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The (red) lion and the lamb

Chapter Text

I’d never given much thought to how I would die.

But dying in the place of someone I love seems like a good way to go.

 

SOMEWHERE IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON

 

Another couple of people were found dead. Their throats devoured and their bodies empty of blood, as Victoria, James, and Laurent left another small city in Washington. As they left the city to go stay in the woods for a while, the mates James and Laurent took the opportunity to enjoy themselves after the small feast, while the almost 500 hundred years old redhead used her alone time to climb a tree and watch the night sky.

It didn’t take long, a couple of days passed and suddenly the redhead vampire stopped in the middle of their walk as an intoxicating scent invaded her mind. It was nothing like Victoria had ever smelled before in her entire life. She couldn’t think straight, the scent was light to her nose but still strong enough to consume her entirely. She knew she needed more of it, she had to get closer to its source.

Victoria had her eyes closed and she felt the impossible, like her motionless heart would beat out of her chest, it was like it was on fire. It hurt, but it felt so thrilling. Want and need washing over her.

She had stopped by a nearby tree and tried to concentrate on that scent and where it was coming from. It was a primal instinct, she needed to get to it, she had to. James and Laurent saw Victoria’s change, knowing nothing of the scent that invaded her senses only. Sudden dark black eyes appeared in the vampire’s features, but she wasn’t thirsty. Victoria couldn’t quite put a name to what she was feeling. Not yet.

“Victoria? Is everything alright?” Laurent asked the redhead with caution as he wrapped his arm around James’s waist, protectively.

She gave them an almost helpless kind of look, nothing they had ever seen cross Victoria’s face. And so, as quickly as she could, Victoria started running towards the unknown source of her desires.

 

FORKS, WASHINGTON

 

Bella Swan arrived in Forks and settled in her father’s home, her new home. Not long after her arrival, Charlie surprised her with a car, a bright orange truck that she loved at first sight. The different color called to her attention and she found it a little bold - but also cute.

Along with the car, came the boy who fixed it for her father, her best friend from childhood, Jacob Black. He looked a little different but still carried that same young brother way towards her.

They talked for a while and were able to catch up around how things were going since she last visited. It was different for her, to be in Forks with her dad and away from her mom, but Bella had a feeling that maybe it was for the best. To feel that little strange rumble in her stomach meant she was doing something about her life, getting out of her comfort zone - and she liked it.

Then it was time for Bella’s first day at Forks High. She managed to make some friends before lunch, Jessica, Angela, Mike, and Eric. They seemed nice so she sat with them at the cafeteria. They were chatting, but Bella wasn't paying much attention, still trying to understand her new surroundings.

Five minutes into lunch and a new group of people entered the cafeteria immediately getting Bella’s attention.

“Who are they?”

“The Cullens.” came the quick answer from Angela to Bella’s question.

“They are Dr. and Mrs. Cullen’s foster kids. They moved down here from Alaska, like, a few years ago.” Jessica explained before they continued talking.

“They kind of keep it to themselves.”

“Yeah, ‘cause they’re all together. Like, together, together .”

Bella focused her eyes on the first two who entered the cafeteria as the two girls explained.

“The blonde girl, that’s Rosalie, and the big dark-haired guy, Emmett, they’re like a thing. I’m not even sure if that’s legal.”

“Jess, they’re not like, actually related.”

“Yeah, but they live together. It’s weird.”

Bella looked attentively at the couple, they were both so beautiful. Rosalie looked more serious and Emmett was clearly very strong but seemed to be like a goofball, taking from his big smile as they walked hand-in-hand.

The next couple entered and Bella shifted her gaze as Jessica continued talking.

“And, okay, the little dark-haired girl is Alice, she’s really weird, and she’s with Jasper, the blonde one that looks like he’s in pain.” Bella looked at the couple, the girl happily walking around like she was a child and the boy stiff as stone, with a face that really looked like he was suffering from being there. But then again who isn’t? Bella thought.

“Dr. Cullen is like this foster dad/matchmaker.”

“Maybe he’ll adopt me.” Angela joked with glowing eyes but Bella didn’t pay attention as she was focused on the last Cullen to arrive.

“Who’s he?”

Jessica sighed at her and answered.

“That’s Edward Cullen. He’s totally gorgeous, obviously, but apparently, nobody here’s good enough for him. Like I care, you know?”

Jessica laughed with frustration and Bella looked at the boy who gave a soft smile to the ground as if he knew people were talking about him as he walked in.

He sat down at the table with the rest of his family and Bella kept looking at them over her shoulder. Something about them called out to her. They were all so… attractive . And pale, very pale. They clearly needed a sunbath.

“So, yeah. Seriously, like, don’t waste your time.” Jessica said referring to the single Cullen.

Bella was a little caught by surprise from the statement and laughed awkwardly. “I wasn’t planning on it.”

Not that she didn’t find Edward beautiful, he was, and he seemed like a decent guy from afar, but the thing was that Bella wasn’t really into guys.

She didn’t immediately tell the girls, choosing to keep that fact to herself, at least for now. She had just arrived in this new town and this new school, and Bella didn’t want to be labeled by anything, especially something she could be judged by and suffer prejudice from. She also didn’t want to be the center of attention, it was enough being “the new girl” in a town with a little more than three thousand people and “the chief’s daughter”, let alone be “the lesbian” too.

After that, the day passed by quickly and soon Bella was back at home.

After dinner, Bella sat by the window in her room and watched the full moon glow in the night sky. She reflected on her day.

Things could be great in Forks.

 

… 

 

Victoria stopped running to inhale that amazing scent again. It filled every part of her body and she would never stop running until she reached its source. She felt it more now, the scent was stronger, which could only mean that she was heading in the right direction.

James and Laurent, on the other hand, were very worried about the redhead that hadn’t stopped running until now, completely fixated on her goal.

They knew very well how that sort of powerful scent wasn’t usual, it had to be coming from her mate, seeing that only Victoria could smell it, at least from that distance. They also knew that no vampire had the power to produce a scent that strong - only something alive could.

The two mates shared a knowing look and turned to Victoria who was resting against a tree, entranced by the smell that completely consumed her.

Laurent got closer and snapped Victoria out of her trance as he touched her shoulder.

“Victoria, you need to stop.” Laurent said calmly, James behind him. “We’ve been running around non-stop for two days now.”

Victoria’s eyes were black and her voice deep, like she couldn’t bear to say much or she would start running again.

“I can’t. Not until I find them.”

Laurent sighed and asked.

“You do know what you’re heading into, right? If you turn around now maybe you still have a chance to fight this.”

“We can go to Asia, or Europe, somewhere distant. Maybe Dublin. We had so much fun there.” James added.

Victoria didn’t respond and Laurent tried one more time to persuade the redhead out of this suicide mission.

“You know how human mates are extremely dangerous for us. Are you sure about this?”

Victoria looked down and closed her eyes.

“I’m not turning around.”

 

… 

 

I’m a lamb. A light brown colored lamb.

Bella is running, running from something. She’s breathless.

In the woods, she sees the dark green leaves and mud ground pass beneath her feet - or should they be called paws?

Behind her, a red lion is chasing her. It’s approaching, clearly much faster than her. And when she looks behind to see the beast, she trips and falls to the ground.

Looking up, Bella sees it, the lion. The red furry mane around its face looks like fire. The lion stops above her, big red eyes staring back. And when she feels the hot breath coming out of the lion’s lips, his mouth opens wide, showing enormous teeth before reaching down to devour her.

Bella woke up sweaty from the nightmare and didn't sleep for the rest of the night.

Chapter Text

ONE WEEK AFTER BELLA’S ARRIVAL, JUST OUTSIDE OF FORKS

 

Victoria had stopped to hunt a couple of days ago and after running non-stop, in the middle of the night, she finally came across a sign that said: “ The city of Forks welcomes you ”. Whatever she was looking for, it was in that town, she knew it deep within her bones.

This time she was alone. James and Laurent didn’t want to partake in Victoria’s chase anymore so they ran away when the redhead went hunting. The two mates went to a bigger town to have some fun and decided to meet again with Victoria in about a month, in the same location they had parted ways to check-in.

The night went on extremely slowly for the vampire. The scent was all over the town and it was hard to track it down, but by sunrise, she had found herself in front of Forks High School. She stayed hidden on top of one of the trees closer to the premise, waiting for the scent to grow stronger.

When the students started to arrive at early morning, Victoria became uneasy. She knew her human would show up at any moment.

But before, a clan of vampires arrived at the school, five of them. By the look of their eyes, golden-brown , they were the Cullen’s coven, the vampires who drink animal blood and basically refuse their true nature. They were famous in the vampire world, of course. Their leader, Carlisle, was always spreading the word and welcoming any vampires who wanted to try their new way of life. Bunch of bullshit , Victoria thought.

And just when she was caught up in her mind, the scent that chased Victoria for a week now suddenly got much stronger. The vampire thought she would burn into flames from the intensity of it and how it consumed every fiber of her body.

When an orange truck crossed her eyes to enter the parking lot of the school, Victoria’s mind started spinning. There, inside that car was the human causing all of this to her. She knew it. Hiding among the leaves, Victoria peaked her head a little further to get a better view of the creature stepping out of the car, and oh , the vision was of an angel sent from heaven.

A young woman, with long dark hair and piercing brown eyes. Her skin, almost as pale as a vampire’s. But there was a key difference, Victoria could see her veins, the warm red blood coursing through them and making the vampire dizzy.

She was beautiful.

The human quickly met with her friends and entered the building. Victoria struggled not to go in but decided to wait. She would wait for the girl to leave class and then follow her home. After that Victoria didn’t know what she would do, but what she knew was that she would never leave that girl out of her sight.

 

… 

 

Her first week in Forks high was at the least… interesting.

In her second day of school, Bella got paired up with none other than Edward Cullen himself. The boy, at first sight, seemed to despise her. He made weird faces at her and covered his nose with his hand, almost as if she smelled bad. He also had weirdly dark black eyes.

They didn’t even get to talk. Edward stayed silent like a stone during the entire class and as soon as the bell rang he left running.

Later that same day, Bella caught Edward trying to switch classes and boy, was he disgusted at me , she thought to herself. She didn’t understand why he was acting so strangely around her.

For the rest of the week, Edward didn’t show up to class, and only on that Friday morning, he was back.

She entered the classroom and walked to their desk, he was sitting, looking straight outside at the rain through the window. She sat down and a couple of seconds passed in silence until finally, Edward spoke, surprising Bella a little, as she was expecting another class in total awkward silence.

“Hello. I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to introduce myself last week. I’m Edward Cullen. You’re Bella?”

Bella looked at him and swallowed the lump in her throat before speaking.

“Yes.”

The professor then began to explain the exercise and after that, Edward and Bella seemed to get into a good rhythm. They made a couple of jokes about looking at the cells and the weather. It’s small talk, but at least is talking , Bella thought.

“If you hate the cold and the rain so much, why’d move to the wettest place in the continental U.S.?”

Bella was a little caught by surprise from the question. She battled in her mind if she should tell this to Edward or not and decided to leave with:

“It’s complicated.”

“I’m sure I can keep up” came Edward’s response, with a soft expression encouraging Bella to talk more.

She pondered it in her mind and decided to cautiously tell Edward the truth, that she hadn’t even shared fully with her new friends from Forks High yet.

I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? He already hates me.

“My mom remarried, and…” she hesitated for a moment and shrugged her shoulders.

“So, you don’t like the guy, or…?”

“No, that’s not… Uhm, Phill’s really nice. It’s just that… my mom found out I’m lesbian. And… she’s cool with it but, we’ve just been a little weird. I decided to move here to live with my father for a while until the news settled in with her. And Phill’s also a minor league baseball player so he’s been traveling around a lot and I didn’t want to keep my mom away from him, unhappy at home with me.”

After Bella’s confession, it seemed like Edward’s golden eyes started to shine - weird eyes, by the way , Bella thought, remembering that in that first class, Edward’s eyes were pitch black and now they were a completely different color. He gave her a soft smile and took the microscope to look at another cell as he spoke.

