rejecting that gift of survival, I tried to share it. Even when I felt underserving of having survived, doesn’t the people close to me deserve it?” it was posed as a rhetorical question, but still Bella nodded. Alice and the Cullen’s definitely deserved the happiness that Jasper brought into their lives. She thought of her own. She wasn’t sure if she could compare her situation to Jasper’s when she had no idea why people even wanted her in their lives to begin with.

“Okay,” she averted her gaze from Jasper.

“Fourth,” Jasper started again, recognising Bella needed to move on. “Luck is random. Just because I benefited from luck, doesn’t mean I deprived it of someone else,” Bella frowned at that, unsure if she could believe it; not right away at least.

“Fifth, I started doing something meaningful to others. Guilt, at its best, is a meaningful and purposeful motivation for good action. I honoured those who are lost. I started donating to various charities for veterans. To pay my luck and survival forward,” Jasper shrugged. “Whenever I can do some good, I try my best to do so,” Bella thought that was a nice gesture. Maybe she could do something for holocaust survivors? Pay her respect in some way.

“Then the sixth and most important part,” the vampire paused dramatically until Bella looked at him. “I take care of myself. It’s essential for healing,” the first time for the length of the conversation, he spoke directly to her situation. “Eat well, sleep well, recruit support. Grieve your losses but remember, it’s not your fault,” Bella felt as if breath had been knocked out of her.

“I…” Bella fell silent when she realised she had no idea what she even wanted to say. Needless to say, Jasper said enough to stir up deep emotions within her.

“You don’t have to say anything,” the ex-soldier solved her dilemma. “I just wanted to share my experience, to let you know that you are not alone and what you are currently feeling, hasn’t come to stay indefinitely. I can help you,” Bella felt a rush of gratitude towards the man, unable to express it even if she had the right words; wasn’t even sure if there were any in her vocabulary. This was one of those rare moments that Jasper’s gift felt like a blessing to her. He only smiled and inclined his head slightly, recognising her nonverbal response.

“I’ll leave you to it,” he patted her carefully on the shoulder, which oddly enough did not make her flinch. Bella wasn’t sure if it was because she was too lost in thought to even register it properly, or because who he was. She filed that away for later inspection too.

Jasper quietly stood up and went back inside, leaving Bella alone with her thoughts. The ex-soldier had given her a lot to think about, more than she was capable of at the moment, but left a deep mark, nonetheless. It would take her some time to sort through the information and she would need his help to apply them to her own situation, but it was a start.  Her gaze wandered over to the birds, that obviously decided Esme’s hedges weren’t that interesting, and flew away. Bella wondered if she was witnessing a cliché metaphor for her situation, that she too could fly away one day, free of her burdened past and difficult emotions.

 

 

 

 

Bella suppressed a sigh as she sat down on the couch next to Rosalie. Carlisle was sitting on a chair opposite them, a notebook in his hands. Bella had reluctantly promised to talk to Carlisle about her time travelling experiences. Rosalie was hopeful that the man could help her make sense of how to control it. Bella of course would love that, but she didn’t dare to hope. Hope was always a dangerous thing in her experience. Still, she didn’t want to disappoint Rosalie so she agreed to talk.

“How did you feel when you traveled last time?” Carlisle asked curiously.

“Immensely happy,” Bella replied sarcastically.

“Bella,” Rosalie sighed tiredly, which made Bella feel guilty. Maybe she should make some effort, despite the uncomfortableness of the situation.

“It’s okay,” Carlisle smiled patiently. “Let me clarify. What emotion did you feel right before you traveled? Before you realised you were about to travel?” Bella’s mind flashed back to her mini break-down in her living room.

“I was upset,” she carefully averted her eyes from Rosalie and focused her attention on the doctor.

“Just upset?” Carlisle prodded.

“No,” Bella blew out a frustrated breath. “I was in a middle of a melt-down,” she felt more than saw Rosalie’s worried expression.

“I see,” the doctor jotted something down in his notebook. “What about the moment just before you arrived back to the present?” Bella frowned, wondering why this was relevant. Remembering her promise, she sighed and tried to recall. She remembered feeling pain and terror when Ivan stabbed her but before that?

“Terror and…Is this really necessary?” she asked with a frown.

“Humour me please,” Carlisle pleaded. Bella almost rolled her eyes but stopped herself at the last moment. It wasn’t Carlisle’s fault that she felt uneasy addressing this. She focused again on the request. She vaguely remembered thinking about Rosalie. Bella awkwardly shifted in her seat, wondering if she should share that with Rosalie’s father, adoptive or not. Somehow the doctor must have followed her train of thought for his eyes glanced at Rosalie briefly, before he nodded to himself with a smile. Bella almost facepalmed. Could he have been more obvious?

Rosalie’s hand came to rest on top of Bella’s, which made the brunette look up and meet warm topaz eyes. The time travellers’ cheeks reddened as soon as she realised Rosalie caught on to Carlisle’s unsubtle movement. The blonde’s adoring smile was almost worth the embarrassment Bella felt.  

“What about the other times you’ve travelled?” Carlisle recaptured her attention.

“I don’t really remember,” Bella shrugged.

“Please try,” the doctor insisted. Once again Bella sighed but did as told. Faces of the twins flashed before her eyes, their pale cheeks stained with tears. Bella squeezed her eyes shut, relaxing a fraction when Rosalie’s hand squeezed hers gently. She remembered feeling relieved and hopeful when she got the twins away from the crowd but then terrified when she realised the vampire was still lurking in the shadows.

“I don’t remember where I was before I traveled,” she murmured honestly. “But I remember feeling relieved and hopeful for one moment, and afraid the next. Just before I traveled back to the present,” Carlisle nodded thoughtfully and wrote in his notebook.

“What about when you met me?” Rosalie wondered. Bella frowned in thought.

“I was…upset before I traveled,” seems to be a pattern there, she idly noted. “And I felt…admiration and horror I guess, before I returned to the present,”

“Admiration?” Rosalie repeated with a confused expression, which was illegally cute in Bella’s opinion.

“Yeah,” Bella cleared her throat awkwardly. “I mean…you just went through this horrible ordeal and in such excruciating pain, minutes away from death, but when you realised I was hurt, you felt worried for me; a literal stranger. That struck me as amazing. You are just so purely and genuinely kindhearted, even when the world did its best to break you,” she couldn’t even fake the admiration in her voice now. That thought had always stayed with her.

“Oh,” Rosalie’s expression melted into something soft, something Bella didn’t know what to put a name on. Or if she could, she didn’t dare to name it.

“And what about the times before that?” Carlisle interrupted their little moment.

“Dr. Cullen, with all due respect. Why on earth are you asking me this?” Bella tore her eyes from Rosalie.

“I have a theory,” the doctor informed them seriously.

“Which is?” Rosalie perked up in her seat.

“Strong emotions trigger your travels,” Carlisle answered promptly.

“That’s not much of a theory,” Bella retorted before she could hold the snappy comment in.

“Let me finish,” Carlisle requested and Bella gave him an apologetic look. “You once said something that captured my attention. You said you only travel to bad times in history,” Bella nodded hesitantly in conformation. “If I may speak bluntly?” another nod. “You’ve lived a difficult life Bella. One traumatic event after the other,” the brunette winced but couldn’t really dispute that. “I believe your travels are connected to your emotions, both when and where,”

“That…oddly enough makes sense,” Rosalie murmured to herself.

“No it doesn’t?” Bella looked between them puzzled.

“Think about it,” Carlisle seemed to warm up to the topic. “Right before you travel, you are upset and feel down,” Feel down? That’s putting it mildly. “I can only imagine that in those moment when you travel back to present time, you are experiencing deep emotions as well?” Bella nodded. “I think that you will be able to control your powers if you learn to control your emotions,”

“Control my emotions?” Bella lifted one eyebrow. “So I should just have Jasper accompany me wherever I go?” she asked half-serious, half-jokingly.

“Of course not,” Carlisle smiled patiently. “Perhaps it’s more appropriate to say, sort through your emotions and learn to recognise them. Not suppress them but understand them. In that way you can control the manner in which you travel, or where to,”

“So basically, I travel to bad times because I feel depressed?” Bella blurted, understanding where he was going with this.

“Essentially yes,” Carlisle seemed a bit apologetic.

“So if I fix my fucked up emotional state, I can travel to…more pleasant times?” Bella didn’t bother to censor her description, anything less felt traitorous to her mentality.

“If my theory is correct,” Carlisle answered hesitantly.

“Okay let’s say you’re correct,” Bella began slowly. “How do you explain my arrival to the present?”

“What do you mean?” Rosalie seemed equally as perplexed as her father.

“How come I always return to my present time instead of just travelling from one horrible time straight to another horrible time ?” that was something that bothered and terrified her. “Why do I always return in between?”

“I’ve been wondering about that too,” the doctor admitted. “It’s as if you have some tether in this time period. Something that makes you ‘bounce back’,”

“A tether?” Bella wondered. “Like what?”

“I’m unsure,” Carlisle seemed deeply upset by not knowing. “It must be something strong. Akin to a mating bond emotion. Mates have the most intense – “ he abruptly fell silent.

“Yes?” Bella asked when the man didn’t continue. She looked at Rosalie and noticed the blonde glaring at the doctor. What on earth was Bella missing?

“I have to think on this,” Carlisle dipped his head apologetically and pocketed his notebook and left the room.

“We’ll figure this out,” Rosalie turned to Bella with a comforting smile, although it seemed a bit strained.

“Rose, what – “

“I heard Alice calling my name,” Rosalie interrupted before Bella got the chance to ask about Carlisle odd behavior. “I better go see what she wants,” and just like Carlisle, Rosalie sped out the door.

Bella’s eyes narrowed as she watched the girl leave. Rosalie was keeping something from her and she intended to find out what. But first things first, she needed help how to sort out her emotions.

 

 

 

 

“You were looking for me?” Jasper breezed into the room, breaking into a smile when Bella perked up.

“I was,” the brunette nodded. “I take it you’ve heard Carlisle’s theory?” of course she had, everyone in the house had super hearing, except her of course. Jasper nodded. “I need your help,” Bella winced as the words left her lips. She wasn’t used to ask for help, even though Jasper had already offered.

“I’m at your disposal,” Jasper agreed readily.

“Good,” Bella felt relief. “I mean… thank you,” she amended sheepishly. Jasper seemed amused at her awkwardness and quirked a smile.

“So what can I do?” he sat down on the opposite couch.

“I was wondering if we could revisit our discussion on Survival Guilt?” Bella asked hesitantly, almost grinning when Jasper adopted a pleased expression. “Before we… go into all that. I have a question, which I am trusting you to give me an honest answer to,”

“Very well,” Jasper sobered up. Bella eyed him for a long moment. Just before she opened her mouth to speak, Jasper tensed up, as if he was listening to something Bella couldn’t hear. Then he merely looked tired. “Ask your question,”

“What are mates?”

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

 

Rosalie's POV

 

Rosalie sighed for what seemed like the tenth time that afternoon, ignoring the irritated glare Edward shot her. She knew her worries were undoubtably causing him irritation but frankly she didn’t care. Bella was behaving strangely and Rosalie knew it was her own fault this time.

She had shied away from the mate conversation and now she was dealing with the consequences of her actions. To be fair there hadn’t been a right time to discuss it before but when she finally got the opportunity to do so, she chickened out and fled. Bella had to gain her information from Jasper, which was completely unfair to her brother. She only caught snippets of their conversation and although she trusted Jasper completely to be truthful, she knew this conversation should have been hers to take. Jasper had explained mating bonds but not the fact that Bella was Rosalie’s mate, that he left for Rosalie to explain. The blonde wasn't sure if she was relieved by it or annoyed, but she knew better than to argue. This was her responsibility after all, not Jasper's. 

“Relax will you?” Edward rolled his eyes. “Just talk to her for crying out loud,”

“I will,” Rosalie snapped. “Stop listening to my thoughts,”

“I can’t help it, they are quite loud,” Edward shot back. The two siblings glared at one another.

“Don’t worry Rose,” Emmett spoke from his place on the couch, making Rosalie break eye contact with Edward. He was fully immersed in the video game but clearly listening in on their conversation. “Bella is smart and will forgive you. She needed time to process,”

“And maybe you should talk to her right now,” Alice breezed into the room.

“Have you seen something?” Rosalie inwardly winced at how desperate the question sounded. She hated the pitying looks her siblings gave her for it.

“No,” Alice shook her head gently.

“Just grow a set and talk to your mate,” Edward rolled his eyes, ducking when Rosalie threw her magazine at him.

“While crudely put, Edward’s right,” Alice ventured carefully. “Worrying about the possible outcome won’t help. You should just speak with her,”

“I know,” the blonde sighed tiredly, not even bothering with glaring this time. She knew she was behaving like a coward, but she dreaded the conversation. This wasn’t the way she wanted it to happen. She thought she would have more time. She didn’t want to scare Bella.

“She has been talking a lot to Jasper for the past few days,” Edward pointed out. “He’s been helping her with emotional support. Maybe she’ll surprise you,”

“Yes, talking to him and avoiding me,” Rosalie complained petulantly.

“Can you blame her?” Alice crossed her arms.

“Aristotle sometimes needs time to process things,” Emmett paused his video game and looked at the blonde. “But too much time means too much process,” Rosalie raised an eyebrow.

“You’re right,” Edward nodded to whatever he read from Emmett’s mind.

“Care to elaborate?” Rosalie did her best to not sound too annoyed but wasn’t entirely successful.

“I’m not saying Bella is a flight risk, but she tends to doubt herself and other people as well. When that happens, she is prone to jump to conclusions and second guess everything. While she’s finally starting to open up about her feelings, she is a master of self-destruction. If you don’t say the things she needs to hear, her mind will conjure up the worst possibly images. You’ve given her time to think things over, but you can’t afford any more of it. You need to clarify things,” the brilliant insight into Bella’s mind made the rest of the siblings pause. Rosalie wasn’t sure if she was grateful for his understanding of Bella’s inner workings, or resentful that he recognised it before herself. She knew he was right however, so she simply nodded.

“Well?” Alice put her hands on her hips. “Go!”

“Right now?” Rosalie wondered. Her siblings all nodded in unison. “Fine,” Two minutes later she was out the door.

 

 

 

 

Rosalie shifted nervously on her feet as she waited for Bella to answer the door. Almost a whole minute went by until the door swung open, revealing her hesitant mate.

“Hey,” the greeting was stiff. The blonde inwardly winced and wondered if this set the tone for the upcoming conversation.

“May I come in?” Rosalie swallowed her nerves, unnerved by the careless shrug she received in return. The vampire followed her quiet mate into the living room and took a seat on the couch. Bella however did not sit down and or even look her in the eye.

“Bella,” Rosalie called out softly, desperately trying to keep her expression calm and hide the incoming panic she felt rising. Was Emmett’s theory right? Did she give her mate too much time to mull things over? Bella was busying herself with cleaning up the living room, although she was just mostly moving things around. It was quite obvious that she was trying to avoid confrontation. “Will you please look at me?” Rosalie pleaded. “Darling?” this time Bella reacted and flinched, which only worried the blonde more.

“I’m not though, am I?” Bella’s whisper felt like a slap to Rosalie.

“What?” the vampire blinked in surprise. Finally, Bella stopped pacing  and looked her in the eye.

“If I had known about mates earlier, things would be a lot different,” Bella’s voice did not waver, but her eyes were raw and vulnerable. A pang of guilt hit Rosalie’s stomach. The blonde mentally berated herself for not coming clean earlier, to drag this out simply because she was afraid. Of course Bella deserved to know the truth from the beginning.

“I…know,” Rosalie swallowed. “I should have told you,”

“Yes,” Bella’s tone hardened. “Why didn’t you?” the brunette crossed her arms defensively.

“I guess I was afraid,” the vampire admitted in a small voice. “I wasn’t sure how you’d react,” at least she was being truthful now. She hoped it wasn’t too late and Bella would forgive her eventually.

“Yeah well…” Bella trailed off, unsure to proceed. Then with a heavy sigh, she planted herself on the couch beside Rosalie, although careful to keep some distance between them. The action disheartened Rosalie but she respected it nonetheless.

“What are you thinking?” the blonde inquired timidly, unable to read the closed off expression.

“That we should stop,” Bella responded tiredly, unknowingly making Rosalie's insides freeze.

“What?” Rosalie’s breath stuttered, completely taken aback by the reaction. She expected Bella to be mad, for sure, but not to stop dating completely.

“I care about you very much Rose,” Bella began carefully, shifting her gaze to the floor. “And maybe if the circumstances were different I wouldn’t…” she cut herself off abruptly.

“Bella?” Rosalie wasn’t sure if she was pleading for her to continue or to stop.

“I wouldn’t survive it Rose,” Bella’s eyes met Rosalie’s momentarily and the blonde was blown away with the anguish in dark brown eyes. Rosalie opened her mouth to reply but closed it as soon as she processed the sentence. The phrasing confused her.

“Survive what?”

“You meeting your mate!” Bella practically exploded and jumped to her feet and started pacing once more.

“What?” Rosalie frowned, feeling completely lost now.

“I wouldn’t be able to handle it,” the brunette continued as if Rosalie hadn’t said anything. “I mean I know you are this immortal being but what if we keep dating and maybe in two or three years you meet your mate? Jasper told me the bond is intense and impenetrable, something that last forever. He said mates are completely devoted to one another and no one else can come close to it!“ Bella began gesturing wildly with her hands, frustration practically dripping from her tone.

Rosalie‘s brain finally caught up to the tirade and relief swept through her. Bella didn‘t know and that‘s why she was reacting like this. Rosalie swore under her breath. Of course she should have been the one to tell her about mates, not her brother. Rosalie wondered why she thought Bella would connect the dots herself. Bella Swan, who didn‘t think she was capable of being loved. Of course she would jump to the conclusion that Rosalie hadn‘t met her mate yet. She probably thought Rosalie viewed Bella as a distraction or something of the sort. Emmett had been right, Bella had started to doubt herself and them.

“Bella – “

“I know some vampires never meet their mates, but I can’t really take that chance,” the brunette kept going. “And not only for my benefit, but yours as well,”

“Mine?” Rosalie’s eyebrow rose.

“Yes,” Bella nodded. “Even if you would meet your mate, your one true love, you’d probably reject them because you wouldn’t want to do that to me, because you’re so fucking noble,” the last bit sounded more as an accusation than a compliment. “But you’d only be miserable in a relationship with me when you are literally meant to be with someone else. Which of course would make me feel miserable in return! So ultimately, we’d both be miserable, stuck in some dead-end relationship because of sheer principle,” Bella looked her dead in the eye. “Don’t make me responsible for your unhappiness. You deserve everything and there’s someone out there destined for you,” the time-traveler’s eyes were intense and serious. “You have no obligation towards me so please spare yourself the pain now while you can,”

“You’re worried about me?” Rosalie asked in disbelief, staring at the girl in wonder.

“Rosalie please take this seriously,” Bella sounded exasperated. Rosalie knew it was the worst moment to do so, but she couldn’t help but to smile. This girl was so selfless sometimes that it was both endearing and alarming at the same time. Bella always put herself in the last place, everyone else’s happiness always came before her own.

“This isn’t funny,” Bella scowled, not amused by Rosalie’s smile.

“No,” Rosalie shook her head gently. “But I think there’s been some misunderstanding,”

“What?” Bella finally paused in her steps.

“This is entirely my fault,” Rosalie smile turned slightly sardonic. “I should have been the one explaining the term to you and not Jasper. I was afraid of your reaction but at least I would have clarified your role better,”

“Jasper already told me not every vampire meets their mates,” Bella sounded tired.

“While that is true, I’ve already met mine,” Rosalie gave her a pointed look. The brunette stared at her in disbelief.

“Then why the hell are you dating me?” Bella demanded angrily, which made Rosalie blink. She honestly wasn’t this thick, was she?

“Bella – “

“I mean they can’t be much worse than me? You should at least give them a chance,”

Rosalie just stared at her mate, honestly bewildered at the conversation. Was Bella honestly trying to wingman some imaginary mate?

“Babe-“

“Don’t ‘babe’ me!” Bella was definitely pissed off.

“Okay let’s summarise this,” Rosalie tried a different approach. “We’ve already established that I’ve met my mate?” Bella nodded. “And that I’m dating you,” another nod. “See where I’m going with this?” Bella shook her head and Rosalie almost facepalmed.

“It’s you!” the blonde had given this moment a lot of thought ever since they started dating, how she would reveal the truth. Despite her nerves and apprehension, she always envisioned it to happen in a romantic setting and the words softly uttered, not laced with frustration and exasperation. “You’re my mate Bella!” this stumped the other girl, whose eyes widened and jaw slackened.

“I…what?” Rosalie sighed and softened her tone.

“You are my mate Bella,” she repeated earnestly. Bella’s mouth opened and closed several times, but no words escaped.

“That can’t be true,” the time traveler stuttered, shaking her head.

“It is,” Rosalie insisted, trying to quell her nerves.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Bella took a few steps backwards, even though Rosalie made no attempt to stand up. “Maybe you're just confused,”

“I’m not,” the blonde carefully kept her tone soft, eyeing her mate apprehensively and wondering if she was about to bolt. She certainly looked like she wanted to. Rosalie watched as Bella moved, but instead of running out the door, she took a seat on the couch again. Rosalie stayed in the same spot, unsure what to do or say. Several minutes passed before Bella finally looked up and met her eyes. Dark brown eyes portrayed more emotions than Rosalie was able to identify.

“How do you know?” Bella’s voice sounded small and unsure. Rosalie had to physically stop herself from taking the girl into her arms.

“I’ve always known,” the admission felt like a betrayal for some reason, so did Bella’s sharp gaze.

“Always?” the brunette choked out and Rosalie nodded mutely.

“Vampires know instinctively when they meet their mates,” the blonde spoke when Bella made no attempt to. “I realised you were my mate the first day at school,” something that looked a lot like pain flashed in dark brown eyes, but it disappeared as quickly as it came.

“You thought it was a fluke?” Bella guessed hesitantly. Rosalie almost wanted to nod, to try to justify her actions but knew she couldn’t be dishonest now. Instead she shook her head.

“No, I knew it to be true,” Rosalie sighed. "We've already talked about my issues with being immortal and why I didn't approach you at first. I was being honest with you then, only I left out the part that we're mates,"

“I see,” was the only thing Bella could come up with. “How come I didn’t know?” Rosalie paused to think over her next words.

“Humans process feelings differently than vampires. Their senses are duller so I’m not sure if the mating bond affects them the same. At least Carlisle doesn’t think so. He seems to think it takes longer for you to feel the bond’s full impact,” she shrugged. “We’re not really sure how it works. We’ve never met a human with a vampire mate before, let alone a time traveler”

“Oh,” Bella bit her lower lip in thought. “Are you sure I’m yours then?”

“I am,” in fact it was the only thing Rosalie was sure of in her life. “You want proof?”

Bella’s eyes snapped up to meet hers. Rosalie hesitated for a moment, before carefully reaching out and clasping their hands together. Bella frowned in confusion. “I’m the only vampire that doesn’t feel freezing cold to you. That seems like a telling sign, doesn’t it?” Rosalie smiled ruefully.

“I just assumed you were an unsuccessful vampire,” Bella joked, although she seemed a bit more convinced. She even smiled faintly when Rosalie laughed in delight, despite the seriousness of the conversation. They sat for a long time in silence, just holding hands while Bella gathered her thoughts.

“I’ve always felt drawn to you,” Bella murmured finally, which made Rosalie look up.

“What?”

“You told me that after we had our fight,” Bella elaborated and Rosalie flinched at the reminder of why they were fighting in the first place. Because she hadn’t told the truth. History did like to repeat itself. “You also claimed you wouldn’t have been able to stay away forever,”

“I did,”

“Because I’m your mate,”

“Yes,”

“Huh,” Bella slumped back, although made no attempt of freeing her hand from Rosalie’s grip. “This is the thing you were holding back,” she was talking to herself now.

“What?” Rosalie asked in surprise.

“I’ve always known you weren’t telling me everything,” Bella explained easily. Rosalie just stared at her, unsure of how to feel about the fact that Bella could read her so well. 

