I watched over Bella all night. I have been reflecting about my actions all night, yet I still didn’t know how we were going to overcome last night. I had made a promise not to hurt her, and I have always been a man of my word, I never waiver.
Then in one moment of anger I broke that promise and lost control. I never intended it to go so far.
I knew she deserved some disciplinary action for her outburst, but not to the extent I took it. Nobody deserved that, not my sisters, my mother, and especially not my Bella. She didn’t deserve the number of times I whipped her with my belt. I didn’t even know how many times I lashed her. I just continued until I was fatigued.
I shouldn’t have used sex as part of her penance. I only want to feel pleasure when she’s on her knees for me, not guilt. I want her to feel pleasure also. I did not enjoy myself last night, and I shouldn’t have. Sex isn’t a tool for punishment.
I lost control with her and I needed to reestablish her trust in me. I just wasn’t sure how, but I would figure this out. I refused to let Carlisle or Emmett think I couldn’t teach her, I could. I knew I could.
I heard her breathing change as she woke. I saw her eyes flutter open, darting around wildly, trying to focus in on her surroundings. She tilted her head up to look at me still secure in my arms. Her expression was blank for the moment.
I held my breath as I waited. I wasn’t sure what her reaction to me would be this morning, and I didn’t want to scare her with any sudden movements. She gazed at me for a moment, and then I saw her eyes remember last night. And then she went rigid.
I saw memories flood her eyes. She whimpered in fear and tried to pull away from me. My arms tightened instinctively around her to prevent her from leaving. I didn’t want her to leave me.
“Stay,” I whispered. The word held so much meaning for me. I wanted to continue to hold her. I want her to stay for eternity. I need her like I need air to breathe. I refuse to lose her because my actions last night. She was still mine, she always would be.
I saw her eyes fill with unshed tears, and slowly slide down her ghostly white face. She looked so scared. And it was me she was terrified of.
“I’m sorry for pulling away Edward,” she cried in fear, “Please don’t punish me again. I- I can’t take another whipping. I’ll do anything!”
I felt the crushing weight of my guilt try to eat me up; as I realized the severe magnitude of terror I had drilled into my Bella. I wished someone would take me in the woods and tear me limb from limb, burning the pieces. As much as I felt culpable for losing control last night, I couldn’t let her see it. I showed her last night how I felt when I held her and bathed her. She would understand.
“I’m- Bella,” I hated that I was stumbling for words. It made me sound weak. “I won’t ever hurt you like that again. I just lost control.” I fought to suppress a shudder as I relived the image of my hand bringing my belt in contact with her bare bottom repeatedly, long past when I should have stopped. “You do not need to fear me. I promise you, I will never lose control with you again.” I stared intently into her eyes trying to make her believe me.
I awoke to the morning, vaguely aware of something, or someone, stroking my hair. I was still very disoriented as my eyes tried to take in my surroundings. As I became more alert, I realized a couple of things. I was naked in a strange bed, and someone was cradling me. I inclined my head up to see Edward’s face, watching me cautiously, as if he was waiting for something. I lay there a moment staring at him trying to understand why he would be nervous. Then it was as if my brain turned on, and the horrific memories came.
I recalled last night, and my punishment at his hands. I felt the excruciating pain from being whipped, and remembered the humiliation from being forced on my knees to pleasure him. Then I remembered he stopped before finding his release and carried me into the bathroom. His hands had been gentle then. He had held me while I cried before bathing and drying me after. Then he held me while he brushed my hair. He carried me to bed and hummed me to sleep. I still didn’t know why. Was this his twisted idea of punishment-to throw me off balance, make me fear the next step?
I tried to pull away from him. It was an instinctive reaction. In this game, I was the prey and he was the predator. Self-preservation says ‘run’.
His arms constricted in response, forming iron bands, as he whispered to me. “Stay.”
I realized my mistake. I knew better than to pull away. Each time I did I would be punished.
I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. After last night I was surprised I had any left in me.
“I’m sorry for pulling away Edward,” I begged. “Please don’t punish me again. I can’t take another whipping. I’ll do anything!”
I couldn’t comprehend why I thought I saw guilt flash briefly in his eyes as he looked at me.
“I’m- Bella I won’t ever hurt you like that again. I just lost control. You do not need to fear me. I promise you, I will never lose control with you again.” He looked fierce, his face so close to mine as he spoke trying to convince me, I felt his sharp short intakes of breath fan my face.