“Nobody knows but-” He hesitated, but took a leap of faith. “I’m gay. My family respects me and supports me in everything but the world… not so much. I am honored that you told me such a powerful and personal thing. Thank you for trusting me.” he gave her a soft smile before speaking again. “It’s metaphase. You wanna check it?”

Edward asked with this playful grin and Bella just smiled and shook her head.

“I believe you.”

She was surprised by Edward’s confession and felt more comfortable about talking to him after that. Now she knew there was someone in that little town that could understand her. They kept chatting during class and after it was over, they talked even more down the halls.

When they arrived at Bella’s locker, Edward looked at his watch and knew it was time for him to go.

“I think we’re gonna be good friends, Bella.”

He said with a soft smile before he left Bella by herself and walked to the other side of the hall.

Bella organized her things and quickly put on her earphones before she walked outside. She saw Edward getting ready to leave in his car and they smiled at each other. She walked to her orange truck and settled her backpack on top of it to find her keys, but when she was going through her things, she noticed a strange figure sitting on a tree branch across the parking lot.

It was this godlike woman that Bella immediately felt a pull towards. Her hair was bright orange and curly, just like the color of her own truck, and it had so much volume it looked like- a lion’s mane . Bella felt a shiver run down her spine as she recalled her dream from a few nights ago.

The woman was pale, much like Edward and his family. Her skin and her body looked like they were sculpted in marble. She had this soft but strangely wicked grin towards Bella like she was indeed a lion, looking at her prey and Bella felt another shiver run through her entire body.

As Bella had all her attention to the strange woman on the trees, she didn’t notice one of her classmates, Tyler, entering the parking lot in his van at full speed, when suddenly it slipped from the ice on the ground from the rain and cold.

The sound of a honk and tires burning scared Bella out of her trance, and when she looked in the direction of the sound, Tyler’s van was coming at full speed to smash Bella between itself and her truck.

She didn’t even have time to scream when out of nowhere she felt a firm grip around her waist pulling her down as the redhead goddess showed up by her side, holding Bella and stretching her arm to stop the car with her bare hands.

The woman didn’t even so much as flinch as her hand crushed the side of the van. The sound of the impact was like as if the van had hit a piece of solid concrete, numbing Bella’s ear a little.

When the two women finally looked at each other, Victoria had to control the primal urge to bite that sweet pale neck in front of her and suck dry every drop of blood that was in that girl’s body.

They were so close, it would be so easy… 

But instead, she just chose to admire the human and take in as much as she could from her. Her scent, her features, the warmth her face exhaled - so close to Victoria’s. Everything. She was perfect.

Bella, on the other hand, was dumbstruck by the actions that had just happened. She looked deep into the eyes staring back at her and they were pitch black, similar to Edward’s. The woman’s hair did look like if a lion’s mane was on fire, and her skin was strong and smooth as marble. She had no imperfections, she was breathtaking.

That didn’t take more than a couple of seconds, and then Victoria had to summon all the strength in herself to pull away from the girl in her arms. She used her speed to get out of the scene of the accident without anyone seeing her and like that, just as she appeared, Bella’s angel was gone.

 

… 

 

When she arrived at the hospital, Bella was quickly examined by Dr. Carlisle Cullen, Edward’s dad. He was just like Edward, pale and beautiful.

A little after, Charlie arrived, completely worried and scared to hell.

He was ready to take her home when Bella saw Edward, Rosalie and Dr. Cullen talking in the hallway. When she appeared in the corner, Edward saw her and started walking towards her.

“Bella, can I talk to you for a minute?”

She nodded and Edward pulled her near the wall to talk.

“What happened?”

“I- I don’t know.”

They whispered, avoiding attention.

People were saying Bella stopped the car by herself, only because they didn’t have time to see what had actually happened. Edward knew the truth though, but Bella didn’t know that. 

“A redhead woman.” Bella added.

“A woman?”

“Yeah, she protected me.”

“Did you see her before? Do you know her?”

Bella pondered in her mind if she should tell Edward or not the fact that she did see that woman before, precisely on top of a tree on the other side of the parking lot before she appeared next to Bella in a blink of an eye.

“No, I’ve never seen her before.”

Edward tried his best to read her, but he couldn’t.

“What exactly did you see?”

“Uh, the woman… she stopped the van. She pushed it away with her hand.”

Edward knew the woman was a vampire, but why would an unknown vampire save Bella? They knew Bella was somewhat different, her scent was a little stronger than a normal human and she was immune to Edwards powers, but still, why was Bella so special to be saved by a vampire like that? In brought daylight?

Whatever it was, it was a problem for the Cullens. A vampire carelessly using their abilities like that in front of a crowd could expose them.

“Bella, you’re- you hit your head. I think you are confused. This doesn’t sound normal.”

“I know what I saw.”

Bella was suspicious at Edward’s little interrogation, but he already had all the information that he needed.

“Go home and rest, Bella. I’ll see you around.”

Edward said quickly before walking back in the direction of Rosalie and his father. The blonde girl looked attentively at Bella but turned away when Edward arrived.

Something’s wrong , Bella thought, and of course, she wasn’t gonna let this go as easily as Edward hoped.

 

… 

 

Later that day, in the middle of the night, Bella woke up from the same dream: a giant red lion devouring her fragile lamb self. But this time when she woke up, the lion was real and inside her bedroom.

In the dark, she saw the figure of the redhead woman that saved her in the corner of the room. When Bella turned on the lamp, she turned back around and saw that the woman was actually there.

Bella gasped and when her gasp seemed like it could turn into a scream, Victoria quickly used her speed to move and cover Bella’s mouth with her hand. Victoria was practically straddling Bella, her legs on each side of the girl’s body. Her dirty jeans and furry jacket messing with Bella’s clean covers.

Bella didn’t move one muscle, way too shocked by the woman’s deep red eyes staring back at her. They were different from the black eyes that saved her that morning.

“If I take my hand away, will you promise me not to scream?”

Victoria asked in a whisper and Bella slowly nodded her head. The vampire took a vote of confidence and retrieved her hand.

Bella licked her lips and tried to soak in Victoria’s voice. It was somewhat deep and husky but also smooth and caring.

They stayed in silence for some time, both way too focused on admiring each other to say something. Though Victoria was struggling. She was way closer to Bella than she expected to be that night and it was taking everything in her bones to not lean down and simply take a bite.

Bella was awkwardly laid down beneath Victoria and she was very much aware of their proximity. She cleared her throat and finally spoke.

“It was you. You saved me.”

That took Victoria out of her dangerous thoughts and she swallowed the bit of venom that was forming in her mouth before answering.

“Yeah, that was me.”

“Thank you.”

Bella whispered, her eyes never looking away from Victoria’s. The vampire felt a little uncomfortable by the lack of fear coming from the human that was so close to an actual vampire that could kill her. But again, Bella didn’t really know she was a vampire yet.

“You’re welcome…”

“Bella.”

Oh, her name is Bella… how accurate. She is indeed a beauty , Victoria thought to herself.

Bella .” Victoria let the name roll out of her tongue and it felt natural to just say it.

Bella wouldn’t dare to move, she was way too excited and confused. She had no idea of what was going on or how this woman had even entered her room or how she had saved her in the first place - but before she could keep going Victoria spoke again.

“Just Bella?” Victoria asked with a little smirk forming on her lips.

“It’s Isabella. Swan. But I prefer just Bella.”

“Well, Bella , I’m Victoria.”

Victoria , it was good to finally put a name to the face of her savior. It was a beautiful name. Bella thought it felt perfect for the redhead.

The whole time Victoria was on top of Bella, both felt a little uncomfortable because of the proximity but now it felt more natural and Victoria was starting to like a lot more the feeling of Bella’s warm body pressed against hers.

“So, did you hurt yourself earlier?”

“No, thanks to you. How did you do that?”

“Do what?”

“Get to me so fast. You were on the trees, across the parking lot.”

Victoria pondered in her mind if she should answer this now or later. She decided it was rather late for a human to be awake and thinking too much at that time. So she got up from on top of Bella and walked to the window in normal human speed. Bella sat up on the bed and watched carefully the redhead’s every step.

Victoria opened the window, and before she jumped outside she turned to Bella for a goodbye.

“It’s late, you should get back to sleep.”

“Wait! Will you come back? I wanna see you again.”

Victoria opened the most wicked smile and whispered before turning to jump.

“Goodnight, Bella .”

 

Chapter Text

Victoria trembled as she walked into the forest near Bella’s house. Her head was spinning hard as she forced her legs to walk away from the human’s room.

Bella’s smell still lingered in Victoria. It was on her clothes, her hair, her skin, everywhere.

Laurent had always said Victoria was one of the few vampires he had met that was exceptional at controlling her thirst around humans, and Victoria meeting Bella and getting to stand so close to her was final proof of that.

When Victoria was deeper into the woods, she leaned against a tree, trying to understand what had just happened. Before she knew, she was climbing the tree and reaching the top to lay down and look at the stars. It helped to calm her down.

She wasn’t feeling thirsty, but her mind was going way faster than she could process anything. Victoria was feeling a thousand things at once and she didn’t know what to do with that.

As she was finally alone and not completely clouded by Bella’s presence, Victoria started laughing like a maniac. Laurent would be so proud that I didn’t kill her.

Those few minutes she stayed with Bella were a real testament to Victoria’s strength. But the fact that she was still able to be her normal self around Bella meant that maybe things could work out between them. Though, Victoria was still amazed at how controlled she managed to stay around the girl. The thing she didn’t want to do was to not act like herself around Bella. She wanted Bella to know her as she was, and not like a crazy bloodlust predator.

But still, everything was a blur. Victoria’s feelings for Bella mixed themselves with her unnatural thirst for her, and it was true, most of the time Victoria was thinking of biting Bella. She couldn’t stop thinking of how miraculous it would be to taste her blood. It was bad. But just the fact that she managed to only think those things and not act upon them was a major win for the vampire.

Every time the human talked and brought her out of her dangerous thoughts, Victoria reminded herself that life wasn’t always about killing. She couldn’t risk losing what she wanted most because of her primal urges.

So if she wanted to keep her sanity as it was around Bella, Victoria would need a plan. First, she had to feed. Constantly. But not in Forks, no. She couldn’t call attention to herself because of the Cullens. She probably had enough of that from having saved Bella from that car crash. She had to go to another town.

And after feeding, Victoria needed to focus on something else that wasn’t the red warm blood coursing through Bella’s veins all the time.

Maybe if she remembered the image of Bella sound asleep in her bed, looking like a true angel, Victoria could pull this off.

 

… 

 

The morning following Victoria’s appearance was uneventful. Bella kept thinking about the redhead the entire weekend, waiting for her to come back.

Monday, back to Forks High, Bella and her classmates had a field trip to a greenhouse.

As she waited in the parking lot to get into her bus, Edward suddenly appeared by her side, together with Alice and Jasper.

“Bella, hi.”

“Hey.”

“How are you feeling… after the accident?”

“I’m okay. Got lucky I guess.”

Bella awkwardly laughed and Alice gave a soft smile from behind Edward.

“I just wanted to know if you might wanna join me- us. On the bus, I mean.”

Bella looked behind to see where her friends were and they were already inside the bus. They didn’t even bother to wait for me so might as well go with Edward who actually wants me there.

“Sure.”

So she went with Edward. They sat together and Alice and Jasper went behind them.

As she admired the grey landscape of Forks passing by her window, Edward started to talk.

“Do your friends know?”

“Know what?”

“That you’re gay.”

Bella was a little caught by surprise and finally turned to Edward to answer his question.

She sunk her body further to her seat and huffed before talking.

“No. I don’t really wanna get that much attention. But seems like I’ve failed that already. Now I’m the girl who mysteriously stopped a van at full speed.”

Edward gave a little smirk at that.

“But do you intend on telling them?”

“At some point. But I think I’m just gonna let it happen naturally. Not make a big deal out of it.”

Edward nodded and looked at the window. He pursed his lips, afraid to keep asking and maybe crossing a line, but he asked it anyway.

“But does your father know?”

Bella looked back at the window too and nodded.

“Yeah, I mean, I had to tell him why I was moving out of my mom’s house.”

“But you could’ve lied. You could tell him only the part about Phill.”

