I parked my car at the end of the pavement, locking it before starting my run into the forest before me.
The rare sunny day was a great gift here in the Olympic peninsula, certainly during the spring. I'd managed to steal away from my family for the day to enjoy some peace and quiet in my meadow.
The light of the sun already trickled through the trees, and I appreciated the look of the forest around me as I passed through it. The green shifting gently to allow flickers of the golden, warm light through the canopy above. I listened to the wind, the sounds of the animals and insects, the nearby waterfall and river, appreciating the lack of anyone's mental input.
This was my haven, my favorite place, the only pocket in space and time where I could be completely alone with my thoughts.
I broke through the edge of the meadow in minutes. Stopping instantly as my skin refracted against the foliage around me. I exhaled slowly, tipping my face back to the sun, enjoying the warmth on my skin, the feeling of the tall grass against my fingertips. Moving to the center, I laid on my back, letting myself fall into perfect stillness. I suppose this was the closest I would ever get in this life to an afternoon nap, and I tried to appreciate it.
While I loved my family dearly, it often became tedious being the "third wheel" as it were.
I knew it also made them more comfortable to be alone with their mate without my overhearing their every thought. I was happy to give them their privacy, happier still to get my own.
The sun moved slowly across the sky, and I charted the time with the angle of the light beaming through the incredibly thin membrane of my eyelids. The average scents of the forest and the meadow were a comfort, and I took deeper breaths to entertain my mind with identifying the scents around me.
My eyes snapped open, and I was immediately in a defensive crouch, alarmed.
The scent was distant, but not terribly so, and certainly not distant enough that I wouldn't be able to hear them. It was the distinct scent of another vampire, the undercurrent of the odor of sanctity to the vibrantly floral scent was unmistakable. However I had never met a vampire that smelled quite like this…
I inhaled again, expanding my senses to attempt to find the strangers mind, irritated to find only continuous silence. For a moment I pondered if the scent was simply a remnant, certainly that would explain the lack of thoughts. The breath I took however unsettled me enough that I took off in the direction of it.
It was growing closer.
I wasn't used to following my nose alone, I was certainly no tracker vampire, but this situation unnerved me, normally my gift was stronger when it came to vampires, I was alarmed that this one seemed to negate my gift entirely.
When the scent suddenly changed direction, I followed it again, turning sharply, they must have sensed me as well.
Normally unfamiliar scents were of no great worry, it was common for nomads to pass through the mountains, but I couldn't shake the feeling that something about this specific nomad was different.
The scent changed direction again, but as soon as I followed it, a sound caught my attention and I rolled on instinct as the foreign body collided with me.
I snarled, anticipating an attack, but the stranger used their momentum to roll me backwards. We were only in contact for a moment, but as soon as her hands made contact with the bare skin of my arms, my senses went into overdrive.
Her eyes were deep red, but her face was almost innocent, eyes wide, nose a soft button, lips the color of clover, and slightly, just slightly, uneven in shape. Her hair, longer than even Rosalies, was a rich mahogany, glimpses of a coppery red flickered in the sunlight as she rolled over me and leapt away, disappearing back into the forest.
The sensation that had overtaken me when we'd made contact was still tingling up my arms. And I froze in shock. It was as though electricity had pulsed between us, but it was not an electricity I recognised. Not painful, nor sharp, but warm and almost...pleasurable. It still affected me deep into my core. Was this her gift? To stun? I played the half second of contact over and over again in my mind, inhaling her scent again. I had heard absolutely nothing. Even as she'd met my eyes and her scent,...freesia, nearly, peony and amber, warmed by the scent of the forest had utterly surrounded me.
I was more shaken than I wanted to admit, even to myself, as I stared dumbly in the direction she had vanished.
She hadn't harmed me, simply stunned me and ran. I wouldn't blame her for being frightened, but my frustration with this bizarre encounter grew enough to make me irritated once more. I took off after her trail once again, trying to find the strange, silent woman.
I returned home in a sour mood, I was empty handed, and just as confused as I'd been the moment I had caught her scent. I'd hunted on the way home in an attempt to drain my ire, "Stress eating" as a human would say, but it only helped slightly. I had not caught up to the mysterious female after that single moment of contact, not for hours of searching, and it had grown dark while I'd searched.
Before you ask, no I can't see her very clearly. I can't even see you very clearly at the moment.