“You did?” 

“Yes,” Bella shrugged. “I also knew you would tell me eventually,” she let out a weak chuckle. “Didn’t expect this though,”

“I’m sorry,” Rosalie looked away, feeling guilty all of the sudden.

“About what?” Bella cocked her head in confusion, an action that was infuriatingly adorable. Now was not the time for Rosalie to get side tracked.

“Not telling you earlier,” the vampire sighed. She wondered idly if she would be constantly apologising for not telling Bella things, didn't seem like a great foundation for a relationship. If a future relationship was even an option for her now. 

“Well to be fair I wouldn’t have reacted that well,” Bella’s smile was self-deprecating. “Nor would I have believed you,” that they could both agree on.

“I’m also sorry for… not giving you a choice in this,” Rosalie swallowed hard.

“Did you have a choice?” Bella lifted one eyebrow. The blonde shook her head.

“Then don’t apologise,” the time traveler said firmly. “Plus you should be more upset than me. I’m pretty sure you just lost the destiny lottery,” it was meant as a joke but it fell flat.

“Don’t say that,” Rosalie reprimanded her softly, hating the way Bella sometimes spoke about herself.

“Sorry,” Bella winced apologetically. Rosalie squeezed her hand gently, which thankfully relaxed her.

“So what now?” the brunette wondered out loud.

“It all depends on you,” Rosalie admitted. “Now you know the truth, so you have to decide if you want to continue this or not,”

“I didn’t think it was a choice?” Bella quirked an eyebrow with a small smile but the humour was lost on Rosalie.

“You always have a choice,” she responded harsher than she intended. Not having a choice was what Rosalie hated more than anything in life. Bella had enough of that already and the thought that Rosalie might contribute to that powerlessness, was inconceivable. 

“I know,” Bella’s eyes softened. The words still bothered Rosalie so her frown stayed put.

“I am sorry,” if she were capable of it, Rosalie would have shed a tear. “I wasn’t going to tell you yet, because it’s too soon in our relationship,” she paused. “We aren’t even in a place where we call what we have a relationship,” panic rose in her chest. “I wanted to at least give you time to adjust. I wanted you to decide your own terms, not that you would feel obligated because ‘fate’ decided we would be a good match. Adds a lot of pressure to know someone was literally made for you. Carlisle told me your feelings would take longer time to catch up to my own so I wanted to give you space,”

“Rosalie,” Bella sighed but the blonde ignored her.

“I never wanted to take your choice away,” she looked deep into dark brown eyes. “I’m so sorry,”

“Stop apologising for being in love with me,” Bella interrupted sternly, before faltering. Rosalie’s own eyes widened. “I mean… you said your feelings were more intense so I assumed… not that I know for sure or should be arrogant enough to assume in the first place. I mean I know you care for me but it’s too soon and I…” For some reason Rosalie calmed down at Bella’s awkward rambling. The brunette seemed honestly distressed by her words and the panic in her eyes suggested she wanted to make a run for it. Knowing she had to intervene before Bella would pass out, Rosalie gathered her courage and went for it.

“I do,” she cut in and Bella immediately fell silent. Rosalie knew it intellectually that it was in fact too soon to declare such things, and she had hesitated up to this moment to even admit it to herself. Yet the statement rang true. Carlisle had told her months ago that mating bond was intense and her feelings towards Bella were inevitable, but Rosalie had never allowed herself to go there. Not up until now at least. She carefully gauged Bella’s reaction to her half-assed admission.

“Oh, well…oh,” Bella shifted awkwardly, which almost made Rosalie smile. For some reason the reaction did not make Rosalie feel distress or worry, but rather fondness. It was obvious Bella had no idea what to do with that, as if the notion was completely alien. Rosalie silently vowed to herself to remedy that confusion, to make Bella believe she was loved and was worthy of love. When Bella made to speak again, Rosalie hurriedly cut in.

“Don’t say anything you don’t mean,” she almost pleaded. Bella’s mouth closed again. “We have all the time in the world and I just told you that human feelings take longer to catch up so don’t say anything for my benefit,”

“Okay,” Bella nodded hesitantly and squeezed her hand. “I do care about you though,” she paused. “I’m actually quite relieved as well,”

“Oh?” Rosalie prompted her curiously, wondering where she was going with this. Bella started playing idly with their fingers, lost in thought.

“This makes an awful lot of sense. My attachment to you was beginning to alarm me, I was even wondering if I had some sort of a condition,” Rosalie rolled her eyes, of course Bella’s mind would immediately start diagnosing herself with some sort of affliction rather than give into genuine feelings. The next piece of information made Rosalie understand that reasoning better. “I hardly trust anyone,” the time traveler began hesitantly, briefly glancing up before shifting her gaze back to their entwined fingers. “In my experience people leave, either reluctantly or quite willingly. I’m always constantly on the fence and remain skeptical of people’s intentions. To spare me from pain, I shut myself from others and try to keep my distance. I never let anyone fully in because I’m afraid they might break me. You just gave me a confirmation that I don’t need to be so afraid, not towards you at least,” Bella glanced up shyly. “My heart is safe with you. You told me that we are inevitable, destined. That you won’t leave me,” the last part was whispered but Rosalie caught it easily. The blonde’s heart fluttered at the quiet confession.

“I won’t,” Rosalie promised without hesitation, without even realising she had spoken out loud. Bella’s answering smile was tender.

“Under normal circumstances we’d be moving too fast and alarm bells would be ringing in my head right about now, but nothing about us is conventional,” Bella’s smirked. “Pretty sure there aren’t dating guidelines for vampires and time travellers,” Rosalie snorted in humour. “I’m doing my best to work on my emotions and self-destructive patterns, so I won’t voice my sympathies for you getting me as a mate,” Rosalie glared at her.

“You just did,” she deadpanned, reluctantly amused by Bella’s cheeky grin. Rosalie silently added 'help to realise self-worth- to her list for Bella.

“I am however in awe that I am your mate,” a small blush rose on the time-travellers’ cheeks. “It’s a disarming thought that there are over 6 billion people on earth and for some unexplainable reason the universe chose me as yours. At the risk of sounding completely corny, I feel like the luckiest woman on earth,” Bella’s face scrunched up adorably, as if she realised just how cheesy she sounded. "God I did not just say that. What's wrong with me?" the brunette added under her breath. Honestly the mortified reprimand made Rosalie love her even more. The heartfelt words and the quiet confession however had been so unexpected that Rosalie felt momentarily speechless. No one had ever entrusted their heart to her. 

“Are you okay?” Bella asked after a long minute of silence. She was staring at Rosalie’s dumbfounded expression with equal amount of amusement and worry.

“I think broke you me a bit,” Rosalie finally spoke half-joking, half-serious. She smiled when the brunette let out a laugh.

“You can’t say stuff like that to unsuspecting vampires,” she added with a playful glare.

“I’m terribly sorry,” Bella smirked and leaned in. Rosalie accepted the tender kiss with a small sigh, elated that the conversation exceeded her expectations. She savoured the softness of those lips after being deprived of Bella's kisses for days now. Rosalie might be dead already but Bella's kisses always seemed to breathe life into her. It was pure torture to go without them. When they pulled apart, Bella shifted closer.

“I always knew you were a secret sap,” Rosalie decided to tease, trying to lighten the mood. She knew Bella’s emotional quota had reached its limits for the day. She wilfully ignored the fact that she was a secret sap herself, probably worse if anything. Mates indeed.

“Don’t tell Emmett,” Bella blurted, not even denying the accusation.

“You don’t think he already knows?” Rosalie quirked an eyebrow, smiling when Bella scowled.

“We really need to talk to Alice about her lack of boundaries,”

“I think you just did if she's seeing this, as I suspect,” the vampire quipped smugly, which made Bella smile.

“So…”

“So?”

“I think we’re at a place where we can call what we have, a relationship,” Bella said smartly.

“Is that so?” Rosalie was helpless to the warm feeling Bella’s words evoked.

“Pretty sure you’re my girlfriend now,” the time traveler nodded seriously. Rosalie felt almost pathetic with the happiness that swept through her. Over 100 years old and she melted into a goo at hearing the term girlfriend. Thank god Edward wasn't in the room.

“I feel like we’re moving too fast,” Rosalie said flatly, smirking when Bella laughed.

“Pretty sure you’re stuck with me babe,” Bella winked playfully. Rosalie’s smile was entirely too goofy for her liking but she couldn’t help it.

“This also means you can update your terms of endearment, I’m afraid ‘idiot’ isn’t going to cut it,” the brunette continued with a sly smile.

“I’m rather fond of that one,” Rosalie pouted, laughing when Bella glared harder. “Fine, I’ll figure something out,” she sighed dramatically.

“As long as they aren’t stupid. While the moment was wrong before, ‘babe’ is definitely acceptable,” Bella quipped but seemed to regret her words when she recognised the mischievous glint in topaz eyes.

“So no Muffin?” Rosalie checked and almost laughed at the affronted look she received. “Sweetie pie?” A glare. “Apple of my eye?” Bella rolled her eyes. “Boo?”

“God no,”

“Bae?”

“No! Emmett has bad influence on you,”

“Doll?”

“No,”

“Queen?” Bella paused thoughtfully before eventually shaking her head.

“Cookie?” Rosalie was having way too much fun with this.

“I will never speak to you again,”

“Cupcake?”

“What even?!” Bella gave her the queerest look Rosalie had ever seen on anyone before and that was enough to break her. The brunette joined her in laughter after a moment.

“I’ll figure something out,” Rosalie assured her, feeling happier than she had ever felt in that moment. Bella shifted closer so she was practically glued to her side, her head resting on the vampire’s shoulder.

“We’re going to be okay,” Bella promised suddenly, and the leftovers of Rosalie’s worries disappeared into thin air. The blonde placed a soft kiss on top of Bella’s head.

“Yes,” Rosalie hesitated and then a smirk appeared. "My honey-cake,"

"I swear to god Rose, Vampire or not I will kick your ass! Nothing food related!" 

 

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

 

Bella’s POV

 

 

Soul mate. Now that was a term Bella had never given much thought to. Mostly because it seemed only to belong in corny romantic novels or children’s stories. The cynical (and dominant) part of her had initially scoffed at the idea when Jasper first explained the concept. But the more she thought about it, the more sense it made; oddly enough. Her intense and confusing feelings towards Rosalie and their instant connection had even worried Bella at one point. It simply wasn’t healthy to grow so attached to someone in such a short amount of time. The fact Rosalie was the only vampire that shared Bella’s body temperature only solidified the whole mating argument, but it was still a hard bite to swallow. Was this the universe’s way to apologise for throwing her life into the deep end? Had she been tested by some Cosmic Force and deemed worthy, so they sent Rosalie her way? Not that the beautiful blonde was a consolation price of any sort, it was just hard to make sense of things. Yet again her life had been turned upside down but this time not in a bad way. That alone was the queerest thing of all. Bella was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. There had to be a catch to all of this.

While Bella knew Rosalie would vehemently protest the idea, the time traveler couldn’t help but to feel like Rosalie had drawn the short straw in the pick for romantic partners. She of course did not view Rosalie as some Saint or put her on some fake pedestal. The blonde was just as flawed and imperfect like the rest of them. However Bella had been playing the self-loathing game for too long to not think herself unworthy of Rosalie’s love. She and Jasper had made some process regarding her emotional trauma but the process was slow and they had only scratched the surface. It was extremely hard to let Jasper in, despite knowing he meant no harm and was only trying to help. Bella was too accustomed to people digging for information to potentially hurt her with, so the idea of someone genuinely trying to help her was alien. Her previous therapist had at least been getting paid but Jasper asked for nothing in return. It wasn’t unwelcome, just didn't add up with her past experience.

As soon as Rosalie revealed the truth about their connection, Bella had to reevaluate her entire existence. Up to this point she had done a half-assed attempts of staying alive and more than often, even tried to end it. Her primal brain was always in control when she was traveling, instinctively trying to keep her alive. For the first time since she started traveling, Bella realised that she had to consciously keep herself alive, if only for Rosalie’s sake. She would readdress her motivation at one point, perhaps even try to live for herself but for now it was enough to do this for Rosalie. Oddly enough it helped and she did not feel trapped for it. While Jasper had been cautious with explaining how it would affect the mating bond if one were to die, Bella was smart enough to read between the lines. It would ruin Rosalie. Bella could not allow that to happen, so for now that was her focus. She would live for Rosalie.

The reasoning worried her a little bit, since Bella also knew it was incredibly unhealthy for one’s happiness to be dependent on a romantic partner, but she had to start somewhere. Intellectually she knew happiness had to come from within but she hoped she would find that for herself eventually. For now she needed a focus point, an anchor, something to navigate these strange times. Rosalie was the only logical answer she could come up with.

“You look pensive,” Jasper’s voice brought her out of her musings.

“I apologise,” Bella exclaimed sheepishly. “I’ll try my best to concentrate,”

She and Jasper were seated on a blanket in Esme’s garden, their usual spot for one of their lessons. Usually they just talked but Jasper was adamant that meditation would serve her well, which happened to be what Bella was attempting to do in that moment. However her mind tended to stray and it was hard to concentrate.

“Don’t be,” Jasper smiled gently. “May I inquire what you were thinking about?”

“Rosalie,” Bella hesitated to answer. “The whole mating business,”

“Ah,” Jasper nodded to himself. “That’s understandable,”

“I guess,” the brunette shifted uneasily, feeling vulnerable under his gaze.

“I imagine this must be difficult for you,” the ex-soldier carried on.

“You can say that again,” Bella muttered under her breath.

“I imagine this must be difficult for you,” Jasper repeated cheekily, laughing when Bella shot him a mock glare. His joking manner honestly helped .

“It’s just surreal…” Bella began after a long moment. Jasper’s eyes were kind and patient as always, silently urging her to finish her thought process. Bella ignored her urge to stop there and plowed onwards. “I know I can be cynical but I had honestly given up on romance at one point. Not that it didn’t exist, just that it was out of the question for someone like me,” she shifted her eyes to her lap, finding it easier to communicate to the ground. “Lust, sure? Love?” she trailed off, trying to focus her thoughts. “I’ve read countless books on human nature and psychology and I know my views on love are rather warped. They are awfully conditional at the very least,”

“Go on,” Jasper murmured when it looked like Bella wasn’t about to continue. Yet again she swallowed the desire to close up. She needed this.

“My upbringing was…tumultuous, for the lack of better word,” the brunette scrunched up her nose. “My parents fought occasionally when I was a child but we weren’t unhappy. Well perhaps it’s more accurate to say I wasn’t unhappy,” the last part was whispered. “Then one day everything blew up and Renée leaves and takes me with her. Today I know better and their relationship was quite complicated but my adolescence brain could only come up with the explanation that my parents didn’t love one another and perhaps never had. I thought for a long time my dad didn’t love me either, especially since…” Bella’s mouth snapped closed.

“Since?” Jasper prodded gently.

“Since he didn’t even fight for me to stay,” Bella choked out. “He just watched my mom take me away in the middle of the night and he didn’t say a goddamn word about it,”

“That must have been hard,” the vampire exclaimed when Bella grew silent once more. She knew he was trying to keep her talking, to let it out.

“Renée dated constantly,” she began again. “New guy every week. I’m not sure if she was really looking for love though, mostly distraction. She used to hold these long monologues about how useless my father was and how he tricked her into staying in Forks,” she scoffed. “I got a very different story from Charlie later on,”

“That must have painted a pretty vivid picture of love for young Bella,” Jasper offered hesitantly.

“Yes,” Bella nodded. “Most definitely. Then when Renée killed herself I thought…” she fell silent, biting down on her tongue. Sensing her inner struggle, Jasper redirected the conversation.

“Did you ever date?”

“Not really I guess,” Bella shrugged. “I mean I fooled around and had one-night stands and such but no one really captured my interest. Well maybe one girl but that was over before it truly began,” her eyes darkened briefly at the memory.

“What happened?” the vampire inquired softly, as if afraid to disturb the air.

“Something that I should have foreseen,” Bella scoffed. “We met at a party through a mutual friend. Her name was Rebecca and she seemed pretty cool. We had some things in common, although using drugs was probably our main connection as sad as that sounds. We started hanging out and I was growing to really like her,” a bittersweet smile touched Bella’s lips. “We weren’t officially dating but we had been hanging out for a few weeks. Then one day I woke up and she was gone,” the brunette met Jasper’s eyes. “Along with most of my things and money,” Bella registered a faint breaking sound coming from the house.

“Damn,” the ex-soldier whistled lowly under his breath. “That must have hurt,”

“It wasn’t pleasant,” Bella shrugged, trying to downplay the whole thing. Truth be told, Bella had really liked Rebecca and even considered entering a relationship with her, so the whole thing had felt like a punch to the gut. Jasper’s lips moved but no sound emerged, hinting at he was speaking a volume only vampire's could hear.

“Was there no one after that?” Jasper finally asked.

“Not emotionally,” Bella replied faintly. “Not until Rosalie,”

“And you’re afraid it’s not real? Or it won’t last?” Jasper theorised.

“No,” Bella shook her head. “I mean, yes but also no,” this was even confusing to herself so she didn’t blame Jasper’s puzzlement. “I’m not sure what to make of the whole thing. I feel like I’m reevaluating the whole concept of love,” she allowed herself to be vulnerable, truthful. “I know what I feel for Rose is real. I also know that for some strange reason, her feelings are real too. I guess it’s just a lot to take in that we are literally meant to be, that the universe paired us up,”

“Does that bother you?” Jasper wondered, sounding genuinely curious.

“Yes and no?” Bella wondered if this conversation was giving the vampire a headache too. “In a way it’s oddly reassuring. It’s permanent and in a way stabilises my life, to know that no matter what – Rose will not leave,” she blushed at the admission. “But it’s also very hard to believe, that I won’t wake up one day and realise it was all a dream,” Jasper was silent for a long minute.

“Earlier you said that love was out of question for someone like you,” he began slowly. “What do you mean by someone like you?”

“I don’t know,” Bella shrugged. “Someone so broken? Fucked up? Take your pick,”

“You might have gone through terrible ordeals, but you’re not fucked up or broken,” Jasper said firmly, yet kindly. “Why are you so insistent that everyone deserve happiness except you?” Bella had no logical answer for that, so she remained silent. Jasper studied her for a moment, as if contemplating if he should push for more or not. Ultimately he chose not to, for which she was grateful. “Maybe you’re over complicating things,”

“What do you mean?” Bella frowned.

“Maybe you don’t need to figure out the answer right now. There is not much logic to love anyway, so don’t start trying to understand it. It’s scary of course, I can vouch for that,” his lips curled upwards in a faint smile. “But usually there is no reason or rhyme to it. For now, maybe you should stop trying to analyse it and simply let it be. Let yourself feel,”

“Let it be?” Bella wondered.

“Remember, standing in front of intense emotions might feel unsafe, but it’s not,” Jasper echoed from his explanation of Survivors Guilt. “The same thing applies to positive emotions. In this context, love or happiness is not going to hurt you. It's just out of your comfort zone,” Bella swallowed thickly, offering a small nod. She could see his point. “I think we’re done meditating for today,”

“Yeah,” Bella murmured distractingly.

“I’m going to see what Alice is up to,” Jasper stood up and gazed down at her. “Thank you for sharing,” he smiled sincerely. “I’ll give you a moment to yourself and make sure no one bothers you,”

“Thank you,” Bella managed a small smile in return. The ex-soldier nodded before walking back to the house at a leisure pace. Bella absently watched him, still mulling over Jasper’s words. Perhaps it was enough to just accept it for now. 

 

 

 

Bella hummed softly to herself as she made her way back to the Cullen house, feeling somewhat lighter after her conversation with Jasper. She headed straight to the living room as soon as she stepped inside. Alice and Jasper occupied the big sofa, leaving Rosalie on the loveseat by herself. They all grew silent as soon as Bella approached. 

“Hey babe,” Rosalie greeted with a soft smile. Bella studiously ignored the flutter in her stomach, finding it kind of ridiculous how her body responded to the blonde goddess.

“Rose,” Bella gravitated towards her mate with a smile of her own. Mate, now that was still a mind-boggling discovery. How someone like her could be destined for someone like Rosalie, was simply far-fetched. She forcefully shoved those thoughts away, remembering Jasper’s words of wisdom; let it be. At this point she should change her ringtone to the classic Beatles song, if only to serve as a reminder. Still, she was trying. Maybe it could become her new mantra?

“Well this is a surprising development,” Alice drawled with a playful smirk. “It’s almost like an honest conversation would have prevented heartache these past several days,” the pixie was obviously referring to the last night's drama. When Bella arrived to the Cullen household earlier, she immediately went to Jasper for a session so Alice must have been holding her tongue all day. 

“Shut up Alice,” Bella said before Rosalie could. The blonde gave her girlfriend an approving smile.

"I'm just saying - " 

"Shut up Alice," Bella interrupted. 

“You’re going to be one of those mean couples, aren’t you?” Alice pouted.

“Of course not,” Bella smiled innocently. “There’s a balance. I’m the kind and loving one,” she gestured towards herself. “She’s the mean one,” Rosalie shot her a faux glare.

“Are you claiming I am not kind nor loving?” the blonde narrowed her eyes playfully.

“Of course not, dear,” Bella maintained the innocent expression. “You’re practically Mother Theresa reincarnated,”

“Laying it on a bit thick but I take what I can get,” Rosalie rolled her eyes.

“I could be truthful but I would rather not ruin your Ice Queen reputation,” Bella smirked knowingly, delighted when Rosalie averted her eyes awkwardly. Not that she even needed to say it out loud, Bella knew it was a poorly hidden secret at the Cullen residence just how much of a sweetheart Rosalie truly was. For some reason Rosalie stubbornly tried to deny the truth, so Bella indulged her from time to time.

“Whatever,” Rosalie muttered in an uncharacteristic self-conscious way. Bella couldn’t resist the adorableness of it and pressed a soft kiss to the vampire’s cheek.

“Look at you guys! So cute together,” Alice sighed dreamily, leaning into Jasper. Bella met Jasper’s eyes and they shared an exasperated look.

“Alice…” Rosalie began warningly and miraculously the small pixie looked sheepish. Bella wondered if Alice finally realised her lack of boundaries or if that was simply wishful thinking. The satisfied gleam in Rosalie’s eyes suggested it was the former. Bella hid a smile and inwardly debated if she should ask if Alice had figured it out on her own or if she had seen Bella and Rosalie talk about it. In the end she decided it didn't really matter either way. Hopefully Alice would now interrupt them less. 

“The Denali are coming to visit,” Alice offered after a beat. A victorious shout from Emmett came from upstairs. In a flash he was in front of them with a giddy expression. It was a testimony how often Bella was in the company of vampires that she did not even flinch upon his sudden arrival.

“When?” the big man demanded.

“Next week,” Alice informed him with a smile of her own. “Apparently Kate is bored and insisted on visiting,”

“Awesome,” Emmett fist bumped the air before turning to Bella. “You’re going to love Kate!”

“Not too much I hope,” Rosalie muttered under her breath. Bella shot her girlfriend a quizzical look but the blonde was busy frowning at Alice.

“Who is Kate?” Bella wondered out loud.

“She’s a part of the Denali coven,” Alice answered easily. “The Denali’s are tree sisters; Kate, Irina and Tanya,”

“Don’t forget Eleazar and Carmen,” Emmett added. “They are the only mated couple in the coven,”

“I see,” Bella said diplomatically, eyeing her girlfriend warily. Rosalie had tensed up and refused to meet her eyes. The brunette wondered if there was some history there.

“They are also on animal diet so we refer to them as our cousins,” Jasper spoke up. “You don’t have to be worried,”

“Why would I be worried?” Bella frowned.

“I imagine you’d be uncomfortable around human drinkers,” Jasper pointed out.

“Oh,” Bella hadn’t even considered that point. “I didn’t even think about that,” she confessed. Rosalie finally looked at her, only to give her a fond exasperated look, the one she always gave Bella when she thought the time traveler had little regard to her own safety.

“How on earth did you not think about that?” Jasper asked, equally skeptic and intrigued.

“I don’t know,” Bella scratched her neck absently. “I trust you guys to keep me safe,” Rosalie’s shoulders relaxed and Bella was rewarded with a peck on the cheek.

