Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight (wishing I did doesn't count)


Chapter 1

The group of men was riding slowly through the woods. They were fast, but they were determined. The leader of the group was lost in thoughts. No one dared interfere and ask him when they were going to stop and have a break. There were rumours that the head of them was going to meet his fiancée, so they were keeping their distance. No one wanted to meet with Edward's wrath, and he had been in the worst of states since they had departed on their quest.

Although of marrying age, Edward seemed only preoccupied with battles and hunting. Not that he was a monk, as most of his men knew, but he had never contemplated marriage as such.

Therefore, they were all surprised when a week prior, Edward had barged in and announced them to prepare for a trip to a neighbouring land, where he was to meet his betrothed. Since he did not seem to want to offer more than that, they did not even return congratulations. But they all shackled and were now on the way to the Swan household.

It was a hot afternoon and they were not making much progress. They were now going along a beautiful blue lake, and they were all looking at it with want. Out of the blue, Edward stopped them and declared the afternoon free. They were free to roam and swim as they pleased. He himself took off ahead and told them he would return shortly.

He got off his horse and walked for a bit to clear his head. The last weeks haven't been to his liking. His mother, Esme, had always asked him about his commitments giving him subtle hints that he usually chose to ignore. However, the conversation took another turn a fortnight ago when she declared she had arranged his marriage from the crib with out of the Swan girls.

"Mother, I am sure no one took that seriously! It is the nineteenth century after all, I believe people can talk about it further…"

"Edward, I am afraid it is not so simple. Other than Renee being one of my dearest friends even though I have not seen her since childhood, I would never want to see her heartbroken knowing I could have done something."

"I am sure that this cannot cause so much sufferance as to warrant…"

"You do not understand, my son. They are destitute. If they are not going to marry one of their girls, the whole family will perish."

It was with these thoughts that Edward started his journey. The only concession that his mother made was that he could deny marriage only after he had been acquainted with his intended. Edward knew he could stay strong, but it also meant the more difficult task of telling Charles Swan no one wanted his daughters would fall into his hands.

As he was lost in his mind, he did not realize he had arrived at the far north of the lake. He decided this distance would do and prepared himself for a bath. But before he entered, the most formidable appearance took his eyes: a nymph was already bathing in the water.

He could only see her dark hair and beautiful back, but smiled to himself trying to imagine the rest. He peaked around and noticed some servant clothes hanging from the tree. He was going to be entertained.

"I did not realize this spot was so crowded," he shouted as way of introduction. The girl turned with a start, and as soon as she saw herself watched, she dived into the water to cover herself, but not before him catching her furious look.

"Sir, I beg your pardon, please return so I can get dressed!" she pleaded almost with authority.

"But I am enjoying the view too much. Actually, I was of mind of joining you," he smirked without actually making a step to enter. He just watched in horror as her eyes became more enraged. He was sure she would be throwing daggers at him through her look.

"Come at your own peril," she now replied mischievously.

Edward enjoyed this feisty girl, but still kept his distance. He liked it far too much just to tantalize her.

"What would your patrons say to your taking the day off and go ahead to swim?" again he tempted her words out.

She looked confused for a while, then answered in turn, "Then I am happy you are not my patron and I can swim in peace. May I suggest a spot further south that may be currently unoccupied?"

He was intrigued. She had not replied as he expected at his attempt of finding her employment. And she did not speak as a regular servant girl. Who was this girl?

"May I inquire who bestows such wonderful advice?"

"I am afraid my name is of no consequence in these parts and particular in this situation," she replied while turning her back and deciding to swim in the opposite direction.

He was dumbfounded. Used to having the final word, his sight fell on the disposed clothes again. He casually took them from the tree.

"I might follow your suggestion and leave this spot to you," following his words with a big thump as he discarded her clothes into the water, "I apologise, I am so clumsy."

He turned around only to hear a gasp followed by several curses. He only laughed.

*D*

His men were waiting for him when he returned. They all noticed he was in a much better mood, but did not comment on it. 'It's amazing what a good swim on a hot day can do,' they were murmuring, but only Edward knew the truth. He hadn't swam at all, but felt refreshed.

With cheerful thoughts, he declared they must reach the Swan household by sundown and as they set in motion, he couldn't help thinking back at the beautiful nymph with dark eyes he had left behind.

*D*

At the Swan house, the whole place was buzzing with excitement. Particularly Renee, who was overwhelmed by emotion and with the exception of Charles, who was reading in his favourite armchair. Renee and Charles Swan were as opposite as day and night. Where Renee was cheerful and loud, Charles was quiet and brooding. They started as childhood friends and it was anyone's guess what they saw in each other. Probably Charles did not want her spirits being crushed and his protective manner decided to marry her in order to ensure she would be safe. Maybe she just wanted to bring him some happiness.

After a quarter of a century of marriage and four girls later, their situation was not what they had originally expected. She wanted to travel the world and not settle anywhere. He decided it was wiser to remain in his family home and take up a business. Unfortunately, he was not a man of business. They could have been afloat were they more rational in their spending, but that would mean Renee would had had to be more moderate. There were no fingers pointed or guilt involved, but they had got themselves in a corner.

Unbeknownst to Charles, Renee had written to their childhood friend Esme, who had married rich and left their village, telling her about their predicament. They would have to sell the house soon. Maybe she had also inserted a paragraph reminding her about an old arrangement they had, that they would marry their children were they of different sexes. Renee could not have been happier to learn Esme Cullen had given birth to a boy named Edward. She didn't know if her letter would make a difference, but a fortnight ago she received a reply announcing the boy's visit! And now the whole house was set in motion.

"Oh dear, we need to make more stew! And do you think he will have a big party?" Renee would comment to her husband, not stopping from her chores.

"I would imagine one to fit his ego," Charles mumbled from his book.

"You do not seem to be fond of the boy, and you have not even met him!"

"As you say, I have not met him, but the reputation preceding him is not flaterring."

Edward Cullen was perceived as a strong, brave man, but callous and insensitive. It was no coincidence he had not married till this age, since apparently he never found a wife to satisfy him. That he might find one in his eldest daughter was a fact to be seen, Charles decided.

The noises outside became more pitched and the agitation grew – apparently Edward and his party had arrived.

"Well, I guess we need to greet him properly… Please tell Alice to get ready to meet her future husband!"


A/N: It is a time period fanfic, but although I will try my best, the language will be more modern. Please do not bring it up, if you don't like it, don't read it.

I have part of the story already written and will aim to posting once a week.

Hope you enjoy!