“It wouldn’t work. My mom could call and talk to him about it and I wanted him to know on my terms. And he was cool about it, very supportive in his own awkward way.”

Edward laughed and Bella felt more comfortable to continue talking.

“I’m serious! He was all about trying to understand and let me know that he loved me but it was so awkward. I’m just glad it’s finally done.”

“It’s always very awkward. I remember my sort of coming out moment. I did it in front of my entire family to just get over with it. Probably the most embarrassing 50 seconds of life, because that’s all the time I spent talking about that.”

“That was pretty fast for a coming out.”

“The worst part was the rest of the night when everybody chose to share their own experiences. Longest night of my life.”

Bella was laughing hard. Edward was too. But now that he remembered why he had called her to come on his bus he felt guilty for ruining the good conversation with her.

He cleared his throat and suddenly became serious. Bella took some time to realize but quickly grew quiet too.

“The redhead woman that saved you, do you remember anything else about her.”

Bella knew this was going to happen. Edward was way too interested in the accident in the hospital to let go of the subject easily.

“I thought you didn’t believe me.”

Touché, Edward thought.

“I’m only asking. What do you remember of her?”

“I thought I hit my head pretty hard and I couldn’t remember things.”

“Why are you making this so difficult?” Edward was quickly growing out of patience, his voice turning deeper.

“You keep changing your mind. First, you believe me, then you don’t and now you’re asking me about this again. Why are you so interested in this?”

“I’m just trying to help.”

“Well, you should stop. You’re not helping.”

Then the talking was over. For the rest of the ride until the greenhouse, Bella and Edward stayed silent. When they arrived, Bella left the bus and quickly walked back to her friends. Edward stayed by Alice’s side, anger boiling up inside him.

“I told you she wouldn’t say anything to you now.”

Alice whispered before locking her arm with Jasper’s and starting to walk.

 

… 

 

For the public, a person was mysteriously killed by a bear in Seattle. For Victoria, it meant she was starting to get satisfied for when she met Bella again.

In Seattle, a big city, Victoria’s one kill wouldn’t cause too much fuss. That wouldn’t be the case if she killed someone in Forks, where the resident vampires didn’t even drink human blood.

Victoria expected to stay in the city for about three or four days, enough to hunt a couple of people and feed as much as she could, she couldn’t risk meeting Bella on an empty stomach. 

But as she went further away from Forks, the vampire’s non-beating heart hurt from being so far from Bella. The girl’s smell followed Victoria wherever she went, remembering her that she actually had, for the first time, somewhere - or in this case, someone - to return to.

 

… 

 

The next day, during lunch, Bella’s friends asked if she wanted to go to La Push Beach, a famous beach near the Quileute Reserve later that afternoon after school.

“La Push baby, it’s La Push.”

And because Bella was trying really hard to avoid Edward since his last interrogation in the previous day, she decided to say yes. And it would also be a good way to distract herself since Victoria was missing.

“Okay, I’ll go if you stop saying that, okay?”

When she arrived in La Push, out of the blue she saw Jacob and a couple of his friends walking in her direction. They quickly introduced themselves but it didn’t take long for Bella and Jacob to take off on their own in a walk on the sand.

“So, you’ve been hanging around with that Cullen.”

“Edward? How do you know that?”

Jacob laughed at Bella’s surprise.

“I have my connections. Tell me you asked him to come here today.” Jacob said laughing.

“No. I’m actually kinda mad at him so I’ve been avoiding.”

“I mean, it wouldn’t really matter. Cullens don’t come here anyway.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m not really supposed to say anything about it.”

“Hey, I can keep a secret.”

Jacob pondered in his mind. It probably wouldn’t hurt to tell Bella just an old legend of his tribe, right?

As they walked, Jacob explained how his tribe was descended from wolves, and that the Cullens were found hunting on their land by the chief of the tribe, his great grandfather. But as they claimed to be something different, they made a treaty with them, where if they stayed out of Quileute land, the tribe wouldn’t expose what they really were to the palefaces.

Bella didn’t understand half of what Jacob had said. It all seemed like there was so much information missing. Jacob asked her to not let those stories get into her head but it was way passed that time already.

When Bella arrived home, the first thing she did was to search on the internet for more information about the Quileute tribe and their myths and legends. In her search, she found a book, available to purchase in a bookstore called “Thunderbird and Whale Books” , located in Port Angeles.

She wrote the address down on a piece of paper and yawned before closing her laptop and laying on her bed, completely tired and ready for a good night of sleep.

 

… 

 

The same dream was happening again.

Bella was a lamb running in the middle of the woods from the red lion.

She ran for what it had seemed to be hours, but eventually, she tripped and fell, just like in the other times.

The difference is that this time, when the lion stopped right above her, it transformed into Victoria.

Bella’s heart skipped a beat as she saw the woman again, even in her dreams. She didn’t know what was going to happen. She was usually devoured by the lion but what would Victoria do?

Then the redhead opened a ferocious smile and started to slowly lean down. When her face was mere inches away from touching Bella’s, she closed the final distance and let their lips softly touch.

Bella woke up startled from her father knocking on the door, telling her that it was time to wake up and go to school.

Her heart was racing and Bella realized she could only think of kissing Victoria and nothing else.

 

Chapter Text

It had been five days since Bella had last seen Victoria.

Every day, Bella would stay awake until her eyes begged her to go to sleep. She waited as long as she could in hopes that the woman would arrive at her bedroom like the last time. But Bella also paid close attention to the parking lot in the mornings. She rested her back against her truck while she pretended to read with her earphones on when she was actually looking for the redhead in the trees.

On Wednesday, the sun was out and the Cullens were nowhere to be found.

Bella arrived at Forks High and found Angela and Jessica taking a little sunbath. As they chatted, the girls asked Bella to help them buy prom dresses in Port Angeles, and Bella remembering the bookstore she found online, decided to go with them.

Obviously, it didn’t take long for Bella to ditch Angela and Jessica and go to the bookstore to continue her research from the previous night.

 

… 

 

After five days of hunting and feasting, Victoria was back in Forks.

Unfortunately, it was a sunny day, so she couldn’t go into the city and surprise Bella when she left her class like she was intending to. Instead, Victoria stayed in the woods near the city, trying to track Bella’s scent from afar so she would keep track of her movements.

What she wasn’t expecting was that Bella didn’t go home after school like Victoria thought she would. No. Bella moved more, she even traveled enough to reach a new town, and Victoria arrived in Port Angeles. A small city, but giant when compared to Forks.

Victoria decided to wait until it was sundown so she could actually go into the city and find Bella.

In the corner of her vision, she saw an older man riding a red Harley Davidson bike and at that moment she knew exactly how she would stroll around the city.

 

… 

 

The sun was completely down when someone working at the bookstore told Bella they were closing for the day. When she looked outside, she noticed that her little escape had taken much longer than she intended too.

Jessica and Angela must be worried.

So Bella quickly took the book that she had found online to the cashier and paid for it.

As she stepped outside, the sky kept getting darker. When Bella arrived in an alley with a couple of stairs that would lead her to the street, a couple of guys appeared at the end.

She wasn’t exactly afraid of them, but she would rather not get into trouble alone in a city she barely knew, so Bella turned back around and went up the stairs into the bookstore’s back parking lot.

Bella looked behind to see if the boys were gone but they followed her, and a couple more joined the other two.

They ran to catch up with Bella and one guy stopped right in front of her, making Bella stop walking too. They surrounded her, and if Bella wasn’t afraid before, she was now.

“Hey, where you running to?” The guy in front of her asked.

Bella tried to move away but the four guys were forming a tight circle around her.

“What’s up?” Another guy asked as she faced him.

“It’s our girl.”

“Where are you going?”

“Come get a drink with us.”

Bella felt suffocated, completely trapped by them. She couldn’t breathe. She felt dizzy and like her stomach would give up on her at any minute.

“Yeah, you should hang out with us.”

“Come on!”

“It’s fun.”

“What’s the problem?”

“You’re pretty.” A guy said drunkenly as he touched a strand of Bella’s hair. She felt sick.

“Don’t touch me.” Bella said low but firmly.

“Cute.” Another guy said mocking her.

“No, seriously, you should.” The same guy touched her again, grabbing her arm and pulling her closer. His grip was strong and it hurt Bella.

“Don’t touch me!”

Bella said again and knead the guy’s stomach, making him back up with a groan.

“You really shouldn’t have done that.”

The guy said as he approached Bella again and easily pushed her to the ground.

“Bitch.”

“We’re gonna teach you some manners now.”

Bella fell on her elbows and started to back away as the four guys came walking slowly towards her.

That was it. Bella felt hopeless. She was going to get beaten to death at the hands of these four guys. Or worse.

When one of the guys was about to kick Bella, the sounds of a loud, rough and potent motor made them stop.

They looked behind and saw someone riding a big motorcycle coming in their direction on full speed. When they realized the driver was not stopping, they stepped away quickly to not get hit by it.

Bella didn’t even move. She was in such a state of fear and shock that the only thing she did was close her eyes and wait for the impact.

But it never hit her.

The motorcycle stopped sideways in front of Bella and when she opened her eyes, her entire body relaxed as she saw Victoria step out of the bike wearing the same jeans and furry jacket as the other night. Her red hair looked beautiful under the night sky and it was all she could look at.

Victoria extended her hand to the girl on the floor and before Bella even prepared herself, Victoria pulled her up.

“Hop in. Now.”

 Bella did as she was told and Victoria walked in the direction of the guy who pushed Bella.

She pulled him by the collar of his jacket and he saw black eyes staring back.

“That’s not how you’re supposed to treat other people.”

She said before throwing him to the ground with all the strength she had.

He screamed but right after that, Victoria stepped on his leg and broke it, making the guy scream even more.

The other three guys didn’t do anything, they didn’t even move, way too scared of the redhead.

Victoria then walked back to her bike and hopped in, putting her hands on each handlebar and started the engine.

“Hold tight.”

She said to Bella before moving and making a full circle with the bike, driving close to the other guys and making them back away from fear again. Victoria then turned in the direction of the street and exited the scene at full speed.

Bella was so petrified that she didn’t manage to say one word. All she could do was hold on to Victoria’s waist as tightly as she could.

When they were a few blocks away, Victoria entered a gas station and stopped the motorcycle near a wall. She quickly got out of the bike and stood up by Bella’s side. The girl didn’t even move as Victoria brought her hands to Bella’s cheek so she would face her.

“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” Victoria asked almost as if she was out of breath, her eyes frantically checking Bella’s body for injuries. Her hands were softly grabbing Bella’s cheek as if holding her together so she wouldn’t fall apart. “I should go back there and rip those guys’ heads off.”

“No, you shouldn’t.” Bella answered back as she brought her hands to Victoria’s arm.

Victoria was still on the rush of her powers, the only thought in her mind being “save Bella”.

“They hurt you.”

Victoria. ” Bella said a little louder, snapping Victoria out of her train of thought. As she watched the redhead, Bella noticed her eyes were black again, same as when she saved her from the car crash but different from the red eyes of the night she appeared in her room. “Your eyes. They’re black again.”

Victoria shut her eyes close. What do I say?

Bella moved her hands from the soft material of Victoria’s furry jacket covering her shoulders to her hands cradling Bella’s face.

Her hands were soft but cold as ice. Bella didn’t flinch away though and instead laced her fingers around Victoria’s. It was weirdly intimate but Bella just felt like she had to do that.

“You’re freezing.”

The soft gesture made Victoria’s heart ache and she hummed in response.

They stayed a couple of seconds like that. Victoria calmed herself down and managed to regain her self-control. She was back into being entranced by feeling and smelling Bella.

“Victoria?”

The woman shot her eyes open and looked straight at Bella. Her eyes now red again.

“Yes, Bella?”

“How- how do you do that? Your eyes were black just now, now they’re red.”

Victoria tilted her head a little and opened a big smile.

“If I tell you how I made the trick, you won’t believe it’s magic.” Victoria winked at the end and softly squeezed Bella’s cheeks before letting them go to rest her hands on Bella’s leg.

Bella was amazed by the way Victoria spoke and how her lips moved. Her smile was so big it could light up an entire city. And not to mention how gorgeous she was. Everything about her made below Bella’s stomach twist with desire.