 

 

 

 

“Listen, I don’t want to alarm you but I feel like you deserve a fair warning,” Jasper pulled Bella to the side as soon as Rosalie left to go hunt.

“Consider myself alarmed,” Bella’s eyebrow rose.

“Sorry,” Jasper winced slightly. “It’s nothing serious, I just wanted to give you a little bit of insight into mating bonds before we receive a visit from the Denali’s,”

“Okay?”

“Vampires are very… territorial creatures,” Jasper began hesitantly, obviously choosing his words carefully. “Especially when mating bonds are relatively new. Rosalie is showing a surprising amount of restraint when it comes to you,” he paused. “Although her self-control has always been excellent, almost rivalling Carlisle’s,” this piece of information interested Bella. She had no idea Rosalie was holding back. Bella didn’t know what she felt about that. “She probably doesn’t want to scare you,” Jasper added gently as soon as he sensed her inner turmoil.

“I don’t want her to be afraid to express herself though,” Bella murmured.

“Maybe that’s something you should talk to her about,” the solemn ex-soldier suggested diplomatically. “Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is because when newly mated Vampires are around unmated Vampires, their senses go haywire and their instinct is to protect what’s theirs,” Bella gave him a pointed look. “I mean protect their mate,” he amended quickly.

“Okay,”

“So while Rosalie has great self-control, she might behave somewhat irrationally around the Denali’s, since the three sisters are all without a mate,”

“She’s not going to pee in a circle around me, is she?” Bella couldn’t help but to quip.

“I’m telling her you said that,” Jasper grinned.

“You wouldn’t dare,” a hint of fear tinted Bella’s voice, which only made his smile widen.

“Try me,” Jasper smirked.

“If you do that, then as soon as I can control my powers, I’m traveling to your past and I shaving your head just before you turn into a Vampire. Good luck getting Alice without those blonde locks,” Bella adopted a smirk of her own. Alice had an odd fascination with Jasper’s hair, so Bella took great pleasure when he hesitated.

“You wouldn’t dare,”

“Try me,” Bella mocked.

“Touché,” Jasper laughed gently. “We’re getting off topic here thought,”

“Right,” the brunette nodded. “So Rosalie will get super territorial when the sisters come to visit. Anything else?”

“No, that’s pretty much it. I just wanted to let you know since she’ll probably start to behave oddly. This is simple biology, nothing she has fully control over,”

“Okay,” Bella’s face softened. “Thanks dude. I’ll be patient,”

“I know you will be,” a mischievous twinkle shone in topaz eyes. “After all you are dating Rosalie Hale. One needs to have Dalai Lama level of patience for such a task,”

“Hey! Be nice,” Bella frowned. “I’m telling her you said that,” Jasper looked genuinely worried now, which only amused Bella. For a secret softie, Rosalie sure could strike terror within her siblings. She rarely played that card but it was incredibly helpful to know that she could count on Rosalie’s reputation when the rest of the Cullen's irritated her. 

 

 

Two days later, Bella found herself in the area she rarely if ever visited at the Cullen house. Rosalie's Domain. It was not that she wasn’t welcome there but Bella was fully aware that the garage was the only place where no one bothered the blonde beauty. Everyone deserved a safe haven, so the brunette respected her privacy. Usually Bella would be playing video games with either Emmett or Jasper when the blonde worked, but Rosalie had been slightly withdrawn ever since Alice announced the Denali's were coming to visit. Bella was worried and while she had tried to give her girlfriend some space, she wanted to let Rosalie know that she could share whatever was bothering her. 

”Rose,” Bella glanced at Rosalie, who was staring down at her workbench with a small frown marring her beautiful features. “Are you okay?”

“Yes,” Rosalie blinked and turned to face her. Bella just raised one eyebrow, until Rosalie finally relented and sighed. Even though it was physically impossible for the blonde, she almost sounded tired. “I just…” she trailed off. Bella walked over to her girlfriend and took her hand.

“You can tell me anything, you know?” thankfully it came out sincere and not accusing as Bella feared it might. “I won’t judge you,”

“I know, I guess I’m just a bit embarrassed,” Rosalie confessed in a timid voice. It pulled at Bella’s heartstrings to see the blonde so unsure of herself.

“You know you also don’t have to tell me anything?” Bella added seriously. That pulled a small smile from Rosalie, who nodded.

“I know that too,” she gently squeezed her hand in a silent thank you. “But I feel like this is something I ought to share with you,”

“Okay, take your time,”

“Right,” Rosalie nodded again, this time to herself. “When the Denali’s come to visit, I might behave…oddly?” Bella’s mind snapped to her earlier conversation with Jasper.

“Oh yeah, Jasper told me about that,” she murmured unthinkingly.

“He did?” Rosalie sounded surprised but also a bit relieved. “What did he say?”

“Just that you might be a bit territorial, but you couldn’t help it because your Vampire instinct will go haywire,” Bella summed up for her. Rosalie nodded.

“That sums it up,” the blonde sighed. “I just want to apologise in advance before I get all possessive and jealous,” the vampire’s expression was the very definition of sheepish. It charmed Bella more than she dared to admit.

“I know this isn’t something you can control but I’ll try to help you if I can,” she settled on.

“Thank you,” Rosalie’s smile was pure relief. “Also I want to warn you that the Denali’s can be a bit too much. At least Kate can be,”

“How so?” Bella frowned in worry.

“Nothing bad,” the blonde assured her. “Just she and Emmett are too alike,” she paused. “But she’s way flirtier and likes to push everyone's buttons,”

“Duly noted,” Bella eyed Rosalie’s scowl. Clearly there was some history there. The time traveler wondered what Kate had done to upset Rosalie so in the past. “Maybe we can come up with a safe word?”

“A safe word?” Rosalie seemed puzzled.

“For whenever one of us needs rescuing,” Bella shrugged with a small smirk. “It can be something obscure and only something we know,”

“That’s not a bad idea,” Rosalie pondered. Bella had been joking but the blonde seemed to be seriously entertaining the idea. “Like what?”

“Pineapple?” Bella couldn’t help but to quip. Rosalie snorted in humour.

“Very well,”

“I was actually joking. That’s a terrible safe word,” Bella deadpanned.

“It is,” Rosalie nodded solemnly. “We’re using that one,”

“Seriously?” Bella stifled her laughter. Did Rosalie even know in which situation where people usually used that safe word? Sometimes Bella wasn't sure if Rosalie was sometimes oblivious to pop culture references or if she knew them but acted clueless for her own amusement. 

“Yes,” her mate nodded and before Bella could protest some more, Rosalie leaned down and softly kissed her. Bella’s mind instantly went blank and she forgot what they had been discussing. It was rather ridiculous how one kiss could reduce the time traveler to a stuttering mess. When Rosalie finally pulled back, she observed Bella’s blissful expression with a small smirk. “I have to finish installing a few things for Esme’s car,”

“Sure,” Bella murmured, still a bit dazed.

“That will have to wait,” Edward appeared in the doorway. “Apparently you received a package Bella,” Rosalie and Bella exchanged a wary look at Edward’s serious tone.

“This can’t be any good,” Bella voiced out loud as Rosalie dragged her out the garage.

 

 

 

“So, any idea what this means?” Emmett asked puzzled. Bella shook her head faintly, staring at the bloody box on the coffee table. The whole thing was incredibly morbid.

“Read it one more time Alice,” Jasper requested, even though she had read it out loud at least five times already.

You took what was mine, so I’ll take what is yours. The game has begun, let’s play,” Alice recited dutifully.

“You have any enemies?” Jasper focused on Bella, who shook her head.

“No one who comes to mind,” she wracked her brain for possible ideas but came up empty.

“Wait, let me see the note,” Rosalie practically ripped the paper from Alice’s hand. A thoughtful expression overtook the blonde's features.

“What are you thinking?” Bella wondered.

“It’s the same handwriting as the other one,” the blonde murmured to herself.

“The other one?” Bella echoed.

“Of course!” Alice nodded as if that made sense. Bella remained confused.  

“Am I missing something?”

“The note that came with your father’s watch,” Rosalie elaborated.

“You think it’s from the Nazi Vampires?” the time traveler frowned. Why on earth would they send her a note like this? She hadn’t taken anything from them, except maybe a favour. But it wasn't like she forced them to do it? It made no sense for them to send her this. Not that they were the most stable individuals, visiting extermination camps wasn’t exactly normal behavior. Who knows what was going on in their minds. 

“The handwriting is the same,” Rosalie repeated and flashed out of the room, returning a moment later with the first note. “Tic top, time is up. Now you must pay,” she paused. “You took what was mine, so I’ll take what is yours. The game has begun, let’s play,”

“Not exactly Dr. Zeus is it?” Emmett quipped dryly. Bella snorted despite the seriousness of the matter. 

"I'd give it an F," the brunette offered. "Way too dramatic and it doesn't even flow,"

“So there’s nothing more? Just a bloodied empty box and a note?” Jasper spoke up, ignoring Emmett and Bella's half-hearted attempts of humour.

“Yes,” Rosalie frowned. “But unlike last time, they used animal blood,”

“Strange,” Alice remarked. Dread crept up on Bella and she visibly shivered.

“We’ll figure this out Bella,” Jasper said calmly, sensing the storm of emotions within Bella. Rosalie handed Alice the notes and promptly pulled Bella into her arms. The brunette relaxed marginally at the action but the dread still lingered. Something that felt a lot like foreboding entered her mind.

“I’ll keep you safe,” Rosalie whispered, pressing a soft kiss on Bella’s temple. While it was incredibly reassuring to know that she had several supernatural beings on her side, Bella couldn’t help but to feel guilty. Those Nazi Vampires had an issue with her and not the Cullen’s. Whatever Bella had supposedly done to them, was her responsibility to carry. She couldn't help but to feel that they were all in grave danger, and it was entirely her fault.

 

 

To be continued...


 

Chapter Text

Hey beautiful people, let me start off by saying I’m sorry this isn’t the update you all wanted. No worries, I’m not quitting. I’m simply putting things on hold for a bit.

I mostly wanted to explain why I haven’t written anything in a while and why I won’t write for at least a month.
For starters I have been dealing with writers block. I of course know how the story will go but I have a hard time putting it into words. I am also writing a book (in my native language). I’m on a tight schedule and the text has to be ready in May so the graphic designer has time to finish his work before the book is sent out for printing. It’s a whole thing and turns out that publishing a book is fucking complicated, all the details that goes into it... I’m just getting a headache thinking about it.

Lastly, I just lost a friend. She took her own life last monday and considering the theme of this story, I have no desire at the moment to write about suicidal characters. It never gets easier saying goodbye to someone who leaves in that fashion, and I need to take time to grieve and sort myself out.

Do not despair, I will see this story through but right now I need a bit of time. I thank you in advance for the understanding (since I already know you’re all extremely cool people).

Take care everyone and please talk to someone if you feel as if leaving this earth is a solution. I know it sometimes might feel like there are no other options, but I beg you to talk to someone about it first. It doesn’t have to be a professional - maybe a friend, family member, teacher, co-worker, coach, a stranger online etc. Loneliness is a horrible feeling and sometimes you might feel as if you are all alone in the world and no one could possibly understand you or relate, but one conversation with someone you trust can go a long way.

Forgive my ramblings - my mind is all over the place these days. I hope you are all safe and staying relatively sane in these fucked up times ❤️

Until next time.

Chapter Text

 

Bella's POV 



On the day the Denali’s were supposed to arrive, Bella found herself practically glued to Rosalie’s side on the loveseat in the Cullen’s living room. The blonde beauty had been on edge for the entire day and Bella had discovered that close proximity was the only thing that calmed her down. Not that she would ever complain about that. Emmett had proven himself as a great distraction as well and somehow robed Rosalie into playing Super Mario with him on his old Nintendo. 

“Have you guys ever wondered why Mario does even bother with Princess Peach?” Bella asked randomly as she watched them play.

“He’s in love with her,” Alice responded without missing a beat as she materialised out of thin air.

“Yeah maybe that’s true but I still think she’s a bitch and he deserves better,” Bella said with a shrug. Rosalie looked away from the screen for a moment to give her a weird look.

“Why?” Alice wondered.

“Either she is the unluckiest and the most stupid person in the world or she is doing this shit on purpose,” Bella explained patiently. “I mean every time he managed to save her ass, she gets abducted again. I bet she’s having an affair with that ugly ass turtle mutant,”

“King Koopa,” Emmett supplied absently and she nodded.

“I think you’re overthinking this babe,” Rosalie pointed out with some amusement.

“I’m just saying. The circumstances are highly suspicious,” Bella defended with a frown.

“Don’t ruin the game for me,” Emmett told her gravely. “Mario Brothers is the best game Nintendo ever produced,”

“Untrue,” Bella snorted. “Donkey Kong is better,” She almost laughed when Emmett paused the game and turned to her with the most offended expression Bella had ever seen on him.

“You can’t honestly believe that?” Emmett asked incredulously. Bella smirked and shrugged.

“Not my fault you have shitty opinions,” the time-traveler sassed back.

“It’s just no way Donkey Kong is better than Mario Brothers! Mario Brothers is a classic!” Emmett exclaimed in his booming voice, but its volume did not startle Bella, but only added to the hilarity of the situation.

“I never said Mario Brothers wasn’t a classic or a fun game,” she pointed out patiently. “I’m merely saying I personally think Donkey Kong is a better game,” Emmett sputtered in outrage, as if she had offended life itself for stating such a thing. He started muttering something under his breath.

“I think he’s about to explode,” Rosalie observed, making Bella shake in silent laughter.

“I haven’t seen him so riled up since ’97,” Jasper commented as he walked into the room with Edward on his heels.

“Can Vampires even explode?” Alice asked in faux seriousness.

“Pretty sure he’s going to be the first one,” Rosalie drawled with a deadpan expression.

“Emmett Cullen, cause of death? Nintendo argument,” Jasper said in the same manner.

“How tragic,” Alice shook her head sadly. “Not a very Shakespearian death,”

“I’m pretty sure that I speak for everyone by saying that the word ‘Emmett’ and ‘Shakespeare’ should never be uttered in the same sentence,” Edward quipped. Everyone chuckled as Emmett flipped them off.

 “So mean,” Emmett pouted. “I feel you guys don’t appreciate me as much as you should,”

“Correction, I think we appreciate you just the right amount; not too much and not too little,” Bella sassed back, which made Rosalie laugh. Emmett stared at Bella in disbelief.

“That was such a Rosalie response. She’s corrupting you,” Emmett exclaimed with narrowed eyes and pointed accusingly at Rosalie. “Don’t fall for it Bella! Come back into the light,” he added dramatically.

“Are you saying Rosalie is on the dark side?” Bella managed in between laughter.

“Yes, what exactly are you saying?” Rosalie folded her arms and gave her brother an intense glare, although Bella could detect hidden mirth in them. Emmett however, looked like a deer caught in headlights, staring at Rosalie in fright.

“No!” he almost shouted. “I mean yes but…” Rosalie narrowed her eyes. “No of course not!” Emmett amended unconvincingly. “You are pure light! A fallen angel,”

“Lucifer was a fallen angel,” Bella added helpfully, smirking when Emmett shot her a look of betrayal.

“Are you saying I’m Satan?” Rosalie asked in a deadly whisper and Bella took delight in the way Emmett‘s eyes widened in panic. This was entirely too amusing. Jasper, Alice and Edward seemed to share that opinion, since they were all struggling to hold in their laughter.

“Bella, Rosalie! Stop antagonising Emmett,” Esme shouted from the kitchen. Bella pouted while Rosalie shrugged. Emmett stared at them both with narrowed eyes.

“Alice was right. You’re such a mean couple,” he informed them sulkily.

“Don’t be like that buddy,” Taking pity on her best friend, Bella gave him a soft smile. “You know you’re our favourite,” The other three Cullen siblings let out a ‘hey!’ in protest.

“Speak for yourself,” Rosalie quipped.

“Don’t listen to her, we both know the truth,” Bella whispered conspiratorially. To her amazement, Emmett immediately perked up and his pout was exchanged for a smug grin. 
“Well I am pretty awesome,” he stated proudly.

“Look what you’ve done now!” Rosalie glared at Bella, who shrugged.

“I have a question!” the time traveler looked at Jasper. “What happened in’97?”

“Don’t you dare answer that,” Emmett cut in before the ex-soldier could answer.

“Saved by the bell,” Alice smiled at Emmett and true enough, the doorbell rang a second later. Bella looked worriedly at Rosalie, who tensed up immediately. Unsure what else she could do, Bella intertwined their hands, giving it a soft squeeze. While Rosalie did not relax, she did squeeze back in gratitude.

 

 

 

Rosalie’s POV

 

The silly banter had calmed her considerably, and while she was still tense, her nerves were lot better than before. Rosalie knew she was probably overthinking everything, her family and Bella certainly liked to think so. The truth was that Rosalie was terrified of starting another fight or a miscommunication. Things between her and Bella was better than ever before, and she didn’t want to mess things up. It took a lot of effort from both of them to be in the place they were at, but it was still fragile. Sure, they were a lot more comfortable around one another but there was still uncertainty in the air; mostly from Bella’s end but she was trying her best, which Rosalie was incredibly thankful for.

The front door opened and closed, and Rosalie closed her eyes as Carlisle’s voice exchanged heartfelt greetings to their cousins. Bella shifted even closer to Rosalie, as if physically trying to ease her doubts. A fleeting smile touched Rosalie’s lips. She truly loved that girl.

“I’ve heard Rosalie has a mate now?” Tanya inquired curiously from the hallway.

“She does,” Esme responded happily. “Bella is such a sweetheart,”

“Well she must be a saint if she’s supposed deal with Rosalie’s bitchy attitude,” Irina’s voice piped up.

“Hah!” Alice snorted, which ensued chuckles from the rest of Rosalie’s family. “Not so bitchy anymore,” the pixie fortunately spoke at vampire speed, a small mercy since Bella was still in the same room.

“Say what?” Tanya seemed amused.

“You’ll have to see for yourself, otherwise you won’t believe it,” Edward spoke up, although he didn’t bother with the low volume. Bella looked at him with questioning eyes.

“Shut the fuck up,” Rosalie glared at her brother.

“Doesn’t seem any different to me,” Irina remarked, which made Rosalie smirk.

“Oh honey, you’ve seen nothing yet,” Alice laughed.

“This whole seemingly one-sided conversation that’s going on right now?” Bella gestured between Alice and Edward. “It’s super creepy,” Rosalie grinned.

“Oh, she sounds feisty!” Irina commented and just like that, Rosalie’s smile fell and a scowl replaced it.

“Babe?” Bella murmured, staring at her in concern. Before Rosalie could respond, the Denali’s finally trailed into the living room.

“You must be Bella,” Tanya exclaimed with a pleasant smile, thankfully maintaining a respectful distance. Rosalie watched carefully as Bella took in the newcomers. To her credit, her eyes only widened a fraction, but that was the extent of her reaction. “I’m Tanya Denali. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” she raised her hand as if to offer it for a handshake but seemed to think better of it when she caught Rosalie’s watchful gaze. The arm was lowered right away.

“I am indeed,” Bella responded politely. “It’s a pleasure to meet you too,”

“I’m Irina,” Irina offered in kind.

“I’m so glad you’re here!” Alice jumped up from the couch and into Tanya’s arms with a happy squeal.

“Where are the rest?” Jasper questioned Irina, although he kept shooting amused glances at his wife.

“Eleazar and Carmen are taking a holiday in Spain,” Irina answered with a shrug. “Kate is still hunting,”

“Congratulations on finding your mate,” Tanya had finally freed herself from Alice’s grip. Her smile and eyes were earnest on Rosalie.

“Thank you,” Rosalie managed stiffly. Luckily Tanya didn’t seem offended.

“We too have an addition to our coven,” Tanya turned to Carlisle.

“Really?” the doctor asked in surprise.

“Yes, it seems Irina has finally found her mate,” Tanya smiled at Irina, who nodded shyly. Rosalie relaxed a fraction at the information. She observed everyone congratulate her cousin. One less threat then. Rosalie stiffened again. She liked the Denali sisters and truly saw them as family. She hated that she suddenly now saw them as threats. A small squeeze to her hand made Rosalie look at her mate, who offered her a sad yet reassuring smile, as if she hated seeing her emotional struggle. Rosalie’s heart filled with warmth. 

“Where is he? She?” Alice paused. “They?”

“Laurent is still adjusting to the animal diet so we thought it would be for the best if he remained in Alaska for the time being,” Irina answered.

“No worries, you’re not missing much,” a new voice exclaimed and Rosalie watched as Kate sauntered into the room, sounding completely unapologetic with her remark. “He’s rather boring,” Bella coughed to hide her laughter but wasn’t entirely successful, since Kate flashed her a beaming grin. Bella’s smile dropped quickly, and her eyes widened comically.

“Kate?” she blurted out, to everyone’s surprise.

“Bella!” the woman exclaimed happily. “What a small world!”

“What the hell?” Rosalie’s jaw dropped. “Explain?” she turned to Bella, who was still staring at Kate in surprise.

“You’ve met?” Tanya wondered, just as baffled as the rest of them.

“Briefly,” Bella murmured. “A long time ago,” all of the Cullen’s, bar Rosalie, nodded in understanding.

“Not that long! I had forgotten how exceptionally attractive you are though,” Kate piped up, her eyes taking in Bella’s features. Rosalie growled instinctively; her whole posture turning rigid with the comment.   

“Behave,” Irina hit her sister in the shoulder, who pouted at the action, rubbing the seemingly wounded spot.

“I apologise for my sister’s... inappropriate comment,” Irina said politely. Rosalie nodded neutrally, although her shoulders did not ease up. Bella squeezed her hand in comfort, silently trying to convey her support. To her endless surprise it worked like a charm and Rosalie breathed easier. Rosalie observed Bella offering the sisters a small smile, which was returned from all – even though Kate’s smile was more of a smirk if anything, but Rosalie decided to ignore that.

“So you guys mind sharing with the class?” Emmett asked when the silence had stretched on for too long.

“We met in the woods,” Kate replied with a smile.

“In the woods?” Emmett repeated slowly. “What? Why?”

“Not by choice,” Bella added darkly. “I wasn’t exactly frolicking in woods,” that seemed like a code for a bad time travelling experience.

“I’m fine babe,” Bella soothed, picking up on Rosalie’s unease.

“Babe?” Kate seemed oddly disappointed. “I guess I lost my chance,”

“Bad call,” Emmett muttered under his breath.

“What?!” Rosalie sputtered.

“Rose-“

“What do you mean you lost your chance?” the blonde cut Bella off, glaring intently at Kate, who simply shrugged.

“Just that she’s a catch,” Kate winked at Bella, who literally face palmed.

“Back the fuck up,” Rosalie growled. How dare she?

“Whoa! What’s with the animosity Rose?” Kate asked surprised.

“Don’t call me that!”

“She does!” Kate pointed to Bella.

“She’s my mate! She’s allowed to!” Rosalie shot back.

“Really?” her cousin zeroed in on their clasped hands. “Huh,”

“Can we circle back to how you guys met in the woods?” Alice demanded impatiently. Rosalie decided to ignore Kate and focused on Bella.

 

 

 

Bella’s POV

 

Flashback

 

Bella cursed softly under her breath as soon as she regained consciousness. The first thing she noticed when she opened her eyes was that she was in some sort of a meadow, surrounded by trees. The second thing she noticed that it was dark and the only source of light was the night sky, illuminated by a few stars. The third thing was that she was still kind of drunk, which was incredibly inconvenient. The last thing was that it was incredibly cold, and while it was not snowing, there was frost in the air. She shivered and zipped up her thin hoodie. Maybe she should start carrying a backpack with supplies, in case of emergencies. It was incredibly frustrating that she only thought of smart preparation after she had already traveled in time.

