Summary: If she could paint the world, she would color it black and white. Then everything would be simple.
After searching for what seemed like a century, I squealed with excitement when I found And Yet Dusk Fades. We couldn't have just any old story for the grand opening of our new and improved website and this, my friends, isn't just any old story.
I have to admit that I went out of my nice, little comfort zone to read this fic. I'm Team Vamp (notice I didn't say Team Edward) and reading a story where the main character is a wolf meant stepping pretty far out of my box. Needless to say, I'm glad I did. AndYetDuskFades aptly captures the mental turmoil of Leah Clearwater expounding on what Stephanie Meyer created and taking her character to a whole new level. Couple the amazing character depth with a purely original storyline and you get one kick-ass story.
The scene opens with a wedding, set high on the clifftops overlooking First Beach. Leah walks down the isle keeping time with the music while her heart races. Too many thoughts run through her head—none of them welcome ones. She reaches the altar and turns to find a vision of beauty at the end of the isle—Emily's slight frame draped in flowing white fabric, her face alight with a blissful radiance.
It's almost more than Leah can take. She can't help but think of the day when Sam promised to marry her in this very spot. Leah suffers through the ceremony and makes a run for it as soon as she's able to break away.
Her clothes—her skin—feel restricting. Breaking free of her coral bridesmaid's dress, she phases to her wolf form, relishing in the closest thing she has to freedom. Solace. Silence. Leah runs for hours on end enjoying the silence in her head and the feel of the ground beneath her feet.
Only later would she find out she hadn't really been alone. A vampire had tracked her. A member of the Volturi. A fighter. A tracker. Demetri.
The Volturi have returned. As always, there's something they want and Leah is bound and determined not to let them have it. Will her tune change when she finds out what they have to offer in return? Can they give her a chance at the acceptance she so longs for? Can she put her trust and faith in a vampire?
This story isn't your typical romance. Then again, this is Leah Clearwater we are talking about. She's not the type to fall fast and hard in love—not anymore at least. Can Demetri break down her defenses? Will Leah be able to see past their obvious differences to see the similarities between herself and Demetri?
Excerpt from Chapter 5:
I recognized his scent; it burned my nose and cut harshly at my throat as I inhaled. Scorching flames licked at my spine as I fought to tame the violent tremors that racked through my body. I wouldn't allow myself to lose control. Not now.
I wondered how he would do it – how he would kill me. Would it be swift and clean, or would he draw it out, relishing in the perverse pleasure that my pain would unquestionably bring him? He was, after all, a monster – a beast led blindly by his savage instincts. I wondered if he would bite me and drink my blood, as he did his other feeble victims. I knew that to him, I would smell like an animal. A sadistic smile spread across my face as I realized how little I would satisfy his thirst. What a valiant last deed – to taint his tongue with the repugnant taste of my blood.
Demetri's eyebrows rose as he appraised my smile. Did he wonder at my sanity, or was he too consumed by his hunter's instinct to speculate on my lucidity?
A flash of movement, and Demetri was crouching on the floor of the boat, his arm extending towards my feet. I flinched away from his reach, repulsed by his sudden proximity. He froze, mid-action, his long, pale fingers grasped around the piece of wood I'd broken from the seat.
"Skittish, aren't you?" Demetri's blood-red eyes glanced up at me and he grinned.
Another flash of movement, and he was sitting in his original seat, absent-mindedly twisting the piece of wood through his fingers. He didn't drop his eyes from mine; he simply sat and smirked, waiting for a response. I clenched my jaw and stared back, determined to show no further signs of weakness. I could see how my fear would bring him pleasure.
Assured I had no reply other than a cold, loathing glare, Demetri broke away from our eye contact and began to study the piece of wood in his hands. A dark, dangerous chuckle broke from his lips.
"It wasn't easy, you know… to get you alone," he glanced up quickly before dropping his gaze once again. "It was much more difficult than what I'm used to." His grin returned. "Enjoyable, certainly… but still, it was difficult. I almost had you the first time. That night on the cliff? You remember, of course. I was careless, though. I sensed one of your pack mates heading towards me and I had to leave. Aro was mad, you know – said we'd exposed ourselves without meeting our objective." He rolled his eyes, scorning the idea of failure. "But I told him I'd achieve what I set out to do. And now look,' he looked up and gestured towards me. "Here you are, gift-wrapped and everything."
I couldn't help it. I instinctively knew that Demetri would enjoy my curiosity, but the question was on my lips before I had a chance to banish it. My voice was hoarse and hesitant. "What do you want?"
I was right. Demetri had been waiting for me to ask. As his eyes lit up with satisfaction, I immediately regretted betraying my interest. This was a game to him, and I was allowing him to play.
"You and your brothers, as I am sure you are well aware, are of great interest to the Volturi."
*Grins evilly* You're hooked now, aren't you?
*** Completed: 03/13/2012 ***