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Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer is brilliant and owns all but the Bella/Alice pairing.
Bella sat on the curb in front of her apartment building, contemplating if she should shop now or later for new furniture to go along with the new flat she had just rented out for the next few months. Shopping could be mind-numbing if she tried hard enough. But then again, Alice had always made shopping an easier experience for her…
Stop! Her mind screamed at her. She had vowed to prevent herself from thinking about Alice and anything Alice related. She needed to try to move on. It was useless; she was reminded of Alice in almost every day-to-day chore or action she did. Still, though, she tried for the sake of her sanity. Bella got up from her previous position and walked up to her flat, silently thinking about ways to get Alice off of her mind.
There was an easy way to forget about Alice, if only for a few hours… She looked at her watch. It was almost 7. That meant she had about 3 hours before she had to get ready and 4 hours before she even had to arrive.
Idly she tidied up what little there was to tidy. Her luggage was placed in her bedroom and she called several local friends to let them know she would be in town for a little bit. When all that was finished, she quickly headed to a small furniture store down the road. Bella picked out the most modest living room set and bedroom furniture she could find and purchased it, asking that it be delivered the next day around three. She checked the time as she walked back to her flat. She would have to start getting ready once she got back home.
Once she arrived home, Bella got in the shower and scrubbed herself until she grew tired of the motions. Washing her hair quickly, she got out of the tub and dried her wavy mane. After applying the necessary amount of hairspray and makeup, she wandered over to one of her open suitcases and picked out an enticing outfit. She brushed her teeth after dressing and looked herself over in the mirror. Even after 60 years it still sometimes startled her to look in the mirror.
She was as beautiful and flawless as the day she was changed, forever stuck at the age of 18. Dressed in the fashion she had just changed into, however, turned her from breathtaking to heart stopping. Her attire was simple but elegant; a deep purple and white plaid button down that hugged her form along with dark washed skinny jeans were finished off with purple peep toe pumps and some white earrings. She had made sure to wear a matching panties and bra set. Opening her phone, she noticed that she had 2 missed calls and a text message from her daughter and a text message from Rosalie. She ignored the messages from Renesmee, the pain of betrayal still too fresh. She instead jumped to Rose's text.
Where are u?! Mom said u left…?
She sighed for a long moment, contemplating a reply. She settled on one and let her fingers do the quick typing on the keypad.
Yea, hoppin around. In England 4 now.
She noted before she closed her phone that it was time for her to get going. She grabbed her keys, fake ID, and a few notes before she walked out the front door, locked it, and headed downstairs to hail a cab. Once she managed to flag one down, she got in and told the cabbie the address.
The stench of the cab was barely able to conceal the smell of his blood. She should have fed before going out, but it was too late now. He acknowledged her request with a grunt before taking off but she could see him look at her in his rearview with a questioning glance. She didn't care. Who was he to judge her?
It took them ten minutes before they reached her destination. She paid him for the ride, and then politely requested that he stay here for about 3 hours or until she came out again for him. She told him that she would pay him the equivalent of his overtime income to wait if he accepted half of it now and the other half of the payment after dropping her off. He consented swiftly and she paid him the promised amount.
"If I come out here to find you gone, I will remember your face and search all of England until I find you and make you repay me. Am I understood?" She said coolly but with enough malice to induce fear. He looked at the change in her face and shrunk in his seat while he nodded quickly.
Deciding she had made her point well known, Bella coolly stepped out of the car and walked toward the dark painted building whose entrance was being guarded by a tall, muscular man. She calmly walked up to him and gave him her ID and the money to pay the cover charge. He gave her a once-over, glanced at her ID to determine her age, and gently pushed away the hand holding out her money to him.
"Manager says no cover for women above an 8."
She flashed him a fake smile, which held just a touch of flirty in its curve. It never hurt to be on a bouncer's good side.
"Oh yeah? And what am I?" She tucked the money into her bra, noticing that his eyes followed her action to her cleavage.
He looked at her with the usual face of a bouncer: calm eyes looking for danger behind a mask void of emotion. Only instead of the full mask, his face showed a small smirk.
"You, dear, are a 12 conservatively. Just make sure not to leave them broken hearted in there or else I'll have to clear you out."
Internally she scoffed. If she truly wanted to stay, there was no way even this muscular human could move her. Still, she played along with the game and forced a sickly sweet smile on her face.
"Of course not! I'd never do such a thing."