Bella shook her head to clear her head, now was not the time to berate herself for lack of organization skills. She needed to figure out where she was and when. First things first, find shelter before freezing to death. Even in her hazy, slightly drunken state she realized that it was top priority. She waited a moment to allow her eyes adjust to the darkness, before scanning the area. On the far left there was a road, which was probably her safest bet. Roads meant civilization. Bella nodded to herself and started walking. She was almost halfway when a strange noise halted her movements. She strained her ears but couldn’t quite make sense of what she was hearing. Without a thought, her legs began to move again but this time in the opposite direction. What the hell was that? The noise suddenly stopped, which made her halt as well. She peered into the darkness but could only make out the shapes of trees. How odd. Under any other circumstances, at least being sober, she would not hesitate to run in the other direction. Unfortunately she had always been too curious for her own good whilst under the influence, so she started walking again.

A momentary lapse of judgement would be her downfall.

 

 

 

She ran as fast as she could, using the adrenaline and fear to guide her through the forest. Bella was sure she had never been as fast in her life. How stupid could she be? Why on earth did she think following strange noises in the dark was a sound idea? Had she no self-preservation skills?

Whatever that was chasing her, was closing in. She was already at the brink of exhaustion but didn’t dare to stop, acting on pure willpower as her instinct screamed at her to keep running. It was a miracle she was even still alive at this point and sure enough, her luck ran out as her foot caught on a dead tree root. Bella went tumbling down, her body hitting the ground with a loud thud. Fuck, this was it. She squeezed her eyes shut and shot out a silent prayer for her death to be swift and painless, although judging by the terrifying noises; she expected the worst. Then, just as the growls were about reach her, something unexpected happened. A loud smack, loud enough to shake the earth beneath Bella’s body, and the growl momentarily ceased. Bella waited with bated breath, curious beyond compare but too scared to investigate or even open her eyes. It was silent for all but two seconds until the growling started again, this time from two different sources. Something else had showed up and even though Bella had no visual, the noises indicated that there was a fight going on. It did not comfort her in the least. Whoever would win this fight would surely kill her. This went on for a long time, and Bella battled with her curious mind. Whatever was going on, it was loud and the ground shook. The sound of two different growls, trees falling down, crashing noises and the earth itself seemed to tremble. Cold sweat ran down Bella’s back and she couldn’t stop shaking when suddenly everything went silent. This was it. To her endless surprise, nothing happened for a long time. Her heart was beating almost out of her chest as she waited. Everything was still.

“Are you okay?” a melodic voice sounded above her. Bella jumped at the sudden noise, completely taken a back at hearing a human voice. She frowned in confusion and finally raised her head. A beautiful blonde woman was staring down at her worriedly. Bella simply stared at the vision, wondering if she was imagining the whole thing or not.

“You mute or something?” the woman continued when Bella only stared in silence with a stupefied expression.

“No, sorry,” Bella awkwardly averted her eyes.

“What are you doing down there?”

“Taking a nap,” Bella snapped. The woman raised both hands in surrender, a faint gleam of amusement in topaz eyes. Bella studied the rare eye color momentarily, mind flashing to five students at her school who had the exact same shade. Strange.

“Feisty,” the woman remarked happily. “I’m Kate,”

“Bella,” Bella grunted and painstakingly sat up, her body protesting every movement. Her heart was slowly calming, the queerness of the situation overpowering her previous fear.

“So, you often take naps in the middle of the woods?” Kate asked curiously. Bella just stared at her with a deadpan expression.

“Yes, it’s a hobby of mine,” Bella rolled her eyes. “Is it gone?” she paused. 

“Is what gone?” Kate asked almost too innocently.

“Whatever the fuck was chasing me,” Bella elaborated. “I can’t hear it anymore,”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Kate shrugged. “I didn’t hear anything,”

“What?” Bella’s eyebrow rose. “How on earth did you not hear that? Or at least felt the ground shake?”

“No idea what you’re talking about,” Kate offered an angelic smile.

“Right,” Bella eyed her doubtfully. There was just no way Kate hadn’t heard anything. Come to think of it, her timely arrival was awfully convenient. Everything about this screamed suspicious. “What are you doing here anyways?”

“I was about to take a nap too, obviously,” Kate grinned cheekily and despite Bella’s suspicion of the woman, she couldn’t help but to laugh. She chalked it up to shock, especially since it had a slight hysterical edge to it. Kate looked awfully pleased with herself.

“Well… I guess I should get going,” Bella remarked as soon as she calmed down.

“Where are you going?” Kate wondered as she watched Bella awkwardly stand up. The question made Bella pause.

“Good question. I have no idea,” she admitted after a beat of silence. “Somewhere with alcohol,” The whole experience had sobered her up, which frankly was unacceptable. Bella blinked as Kate threw her a blinding smile.

“I know a place!” the blonde offered happily. Bella stared at the woman for a moment before shrugging. At least she could cross off two stupid things of the list of ‘What you should never do’, today. Following beautiful strangers to an unknown location was right behind investigating scary noises in a dark forest, after all.

 

-End flashback-

 

 

“You just followed her?” Rosalie stared at her incredulously, which frankly was well deserved.

“Not my brightest moment,” Bella admitted sheepishly, blushing at her stupidity.

“Hey! I’m an excellent company!” Kate protested.

“And a predator she just met in a dark forest,” Alice deadpanned.

“A predator who saved her life!” Kate crossed her arms defensively.

“From what?” Bella perked up. Finally she would get an answer for the question that had been bugging her for months.

“A werewolf,”

“What!?” Rosalie roared, which made everyone flinch. Bella just stared at Kate in shock. First vampires, now werewolves? What else supernatural existed in this world? Apart from time traveling of course.

“Yeah,” Kate eyed Rosalie apprehensively before turning to Bella. “I was surprised to see one in the area actually,” a pause. “Or to see one in general. I thought they were extinct,”

“So did I,” Jasper murmured thoughtfully.

“Where was this?” Alice wondered.

When was this?” Jasper added.

“Alaska,” Kate answered easily. “1987,” she paused with a frown and looked at Bella. “Come to think of it, you have not aged a day,” this was said with a healthy amount of suspicion.

“Maybe a few days,” Bella smirked.

“She’s a time traveler,” Emmett informed his cousin happily. It was almost comical how Kate’s frown morphed into a delighted expression.

“Truly?” Tanya questioned, staring at Bella with more interest now. Bella shifted uneasily under the scrutiny and unconsciously leaned into Rosalie; whose arm tightened around her.

“That explains so much!” Kate announced with relief, almost as if she had been plagued with a dilemma that was finally solved. “Our whole conversation makes more sense. I honestly just thought you were crazy,”

“Nice to clear that up,” Bella said dryly.

“Or maybe that you were on drugs,” Kate mused.

“Right,”

“Or escaped some asylum,”

“Okay,”

“Maybe a philosophy student having an early existential crisis,” 

“Sure,”

“A crazy philosophy student having an early existential crisis after escaping an asylum,”

“We get it!” Bella snapped. The blonde just shrugged, completely unbothered.

“What on earth did you say to her Aristotle?” Emmett asked gleefully. 

“Aristotle?” Kate tilted her head. “Apt,”

“Right?” Emmett seemed exceptionally proud. “I came up with it,”

“While this is all very entertaining, “ Bella cut in. “Thank you for saving me,”

“You’re welcome!” Kate beamed.

“Yes, thank you,” Rosalie grumbled, a scowl painting her beautiful features. Bella almost smiled at her grumpy mate and settled on kissing her cheek.

“Oh,” Kate watched the couple curiously. “Now it makes sense why you didn’t want to have sex with me,”

There was a moment of awkward silence before everything went to hell.

“WHAT?” Rosalie exploded and Bella flinched.

“Babe,” the brunette tried to capture her girlfriend’s attention, but Rosalie was staring murderously at Kate. In fact, Bella had never seen Rosalie so angry and it unnerved her.

“I mean, can you blame me?” Kate winked suggestively at Bella. “The things I could do to you dear time traveler. You would not be able to walk properly for days,” That was the worst possible move to make and before Bella could even begin to address that, there was a blur of motion, a crashing noise accompanied with a loud thud. Bella blinked in surprise as she tried to comprehend what had just happened.

“Rosalie!” Esme scolded.

“Did you just…” Bella trailed off, staring wide eyed at the broken window. Emmett cackle broke the stunned silence. Rosalie had unceremoniously thrown Kate out the window, which frankly was a tamer reaction than any of the vampires in the room expected of her. The human in the room however was completely unprepared and just stared at her snarling mate in shock.

“Normally I would defend my sister but that was warranted,” Tanya commented dryly. “I ask you to not do any further damage if possible though?” she shot Carlisle a warning look, who nodded discreetly.

“Maybe you should go for a hunt Rosalie?” the doctor requested softly but Rosalie merely growled at him. Bella shook out of her stupor and took a step forward, only to be stopped by Jasper.

“Maybe wait a moment?” the ex-soldier suggested warily.

“Dude,” Bella gave him a pointed look. If anyone in this room could calm down the seething blonde, it was her. “Move,” Jasper finally sighed and stepped out of her way. Bella moved cautiously towards Rosalie. “Come with me?” she posed it as a request rather than a demand. Rosalie looked at her, her normally topaz eyes now pitch black. Oddly enough it did not scare Bella, merely worried her. She reached out and gently touched her arm. “Darling, please?” Bella watched in silent awe as Rosalie visibly relaxed under her touch. Emboldened by the reaction, Bella slipped her hand into Rosalie’s and tugged her away from the group. Under normal circumstances she would have laughed at the way Rosalie followed her wordlessly, almost like a lost puppy but now it only saddened her. It wasn’t until they were safely tucked away inside the garage that Bella freed her hand, and she gathered the blonde into a firm embrace. Rosalie’s grip was almost bordering on painful but Bella refrained from commenting, knowing that her mate needed this.

“Nothing happened between us,” Bella assured her after a few minutes of silence. Rosalie shifted in her arms but said nothing. “And if you think something ever will, I will throw you out the window,” this earned her a weak chuckle.

 

 

Flashback

 

“So what do you do Bella?” Kate asked cheerily as soon as Bella had a drink in her hand. Bella nodded gratefully to the barman and took a large sip.

“Suicidal things, mostly,” Bella answered dryly. “

“That got dark real fast,” the blonde remarked with a small smirk.

“It is what it is,”

“Aren’t you going to ask me what I do?” Kate wondered when there was a lull in the conversation.

“Wasn’t planning on it, no,” Bella shrugged. Kate gave her an unimpressed look. “Fine,” the time traveler rolled her eyes. “What do you do Kate?”

“I’m glad you asked!” Kate smiled happily, ignoring Bella’s snort. “Mostly I wander into dark woods to find damsels in distress,”

“I was under the impression that you thought I wasn’t in distress?” Bella eyed her suspiciously. Topaz eyes widened briefly in alarm.

“Who said I was talking about you?” Kate’s expression shifted to nonchalant. “Plus, I didn’t know you classified yourself as a damsel?” she added teasingly.

“Oh, I’m far from a damsel,” Bella chuckled lowly. “But I got the distress part down to a T,”

“You don’t have knight in shining armour to help you out with that?” Kate asked innocently, too innocently. Bella shot her a strange look.

“Knights are overrated,” she settled on, glancing around the old-fashioned bar they found themselves in. She had a feeling they were not as liberal in these parts as they were at home. Plus, she didn’t owe this stranger her life story.

“Bad experience?” Kate asked curiously.

“You’re awfully invested in my affairs,” Bella countered, taking another sip of her drink.

“Just being friendly,” the blonde shrugged. “I just find it hard to believe that a beautiful woman such yourself is not already taken,” Bella blinked. Was she trying to flirt?

“Better believe it,”

“Aren’t you going to ask me if I’m taken?” Kate asked innocently. Bella sighed.

“Are we really doing this Q and A situation?”

“You’re so grumpy,” Kate pouted. “I’m just trying to make conversation,”

“Maybe I’m not in the mood,” Bella bit back with a frustrated breath. “Look, I’m sorry. It’s been a bad night,” she apologised.

“It doesn’t have to end badly,” Kate smirked seductively. Okay, she was definitely flirting.

“Listen, I’m very flattered,” she was, that woman was definitely out of her league. “But I’m not really in the mood for sex,” Bella said bluntly. She was sure that her past self would have punched her for that remark.

“You’re turning me down?” Kate seemed gob smacked. “That had never happened before,” the last part was added as an afterthought. Bella could definitely believe that.

“I’m sorry?”

“No don’t be,” Kate said dismissively. “I’m just surprised my gaydar failed me,”

“It didn’t,” Bella decided to be honest.

“So you’re in a relationship then?” Kate wondered.

“No,”

“Huh,” Kate leaned back in her seat and stared at Bella like she was an interesting puzzle.

“Do you not find me attractive?” Bella glanced up at the ceiling. Was this really happening?

“I do find you attractive,” she reluctantly answered when Kate only stared at her expectantly.

“You’re strange,” the blonde decided with a smile.

“Thanks,” Bella drawled sarcastically. A few minutes of silence passed between them and Bella ordered another drink. “So, aren’t you going to find someone to go home with?”

“No I’ve decided to hang out with you. You’re interesting,”

“Great,” Bella huffed out, unsure if she wanted the company or not.

“So… are you going to tell me more about those suicidal things you do?” Kate wondered.

“I wasn’t planning on it,” Bella stared down at the drink in her hand. Then the words were out of her mouth before she could rethink them. “I hate time,”

“You hate…time?” Kate gave her a queer look.

“Passionately,” Bella admitted with a deep sigh. “Time fucking sucks. They say time heals all wounds? Well I call bullshit,”

“You have a lot of pent-up anger inside of you,” Kate leaned forward in her seat with a fascinating expression on her pretty features.

“Time is just a man-made concept anyway,” Bella continued. “How can you live in the now when you keep getting pulled in the past? How can one even begin to plan the future when yesterday holds them in shackles?” she took another gulp of her drink. “Does that mean the past is my now?”

“That was deep…” Kate paused. “And entirely confusing. Are you okay?”

“I read somewhere that being here now is important. There’s no past and no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one,” Bella ignored Kate’s worried look. “Where do I fit into all of that?” she added under her breath.

“Maybe you should talk to a professional?” Kate suggested lightly.

“No professional can help me,” Bella laughed darkly. They would lock her up and force drugs down her throat if she told a therapist that she was a time traveler.

“Well… I have no idea how to answer your question but my motto in life is pretty much ‘live in the moment’,” Kate offered hesitantly.

“What if every moment is horrible?”

“That’s a cynical view,” the blonde frowned.

“We’ll I’m a pretty cynical person,” Bella shrugged and made eye contact with the bartender, gesturing for another drink. A silence stretched between them, each lost in their own thoughts.

“Do you believe in God?” Bella asked as soon as she was nursing a new drink.

“God?” Kate adopted a pensive expression. “Not really,”

“What about fate? Does fate exist? If so, do we have free will?” Bella blurted.

“I feel like I’m not equipped for this conversation,” Kate muttered.

“Sorry,” Bella winced. “I’m totally bumming you out,”

“Not really though,” Kate’s smile was soft. “Mostly you make me question thinks I avoid thinking about,” there was underlying sadness in that statement.

“I’ve been told I ask too many questions,” Bella offered with a wry grin.

“All the wise ones do,” Kate nodded seriously. “How about we talk about something less morbid but equally depressing. For example the fact why you don’t want to have sex with me?”

Bella groaned and downed the rest of her drink.

 

-End flashback-

 

 

It took almost an hour for Rosalie to calm down enough to re-enter the living room, her hand firmly placed in Bella’s. Rosalie did not apologise to Kate, but she did not glare at her either. Of course Kate had to ruin that right away.

“So I have decided that we’re going to be friends,” Kate offered Bella a blinding grin. “Of course if you weren’t already taken we’d been having a whole different kind of conversation,” she winked playfully, which almost made Bella face palm. Just when Rosalie had started to relax, that comment made her tense up again.

“If we’re going to be friends you’ll have to reel in those kinds of comments,” Bella told her dryly.

“I’m not good with behaving,” Kate smirked suggestively. This was enough to push Rosalie over the edge and a growl escaped as she took a menacing step towards Kate, who seemed to finally sense the danger and took a step back in return.

“Mine!” Rosalie’s gruff voice was laced with menace and possessiveness.

“Rose,” Bella grabbed her mate’s arm gently and when topaz eyes met brown, she shook her head slightly. Rosalie visibly swallowed and seemed to struggle with herself until she reluctantly stopped advancing.

“You become more interesting with every passing moment. You’ve tamed Rosalie,” Kate grinned.

”Look, I know we’ve only spoken one time so I obviously don’t know you well, but you can’t seriously be this stupid?” Bella’s usual calm manner was betrayed by subtle anger. “How about you stop blatantly hitting on me and antagonising my mate when she’s already on edge. I certainly have not tamed Rosalie Hale, as if anyone could, and she can and will attack you if you continue,” Bella glared at Kate, who let out a small whistle.

“Damn, I see who has the fangs in this relationship,” Kate smirked, and Emmett laughed at the joke.

“Seriously?” Kate sighed impatiently and despite the tense atmosphere, Emmett let out a small chuckle when Kate held her hands up in defeat and returned to her place next to Tanya. Thankfully Bella’s warning words made Rosalie relax once more. Bella barely refrained the urge to sigh. While Kate seemed fun, albeit tactless, her company was already beginning to exhaust her. Bella was honestly impressed by Rosalie’s restraint.

 

 

 

Rosalie’s POV

 

Rosalie forced herself to breathe and mentally remind herself that Kate was relatively harmless and just enjoyed pushing her buttons. She knew her cousin was only flirting heavily with Bella because she finally found something to annoy Rosalie with.

Truthfully her instincts were screaming at her to attack Kate, but Bella presence was the only thing that stopped her from doing so. Not only did she fear the repercussions of revealing her possessive vampire nature to Bella, but she also didn’t want to accidently hurt her in the process, even though it would be immensely satisfying to rip both arms off of Kate.  

“Kate, behave,” Tanya hissed when Kate opened her mouth to undoubtably tease Rosalie more. “Rosalie is being remarkably respectful given the circumstances, and your behavior is unacceptable,” this made Kate pause and look at Rosalie, who gave her a cold look. Kate hesitated for a moment before her teasing look shifted into apologetic one.

“I’m sorry,” the words surprised everyone. “I didn’t mean to be an asshole,” Kate seemed so sincere about it that Rosalie’s couldn’t help but to soften a bit. She and Kate had a strange relationship, constantly pushing each other buttons, but they usually got along fine. Rosalie decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

“Fine,” was the best thing she could come up with. Kate however brightened at the lackluster response and gave her a genuine grin.

“I apologise to you too Bella,” Kate continued, focusing on the brunette. “I still want to be friends if that’s an option,”

“I’ll give it a trial run,” Bella said diplomatically, squeezing Rosalie’s hand in comfort. Rosalie’s heart soared at the action, of how sensitive Bella was to her mood.

Luckily the conversation shifted to easier topics after that, mostly about what each respective coven had been up to since they last saw each other and a lot of Emmett and Bella banter, with Kate hesitantly joining in. It didn’t take long for Kate and Emmett to team up on teasing Bella, but it was mostly innocent and no more sexual remarks were made from Kate. In fact, Kate’s and Bella’s interaction reminded Rosalie of how Emmett and Bella engaged, which oddly enough did not bother her as much as she expected. It seemed as if Kate had really regretted her crass behavior and began seeing Bella in a platonic way. Still Rosalie was a bit apprehensive about the development but swallowed her doubts. It was a bit confusing to tell apart her own personal feelings on the manner and her vampire instincts when their mating bond was still this fresh.   

“As much fun as this is… I must be getting home,” her mate announced when her cheeks had finally cooled down, a result of Emmett’s reenacting Bella’s flustering behavior around Rosalie. Rosalie carefully hid a smile at the adorable blush her mate sported, knowing it would not earn her any points to tease her as well. Plus, Emmett had enough ammunition against her to shift the teasing onto her, so she remained silent. For the time being at least.

“Why?” Kate pouted, obviously hating the idea.

“Because dear possible friend of mine, while some of us have no prior engagements or direction in life,” Bella began with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “The rest of us have duties and responsibilities,”

“I don’t have direction?” Kate frowned. “And what exactly is your responsibility? Other than being my best friend,”

“We moved from possible friends to best friends right away?” Bella was definitely amused. It was just such an Emmett thing to say, which only seemed to make her warm up to Kate even more.

“That’s my title!” Emmett protested with a glare at his cousin. “Get your own best friend,”

“It is only inevitable, I’m saving a lot of time,” Kate waved dismissively, wholly ignoring Emmett. Rosalie was pretty sure Emmett said those exact words once too. “You are avoiding my question Aristotle,”

“Also the nickname I gave her!” Emmett seemed honestly outraged.

“School,” Bella answered with a sigh, obviously fighting to keep a straight face when she saw the disgust written all over Kate’s face. “Emmett is correct though, he is my best friend,” this calmed down the big vampire but Kate seemed intent on ignoring that technicality.

“That’s a crime against life,” Kate stated. “It’s not as if you need school. You’re enough of a smartass already,”

“That’s a delightfully backhanded compliment,” Bella replied dryly.

“If the shoe fits,” Kate sang purposely in an off key, making every vampire wince at the harsh sound. Bella just laughed and turned to Rosalie with an expectant look.

“I’ll drive you,” Rosalie drawled with an eye roll, feigning irritation.

“Don’t act as if it’s not the highlight of your day,” Bella scolded her, drawing out an incredulous look from the blonde.

“I forbid you to spend time with both Kate and Emmett at the same time. Your sass level is off the charts,” Rosalie narrowed her eyes playfully.

“You’re welcome,” Kate sounded way too pleased with herself. Bella only gave her girlfriend an angelic smile, which no one bought. Rosalie rolled her eyes and pushed herself off the sofa, pulling Bella with her. “See you later bestie!” Kate called after them.

“Later bestie,” Bella replied, although not as enthusiastically but rather sarcastically. Emmett gasped dramatically. Rosalie laughed at the playful smirk Bella sported.

“And also goodbye to you Kate,” Bella waved at Kate and Emmett whooped.

The car ride was silent, both occupants lost in their own thoughts. All in all, despite the part when she threw Kate out the window, the night had ended on a pleasant note. Rosalie eyed her mate, who wore a content smile as she stared out the window. That made Rosalie smile in return. She could get used to a smiling Bella, even if it meant that she had to tolerate Kate’s presence.

 

 

Bella’s POV  

 

Two days later, Bella found herself sitting in the Cullen’s living room with a plate of freshly made cookies, munching on them happily as she conversed with Kate. True to her words, the vampire had stopped flirting and in return they instantly became fast friends. Bella was honestly surprised with how easily Kate wormed her way inside her inner circle. Even Rosalie had calmed down enough to let them be alone together, although still within reaching distance. Still, Bella was honestly proud of her mate’s progress and the fact that she was really trying for Bella.

“If you could choose, then what would you pick?” Kate repeated her question.

“It doesn’t matter because I can’t choose,” Bella pointed out, secretly enjoying the annoyed expression on the Vampire’s face.

“Indulge me,” Kate demanded stubbornly. Bella rolled her eyes but stroke her cheek in a theatrical thoughtful manner.

“Woodstock,” Bella decided finally, almost laughing at the disbelief in Kate’s eyes.

“Seriously?” Kate checked, as if she was wondering what the punchline was. Bella’s time traveling business was something Kate had never encountered before, so she was an endless flow of questions. Despite her playful persona, she was actually quite sensitive as well and was careful not to ask Bella too much about her bad traveling experience. Tanya and Irina, thankfully, showed the same tact although she could tell they were just as curious. Kate however had decided to aim her curiosity instead to where and when Bella would herself like to travel.

“Deadly serious,” Bella nodded gravely.

“Is that a convenient excuse to use drugs in a public setting without getting caught?” Kate teased.

“It would have been at one point,” Bella admitted freely, shifting awkwardly in her seat. Kate nodded in acknowledgement, having discovered earlier that day how Bella was trying and somewhat succeeding, so far at least, to give up that lifestyle.

“And what’s the reason now?” the blonde pressed on.

“An easy and obvious one,” Bella paused for dramatic effect. Kate waited but began tapping her foot impatiently when silence stretched for too long. Deciding to throw her a bone, Bella continued. “To see Janis Joplin perform live,”

“Huh,” Kate seemed to consider this. “A good reason as any I suppose,” she didn’t look convinced.

