ambition takes you farther than an education
This was really, really fun to write. I'm very happy with this fic. Tell me what you think, would you?
1. ambition takes you farther than an education
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2779 Review this Chapter
I am not an evil girl. I just have a hell of a lot of ambition. And when I want something, I go for it, and forget what laws I break along the way. After all, what kind of person would I be to just let my desires drift past me? No, I chase my dreams down like a hound on a scent and no matter what you do, no matter what you think, you're not going to be able to stop me. No one has ever been able to, and trust me, lots of people have tried. Because I don't see anything wrong with what I'm doing. I say, grab life by the horns. It's my life. I'm living it, and no one else is going to live it for me.
x x x
When Lauren first saw them, she stared.
It was hard not to, after all. They were the embodiment of pure beauty, magnetic in their attraction. Anyone who saw them couldn't help but be pulled in by their awe-inspiring gorgeousness, struck dumb by their brilliant grace. The first glance took her breath away, the second glance kept it. By the third, her train of thought was completely scrambled and she had to gasp in great lungfuls of air in order to keep her consciousness.
These people were dangerous, she could tell. They had too much influence already, and no one even knew their names. But she resolved to know them better, because she wanted that kind of power herself. How was it that the blonde girl with the long legs and haughty expression could make both the male and female population swoon? What did the bronze-haired boy have that made her think angel as soon as she saw him?
Whatever it was, she wanted it.
x x x
For the next few years, she watched.
Glaring at them from across the cafeteria, sneaking glances in the hallways, gazing during classes when she should have been paying attention but had other things on her mind. In every spare moment, Lauren was thinking of them. It became her obsession: to learn everything about those Cullens, learn what made them different. What made them special.
And as she spied on a couple sitting at the opposite end of the long cafeteria table -- one with bronze hair, the other with brown -- she knew then that the family of "foster children" were not human.
It was an idea that perhaps had been floating in her subconscious for a while, something that entered her dreams but never fully penetrated her waking mind. But watching his pale fingers tracing Bella's cheek, it hit her, hard. There was really no other explanation for all the strange quirks in their personalities -- quirks that apparently, they all shared.
First was their beauty. It was the most obvious but also, somehow, the most captivating aspect. Because after all this time, Lauren still hadn't been able to get over the shock of seeing them every time she walked into a room. It was hardly natural; she wasn't the type to be shocked over anything. Their good looks were surreal. Inhuman.
Their unnatural beauty wasn't proof enough, however. Not enough to convince Lauren of anything. But as she watched, more became apparent.
They never ate. She usually spent all of her free hour observing them as she chewed thoughtfully on her lunch, and every day she watched them buy food, then throw it away. Pay for lunch, then toss it in the trash. Edward, the bronze-haired one, would buy food for himself and Bella to share, but he wouldn't eat any of it. Yet, they didn't seem to be anorexic, of course, or even unhealthy in the slightest way. Unnatural, yet again. Why would they go through the trouble to pay for their food and never eat it? It made no sense.
And the only times they were absent -- all of them, as a family -- were when the sun was shining. It was hard to miss that pattern, after being repeated for years since she was a freshman. Lauren didn't buy their story about going camping "when the weather was nice". It was a bit hard to swallow. But the only alternative would be if they all had xeroderma pigmentosum (as they'd learned from Biology) and couldn't go out in the sunlight at all. Which, admittedly, was also very difficult to believe.
The strangest thing about them was their eye color. Most of the time, it was this odd golden hue, but it would darken every day until finally, they looked out onto the world through the darkest eyes she'd ever seen, black as onyx. And then, they would be absent for a day or two, and come back with those clear golden eyes again.
This was not normal, Lauren insisted inside her head. It wasn't human. And Bella knew their secret, she could tell -- the private smiles, the veiled remarks, the shared jokes. She'd overheard Bella asking Edward if he wanted food and then bursting into laughter. Though if the Cullens skipped school regularly instead of going camping as a family, they never took Bella with them -- not once. And why would they all have color-changing eyes?
Plus there was that time at the end of last year when the Cullens and Edward's klutzy girlfriend ran off somewhere, then came back with Bella seriously injured...but the rest of them unscathed.
They were something. She knew it.
x x x
During Government class, Lauren theorized. What could they be?
