You Never Forget Your First
The first time he'd done it, it had been an accident.
At least, an accident in that he hadn't exactly meant to do what he'd done. Not all the way, at least. Not to that end.
But he'd known what he was doing as he was doing it, and it had worked. He'd gotten what he'd wanted.
Sure, he felt badly. But he did it again. And again. And again. Because he liked it and there was nothing—no one—who could (or would) stop him.
The others, they were too weak.
His adoptive father loved him like he was his real flesh-and-blood son. He'd helped patch them up, lending his cool hands and smooth bedside manner to soothe their aching bumps and bruises. To stitch up their cuts and gashes. To quell any sense that somehow something wasn't right.
His so-called father acted like the head of the household, all the while knowing who really ran the show.
His adoptive mother, she doted on him because he was the child she'd always wanted but could never have. She let him do what he needed. She helped him get away with it. Pretending to learn how to cook. Smiling and acting all maternal. Doting on them and playing the part of the sweet, caring housewife and mother.
She hid her fear and unease under a guise of absolute adoration. Or maybe she simply loved him that much.
His adoptive brothers and sisters, they all played along. Acting aloof to encourage his mark's need to please, being loud and brash to seem all big-brothery and gain trust, influencing moods to make it all run right, watching for unpleasant future results.
The first time, the girl was sweet and innocent.
(But weren't they all?
All the same. Dark hair, dark eyes, pale skin. Tiny frame, a little klutzy, a little unsure. Blushing and virginal and book smart. But not smart about love. Not smart enough to see through him.
All of them were completely bendable to his will.
He'd learned early on that girls didn't like it when he read their minds. So he pretended that he couldn't. With all of them, it had been the exact same line. "I can read every mind in this room, apart from yours."
And then he'd listened to their thoughts as they squirmed and blushed and stammered and came upon the realization that they were special for once. Confounding. Unique. Intriguing.
But they weren't.
They were all the same.)
That first one, she smelled like sunshine and flowers and heaven. A place he'd never be allowed to enter. Especially not after what he did to her.
He'd wooed her. Honestly, at first. He really liked her. She was so different from the cold, hard, unchanging girls his family had first tried to foist upon him. The first one was warm, soft, breakable.
It was that breakableness that finally unhinged him.
After two years, she was sick of waiting. She'd tried to convince him to marry her, change her. Make her like him so she wouldn't be breakable. But he liked that about her, that and the warmth and the soft skin and that smell. Her smell. He knew those things wouldn't carry over to her new body.
Besides, he didn't want forever. He wasn't a forever kind of guy, even though that's how long he had.
So he watched her thoughts. When she'd finally grown tired of waiting—tired enough that he knew he could win—he pushed her. Just a little. With nudges and caresses and nibbles to her neck. Soft kisses and slow movements.
She'd let him.
That wasn't what nice girls did in 1922, but she'd let him anyway.
Later, after he'd pushed the boundaries a few times more, he had taken her to his room and pushed again. Harder this time. Her defenses were down, and she'd hiked up her skirts. Giggling and shy, but she wanted him, and nothing like impropriety was going to get in the way.
He knew it was hurting her, he could hear her inner monologue telling her to tell him to stop. But she didn't. So he didn't.
He probably wouldn't have even if she'd told him to. He probably couldn't have.
He grabbed her arm just a little too forcefully to hold her down. She winced. He liked it. He slid his cold hands up around her neck, a little too tight in the front; she'd winced again. Her involuntary movements made him feel like he'd never felt before. A sense of power—unbreakableness—surged over him. So he nibbled a bit too hard. A drop of blood formed just under her right ear.
He realized then just how very fragile she was.
It was too late. He knew it. She didn't.
He'd taken her lifeless body to the ocean and thrown it out, way past the point where it would be carried back to land by the tides. He watched her pale form sink below the waves.
That was the one and only time they'd told him no, his weak so-called parents.
"Not in the house. Not again."
The second one only lasted a few weeks.
He didn't have patience yet; he couldn't help himself. The first time had awakened something in him. His true nature.
He couldn't stop.
They'd moved far from Rhode Island, just in case.
This one was a little darker, spoke Spanish. She was easier to crack, too. A rough home life or some such nonsense. He chose her because he knew what she was thinking the first time she saw him.
She'd begged him for it just a few weeks in, and he'd "given in." (Knowing from the moment he laid eyes on her exactly how this would end.)
He never even had time to tell her what he was. But she'd found out.
The third one, the one from Argentina, fought back.
But it was useless.
Even if he couldn't have predicted her movements, her frail frame and tearable skin was no match for his stone and venom.
The fourth. She was a stunner. Maybe the best he'd ever found in a hundred years of searching.
Those cheekbones. Those hips. Those rosebud lips that would—and did—do anything for him.
