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Summary:
"Caius, surely you see the potential. I haven't seen a prospective talent so promising since we found Jane and Alec. Can you imagine the possibilities when she is one of us?" - Aro Edward is gone. Jacob never came to Bella's room. She is alone. What happens when she goes to Italy for her senior class trip?


Notes:
This is my second fic and my first attempt at a multichaptered fic.


8. 8: Back in the Real World

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2776   Review this Chapter

Aro's sharp teeth tore at the flesh around the vein in my neck. That pain was quick and manageable. It felt similar to several other times in my life when I was cut deep, requiring stitches.

Then there was a new pain. As his jaw clamped down on my neck, I felt an intense pressure, the sucking. It felt as if someone put the hose of the world's most powerful vacuum cleaner to my neck and flipped the switch on. But that was nothing.

Nothing compared to the scorching flame it ignited. The venom felt like hydrochloric acid coursing through my veins, spreading like wild fire until my whole body was engulfed in flame, burning from the inside out. It reached my heart in what was probably only a few seconds, but felt like hours of pure agony. The gaping hole in my chest was now a deep fiery pit in hell.

I couldn't imagine a worse pain until it suddenly increased exponentially. I felt my back arch and my body violently twist and jerk, as a volcano erupted in the pit filling it with molten lava. I let out a bloodcurdling scream.

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Angela POV

At eight o'clock, I returned to my empty hotel room after spending a wonderful day exploring a romantic Italian city alone with my boyfriend. I will have to remember to thank Bella for the suggestion when she gets back. She is such a selfless person, constantly thinking of others before herself.

I wish that we had become closer friends. But we are both pretty shy. And since Edward left she has become even more guarded. I hope she was okay by herself today. She really did seem to want to be alone, but I was getting kind of an anxious vibe from her this morning.

Around ten o'clock, I took a shower and got ready for bed. But I didn't want to go to sleep before Bella returned. I was starting to get worried. It wasn't like Bella to stay out late partying with the gang. What was she doing? And why wasn't she back yet?

Finally, a little after midnight, I couldn't take it any longer. I just knew that something was wrong. I was wearing a pair of striped lounge pants and an oversized tee; so I had no problem with walking down the hall in my pajamas.

First, I stopped at Mike and Eric's room to ask if they had seen Bella today. I knocked and waited a minute, but there was no answer. They were still out, probably clubbing. I tried several other doors, even Jessica and Lauren's, all with the same result.

Then, I went to Ben and Austin's room. Austin wasn't back yet either. I prayed Bella had caught up with our classmates. Maybe she bumped into Mike and he dragged her along with them. That boy is incorrigible.

I stayed with Ben until Austin arrived in the room about an hour later. "Hey Austin, have you seen Bella today?" I asked.

He must have heard the hope in my voice and misinterpreted it. "Angela, you better not be trying to set me up with Bella. I know she is your friend and don't get me wrong, she is pretty. But I don't want her going all psycho on me."

Ben chuckled, but stifled it when I glared at him. "Listen, you moron, was she with you guys or not?" I demanded, somewhat angrily.

"No," he defended.

"You didn't see her at all today?" All hope was now gone from my voice.

"No. Hey, what's going on?"

I didn't answer him. "I'm going to see Ms. Lang." I said and walked out the door.

Ben caught up to me, wrapping his arm around my waist as we walked down the hall together. He placed his other hand on my chin, turning my head and tilting it down so he could look into my eyes. "I can't believe you called Austin a moron. You're really worried about her. Aren't you?"

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Ms. Lang POV

I was half asleep, when I heard a knock at my door. I looked at the alarm clock on the nightstand. It was twenty after one. I knew this moment was coming since the night we arrived. Those teenagers spent every night drinking and partying. And now one of those drunken idiots did something stupid and got themselves into trouble. This is exactly what I feel like dealing with when we have to catch the eight o'clock train to Venice in the morning.

"I'll be right there." I called out, sleepily. I grabbed my terrycloth robe, putting it on as I made my way to the door.

"Angela?" I said as I opened the door. She was the last person I expected. She looked upset, something must be wrong. "Is everything okay, sweetie?"