He smirked back and moved so as to give her room to walk inside.
Once inside she immediately took inventory of every living being in the club. There were at least 40 people dancing on the dance floor, about 15 women nursing drinks at the bar, and another 10 or so were smoking cigarettes at the outside lounge area. She found an empty spot at the bar and planted herself to do some short surveillance.
Some women openly stared at her, unable to take their eyes away. Others checked her out from the corners of their eyes. A few had not noticed her yet but she saw their friends informing them of "that hot brunette that just walked in."
She turned around to face the bar and signaled for the bartender to come her way. When she did, Bella asked politely for water with lemon. The bartender nodded and filled her order within moments. She let the drink sit on its paper napkin, twirling the condensation around on the glass with her forefinger. She took hold of it then and rotated herself around to look again for a girl…for a victim.
She studied each woman that met her gaze. Brunettes, butches, women with raven hair, and women with pixie cuts were immediately rejected. This was a night to forget. Upon her second look over of the room she had narrowed it down to two choices: a pretty blonde who was sending her signals across the room, and the red head next to her who was idly talking to her friend but keeping her body attentive to Bella's every move.
She quickly made her choice and turned her gaze to a spot somewhere between the DJ and the door leading to the smoking section. She relaxed her stance and twirled her finger around the top of her water while enjoying the cool feeling the ice gave her. Now all she had to do was wait.
She sat still, making sure to consciously blink and fidget every once in a while. In her peripheral vision she could see her victim caught between making a move on her and continuing her conversation with the woman in front of her. Bella just crossed her legs slowly and leaned back in her seat, making sure to give the woman a good view of her chest.
The woman leaned over towards her and rested a hand on Bella's shoulder.
"I've never seen you around here. Are you new?" The girl shouted over the loud music, but Bella would've heard her if the woman had whispered. Still, she had to keep up appearances so she raised her voice a bit in her reply.
"Maybe you've just missed me." She glanced slowly at the woman, making sure to keep eye contact for just a moment too long.
The woman's eyes raked over her figure visibly now, and Bella didn't have to be able to read thoughts to know what she was thinking; there was no way this woman had missed someone like her.
Bella wasn't conceited by any means. Far from it, in fact. She was, however, very observant of patterns in things she did. Every woman she had ever slept with had told her in so many words how beautiful and sexy she was. Bella had always shrugged the compliments off, but she had cataloged enough conversations to recognize that same look when she came across it. This was one of those moments.
The woman leaned in further still and spoke. "I don't think I missed you."
Bella just shrugged her shoulders in response. The less she said the more they were intrigued anyways. She kept herself turned towards the red head to let her know that she was still interested regardless of the indifference she was showing. She was slipping up; anymore and the woman would move on. She leaned to the woman and made sure that her hand touched the red head's hip while she balanced on her barstool.
"Dance with me?" She whispered throatily in the woman's ear, making sure to let her lips graze the outer shell.
If it was possible the woman almost melted at Bella's touch and nodded. Bella stood and grabbed the red head's hand, dragging her to the very center of the dance floor.
In her human years, Bella had been the very definition of klutz. After being turned, however, she'd had to practice keeping her accidents to a minimum. It wasn't that she could get hurt, but that she would hurt someone or break something in front of someone and then have to lie her way out of the situation. It had happened a few times before she had fully mastered it.
One time she had just tripped over her own feet and tumbled into a wall of one of their old high schools. She'd had to lie and say there was already a large crack in the wall and her fall must have been the last straw for the support structure. Needless to say, Bella was as graceful as any other Cullen now.
Bringing her mind back to the task at hand, she spun herself around to face her partner on the dance floor. The red head looked at her steadily, supposedly ready for whatever she thought Bella would bring. Bella smiled to herself. This woman was in for quite a night…
Bella brought her arms to the woman's hips and pulled herself into the welcoming embrace. She sashayed her way down the red head's body before turning herself around and rubbing her backside the entire length of the woman, making sure to push herself further into the red head when she reached the woman's pelvis. She could hear the red head suppress a moan before greedily bringing her arms to Bella's hips and pulling her even closer.
She turned herself around again before continuing to grind herself into the red head's front. When there was a lull between song changes, Bella put her mouth against the woman's ear again.
"What's your name?" She said softly while she dragged a single digit down the woman's bare arm, lightly scratching the skin with her nail.