What is he saying? That he is sorry? That I no longer have to fear physical and psychological terror in my life? Is that really what his words mean, or are my ears playing tricks on me, manipulating me into a false sense of security?
I breathed shakily, “W-What are you saying?” I would not make the same mistake twice. I could not take his words at face value again. I needed him to be clear with his true meaning.
“I promise you I will not lose control with you ever again. I let my anger get out of hand last night. I have better control than that.” He took a much-needed breath, “No matter what happens, I will never hurt you like that again. Ever. I need you to believe me.”
Although his words were a command, they didn’t sound like an order. It was as if he was trying to convince himself that I could forgive him. Why would he need me to forgive him? Isn’t this procedure? Punishment for misbehavior?
I wanted to believe him, I really did. But how in the world could I ensure my trust with him? He tore me apart last night, and not just physically. The damage on my actual body had nothing in comparison to the emotions brewing inside of me. I felt that familiar fear resurface; it crept up my spine, making me shiver involuntarily.
He was my future husband, and I was more terrified of him than I even was of James.
After last night I knew first hand nothing and no one would hold Edward back except himself.
He sensed my reluctance.
“You’re so quiet,” he whispered. I could hear the frustration creeping into his voice. “Tell me what you’re thinking Bella. I promise I won’t punish you for whatever you say. You have permission to say whatever you’re thinking. I need to hear your voice because right now all I hear are your screams from last night. I hate your silence. Talk to me.”
“I,” I started, not sure of what I would say. I was so conflicted, “I want to believe you?” I finished lamely, ending it as a question more so than an answer.
“Don’t hold back,” he encouraged, “You can trust me.”
I felt cornered. I realized he was only promising to maintain control during my punishments in the future, not that he wouldn’t punish me. Eventually the routine would start up again, my submission to him. But, he was asking for my opinion again.
And he wouldn’t punish me now. I had to believe him. I was going to hold him to his word. My tears were dried. It was time he heard me.
“Edward,” I tested his name, I had said it fluidly, no blubbering tears were in the way. I looked at him; he was looking at me, waiting for my answer. So I continued.
Cautiously, I’m not stupid. “Can I ask you something before I give you my answer? Is that okay?”
“Bella, this morning while we are in this bed you can speak freely and ask me anything, I will not punish you,” he assured me.
“What exactly are you promising? I want to be sure I understand. Are you saying you won’t punish me again?” I had to take the chance since I had his promise not to hurt me right now. This would test him, I knew.
I saw just the briefest flicker of exasperation before he answered. “I am promising not to lose control with you Bella. I will never hurt you like I did last night. I will never use sex for punishment again. I never want to see you on your knees before me, sobbing again.”
I decided to push a little farther while I had my chance. “Will I be allowed to say what’s on my mind? To voice my opinion to you? Are you still going to force me to marry you?”
I watched his eyes darken with these slew of questions, and I could see the internal struggle he had to let me say this to him. He wasn’t used to a woman questioning him.
“Why would you think our relationship is going to change in any way?” he asked carefully. “You’re still mine, Bella. That didn’t change last night. Just because I hate that I broke my promise to you, by losing control and hurting you, doesn’t mean
I’m ever letting you go. Over time, this night will fade; it will be as though it never happened.”
I highly doubted I would ever forget last night. It would be forever burned in my memory to add to my list of nightmares, haunting me.
I watched his eyes for a moment; I was reluctant to push my luck even further by asking more questions. I knew he was at his limit of endurance for my inquiry, but I had to push further. This was my only chance and I knew it. “Please? Can I ask a couple of more questions? I promise I’m almost done Edward.” I decided to make it a little easier for him, give him some credit he didn’t deserve, “I appreciate that you’re being so patient with me right now.”
The acknowledgement seemed to help him. He pinched the bridge of his nose to calm down the anger he was working to keep suppressed at my questioning.
“I did promise Bella. Only this morning,” he emphasized, “You are allowed to ask me any question,” he reminded himself. “Your time limit is when we get out of this bed.”
I jumped in, “Why is Carlisle adopting me? Why do you want me? When I start school again, what happens then? What am I to you right now, and what are you to me; our relationship?” There, I’d asked the most important questions I could think of. I’m sure there were more, but those couldn’t surface, as I was still quite afraid of him, always on my guard.
I knew these would be the last questions I could ever ask him. Although he tried to conceal it, I saw the malice burning underneath his cautious, calculating irises. I saw the bitterness of his gaze in response to my questioning. I could see the challenge it was for him to let me ask and know he had to answer me. He had promised
I wouldn’t be punished, and if he wanted me to trust him again, he had to keep that promise right now. This conversation was as crucial to him as it was to me.
