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Unbitten

Summary:
When journalist Bella Swan discovers Edward's long kept secret, how they manage their attraction for each other begins to take a twist. How much will they be willing to sacrifice to be with their hearts' perfect match?


Notes:


1. Assignment

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1685   Review this Chapter

Chapter 1: Assignment


I sat in our weekly company meeting, slouching in my comfortable leather office chair while I studied the glossy wood pattern of the long meeting table in front of me. These meetings were always the most boring part of my Mondays, mostly because I didn’t care about sports, politicians and their torrid affairs, or whatever else made the front page of the Seattle Times this week. I covered all the misfits that the editor, Mr. Davenport, couldn’t assign the typical “big story” reporters. That’s right, I usually got the scraps, the leftover bits of news that everyone else was too busy to cover. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job- I just wish I could talk about more than the new snail infestation in the local lake.

As the meeting droned on, my mind began to wander. Just as I drifted into thoughts of what I was going to have for dinner tonight, I felt a sharp jab in my side from the person on my right, bringing me back to the boring meeting room. I quickly directed my attention to my boss, who was staring at me with a raised eyebrow.

“I’m sorry, sir?” I asked, a bit confused.

“I said that I have a special story for you to cover this week. It requires a little time out of town. Will that be alright?” He repeated slowly.

I nodded. “That will be fine.”

It was not unusual for me to get sent to a neighboring town for a story. The Seattle Times was such a large newspaper that many people who lived outside of Seattle subscribed, making outside stories well worth our time. In fact, I loved getting sent somewhere to get a story. It was like a miniature vacation. The newspaper paid for a nice hotel room, usually in the nearest Hilton where they got some kind of discount, and I got a few days away from the office.

“Good. The file is on your desk. From what I understand, it’s a complicated piece so I won’t try to tell you about it now. Visit me later if you have any questions.”

“Thank you,” I smiled happily.

I was intrigued. I thought about my assignment for the rest of the meeting, which seemed even longer and more boring than usual. As soon as the boss started shuffling his papers back into his bag, I darted out of the meeting room and down the hall to my cramped cubicle. There was a large manila envelope on top of my keyboard with my name scrawled across the front. I sat down to open the envelope when a head popped over the short wall that separated my cubicle from the one right in front of mine.

“So what’s that assignment all about?”

I narrowed my eyes at my best friend, Jacob Black. Jacob and I had been friends for what seemed like our entire lives. After high school we had moved to Seattle and had lived together ever since, which often gave people the wrong idea about our relationship, but I didn't let it bother me- Jacob and I were just friends.

“Well, I was about to open it but I was rudely interrupted,” I teased.

“I’m waiting,” he said, turning his attention to the envelope I still held in my hands.

I pulled the packet of information out of the envelope and began scanning through the overview of the story on the front page. As I was reading, I felt my face fall. Jacob must have noticed the expression on my face, because he quickly left his cubicle and came to stand behind me as I read.

I threw the papers back down on my desk and scrambled down the hall to Davenport’s office.

“Question?” He asked, without looking up to see me.

I took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t do that assignment.”

That made him look up at me. “Excuse me?”

“Is there any way you can send someone else?” I asked hopefully. I would do anything for a simple snail story now.

He leaned forward to prop his elbows on the desk in front of him and eyed me curiously.

“Is this the same writer who is always begging for a big story?” He asked. “The same girl who says she wants to travel and write about everything in the world? That’s why I liked you so much when I hired you, Miss Swan. What’s wrong with this assignment?”

“I just don’t feel comfortable going there,” I tried to explain, wringing my hands.

He continued to look at me through eyes squinted in confusion.

“Miss Swan, unless there is a valid reason you shouldn’t go, I’m sending you out tomorrow morning.”

I stayed silent–I knew there was nothing I could say to change Mr. Davenport’s mind.

“Very well, Miss Swan, go home and rest- do a little research for your article. I’ll see you again in a week.” With that, he returned his attention to his desk.

I sighed reluctantly and turned to go back to my cubicle.

“What did he say?” Jacob asked, jumping to his feet at the sight of me coming back to my desk.

I shrugged and buried my face in my hands.

“I guess I’m going to Forks,” I mumbled.

Jacob grimaced.

OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoO

“Dinner!” I heard Jacob call as the apartment door slammed behind me.

I hopped up off the living room floor to take one of the take-out bags out of his hand. I opened it to breathe in the delicious smell of the Chinese food inside.

“Thanks, Jake, this is just what I need. Chinese therapy!” I laughed.

He snorted at my joke and took his burger out of its brown sack. I heard him mumble something about my Chinese stinking up the house for a week but I ignored him as I opened the first box of noodles.

“So what are you going to do?” He asked as we finished up our dinner.

I sighed and placed the chopsticks back in the box as I shrugged my shoulders.

“I guess I don’t really have a choice do I?”

“I guess you don’t,” he said, shaking his head. “Have you called your dad yet?”

My eyes sprung up to meet his.

“He was so mad when we left…” I mumbled, trailing off as my thoughts took over.

Jacob and I had united under a common goal that brought us together in middle school: to get out of Forks. I had been the one who wanted to be a journalist back then- Jacob wanted to be a professional football player. That dream slowly drained out of him and I managed to convince him that seeing his name in print in a byline would be almost as good as seeing it in the game highlights. With that in mind, we decided that once we graduated high school, we would go to college together at Seattle University and then get jobs together at the Seattle Times. Of course I told my father about our plan, but he just laughed and patted the top of my head. He never believed we would actually leave, but we did, and he didn’t like it. I hadn’t talked to him since.

Now, after six years, I was finally going to talk to my father again, but it was going to be me as a reporter and he as the police chief. That just didn’t seem right.

Jacob and I shared a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream and channel surfed for the rest of the evening, trying to forget that I had to be in Forks tomorrow. Finally, he stood up off the couch, reminded me that he had to be at work bright and early tomorrow morning, and went to bed.

I sat on the floor staring at the manila envelope on the table for a moment before leaning over to pick it up again. I was supposed to spend my afternoon reading everything I could find about the story once Mr. Davenport let me leave work, but I had avoided it, opting instead to finish the novel I had been engrossed in for the last week.

As I read over the assignment again, I dragged myself up off the floor and to my computer, which was sitting on a small desk in the corner. I thought for a moment before putting my fingers to the keys and typing “Mysterious deaths in Forks, Washington” into Google. I hit enter and looked down through the list of results. I found two that appeared relevant to the story I had been assigned. I read through the first, not learning anything that I hadn’t read from the file I had reviewed. Shaking my head, I absentmindedly clicked on the second link. I read through this story without noticing anything different about it than the one I had just read. As I was about to close my browser and go to bed, the date at the end of the article caught my eye.

Wait, 1967?

The information at the end of the article said that it was a reprint from a Forks newspaper from January 19, 1967, but it was almost an identical story to the one I read before it that was published two days ago. I brought out the assignment from the envelope sitting beside the computer and read it again, this time comparing it to the article from 1967. The similarities were unnerving. In both cases, the bodies were found in the forest right outside of town, the cause of death uncertain, but they had the exact same crescent shaped wounds on their bodies. How was this possible? Is the same person behind these murders? How could the exact same murder be recreated 40 years later? I shook my head to clear the confusing thoughts and shut the lid on my laptop, simultaneously shutting the lid on all the questions in my brain.