Did it matter? she countered inside her head. Whatever they were, they were powerful, beautiful, and evidently didn't need to eat -- and that was all Lauren needed to know to realize that she wanted it. Bella was going to become one of them, obviously. How could they keep someone so normal with them, always an outcast in their family of freaks? It was inevitable that she'd eventually become one of those beautiful graceful creatures sometime soon. Wasn't it?
And that was what got on Lauren's nerves, that the plain-Jane girl who followed at their heels like a well-trained puppy would soon be a beautiful goddess like Rosalie.
She couldn't let that happen. At least, she couldn't let Bella become beautiful without transforming herself.
Lauren's main talents involved scheming and planning. After all, she was good at getting what she wanted.
x x x
The plan was simple, really -- corner the Cullens after school and ask them to change her into one of them. She was only surprised that it took her three and a half years to think of it.
After her last period class, Lauren hurriedly gathered her schoolbooks and rushed out the door, desperate to catch up to one of them before they left. Thin, slanting rain greeted her as she ran through the grass, cutting across the soggy lawn in order to get to the parking lot as fast as she could. This was not normal Lauren behavior -- her shoes and pants were getting muddy and her hair was frizzing -- but it was a special situation, after all. Panting, she frantically searched the parking lot, looking for their pale, sunless faces --
There. That trademark bronze hair was easy enough to spot, disappearing and reappearing behind cars and standing out from the trickle of people coming out the doors. Lauren followed him and his brunette at a more conventional pace, breathing heavily, until they reached Bella's old red truck. As soon as there was no one nearby, Lauren called out:
Edward spun around so fast, it made her step back a few paces. Bella turned her head so slowly by comparison, it was almost comical. For a moment, she couldn't remember why she was there. His impatient golden gaze reminded her.
"I want to be what you are."
Bella gave a small gasp, but Lauren's eyes were completely on Edward. She watched for some sign, but all he did was raise one eyebrow.
"And what would that be, exactly?" Cool, unconcerned. Questioning her sanity. But his voice was so smooth and sexy. What she wouldn't give for a voice like that...
"I- I don't know," she admitted, but hurried on. "But I know you're not human and I want you to change me because I want to be like you."
Edward hesitated, and for a split second the angelic face seemed a little worried. Then he said, abruptly, "I don't know what you're talking about." He quickly jumped into the driver's seat, Bella following his example...then drove away.
x x x
Of course he would deny her, she thought, as she paced in her room later. Her bare feet sunk into the spotless white carpet with every step. One two three four five toward her closet, turn around, five steps toward the window, turn again. He probably didn't want her to become more beautiful than they were, probably thought she was less than them and should stay in her proper place. That must be it. After all, they seemed to look down upon all the humans they met, with the outstanding exception of Bella Swan.
That settled it. She'd talk to Bella the next day at school.
However, Bella was not in attendance -- and neither were any of the Cullens. Where had they gone? Lauren thought, wondering if their disappearance had anything to do with her. She decided they must be avoiding her, afraid of being approached by her, afraid of their secret leaking out.
This made her extremely angry. Who were they to just completely ignore her? To not give a satisfactory answer to her suspicions?
Well, fine. She'd just find another...whatever-they-were...and ask them to change her.
x x x
Surprisingly, it didn't take very long.
Lauren was laying in the shade of a large tree, eyes closed as she listened to the sounds of nature around her. This was one of her favorite things to do on the weekends, because it was very relaxing. No one was jabbering constantly in her ear, her parent's weren't getting after her, there was no Bella around to provoke annoyance. It was perfect.
Suddenly her tranquil mood was shattered by agonizing pain, searing through every part of her body. It felt as though she'd gone somewhere beyond the realm of the living and brought to a tortured wasteland. She was surely screaming louder than she ever had --
And just as she felt she would have died if in any more pain, it lifted, and her cries echoed in the silence. Her breath was loud and heavy, her heartbeat pounding. Then, a high giggle, from a little girl it seemed, but that couldn't be possible...the lilting laugh was the absolute most sinister thing she'd ever heard and somehow, she knew. This was the source of the pain...