“Do you want to live with Charlie and James?” He gave me a calculated star.
I didn’t expect this approach from him. I shuddered, thinking of going back to them, especially James.
“No,” I whispered. I never wanted to see their retched faces again.
“Carlisle is adopting you now so that I can protect you from them. I don’t think your brother can control himself with you. He will rape you if you stay under Charlie’s roof. I can’t have that. I told you you’re mine- I don’t share my possessions.” He took a deep breath and continued.
Oh if he only knew about my brother’s lack of control, but I would never tell. I knew what James would do if I told. I was only glad I wouldn’t be going back ever.
“I want you because you were made for me.” He leaned in and gave me a gentle kiss on my lips and forehead, before rising back up to look at me. “Carlisle emailed your picture to me the day he saw you at the hospital. I took one look at your picture and knew I wanted you. Then when I saw you for the first time, unconscious, and tied to that table I wanted to devour you. Every moment I’m with you, it makes me crave you so much more. You’re becoming my very own addiction, like an addict needs heroin. There’s no other way to explain it. ”
“When you go back to school you can tell anyone who asks that you’re adopted. They don’t need to know more than that. People will have time to adjust to seeing us together, so no one will question the natural progression of our relationship.” He leaned in again and stopped just a breath away from my lips. “Open your mouth to me. Please Bella. I won’t hurt you. I promise.”
It was the first time he had ever asked me. I complied and he lowered his lips the final stretch to connect with my lips, while his tongue slid gently into my mouth.
He sought out my tongue and stroked it with his, coaxing me to explore his mouth as well. He kept the kiss gentle and non-threatening, knowing I still didn’t fully trust him yet. I felt the restraint he was using not to deepen the kiss and scare me. After a moment he stopped, giving me a last gentle peck on my lips.
“And for your last question ‘what is our relationship?’ the answer is simple.”
Before he finished his sentence he used his thumb and forefinger to hold my chin, being sure I was looking directly into his eyes when he finished. He was showing me the answer with his eyes just as much as his words, so I would never doubt the sincerity of his statement. He proceeded, “Whether I am your brother to the outside world for now, your teacher and lover in this room, or your husband in the future-you are mine. Now and forever Isabella.”
I felt that similar creeping fear crawl up my spine, and slither back down to the pit of my uneasy stomach.
I nodded my head to him, trying my absolute hardest to not focus on the nerves towards my betrothed, “I understand. Thank you for letting me ask my questions Edward. There is no more confusion. I don’t want to make mistakes.”
“Bella, mistakes are how you learn, but I promise to teach you patiently. And I promise never to lose control with you again,” he reassured. “Now you owe me an answer to my question. Do you forgive me? Can you ensure one hundred percent of your trust in me?”
I knew I didn’t trust him yet, but he did just demonstrate that he was trying. I knew I had pushed beyond his limits with all my questions, and though some of them made him rather peeved, he still answered them, without being hostile and degrading.
Despite all of this, I knew I still had no choice. Yes, there was leeway today because the scars are still fresh. But over time, and Edward seems to be quite impatient, so most likely very soon, he would expect me to feel totally and utterly secure with him.
It was hard to say this, “I trust you Edward,” since my mother and Phil’s passing, I couldn’t trust anyone. But that didn’t matter in this life. “And I forgive you.” I replied half-heartedly, I did in a way, I suppose. He seemed sincere in his apologies.
He hugged me tightly and ran a line of gentle kisses from my forehead down to my chin and back up again before coming back to my lips. I opened for him without being told and he took the invitation. The kiss was mild, to keep me from becoming afraid.
After a moment his head shifted to get a deeper angle and the kiss became more passionate. A memory of this type of kiss flashed in my mind, it was from last night.
I broke the kiss gasping for air. I looked at him with panic. I’d pulled away again.
I had to say something. “I’m sorry Edward. I promise I’m trying, but I still feel it, I still remember it. Sometimes it’s all I see. You say you won’t hurt me again, and I want to believe you, but I’m still so scared, scared for the next time I make a mistake. Will you still feel this way then? Will you truly stay calm?” I finished, giving him a mellow version of what’s really going through my mind. I don’t think he had the faintest idea of how terrified I was from that kiss.
“I will,” he reassured, tenderly, “And I’m not angry with you for pulling away.” He paused to emphasize, “This time. It’s understandable for you to be frightened still.