The woman shivered and visibly swallowed at the action. "Elizabeth. You can call me Liz though."
Bella laughed, bringing her lips down from the red head's ear to her neck, where she could smell and feel the blood pumping violently through her jugular. She sniffed at the woman's neck, enjoying the scent of the raw blood flowing freely underneath the thin membrane. Venom pooled in her mouth and she had to swallow it forcefully down her burning throat. She should have fed before coming. Oh well, Bella thought idly, too late now.
Her lips descended on the bare skin again, raking her teeth lightly over the woman's neck before sucking softly on the pulse point. Liz's moan brought Bella out of her brief moment of blood lust and she carefully took her head away from the tempting area.
She continued to dance her way around the red head, making sure to keep their bodies constantly touching in an erotic way that wasn't too straightforward about her intentions. The woman was practically moaning at every sensation Bella sent on her skin. Oh, yes…her plan was in full swing.
Bella noted that her partner was looking more than dazed and asked if the woman needed a drink. Liz smiled lazily, nodded, and took Bella's hand as the vampire led the two to the bar.
"What do you want?" Bella half yelled, pretending to strain over the music.
Liz smiled and wrapped her arms around Bella's slim waist.
"Well, I'd like a lot of things…" She paused for effect and looked Bella's body up and down hungrily. "But if you mean what I want to drink, I'll have a Sex on the Beach please."
Bella just nodded at the request and instructed the bartender to ready the drink. When Bella handed the drink to Liz, the red head downed it without a second thought. Bella looked on without interest. She was ready to go.
When Liz put the empty glass down on the counter, Bella tugged the woman to her body gently, catching her when she stumbled slightly. A chuckle escaped her lips.
The woman rested her head on Bella's shoulder while she hugged Bella's torso closer to her chest. Her lips were brushing up and down Bella's neck. The brunette rested her hands softly at the base of Liz's back.
"Let's take this back to my flat…" Liz whispered against the pale collarbone she was kissing before bringing her face back up to look Bella in the eye. Hazel eyes clouded with lust and alcohol stared into deep gold orbs. Those eyes were nothing like the honey eyes she loved to see stare back…
No. That was in the past. Alice was in the past. It was time to move on. Away from the pain.
She didn't need to make a decision. In Bella's eyes there was no other option. She allowed the red head to drag her outside. Just when Liz was ready to hail a cab, Bella grabbed Liz and shook her head before walking them both towards the taxi waiting in the parking lot. Liz looked at her with an odd expression. Bella ignored the look and ushered the woman into the car before getting in and shutting the door.
Liz gave the cabbie her address and soon they were speeding down cobblestone roads.
Bella held Liz close as the red head let her hands roam the length of her body, only stopping when Bella finally turned towards her and placed small kisses and light nibbles down her neck to the bit of chest that was exposed.
Fragile hands laced through her hair and pulled her closer. She felt rather than heard the moan emanate from Liz's chest. In no time the vehicle slowed to a stop. Bella hurriedly paid the driver and the two paused outside only long enough for Liz to unlock her front door.
Bella was all instinct now. She allowed herself no thought as clothes were shed on the way to what she assumed was Liz's bedroom. When Liz finally fell asleep after hours of…activities…Bella finally allowed herself some time to think, to grieve. And she did. Lying there in an unfamiliar bedroom, Bella squeezed her eyes shut and made herself relive every memory she had of Alice. It almost made her feel as if the woman in her arms was the pixie-like vampire.
The next morning Liz woke up to strange, cold arms wrapped around her waist from behind and a cold leg nestled between her own. Her head pounded with a hangover.
She groaned into the still morning air.
The arms around her tightened enough to let her know that the other woman was awake as well. What was her name again? God Almighty, she couldn't remember. This wasn't going to be a good morning.
Just as the thought passed through her pounding head, lips as soft as silk kissed their way from her shoulder down her arm before they stopped at her fingers. Her body shivered with the cold. The lust that had been sated last night was back full force with each pass of those heated lips. What was that blasted woman's name?!
"Good morning." The voice belonging to the other woman was smooth and soft, as soft as those kisses rained upon her skin moments ago.
"Mmm, morning." She said, her own voice gravelly with the cotton mouth of her hangover and of sleep. "God, my head is pounding."
There was a low, rich chuckle from behind her. "I figured that you would have a hangover, so I took the liberty of getting you a glass of water and some Tylenol from your medicine cabinet. I hope you don't mind."