Alice's petulant voice in my head caught my attention first, and I saw brief flashes of blurry figures moving in blurry forests, I also saw my cranky demeanor through her eyes. I took a deep breath, calming myself, I knew Jasper hated being around the house when I was being moody. And I needed to speak with my family.
As I stepped inside, Carlisle greeted me, the rest of the family arriving pair by pair in the living room.
"Alice mentioned we have a visitor in the region, and that you have come into contact with her." Carlisle looked to me to confirm, and I nodded quickly.
"She's alone, I doubt she's a threat, however I...wasn't able to communicate with her at all." I grimaced, disliking this admission. When newcomers came, it was my ability to read intentions that would inform my family how to interact with them until they moved on. Before anyone could express confusion with my meaning, I followed up.
"I couldn't...read her, at all." My family looked alarmed, and we looked between us.
"Has...has that ever happened before?" Esme questioned, concern in her voice. I shook my head no.
Carlisle was already considering his three hundred years of life trying to see if he knew of something similar happening before. He came up short.
"I don't see her as a threat." Alice chirped. "She's fuzzy, but I don't see anything that could be construed as an attack, she should move on in her own time."
"And I'm not going to waste my time tracking some fuzzy nomad when you're being rude about it." Alice followed, huffing indignantly at me. Once again I saw my cranky facade demanding such a thing from her.
"You realize you're angry at me for something I haven't actually done, Alice." I kept my voice calm and polite, arching my eyebrow at her. She pursed her lips at me and sniffed, suspicious.
"Regardless, I can't see her Edward, I have no answers for you." She murmured, shrugging.
I hummed to myself, and the family discussed it very briefly before deciding it was an insignificant matter, and going back to their personal activities.
I was going to find this female and I was going to understand why her mind remained silent to me. The curiosity was going to consume me if I didn't.
I scoured the forest for that scent once again, unable to describe this frustrating drive to capture and interrogate its owner. I felt a thrill as I caught it up in the branches of a large fir tree, following it's path like a bloodhound. Sooner than I anticipated, I saw rapid movement in the three hundred square feet before me, and my eyes locked on the briefest glimpse of long mahogany hair.
She was fast, agile, and I was becoming increasingly agitated with her element of surprise. She led me through the canopy of the forest, then jumped to the floor of it, ducking and weaving through exposed roots and tree trunks.
But I was closer.
I could see her better now, her figure slight and lithe, moon white skin, a burgundy, silk slip dress was the only thing she wore.
The sudden emotion that jolted through my dead heart nearly made me run headlong into the trunk of a large Sycamore tree.
I was absolutely taken off guard, this emotion was not familiar to me, nor was the reaction it stirred in me physically. Even Tanya, as lovely and as persistent as she was, had never brought about this response in me.
I forced my feet to hit the forest floor harder, focusing all of my attention on getting ahead of her, using a large root as leverage to launch myself forward several hundred feet, skidding to a stop with a cloud of dirt and moss, whirling around to catch her around her waist. I ducked out of the way of her arm as it swung at my head, attempting to free herself as she twisted to face me, snarling.
The electricity once again overtook me as my eyes found her face, now able to have a much clearer view of it.
Her lips were parted, but the grimace had dropped from her face as suddenly as our eyes had met. Once again I noticed they were slightly uneven, her lower lip just slightly too plump for her upper lip. High, delicate cheekbones, a sharp, heart shaped jaw and chin. A sweet, small upturned nose at the end of a straight and thin nose bridge gave her an element of innocence while her low set brows and sharper features hinted at her sultry lethality.
But nothing captured my attention quite like her eyes. While typically the red of a human hunter put me off, hers seemed like pools of water, rather than thick and muddy. So clear and expressive I felt as though I could drown in them. While her mind remained silent, I could hear everything she was thinking just by watching her eyes for the split second she was in my grip. Alarm, anger, surprise, confusion-
She twisted her body like a cats, taking advantage of my distraction to free herself from my arms, using my shoulder to leap into the trees above us. The emptiness of my arms made me react instantly, I couldn't just let her go!
"Wait!" I gasped, looking up into the thick foliage, unable to see her. I could smell her however, and I heard her movements hesitate.
"...I'm not going to hurt you…" I tried not to let my frustration bleed into my words, but not being able to hear her silent thoughts as she considered my words nearly sent me up the tree.