“That’s not really fair.”

“Well, so it’s life. Now, are you hungry?”

“I- I think I am.” Bella stuttered at first from the sudden change of subject but she was indeed hungry, so she wouldn’t say no to some food at the moment.

Victoria smirked and rolled her eyes. Bella was so helpless and wondrous. All Victoria wanted was an opportunity to sit down and have some time with Bella, and given that humans love their foods, that seemed like the best idea.

“But I have to meet with my friends first. I came with them here to buy some stuff and they’re probably freaking out because I disappeared.” Bella added.

“I’ll take you to them. But then you’re all mine for dinner.”

Victoria, again, so smooth in everything she said. Bella’s stomach was flipping with excitement.

She hopped on the bike again in front of Bella and turned on the engine to take them to where Bella’s friends were. They drove for five minutes tops, before arriving at the place.

Bella hopped out of the bike first while Victoria parked. She saw Jessica and Angela leaving the restaurant and went running to them.

“Hey, you guys, I’m sorry. I just-”

“Where were you? We left you messages.” Angela said, her voice worried.

“Yeah, we waited, but we were like, starving, so we-”

Jessica didn’t finish what she wanted to say because a redhead woman about twenty-five years old, who could probably be a model stopped right next to Bella.

“Girls, my apologies for keeping Bella from dinner. We met at the bookstore and just… kept talking all afternoon.”

Victoria looked at Bella and the girl was just incredibly confused. The redhead was no longer wearing her furry jacket and had instead a black leather jacket and sunglasses on.

Jessica and Angela were dumbstruck. Switching their eyes from Bella to Victoria incredulously.

“Uhm, this is Victoria. She’s a friend. From childhood.” Bella tried to give a lame excuse to the girls but she didn’t manage to say much.

The girls were clearly holding a laugh.

“No, we totally understand, I mean, that happens, right?” Jessica said first breaking the ice.

“Yeah, we were-” Angela tried to speak but she was too lost of words.

“Yeah, we were just leaving. So…” The girls moved passed Bella and the redhead laughing. “Bella, if you wanna…” Jessica suggested but knew it was pointless.

“I think I should make sure Bella gets something to eat.” Victoria said looking at Bella. The girl nodded quickly and Victoria opened her smile again. “I’ll drive her home myself, don’t worry.”

“That’s so thoughtful.” Angela said with the biggest smirk on her face as she looked across to Jessica.

“It’s really thoughtful, yeah.” The other girl added with the same knowing smirk.

“Yeah, I should eat something.” Bella finally said as she walked towards Victoria.

“Okay, so we’ll see you tomorrow.”

“See ya.”

“Okay.”

Bella answered finally and turned around to get in the restaurant with Victoria, leaving behind her two friends laughing out loud and shocked by the situation.

As they entered, Victoria took them to a small booth at the end of the restaurant. It was darker there, so no one would see her red eyes when she took her sunglasses off.

She let Bella sit first and then she sat by her side. Bella was feeling all sorts of things but mostly nervousness. She didn’t know how to act around Victoria.

The redhead took her sunglasses off and sat on one of her legs so she could practically fully turn to face Bella. Victoria felt confident and like she had full control of herself, Bella’s smell practically not affecting her at that moment.

The girl felt a little claustrophobic from all the attention but when she started staring back at Victoria’s red eyes, she forgot everything.

When the waitress arrived, Bella asked for a salmon with mashed potatoes and Victoria kept her eyes locked on her, ignoring the waitress as she left with Bella’s order.

“You’re really not gonna eat?”

“How do you think I keep this body? I’m on a strict diet.”

“It’s definitely working.”

“Is it? Do you think I look good?”

Victoria asked with a smirk on her face.

“Yeah, I think you look good.”

Victoria laughed and scooted over closer to Bella, who tensed immediately. Victoria was acting bold, but she couldn’t help it. Bella triggered something inside her.

“Victoria?”

She loved how Bella would say her name.

“Bella?” She answered mockingly and Bella swallowed dry and licked her lips before speaking again.

“I… need some answers.”

“Go ahead. But I can’t promise you anything.”

“Okay. How did you know where I was?”

“I didn’t. At first.”

“So did you follow me?”

“Sorta.”

“Sorta?”

“I was keeping a distance until it was sundown so I could go find you. I had a whole night planned but of course, you got yourself in trouble again.”

The waitress arrived with Bella’s order and as soon as it was in front of her, Bella started eating her food.

Victoria was fascinated by Bella, she couldn’t keep her eyes from the girl.

“You’re really hungry.”

Bella looked up at Victoria, embarrassed to be eating so fast in front of her.

“I haven’t eaten anything since lunch.”

“I can see that.”

Bella went back to eating but Victoria didn’t look away the entire time, so Bella stopped and looked at her again.

“Are you sure you don’t wanna eat? You look like you wanna eat my food.”

Or me, Bella thought.

“I don’t really like salmon but I’m sure you would be quite the meal.”

Bella shot her eyes open at Victoria and froze as she realized she had said her thoughts out loud. Shit.

“But don’t worry, I won’t need you today, I ate before coming to see you.”

Victoria was having a blast making tons of innuendos about her being a vampire without Bella even noticing.

“Great.”

Bella tried to ignore Victoria’s staring and finished eating her food in silence.

When she was done, she pushed the plate to the other side of the table and turned around so she would finally face Victoria, acting a little bolder herself.

The redhead was surprised but enjoyed the fact that all of Bella’s attention was on her now. She opened a smile and got closer to Bella. Their thighs were touching and Bella was nervous just from that contact. She felt goosebumps on her skin that weren’t left unnoticed by Victoria.

“Bella? Everything okay?”

Bella was looking down at her hands but stopped when Victoria gently raised her head by her chin.

Victoria’s hand was still cold and made Bella shiver again. And she kept shivering as Victoria took her hand from her chin to put a strand of her hair behind her ear. It was a soft gesture that Bella wasn’t expecting at all.

Bella leaned into the touch, which only made Victoria even more entranced by her. The redhead’s heart felt almost like beating out of her chest from how she felt for Bella.

“You’re beautiful. You shouldn’t look down.”

“I’m just nervous.”

“Nervous about what?”

“You.”

Victoria gave a small laugh but suddenly grew sad. Bella should indeed be nervous around her. She should actually be afraid.

Bella noticed this shift in Victoria and couldn’t help but ask.

“What is it?”

“It’s complicated.”

“It’s okay, you can say whatever you want to me.”

Victoria pondered in her mind on what to say. How to put into words how she felt for Bella? It was something that transcended anything she had ever felt before.

“I don’t… have the strength to stay away from you anymore. I wish I could. It would be better for you. Two weeks ago I was given the option to not go forward into this. But I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I had given up and turned around.” Victoria stopped and closed her eyes before speaking again. Trying to choose her words carefully. “I had to come meet you. ‘Cause what’s the point of living if you don’t get to share that with someone?”

Bella didn't know how to respond. She didn’t understand much of what Victoria was saying and what she meant by all that, but the woman was being so raw about her feelings with her, Bella decided to maybe try to do the same.

“Then don’t.” Victoria opened her eyes in surprise and Bella continued. “Don’t stay away. I- I feel something… strong for you, a pull. Every day since you showed up to save me and then in my room I’ve been waiting for you to come back. You didn’t leave my mind for one second if it makes you feel any better.”

Victoria smiled at that, how could she not. Bella somehow liked her and they didn’t even know each other properly yet. Maybe it was a mate thing. Not even Victoria understood it fully yet, but Bella wanted her to stay, so she would. For Bella.

“I’m sorry I left. I had to go do some things before I came to see you again. Especially now that I intend to stay for a while.”

Bella smiled and her heart filled up with hope, hope for something that she didn’t even fully understand what yet.

 

… 

 

The ride was silent, only the sound of the wind numbing their ears as Victoria rode along the streets until they reached Forks. Bella held on tightly to the redhead’s waist and leaned her head against her shoulder during the trip.

It had been a night full of twists, but Victoria couldn’t help but smile as she felt Bella against her body. Victoria had controlled herself and everything went on great. She was maybe starting something with the girl and it was all she could really hope for.

Victoria dropped Bella at home and unfortunately passed on the opportunity to finally kiss the girl goodbye when she saw what had to be her dad on the window looking at them.

“I’ll see you soon.”

The redhead said before turning the engine on again and leaving.

Bella was still in shock from how her night went. She got inside the house and the first thing she found was her dad sitting at the foot of the stairs.

“Is everything okay?” Bella asked as she stopped in front of Charlie.

“Come on Bells, you know it’s late to be getting home.”

“I’m sorry, I lost track of time at dinner.”

“Were you with that redhead that dropped you here?”

Bella froze a little and swallowed before she spoke again.

“Yeah. She’s a friend.”

“It’s okay, I’m not angry, just curious.” They stayed in awkward silence for a while until Charlie spoke again. “So is she nice? Is she treating you well?”

Dad?!

“Bells, I have to ask. She seemed a little older, I just want to know if she’s treating you right. And where did you two meet, by the way?”

“Oh my god, we are not doing this. Goodnight dad.” Bella said laughing as she went up the stairs to her room. Before closing the door, she heard her father saying as he also laughed “Night, Bells.”

As soon as she sat down on her chair, Bella opened the book she bought and started reading it, trying to think of something else that wasn’t Victoria-related.

When she came across the term “cold one” , Bella went to dig deeper on the internet, looking for other cultures and their myths around the term.

It didn’t take long before Bella finally found what she was looking for. She was in a state of complete shock as she put the pieces together.

Looks like even when she was trying not to think of her, Victoria came immediately upon Bella’s mind.

Victoria and The Cullens were the same.

The same kind.

 

Chapter Text

In the morning, Bella took her orange truck to school and waited in the parking lot for Victoria to arrive. She knew she would appear at some point.

She rested her back on the hood of the car while listening to some music when Edward arrived in front of her. He came to talk to her after he had parked his car, furrowing his brows, confused at Bella.

“You’re not going to class?”

“No. I have to do something first.”

Bella’s tone was almost rude-ish so Edward didn’t argue and took the cue to leave.

Victoria entered the parking lot sometime later as the last kids got inside the building and there was only Bella standing outside. She parked her stolen bike next to Bella’s truck and hopped off before walking towards the girl.

When Victoria was about to ask Bella why she wasn’t in class, Bella turned around and started walking towards the forest near her school, going up a small hill. Victoria knew that had to be a bad sign and followed Bella without questioning.

Bella acted quickly, trying not to think too much about the consequences of what she was about to do.

 

… 

 

They stopped in the middle of the forest. It was dark, cold and foggy.

Bella dropped her bag to the floor and stood still. Victoria was standing right behind her, waiting for Bella to do something.

The girl took in as much air as she could, psyching herself up before she finally spoke.

“You’re impossibly fast and strong. Your skin is pale white and ice-cold. Your eyes change color. You didn’t eat or drink anything last night at the restaurant and you said you had to wait until sundown for you to come find me.” Bella spoke every sentence slowly, taking her time. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-five.”

“How long have you been twenty-five?”

Victoria stopped. What was there to say?

“A while .

Bella was shaking. It was true, it was all true.

Victoria wasn’t expecting Bella to have figured it out this soon, no human does. But maybe no human ever got to be so close to a vampire for so long without dying. Victoria knew the girl knew by now, there was no reason to hide it anymore.

“Bella-”

“I know what you are.”

Bella turned around so she could face Victoria. Her heart was beating out of her chest, not from fear but from sheer anxiety to be so close to the woman.

“Do you?”

Victoria asked quirking a brow. Even at this moment Bella found the woman charming. She didn’t feel threatened by her, even though that’s the only thing she should be feeling at the moment.

“You’re a vampire .”

The words had been said and for the first time in a very long time, Victoria felt like she had no control of the situation.

“Are you afraid of me?”

The way Victoria softly asked the question made Bella feel a shiver down her spine. She slowly moved to take Victoria’s hand on her own, trying to somehow comfort the vampire who was feeling sad. Again, they were freezing, and again Bella laced her fingers with Victoria’s and gently squeezed her hand.