“Fuck you,” Bella declared pleasantly. “She is a legend and should be treated with such respect,”

“I don’t know,” Kate began thoughtfully. “She’s no Katy Perry,” Bella’s jaw dropped.

“You did not just say that,” she pointed at the vampire accusingly. Kate shrugged unapologetically but the amused twinkle in her eye, gave her away.

“What do you have against Katy B?” Kate asked in a faux offended manner.

“Nothing,” Bella replied easily. “However, comparing Katy Perry to Janis Joplin is like comparing a toddler’s bicycle to a BMW,” she ended with flourish. Kate snorted in humour.

“Nice comparison babe,” Rosalie yelled from somewhere inside the house. Bella smiled proudly, ignoring the way Kate rolled her eyes and mouthed ‘kiss ass’.

“So if you think my ideal travel destination is stupid, where would you go?” Bella raised one eyebrow, observing how Kate smirked and opened her mouth. “If you say a Katy Perry concert, I will punch you, Vampire or not,” the blonde’s mouth snapped close.

“You’re an idiot,” Bella remarked pleasantly, laughing when Kate pouted.

“This relationship is getting abusive,” she complained.

“Yeah don’t refer to our friendship as a relationship, it’s weird,” Bella frowned.

“A friendship is a type of a – “

“My mate will punch you for me,” Bella snorted when Kate’s mouth snapped closed again.

“Gladly,” Rosalie called again. Bella smirked when she heard other members of the house snicker.

“You guys are so sensitive,” Kate muttered. “I would probably travel to Scandinavia during the Viking age,” she informed Bella, who did a double take. She did not expect that answer.

“That… was not something I could foresee,” she remarked honestly. “Why?”

“I have a thing for Vikings,” Kate shrugged, as if it was obvious. Bella’s lips quirked.

“You do realise Chris Hemsworth is not a representative of all Vikings?” she reminded her with no small amount of amusement. Kate glared at her.

“Of course not,” she shook her head. “Although he is super-hot,” a dreamy expression washed over her.

“Snap out of it horny,” Bella ordered, laughing when Kate shot her an affronted look. “So, let me get this straight. You would travel to 700 AC just to fuck a Viking?” she asked crassly, almost laughing when she heard a loud commotion coming from the kitchen. She could only assume that Esme dropped something in surprise. Kate must have realised the same because her body shook with silent laughter.

“Yes,” the blonde managed after a moment.

“You do realise they were probably smelly as hell?” Bella pointed out. “Sure they bathed more regularly than the average person of that time but that’s not exactly up to our standards, well at least mine. They were also extremely rude and actually huge perverts who thought they were entitled to everything, women especially? I might be gay but even I can see that’s not exactly an alluring picture,” she forced herself to keep a straight face as Kate’s facial expressions shifted from doubtful, to disgust and lastly to suspicious.

“And how the hell do you even know that?” Kate crossed her arms defensively.

“Because history literally teaches that?” Bella shot back, mirroring her body language.

“So, you’re a history buff all of the sudden?” Kate asked dubiously.

“Not all of the sudden,” Bella argued. “I’ve always been a history buff, you do remember that I am a time traveler? Plus, it’s kind of important to know my ancestry,”

“What?” Kate let out in surprise.

“I’m a descendant of Vikings,” Bella shrugged as if it was no big deal. “Turns out Rene had some Icelandic blood in her,”

“Lucky you,” Kate deadpanned. “After all you just made that sound very appealing,”

“Dude, I just described the men. Plus, I only said I was a descendant, not that I wanted to fuck one,” the brunette sassed back, earning an amused snort in return.

“Whatever,” Kate deflated for all but two seconds. “Wait, so as a descendant of Vikings, shouldn’t you be flattered that I’d choose to go back to your roots?” Bella gave her a queer look.

“Why on earth would I be flattered by the fact you want to fuck dirty savages?” she asked in return. Bella gave a start when there were suddenly howls of laughter coming from different directions in the house. She looked at Kate, who seemed as if she would be blushing if she wasn’t a Vampire.

“I hate you,” Kate settled on

“That’s no way to talk to your best friend,” Bella gasped in false outrage and Kate only rolled her eyes.  

“Second best friend!” Emmett hollered from the next room.

“Whatever, I want to change my answer then,” Kate declared stubbornly.

“Please don’t say 200.000 years ago and try to make an argument that the Neanderthal were hot,” Bella said in a begging tone, endlessly amused when Kate sputtered at the thought.

“You are a delight Bella,” Irina appeared out of nowhere, smirking down at her scowling sister.

“At least someone acknowledges that fact,” Bella drawled with a pointed look to Kate.

“You’re way too full of yourself,” Kate muttered under her breath.

“Hi Pot, I’m Kettle. Did you know you are also black?” Bella sassed without skipping a beat, making Irina laugh. Kate rolled her eyes good-naturedly, a small smile playing at her lips.

“I feel like I should say an inappropriate racial joke right about now,” Kate mused out loud.

“Don’t,” Bella said firmly, eyeing the woman cautiously. “I will literally stop speaking to you,” she added. “Forever,” Kate paused and seemed to think on this, wondering if she should brave it. Finally, her shoulders slumped, and she gave up on the idea. Bella smirked proudly.

“I wish that threat would work for me,” Irina commented with a frown.

“Second best friend privileges,” Bella shrugged, ignoring Kate’s glare.  

“I feel you’re abusing this relationship – “

“Not a relationship,”

“I don’t know if you’ve ever picked up a dictionary, but friendship is a type of a – “

“Pineapple!”

“-relation… Wait what?”

“You need me?” Rosalie appeared out of thin air, staring at Bella with clear amusement in her eyes. Kate stared at the couple in bafflement.

“This was such a great idea,” Bella told her with a beaming smile. Rosalie chuckled and leaned down to kiss her.

“I am confused on so many levels,” Kate commented with a frown.

“Nothing new then?” Irina quipped dryly.

“Fuck you,” Kate shot back.

“As flattered as I am, save all your pent-up sexual tension for smelly savages,” Irina scolded lightly. Bella laughed loudly and winked playfully at Irina, who smirked proudly in return.

“I hate you,” Kate threw at Bella, who just kept laughing.

“I think I’ll hang out with you more Bella; you just keep giving me ammunition to use against Kate,” Irina told her with a grin.

“Are you guys seriously going to gang up on me?” Kate complained loudly.

“I have over thousand years to make up for Kate,” Irina raised one eyebrow at her sister, who oddly enough seemed a bit sheepish at the response. Bella wondered just how much mischief Kate brought into the life of the Denali’s.

“I’m not that bad,” Kate crossed her arms with a sulky expression.

“Is that so?” Irina matched her stance. “What about the incident with Santa Clause?”

Rosalie and Bella shared a puzzled look.

“Okay that was funny! You even admitted that later,” Kate argued.

“And when you burned the house down?” Irina continued.

“That was an accident,”

“What about when you forged my signature and bought an illegal sex dungeon in my name?”

“The look on your face was priceless when the police knocked on our door,”

“And when Tanya came home to see the mail man tied to the refrigerator?”

“In my defense, he was just as into is as I was,”

“You once bought a Llama and named him Drama. Then you set him loose in the supermarket where he proceeded to spit on costumers. And the only thing you did was to yell ‘Drama!’ and point at him the entire time!” Tanya entered the conversation. That piece of information made Bella snort in laughter. Her reaction encouraged Kate and she smiled proudly.

“That was hilarious,” Kate rebuked.

“Should I even mention that time in Russia when you convinced our entire neighbourhood that we were in the mafia and I was a crime boss?”

“I didn’t have to convince them; I just dropped a few hints and they made up the rest. Maybe you should have been nicer to them because they believed it way too readily,”

“They were terrified of me!”

“And that was your fault,”

Bella glanced at her girlfriend, who was staring at the sisters in what could only be a mixture of astonishment and amusement. Bella stifled her laughter; afraid she might accidentally interrupt this hilarious dialogue. Her new (second) best friend was more awesome than she realised.

“What about that time where you taught a parrot to curse and set it free in an elementary school?”

“Okay I’ll admit that was in bad taste,” Kate winced at the memory.

“It was an all-girl catholic school,” Irina informed Rosalie and Bella. “In the late 19th century,” she added. Bella bit her lips to stop laughter from escaping.

“She taught an entire new generation to swear in a small village in Pennsylvania,” Tanya added with a frown.

“It’s important to expand one’s vocabulary,” Kate said in a stern manner. That did it for Bella and she completely lost it, practically howling with laughter. Rosalie took one look at her mate and broke down too, although in a more controlled manner. Tanya and Irina rolled their eyes at Kate, who beamed at the couple, obviously pleased with herself.

“You are such an idiot,” Bella gasped, tears streaming down her face.

“The good kind?” Kate asked hopefully.

“The best kind,” Bella confirmed when she got herself under control. Kate’s smile could have lit up the room.

“Don’t encourage her!” Tanya and Irina snapped at the same time. That only made Bella laugh again.

It was nice to laugh freely again, she had almost forgotten the feeling. Between Emmett and Kate, Bella was pretty sure she should get used to it on a daily basis. Sure, she was painfully aware that her life was still beyond complicated and that nagging feeling that something bad was about to happen, still lingered at the back of her mind. But right now, she decided to cuddle into her mate and listen to the Denali sisters argue. She’s had worse afternoons.  

 

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

 

Rosalie's POV

 

Rosalie hummed a quiet tune under her breath, ignoring the strange looks she received from other students she passed them down the hallway. She did not blame their confusion over her happy mood, since she wore a permanent scowl at school, but she didn’t bother masking her contentment. A small smile appeared when she found her mate in front of the history classroom.

“There you are!” Bella looked up from her conversation with Angela and gave her a half smile, one that never failed to charm Rosalie.

“Hey babe,” Bella greeted her happily, reaching for her hand automatically. Rosalie took her hand and squeezed it gently. It was honestly heartwarming how casual touches between the two of them were becoming second nature. The blonde reminded herself to give Jasper a hug next time she saw him, it seemed like Bella’s sessions were truly helping her. Angela cleared her throat subtly, looking between them with a small smile.

“You guys are cute together,” the normally quiet girl remarked sincerely. Feeling oddly charitable today, Rosalie decided to throw a smile her in way. Poor Angela seemed completely taken aback by it and blushed scarlet. The vampire hid her amusement at the reaction, but her girlfriend had no such qualms. She was staring at her friend with a small smirk.

“Thank you,” she told her. “You okay there Ange?” Bella asked innocently, and Rosalie almost laughed when Angela threw her a glare.

“I’m fine, thank you,” Angela replied calmly. “I think I’ll go find Jessica; she was looking for me earlier. We’ll talk later,” Bella saluted cheekily, which made the other girl roll her eyes. Angela then gave Rosalie a polite nod before walking away.

“You’re evil you know,” Bella grinned at her. “Using a weapon like that on poor unsuspecting high school girls,” she pointed accusingly.

“I only smiled?” Rosalie raised one eyebrow.

“Exactly,” Bella nodded seriously. “Your smile can disarm a whole army. Directing it towards sweet innocent Angela is just mean,”

“You’re too much,” Rosalie rolled her eyes, although there was a small appreciative smile on her lips.

“And all yours baby,” Bella winked playfully. Rosalie shook her head and merely tugged at her hand to start moving. They both ignored the way everyone stared at them as they walked towards the cafeteria.

Rosalie glanced sideways at her mate, who had a small private smile playing on her lips. The sight of it warmed Rosalie and she felt happiness bubbling inside her. She should probably thank Kate and Emmett later on, if not for the fact the two of them would be unbearably smug for at least ten more years. With Emmett and Kate’s influence, Bella was smiling a lot more and usually equipped with a joke or a witty remark. Rosalie wasn’t even jealous that the two of them could prompt such a reaction in Bella but instead was just happy for her. Bella was normally always so serious and a bit stoic, aside from occasional joke, and Kate’s and Emmett’s crazy personalities and playful manner, made her ease up. Rosalie herself wasn’t so delusional to believe she could have completed such a feat in the same way. The truth of the matter was that she enjoyed this undiscovered side of Bella and was just happy to be around her. It was also a first for Rosalie, who was also known for being serious and truthfully a bit sour; even though she’d lightened up considerably since Bella had entered her life. In fact she’d never smiled so much before. Her family was both delighted and a bit weirded out by the swift change. The latter privately amused her so she sometimes purposely smiled more around them.

“Do my eyes deceive me or has the power couple decided to grace us with their presence?” was Emmett’s way of greeting them when they sat down at their usual table at lunch. Her siblings were already there and smiled at their arrival.

“We take both cash and credit cards as a form of thank you,” Bella replied without missing a beat. Emmett let out one of his booming laughs, startling nearby students, and offered Bella a boyish grin. 

“I only have lollipops with me,” Emmett admitted in a serious tone. Bella seemed to consider this.

“It’ll do for now,” she joked back, producing a delightful expression when Emmett reached into his pocket and fished out a lollipop. The time traveler took the candy and practically tore the plastic off and popped the lollipop in her mouth, humming appreciatively. Everyone gave her a fond look before focusing on Emmett.

“Why on earth do you carry lollipops around?” Alice asked in a baffled tone. It was a fair question, after all he could never eat one.

“You never know when the occasion calls for it,” Emmett replied wisely, earning thumbs up from Bella.

“My man,” she approved, which made him beam. Rosalie shared an amused look with Jasper, who simply shook his head with a small grin. Emmett was a rare bird.

“So, are you willing to play video games this afternoon with your man?” Emmett asked Bella hopefully. The brunette gave him a queer look, which Rosalie mirrored. He phrased that question in such a strange manner.

“Is this the part where you try to refer our friendship to a relationship?” Bella asked warily. “Because it’s just as wrong when Kate does it,” Rosalie nodded in agreement. Emmett scrunched up his face in an endearing manner.

“No?” he answered slowly.

“Good,” Bella nodded. “I’m afraid this particular blonde is the only one who’s allowed to throw that term around,” she gestured towards Rosalie, who smiled and kissed her cheek.

“Ugh,” Emmett frowned. “You guys are disgusting,”

“I think it’s sweet,” Alice piped up with a smile.

“You’re kind of giving me diabetes,” Edward said with an unusual amount of sass.

“Dude,” Bella stared at him in amusement. “You can’t get diabetes. It’s scientifically impossible,” she sassed back, earning a snort from Rosalie. In a highly uncharacteristic move, Edward stuck his tongue out. Bella, along with everyone else, stared at him in astonishment, before she snorted out a laugh. Edward smiled, obviously happy for making her laugh. Rosalie laughed along, wondering what came over her usual reserved brother. Edward winked at her.

“Okay I have to ask. Is Bella practicing witchcraft or something?” Rosalie heard Jessica Stanley ask her friends from a few tables away.

“Why would you think that?” Angela asked her friend amusedly.

“She’s making the Cullen’s all smiley and shit. It’s freaking me out,” Jessica continued in a low tone. On cue, the Cullen siblings laughed.

“Are you seeing that?” Jessica sounded a bit hysterical, which only made them laugh harder. Bella gave her seat mates a strange look, before Rosalie explained why they were laughing, and then she laughed along. Just to mess with the girl, Bella directly made contact with Jessica and gave her an over-exaggerated wink.

“Did you guys see that! She just winked at me! It’s like she heard me!” Jessica whispered harshly.

“Okay Jess, now you’re imagining things. Are you sleeping okay at nights?” Angela asked instead. Rosalie bit her lip to stop her from laugh again. Emmett had no such restraint and was practically roaring.

 

 

 

“Rosalie, may I speak with you for a moment?” Jasper gave her a pointed look. Bella briefly looked up from her game with Emmett to shoot her mate a curious look, to which she shrugged. Rosalie put her book down and followed her brother wordlessly outside. It was not often that Jasper sought her out, so she was curious about the incoming talk. When they reached a small distance from the house, just enough to be out of hearing range, Jasper finally stopped and turned towards her.

“What is it?” Rosalie wondered apprehensively. Jasper stared at the ground thoughtfully, as if trying to find the right words. “Just tell me,”

“I know it’s technically none of my business,” the ex-soldier began carefully. “But since you are family and by association, so is Bella, I feel like I can safely have an input. Plus, I’ve been the one trying to help her with her emotions – “

“Jasper!” Rosalie snapped impatiently. Jasper sighed.

“Have you noticed anything new about Bella recently?”

“New?” Rosalie frowned. Her mind raced at the question, wondering where he was going with this. “Not really, I mean she smiles and jokes a lot more,”

“Exactly,” Jasper seemed relieved for some reason.

“Is that supposed to be a bad thing?” Rosalie was confused. Surely that was positive change?

“Of course not,” he back tracked. “In fact normally that would be great,”

“Normally?” Rosalie latched onto the strange wording.

“Look,” Jasper ran fingers through his blonde hair in obvious frustration. “I’m not explaining this well,”

“No shit,” Rosalie deadpanned, trying to mask her worry, which was fruitless since her brother caught on to her emotions right away.

“I’m not saying all of Bella’s smile are insincere…” he paused.

“But some of them are?” Rosalie finished.

“Yes,” Jasper nodded solemnly. “Don’t misunderstand, she is often happy but it’s exaggerated. Her emotions don’t match up to her smiles,”

“What?” Rosalie’s stomach dropped. Was she truly so blind to her mate’s moods? “So she’s faking it?” that brought a bad taste to her mouth. Was Bella playing her just as well as the others? If they didn’t have someone who literally had the ability to read emotions, would she have remained blind to Bella’s unhappiness?

“She’s not exactly unhappy,” Jasper quickly assured her. “But someone with her history and trauma does not heal overnight. I’m not discouraging the smiles, but it’s unnatural to be smiling all the time. Emmett is an abnormality,” he added the last part as a joke, but it fell flat.

“How did I not see this?” Rosalie breathed out, her mind racing. She felt like such an idiot, just thinking earlier that day how wonderful it was to see Bella smile so much. As if nothing was amiss. She stilled at the realization.

“Don’t blame yourself,” Jasper insisted gently. “I wouldn’t blame her either. Bella’s coping mechanism is truly a remarkable thing. She adapts to most situations at a snap of a finger. I assume this is just another skill she’s developing. I’m not even sure if she’s aware she’s doing it. Normally I would have talked to her first about this, but she’s cancelled our sessions – “

“She what?” Rosalie gave him a startled look.

“She said she doesn’t need them anymore,” Jasper sighed. “I’m worried about her,”

“Yeah,” she agreed faintly. “Me too,”

“Don’t be too hard on her,” Jasper smiled sadly. “She’s come a long way in such a short time but she still has a long way to go,”

“I’ll talk to her,” Rosalie assured him. “Thank you for telling me,” Jasper dipped his head.

 

 

 

“Bella?” Rosalie called out softly, standing in front of the door to Bella’s bedroom the following evening.

“Come in,” came the answering reply. Rosalie entered the room to find Bella sitting on her bed with a book. “You don’t have to announce yourself every time you know?” the time traveler remarked with an amused smirk.

“It’s only polite,” the blonde shrugged and sat down next to her mate.

“So what brings you to my corner of Forks?” Bella flashed her another smile. “Is it anything naughty?” she wiggled her eyebrows playfully.

“Down girl,” Rosalie snorted, almost smiling at the adorable pout she received.

“A girl can always hope,” Bella winked. “So, what’s up?”

After her talk with Jasper, Rosalie had studied Bella’s demeanour for the rest of the afternoon and the discovery had saddened her greatly. With Jasper’s new insight, it was easy to see the play Bella put up for all of them. While her smile was beautiful as always, it did not reach her eyes. Sometimes the jokes came out naturally, mostly the snarky sarcastic ones, but others seemed slightly forced. Truthfully it was a bit painful for Rosalie to watch while all her family, excluding Jasper, smiled obliviously along. It wasn’t healthy.

“I’m not sure how to bring it up,” Rosalie confessed quietly. Bella’s smile dropped instantly and concern took over.

“Are you alright?” the brunette reached out to touch her arm. “Is there anything I can do?” Rosalie smiled bitterly. Of course Bella would selflessly offer to help right away but refused to reach out herself.

“The real question is, are you alright?” Rosalie asked. Bella’s eyes widened and she dropped her gaze.

“Of course I am,” the smile was almost convincing.

“Are you sure?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” Bella shifted awkwardly. “I’m with you, aren’t I?”

“Bella,” Rosalie sighed. “Please drop the act with me?” she pleaded.

“I’m not acting,” Bella turned defensive. “Why the hell would I be acting?”

“You tell me?” the vampire inquired as softly as she could. Brown eyes flickered with many different emotions, until they settled on understanding.

“Jasper,” Bella breathed out. Rosalie only nodded. “Fucking snitch,”

“He’s not a snitch,” the blonde insisted. “Just worried. He told me you’ve cancelled your sessions with him?”

“I wasn’t aware it was mandatory,” Bella sneered, which made Rosalie flinch. This was not going well. Bella only lashed out when she felt cornered in.

“Darling, please,” Rosalie pleaded. “You know I’m not forcing you to do anything you don’t want to do, nor is Jasper. I just really thought you benefitted from those sessions and I wonder what changed?” Bella’s shoulders slumped as she turned her gaze to the floor.

“Maybe I’m all better now,” her voice sounded uncharacteristically small.

“Do you feel any pressure to be?” Rosalie held her breath, hoping she hadn’t encouraged this drastic change in her mate. Bella shrugged. “Normally you are quite articulate,” it was meant as a joke but neither smiled. “Bella, we need to be able to be honest to one another if this relationship is going to work,” she tried a different approach. “I’m no mind reader but I worry that I somehow am at fault for your changed behavior,” honesty was the best policy, especially regarding the two of them.

“What no!” Bella shot up in her seat, her worried eyes meeting Rosalie’s.

“Why are you faking your smiles?” Rosalie’s tone was bordering on desperate. “Please help me understand,” Bella was silent for a long moment.

“I’m not faking all of them,” she insisted.

“I know,”

“I just… you seemed so happy to see me smiling for a change. I figured I could give you at least that?” Rosalie’s stomach dropped. “I know I’m kind of a lot and come with a pretty heavy baggage. It’s unfair to you to deal with my dark moods all the time. Maybe with time all of my smiles would turn real, fake it ‘till you make it and all that jazz,”

“Baby, no,” the vampire shook her head gently. “I don’t care for insincere smiles. I don’t want a false version of you, I want all of you, the true you – occasional dark moods and all. You do realize I’m not a ray of sunshine either?” the last part brought a small smile from Bella, thankfully genuine. “Remember our agreement in the beginning? That we should talk to one another if something is bothering us, no more concealed truths,” Bella’s eyes filled with shame. “I’m not blaming you or scolding, I just want you to be honest with me. I realize you are new to opening up, and so am I. We need to depend on each other for that. I don’t expect you to solve years of trauma in a few months,” at least until Jasper pointed it out, which still filled her with shame. “We both have baggage that we decided to tackle on together,”

“I’m sorry,” Bella breathed out. Rosalie reached out and carefully pulled her into an embrace.

“So am I,” she murmured in return. “Jasper shouldn’t have been the one to point it out. I should have seen it myself,” she was honestly disappointed with herself.

“Don’t apologise for my acting skills,” Bella laughed humourlessly. Rosalie dropped a kiss on top of her head.

“We’ll work on it,” she wowed. “Even if you’re not comfortable to drop the act around the others, although I do encourage it, please drop it around me. I don’t need you smiling all the time, truthfully it would just creep me out after some time,” Bella chuckled softly. “I of course want you to be happy, but I want it to happen on your terms,”

“You do make me happy, you know,” Bella confessed quietly. A tension in Rosalie’s loosened at the comment. That was something she was truly worried about. “Even if I am unhappy sometimes, that’s never about you,”

“You make me happy too,” Rosalie buried her face in soft brown locks.

 

 

Thankfully Bella stayed true to her word and dropped the act around Rosalie after their discussion. She still smiled sometimes but they were all genuine. While she continued to act light heartened around Emmett and Kate, she was prone to fall into deep silences when it was just the two of them. Her eyes would become clouded and her expression far-away. Rosalie would sit with her during those times and even though she longed to know what her mate was thinking, she only let her be. Sometimes she simply held her hand and other times she was in the same room but doing her own thing. Bella was hesitant at first but grew more comfortable each time. To Rosalie’s and Jasper’s relief, she also started attending sessions again. Rosalie silently made a promise to herself to try to learn to read her mate better, if only to avoid future misunderstandings. Later she would recall that promise and ironically think of it as foreshadowing.