"...What do you want?" The soft, crystalline voice came from above me, and I could tell she had otherwise fallen perfectly still.
"To ask you a few questions…" I was anxious, if I had a pulse it would be racing, on the razors edge while I waited for her reply.
"...You can ask me one question, if you answer one of mine." She called, and I perked in surprise.
"What's your question?" I asked after a moment's hesitation, narrowing my eyes infinitesimally.
"Why are your eyes gold?" The question was so firm, it shocked me again, nearly a demand. Apparently I had frustrated her as much as she frustrated me.
"Ah, I don't hunt humans. None of the members of my family do, we subsist on animal blood exclusively."
I stood straighter as I responded, trying to see her through the leaves again as the wind shook them. I got the barest glimpse of her face, seeming to be searching for me as well.
"That's...possible?" She breathed, astonishment in her voice. "No human blood at all?"
"None. However, it's my turn." I reminded her, nearly vibrating with anticipation now.
"...Alright." Came the reply, sounding as suspicious as I had before.
"My gift doesn't work on you, this has never happened to me before, do you know why that is?" My words came out in a rush, I was desperate to get them out fast enough.
"Gift?" She sounded confused, and I growled in annoyance.
"I can hear a person's thoughts, but I can't hear yours."
The silence once again threatened to pull my brain out through my nose. I almost clawed out my eyes and growled a groan, but I desperately held it back.
"I have no idea." She responded.
Gods damn it all.
"I'm not doing anything special, I don't think." She was being honest, I could tell by the genuine sound of utter confusion in her voice.
Gods damn it all!
"Hmph." Was all I could respond with, utterly put out and annoyed.
"...I'm sorry?" Her confusion was even thicker, and the context of her apology was abruptly, incredibly amusing. I snorted a laugh, shaking my head.
"What is your name?" I replied, tilting my head up towards where I knew she hid.
"...Bella. Call me Bella."
Beautiful. I pondered why that name seemed to fit so perfectly into the space she occupied in my mind.
"...Call me Edward. Edward Cullen. My family is settled in this region. Perhaps, you could-"
We both immediately crouched to attention as the sound of another vampire's footsteps became clear over the sounds of the forest, I almost snarled, recognising them immediately, and then the mind that came with them. I turned my head up to try and inform her it was only my idiot younger brother, but she had already taken into the wilderness, leaving only her scent in her wake.
Hey bro! Did you find that chick?
Emmetts loud and surface level mind informed me of his location as he rocketed closer. I embraced my irritation, turning to face the incoming moron, and snarled as I launched myself at him to deliver a flying drop kick into the frontal bone of his obnoxiously thick skull.
I traveled to the forest every day that week, desperate to find this Bella again. She was completely unsure as to how her mind was untouchable.
However the only scent trails I was able to discover were stale, fading. My dismay at realizing she was, most likely, gone, was stronger than I expected or was prepared for. It ached, thinking about never meeting this bizarre nomad again, physically in my chest.
My family had grown increasingly annoyed with my exponentially worsening mood. Every time I returned home from another failed search left me anxious and angry.
Alice called me "mopey".
I couldn't understand my reaction to this, certainly this wasn't simply the cause of my unsatisfied curiosity. I found myself looping the memory of her face, her figure running that Tuesday evening. The now familiar ache in my chest only increasing with the reviewing of her lovely features. The sensation of her waist in my arms.
And a still unfamiliar stirring of my groin and other foreign emotions that came along with said stirring.
Nothing in over ninety years had genuinely given me an "erection" in the traditional sense. I knew I was a developed man, and I remembered that during my human years they had been quite common. However nothing since had actually caught my interest in that manner. I wondered what it was about her that caught my attention in this way.
I found myself rather, well, embarrassed by this situation, certainly when my mind presented me with some rather...salacious images entirely unprompted. Imagining the feeling of her against me again, her hands on my chest, my lips at her jaw, her delicate collarbone, her breast-
I shook my head violently to rid myself of the thought, I had only had one conversation with the woman! I was a little disgusted with myself, I had never before had such difficulty controlling or even suppressing that part of my brain. It was though a beast had been raised from the very depths of my long dead human needs.
I flicked on my stereo in an attempt to distract myself, focusing all of my attention on Claire de Lune and it's many intricacies.