The redhead looked down in awe at their hands together, her hair falling in front of her face and making Bella dizzy from seeing such a beautiful image in front of her eyes.

“No.”

Everything seemed surreal for Victoria. How could a human girl act so carelessly around a vampire?

“Bella…” Victoria sighed defeated before whispering. “What’s the most basic thing about vampires?” Bella looked confused at her and Victoria managed to face Bella again to add. “What do we eat?”

That’s when it hit her.

Humans. Me.

But Bella still wasn’t scared.

“You won’t hurt me. If you had to, you would have done it already.”

Victoria smiled from Bella’s confidence.

“You can’t be sure of that.”

Bella was on edge, she didn’t know what to do or what to say.

Victoria could see that Bella was probably in shock and so she decided to take bold action and try to show Bella what she was really signing up for.

“I need to show you something.”

Victoria pulled Bella into her arms and carried her bridal-style up the mountain, out of the cloud bank. Bella didn’t have time to argue so she just wrapped her arms around Victoria’s neck and watched as the forest passed by her faster than she could process anything.

It didn’t take long until Victoria reached the top and carefully dropped Bella to the ground.

There was a space in front of them where a few sunbeams managed to pass by the trees and were fully hitting the ground. Victoria slowly walked to the spot and dropped her furry jacket as she went. She took in a deep breath and smelled the forest around her before stepping into the light and feeling the wave of warmth hit her skin.

“This is why I don’t show myself in sunlight. People would know I was different.”

Bella watched carefully as Victoria’s skin started to glow. It was like it was made of diamonds. She turned around and looked deep into Bella’s brown eyes.

“This is what I am.”

Bella felt her heart stop beating from the view.

“You’re beautiful.”

“I’m meant to be beautiful, Bella. It's camouflage.”

Victoria stepped away from the sunlight and picked up her coat from the ground before walking past Bella into the forest again. Bella followed her, her eyes still in awe from what she had seen.

“What do you mean?”

Victoria laughed sarcastically as she stopped again and turned to Bella.

“Bella, I’m the world’s most dangerous predator. Everything about me is supposed to invite you in. My skin, my voice, how I act, even my smell. And I don’t even need all that.” Victoria used her speed so she could be inches away from Bella. She took a strand of her hair and played with it with her fingers as she continued. “You know how fast and strong I am. You can’t outrun me or fight me off. I am designed to kill.”

Bella was breathless and she felt her stomach drop to the floor. Maybe she was in danger. But it still didn’t make sense Victoria’s behavior towards her if Bella was just gonna be her meal.

“I don’t think you’ll kill me.”

“But I kill people. All the time. I wanted to kill you, Bella. I’ve never wanted a human’s blood so much in my life.”

Victoria got instinctively closer, her lips almost touching Bella’s. It was hard to stay away from the girl, she just didn’t know if it was because of her desire to kill her or kiss her.

“I trust you.” Bella whispered as she closed her eyes and wrapped her hands around Victoria’s neck. “I’m here and you haven’t done anything yet. I trust you.”

“You shouldn’t. I still don’t know if I can control myself.”

“I know you can.”

Bella was in high. All she wanted was for Victoria to kiss her, but the woman wouldn’t. She gently let their lips brush and she felt Victoria shiver in her arms.

The redhead was drunk in Bella’s scent and she just wanted more. So she moved her head to Bella’s shoulder and hugged her, wrapping her arms around the girl’s waist. She controlled her strength so she wouldn’t hurt Bella but tried to hug her as tightly as she could without breaking her. The warmth from Bella’s body heated Victoria all the way to her heart and she thought that maybe that was how Laurent felt when he was with James. That was how Victoria had always longed to feel and she wanted to feel like that for the rest of her life.

The thought made Victoria pull back and bring her two hands up to cup each of Bella’s cheeks tenderly. She gave a soft smile before sighing and whispering.

“You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you.”

Bella wasn’t expecting that and her heart warmed up like never before. She felt like living in a fantasy.

“I’m here now.”

 

… 

 

The grass was green and there were white and violet flowers all around them.

Bella and Victoria were laying on the ground, facing each other. They were silent, just taking the time to admire each other.

Victoria’s red curls were sprawled on the grass, and when the sun shined against her skin it glowed again, and Bella swore she had never seen anything more beautiful in her entire life.

After a while, they sat down under a tree. Bella took Victoria’s hand on her own and started to make light circles on her wrist, a gentle touch that made the vampire swoon.

“For how long have you been like this?”

“Since 1553.”

Bella shot her eyes up in shock.

“What?! You’re kidding.”

Victoria laughed from the girl’s reaction but shook her head.

“I wish. I was born in London actually, but, as you can see, I lost my accent.”

They both laughed.

“Tell me more about you. Please.”

Victoria smiled seeing Bella’s interest in her and cleared her throat before starting.

“Well, I had an older sister, Anne. We worked in a house as servants, together with our parents. We got pretty beat up there so we ran away when I was about twelve. We spent some time in the streets but then she started working for a pimp so we could have something to eat. I never really worked for him, she was kind enough to spare me. Then one day Anne went missing and I only found her years later, when I was already twenty-five. Some people were coming after me for all of the problems I had caused - and all the times I escaped them - through the years so she turned me into a vampire, so I could protect myself from anyone that ever wanted to hurt me.”

Bella listened to everything with her full attention. She was fascinated by Victoria’s story.

“Then I lived with her and her coven for some good years, but it didn’t take long for the Volturi to find us. They took the most powerful of us, Heidi, and killed the rest. I sensed they were coming to kill us so I warned everybody to run away but I was the only one who actually survived.”

Bella’s heart broke at the moment. They had killed her sister. She wanted to ask about who the “Volturi” were but she let it go, it wasn't the right moment.

“I’m so sorry, Victoria.” Bella whispered as she squeezed the vampire’s hand.

“It’s okay now. I tried to avoid vampires as much as I could for the next four hundred years, until I met a couple of vampires, James and Laurent, in a hunt. We didn’t hate each other at first sight so we decided to make a small coven of ourselves for better survivability.”

“And did they come here with you?”

“To Forks? No. When I started smelling you I got into a frenzy. I couldn’t stop running until I found you. When they managed to stop me to hunt they left for another city while I came here to find you.”

“So that’s how you found me? By my smell?”

Bella asked and Victoria laughed. Bella had this dumb look on her face.

“I know it’s weird. Your scent is very strong, but only to me. That’s how I could track you down all the way from the other side of Washington.”

“Only to you? What does that mean?”

Victoria bit her lip and pondered in her mind the best way to tell Bella.

“Vampires have… mates. It’s someone they have a connection with that will last for eternity. It’s like a soulmate. Laurent and James are mates, for example. James smelled Laurent pass by in a nearby city and started to track him down with his powers until he found him. Laurent eventually fell in love with him and they realized they were mates. But between a vampire and a human is very different. It’s rare and stronger.”

“So…” Bella obviously connected the dots in her mind and said it out loud. “-we are mates?”

“Yeah, I believe so.”

Bella didn’t know what to do with that information so she just nodded her head and continued to play with Victoria’s hand.

“You said James had powers, do all vampires have that?”

“No, just some of us.”

“Do you have any?”

“Yes. Do you remember how I told I got in trouble as a kid because I always escaped?” Bella nodded her head and Victoria continued. “That’s kinda my power. ‘Enhanced self-preservation’ like Laurent says. Since I was little I could always escape life-threatening situations and get away with it. That’s how I survived for twenty-five years and it only got stronger when I was turned into a vampire. That’s how I knew they would kill my clan and that’s how I knew you were in danger and how to find you yesterday.”

“So your powers work on other people too?”

“No. Just you.” Victoria saw that Bella seemed confused so she made herself clear. “Bella,” How do I say this? “-for my survival you need to be alive. I- I spent more than four hundred years alone, seeing other vampires find their mates and I never understood why I didn’t have one. I just found you and if I lose you now I don’t know what will happen to me.”

Again Bella’s heart broke into a million pieces. She scooted closer to Victoria and laced their fingers together before leaning her head on the redhead’s shoulder.

“You won’t lose me. I’m right here.”

Victoria’s body was like it was on fire from Bella’s action, but she just laid her head on top of the girl’s and sighed with relief.

 

… 

 

As they walked down the forest back to the school, Victoria and Bella kept talking and discovering more about each other.

“You know the Cullens are vampires too, right?”

“I figured.”

They both laughed and Bella took Victoria’s hand on her own as they walked among the trees.

“What gave it away?”

“Probably because they’re just like you. Pale skin, changing eye color and the fact that they never eat at lunch, they just keep moving with their food.”

Bella laughed at her own comment but Victoria didn’t.

“You need to be careful around them.”

Bella noticed the change in Victoria’s tone and turned to face her.

“Why?”

“They lead a different life from most vampires. Sometimes I do want to bite you, but when that urge appears or when I’m thirsty I just find a human to kill, I can control myself. But the Cullens don’t drink from humans, they only drink from animals. It’s like they’re vegetarians. And while I eat meat, it’s like they live off tofu. They’re strong but never fully satisfied.”

“You say as if you know the feeling.”

“I’ve lived a long life, Bella. I’ve tried everything. But the Cullens deny our true nature, so they are always on edge when a human is around. You need to be cautious around them. You never know when they’re gonna snap from being too many years without human blood.”

Victoria had a point. The Cullens were unstable and Bella needed to be more careful around them.

When they finally hit the parking lot, it was almost by the end of the afternoon and the place was empty, only with Bella’s truck and Victoria’s bike.

They walked towards them and Bella stopped in front of her truck to get her keys before opening the door.

“Will I see you tonight?”

“I think I should keep some distance. But I’ll be in the trees near your house. Won’t keep my eyes far away from you anymore, Bella Swan.”

“I hope you won’t.”

Victoria smirked as she watched Bella hop in her truck and turn the engine on the leave.

“Well, you know where to find me. See you tomorrow, Vic.”

And with that, Bella left for her house and Victoria’s dead heart jumped out of her chest from hearing the nickname coming out of the girl’s lips.

She stood there a little dumbstruck for some moments but when it passed, she quickly got in her motorcycle to ride to Bella’s home, consumed by a feeling that could only be described as love .

 

Chapter Text

The morning after Bella found out Victoria was a vampire was nonetheless, busy. She woke up slowly, still sort of hungover from the amount of new information she got on the day before.

She did her morning routine as usual, but when it was almost time to leave, she heard a familiar sound coming from the street. Bella walked to her window and when she looked down she saw Victoria stopping her bike in front of her door. The redhead looked up and gave her the usual wide smile that made Bella swoon.

Bella quickly went down the stairs and found something to eat in the kitchen before leaving. Her dad wasn’t at home, having left early for work on that day, so Bella was relieved she wouldn’t have to explain anything to him yet.

When she opened the door, Victoria was standing right in front of her, hand leaning on the door frame, looking like she was the coolest person alive.

“Wanna ride for school?”

Bella just smiled and closed the door behind her before walking past Victoria and hopping into the bike.

“If you don’t hurry we’re gonna arrive late.”

Victoria laughed and gave Bella the helmet she was holding in her free hand.

“You’re gonna need this if you want me to go full speed.”

“Did you steal this from someone too?” Bella asked sarcastically as she took the helmet and put it on.

“Of course I did.” Victoria answered with the biggest smirk.

She climbed on the bike in front of Bella and relaxed immediately as she felt the girl wrapping her arms around her waist.

“Didn’t you get one for you too?”

Victoria looked behind with a raised eyebrow.

“Do you really think I need a helmet?”

Bella stopped. Of course not, she is an immortal vampire, she doesn’t need a freaking motorcycle helmet.

“You should keep up the appearances anyway.”

Victoria turned back around and started the engine.

“I am keeping them up. It would totally ruin my hair.”

Bella couldn’t hold back a smile.

And with that, Victoria took off along the streets of Forks.

 

… 

 

Eric was handing out flyers for prom just outside the Forks High entrance. A bunch of students around him were asking questions and Angela was taking pictures of everybody when she suddenly turned the camera towards the parking lot entrance and saw the news of the week.

“Oh. my. God.”

Victoria couldn’t hold back her smirk as she got the attention of every person on that parking lot for herself and Bella.