"It's Bella."

Oh, right, she was rooming with the school head case. God, I hope she didn't have some sort of episode. I really don't know if I can handle something like that right now. "Is she sick?" I hoped that was it.

"She's missing. I haven't seen her since she left the room this morning. No one has. She wasn't with the others and they're all back now. It isn't like her to stay out this late. I'm really worried. We have to find her." Angela blurted, speaking so fast I had a hard time keeping up. Great, this can NOT be happening! How am I going to tell the chief of police that we lost his only daughter?

**************************************

Charlie POV

I was sitting at my desk looking at lunch menus. It was another boring day at the small town police station. Ring ring, the phone sounded. "Forks police. This is Chief Swan," I answered.

"Oh, Chief Swan, I am so glad I reached you. This is Ms Lang, one of Bella's teachers." She was talking fast, sounding nervous. I had been waiting for this call. Bella probably hurt herself falling into a fountain or something. She most likely is calling for Bella's health insurance information. I should have remembered to make sure Bella packed her insurance card with her passport.

I automatically reached for my wallet, when the clock caught my eye. It was eleven o'clock. That meant it was only two a.m. in Italy. Maybe Bella terrified that poor Weber girl by screaming in her sleep.

"Is everything alright, Ms. Lang?"

"No. I'm sorry, Charlie. I don't know how to say this. Bella is missing." Bella is MISSING! My baby girl is missing! I didn't hear a word she said after that. It was like the earth stopped spinning on its axis and I was transported back in time.

It was that horrible night in September all over again. I returned home from work and saw her note. Going for a walk with Edward, up the path. Back soon, B. I settled down in front of the TV with last night's leftovers and a beer. The Mariner's game ended and she still wasn't back. It was getting dark and I began to worry. I decided to call over to the Cullen's. She was probably there with Edward; she's always with him. After the twelfth ring, I hung up. Panic began to set in. Something was just not right; I could feel it. I ran out the back door to the edge of the woods and yelled out to her. Nothing.

I didn't know what to do, so I called Billy. He offered to send some kids down from the reservation to search the forest. Why didn't I think of that? That is when I switched from Charlie Swan, father, to Police Chief Swan. I quickly called Mark at the station and instructed him to organize a search party.

It seemed like half the town showed up to help search for Bella. That is when I first heard the rumor. Doctor Cullen had accepted a high paying job at a hospital in LA. The Cullen's had left town. A new fear set in. Did Bella run away with him? Would they elope? I almost convinced myself that that was the most likely possibility, when I heard Sam Uley call "I've got her!" Relief washed through me. That is until I saw her pale dead face and limp wet body cradled in his arms.

"Chief Swan?" I heard a worried female voice, but Mark was the only other one in the station. Then, I realized that I was holding the phone. Pull it together, Charlie. I told myself. We found her before; we can find her again. "Chief Swan, are you still there?"

"I'm sorry. I'm still here."

"That's okay, I understand. I was saying that I notified the front desk at the hotel and they contacted the Polizia di Stato for me. We are waiting for them to arrive."

Like last time, I switched from Charlie, Bella's dad, to Chief Swan. "When was the last time you saw her?"

"Angela Weber, her roommate was the last one to see her. Would you like to speak with her?"

"Yes."

"Hold on a minute." She covered the phone with her hand and I heard a muffled, "Angela."

"Ch...Chief Swan?" Her voice was shaking.

"Angela, Ms. Lang tells me that you were the last one to see Bella. Is this correct?"

"Yes. The last time I saw her was around eight a.m. in our room." It's already been eighteen hours! Calm down, Charlie. Getting angry will get you nowhere. "We had a free day and I asked her if she wanted to go to a museum with my boyfriend and me. But she said she wanted to explore the city on her own." She wanted to explore the city on her own! Where the hell was she going? "I went in the bathroom to take a shower and when I was done she had already left."

"She didn't say where she was going?"

"No. She just said she was going to walk around the city. I'm sorry. I wish I could be more helpful."

"You're doing great, Angela. Do you remember what she was wearing?"

"She was wearing jeans and a red button down shirt and her white Nike jogging shoes."