As I listened, a melody began to pull itself from the main song, it was a haunting sound, and enraptured me. I shut my eyes slowly, placing my hands onto invisible piano keys, and carefully began developing the new composition.
At first it was curious, excited, the tempo held at about 130 BPM, but it began to change. I saw her eyes, heard her voice, and the music slowed into a melancholy and haunting confusion, the sound that had captured me before.
It sounded like a question, as though begging for the listener to answer it with their own melody, but I found my fingers still, the last note, the intonation tipping up and receiving no answer.
It only made me more frustrated, and I threw myself out my window to run to that now familiar stretch of wilderness I couldn't seem to escape.
Who are you, Bella?
I had begun to wonder if she was gone for good when the weekend came and went with not a sniff of her. But the melancholy didn't lessen at all in that time. I had returned to my meadow, in an attempt to remember that it had all just been a random curiosity.
I certainly hadn't expected to hear her voice.
"You didn't mention that animal blood is absolutely foul."
The accusation came from outside the meadow, and I was sitting up and spinning my head around at once in an attempt to find her.
"...I apologize, I was getting to it when we were interrupted. Where did you go?"
The last question slipped from my throat without my permission, and I hissed at myself unhappily.
"I...was trying to hunt animals, it was difficult to move my brain from human blood." She responded calmly, but I detected a hint of embarrassment.
"It isn't an easy lifestyle." I agreed, turning to where her voice was coming from slowly, almost humanlike.
"Are you supposed to feel...weaker?" She asked, embarrassment now annoyance. She was circling slowly, and I followed her voice with my eyes.
"I mean, I was able to catch you easily enough." I retorted, for some reason my immediate instinct was to tease her, in the hopes she would respond. I was about to slap my hand over my unhelpful mouth when she replied.
"Mm, true, but I was only trying to get away. It's obvious you rely on your mind-reading a bit too much when it comes to altercations." She sniffed, but there was a coquettish lilt to the last words. I suddenly heard her move, but the direction was lost under the shift of the forest around us.
"You are terrible at protecting your flank."
The voice came from a new angle, and I spun to face it, letting out a surprised grunt when something collided with my body from behind.
She was on top of me and pinning my hands in an instant, having flipped me onto my back. I felt my hackles raise immediately, her strength was certainly enough to contest mine, the human blood in her system providing her an advantage.
But she was smiling, almost...cocky.
Before I could arch in an attempt to roll her off of me, she was gone. A sweet bell-like laugh disappearing with her back into the woods. Was she...playing with me?
This was the most interested I had ever been in play fighting in my existence, I felt an unexpected, lopsided grin curl the corner of my lip, and I followed her laughter.
I caught up to her quickly, but she was holding herself differently than the day I had caught her. I tried to read her position, calculating my leap in an attempt to take her legs out from underneath her, but she avoided me nimbly, using her forward momentum to perform a back hand-spring up into the trees above her.
I had expected her to run again, but she stopped her forward trajectory with her feet on a thick branch, and almost instantly kicked herself off back in my direction like an arrow from a bow. She connected with me once again, pinning me onto my front this time. She sat on my back, and I heard her laugh again.
"You're certainly not used to being taken by surprise." she taunted, and then was up and gone again.
I stood in an instant, and followed once again. I could feel the foreign grin on my face, even though I was mildly frustrated at her ability to catch me off guard so easily.
I wanted her to keep winning.
This thought floated around the back of my mind as we continued our coy dance through the forest, connecting over and over again.
This had gone on for several days, trying to best eachother in combat, always ending with me pinned or prone and her snickering about her victory.
I had used this time to begin to ask her questions, I was shocked when she seemed to answer each one easily in her soft, melodic voice.
She was young, only about two years into immortality, her creator had been killed shortly after her rebirth. She had been on her own since then. She was twenty-one when she was changed, I was grateful, oddly, that I was only "One-Year" older than her. She missed music and films, but she still didn't trust her control in highly populated areas.
Her favorite color was ochre gold. She had a taste for classic literature. She preferred cats to dogs.
For every question I asked however, she also requested I answer, and the back and forth became just as sinuous and intimate as our dance.