 

 

 

Bella’s POV

 

Bella absently flipped through the channels on TV and finally settled on the news. She stared at the serious anchorman inform her about recent increased murder rate in Seattle.

“That’s mildly upsetting,” Tanya commented as she breezed into the room, Carlisle following closely behind. “Seven murders in one week is a bit excessive,” Bella nodded faintly in agreement and turned the TV off. She wasn't in the mood to discuss random murder cases, she needed an update from the ancient vampire. 

“Have you found anything?” Bella asked as calmly as she could, although she was buzzing with nervous energy underneath. Judging by the look on Tanya’s face, she wasn’t fooling her.

“I have not,” Tanya answered apologetically, and Bella tried to hide her disappointment.

“Okay,” she swallowed thickly. “Thank you for trying,”

“I’m sorry,” the ancient vampire added gently. “There are no documents written about this and my acquaintances had no recollection on meeting anyone with your ability,”

“However, that does not mean they don’t exist. Just because it is not known within our circles, does not mean there might not be someone out there who knows something. While we vampire pride ourselves on knowledge, we often don’t acknowledge that we indeed don’t know everything there is in this universe,” Carlisle added his two cents. He was obviously trying to be positive, but it honestly did not lift Bella’s spirit. If a person who had roamed the earth for about 1000 years had no knowledge on her ability, what hope did she have to find someone who did?

“I suppose,” Bella said with a sigh before flashing Tanya a small smile. “Thanks again,”

“You’re welcome,” the woman nodded with a sympathetic smile. 

“Don’t lose hope just yet Bella,” Carlisle squeezed her shoulder in a comforting gesture. Not trusting herself to speak, Bella simply gave him a tight smile. She left the two of them in Carlisle office and she wandered out to the porch, needing to take in fresh air.

“Well that sucks,” Kate joined her a few minutes later. Bella inclined her head but did not take her eyes off the sunset. “We’ll figure something out,” the vampire added reassuringly.

“Maybe this is the end of the road,” Bella murmured after a long silence.

“You’re too cynical bestie,” Kate remarked with a small pout. “I never figured you to be the type to give up,”

“Sometimes you have to recognise when you are beaten. False hope never wins wars,” Bella said softly, feeling oddly empty all of the sudden.

“Life is not a battle. You can’t treat it as such all the time,” Kate scolded lightly.

“Is it not though?” Bella glanced at the vampire, who faltered under her stare. “In my experience it is. I guess I never expected to lose,” she shrugged before turning back to the beautiful sky.

“Don’t give up now,”

“Maybe I’m tired of fighting Kate,” Bella’s shoulders slumped.

“You sure you want to tell Rosalie that?” the blonde countered.

“Don’t do that,” Bella looked at her sharply. “Don’t try to emotionally manipulate me,”

“Sorry,” the vampire said meekly. Bella gave her a considering look, before nodding and looking away. “Maybe we just need to find a different network,”

“Such as?” Bella raised one eyebrow.

“We can try Craigslist?” Kate suggested seriously and Bella couldn’t help but to snort in humour. The blonde perked up at the sound and gave her a big smile, as if she had accomplished something great.

“And what exactly would you write?” Bella asked, feeling amused despite the situation.

“Hmm,” Kate frowned thoughtfully for a moment before brightening up. “Have you ever experienced disappearing unexpectedly, only to wake up in the past or the future? Do you know any way to control it or stop it from happening? If so, contact Bella Swan. P.S. asking for a friend,”

“Very discreet,” Bella shook her head with a small smile.

“Discretion is one of my many talents,” Kate shrugged. “Ask anyone,”

“Not true,” Irina yelled from somewhere inside the house.

“You don’t count!” Kate yelled back. Bella bit her lip to suppress laughter.

“I appreciate the… unique idea but I really don’t think it’s the right way to go,”

“Any idea is a helpful idea,” Kate replied.

“Not true!” Irina’s voice called again.

“Fuck off!”

“You’re an idiot,”

“No one asked your opinion!”

Bella sighed as the sisters argued back and forth, tuning them out as she thought about her predicament. She was honestly loss at what to do. Her progress with Carlisle was slow and he only had theories but no ideas to apply them. She didn’t have any means to figure out how to control or suppress her abilities. Which meant that she could disappear any second, without warning, to any place in history. That meant leaving her mate and the others behind, without any guarantee that she would come back. She wouldn’t even be able to say goodbye. Then she would be forced to fight to stay alive and probably die in the process. After all, her luck was bound to run out. While she wasn’t ready to give up her life, she was too tired to continue this repeating circle of clusterfuck. How could she ever provide Rosalie with the happiness she deserved, if her survival was a constant question mark? Plus, even if she would come back every time, she would always return damaged and changed. How could she do that to the love of her life? To make things worse, that if she would die, Rosalie would perish too. Her mate couldn’t live without her, according to vampire science at least. It was a lose-lose situation. She was a fragile human and it was only a matter of when and not if, she would die. A lightbulb went on in Bella’s head and she gave a start.

“What if I turned?” she wondered out loud. Kate, who was in the middle of an insult to her sister, faltered.

“What?”

“What if I turned?” Bella repeated, this time to Kate. The blonde stared at her cluelessly.

“Into a vampire,” Bella elaborated.

“Absolutely not,” a familiar voice protested. Both Bella and Kate turned around to face Rosalie, who stood in the doorway with a frown.

“Why not?” Bella challenged.

“Why would you want to?” her mate countered.

“It would simplify things,” Bella explained. “I’m a fragile human being. If I’m cursed to time travel, at least that way I won’t die. I could return unscathed, at least physically,”

“I’m not turning you,” Rosalie crossed her arms, her eyes blazing.

“Then I’ll ask Carlisle to do it,”

“The hell you will!”

“Why not?” Bella matched Rosalie’s stance, glaring stubbornly back.

“I will not condemn you to this life,” the blonde replied with a scowl. “You don’t want this,”

“Why the fuck are you putting words in my mouth?” anger flared up in Bella’s stomach.

“You don’t know what you’re asking of!” Rosalie spat back.

“I do!” Bella insisted.

“Not if you’re readily asking for it without a second thought,”

“I’m not asking it without a second thought,”

“I will not allow this,” Rosalie growled and Bella stilled at her words.

You will not allow this?” she narrowed her eyes. Rosalie’s expression wavered at the tone.

“You don’t understand. This life is hard,” Rosalie argued in lower voice.

“As if my life isn’t hard already!” Bella exploded, unable to keep her anger in check.

“It will only be more difficult that way. You shouldn’t give up your humanity this easily,” her mate said almost desperately.

“What fucking humanity?” Bella glowered. “I’m losing it already at this rate,”

“Don’t say that,” Rosalie shook her head sadly.

“It’s true! You can’t deny it,” Bella began pacing. “This is destroying me, and I have no idea if I’ll survive these little field trips. You know how close I came dying last time,”

“You shouldn’t do it just because of that reason. You’re a fighter, I know you can pull through. You don’t have to be a vampire,”

“It’s not just because of that!” Bella stopped and glared at her girlfriend, although its effect lessened with the tears that gathered in her eyes. “There are many reasons. How about the fact that if I die, you’ll die?” Rosalie opened her mouth but closed it right away. “Jasper was careful to be vague as possible in his explanation of mates but I’m not an idiot, I can read between the lines,”

“Don’t think about me in – “

“Of course I’m fucking thinking about you!” Bella cut her off. “I’m always thinking about you,” Rosalie’s expression softened. “I can’t willingly accept my death, knowing it will be the cause of yours,” the irony of her statement did not escape her, but she was doing her best to keep suicidal thoughts at bay these days. “You deserve better than that. You deserve better than this!” Bella blinked away the tears. “Even if I don’t die during my travels, I’ll most certainly die of old age. I’ll be that creepy old lady with the young super-hot girlfriend,” in any other situation, it would sound like a joke, but now it just sounded sad. Rosalie seemed to agree with that fact, as her eyes turned sorrowful. “Or maybe I’m just misreading this whole situation and you actually don’t want to spend forever with me?” Bella accused, hating how her voice broke on the last syllable. Rosalie shook her head and took a step forward, but Bella held her hand up to signal her to stop. The blonde froze in her steps, pain evident in her eyes and Bella averted her eyes.

“Of course I want to spend forever with you,” Rosalie insisted sincerely. “I love you more than anything. Which is the sole reason I don’t want to condemn yourself to a cursed life,”

“Cursed life,” Bella repeated in a flat voice. “You’re saying my life isn’t cursed as well,”

“That’s different,” Rosalie replied stubbornly.

“I could die any second. Everyone I know and care about are vampires – “

“You don’t know the implications!” the blonde interrupted, anger returning to her voice.

“If I may point something out,” Jasper appeared out of nowhere, almost flinching when both Bella and Rosalie turned to him with a glare. “Newborns are dangerous, and their bloodlust is uncontrollable. If you turn and travel soon after, you’ll be a danger to every human you encounter,”

“See?” Rosalie looked at Bella with relief. “You’ll only end up killing people and I don’t want you to experience more death,”

“Don’t even pretend you thought about that until Jasper mentioned it,” Bella spat.

“Bella-“

“There’s another reason that you’re not telling me,” she stared at her girlfriend, who quieted down.

“There are a few things being a vampire that-“

“Jasper shut the fuck up!” Bella snapped at the man, who shrunk in on himself. “This conversation doesn’t involve you,” she turned back to Rosalie. “Why don’t you want me to become one of you?”

“I…” Rosalie trailed off; her expression hesitant.

Bella nodded to herself and tried to ignore the pain her reaction and words gave her. Apparently, her mate didn’t want her forever. She was obviously growing tired of her. Maybe she had changed her mind about loving her. Were they even true mates? Was their shared body temperature merely a fluke and a theory made up by Carlisle? Her mind began to spiral. Maybe Bella was a good distraction for some time, but not enough for thousand years. She could understand that, after all – who would want to spend their life with someone like her? Someone who was so damaged and fucked up? Someone with so much blood already on her hands that she could eventually paint the whole Washington state red. Someone who rarely smiled and was prone to fuck up all the time. Who could not provide happiness or a normal life? Truthfully, why would she want to spend forever with Bella? It was a sobering thought.

“Well. There we have it,” she said quietly under her breath. “In hindsight I suppose I should have expected it,”

“Bella – “

“I understand,” Bella glanced up, swallowing at the sight of Rosalie’s pain-filled eyes. “It’s good that we cleared that up before things got too serious,”

“What are you talking about?” the blonde asked in a confused voice that held desperation to it.

“It is what it is,” Bella tried to smile but it came off more as a grimace. “I need to go,” she forced out and hastily dried the tears that ran down her cheeks. She refused to appear as weak as she felt. She would at least leave with some of her dignity intact.

“Bella?” Rosalie took a step towards her, but Bella sidestepped. “No!” the blonde grabbed her arm, firmly but not enough to hurt her.

“Let me go Rose,” Bella whispered. “I can’t be here right now,”

“No you have to let me explain!” tears were forming in Rosalie’s eyes and her voice sounded so broken that Bella almost gave it a second thought. Instead, she took a long look, taking in Rosalie’s beauty for the last time. This was inevitable and Bella was foolish enough to think their relationship would last. After all, Rosalie was so out of her league that it wasn’t even funny. At least she got a taste of happiness, if only for a short amount of time.

Bella opened her mouth to say goodbye, when a familiar, yet always strange, sensation overtook her body. She grimaced in pain and clutched her stomach. She felt Rosalie’s hands steady her as she wavered on the spot and there was panic in the blonde’s voice, but Bella could not register the words. It was supposedly poetic it should end in this way. Bella smiled bitterly as she locked eyes with a tearful Rosalie. Another set of hands touched her back and she turned her head to meet Emmett’s eyes, who seemed just as panicked as her girlfriend. She would miss her best friend too. Bella closed her eyes and prepared herself for the ride. She opened her mouth to speak but before she could form words, she disappeared.

 

 

Rosalie's POV

 

Rosalie grasped empty air when Bella disappeared in her arms. She let out an anguished cry as she fell down to her knees, squeezing her eyes shut. What had she done? She ruined her chance and sent her mate into her death. She let Bella go with her thinking that she didn’t love her. That she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life with her. She hadn’t even explained herself. That she hated her vampire life so much that the thought of Bella becoming a monster too, destroyed her. Without those words, of course Bella would jump into conclusion that she didn’t want her. Rosalie had noticed Bella's increasing dark mood the last two days, something had been bothering her.

A memory of Emmett’s advice from a few weeks ago came to mind. “I’m not saying Bella is a flight risk, but she tends to doubt herself and other people as well. When that happens, she is prone to jump to conclusions and second guess everything. While she’s finally starting to open up about her feelings, she is a master of self-destruction. If you don’t say the things she needs to hear, her mind will conjure up the worst possibly images,” Bella’s self-hatred was well known to her so of course Rosalie should have realised how she would react without hearing the whole story. While Bella had been working tirelessly at healing her trauma, Rosalie hadn’t touched her own. She had promised Bella to work through her baggage as well but all her focus had been on her mate, wilfully ignoring her issues with being a vampire. It wasn’t fair to her mate to be the only one trying to heal. And now Bella was gone. She punched the ground underneath her, her fist going through the porch as it made a huge hole.

“She’ll come back,” Emmett murmured beside her, although he too seemed at loss. Not wanting comforting words, Rosalie stood up and blinked, although her tears would never shed.

“Rose,” Esme’s sweet voice called out worriedly. Rosalie turned around and noticed for the first time that her whole family, including Kate, Tanya and Irina, were standing behind her. They all looked equally worried and sad. Unable to look any of them in the eye, Rosalie fled the scene and disappeared into the forest.

 

 

Bella’s POV

 

She fell to the ground harshly, wincing in pain. This was not her day. She stubbornly tried to fight the incoming tears but without much success. It wasn't enough that her heart was shattered in pieces but now she had to deal with another trip to the past? 

“Well well, we meet again! Why so blue?” Bella looked up in surprise at the familiar voice. 

“You!”

“Me!”

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

Recap:

 

She fell to the ground harshly, wincing in pain. This was not her day. She stubbornly tried to fight the incoming tears but without much success. It wasn't enough that her heart was shattered in pieces but now she had to deal with another trip to the past? 

“Well well, we meet again! Why so blue?” Bella looked up in surprise at the familiar voice. 

“You!”

“Me!”


 

Bella's POV

 

“Am I cursed by some cosmic fate?” Bella muttered under her breath as she stared up at the grinning face of the vampire. James hadn’t changed one bit, not that she expected him to. He still wore that same smug smile and held himself in an annoyingly carefree manner. Or at least Bella found it annoying.

“How are you dear time traveler?” James asked cheerfully. “I admit that I thought your tale was far-fetched and perhaps the atmosphere of the camps had turned you into a loon but all the things you said have turned out to be true,” he paused. “And there’s the fact that you literally appeared out of thin air right in front of me,”

“Great,” Bella deadpanned, and with great difficulty, stood up. She rocked dangerously on the spot but James quickly grabbed ahold of her arm to steady her. While she was thankful for the assistance, his touch made her extremely uncomfortable. After all, he was still a Nazi Vampire to her. “Where’s your…companion?”

“Oh she went off to get a snack,” James smirked and Bella couldn’t help but to shudder. She was pretty sure what that meant.

“Where are we?” Bella decided to ignore the fact that Victoria was probably murdering someone in cold blood in that moment. They were standing in the middle of a dirt-road and the sun was almost blinding. She winced as it did nothing to help her throbbing head. The surroundings were unfamiliar and while there were signs of civilisation, it was far cry from Forks. They were clearly standing on an outskirt of a town or a village, but other than that, Bella had no idea. She highly doubted she was in North-America, the air was too humid and the sun too hot.

“You’re just full of questions aren’t you?” James asked rhetorically. “How about you answer some of mine,”

“Quid pro quo,” Bella replied without skipping a beat.

“Latin, well aren’t we fancy?” James whistled lowly. “You’re awfully confident for someone standing in the presence of an apex predator,” Bella merely shrugged. He was right after all. A normal person would be terrified standing in front of a human-drinking vampire but Bella was far from normal. She was also pretty sure she was disassociating from reality and her body hadn’t grasped onto the real danger she was in. Her mind was still somewhat occupied by what had happened earlier.

“You have yourself a deal traveler,” the vampire smiled, obviously entertained with her nonchalant attitude. “We are currently in Rwanda!” James spread his arms as if he was making some grand introduction.

“In Africa?” Bella’s eyes bulged out. It explained the temperature and the blinding sun at least.

“Correct!” James gave her a mocking smile. 

“What year?” It was a standard procedure by now to figure out when after where. The detail could end up saving her life. Bella furiously wracked her brain for her limited knowledge on African history. There was something about Rwanda that she was forgetting.

“Enough of that,” the vampire waved dismissively. “I answered your question, now you have to answer mine,”

“Fine,” Bella sighed. “Fire away,”

“How does your power work?” James perked up with childlike glee.

“No idea dude,” the time traveler shrugged helplessly. “I just disappear from my time and appear in random places. I have no control,” the left out the fact that it always seemed to happen under emotionally stressful moments. He didn’t have to know that.

“Fascinating,” James murmured. “Why aren’t you afraid of me?”

“It’s my turn,” Bella shot back. “What year is this?” Instead of being angry by the refusal, he seemed amused.

“1994,” he shrugged. “20th of April to be exact,” Bella stilled. That year sounded significant. What was she forgetting about?

“Now answer mine. Why aren’t you afraid of me?” James insisted.

“There are worse things in life than vampires,” Bella answered honestly.

“I see,” James looked as if he was fighting the urge to pout.

Bella rolled her eyes and shifted her focus to her environment. She had no idea why she was here, but experience had taught her that something terrible was about to take place, if it hadn’t happened already. She was by no means equipped to deal with another trauma. Why couldn’t she ever travel to Disney Land? Or maybe a tropical beach? Her mind drifted to the moment just before she travelled. Rosalie’s tearful eyes, the desperation in her tone, the awful realisation that forever wasn’t an option for them. Why was she never enough? René didn’t want her, she only ever disappointed her father, she was always worrying her friends and the Cullen’s were constantly dealing with her shit. Why was she always such a fuck up? Maybe she had been better off without knowing what happiness tasted like. The saddest thing about it all was that she had finally, after many sessions with Jasper, accepted that love was a real thing. She had been in the company of mated vampires for long enough to see that the love between them was authentic. She even believed at one point that she was Rosalie’s mate. Maybe a small part of her still did. After all, why would vampires go through all that effort to convince a human that she belongs with them if that wasn’t the case? That made no sense. Even if she thought they were bored after centuries of bland existence, they weren’t the types to emotionally torture humans in a manipulated way. The whole thing was confusing and Bella didn’t know what to think of it. Whatever the reasoning was, it didn’t take away the pain that Rosalie didn’t want a forever with her. That was a bitter pill to swallow. Maybe she had grown too dependent on Rosalie and the Cullen’s. She had always been self-reliant. Technically she didn’t need anyone. Even though she wanted nothing more than to spend eternity at the blonde’s side, she was more than capable to be on her own. Bella rubbed her eyes tiredly. That last bit was a blatant lie. She needed Rosalie more than she cared to admit and that fact stung. She was stupidly in love with the blonde vampire goddess. She wanted to scream in frustration, or cry, whichever came first.

“Why do you look like you just swallowed a lemon?” James’ voice interrupted her inner monologue.

“None of your fucking business Adolf Wannabe,” Bella snapped back, irritated to be stuck with his presence.

“Relax,” James held his hand up in surrender, an infuriating smirk tugging his lips. “No need to pull up the melodramatic teenager act with me,”

“Fuck you,” Bella told him tonelessly.

“So sensitive,” James teased, obviously having a great time with pushing her buttons.

“Why are you here?” the time traveler demanded. “Is there a Nazi reunion happening or something?”

“I was never a Nazi,” James informed her with an amused smile. “Merely a fan,”

“Because that’s so much better,” Bella muttered under her breath.

“I’m here for the show,” James ignored her comment.

“Coming from you that sounds ominous,” Bella deadpanned.

“I’ll take that as a compliment!” James seemed unordinary pleased about that.

“It wasn’t intended as one,”

“Come with me,” not that Bella had any choice, since the vampire grabbed ahold of her arm and began dragging her along. The first thing she noticed that it was eerily quiet for a town. The second thing was the god awful smell, and the fact that there was something familiar about it. It was the same thing she had smelled in ancient Rome and at Treblinka. Realisation came crashing down when they encountered the first body. Bella swallowed thickly as she stared at the severed head, resting in a pool of blood next to its torso.

“Jesus Christ,” she murmured faintly, but James kept walking and gave her no time to adjust. They entered a town square, and this time Bella couldn’t help but to throw up. James rolled his eyes and stared at her impatiently as she emptied her breakfast. When Bella thought she was finally done, she looked up at the carnage and threw up again. There were dead bodies everywhere, and the streets were decorated with blood and severed limbs.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” James stared at the scene with a faint smile. “This has been going on for days!” he added giddily. Bella opened her mouth to ask but then she was hit with a memory from her History Class. Rwanda. 1994. Genocide.

“Fuck,” was the only thing that could sum up her situation.

“James,” Victoria appeared out of nowhere, only sparing Bella a bland look, before focusing on her mate. “They are on their way,”

“Excellent!” James rubbed his hands together with a huge smile. “You can stay for the show then,” he told Bella, who was busy panicking. This was not happening. How was she here?

“The church then?” Victoria asked sweetly.

“Yes,” James nodded. “Come now traveler, let’s join the others,” before Bella could protest, he took her arm and started walking.

“Others?” Bella stumbled over a dead body, a girl no older than ten. She cringed, her heart breaking for the young child’s fate but before she could mourn, she was pulled away.

“The remaining Tutsi in this town,” James answered happily. “Although they won’t remain for much longer,” he laughed and winked at Victoria, who seemed faintly amused with his antics. Bella hated them both.

“How are you not in a blood frenzy?” the time traveler couldn’t help but to wonder. They were too calm for human drinking vampires in this bloody environment.

“A lot of practice!” James informed her smugly. “You have to master your own weakness to be able to play the game well,” Bella rolled his eyes at the ambiguous answer. She decided not to ask further questions, she had wasted enough on this madman.

“You knock Tori,” James ordered as they came to a stop in front of an old, weathered church. Victoria wasted no time and knocked a few times. There was silence for a few seconds, until the door opened slowly and a man stuck his head out, suspicion clear in his eyes. His eyes widened as he took in their appearance, obviously bewildered by their unlikely presence. He was probably expecting locals, not a grinning blonde, an aloof red hair and an apprehensive brunette. He said something in an unfamiliar language and to Bella’s great surprise, Victoria responded in same, although with a much harsher accent. The man eyed them for a long moment before he finally gave them a nod and moved away to let them inside. James shot him a blinding smile, dragging an unwilling Bella behind him.

“That was easy!” he commented to Victoria, who gave him a smug smile. Bella decided to ignore the duo and focused on the other occupants in the room. Her heart dropped. The church was filled with families, all looking beyond exhausted and terrified. Small children were crying while their parents did their best to calm them down, although Bella suspected with empty promises and false hope. After all they were completely powerless in this situation. She remembered reading a bit on the Rwanda genocide, although not as much as she probably should have, but what she read was purely devastating.

“We should do something,” she murmured under her breath. She couldn’t let all those people die. She couldn’t have a repeat of Treblinka.

“And what on earth are you going to do?” James spoke up, startling Bella from her thoughts. She hadn’t realised she had spoken out loud.

“Warn them? Lead them away? I don’t know. Maybe you can kill those who are about to attack? Protect these people?” Bella suggested desperately, grasping at straws. 

“Why on earth would I do that?” James sounded baffled at the notion.

“To show some human decency?” Bella snapped back. “To prevent the murders of innocents? There are children in here! Families that will be slaughtered! They have done nothing to earn this treatment. Do you now care at all?”

