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New Beginnings

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“So when do you think you’ll be back on campus Bella,” my friend Diane asked, “It’s so lonely without you!”

“It’s not my fault you decided to stay on campus during Christmas break,” I told her, rolling my eyes, “Besides I told you, I plan on leaving on Tuesday.”

“That’s three days away!”

I laughed, “You managed to last this long without me, I think you can handle just a few more days.”

“As soon as you get back we need to go out,” Diane replied. I could hear the excitement in her voice.

“Okay,” I smiled into the phone, “But Diane I'm going to have to get off the phone, I have to go inside to finish my shopping.”

“Okay if you have to,” I could imagine her rolling her eyes.

“I’ll talk to you later though,” I promised.

“Okay B, Love you!”

“Love you too,” I replied before hanging up.

I glanced around the street I was on in Port Angeles, it was beginning to get less crowded as everyone left. It was getting late, I was just an idiot who procrastinated on getting the last of my Christmas gifts.

I sighed as I sat down on the bench across from the last store I would be going in. I needed a moment to just breathe.

It was always difficult going back to Washington, or being around an area that had involved..him. It had been three years since the Cullens had left. I had already graduated and moved on to college. I had somehow been lucky to get a scholarship to Dartmouth in New Hampshire. I decided to take the chance and go for it.

Charlie and Renee had been ecstatic for me, even though Renee had hoped I would decide to go to Florida for college to be near her. I had decided I needed to go away, alone. I wanted to try to find myself and grow. I was extremely lucky to be going to the school many people wouldn’t be able to go to, so I took it.

I had begun my major in literature. I had told Edward I wanted to write, and I was going to do so. I didn’t know yet what I was going to write about, but I constantly looked for inspiration. Not only was I studying literature, but I was hoping to also finish my education degree. I planned on teaching. I didn’t really know what called me to do that, but I took it.

My first year in Dartmouth had been a bit tricky. I kept to myself for the most part, only interacting when I needed to do so, at least until I met Diane.
--
We had met in the library where she had been trying to desperately finish her history project. She looked miserable. Diane had been one of the many people who had decided to procrastinate, she had thrown her bag on the table I had been at and took the seat across from me.

“Are you Bella Swan?” she had asked, her eyes looking red like she had been crying.

“Yes,” I responded quietly, not many people went up to me, “Is there something I can help you with?”

Diane had begun to tug at one of her coppery curls before responding, “Professor Lankton had said you might be able to help me with my history project, I guess we have a similar subject..I may of decided to work on this a little too late, and if I flunk this I’ll have to drop this all.”

Diane had looked miserable, and I took pity on her.

I gingerly reached across the table and grabbed her portfolio and glanced through her work, “Is this all you have?”

Diane flushed slightly, “Umm, yeah.”

My eyes widened slightly.

She barely had anything started.

I cleared my throat, “Well seeing as this has to be turned in three days we better get to work on this now.”

I would never forget how Diane’s eyes brightened as she clapped her hands together in joy, “Bella you are a lifesaver!”

I had instantly felt a warmth sweep through me that I hadn’t felt in what seemed like ages. It brought a genuine smile to my face.

--

From that day on Diane and I had grown close. In some ways she had reminded me of Alice with her bubbly personality and her love of shopping, but she was a bit more mellow than Alice.

A voice shook me from my thoughts, “May I sit here?”

I glanced up quickly, my brown eyes met a pair of green eyes.

The green eyes belonged to a man. He was pale, not as pale as me, but pale nonetheless. His hair was dark and had a slight wave to it. It was brushed back slightly except for a piece of hair that laid on his forehead. He was attractive, but there was a feeling around him that made the hair on the back of my neck rise.

“Sure,” I responded after I examined him, “I was actually leaving anyway.”

I threw him a nervous smile as I rose up.

He towered over me, “That’s too bad you looked as if you could use the company,” he smiled down at me.

I felt a shiver run through me, something did not feel right. I felt like I needed to run, but I willed myself to remain calm.

“I actually need to finish some shopping, I’ve postponed it long enough,” I replied, my voice sharp.

The man chuckled slightly as he ran a hand through his dark hair, “No worries, good luck with your shopping.”

I sighed a breath of relief, and raised my arm up to fix the strap of my bag. The sleeve of my sweater slipped, showing my wrist.

I glanced back at the man with a slight smile before trying to walk away, but a hand reached out to grab my wrist.

“How curious,” the man murmured as he moved my sleeve away.

I felt my blood freeze, his touch was cold. I felt panic begin to rise in me. I tried to pull my arm free, but I had no luck. I froze as I realized what he was looking at.