I was growing frustrated with myself, when I looked in the mirror I didn't recognize the man staring back. After the beast desire had awakened, even more emotions had come with it. Like pandora's box had opened in my chest. I couldn't understand this intimate interest in the silent minded woman that had grown from a seedling to an all encompassing Ivy.
My family was becoming incredibly confused and annoyed by my constant absence from home, it was nearly painful to pull myself away from the bright little bubble she and I created as we volleyed back and forth. I managed infrequently to go back home to check in, mostly for Esme's sake.
It was on one of these visits that my adoptive mother had appraised me quietly as I played my newest composition, slowly bringing it to a resolution.
He looks so happy, I've never seen him like this. It's as though he's glowing! I wish he would let us meet this mysterious girl, I could swear it looks as though he's...in love.
I had frozen solid, hands locked in place, staring ahead and seeing nothing. In love?
Had I...fallen in love with her?
Panic bloomed in my chest.
The moment I had thought those words it had all fallen into place. Nothing felt more right than to say I had fallen in love with Bella. I loved her. Beautiful and coy and funny and intelligent.
It felt as though the entire world around me, for a moment, had settled into proper order, clicked into its proper place without another sound. I don't know how long I stared in awe, frozen, at the empty space in front of my eyes. Esme had grown concerned with my sudden immobility, but I couldn't think about that. It was like my legs were moving on their own as I lurched up from the piano bench so hard it toppled to the ground behind me, and I was out the door.
What did this mean? What had happened? When had this happened?
I saw her face once again in my head, her red eyes having darkened to a reddened amber, but still clear as ocean water. Her long loose curls falling over her back and shoulders. The electricity of her skin against mine.
I needed to see her.
I needed to see her.
I couldn't identify a single emotion that I felt, it was all a bizarre, wild jumble that became a humming background noise in my head as I ran to her.
I had taken her off guard.
She had come to quietly greet me as she typically did, but I couldn't stop. She was startled when the dance began without prompting, but I was not looking to dance.
We launched ourselves through the trees, and I pushed myself to my limit chasing her. We made contact the first time, I had leapt at her, and she planted a foot into my shoulder to stay out of my grasp. Her eyes met mine, and her confusion met my determination. I saw her eyes widen in response, shock, but not fear.
I took advantage of that moment of shock, planting my foot into a tree beside me and catching her, finally, for the first time since the day we truly met. Her back made contact with a thick spruce trunk, and I held her there, eyes searching hers.
How could she feel the same? Could it feel as strong as it did to me? As though everything had shifted on its axis, true north becoming the woman in front of me, staring up at me in awe.
"Edward…" My name on her lips sent a thrill through me so vicious, so wild I nearly shivered. I felt unhinged, as though the identity I had before no longer suited me, no longer was me. As though the knowledge that I loved this woman had rearranged my entire being.
"I needed you to know…" My voice was hoarse and thick with unidentifiable emotion. My hands trembled around her upper arms, she was not fighting my grasp.
"Bella I…" I searched her endless eyes, seeing only a growing surprise.
"Bella I believe...I have fallen in love with you."
My voice broke slightly as I admitted this most precious, life altering thing. Searching her face for rejection, disgust, pity, anything-
And then her lips were on mine.
I had read a thousand depictions of a first kiss, heard a million minds, seen hundreds of films.
Fireworks, alchemy, electricity, explosions of every kind.
Nothing held a candle to this moment.
It was bliss. Relief. Calm I had never known. Warmth that filled me from the tips of my toes to the ends of my hair. Like I was home after wandering aimlessly for a century. There was no sound, just the forest gently shifting and creaking around us.
Her lips were silk, her body was clay, moulding to mine so perfectly. My fingers knotted in her hair as the sunburst continued to consume us. I finally understood everything. How Carlisle could imagine a heaven after this for our kind, how we could still have our souls.
How could this perfect, pure connection form between the damned?
I wrapped my arms around her tight, trying to fuse her skin with my own, and I felt her pull back just slightly, tasting her smile.
"I think I've fallen in love with you too, Edward…"
Eyyy y'all I thought I'd take a break from writing Clotho to get this one shot out of my head. Writing from Edward's perspective is so fun, especially writing him coming to terms with his penis. Imagining him being alarmed and upset by it is far too amusing.
Clotho is going to take a bit longer than Moirai did, and I can't promise any kind of update schedule. I'll be posting chapters slowly, but they will be coming! Please review and comment!