I OWN NOTHING!
This was the fifth train he'd been on so far. He could run faster, but that wasn't the point. It had been four years since he'd last been home. It had been four months since he'd last tasted human blood. His eyes were back to a golden hue, no trace of crimson remaining.
Edward's rebellion was over, but he still couldn't bring himself to return to Carlisle and Esme. So now he was train hopping across the country like a human hobo. There were so many of them that one vampire with gold eyes went mostly unnoticed.
Sighing, Edward slipped from the roof of the boxcar and inside. No one else was inside, or else he'd have stayed where he was. However, once he'd slid the door closed and cut off the moving air, an amazing, mouthwatering scent hit him.
He had to have it. Venom flooded his mouth as he turned to locate where the scent was coming from. A girl with short mahogany hair and dressed as a boy lay sleeping curled up in a corner half hidden by the crates that took up much of the narrow space. With a start, he realized that no thoughts came from the girl. The thoughts of others still whispered in his mind, so it was only this girl he could not read.
That thought allowed him to regain enough control to go to the opposite end of the car. He would have left, but at that moment the train pulled into a town. New thoughts bombarded him, mostly the complaints of the workers who would rather have been in bed.
Edward glanced at the girl. The workers would find them both. The men had no chance of harming him, but the girl was another story entirely. He'd only seen a group of hobos caught once, but that was enough.
Without out really thinking, he grabbed the girl and the worn bag beside her before jumping out of the boxcar. Quickly, he made his escape into a small, useless shack. Well, not completely useless. It hid the both of them.
Edward hardly breathed. The girl's scent was overpowering. He wanted to taste her so badly that he was barely controlling himself. Yet the longer he spent watching her and listening for anyone to approach the shack, the more he became accustomed to it.
"Who are you?"
Edward turned from the window to look at the now awake girl. She gasped and huddled into the corner, her bag clutched to her.
"Why haven't you eaten me yet?" She demanded, her fear obvious.
"Why would I eat you?" Edward asked, annoyed and curious. Could this girl know what he was?
"You're a vampire," the girl replied. ""I'm not going to be missed when you kill me. So why haven't you?"
The girl was brave, if not very good at survival. Of course, since she knew what he was, she would also know that running was a useless endeavor.
"I don't hunt humans," Edward told her. "I'm not going to harm you, I promise." He would keep that promise no matter what. He'd never killed an innocent and he was determined to keep it that way.
The girl relaxed slightly. She believed him, even if he was a vampire. She didn't fully understand why she believed him, but she did.
Edward left the window as the sun moved across the sky. This left him with only the girl to look at. Edward looked the girl over. Despite the dirt, she was fairly pretty. He was slowly becoming accustomed to her scent. Her mind was still closed to him and that made him both curious and frustrated. He shouldn't be curious, but if the girl knew about vampires she was in danger. Not only from him, but from any vampire she stumbled across. Or that stumbled across her.
She was also observing him. His eyes were a dark topaz, not crimson. It was his pale skin and the dark circles under his eyes along with his inhuman beauty than had given him away. Slowly, she felt her fear leave her. If he was going to kill her, he'd have done it already.
"I'm Bella," she broke the silence. He started, obviously not expecting her to say anything.
"My name is Bella," she spoke slowly.
Edward grinned a bit. Bella fit the girl. "Edward Cullen." He almost used Masen, but that wasn't who he was now.
"Why, if you don't hunt humans, were you jumping trains?" Bella's curiosity came forward. He must have jumped at least the train she'd been on if they were both in a shack she didn't recall moving to.
Edward shook his head. "Why were you?" Bella couldn't have been older then fifteen or sixteen. She belonged safe at home, not stuck in a run-down train yard shack with him.
"Because vampires killed my parents and tried to kill me." Bella replied. "As far as I know, everyone who knew me thinks I died in the fire that destroyed my home and hid the nature of my parents deaths."
Edward stared at the girl. Honestly, he hadn't expected an answer. Now at least he knew why she was riding in boxcars.
"How did you escape?" Not many humans could escape a vampire, no one escaped a coven bent on draining them dry. Bella had said 'vampires', so he was assuming it was more then one.
"I ran outside into the sunlight and onto one of the trains. The train started moving out." Bella blushed. "I don't even know if they're after me or not, but I can't go home either way."
Edward watched as blood flooded her face. It made her scent stronger. He pressed himself closer to the wall and into the shadows. He was not going to harm Bella.
Both froze as voices from the worker came towards the shack. Instantly, Edward was crouched over Bella and hiding her from view and himself in the shadows. The small group of men didn't come in, just opened the door to stand behind so that they could smoke instead of work.
Bella lay frozen, hardly daring to breath. Edward was cold, but it wasn't unpleasant. Neither of them dared to move.
Edward fought with himself. Bella was warm and he was almost hyperaware of her. Bella was blushing and her scent was even stronger now that he was so close. It was taking everything he had not to lean down those few scant inches and bury himself in her neck.
The workers talk turned to their various conquests. Edward had to refrain from growling in annoyance. Bella had begun to shake, from cold or fear Edward didn't know but either way there wasn't anything he could do about it.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, the men's absence was discovered and the foreman found them. As soon as Edward was sure all of the men were gone he moved off of Bella as if she'd burned him. Bella curled up and continued to shake. Edward could hear and smell her tears.
"I'm sorry," he rasped out, throat burning. "I wasn't trying to scare you."
"It's not you," Bella replied, wiping at her tears. She hated that she cried when she was upset.
"The men?" Edward asked softly, his concern for the girl helping to push the monster back.
Bella nodded. "It's the worst part of this," she said softly. "Its why I dress like a boy, they tend not to notice boys."