She hopped off her bike, stylish as ever with her sunglasses, black leather jacket, and black boots. She helped Bella get off the bike and took the helmet from her hands before placing it on the seat.

Bella’s cheeks were on fire. If she wanted to go unnoticed on Forks High, she had definitely failed at that very quickly.

Victoria didn’t waste any time, though, and took Bella’s hand on her own before she started walking.

“Wow.” Bella cleared her throat before continuing. “You know, everybody’s staring.”

“Let them. There’s no harm in looking.” Victoria answered with a smile and squeezed Bella’s hand.

They had walked to the bottom of the stairs when Edward came in front of them. Bella stopped, which made Victoria stop walking too - even though she would gladly walk pass the Cullen boy.

“Edward. This is my friend, Victoria.”

Victoria gave a quick, not friendly at all, smile. No teeth.

“Hi.” Edward said nodding his head before looking straight at Bella and ignoring Victoria’s presence. “Bella, I need to talk to you. In private.”

“Ugh…” Bella stuttered and turned to Victoria.

Victoria was suspicious, but her powers were not warning her about anything so the Cullen was probably harmless to her and Bella. She nodded slightly and Bella turned to Edward.

“Okay, just give me a second.”

“Sure.”

Edward stepped back a little, going to the side, near the wall. Bella turned to face Victoria.

“Are your powers saying something?”

“No. But I still don’t trust him. Just take care of yourself, okay?”

“I will. I won’t go far.”

Victoria smiled a little and leaned down slowly. Before Bella could panic thinking that Victoria was going for a kiss, the redhead tilted her head a little and placed a kiss on Bella’s cheek.

“I’ll pick you up after school.”

Victoria walked away and Bella sighed, realizing that she would have to go confront Edward.

 

… 

 

“I read Victoria’s mind. I know you know.”

“You did what?!”

Edward had taken Bella near the edge of a lake close to the school building. He was using his powers freely. Now that Bella knew everything, there was no use hiding it anymore.

“I can read every mind in Forks if they are close enough. Apart from yours.”

Bella sat down on the edge of a rock and let her feet swing in the air. She looked down at Edward, who was nervously walking on the rocks below her.

“Great. So you read Victoria’s mind.” Bella was trying to avoid the information about mind reading - and that Bella was weird enough that Edward couldn’t read hers - to focus on the fact that Edward had completely invaded her privacy.

“Yes. And I know she has poisoned your mind so you would think I can’t control myself. But that’s not true. My family and I, we’re not unstable. We’re not a threat.” Bella wasn’t buying his speech and Edward could see it in her eyes, even if he couldn’t read her mind. “I need to tell you my side of the story.”

Bella nodded and Edward started telling her everything. How Carlisle bit him after he caught Spanish influenza in 1918; how they formed the Olympic Coven after Carlisle turned Esme; and how his brothers and sisters had arrived at the family over the years. Bella seemed to calm down and start to believe him as he spoke. Her expressions were softer and she didn’t have that angry look on her face anymore.

“Does anyone else in your family have powers?”

“Yes. Besides me, only Alice and Jasper have powers. He can control people’s emotions and Alice can see the future.”

“I bet she saw me coming.”

“Alice’s visions are subjective. I mean, the future can always change.”

Bella was trying to wrap up in her mind all the information she was gaining - again.

“You don’t need to worry about my family. You need to worry about Victoria. She’s the real danger for you here.”

“What? She’s not a danger.”

“I read her mind today, Bella. She doesn’t know if she can control herself or not. She drinks human blood, she’s a threat.”

“She’s not a threat to me.” Bella was slowly starting to get pissed off by Edward’s accusations. He didn’t know Victoria and Bella wouldn’t let him talk about her like that.

“Bella, you don’t understand. My family and I, we made a treaty. Any vampire that kills a human in the Forks city limits will be breaking it and we can’t let that happen. It would start a war.”

“A war?” Bella asked but before Edward could answer she kept going. “Victoria only went hunting once and it wasn’t even in Forks. You don’t have to worry about her breaking your treaty.”

Wait. Treaty? The one Jacob talked about? - Bella wanted to but didn’t even bother to ask Edward any explanations, not at the moment at least.

“Bella-”

“I’m done with this.”

Bella got up and started walking back to the school. She was pissed and tired of Edward and she just wanted to leave.

Edward used his speed and reached Bella.

“Bella, I’m sorry.” He said walking by her side, knowing that Bella was angry by the strong way she walked.

“It’s fine.”

“I’m just trying to protect you.”

Bella then abruptly stopped and turned to Edward.

“Well, I don’t need your protection. I’ve got Victoria.” Bella said harshly but added after taking a deep breath. “Just be my friend.”

 

… 

 

Bella and Edward arrived at school in time for lunch so they went directly to the cafeteria. Bella went to sit with her friends and Edward with his family.

When she sat on the table, Angela and Jessica exchanged a look before turning to Bella.

The girl was looking over her shoulder at Edward. He was talking to his family while all of them played with their food, pretending they would eat it. Angela cleared her throat and that made Bella turn away from them for a second.

“So… two days in a row that we don’t see you in class.” Angela said with curious eyes.

“What have you been up to, nerd? You’re not the one to sneak out.” Jessica said playfully.

“Nothing. Guess I’m being badly influenced.” Bella said awkwardly laughing.

“By the redhead?”

“Or by the Cullen?” Jessica completed as she laughed with Angela.

Bella stopped to think and she didn’t really have a proper answer, so she just shrugged her shoulders and said. “Probably both.”

After that, they changed the subject and Bella was thankful for it. She couldn't handle a conversation about neither Victoria nor Edward.

Later, when her classes were over, Bella walked to the parking lot with Angela to leave, but before they could say goodbye, she saw Edward walking towards her.

Angela saw the boy coming and just gave Bella a knowing look and walked away to reach Jessica and the boys.

Bella stood there until Edward finally stopped in front of her.

“Can I talk to you?”

“Just say it, Edward.”

Edward gave a small chuckle. It was funny when Bella was impatient.

“I want you and Victoria to come to my house on Saturday.”

“Like, with your family?”

“Yeah. I mean, it’s probably the best way for us to show you we’re not a threat and for Victoria to show us she won’t cause any trouble.”

“I don’t know. I’ll have to talk to Victoria first.”

“Of course.”

Edward would never tell her but he had read Alice’s mind at lunch and she had a vision of Bella and Victoria at their house. They were in the kitchen, Victoria wrapping her arms around Bella’s waist from behind and they laughed and smiled. Edward knew they were probably going - and that somehow Victoria wasn’t an actual danger to them or Bella.

Bella saw Victoria entering the parking lot in her motorcycle and shifted a little in her feet from excitement. Edward noticed that Victoria’s thoughts had started to appear to him so he knew she had arrived.

“If you decide to come join us, I’ll text you the details.”

“You have a phone?”

Edward laughed at that, the few times Bella had seen him genuinely laugh until then.

“I’m a vampire, not a grandpa, Bella.”

She laughed and handed her phone to Edward so he could put his number. He handed back her phone and started walking away as Victoria approached Bella.

“Give me an answer as soon as possible. Esme would like to cook for you.”

Bella nodded and as he turned away to get into his car, Victoria stopped in front of her.

“Am I missing something?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll catch you up.”

 

… 

 

While Bella was at school, Victoria had prepared a picnic just for the girl on that same green field they had spent the afternoon on the day before. There was a white towel on the grass with a basket full of food on top of it. 

All Bella could think about was that this vampire lady that was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen in her entire life had taken time to prepare a surprise picnic just for her.

“I can’t believe you did this.”

“Surprise!” The redhead said in a small but excited tone.

Victoria and Bella walked hand in hand to the little spot the redhead had set everything up. They sat on the towel next to each other and Victoria started opening the basket and handing things for Bella. There was a chocolate bar, some apples, a couple of sandwiches, a pack of chips, a bottle of water and a can of soda.

“This is way too much food.”

“I got a little bit of everything, didn’t know what you wanted.”

“Oh, I want everything. I just don’t know if I’ll be able to eat it.”

Victoria smiled and crossed her legs. She took off her jacket and stayed only with her black tank top. Bella tried not to get distracted by the newly exposed skin but it was almost impossible not to stare at the beauty in front of her.

When she realized where Bella’s eyes were, Victoria bit her lip and cleared her throat before speaking.

“You’re not gonna eat?”

Bella looked up to meet Victoria’s eyes and instantly blushed from being caught.

“Of course.” Bella said quickly as she stopped staring at Victoria and went back to focusing on the food.

Victoria laughed and got closer to Bella, almost instinctively.

“So, did you like it?”

Bella nodded her head as she took a bite of one of the sandwiches.

“It’s perfect. You really shouldn’t have.”

“I wanted to do this. I want to know more about you. We just talk about me being a vampire.”

“I mean, it is a big deal.”

Victoria smiled as Bella took another bite.

“I know, but still.”

“Okay.” Bella awkwardly laughed. “Ask me anything.”

“Do you still talk to your mother?”

“Yeah, sometimes she calls. She called me after my first day here and after the accident.”

“And, that’s good, right?”

“I think it is.” Bella was about to take another bite when she remembered something she had to tell Victoria. “But oh! My father asked about you.”

“Me?”

“Yeah.” Bella laughed at Victoria’s shocked face and continued. “He asked if you were treating me right.”

“Oh, wow. And what did you say?” Victoria quirked a brow and Bella took a sip of her soda.

“I told him to go to sleep.”

Victoria laughed and Bella joined in.

They spent the entire afternoon like that, talking, laughing and getting to know more about each other.

Sometimes the sun would creep out and it would hit Victoria’s skin, making it glow. When that happened, Bella’s only thought was that she wouldn’t mind admiring the redhead vampire for the rest of her life.

 

… 

 

Bella closed the door to her bedroom behind her and locked it. She had just said goodnight to her father after dinner and was anxious for more time alone with Victoria. When she turned around, Victoria had already used her speed to stand inches away from Bella.

“So you’re all mine now?”

Bella felt a shiver run down her spine and her stomach burned from hearing Victoria’s voice so low and husky near her.

“I think so.”

Victoria opened that same smile, that big smile that was only meant for Bella now. She took the girl’s hand and led her to the bed.

Bella was excited. And a little scared, but mostly excited.

They sat next to each other, their backs resting on the headboard of the bed.

Bella tried to keep it cool but it was a little hard with Victoria was barely dressed. The vampire didn’t have any clothes so she had taken off her black leather jacket, boots and jeans, and was only wearing her black tank top and underwear. Most of her white pale skin was showing, and distracting Bella in every way possible. The human, on the other hand, was covered up because of the cold, wearing a navy blue long-sleeved shirt and soft cotton pants.

As they got comfortable, Victoria pulled the covers up and made sure Bella was warm enough, getting a soft smile as ‘thank you’ in return from her.

“Did the Cullen boy text back?”

“He did. He said everybody’s really excited we’re going.”

“I bet they are.” Victoria said laughing.

The soft sound made Bella turn and she suddenly couldn’t stop staring at Victoria’s red eyes. They were so bright. She was fascinated by them. Everything about Victoria called out to her. She didn’t care about wasting time and examined every part of the woman’s face, her round nose, her white cheeks, her perfectly arched brows, and her lips, that seemed so soft and perfect for kissing. Bella had thought a lot about kissing Victoria.

There was a red curl of hair falling in front of Victoria’s eyes and Bella slowly raised her hand and slipped it behind the vampire’s ear. It had been such a natural gesture for Bella that she forgot all the tension from being around the redhead.

Victoria had to control herself not to move when Bella let her hand linger there, softly scrapping her head and playing with her hair. They got closer to each other and Bella’s smell and heat were clouding any type of coherent thought Victoria could have.

“Thank you for accepting to go.”

Bella thanked softly and it melted Victoria’s insides.

“I’m doing it because of you.”

“I know. Thank you. And thank you for the picnic today too.”

“I tried to be as cheesy and romantic as possible.”

That made Bella bite her lip as she continued to play with Victoria’s hair. Of course, the vampire was teasing her, but there was something that just wouldn’t leave Bella’s mind

“Can I ask you something?” Bella was careful with her words.