We will work on your fear together. I promise to try to be patient, and I am a man of my word, Bella, I won’t fail you. Now open your mouth to me again. I want to kiss you before we start our new day.”
I was prepared this time, so I slid my arm that had been resting on his chest around his neck, and craned my neck up so my face met his halfway. He smiled a pleasing smile, recognizing my effort. He kissed me with the same intensity as before, nudging me just to the edge of my boundaries; he didn’t cross the line, thankfully.
I stroked his tongue with mine nipping at it gently and sucking on it. I wanted to show him I was putting faith in him. This was the only way I knew how. He groaned into my mouth, moving his hand to cup my cheek and hold it, just how he wanted it while he dominated the kiss. He finally broke the connection, as we both needed to breathe. I knew I had appeased him, his face was flushed, he breathed heavily, yet all the while he seemed serene. At ease.
And then this revelation rose up in my throat so briskly I wanted so badly to scream out, “Oh!” My thought process accelerated, I was swiftly putting the puzzle pieces together; every action since moving to Forks, his answers to my questions. It all made sense now, everything. It was all for him. They were all molding me into what Edward wanted me to become, his happiness, his ideal, his – Barbie doll. Through this kiss, I now understood this life. Every action I do, every decision I am allowed to make, every word I say, hell every dress I wear! It’s all for his convenience, it’s all premeditated and thought through, precisely and stringently, for his pleasure.
We were all Stepford wives-me, Alice, Esme, Rosalie. We lived for our men-that was our sole purpose in life. I swallowed down the vomit that threatened to seep through my lips at this shocking, and rather horrifying disclosure. I knew through experience that showing defiance would get me nowhere. I had to be his stupefied, obedient wife, or else I faced the wrath of an abusive, powerful man. I could do this. There was one tinge of hope according to Esme- I could be my true self with the women in private. It gave me one ray of hope to this depressing, black and white life.
I snapped out of my thoughts, only to see Edward scrutinizing me, he looked bewildered. I must have been out of it for a while.
Edward gave me one last fixed-stare, and released me from his hold. As he emerged from the bed I realized he didn’t have on any clothes. I looked away, still obviously abashed from male nudity. I realized I had spent all night in his arms like this, unclothed. He came out of the closet dressed in jeans, while still buttoning his shirt. He cleaned up very nicely, his bronze tousled hair looked lovely against his pale skin. He had the deepest, most glittering emerald eyes I had ever seen, they were mesmerizing. He sat on the edge of the bed to pull on his boots before he reached over and gingerly held my cheek, stroking it lovingly. I loved it when he caressed me like this; it felt so doting and kind.
“Stay here in bed. I’ll be right back,” he told me.
He left the room and I lay there staring at the ceiling, replaying our conversation this morning in my head. I shielded away memories from last night that kept attempting to slip through the armor I built up. I wanted to be rid of those thoughts for good. I had to make him believe that I really did trust him, but with those nightmares crawling back, it would be nearly impossible. He wanted a fresh start, and I was willing to do my part as long as he did his.
I was so immersed in my thoughts that I didn’t hear him reenter the room. His footsteps were so quiet on the carpet.
“Bella, love, I want to take you to breakfast.” His velvety voice broke me out of my reverie. He spoke so softly and silkily, “No cooking, no cleaning. The family would like to join us. I imagine you’re probably very hungry.”
I sat up, and he took a short intake of breath. I looked down and saw I was completely nude, and totally exposed to him. I blushed profusely. I hadn’t even realized I was au natural while he held me, kissed me, and talked to me. I was so embarrassed I subtly tilted my head down so my hair would create a curtain between our faces. He laughed lightly, still stroking my cheek. It felt very pleasant; he had soft, warm hands.
“I will always love your blush. It’s quite adorable,” he added in affectionately, “But love, I do need an answer, the family is waiting on ours.”
I wondered if he really was leaving it up to me to decide, or just asking for my thoughts. I was so sore, I winced, but I wanted to spend more time with Alice and
Esme, I needed their guidance. And to possibly find a way to have Rosalie warm up to me, breakfast could be a perfect opportunity to start trying.
“Of course, Edward. I’d love to go out to breakfast with your family. I am a bit sore though. May I have some Advil or Tylenol perhaps?”
His face clouded briefly at the mention of last night before shaking off those thoughts, clearing.