“Nope,” James shrugged. Bella bit her tongue, wondering why she wasn’t even bothering with him. She turned towards Victoria.

“No,” the red-haired woman said before Bella could even ask. “Now shut up, they are here,”

“Great!” James roughly grabbed Bella’s arm and pulled her to an alcove at the far end. He pushed her behind him, as if shielding her from an incoming attack.

“What the fuck?”

“Shut up,” Victoria ordered as she took her place next to her. Bella strained her ears but only could only hear muffled conversation around them and faint cries from the children. Then she heard it. A vehicle turning up, and someone shouting in a foreign language outside. Everyone inside froze and the children began to cry earnestly while the adults made desperate attempts to shush them. A whole minute passed in tense anticipation until a thud sounded from above. Bella, along with almost everyone else, glanced up in realisation. They were on the roof. The time traveler frantically tried to break free of Victoria’s hold but she was too strong. The vampire didn’t even budge.

“You have to do something– “ Bella’s words were swallowed by the first spray of bullets. She flinched hard as screams filled the room. Victoria pressed her further into the wall under the alcove, where they were miraculously saved from being hit. Bella knew then that their placement was strategic, the vampires had known what was about to happen. 

“Be still,” Victoria hissed in her ear. Bella flinched as the bullets kept pelting down from the ceiling, like unforgiving rain. Victoria’s grip was tight and left Bella rooted on the spot while James’ eyes kept flickering from the scene to Bella’s face, the biggest smile on his face. Bella had never hated anyone as much as she hated him in that moment. He was enjoying this, the bastard. Victoria’s face was at least indifferent. Although Bella wasn’t sure if that was any better. Both deserved to burn in hell.

“Listen!” James shouted gleefully, a sadistic glint in his eyes. Bella wanted nothing more but to cover her ears. The sound was the worst part, the screams mixing in with the loud gun fire. Finally, after what seemed like hours but was in fact only a few seconds, the gunfire ceased. Someone shouted outside and the doors were torn open. A group of soldiers marched inside, eying their handiwork before promptly leaving. Somehow Bella and the two vampires remained hidden. A few minutes later the vehicle drove away. As soon as it was clear they were gone, Victoria released Bella, who almost fell flat on her face.

“Isn’t this exciting?” James exclaimed, surveying the area with a giddy expression.

“You sick fuck!” Bella screamed at him, tears rushing down her cheeks. “What the hell is wrong with you two?” Everyone was dead. There was so much blood that Bella almost threw up again. Men, women, children, no one was spared. Is was a massacre. Bella stared and the scene with a heartbroken expression. These people had done nothing to deserve this treatment, absolutely nothing. Her gaze settled on to a young boy, curled in the arms of his father, who had tried his best to shield his son’s body. Nausea hit Bella the third time that afternoon and she swayed on the spot.

“So emotional,” James sounded disappointed. “One would think a time traveler would have a thicker skin,” he added to Victoria, who shrugged in disinterest. “Death is a beautiful part of life Bella, the sooner you accept that, the sooner you’ll be free from your shackles of humanity,”

“There is nothing beautiful about murder!” Bella snapped back. “Let alone a fucking genocide,”

“Sure there is!” James closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Bella only stared at the vampire in disbelief. This had to be the most fucked up vampire in history.

“Is this your thing?” the words were out of out of her mouth before she could rethink them. “You just follow genocide wherever you go?” she remembered his intrigued expression at the Nazi Camp. “This shit gets you off?” she did nothing to disguise the disgust in her voice.

“No,” James opened his eyes and red met brown. “This is merely research,”

“…research,” Bella echoed dimly. She had no idea how to process that information.

“Yes,” he nodded with a secretive smile, as if he was about to reveal something wonderful. “I’m a tracker,” Bella just gave him a blank stare. “That means I live for the hunt,” he walked towards a decapitated body of a young man, crouching down to poke his body experimentally with a thoughtful expression. Bella cringed at the visual and looked away. “I track humans and hunt them. However the game has become somewhat repetitive throughout the years so whenever opportunity arises, I seek inspiration,”

“…inspiration,” the time traveler muttered. James was the epitome of evil, that much she was sure of.

“Humans have an affinity to kill one another. As much as I hate your kind, I can’t help but to admire your hard work,” James gestured towards the endless bodies in front of the church. 

“Just kill me already. If only to spare me from your lecture,” Bella was more than done with James and Victoria. She could not reason with them so what was the point?

“So dramatic,” Victoria rolled her eyes. “Just kill the girl and be over with it,”

“Not yet my dove,” James told Victoria, who turned almost bashful under his loving gaze, much to Bella’s disgust. “She needs to play the game,” the game? Bella shifted nervously.

“Very well,” Victoria agreed. “You need to hurry though, I doubt we’ll be alone for much longer,”

“Excellent point,” James smiled. “You heard the lady,” he turned to Bella. “So like I told you earlier, I’m a tracker. The game is very simple,” his eyes gleamed with delight. “You are my prey,”

“That’s just perfect,” Bella spat out. “Because these days the world only ever expects me to bend over,”

“Cease your mindless blabber,” Victoria seized her arm. “No one cares about your woes,”

“Come now traveler. Don’t you want to play?” James’ eyes sparked with excitement. “Victoria, let go of her,” the red-haired woman let go of Bella immediately. “Ready?”

“No,”

“Go!” James barked. “You get a few minutes of head start. Run!” Even though it was fruitless, and she would undoubtably be captured right away, Bella’s instinct took over and she started running. James’ hysterical laughter almost made her want turn back to punch him in the face, even though she would break her hand in the process. How the fuck was she supposed to get out of this one?

 

 

 

Rosalie’s POV

 

She stared at the sunset with a blank expression, barely taking in the breathtaking view. She had been sitting in that tree for almost two days and she knew her family was worried, but she couldn’t bear to face them yet. The memory of Bella’s last words kept running through her mind like an endless loop.

“Or maybe I’m just misreading this whole situation and you actually don’t want to spend forever with me?” Rosalie wanted nothing more but to spend eternity by Bella’s side. “Of course I’m fucking thinking about you! I’m always thinking about you,” Rosalie closed her eyes, her beautiful features twisted into a grimace “In hindsight I suppose I should have expected it,” In hindsight Rosalie should have known Bella would misinterpret her words and jump to conclusions. Although to be fair, Rosalie hadn‘t done a very good job at explaining herself. Of course Bella would expect to be turned into a vampire one day, it‘s only a logical assumption. In fact Rosalie knew her family thought the same thing, even Edward. She was the only one who had been against it. “Let me go Rose,” the memory of the pain she had detected in those whispered words were enough to send her off again into blind rage. She grabbed the branch next to hers and ripped it violently off the tree and threw it as far as she could. “Let me go Rose,” that was the last thing she wanted. She only ever wanted Bella close.  “Or maybe I’m just misreading this whole situation and you actually don’t want to spend forever with me?” Rosalie let out a small growl. Why was she always such a self-destructive idiot? How could she deny the love of her life?

“Do you want company?” Jasper’s voice cut into her self-loathing inner monologue.

“If you’re here to lecture me, I’m not interested,” Rosalie murmured in a defeated voice.

“That was not my intention,” her brother replied softly. There was a brief pause, before he jumped up and sat down on the branch next to her.

“Maybe you should,” Rosalie sighed. “After all, I’m the idiot who broke my mate’s heart because I can’t seem to get over my issues,” a long silence stretched between them.

“There’s still time,” Jasper stated calmly. Rosalie gave him a sardonic glance.

“For all we know, she could be dead by now,” she told him hollowly.

“I find that highly unlikely,” the ex-soldier commented. “Bella is unlucky, but she knows how to handle herself,”

“It probably didn’t help that she was distraught when she traveled. Maybe she’ll be too distracted – “

“Give her some credit,” Jasper cut in sternly. “Yes she might be in an emotional state, but that seems to be a consistent pattern with her travels. She’s always in some turmoil but still always survives,”

“You’re right,” Rosalie murmured in a contrite tone. “I’m just worried,”

“So am I,” Jasper admitted freely. “However, there’s nothing we can do but wait,” Rosalie nodded, reluctantly reassured by his words. It did nothing to quell the guilt about their exchange before Bella left, but it helped her to refocus. There was always one thing she could do while she waited and the perfect person to help her was sitting next to her.

“You feel guilty,” Jasper studied her intently. “Yet there is a newfound purpose in you,”

“Will you help me?” Rosalie blurted out.

“With what?” Jasper asked kindly. He probably knew what she was asking for, still he needed her to say it. Rosalie steeled herself and exhaled shakily.

“To help me get over my issues,”

“It will take time,” Jasper pointed out patiently.

“I know,” she swallowed. “Luckily I have plenty of that,”

“Very well,” Jasper gave her a small smile, which she automatically mirrored. “Let me go Rose,” Not without a fight.

 

 

 

 

Bella’s POV

 

“How disappointing,” James lamented as he caught Bella for the fifth time. “I had such high hopes for you but all your attempts are so…unimaginative,”

They had chased her through three small villages already and Bella was beyond exhausted. She had tried every trick she could think of but intellectually she knew there was nothing she could do. They were stronger and faster than her in every sense. The only escape she could think of, was to travel back to her own time. So for the last two hours, she had been thinking of Forks while she ran, but to no avail. In her defence, it was hard to concentrate while being chased by two psychotic vampires through bloody streets littered with dead bodies. Even if she could ignore those two factors, thinking about Forks only made her think about her last conversation with Rosalie, which made her heart ache with sorrow and bitterness. At this rate she doubted she would ever get home.

“She’s nothing special,” Victoria added her two cents, ignoring the glare Bella gave her.

“I suppose,” James sighed.

“We can always torture her?” Victoria suggested, eyeing her forlorn mate.

“What the hell is the matter with you people?” Bella asked for what seemed like the tenth time.

“Excellent suggestion my love!” James perked up and before Bella could begin to protest, she was yanked violently towards him. “I think I’ll start with your hands, after all you still need legs to run,” All blood drained from Bella’s face. 

“Someone’s coming,” Victoria announced suddenly. “Someone dangerous,”

“Relax Tori,” James made a dismissive gesture. “You’re too paranoid,”

“Well that has kept us alive so far, hasn’t it?” it was the first time Bella had ever seen Victoria snap at James.

“Hearding!” a voice Bella hadn’t heard in ages called out. She blinked in surprise and turned around in James arms. A familiar vampire was walking calmly towards them, with two other vampires a step behind him. “What a delightful surprise!” Bella stared at him incredulously. He was still just as beautiful, with lean figure, pale skin and fair blonde hair. The only thing that was different about him was that he no longer carried a sword.

“You?” she gaped.

“Indeed,” the vampire smirked. “I recall meeting you in the 8th century,” he tilted his head curiously. “Which pegs the question, how are you here? You are not a vampire, nor a werewolf,”

“She’s a time traveler,” James answered before Bella could.

“How fascinating,” the man’s gleaming red eyes sparkled at the information.

“Who are you?” Victoria eyed the newcomers suspiciously, shifting slightly towards her mate. James seemed oddly at ease with the situation, although that didn’t surprise Bella. James was so unhinged that she doubted anything worried him.

“I am Caius,” the vampire paused dramatically. “Volturi,” Bella didn’t react to the name, but James and Victoria sure did. For the first time ever, Bella noticed hesitation in James expression. "These are my royal guards, Demetri and Felix" he gestured towards his companions, who remained expressionless.

“Your highness,” Victoria greeted tightly. Bella only just managed to not roll her eyes. Vampire royalty? Just her luck.

“Not to be rude, but what are you doing here?” the time traveler wondered out loud. Victoria shot her a glare in warning but she paid it no mind. Caius did not smile but his eyes betrayed his mirth.

“I had forgotten your…spunk,” he began pleasantly. “It is rare that a human fails to cower in front of a vampire, let alone steal their sword,”

“I didn’t steal it. I only borrowed it,” Bella shot back.

“Did you return it?” Caius raised one eyebrow.

“Touché,” Bella said with a sheepish expression, which only served to amuse him further.

“I am here because I heard rumors of a werewolf in Tanzania,” red eyes darkened and amusement was replaced with anger. Bella swallowed at the abrupt shift, realising she was dealing with a different breed of vampire. James was probably a kitten compared to Caius. “I was merely passing through, when I noticed a scent I haven’t smelled in more than a millennia,” he gestured towards Bella.

“I am honoured,” Bella stated flatly, inwardly cursing her lack of filter. Why did she always have to be such a smart ass in dangerous situations? If Jasper were here he'd probably call it a defence mechanism. Bella mentally shook her head. This was not the time to think about the Cullen's. 

“As you should,” luckily Caius only found her amusing. “I do however wonder why you are in the company of vampires?”

“Rotten luck,” the time traveler forced out. “Definitely not by choice. They practically dragged me here to witness genocide,”

“Humanity is so odd,” the ancient vampire eyed the scene with thinly veiled disgust. “There is no glory in this death,” he sighed heavily.

“No glory?” James snorted. “Death is death,”

“What a primitive way of thinking,” Caius raised one eyebrow, and despite the tense situation, Bella fought the urge to smirk at James’ annoyed expression.

“That’s a fairly accurate description of his character,” she couldn’t help but to snark, still bitter about James’ earlier manhandle and his promises of torture. Not to mention his plans to kill her. Caius shot her an amused smirk.

“This human is not fond of you,” Caius informed James, who snorted.

“I can always kill her,” James gave Bella a blood-thirsty smile. “That was the plan anyway,”

“Ah, we can’t have that,” Caius tutted softly. Both James and Victoria gave him disbelieving looks. “I’m afraid I have my own plans regarding our little time traveler,” Bella sighed. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

“Brilliant,” she deadpanned, wondering if this nightmare would ever end. Being killed by Nazi tourist vampires was bad enough, but being whisked away by vampire royalty for unknown reasons sounded like the worse option.

“I’m glad you agree,” Caius remarked pleasantly. “Now, let’s be on our way,” he nodded to his guards, who moved to block the road ahead. As if she could escape anyway. “In fact I know two vampires who would love to meet you,” there was a knowing glint in his eyes, as if he was in on a joke that the rest of them were not privy to. James sighed heavily, but let go of Bella, who quickly moved away from him.

“Now before we go, what to do with you two?” the ancient vampire mused to himself, staring at Victoria and James.

“We’ll leave the country,” Victoria insisted. “There’s no need for more bloodshed,” she sounded nervous, much to Bella’s pleasure. It was only fair she wasn’t the only one who was nervous in this scenario.

“That’s one solution,” Caius agreed pleasantly, as if discussing the weather. “What do you think?” he suddenly turned to Bella.

“What?” she frowned. Was he really asking her opinion?

“What do you think I should do with them?” Caius asked. “I think it would be entirely appropriate that you should decide their fate, after all - they decided yours before I intervened,” Victoria blinked in surprise while James maintained his aloof expression, even going as far to shoot her a smirk. It was clear he did not believe her capable of doing anything but suggest to Caius to let them go. He was still probably thinking about the small lecture on human decency and her stance on murder. Bella however was thinking about his sadistic smile as he watched children being butchered, and Victoria’s emotionless mask as one of the women they encountered in in the second village begged for mercy. If anything, Bella would be doing the world a favour.

“Kill them,” her voice did not waver as she glared at the couple, ignoring Caius pleased smirk.

“What?” James dropped his smile.

“You deserve to die,” Bella informed him tonelessly. Victoria let out an anguished cry.

“Very well,” Caius inclined his head.

“Wait – “ James’ words were cut off abruptly as Caius moved at terrifying speed. Bella hadn’t even blinked before James’ head was pulled off his body. She stared at ancient vampire in disbelief.

“Burn him,” Caius ordered his guard. “And kill her,” he pointed at Victoria, who was thrashing in one of the guard’s holds.  “Come my dear,” he offered one arm for Bella to take, like the perfect gentleman. Bella swallowed thickly and hesitantly latched on.

“Where are we going?” she asked apprehensively, trying to ignore Victoria’s furious wails in the background.

“Italy,” Caius answered calmly. “But first, werewolf hunting,” his sharp smile was bloodthirsty.

“Great,” Bella stuttered, feeling more alarmed by his smile than what had occurred a minute earlier.  

“I think you will enjoy yourself,” Caius informed her pleasantly. “I know I will. I haven’t torn apart a werewolf in decades. This will be fun,”

“I’m happy for you,” she said tonelessly. She had escaped death for the time being, but her situation was undoubtably more dire than before. At least James promised to kill her. Who knew what Caius intended to do? Bella was positive that werewolf hunting was not as fun as he made it sound like.

 

To be continued...

Chapter Text

Recap:

 

“Where are we going?” she asked apprehensively, trying to ignore Victoria’s furious wails in the background.

“Italy,” Caius answered calmly. “But first, werewolf hunting,” his sharp smile was bloodthirsty.

“Great,” Bella stuttered, feeling more alarmed by his smile than what had occurred a minute earlier.  

“I think you will enjoy yourself,” Caius informed her pleasantly. “I know I will. I haven’t torn apart a werewolf in decades. This will be fun,”

“I’m happy for you,” she said tonelessly. She had escaped death for the time being, but her situation was undoubtably more dire than before. At least James promised to kill her. Who knew what Caius intended to do? Bella was positive that werewolf hunting was not as fun as he made it sound like.

 

 


Bella's POV


Bella almost wanted to punch herself in the face. How did she not tell Caius that Victoria would escape? How near-sighted of her to miss the fact that is was James’ death that was the cause of Victoria’s obsession with her in the future? Could she have changed that though? Victoria was after her in the future so obviously past events had to become true? She could hardly change the narrative. Wouldn’t that mess time up more than her mere existence did? Bella rubbed her temple, feeling a massive headache coming on.

“Do not fret so dear traveler,” Caius’ voice startled her. “You’ll get wrinkles,”

“That’s the last advice I expected to get from a vampire,” Bella snorted.

“I am a fountain of knowledge, both human and vampire,” Caius smirked, prompting a snort from Bella.

“Sure,” she rolled her eyes, ignoring the disbelieving looks from the two vampire guards. She couldn’t fault them, she doubted other humans rolled their eyes at the King of vampires.

“What has you frowning so?” Caius drew her attention back.

“I just realised that I created a problem for myself in the future,” Bella answered vaguely.

“As we all do from time to time,” the vampire added in a blasé manner. “That is not solely an issue of the mortal,”

“I’m sure,” she smirked before faltering. “Victoria is hunting me in the future,” she wasn’t sure why she told him that, it’s not as if he would care. Caius gave her a thoughtful look.

“I have a proposal for you then,”

“Go on,” Bella eyed him with apprehension. She did not like the devious glint in his eye.

“If you help me with my werewolf infestation, I will help you with your vampire infestation,”

“There’s obviously a catch,” Bella blurted. “It’s not as if you need my help,”

“That much is true,” the vampire mused. “However, you intrigue me and I desire your company on my quest. I have a feeling your presence is needed,” Bella fought the urge to scoff. That was annoyingly cryptic. Although, it was not as if she had much choice. Plus, maybe Caius was right and werewolf hunting would end up being fun. The time traveler exhaled heavily. Famous last words.

 

 

 

Bella stared at the roaring fire with a solemn expression. The trip had not taken as long as Bella had anticipated, perks of traveling with vampires. Caius had quickly grown bored of Bella’s human pace and ordered one of his guards, Felix, to carry her as they ran towards their destination. It merely took a few hours, and they were already in Tanzania by nightfall. When they reached a huge lake, Felix finally put her down and started gathering wood to light a fire. Bella didn’t know if it was on Caius orders or not, but she was incredibly thankful for the considerate gesture. After all, vampires required no heat, so this was purely for her benefit. The time traveler was shivering from head to toe when Felix pushed her gently towards the newly lit bonfire. Then he and the other guard, Demetri she learned, informed their leader that they would get started. Bella was too tired to care about what that ominous statement included, so she settled on sitting by the fire to warm up. Strangely, Caius opted to do the same, though she suspected it had more to do with keeping her company than anything else.

While it was dark, it was impossible to ignore the beauty of their surroundings. She wondered idly how it would look in the morning light. Despite having no knowledge of the land, Bella couldn’t help but to ask where they were. When Caius replied with a smirk that they were at Lake Victoria, Bella groaned and nearly facepalmed. The irony of the name did not escape her, nor Caius judging by his growing amusement. It seemed Victoria continued to haunt her wherever she traveled.

“What now?” she asked dully, not looking up but knowing she had Caius attention.

“Now we wait,” the vampire royalty answered in a measured tone. “If there is a werewolf in this area, which I suspect there is, the beast will reveal itself at night,”

“What can you tell me about werewolves?” she finally asked. While she wasn’t thrilled to be in this quest, it wasn’t as if she could protest. She might as well know what they were up against. She vaguely remembered Kate fighting one, but she only remembered noises. She hadn’t actually seen one yet, nor did she know anything about them.

“Werewolves are evil,” Caius spat out with more venom than Bella was prepared for. She wasn't sure he had any moral high ground with his diet but tactfully remained silent. She eyed him warily but he was staring into the fire, red eyes glinting with pure hatred. Bella almost shivered at the sight and silently vowed to never piss Caius off. “They are mindless beasts, feral wolf-like creatures that destroy anything in their path,”

“And they only come out at night?” Bella asked when it seemed like Caius wasn’t about to say more.

“Yes,” Caius nodded. ”They are human beings during the day time but at night and the fullest phase of the moon, they transform,” Bella glanced up at the moon and hoped her gulp wasn’t audible. Of course there had to be full moon.

“Great,” she deadpanned. “So how do you kill them? Silver bullets?”

“A mere myth,” the vampire shook his head. “They have enhanced strength and speed, rapid healing, and heightened senses,” He’s afraid, Bella realised with growing trepidation. That sentiment did not bode well for herself. Werewolves must be utterly terrifying to even scare a vampire. What the fuck did she get herself into?

“I’m not sure if you realise but you’re pretty badass too,” Bella cleared her throat. “I’ve seen vampires in action, you’re indestructible,” she wasn’t sure at this point if she was reassuring Caius or herself.

“No,” Caius’ eyes darkened. “Vampires and werewolves are natural enemies. Children of the Moon are the only ones who have the capability to kill a vampire,” red eyes met wide brown ones. “I was nearly killed by one two thousand years ago,” Bella grimaced. This scenario was turning bleaker by the minute.

“What about your venom?” she wondered, remembering one of Carlisle’s lectures on vampires.

“They are immune,” Caius answered. Bella just stared at him blankly. Why on earth was he willingly seeking out these creatures?

“Then how the fuck are we going to kill one?” she demanded, ignoring the ‘we’ part for the time being. Why was she even there in the first place? She had no enhanced strength or speed. In fact, she was so fragile compared to Caius that it was laughable. He could kill her with one finger. Her superpower, if she could even call it that, was to travel through time but she had no control of it. It was not as if she was an asset to this werewolf expedition. Then a thought occurred.

“Am I bait?” she wondered, her tone oddly detached for the terrifying prospect of ending up as werewolf snack. Truthfully at this point she didn’t really care about her fate. She wasn’t actively seeking danger and wouldn’t offer herself as a bait without a second thought, but there was a small relief attached to the idea.

“While they do feasts on humans and have a strong reaction to blood, you are not here to act as bait,” Caius answered slowly, staring at her as if trying to solve an interesting puzzle. “I am unsure if I should be worried about your lack of protest at potentially serving as one,”

“You and me both buddy,” Bella murmured and gave a small shrug.

“I am unused to see humans so nonchalant about their fate,” the vampire mused out loud. “Normally they plead and cry when facing doom,”

“I’m an abnormality,” the time traveler smiled sadly. Truer words have never been spoken.

“So it seems,” Caius seemed utterly charmed by the idea. “So you aren’t afraid of death?” he even leaned forward, as if excited to hear her answer. Bella snorted.

“At this point I’d even welcome it,” her mouth twisted into a strange smile. The guards seemed unnerved by her response but Caius smiled and let out a bark of laughter. The act made Felix and Demetri exchange an uncomfortable look.

“You are fearless! Like me,” Caius declared grandly, and Bella had to bite her tongue to not point out his obvious fear towards werewolves. She might welcome death but she wasn’t actively searching for it. Well any more at least. “I knew you were special,” the vampire rambled.