“Of course.”

“What are we exactly?”

Victoria tilted her head a little before she asked.

“What do you mean?”

“You said we were mates. What does that mean for us?”

“It means we are bounded for life.”

“I know but… what does that mean in real terms? Are we friends or…?”

“I don’t know. What do you want us to be, Bella?”

“I want you to kiss me.”

Bella had been bold and Victoria couldn’t help but softly laugh at the girl.

“Bella, all I want to do is kiss you.”

“Then why haven’t you done it yet?!

“Because you’re too young and I won’t take any advantage of you. I can’t be the bad guy. I want to be good for you.”

Bella’s heart broke and got on fire at the same time. Victoria always seemed so powerful and like she did what she wanted, but now here she was, saying that she wanted to be good for Bella.

“You are. There’s no one better for me.”

Bella whispered leaning closer and Victoria smiled. It was a soft smile because that’s how Victoria felt around Bella. She felt soft and like the human could do what no one managed to in almost 500 hundred years. She felt breakable .

“I’m flattered but it’s not true.”

“I trust you. Do you trust me?”

Bella whispered again before she moved her position, sitting on Victoria’s lap, both of Bella’s legs on each side straddling the vampire.

Victoria felt out of breath and as if her heart was racing out of her chest.

Bella moved closer to her, now both hands tangled in Victoria’s hair. The redhead gripped each side of Bella’s waist and squeezed them, trying to control herself.

“Bella?”

“Yes, Victoria?”

The vampire felt a shiver run through her skin as she heard her name come out of Bella’s lips in a way she had never heard before. Bella’s voice was dripping with desire and Victoria could feel every single drop of it.

When Victoria shifted her gaze from Bella’s lips to her eyes, it was like nothing else mattered and both Victoria and Bella reached for the kiss, closing the distance and not being able to wait any longer.

Victoria’s cold soft lips touched Bella’s and it was like everything about their reality had changed. There was nothing else in the world but that feeling.

It was like they were made for each other - and then, they probably were.

Bella tightened her grip on Victoria’s hair as she trembled. Victoria’s body was cold against her but she didn’t mind, it felt good.

The kiss wasn’t fast, but it wasn’t slow either. It was filled with passion and longing desire, and Victoria could feel the pain from being so close to Bella deep within her bones. But she didn’t care. She focused on feeling Bella’s warm body against her and the girl’s warm mouth on hers and she felt intoxicated.

Bella felt a sharp wave of pain from Victoria’s tight grip on her waist and whimpered. The redhead was trying to control her strength but that would leave some bruises.

They were both immersed in the feeling of the kiss, the proximity, the heat, everything. Victoria could feel Bella’s warm tongue on hers and it made her dizzy only thinking in other places Bella could also use her tongue.

Bella wrapped her arms around Victoria’s neck and pulled herself even closer to the woman. She moaned softly against the redhead’s mouth when her covered center pressed against Victoria’s thigh and instinctively started slowly moving her hips looking for more of that delicious feeling.

But that little sound Bella made was too much for Victoria and she was sure that if she didn’t stop at that moment, she would lose control.

“Bella-”

Victoria tried to say breathlessly between kisses and the girl stopped immediately.

“Did I do something wrong?”

Victoria shook her head and sighed. Her eyes were closed but when she opened them, they were as black as they could be.

“I- I- can’t-”

“It’s okay.” Bella whispered as she slowly moved her hands away from Victoria’s hair and got up from her legs to sit by her side. She didn’t want to move, but she had to . “I’m sorry if I pushed you too much.”

“No, it’s not your fault.” Victoria was like a statue, trying to regain some of her senses. “I’m afraid to lose control and hurt you. I just can’t risk that.”

“I know, it’s okay.”

Bella took Victoria’s hand on hers and laced their fingers together. She leaned in again and placed a soft kiss on Victoria’s lips. Maybe she was pushing too hard but Bella couldn’t resist it.

Victoria kissed her back as gently and moved her free hand to cup Bella’s cheek.

Her dead heart had never felt so alive before and Victoria couldn’t help but think that was the only way she wanted to feel for the rest of her life.

Bella felt it too. She leaned into Victoria’s touch and her entire body shivered. She never wanted anything more than to be with that woman.

“Bella?”

Victoria whispered as she gently pulled away from the kiss, her eyes still black.

“Yes?”

I love you.

That’s what she wanted to say.

Instead, Victoria said “You better go to sleep, you have class tomorrow.”

Bella nodded sadly and pulled them both down the mattress, and under the covers again laying her head on the same pillow as Victoria’s.

“Will you stay here?”

Victoria smiled and kissed Bella’s forehead before snuggling closer to her.

“I wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

Bella’s heart got warm again and it was all it took for her to close her eyes and sleep safe and sound on Victoria’s arms.

 

Chapter Text

When Bella woke up and opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was the same pair of red eyes that were staring at her when she went to sleep.

Victoria hadn’t left.

“Morning.” Bella whispered as she snuggled closer to the woman. 

“Good morning, Bella.” Victoria’s voice was deep and it sent a small shiver down Bella’s spine.

“Did you watch me sleep all night long?”

“I did.” Victoria answered and gave a soft laugh.

“That’s not creepy at all.” Bella laughed too.

“Vampires like to stand still. And it’s not my fault you’re so beautiful while sleeping.”

Bella blushed, of course, and Victoria opened that smile Bella loved. The girl couldn’t help herself and leaned in, pressing a soft kiss to the vampire’s lips.

Victoria was a little surprised by Bella’s action but soon felt her insides melt. She took one hand to Bella’s back and pulled her closer. It was intoxicating to be that close to the girl and Victoria tried to push away any dangerous thoughts, focusing only on the warmth she felt around Bella. It was the way she managed to power through the thirst. The need to bite Bella slowly faded away and Victoria truly felt comfortable being that close to the girl for the first time.

They deepened the kiss, but it remained slow. Victoria could have continued for days but at a certain point, Bella started feeling a little breathless so she pulled back. Victoria let her go but kept her lips lingering across Bella’s cheek and pressed small kisses on her skin every now and then.

Bella closed her eyes and just enjoyed the feeling of Victoria there with her. She never imagined she would be living this moment, not in her wildest dreams.

“Bella?” Victoria whispered to her.

“Yeah?”

There it was, the same sentence she wanted to say the night before stuck on her throat but she couldn’t bring herself to say it. Not yet. She was scared of saying it. So Victoria chose to say something else.

“You know it’s only been one week since we met, right? But I feel like I’ve known you all my life. Or at least I wish I had.”

Bella slightly blushed and nodded her head.

“Everything happened so fast. I feel like more stuff happened this week than my entire last year.”

“I could say the same about the past hundred years.”

They both chuckled and Bella moved her hand to find Victoria’s so she could lace their fingers together.

“How are you feeling? Do you want me to pull back? Is this too much?”

The fact that Bella cared enough to think about her in that way made Victoria fell like all the centuries she had waited for her worth it. 

“I’m great. I’ve never felt better. You don’t have to pull back.”

Victoria smiled before she leaned in and kissed Bella. She took her hand to the girl’s cheek, smoothing the soft skin there with her thumb as she deepened the kiss.

Bella was a puddle of happiness. She never thought that her life could have changed so much just from moving to Forks, but it did. She wanted nothing more than to just feel like the way she felt at that moment for the rest of her life.

Victoria lost a little of her stiffness and kissed Bella hungrily, not caring about the consequences for a moment. Bella shifted her position, tangling her legs between Victoria’s and the vampire started feeling the girl move her hips in a way that caused the burning between her legs to get bigger. And it felt so good.

Bella let a small moan escape her lips into Victoria’s and the redhead felt herself getting wet. She sucked on Bella’s bottom lip before releasing it slowly and Victoria got another moan from the girl, slightly louder now.

She chuckled from getting what she wanted and hushed Bella as she planted soft kisses along her jaw and cheeks.

“You need to be quiet or your father is gonna think you’re doing something dirty in here by yourself, Miss Swan.”

Bella laughed and rested her head on the crock of Victoria’s neck as she breathed in and out slowly. Victoria smelled like a rain forest and cherries, and Bella wanted to make a perfume out of that.

Victoria pulled Bella closer to her and moved her fingers through the girl’s hair soothingly as she felt the girl relax against her.

“I’ve never felt like this before. I feel so safe with you.”

Bella whispered against Victoria’s skin and the redhead melted inside.

“You feel safe around me? Bella, you do remember I’m a vampire, right?”

Bella chuckled a little then nodded her head as she pulled back to look at Victoria.

“I do remember. But I’m talking about another thing…”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean like safe to do these sorts of things with you. Kissing and, you know, the rest.” Bella said low.

“You mean sex?” Victoria asked very straightforwardly.

“Yeah, I mean sex.” Bella answered laughing, trying to hide her face somewhere as she was burning red with shame.

“Oh. You don’t need to hide for bringing that up. I’m glad you feel safe. I just think you shouldn’t.”

Bella then shot her head up with concern in her eyes.

“Why?”

“Because I could still hurt you, Bella.”

“But not intentionally.”

“Of course not. But still.”

Victoria saw Bella get a little disappointed and she felt bad she couldn’t give what the girl wanted. Bella looked like she had something to say and something told Victoria that if she didn’t ask, Bella wouldn't talk. The girl avoided eye contact and she bit her lip like she was trying to contain herself.

“What’s wrong?”

“Hm?” Bella asked as she looked up at Victoria. “It’s nothing. I- I was just thinking about what you said.”

“Sex?” Victoria smiled as she noticed Bella growing red again and it was one of the most amusing things to watch.

“Yeah…”

“Have you ever done it?”

“Not really. I tried once last year with this guy I used to go out with but it didn’t work.”

“I see. Good thing you feel safe with me then, right?”

Victoria winked at Bella, who blushed again at the spot. Victoria laughed and leaned to kiss her again. She hoped Bella could understand that at some point it would happen. It was a promise.

“My new favorite hobby is making you get all red like that.”

“I noticed.”

Bella answered back and shook her head before snuggling close to Victoria again. The cold body pressed against hers was like a bucket of cold water in a fever and it calmed her down. And Bella was becoming quite addicted to it.

They stayed like that for as long as they could but eventually, Bella had to get up and go to school. Victoria took her to Forks High and waited for Bella to bring her back home. They kept talking all afternoon and only stopped when Bella went to have dinner with her dad. When she returned to her room, Victoria was still there waiting for her.

Bella jumped to the bed and cuddle close to Victoria. The redhead wrapped her arms around the human and waited until she felt the body pressed against hers slowly drift into slumber.

It was becoming quite the routine for the two of them.

 

… 

 

The next day, Victoria woke up Bella with a kiss on her forehead. The girl smiled up at her and thought about a moment when they would always wake up like that.

They didn’t spend so much time in bed that morning because they had things to do. More precisely go have lunch with the Cullens.

As Bella got ready, Victoria went to get her motorcycle where she had hidden it, a spot near the trees next to Bella’s house.

After waiting a bit, Victoria returned with the bike and rang the bell to Bella’s house.

Of course, Charlie Swan opened the door on that fine Saturday morning and was finally face to face with the mysterious redhead who had brought his daughter back in… the motorcycle parked in front of his house.

“Chief Swan, good morning. I’m Victoria Hollis. I’m friends with Bella.”

Victoria extended her hand with a smile as Charlie looked at her.

The woman was wearing the same clothes as before: black boots, pants, and the stolen jacket. She threw in one of Bella’s shirts that the girl had lent to her but Charlie didn’t seem to have noticed. And of course, Victoria wore her sunglasses so Charlie wouldn’t notice her red eyes.

“Victoria, it’s nice to finally meet you.” They shook hands and Charlie welcomed Victoria in.

“I can say the same.”

As they entered the house, they walked over to the kitchen and Charlie sat down on the table. Victoria took the cue and sat down at the other end of the table.

“Thank you for dropping Bella the other night, by the way.”

“Oh, it was nothing.”

“How did you two meet again? Bella didn’t tell me everything.”

Charlie asked and Victoria opened a small smile. She knew exactly what the chief of police was doing, just like Bella had said the night before when they prepared Victoria’s lies.