She was smarter than the rest, though, and when he saw the glimmer of the idea that maybe he wasn't who he said he was, he'd known he'd kept her around too long.
Her, her he threw from the top of a mountain in a remote corner of Chile. Watching her bones break, her flesh split open as she dropped from one rocky outcropping to the next. Her once-perfect face unrecognizable by the time she'd rolled to a stop.
He'd left her there. No use hiding what would never be found.
It would have been a waste of the energy he needed to find number five.
Ah, number five.
He flew half-way around the world to find her.
Tall and leggy, with black hair down to her waist. She sang like an angel and made him think very, very devilish things.
Number five, he'd tied up and kept for a while.
Because she, too, was smart. She saw something behind his eyes. Not at first, not until it was too late. Maybe he was doing something wrong. Getting lazy—or worse—actually falling in love with her.
He'd been with her for almost three years before she started to see through him. She knew who—what—he was. (At least as much as he'd let her know. Half of it was lies, and he couldn't remember now what he'd even told her.)
And he almost hadn't seen it. But then—there—that flicker of doubt and questioning and fear… that was all it took. He would not be found out.
He swallowed his love, pushed it deep down inside, and let the anger and hate boil up.
He wasn't ready to let her go, though. He had to find a way to shut her up and keep her with him. Just until he was ready to get rid of her.
She'd been in the kitchen, puttering over the stove. He'd sneaked up behind her and bound her hands before she knew he was even there.
It was a few months after that the neighbors started getting suspicious.
"Where is Chrysanthe?" They'd ask.
He'd answer in dulcet tones, "Visiting family," or "At the market. You just missed her."
Then he'd come inside and inhale deep breaths of her scent from her neck, just below her right ear. He'd remember what he'd done to the first one. How he'd lost control.
He wouldn't do that again. He was in control.
She'd look up at him with dark eyes, her mind begging him to let her go.
He did, eventually, free her.
For a moment, she was free. Floating, weightless. Then he buried her deep, deep below the roots of a giant old tree in the Greek countryside.
Numbers six through nine were nothing special. He couldn't even remember their faces now. He'd chosen them all too quickly. He had been in a rush to forget number five.
Number ten was a handful, and all he remembered about her was that she'd run away from home to be with him. Her parents didn't like him, and she wasn't going to let a little thing like daddy's disapproval keep her from living her life.
Numbers eleven, fifteen and eighteen all blur into the same face when he closes his eyes and thinks of them. He can't remember who they were, where they were from or where he'd finally hidden them. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, sixteen and seventeen weren't worth remembering. They were just playthings. Novelties. Collector's items of a sort. Met, mesmerized and murdered in rapid succession.
By now, they were hopping from place to place, country to country, continent to continent to avoid detection. By man and the Volturi.
He couldn't get his fill and his doting parents were making all of his dreams come true.
Decades passed. New cars, nice clothes, big houses, wining and dining and serenading. Fancy trips, elegant events. Whatever it took to win them over.
Usually, it didn't take more than a wink of his eye or a whiff of his disarming scent. They didn't even know what hit them.
And by now, he was so good at ending them, that most of them didn't see it or feel it coming.
Unless he wanted them to.
But he was growing tired of the game. It was becoming boring, repetitive. Tedious. Mundane.
And then, there was Bella. Isabella Swan.
The police chief's daughter in this hick town. Who else?
(He'd had one before, a cop's daughter. Number thirteen? Number nine? He liked the added thrill of flouting the law. The idea that if anyone should be able to spot him, figure him out, catch him, it would be this one's father.
But they never did.
In fact, they were almost more helpless than the other parents. Putting up missing persons posters, filing reports, sitting behind their desks and phones and computers and waiting for a call that would never come.
Because no one ever found them.
And then, he and his family would leave town, too. Leave town and leave no trace.
On to the next place. The next girl.)
Who else would he choose but Isabella Swan?
That stammer, those pink cheeks, the doe-brown eyes that she tried to hide under that tangled mop of brown hair. Tripping over her own feet. Unsure about herself, but sure that she didn't belong. She never had. So of course he'd pick her.
He'd been watching her for a while, doing his homework. Watching her go to school, drive home in that crappy truck. Dance in front of her mirror. Press her breasts up and together wishing they were bigger, more perfect. Reading book after book after book. Making dinner, cleaning the kitchen. Crying at night when she wasn't good enough.
This one was special. He didn't want to mess it up. Or lose control and end it too quickly. He wanted to drag this out as long as he could.
She seemed like the emotional, angsty, overly-involved type.
The kind that would be all needy and whimpery and obsessed. The kind that would pine for months when he went away to torture them, to make them realize just how badly they needed him.
The kind that would think he was perfect and flawless. That would want to become just like him and would beg him to change her. Even though he never would. That would defeat his purpose. He liked them fragile, remember? Breakable.
Just his type.