A small pale figure emerged from the shadows, still giggling. Her lips -- for it was definitely a female -- were stained red and her eyes were black like onyx, like the depths of the darkest parts of the world. But something about her was so familiar --
"Wait!" Lauren's voice came out in a faint whisper, and she wasn't sure the girl had heard her. She must have, though, because in less than a second the glowing face was inches from her own.
"Yes?" The beautiful accented voice was what cinched it. This was definitely the same type of being as the Cullens were, Lauren was sure of it.
"Don't -- don't hurt me again -- "
Laughter erupted from the little girl, an evil laughter that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. No child should be able to produce that sound.
"Oh, but it's so much fun."
"Please -- no -- change me!"
Momentarily confused, her innocent features arranged in a mask of surprise, she let a giggle escape. "Change you? Into what?"
"Into -- into what you are. I wanted the Cullens to do it but they said no --"
"Oh yes, the Cullens." Sudden venom was injected into her voice. "Those human-loving idiots. A disgrace to all true vampires."
The other's voice was so low that Lauren thought she'd heard incorrectly. Vampires? No, no, she didn't want to be a vampire --
"But if that's what you want..."
Without further warning, Lauren felt a blinding pain in the side of her neck, and then nothing at all.
x x x
Startled, Edward froze in the middle of the clearing. To anyone else, it would have seemed as though he'd materialized out of thin air -- in reality, he had just been running very, very fast. Lauren had been watching for the blur and stepped directly in front of him. Even with his vampire reflexes, it was difficult for him to avoid crashing into her.
"Oh yes, Edward," she purred, and Lauren saw his eyes unfocus.
"How..." He struggled to speak against the fog clouding his brain, his voice coming out strangled. "How did you -- are you a vampire?"
"Why yes, I am. And aren't I pretty, now?" There was an undercurrent to her words that Edward, a bit dazed, completely missed. "I think the boys will soon be all over me, don't you think?
"You...that's why you did it? For...for the -- attention?" His eyes were becoming unfocused, but with typical Edward stubbornness, he tried to keep talking.
"No, you don't understand at all, do you?" The soft voice was the most beautiful thing he'd ever heard. "I want the power. Very different."
"But -- you'll expose -- " Edward's strength was crumbling, and she realized now was the moment.
"Don't worry about a thing," Lauren murmured, stepping closer. "I'll take care of you." Gently, she lifted her head and kissed his lips, and Edward was helpless to resist. His eyes slid closed and he opened his mouth to let her in.
Lauren smiled against his lips. This was completely worth being a vampire, when it came with all these extra benefits. Especially her newfound powers of seduction. Oh, the Volturi were powerful allies, indeed.
"Do you love me, Edward?" she asked in her silky smooth voice.
Edward could only moan, his arms wrapped around her waist.
Lauren pulled back; Edward looked confused at her abrupt motion. "Well, I don't love you." Her voice was a hiss now, sharp and grating on his ears. "Why did you tell me no?"
"I didn't -- I didn't mean to -- "
"Come with me," she said, her mood changing once more, and Edward had no choice but to follow.
x x x
They ran hand in hand, and as they ran Lauren remembered what Jane had told her.
You can seduce absolutely anyone. Even vampires. Isn't that amazing? I wish I had your talent.
The little girl had laughed, then.
Anyone would do anything for you. And that includes the stubborn idiot Edward Cullen. I don't like him much -- do you?
They'd gone on happily for a round of severe Edward-bashing, and in the middle of this conversation Lauren had said:
Well, why don't we do something about it?
It had been all Lauren's idea to lure Edward away, Lauren's idea to take him to -- well, she couldn't think about that, could she? Even though Edward was half-dazed Jane had warned that he might still read her mind.
Soon, they came to a place in the forest so thick with overhanging branches that it was completely dark. Edward didn't look around to observe their surroundings -- his eyes were all for Lauren. And Lauren relished the power she had over him.
A voice sounded from their left.
"Hello, Edward. We've been meaning to talk for a while, haven't we?"
Jane stepped out of the shadows, then, her pale skin almost glowing even in the blackness. Felix and Aro, whom Lauren had become acquainted with as well, followed suit.
As soon as he heard Jane's voice, Edward's eyes cleared and his not-quite-there look was instantly replaced with anger. Anger, and fear.
"Oh, and thank you, Lauren," Jane said conversationally. "You've brought us a real treat."