---- Bella's POV ----
Time slips by me un noticed these days. Since they left. They had become my closest family in the time I had with them. When they left, they took my reason to count each passing day.
Each moment has slipped past me in a haze of unattachement and indifference. For the first two months I could barely function. I lost all my friends, stopped going out and lost so much weight, having gone off my food completely. It was only the threat of my father - Charlie institutionalising me that snapped me into at least pretending I was doing better. It got easier after a while. I started eating again and even made effort to reestablish some of my friendships but Charlie was no fool. He may not have been present in my life for the first seventeen years because of my mother forbidding him from seeing me but he cared enough about me to see that despite the effort I was making, three months down the line I still wasn't doing well.
His suggestion that we move was admittedly unexpected but not entirely unwelcome. Forks held so many reminders of them it was hard to breath let alone heal. Everywhere I turned I'd see them there. In the school, my work, in the forest, even in town. It was a constant bitter reminder of all I had lost when they left. Of not being enough for them. For him. Edward had broken my heart when he left me. His family leaving too had destroyed any bit of self worth I had in me and I don't know if I will ever get that back.
At least now, now that we've moved and have a chance at a fresh start I've been able to focus on healing, on getting better. Its become easier to breath. I no longer feel as if I am fading from the world. I no longer feel as if I wish I had died. Now I have the will to fight. I have my father. I have began making friends and I am even finding joy in the wintry feel of this little town. Denali, Alaska is gorgeous to put it simply. The snowy scenery everywhere is calming. The serene atmosphere soothing to my soul. It makes me feel alive once more and what makes it even better is Charlie seems to be feeling similarly. His eyes have began to sparkle again in that fun loving way they always did before. Before he almost lost his only child to heartbreak and rejection. Before they left me a shell of a girl in the middle of the woods on a rainy night three months ago.
He took up the job of Chief of Police here in town and I was amused to see just how excited he was for what he described as "a complete change of pace, new challenges and new colleagues" he had come back from his first day with a buzz in his soul. As if the job had rekindled his passion for making a difference. A passion that had been lost in the dreary quiet that was our small town of Forks.
Tonight would mark three weeks of him being in the job and as a sort of welcome, his team had arranged a get together for all the officers and their families to meet Charlie and by extension me as his only family. He had been excited about it from the moment his deputy had told him about it last week and despite my trepidation of meeting new people, I didnt have the heart to tell him no. So here I am now walking into his precinct to meet his team.
The room was crowded and I could just make out the hum of background music over the din of voices. Moving closer to Charlie I linked his arm with mine. Taking strength from his steady presence. "Its alright Bells i've got you" he murmured, by now well practiced in sensing and dealing with my anxiety in social situations.
"I'm alright" I whispered back, squeezing his arm gently in appreciation. If one good thing came out of them leaving it would be the relationship I now had with my father. We had grown extremely close. He had cared for me at my worst and stood by me every step of the way during my recovery. It had been slow going but we were getting through it. Denali had seen the biggest improvements for me and I knew it made him proud that we could do father daughter things like this and I wasn't about to let him down or worry him at his first ever family event with his new team.
The first twenty minutes went fine, we were stopped repeatedly by different members of my fathers team and their families for introductions and well wishes. The atmosphere was jovial and the people were pleasant. I was just beginning to relax and believe that the rest of the night would follow the same pattern when it happened.
We had just broke away from one of fathers assistants when a melodic voice called out to us. "Chief Swan!!" The blonde woman called kindly approaching us quickly and as her gaze met my eyes I couldn't for the life of me hide my reaction. I felt my blood run cold, my heart rate increase and my breath caught in my throat as I spotted the unmistakable gold eyes of the woman. The fear I felt in that moment was palpable as I felt my feet freeze mid stride, causing my father who had started guiding us towards the woman to be pulled abruptly to a halt with me.
"Bella, what is it?" He asked, concern lacing his tone. Taring my eyes away from the woman (who was so obviously a vampire) to look at my father and when I saw the worry in his eyes I forced myself to take a breath and smile reassuringly at him.
"I'm fine dad, promise, just a little overwhelmed. I'm going to go get some air, i'll be back, don't worry yourself" I replied, kissing his cheek quickly before turning and making a hasty exit.
Walking outside I felt my heart clench painfully as my stomach churned dangerously and my mind was thrown back three months. Flashes of the same but different gold eyes playing on a loop in my mind. Edward smiling, Alice Laughing merrily, Jasper studying me whenever he felt an emotion from me he wanted to understand, Rosalie glaring. The soft doting gold of Esme, the concerned gleam always present in Carlisle gaze and Emmets large puppy dog gold all taunting me, mercilessly taring the walls I had built around my heart to conceal the pain they had left inside me.