My bite mark.

“Seems as if you had a run in with a cold one,” he said, as he ran a finger over the mark, “But the question is, how are you even human.”

I gasped, “Let go of me now.”

I wasn’t sure how he knew of this, but I needed to leave now.

His eyes flashed as he looked me in the eyes, “Tell me how you got this,” he demanded.

I met his eyes firmly, “No.”

His eyes widened slightly, “Excuse me.”

“I said no, now leave me alone,” I kept my voice firm, pushing the fear down as much as possible.

I tried to turn but the hand was firm on my wrist. This was going to leave a mark.

I gasped as I felt a hand on my cheek. He forced my face to turn to his roughly. His green eyes looked intense as he looked into my own. His eyes searched, I felt a pull but somehow I disconnected it.

“You will tell me how you got this,” his voice sounded dangerous.

I felt another shiver run through me, “N-no,” I cursed myself, inwardly, for the stutter.

The man glared down at me, his eyes searching over me.

I felt disgusted.

Relief ran through me as he released me, his eyes still searching over me.

I took the chance and ran off inside the store. Not glancing back until I was inside the building. To my shock the man was nowhere to be seen.

It didn’t make sense. There was no way that man would have disappeared already. I frantically glanced around the boutique I was in. The man didn’t follow me inside.

I reflected on the encounter with the strange man. He seemed almost like a..vampire. He obviously knew of the vampires, but he didn’t look like one. His eyes were green. He wasn’t stone hard. He wasn’t as cold as them. None of it made sense.

“May I help you with something Ma’am?” a voice called out from behind me.

I jumped slightly and turned around quickly. It was just a store clerk. She looked me over carefully and her eyes looked worried. I must’ve looked like I was in a panic.

“Oh no, I was just going to look for a last minute gift,” I responded, I tried to give her a warm smile while also trying to calm my beating heart.

“Ahh we’ve had many last minute shoppers today,” she laughed slightly, “Let me know if I can help you find anything.”

I nodded towards her before I began to look around.

I tried to shake my thoughts free of that man, but I couldn’t.

What if he was waiting for me outside?

I had parked my truck a few blocks over. I saw an emergency exit towards the back of the store. If I used that door I could hopefully get to my truck faster. I could just run. Once I got in my truck I would just take off. I would feel safer once I was home with Charlie.

I thought about having Charlie just come out here and pick me up, but I didn’t want Charlie around that man. Something was not right about him.

I finally decided on taking the emergency exit, and run to my car after I made my purchase.

After looking around I settled on a gold necklace as a gift for Diane, I knew she would love it.

I took the necklace up to the cash register and made my purchase.

My heart pounded as I took the change back, “Would you mind if I took that exit?” I asked as I pointed toward the Emergency Exit only sign.

The lady smiled, “Of course.”

I smiled gratefully as I walked towards the door and slipped out.

I looked around and sighed a breath of relief when I noticed that the man wasn’t back here waiting. I stepped down the stairs carefully before glancing around one more time, and then I took off.

I started out in a speed walk looking around everywhere in the alleyway. I felt like I was being watched.

I stopped and looked behind me, but no one was there.

“Are you looking for someone?”

I quickly turned back around and gasped, the man was in front of me blocking my way to the truck.

The man towered over me, his eyes had a predatory look in them.

“Please leave me alone,” I begged slightly. I tried to push the panic down, but it was getting harder, “I’m just trying to go home.”

The man inhaled deeply, “I can smell the fear coming off of you, it’s intoxicating.”

I froze immediately. I carefully reached into my bag slowly, my hand touching that pepper spray in my bag.

I was having flashbacks of James, but this time I would escape, I had too.

“What are you?” I asked slowly, as I backed up trying to gain space between us.

The man took a step forward as I took one back. I stopped moving as he moved his face near mine. He stopped right in front of me, I could feel his cool breath on my cheek as he tilted his head.

“You’re worst nightmare,” He growled before showing fangs.

My heart jumped, as I whipped out my pepper spray and sprayed it in his eyes. He growled as he began to rub his eyes. I didn’t stick around.

I took off at full speed, not looking back. I had to make it to my truck. I felt tears well up in my eyes as full panic settled in me. I tried to control my breathing, but it was getting hard.

I felt a hand grab my shoulder. It whipped me around, and pulled me down in a pair of arms. The man’s eyes were darkened, his mouth was opened showing fangs that were not there when I first met him outside the shop.

“Oh am I going to have fun with you,” he snarled as he sank his teeth into my throat.

My scream echoed in the alleyway, before darkness settled over me.