She looked up at her nightstand. Sure enough, there was a freshly filled glass of water and a couple of tablets sitting right next to it. She was filled with sudden warmth at the kindness of the stranger in her bed.
"No, thank you." She was still half-asleep and so moved to grab the glass and tablets, pulling herself away from the limbs encasing her while she downed the drugs and gulped down the water. The loss of the contact made her rush back into bed and snuggle back into the woman's chest under the covers. Another chuckle broke loose from behind her at her antics but at the moment she didn't care. The chill of the brunette's body was refreshing.
The hands that had previously encircled her were now tracing patterns on her shoulder blade while the other was splayed across her abdomen. She almost moaned at the intimate contact. She had to get this blasted woman's name! They had only been together for a night and she was already making Liz crazy with desire.
"I had a good time last night. Unfortunately I don't think I caught your name…" She said sheepishly as she hid her blush in her pillow.
Surprisingly strong arms turned her around so that she was facing the brunette. Who was very much still naked. She almost moaned at the site before her. The curtains were closed so there was no light coming in, but Liz could still see the outline of a "Perfect 8" figure lying next to her. She licked her lips at the thought of what that body looked like in the light.
The woman cleared her throat softly and Liz's blush was back even more so. She looked embarrassingly into deep pools of amber. The woman closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. When they opened again, a smile broke on her face. Even in the dark the woman's face was breathtaking.
She fell out of her stupor.
"Huh?" She said dumbly.
If possible the woman's smile spread even wider.
"My name; it's Bella."
"Oh. Right then…" She went to look away, but a hand found its way to her chin. It guided her to look into those ridiculously beautiful eyes again. She bit her lip to keep herself sane.
Those eyes darted down to the lip between her teeth before they traveled up again.
Then Bella was moving toward her and Liz thought she would take forever to reach her, until lips finally met hers and she nearly sighed into the kiss.
The feel of this kiss wasn't anything like last night, or what little she could remember of it. This kiss was almost tangibly sad in the way Bella's lips moved against hers and the way her tongue asked for permission. She readily granted it and their tongues dueled. She wrapped her arms around Bella's neck and pulled her closer so that the other woman was almost on top of her. She tugged a little again and Bella got the hint, smiling into their kiss, and granted Liz her silent request. Their bodies met again in a clash of utter passion.
By the time Liz and Bella had finished another round of activities it was nearly 3 o'clock. She pulled a sheet around her body and made her way to the kitchen to find something for the both of them to eat.
She reached the pantry and began looking through her options. Finding some eggs and bread she set them out. A boiled egg and some toast sounded wonderful.
"What do you want to eat?" She yelled out down the hallway.
Arms wrapped around her quickly and she had to stifle a gasp of surprise.
Lips once again found their way to her ear. "I ran home to eat while you slept."
A frown formed on her face in confusion. "Why did you go home? You could've just eaten something here. I mean, it's not like I would've minded or anything." She said laughing.
She felt the brunette shake her head in the crook of her neck. "I'm allergic to anything with glucose in it. I have a really strict diet."
Ouch. She immediately felt guilty. "Oh God I'm so sorry…I didn't mean to-"
She was silenced as the brunette spun her around quick enough to make her dizzy. If that wasn't enough, Bella kissed her forcefully. Again this kiss felt full, too full for a kiss shared by two people who were practically strangers. There was an almost desperate air to the way Bella held her, as if she was trying to keep herself firmly planted in reality. Could Bella be running from something?
But then Bella's hands made quick work of the knot holding the sheet around her and the thoughts she was previously stuck on fell away. The pair stumbled back to the bedroom, never once breaking apart.
The eggs and bread lied on the countertop, forgotten.
The next few days passed in the same manner. Bella would leave after Liz fell asleep and return in the early morning, wherein upon waking her Bella and she would spend hours holed up in the bedroom before they made their way to any other part of the home. Liz, Bella learned, was on a sabbatical from her teaching job at the local university to try out new things and explore life however she felt like.
The routine was getting old to Bella already. Or could it just be the person she was in the routine with? She didn't know and didn't care. She was living moment to moment, never thinking ahead more than a couple of hours.
She could tell that Liz wanted to ask her about her past again but Bella could see that she was trying not to pry. The first time she had brought it up was the first morning after they had went to the bedroom a second time. Bella's eyes glazed over and a deep sorrow overwhelmed her so much that she was silent for the whole day until she could get her emotions in check. Liz hadn't asked again after that although Bella could see the curiosity threatening to erupt.