Edward didn't understand why he wanted to protect her. Bella couldn't stay with him. She could survive on her own. She'd been doing just fine before they'd met. He tried to convince himself that she'd still be fine once they parted ways. At least now her clothing and hair was explained. It wouldn't fool a vampire, but it obviously fooled humans.
They didn't talk after that. Bella seemed to know that as soon as the sun went down he'd be leaving. Edward tried to ignore Bella's stomach as it growled in hunger, but it nagged at him. He couldn't help but wonder when she had last eaten.
Once it was dark enough, Edward left. Every part of him wanted to go back, but he refused to give in least the monster part of him that wanted Bella's blood won. Bella uttered a soft goodbye. Edward heard it and he almost turned around. Almost.
He wondered around town, taking in likely places where he'd find something to ease his thirst. He managed to find a few deer in a heavily forested park and drained them. Instead of continuing on however, he found himself moving back into the town. He couldn't place it, but something was off.
Edward entered a small grocery store. Looking around, he almost left. He didn't need the food, not that there was much to choose from. Still, he found himself reasoning, it would be odd to pass thru a town and not eat anything when he knew he'd been noticed. At least that was what he was telling himself.
When he found he was heading back towards the train yard after buying a small bottle of milk, a loaf of bread, and a few apples, he cursed himself. He should be running the other way, not going back to the girl. Bella, his traitorous mind thought, probably wasn't even there anymore. Still, he looked into the minds of the townspeople to see if they had seen her.
Edward growled as he found a small group of men thinking about Bella. Not only thinking about her, but cornering her. They were terrifying her and enjoying it!
Quickly, he began to run. He didn't truly begin running until he knew no one would see him. Almost without noticing, he arrived a few feet behind the men. Edward searched and found Bella's eyes.
"Leave her alone," Edward barely restrained the growl in his voice. "Bella, come here."
Bella, scared of the men more then she was of Edward, tripped her way towards the vampire. One of the men grabbed her arm and squeezed.
"Now, now, we haven't had our fun yet," said the man who had grabbed her, "go away boy, this whore is none of your business."
MINE! The monster cried out, actually in agreement with the more humane and civilized part of him. Bella looked at Edward, pleading with her eyes for help.
Edward chuckled darkly. "I used to kill people like you," he knew his eyes were black as pitch again. He stepped forward, causing all of the men to step back and one to run away. He held gazes with the man holding Bella.
Bella, for her part, was fighting the man's hold. She refused to cry out even though he was hurting her. Somehow, Edward wasn't scaring her. That, or she was so scared as it was that any fear she felt towards the menacing vampire was simply swallowed up.
As Edward stalked closer, more of the men turned and ran away. When only the man holding Bella was left, Edward smiled. His smile revealed all of his extremely sharp teeth.
The man screamed and fled, dropping Bella in his rush to get away. Edward fought the urge to give chase. Bella hugging him brought his attention to her instead of anything else.
"Thank you," Bella said softly, tears still making trails down her face.
"You're welcome," Edward replied, looking her over. There was a bruise on her arm and a few scratches. "How badly did they hurt you?"
Bella blushed again. "I tripped trying to find a train and they heard me. They scared me more then anything else." She looked up at him. "I thought you'd be miles away from here by now."
Edward shrugged. "I had to hunt, unless you want to become my next meal?" He had no idea why he was joking about this, but it may also scare some sense into Bella to stay away from vampires.
"Oh," she paused, "you were going to come back? Why?"
Edward sighed again. "For some reason I find myself drawn to you." He told her truthfully. "I can leave if you wish me to do so."
"I don't want you to go away," Bella admitted. "I feel safe with you, even though I don't understand why." She looked down, spotting the bag of food he still had in his hand. "Why do you have food? I thought vampires drank blood?"
Edward grinned. "I do, and its for you. How long has it been since you've eaten?"
Bella blushed harder. "I don't remember."
That worried him. He led Bella towards the track where they could catch a train when one came by. He watched as she devoured half the bread, an apple, and most of the milk. When she shivered, he gave he his coat and refused to take it back.
"How long have you been on the road?" Edward asked, that being one of the many pieces of knowledge he didn't know about Bella. He couldn't read her mind so he'd have to find out the old fashioned way, by talking.
Bella shrugged. "What's the date?"
Edward thought back to the last calendar he'd seen and added two days. "September 29, 1931."
"Five months," she replied. She didn't mention that she'd missed her birthday. At least she was seventeen now. She knew she didn't look like a seventeen year old girl and she didn't really act like one, but that helped with playing a boy. "How long have you been traveling?"
"Four years, almost five," he replied, "I just haven't gone home."
"Why did you leave?" She waited. "You're not going to scare me away if you tell me the truth. I don't get scared that often, despite what you've seen today."
Edward looked at her. She hardly even blinked and refused to drop her gaze. He believed her.
"My family doesn't hunt humans," he explained, "we hunt animals. I was tired of abstaining from my nature and so rebelled." He met her gaze again, expecting revulsion and fear, but found only curiosity. "My parents, Carlisle and Esme, let me go. For four years I hunted those I deemed unworthy of life, the murders and rapists and other humans like that, but even then the guilt was to much. They were still human and I had no right to play God in deciding when they should die."
"Why didn't you go home?" Bella could hardly see him in the dark, but he didn't seem to have any trouble seeing her.
"I'm not sure," he admitted, "I'm just not ready to go home yet. I'm no longer sure where they're living anymore."
Their talking continued until Bella fell asleep. Edward hunted as close as he dared, preparing himself to spend an unknown amount of time with Bella. It was odd, traveling with someone. With a small degree of shock, Edward realized he'd been lonely.