“My King,” Felix bowed his head slightly when Caius turned towards him. “It is time,”

“Excellent!” Caius clapped his hands together with childlike glee. “Gentlemen, get into position,” It was then when Bella noticed what Felix and Demetri had been up to while she and Caius talked. A few paces from the bonfire were a few metal spikes shoved into the earth. When Bella looked around she noticed that these spikes were on three other places in the area as well.

“What, are you just going to push the creature on to the spikes and hope it bleeds to death?” she asked, so far unimpressed with the plan. Caius shot her a small smirk.

“Among other things,”

“Such as?”  

“Demetri?” Caius demanded and the guard handed him what looked like a javelin from the Middle Ages. In fact, Bella had only seen such a weapon in a historical museum and pictures of it in books.

“So you’re going to poke it to death?” Bella raised one eyebrow. To her surprise, Caius only laughed and gave her a fond look. She had no idea what to do with that.

“Werewolves have one obvious weakness,” Caius lectured. “A plant named Aconite,”

“A plant,” the time traveler repeated in a flat tone.

“Yes Aconite is also known as Wolf’s bane,” the vampire smiled darkly. “I once met a Potions Master in Siberia, who shared my hatred of werewolves. He developed a potion, made from Wolf’s Bane,” he paused. “Among other things but you needn’t know the entire recipe. If you get the potion into the beast’ bloodstream, the results are incredibly effective. We’ve used this method for over a millennia,”

“So it kills it?” Bella asked curiously, silently pondering what else was in that potion. Caius didn’t want to share so it had to be something deadlier than a mere plant.

“Not quite,” Caius shook his head, seemingly pleased about Bella’s curiosity. “It weakens it enough for the final blow,” a twisted smile painted his angelic features. Bella refrained from shuddering at the dark promise in his eyes and tore her eyes away and studied the spikes again.

“So you coated the spikes and the javelin with the potion,” she guessed, a bit surprised by the fatherly smile she received in return. Caius looked like a proud teacher.

“Exactly,” he turned towards his guards, who both held javelin of their own.

“A friend of mine fought a werewolf once,” Bella began hesitantly, which seemed to surprise Caius and brought his attention back to her. “I’m pretty sure she didn’t have one of these potions though,”

“She fought and won?” he seemed incredibly interested in that. Bella paused at that. She actually never got the whole story from Kate. She only remembered two furious growls and then silence.

“I’m not sure if she killed it or not but she won the fight,”

“Well…” Caius looked thoughtful. “Some werewolves are weaker than others, the species has a hierarchy, like vampires do. It’s a bit more complicated for werewolves and we don’t have the time for all the history but to keep it simple, it depends on the status of the werewolf and the age,”

“And do we know anything about this particular werewolf?” she asked apprehensively.

“An alpha and incredibly old at that,” Caius shrugged with nonchalance while Bella froze. “I’m almost looking forward to this. I haven’t had a challenge for a long time. The only ones I’ve encountered for the past hundred years have been mediocre and pathetically easy to overpower. If there is any truth to rumors, this one is going to be a tough one,” Bella gulped. Just when she thought the situation couldn’t get any worse, the enemy was ancient and extra powerful, on top of everything else?

“Wait, if you guys are going to stab it. What am I supposed to do?” Bella asked with wide eyes.

“You’ll figure it out!” Caius smiled at her reassuringly, which did in fact not reassure Bella one bit. Was he crazy? She stared at his gleeful smile and caught the menacing and somewhat unhinged twinkle in his eyes. Yes, he was most assuredly not sane.  

“That sounds more like a threat than helpful advice,” Bella quipped. To her surprise, Caius threw his head back and laughed.

“I like you Fearless human!”

“I’m not sure that’s a good thing,” Bella murmured to herself. James said the same thing once and he turned out to be a sadistic maniac. Did she attract these sorts? What on earth did that say about her character?

“Better to be liked by the King than killed by the King,” Demetri offered gravely. Bella dipped her head in acknowledgement. Wise words indeed.

“Get ready!” Caius ordered as an inhuman growl sounded from across the lake, echoing in the trees surrounding the area. “Come out and play you disgusting mutt!” the vampire yelled, laughing menacingly at the answering growl, which sounded beyond furious.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Bella almost whimpered. While she displayed a lack of care for her own health before, she wasn’t prepared for this.

“Avoid its teeth,” Felix advised from her left, his eyes focused on a spot across the lake.

“I thought that was given,” Bella snapped back, dread crawling up on her.

“If you get bitten, you turn into one of them,” Felix elaborated, ignoring or oblivious to her growing panic. “Then we’ll have to kill you,”

“Awesome,” she squeaked, shifting nervously in place as the growls grew closer.

“Stay behind us,” Demetri instructed on her left. Under any other circumstances, Bella might be touched by their concern, but in that moment she was too busy freaking out.

“I hate my life,” she stated seriously and, in that moment, a werewolf came into view. “Fuck,”

 

 

 

 

 

Rosalie’s POV

 

Rosalie stared at Esme’s flowerbed with a blank look. The last few days had been tiring but despite the difficulty of her sessions with Jasper, her newfound determination had now wavered. She had to do this, if not for Bella then herself.

“Is Jasper like your family therapist?” a familiar voice rang out. Rosalie’s lips quirked up at the question.

“Sort of, I suppose,” she settled on. If not a family therapist, then at least hers and Bella’s. Perhaps he would put them through couples therapy next. The amusing idea lost its appeal as soon as she remembered her situation. That all depended on if Bella even wanted her back.

“She’s coming back,” Kate seemed to read where her mind went as she ungracefully plopped herself on the ground next to Rosalie. “And she’s taking you back,”

“You look remarkably like Kate this morning Edward,” Rosalie snarked, feeling vulnerable at the transparency of her thought process.

“Please, I’m way hotter than Edward,” Kate sassed back with a hair flip. Rosalie’s lips twitched.

“Come on, that was almost a smile!” Kate complained and Rosalie rolled her eyes. After Bella disappeared it had been a combined effort of Kate and Emmett to make Rosalie smile. So far, they had not succeeded.

“Do you need something?” Rosalie asked instead of dignifying that with a response.

“How are you doing?” Kate asked in an uncharacteristically serious manner. Rosalie had to bite down on her usual snarky retort, just like Jasper advised her to. According to him she was too defensive and did not make enough effort to connect with people. “It’s okay to show feelings Rosalie,” While an unusual choice of person to start practicing on, Kate would suffice for now. Remembering Jasper’s words of wisdom, she took a deep breath and reminded herself to stay calm.

“I’m…” Rosalie deflated. “Pretty miserable actually,” the truthful statement surprised her just as much as Kate, whose eyes widened briefly.

“That was more honest than I expected,” Kate admitted.

“I just want her back home,” Rosalie murmured quietly, eyes pointedly focused on the flowerbed. Jasper would surely forgive her for not practicing eye contact at the same time. Baby steps.  

“We all do,” Kate said just as quietly.

“I lied,” she swallowed thickly, ignoring how Kate’s head snapped towards her. “I want nothing more than to spend forever with Bella,”

“Why did you lie?” the older vampire prodded gently, even though she must surely know the answer.

“Because I’m afraid,” Rosalie swallowed thickly.

“Of what?”

“Many things,” she laughed bitterly, shaking her head. “That she’ll hate being a vampire, just as much as I have for the last decades. That she’ll grow restless and bored of our never changing nature. Most of all I’m afraid she’ll get tired of me when she realizes I’m not as special as she thinks I am. And when that happens, she’ll still be stuck as a vampire forever,” Of all the reaction Rosalie expected, laughter wasn’t it. She pried her eyes from the flowerbed and eyed her laughing cousin.

“You guys are so made for one another that it’s almost sickening,” Kate rolled her eyes fondly. “However this self-hatred path you’ve both been walking down has to end. I admit that I don’t know Bella as much as you do but even I can see how much she hates herself,” Rosalie’s stomach twisted at the last words. “She’s just as insecure as you, if not more. Still, despite the shitty hand life has dealt her, she still fights,” topaz eyes bore into topaz. “She fights for you Rosalie,”

“I know,” Rosalie whispered forlornly.

“I’m not sure you do,” Kate raised one eyebrow.

“Of course I know!” Rosalie threw her hands up in exasperation, her earlier promises on staying calm forgotten. She stood up and glared at Kate, who looked unimpressed at the gesture. “I know her history,” granted not all of it but Kate didn’t have to know that. “I’ve witnessed her breakdowns when she comes back from the past, eyes filled with horror and melancholy. I know how much she blames herself for every little thing that happens and how she bears the weight of the world on her shoulders! I still see her pick herself up time and time again and continue living the best way she can. I know she’s contemplating suicide every now and then and struggles with reality but still refuses to give up, for me!” Rosalie’s glare turned into something fierce, enough to make Kate lean back in her seat. “I know she’s had countless opportunities to roll over and accept defeat but she still refuses to bow down. Don’t you dare tell me I don’t know because I fucking do!” she practically spat the last sentence, eyes furious and teeth bared. There was silence for a long moment as Kate just stared at her with a stunned expression. Then, a slow smile appeared and she clapped her hands. Rosalie faltered and gave her cousin a puzzled look.

“There it is!” Kate jumped to her feet, eyes shining with happiness. Rosalie just stared.

“There’s what?”

“The fire I’ve been looking for! Waiting for actually,” Kate beamed.

“What on earth are you talking about?” Fire? If anything, Rosalie just did the opposite of what Jasper advised her to do. She lost her cool.

“As we’ve established, Bella fights and endures horrors to be with you. It’s about fucking time you realize that you are capable of fighting just as much for her,” Kate’s smile lost its intensity and she softened. “You’ve been sulking for the last few days. I know you’ve been working with Jasper, which I wholly approve of. However you’ve lost the fire that makes you Rosalie Hale,”

“Oh,” Rosalie blinked stupidly, unsure how to respond.

When Bella returns you better make her realise that you are willing to fight for her as well. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid, as long as you don’t allow it to cripple you. Apologise and be honest but don’t lose what makes you, you,” Kate looked at her fondly. “You and Bella have something rare, something to be envied for. Don’t throw it away because you’re too chicken shit to admit you have insecurities. Hell if you don’t want her, I’ll take her,” Rosalie instinctively began to growl, which only made Kate laugh. “Down girl, she’s yours,”

“Yes she is,” Rosalie forced her animalistic impulses and tried to focus on why beating Kate into a pulp was not a good idea when she was trying to help her relationship.

“I get it,” Kate’s humour died down. “You’ve been dealt a shitty hand in life too. But that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve love and happiness. If anything, you deserve it more than most,” Rosalie shifted, feeling uncomfortable under Kate’s soft and compassionate gaze. “Doesn’t Bella deserve love?”

“Of course,” Rosalie replied without skipping a beat.

“Then why do other rules apply to yourself?” Kate wondered, which Rosalie had no answer for.

Although Kate’s approach was more straight forwards and she used way more emotional whiplash, instead of Jasper’s coaching and gentle words, her methods were effective. “Think about it,” Kate winked playfully.

“I…thank you,” Rosalie offered sincerely. While blunt, Kate's words held merit. Rosalie wondered idly what speech Bella would have given her, probably something eloquent and deep. Bella had her way with words after all. God how Rosalie missed her. 

“You’re welcome cousin,” Kate’s smile was so infectious that Rosalie couldn’t help but to smile back. “Hah! Emmett! I won the bet!” Kate shouted gleefully, pointing at Rosalie’s face.

“Damn it,” Emmett whined from somewhere in the house, which made Kate cackle evilly. For the first time since Bella disappeared, Rosalie laughed.

“Double points!” Kate exclaimed giddily and made a strange version of a victory dance.

“Are you kidding me?” Emmett sounded oddly furious about the whole ordeal and there was a ruckus of noise until the backdoor swung open. “I was about to bring the big guns out and everything!” Both Rosalie and Kate turned around and the latter started howling with laughter. Rosalie just stared at her brother in disbelief. Emmett wore a chicken mascot outfit, his handsome face peeking out from hole where the face was supposed to be, a plastic beak attached to his mouth. “You even stole my ‘chicken shit’ line!” he pointed accusingly at Kate with one feathered arm. Rosalie just kept blinking, wondering if she was disassociating or if this was really happening.

“I’m sorry, did I ruffle your feathers?” Kate shot back, laughing hysterically at his deadpan expression.

“Are you okay?” Emmett turned towards Rosalie, who was frozen on the spot.

“Why…” she trailed off, glancing between a laughing Kate, who was now rolling on the ground and Emmett, who was staring at her with concern, dressed as a chicken.

“Emmett! Did you steal my eggs?” Esme stepped outside but paused when she noticed her son’s attire. “My word,” she seemed speechless. Emmett shuffled awkwardly and with a sheepish expression, reached behind him and pushed a wooden basket into her hands. Something about the image was too much and Rosalie finally broke. Peals of laughter escaped her, joining in with Kate’s roars.

“Sorry mom,” he cleared his throat, but shot Rosalie a happy look. “I just wanted to make Rosalie smile,” something warm and happy twisted in Rosalie’s stomach at his words. He utterly abandoned his dignity and made an utter fool out of himself, just to make her smile.

“You idiot,” Rosalie exclaimed fondly when she finally calmed down, her heart bursting with love for her favourite brother.

“Hey guys have you seen…” Irina stepped out on the porch but grew silent as she took in the scene. Other members of their family trailed after her.

“What in the world?” Tanya laughed happily.

“Wow brother,” Alice smirked, which was mirrored by Jasper.

“It was for Rosalie!” Emmett said defensively. “She’s been too gloomy,”

“Well your taste in humour is im-peck-able,” Jasper deadpanned, which made Kate start again.

“That was an egg-ceptional chicken pun dear husband,” Alice complimented her mate, smirk firm in place.

“Whatever!” Emmett folded his feathered arms. “I’m hilarious,” the sight drew another giggle from Rosalie, which seemed to make him preen with pride.

“Why can’t you kids just be normal for once?” Esme muttered, but her smile betrayed her sentiments.

“Are you trying something new son?” Carlisle asked seriously, though his eyes danced with merriment.

“As…amusing and confusing this all is,” Irina gestured towards Emmett. “We have a problem,” Rosalie suppressed the urge to sigh, amusement fading quickly. Of course there was a problem.

“What is it?” Kate picked herself up and gave her sister a worried look.

“I’m sure you’ve all noticed the increased murder rate in Seattle recently?” everyone nodded.

“It’s Victoria,” Alice spoke before Irina could continue. “The Nazi Tourist vampire with all the cryptic messages,” she elaborated.

“She’s gone out on a killing spree?” Kate furrowed his brows.

“Worse,” Alice shook her head and Rosalie braced herself for the incoming news. “She’s creating a newborn army,”

“What the fuck?” Emmett and Rosalie blurted out at the same time. Even Esme didn’t scold them for language, and instead shifted closer to Carlisle.

“Why?” Emmett wondered. “What does she want?” Alice’s eyes met Rosalie’s, who knew the answer even before Alice answered.

“Bella,”

 

 

 

 

Bella’s POV

 

 

The beast was enormous. While called werewolf, it did not entirely resemble an actual wolf. Its forelegs were more powerful than their hind legs and it still had usable hands with opposable thumbs. Its stance was more upright, making the beasts movement somewhat ape-like, rather than entirely canine. Its fur was almost black, and it had patches all over, revealing multitude of scars. Sharpened claws and the pointy canines in its huge mouth spoke of its dangerous and deadly manner. In truth Bella would rather call it a monster than a wolf.

“Fuck me,” she breathed out loud, unable to tear her gaze away from the powerful figure. It looked like it could kill an army with a single move and to make things worse, it seemed furious.

“I’ve been hunting your kind for decades,” Caius informed the werewolf calmly. “This will not end well for you,” Bella almost wanted to slap the vampire. Why on earth was he engaging this monster? She flinched at the powerful howl that followed Caius statement.

“Very well,” the vampire King inclined his head. “Your funeral,” then with his weapon wielded high, he ran towards the werewolf, which met him halfway. Bella stumbled back at the force of which the enemies met, the noise acting as a flashback to the time she spent shaking on the forest floor as Kate fought to defend her. She mentally shook her head and focused on the present, watching as Felix and Demetri entered the fight. They were all incredibly fast and precise with their hits, still the werewolf fought just as hard. It was almost a blur of motion to Bella’s human eyes, but the soundtrack was loud and clear.

So far, the werewolf had evaded every offensive swing from the vampires’ javelins. They were also unable to lure the beast towards the spikes, only trading blows near the water bank. Bella was growing increasingly worried over the outcome when almost five minutes had gone by and the vampires had done no real damage. The werewolf however had managed to batter them in return. Demetri was missing an arm and his entire face was full of cracks. It wasn’t until Felix’s head flew off that Bella realised that they might actually lose. Caius small lecture on werewolves had included dietary options and while she was a time traveler, she was very much human.That thought gave her a pause. If she could somehow distract the beast, Caius and Demetri might have a chance.

Mentally cursing her reckless nature, Bella ran to Felix’s body. While she knew he wasn’t dead, it was still upsetting to see a body without its head. Refocusing, she picked up the discarded javelin and eyed the blade critically. While the potion was supposedly weakness to werewolves, she had no idea if it was deadly to humans. Bella glanced up at Caius snarl and watched as Demetri was slammed into a tree across the lake. It didn’t matter because in the end, if she did nothing then they would all end up dead. Steeling herself, Bella brought the end of the blade down and with one move, she sliced up her left arm. The result was instantaneous. Both Caius and the werewolf snapped towards her, noses sniffing as blood poured down on the ground. Fortunately, Caius seemed to have more self-control than the werewolf, which quickly snapped into action and ran full speed towards her. Bella’s eyes widened in fright and instincts took over, as she threw herself to the side. The wolf soared above her, landing with a loud thud a few meters away. Bella wasted no time in scrambling to her feet and instead of picking up the javelin again, she made a split decision and sprinted towards the spikes. Unfortunately she wasn’t fast enough and blinding pain shot through her entire system as she felt her neck grazed by one claw. Despite the agony, Bella twisted away and made desperate attempt towards her desired destination. The werewolf seemed overcome with blood thirst and made a final jump towards her. Bella had miscalculated her landing and instead of appearing behind the spikes, as she intended, she landed beside them. She could only watch with growing horror as the beast flew towards her, mouth foaming and black eyes wild.

Then, just when Bella thought she was about to get eaten, Caius blurred form appeared from the side and grabbed ahold of the unsuspecting werewolf. In one fluid motion, he twisted the creature in the air and pushed down. Bella stared in disbelief as the wolf landed on the spikes, howling with agony as the tips punctured its body. Apparently the injury was insufficient in Caius mind so he jumped on top of the wolf, pushing it further down on the spikes. Caius then jumped away just in time and landed gracefully beside Bella, wearing a huge grin. Bella stared incredulously between the two enemies. The vampire King calmly picked up the javelin Bella held before and offered the wolf a savage smile before stabbing it between the eyes. The werewolf gave a pitiful moan before it slumped down. It was finally dead. As if that wasn’t enough, Caius raised the weapon again and swung again. The werewolf’s head rolled away. A bit of an overkill in Bella’s opinion.

“Holy shit,” was the first thing Bella could come up with. Caius looked at her and laughed merrily.

“I am not delusional enough to think I could have won that fight without your help,” his smile seemed both proud and grateful. “Hearding is still an apt name for you,” Caius declared fondly. Bella shifted awkwardly, unsure how to respond to his words. Luckily she didn’t need to, since Demetri returned, holding Felix head in one arm. He was still missing his left one.

“Fix him,” Caius ordered, his firm tone leaving no room for objections. “Meanwhile we should probably try to mend you as well,” he glanced at Bella. “That seems painful,” surprisingly that seemed to trigger something inside of Bella and she started registering the incredible pain she was in. She glanced down at her arm, which was bleeding profusely. Honestly she was impressed by Caius’ restraint, he seemed remarkably at ease considering she was bleeding so much. And while her arm hurt, the pain on her neck was worse.

“Fuck,” she grunted as Caius ripped off a strip from his own shirt and wrapped her arm.

“You are incredibly lucky,” Caius informed her casually as he ripped the top of her T-shirt open. “It was only its claws and not teeth,” he gently touched the wound, ignoring Bella’s hiss of pain. “Otherwise I would have had to kill you,” he shot her a smile, laughing when she muttered a few obscene curse words under her breath.

“How bad is it?” she finally asked as he watched him work. For someone who loved killing, he was incredibly adept at applying makeshift gauzes.

“Not bad at all. Better than being dead I reckon,” the vampire answered cheerfully. It will take some time to heal and it will scar unfortunately,” Bella shrugged, before wincing in pain. She really didn’t care about the scars, it would only be an addition to her already impressive collection.

“Will the Wolf’s Bane potion have any affect?” she hesitantly asked.

“I have no idea,” Caius paused. “I highly doubt it. The ingredients are mostly harmless to humans,”

“Mostly?” she didn’t like the sound of that.

“Do not fret young one,” the vampire smiled happily, which seemed odd on his normally solemn features. “Today is a good day! You helped me slaughter a werewolf,”

“You did well,” Demetri walked up with Felix in tow. They still had cracks all over their bodies but at least Felix had his head on this time and Demetri both arms. Bella’s eyes shifted back to Caius, who didn’t have a scratch in his person. In that moment it was obvious why Caius was King.

“I call her Hearding you know,” Caius told his guards with a grin. “She never hesitates in face of danger that one,” or most likely that she didn’t have any regard to her own health.

“Fearless human,” Felix smile reminded her of Emmett. Bella offered a wobbly smile of her own before awkwardly clearing her throat.

“Well our mission was successful! I think it’s time we head back home,” Caius declared. The word home hurt more than both bleeding wounds on Bella’s body. Did she even have a home any more? Sure she had Charlie’s house but that never felt like a home. If anything it was the Cullen’s warm inviting home that –

“Italy?” she blurted in a desperate attempt to distract her wandering mind.

“Yes,” Caius answered, although he did give her a worried frown. “Volturi,”

“That’s great,” she managed in an unconvincing tone. “Let’s go,”

“Where is your home?” Felix asked as he gently helped her to her feet. Bella faltered at the question.

“United States, Washington,” she exhaled shakily. “Forks,”

“I’ve never been,” Demetri began conversationally. “Do you like it there?”

“I used to,” Bella muttered, reaching out to balance herself when her feet almost gave away.

“Well I promise that you will like Volturi,” Caius picked up the werewolf head casually, as if he was picking up a discarded sweater. “I want you to meet my wife! And Aro and Marcus. There are also two others that would love to meet you,” he added with a mysterious smile.

“Sounds great,” Bella plastered a smile on her face, trying to ignore the pang of sadness in her heart. Maybe she could make a new home in Italy. Perhaps it was better this way, at least she had friends there. Well human drinking vampires that had no qualms about killing and actively sought out fights with other supernatural beings, but they seemed friendly enough. Perhaps she was completely losing it, after all she had never been a great judge of character. Yes maybe a new start in Volturi wouldn’t be so bad. Though could she just leave everything in Forks behind? What about the Cullen’s? The Denali’s? Most of all, what about her mate? Images of Rosalie’s beautiful face flashed in Bella’s mind. Were they truly over?

“Fuck,” Bella fell down on her knees at the first imaginary blow to the stomach. She knew that feeling quite well, she was going back. Both relief and panic followed that realisation.

“Hearding?” Caius sounded worried.

“Remember my powers?” Bella grit out, closing her eyes as the next wave of pain hit her.

“Yes, you travel through time,” Caius answered calmly. “Is that happening right now?”

“Yes,” Bella nodded. “I’m afraid I have no control over it,”

“Pity,” the vampire king sounded genuinely sad. “I wanted you to come,”

“Well maybe in the future?” Bella joked weakly.

“Yes! I owe you a favour after all,” Caius smiled before turning towards Demetri. “Give her Athenodora’s one,” Bella fought consciousness but was dimly aware a strange sensation on her right arm, as if someone was scribbling something on it.

“Just ask for me! Thank you for our adventure, Hearding. I look forward to our future meeting,” was the last thing Bella heard before she blacked out.

 

To be continued...