On the fifth day of her stay, Bella told Liz that she would be going home for a couple of days. Her furniture would have arrived already and she needed to get some other house items before she began decorating her flat. Liz just smiled and nodded. She was so easy to get along with, so easy to be around. Bella supposed that was why she had stayed so long. Being around Liz meant she didn't have to think about Alice.
She winced. The pain returned anew; it had been almost a full 2 hours since she had last thought of her. It seemed as if the gap had intensified her anguish and increased it tenfold. She grimaced and told Liz she was leaving. Liz hollered a goodbye from her bathroom. Bella grabbed her things and walked outside to hail a cab.
Once she was back at her flat, Bella decided to shower and go shopping for accessories for her bedroom and living room. She gathered some clothes out of her suitcase and stepped into the bathroom.
After she had dried her hair Bella headed downstairs to walk downtown. She shopped for a few hours, picking up this and that at that store and this little thing at the store over there. She stopped by a bookstore and picked up a few books she hadn't read yet and made her way back to the flat.
Once she was home, Bella began putting her new items away. She finished around 9 in the evening and decided that she would read a book. Picking up one of the new ones she had just purchased she settled down on the floor in her bedroom to read for the night.
When it was an acceptable time in the morning Bella called Liz.
"Hey, Liz. What are you up to?"
The excitement bubbled over the phone line. "Hi Bella! Nothing much, just thought I'd do some cleaning since we weren't exactly focused on that the past few days…"
She smirked. "Well, once you're done I think I should take you on a proper date. What do you think?"
The other woman barely let her finish her sentence before happily consenting.
They agreed to meet at a little Italian restaurant around 5 and then go see a play after dinner. Bella said that since she wouldn't be eating, the restaurant was more for Liz than herself. Bella could almost hear the smile on the other end of the line.
"That's sweet of you. Okay, I've got to go if I'm going to finish all of this and get ready in time. I'll see you then."
Bella smiled and said goodbye before hanging up the phone. Perfect. The furniture would be at her flat around 2, which gave her an hour to bring it inside and another 30 minutes to organize it around the rooms. That would give her an hour to get ready and a half hour to get to the restaurant.
She made quick work of the furniture when it arrived and was just hopping in a cab at 4:15. She was early when she got to the restaurant and gave the maitre' D her name upon walking in. When Liz arrived the two were seated.
The date was like every other date Bella had been on: shallow questions were asked with a deep one thrown in every now and again. Bella fed some of Liz's food to her and when she was finished they headed to the theatre. The play was decent; the characters could have put in a little more emotion but it was all right nonetheless. The entire length of the play Liz had kept contact with her somehow; a hand on her leg, her head leaning on a shoulder. When the play was over Bella and Liz shared a cab to Liz's place.
When the cabbie slowed to a stop in front of Liz's home, the red head looked to Bella shyly.
"I know we've kind of already done this step, but would you like to come in?"
Bella gave her a small smile. "I would love to, but I'm getting up early tomorrow for a job interview." It wasn't a terrible lie. She just didn't want to have sex tonight.
The entire date reminded her of her life before…Of the life she had before she told Alice everything.
She blinked her eyes to rid the miserable thoughts swirling within and focused again on the red head sitting next to her.
"But…" Bella said ominously. "I would love to make it up to you some other time."
Liz's face lit up again. "Okay, sounds great."
Bella got out of the cab to open the door for Liz. "Allow me to walk you to your door, ma'am?" She held out her hand to the red head.
Liz giggled like a schoolgirl before taking the offered hand. "Okay."
When they reached Liz's door, Bella kissed her softly.
"I had a nice time tonight. Thank you for agreeing to come out with me."
Another giggle. "It was my pleasure."
"I'll call you some time soon."
"Okay. Goodnight, Bella."
Bella smiled before turning to go. She gave the cabbie her address and waited until they stopped to pay him for the ride. She fished for her keys in her purse. Upon finding them she proceeded to walk up the stairs to her door. When she unlocked her door and stepped inside a smell immediately assaulted her senses.
There, in the dark, sat a figure so familiar to her that even blinded she could recognize her.
The name fell from her lips in a whisper before she realized she had even said anything.
The figure sat unmoving, staring at her with piercing golden eyes. Then she spoke, her voice clear as bells chiming.