“Well, we met at a bookstore in Port Angeles. I was there looking for some books for my Ph.D. thesis in American folk stories and Bella was there looking for the same book I was buying.”

Victoria opened a smile as she saw her lie was working perfectly and Charlie opened an amused smile. Victoria and Bella had spent all Friday night thinking about their cover-up story and Bella did say Charlie would like her if she said she was studying. 

“You’re working on a Ph.D.?”

“In history, yes. I’m staying here in Forks for a while to get close to the source material.”

“That’s great, Victoria. It’s really good seeing that Bella has found someone that will be a great influence for her.”

“Dad!” Bella screamed from across the room as she entered the kitchen.

“What? I didn’t say anything wrong.”

Victoria tried to contain her laugh and got up from her seat before Charlie did the same.

“So, you two are going out to lunch at the Cullens?”

“Yes dad, I’ve already explained it to you. Now let’s go, Victoria.”

Bella said as she turned around and left the kitchen.

“Don’t worry, I’ll bring her right in time, Chief Swan.”

Victoria assured him before turning around and following Bella out of the house. She helped the girl hop on the bike and Charlie watched them from the door.

“Careful on the road!”

Charlie screamed as Bella gave him a thumbs up and Victoria took off.

He watched them moving away and shook his head before turning to walk into the house.

“Motorcycle. Leather jacket. Ph.D .” Charlie mumbled trying to look for the bright side.

 

… 

 

Edward greeted them at the door and there was a little tension in the air between him and Victoria, but after a couple of seconds staring at her, he suddenly relaxed. Bella didn’t know why yet but it had to mean something good. Right?

“You didn’t eat anything yet, right?” Edward asked as they went up the stairs.

“No. Why?”

“Nothing, just to check.”

Edward laughed as he remembered the vision Alice had of Rose breaking a bowl of salad because Bella had already eaten. Thank god he texted Bella.

“What’s up with the graduation caps?”

Victoria asked and Edward was pulled away from his thoughts.

“It’s a… private joke. We matriculate a lot.”

Edward started laughing and Victoria couldn’t help but touch a few of the caps. It was kinda fascinating in comparison to her “nomad” lifestyle.

“That’s kind of miserable. I mean, repeating high school over and over.” Bella added.

“True, but the younger we start out in a new place, the longer we can stay there.” Bella looked at him as she absorbed the information and Edward passed by her, walking up the stairs. “Come on.”

Bella and Victoria followed Edward as they entered the living room and then walked towards the kitchen where the Cullens were cooking. Edward appeared first and right after the couple, hand in hand.

Victoria was on high alert, even though her powers didn’t say anything. It was just for precaution. First, she analyzed the room. There was the blonde girl holding a salad bowl; the dad with a cardigan; the hunk waving with a knife; and the mother with a big smile on her face. The first one to come talk to them was the mother.

“We’ve heard a lot about you. Both of you. We hope you like Italiano, Bella.”

“Oh yeah, it smells great. You guys didn’t have to cook for me. Thank you.” Bella answered.

“Bella, Victoria, this is Esme. My mother for all intents and purposes.”

“Buon Giorno.” Bella greeted her.

“Molto bene.” Esme replied cheerfully and went back behind the counter to finish cooking with the boys.

“You’ve given us an excuse to use the kitchen for the first time.”

“And that’s my father, Carlisle.” Edward added after his father. “This is Rosalie and Emmet.” He said pointing at them.

Victoria gave a small smile as she greeted everybody and Bella softly squeezed her hand reassuringly.

“Hello, lovebirds.”

Everybody turned to the balcony door as they heard Alice greet Bella and Victoria and enter the house. Jasper followed right behind her and looked at Bella like she was a ticking bomb about to explode.

“Hi-” Victoria tried to answer before she was hugged by Alice, who then moved to hug Bella. “ Okay .”

“Hi.” Bella replied with a laugh as Alice pulled back.

“Oh, you do smell good.”

Alice said bluntly and it actually made Victoria laugh.

“Alice, what are you-?” Edward tried to say through the embarrassment and possible problems that sentence alone could cause.

“She’s not lying.” Victoria added with a smirk.

“See, it’s okay. The girls and I are gonna be great friends.”

Then there was a bit of silence in the room as the last Cullen stood still looking at them. It’s like he couldn’t even bear to talk or it would be too much for him.

Victoria’s powers were strangely not saying anything about the weird looking vampire guy either, but even if something did happen, she had no doubt she could take him by herself.

“Sorry, Jasper’s our newest vegetarian. It’s a little difficult for him.” Carlisle said as he wrapped an arm around Esme’s waist.

“It’s a pleasure to meet both of you.” Jasper said with some difficulty.

“It’s okay, Jasper. You won’t hurt her.” Alice turned to her partner and she said with such confidence it almost convinced Victoria. Alice did see the future, so maybe she was right about that.

“So… why don’t you all go sit down by the table while we finish cooking.” Esme said trying to lighten up the mood.

“We’ll be there in a few.” Carlisle added with a smile.

“That sounds great, let’s go.” Edward said quickly and showed Victoria and Bella the way to the living room.

As they moved away, Victoria managed to hear a “They’re so cute.” from Esme and an “I know!” from Alice, which kinda made her smile.

“I’m sorry, Victoria. I know that was awkward.”

“It was fine. Your family is great. Just don’t keep going in my head, or I’ll have to rip yours out.” Victoria answered with just the right amount of smile so that what she said didn’t become an actual threat.

“Got it.” Edward smiled down and laughed at Victoria. He liked her sense of humor.

Bella smiled at them and joined Victoria on the couch, leaning closer to her as they waited for everybody.

“See, it’s not as bad, right?” Bella whispered to Victoria.

“For now.” Victoria joked and Bella slightly rolled her eyes before she pressed a kiss to Victoria’s cheek.

After a couple of minutes, Carlisle, Esme and the rest of the family were back with the meal.

“Come on, Bella, time for the taste test.”

Esme joked and Bella and Victoria walked over to the table. They sat down next to each other and Carlisle placed the plate in front of Bella.

“Bon appétit.”

“Merci beaucoup.”

Bella answered Carlisle and quickly went for the first bite.

Everybody stared at her, including Victoria, waiting for an answer.

“Uhm, yeah… this is pretty amazing. Wow.” Bella said and Emmet cheered loudly.

“Yeah, baby!” He raised his hand and high-fived Carlisle as Esme and Alice laughed.

“So, the Cullen cuisine is approved?”

“1OO%” Bella answered Esme, who genuinely looked so happy.

She kept eating and everybody kept staring at her. Bella was trying not to say anything but when she reached half of her Italiano she had to speak.

“Are you guys just gonna keep staring at me?” Bella said as she took another bite and everybody laughed.

“We’re sorry, Bella. It’s just fun watching you eat something we made.” Emmet said jokingly.

“Well, it’s really good. So don’t worry. And again, thank you.”

“We’re the ones who have to thank you. Both of you, for coming here to meet us.” Esme said with a soft smile.

“And speaking of why we asked you to come here, of course, we wanted to meet you but we also wanted to… make some things clear.”

Carlisle started speaking and Victoria knew this was the part where everything could go wrong, so the redhead braced herself for the worst.

“For example, we have an agreement with some people that we cannot feed on humans in the city limits of Forks. And for us, that’s easy because we already don’t feed on humans, but I can imagine that for you this could be a problem.” Esme explained as she looked at Victoria.

“And we understand if you don’t want to change your diet. We just can’t break this agreement. If we do we’ll probably start a war.” Carlisle added and Victoria nodded her head understanding.

“I can assure you that I haven’t hunted in Forks and I will not do so. You don’t have to worry about me breaking your agreement, as long as you’re not a threat to Bella.”

“I can assure you we’re not a threat to Bella. Even if maybe it’s harder for some of us, we would never attack a human.” Carlisle answered.

“Of course. And I know this is all very important to you but this is not why you asked us to come here, right?”

“No, it’s not.”

Carlisle replied with a faint smile and before he could continue, he was cut off by Edward.

“It’s because of your relationship.”

Bella was just sitting on her chair and letting the adults do the talking when she finally seemed to have realized she maybe should be speaking too.

“What about it?”

“Well, it’s complicated…”

Carlisle tried to find the simplest way to explain Bella but it was difficult.

“Bella,” Victoria began as she turned to the human and held her hands. “Do you remember when I told you about the people that killed my clan?”

“The Volturi?”

“Yes. They are some very powerful vampires and they rule all the other clans. They’ve been in power for more than a thousand years and they have a very clear rule of no relationships between vampires and humans. Of any kind. Well, just the predator and prey kind.”

“Oh.”

“And if they hear about you two, it will become a problem. For you and anyone that knows about you and didn’t tell them.” Edward explained.

“And that means you guys?”

“Exactly. And we would never tell them anything. We can see that you two clearly have a strong connection and that’s another reason why we called you here, to really make sure this is worth the risk.” Esme said with a soft smile.

“Look, I don’t intend for this to ever reach the Volturi so you don’t have to be worried about having your clan burned. Now, I know this is worth it because if it wasn’t I wouldn’t be here talking to you.”

Edward gave a small chuckle and added. “She really wouldn’t.”

Everybody sighed and relaxed a bit at Edward’s joke and finally, some tension was lifted off from the room.

“So we are on the same page here?” Carlisle asked and Victoria nodded before answering back.

“We are.”

Bella had finally relaxed and let her head fall to Victoria’s shoulder as the vampire wrapped an arm around her back, pulling her close. Esme and Carlisle watched the couple attentively and smiled at each other thinking about how the two reminded them of themselves when they were younger.

After some time and talking about some other things, Edward got up and went for the piano to play. Everybody moved to the living room to watch him and Victoria took Bella to the balcony so they could have some privacy.

They watched the night sky arrive and Victoria stood behind Bella, wrapping her arms around her stomach.

“It’s almost time to take you home.”

“I know.” Bella said with a hint of sadness.

“Good thing you won't get rid of me.” Victoria smirked.

“I don’t think I can.”

Bella said smiling before she turned to face an equally happy Victoria. She wrapped her arms around the woman’s neck as Victoria placed her hands on Bella’s hips.

“Wanna dance? The Cullen boy is not as bad as I thought.”

Bella laughed and shook her head. “I can’t dance.”

“Sure you can. You just have to sway.” As Victoria started to guide Bella in the rhythm, some memories went flying back to her, and she decided to share them with Bella. “I remember when I used to dance at the British balls. There were always so many people in those. Anne and I would go there and the men would almost commit murder just to have a dance with us. Of course, she would be picked first, always the prettiest of the clan, but we had some fun times.”

“If I was there I would’ve picked you first..”

Victoria opened a smile and spun Bella, who awkwardly tried to do so, almost tripping on herself as she moved.

“I told you I can’t dance.” She said laughing.

“I know, you’re pretty bad, Bella.” Victoria said laughing and Bella gave her a little slap on the arm.

“Hey!” Bella tried to protest.

“No, it’s good. I’ll just add up to the list of things I have to teach you.”

“Oh, you have a list? What else is in there?”

Bella asked with a defiant look and Victoria smirked and slowly leaned in closer to Bella. She let her lips brush along the girl’s and smiled before she went to whisper in her ear.

“I don’t think I wanna tell you just yet. But it’ll be good, don’t worry.”

Bella felt a shiver run down her spine and her mouth went dry from Victoria’s action. She licked her lips and cleared her throat before pulling back and looking at Victoria.

“Did you just tease me and told me nothing?”

Victoria laughed at Bella’s cute angry face and took a strand of loose hair that was falling in front of the girl’s face and twirled it around her fingers.

“Sorry… you know I can’t help it.” She smiled and put the strand behind Bella’s ear before she started pulling the girl out of the balcony. “Come on, I need to take you home or your father will think I’ve kidnapped you.”

Bella rolled her eyes and whined softly before she started walking with Victoria back into the house so they could say their goodbyes.

As they walked in and all the Cullens looked at them happily, Victoria thought that maybe, just maybe, she would like to be a part of something like that. A family.

Edward couldn’t help but overhear Victoria’s thoughts and at that moment he knew the Cullens were probably gaining two new members.