--- Irena Denali's POV ----
"Irena, you're the most patient, I'll end up scaring her, Kate would slip and reveal who we are" Tanya argued and I could feel my resolve slipping. I wasn't particularly keen to hunt down the human girl. She had looked rather terrified and distraught as she had fled the room. Her father looking bewildered as he stared after her retreating form. Kate said the human had reacted to seeing her eyes. Tanya and I weren't sure that was true. Whatever the cause though we did need to suss out whether or not this girl knows anything she shouldn't. There isn't really any explanation we can find as to why she would react so fearfully to meeting her fathers deputy. I had seen her interact with the other officers and she had been perfectly fine. She had been polite, shook their hands, made conversation. She had laughed and joked and appeared to be having as good a time as her father was.
Charlie Swan, Kate had informed us, was the new chief of police here in our little town. He had moved here with his only daughter from Washington. He had given no reason for the move other than it was a chance at a fresh start for him and his kid. Kate had been excited to meet her. Claiming that if she were anything like her father she would be a laugh. Charlie had apparently made a great impression on my sister. His humour and kindness had been obvious she said. We had agreed to come along and meet him. If only to get a feel for the new pair, it always paid off to know the humans we were trying to blend in with. It made dealing with suspicions and unwanted attention so much easier. As vampires our most absolute rule was not allowing a human to live if they found out what we were. We either had to change them or kill them. So far we hadn't had need for either.
"She might just he having a bad day" I argued back. I wanted to respect the girls decision to leave. She obviously did not want anyone near her right now.
"That is irrelevant Irena, if she knows about what we are, we have to figure out how to deal with it without drawing attention to ourselves, go" Tanya replied, her tone of voice absolute and I knew it wasn't my sister asking me to investigate but my coven leader ordering me too. I couldnt argue anymore. Such were the perks of being in a coven. The coven leaders word was law.
"Fine" I huffed before turning and striding away.
I found the human girl pacing outside the precinct, the smell of fear and the incessantly wild beating of her heart guiding me to the corner of the building where she had fled too. I observed her quietly for a moment. She was beautiful. Long brunette hair, a delicate heart shape face with soft elegant features. Her thin frame was a slight cause for concern, she was obviously underweight but it did nothing to detract from her femine beauty. She was smaller than me, standing at roughly 5 foot 3 compared to my 5 foot 8. She had tears streaming down her face and she was restlessly running her hands through her hair. The quiet muttering of "not again. I cant go through that again" was spoken so softly I almost missed it even with my advanced hearing.
Finally having seen enough I stepped forward clearing my throat to catch her attention. Hoping it wouldn't startle her.
"Hi, Isabella Swan right?" I ask, keeping my tone light, casual and friendly. Hoping to relax her. Her eyes snap up to mine and as our gazes locked I felt my entire world still. Its as if nothing else matters except her. As if I would do anything to protect this girl from harm. As if I would die without her. I take in a shakey unnecessary breath as I take a few hesitant steps towards her. Far too aware of the way the girls eyes widened in shock and awe for a moment before her gaze became clouded in fear once more and she began backing away slowly.
I could feel my inner beast cry out at the fear on her face, devastated that our mate, goodness my mate, was so distraught, not understanding what was causing her reaction or knowing what to do to soothe her. It took everything within me not to rush to her, pull her into my arms and hold her close. But I knew I couldn't, I could sense that her fear was something deep rooted within her and if I went with my instincts I would probably do more harm than good right now.
"I'm Irena, Irena Denali. Your fathers deputy is my sister Kate" I speak again, hoping to calm her by distracting her from whatever has her so afraid but my words only seem to upset her more as she chokes back a sob before moving past me quickly and I can only watch on helplessly as she pulls out her phone and dials a number. Almost running away from the precinct in her haste to get as far away from me as possible. The realisation that it is me she is running from as she casts fear filled glances back at me every so often in her escape has me inwardly crumbling. My unbeating heart breaking as the girl dissapears. My mate, the other half of myself that I had been searching for my entire vampire existence running from me in fear. I replay the agonisingly terrified expression on her beautiful face through my mind repeatedly as I slump against the wall and in that moment I know that no matter what I will never feel okay again. Not until I had my mate resting peacefully in my arms and I had eviscerated whatever or whoever had caused my girl so much terror.