"That's very good. Do you remember if she was wearing any jewelry?"

"I...I don't think so. I can't remember. I'm sorry." It sounded like she was starting to cry.

"It's okay. The information you gave should help a lot. I'm sure the Italian police will want to talk with you also. Can you put Ms. Lang back on the phone?"

"Sure." I could hear her footsteps through the phone.

"Hello."

"Ms. Lang, there are a few things I can do from here. But I would appreciate it if you could call me after you meet with the police and keep me updated on their investigation."

"Yes. Of course, Chief Swan."

"Thank you."

"Bye."

After hanging up the phone, I immediately began to fill out a missing persons report. I was glad that I could do something useful. I'd go insane if I was one of those parents stuck with nothing to do but wait by the phone.

Then, I thought of Bella's mother. How was I going to tell Renee? Would she blame me? I did send Bella on the trip. And even though Bella was always accident prone, she's been having much worse problems since she came to live with me - All due to that no good piece of shit, Edward Cullen. She would have been better off in Jacksonville. If she had stayed with her mother she never would have met him. Why did I have to be so selfish and agree to let her move here?

I had to stop this now. It would get me nowhere. I needed to concentrate on what could be done. I will call Renee later, after doing everything in my power to find my baby from halfway across the world.

I focused on the report, writing down an exact description of Bella. I noted her hair color, length and style, eye color and shape, skin tone, height, weight and build. I wrote a detailed list of all her scars, checking it twice, making sure I didn't forget one. I also included the information that I received from Angela about what Bella was wearing the last time she was seen.

Then I made a quick stop home to gather the most recent photos of Bella. I returned to the station and added the photos to the report. I faxed the report to Mike Costa, an agent I know at the FBI's field office in Seattle. I gave him a call to alert him of the incoming fax. He offered to personally take on the case and said he would begin immediately by contacting the U.S. Consulate General in Florence.

I desperately needed to stay busy and feel useful, so I asked what else I could do. He said I could fax the report to the National Crime Information Center Missing Person File for him. Since Bella was eighteen, I didn't need to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

I was just about to bite the bullet and call Renee, when the phone rang again.

"Chief Swan," I answered.

"It's Ms. Lang." Did they find her?

"Any news?" Please, please say you've found her!

"Sorry, Chief Swan. I was calling to update you on the investigation like you asked." Damn!

"Go on."

"The police interviewed me and Angela and some of the other students and faculty. Afterwards they sent some officers out to canvas the area. They also said that they were going to call all the hospitals to see if an American girl fitting Bella's description was admitted."

"Good. It sounds like they are proceeding according to protocol. Do you have the investigating officer's contact information? I would like to speak with him and fax over some pictures of Bella and a missing person report. I would also like to pass the information to my contact in the FBI."

"Of course, Chief Swan, one of the officer's gave me his card. Ah, here it is. They did say they would be contacting you also."

I took down the officer's name and copied the phone and fax numbers as she recited them.

"Chief Swan, I also wanted to let you know that we all care very deeply for Bella and will be staying in Florence for the remainder of our trip to help with the search."

"Thank you. That means a lot." I said, gratefully. Then, I thought of something else I could do. "Ms. Lang, if you could also give me the fax number for the hotel, I will prepare a missing person flyer with Bella's picture and fax it over. You can make copies and have the students pass them out around the city. And please, make sure they go out in groups. I don't want any of them wandering the streets alone." That should keep my mind occupied for a little longer.

"That's a great idea."

I waited as she asked the front desk for the number. Then I copied it down in my notebook with the other numbers and told her to keep me posted.

After Mark helped me make the flyer on the computer, I sent the faxes and headed home to call Renee. I couldn't put it off any longer.

As soon as I told her that Bella was missing, she was completely hysterical. I didn't give her any of the details on the investigation. Instead, I spent over an hour trying to calm her down until Phil, her new husband, came home. I kept telling her that they would find Bella and everything would be all right. But I wasn't only trying to convince her; I was also trying to convince myself.

I can't lose my Bella, not now, not when I just got her back. I lived so long by myself and now I don't know what I would do without her. She is all I have - the only thing that matters to me in this world.