“They’re your family, too, Bella,” he was smiling, obviously very pleased with my answer, “Of course I’ll get you some medicine for the pain. I’ll be back in a moment.” He kissed my forehead; letting his lips linger for a moment, before going into the bathroom.
I was downplaying my pain so much it was laughable. Now that I had taken notice to my injuries, I realized the searing pain was enflaming my bottom, I felt as if I was on fire. I had trouble keeping a straight face; I wanted so badly to scream out in agony. I don’t know how I was going to sit in a chair, adding pressure to it, and act as if I’m perfectly fine, no damage done. This was going to be hard.
Edward brought me two Advil and a glass of water. I took them from him and swallowed the pills with the water. I gulped down the water, I was parched. He retrieved the glass back and took it back to the bathroom. I slipped my feet over the edge of the bed so I could brace myself to stand.
I stood, gained my balance and control, and looked up to see Edward standing in the doorway of the bathroom with his stare fixated on me. His eyes were growing dark again. He walked up and pulled me against him, looking at me ardently.
“Bella, you’re so beautiful,” he declared then kissed my forehead. “Now let’s get you dressed so we can get some food in your stomach. We have a long day ahead of us.”
With that he went into the closet and came out with a short, black pleated skirt and a creamy white fitted top that crisscrossed across the bust. I smiled appreciatively when I saw black ballet flats instead of heels in his hands. I put on lace boy shorts and the push-up bra he gave me before slipping on the skirt and pulling the shirt down over my head. I slipped on the shoes and stood so he could give me his assessment. All for him, a voice in my mind echoed to me, His appraisal is what counts.
He smiled and stepped aside so I could go to the bathroom to have a human moment, and style my hair just the way he likes. I didn’t have any cosmetics to use yet.
After brushing out my hair, I stepped back into the bedroom looking for Edward. I didn’t see him so I ventured into the sitting room. He was sitting at his desk working on his laptop. He smiled when he saw me waiting for him. He turned in his chair so he was facing me and held out his arms to me.
“Come here Bella,” he expressed with a smile in his voice…
I saw him in that chair where he had whipped me mercilessly last night. My feet were concrete pillars that would not be moved. My brain and body teamed up, they wouldn’t let me step closer to that desk, and especially that chair.
“I can’t.” I was trembling in fear. Fear of what took place in that chair, and a new fear- I had just defied him.
Edward looked confused at me for a moment before understanding shown in his features. He stood and cautiously walked to stand before me. He cupped my cheeks with both hands, tilting my face up to see him. My eyes were full of tears that started leaking down my face.
“I’m sorry, but I just can’t,” I whispered shaking my head at him.
He sighed and started kissing the tears that were running down my cheeks.
“It’s okay Bella.” He assured me softly as he gathered me into his arms. “You’re not in trouble. I understand. This is one of those fears we will work on together, okay?”
I nodded my head against his chest where it was resting. I slipped my arms around his waist. He really was going to try. I felt a small kernel of trust build in me.
It wasn’t much, but it was a start.
When he sensed I had calmed down, he bent down and put his arm under my knees to pick me up. He kissed my forehead before looking into my eyes.
“I won’t hurt you Bella. Trust me,” he said as he turned to walk back towards his desk to sit down again with me in his arms.
I tightened my grip around his neck and buried my head into his chest. It’s ironic, he is the one I fear- yet I want him to protect me at the same time. I felt him sit
in the cursed chair, me still woven in his arms.
He was whispering soothing words of encouragement into my hair, an attempt to help calm me I presumed. When I finally felt able-bodied again, I peaked up at him. He placidly watched me. There was no aggravation in his eyes. Instead I saw a small glimmer of regret behind his gaze.
I lifted my head further to kiss him on the cheek, taking him by surprise. It was a thank you kiss. “Thank you for being understanding and not being angry with me. I promise I’m trying.”
He smiled down at me. “I told you we would work on your fear together. If we want to get anywhere, I need your trust.”
I nodded my head to him, which he returned with another nod. He subtly let me know that the conversation was over. We were left to our thoughts in the silence.
He, on one hand, must think that this is one of those comfortable, imperturbable moments, calm and oh so tranquil. This taciturn environment is just what he needed, and of course since I am to be his wife, go along with it. Me, on the other hand, was being suffocated by the tenseness of the air. It was nerve-racking, being in here, in this same spot. My neck was taut-prepared to whip in one direction, and zip in another, checking for danger. I was on the alert-defensive mode. If Edward said he wouldn’t hurt me, there sure is hell something else, or rather someone, that would in this hellhole.
“We need to get downstairs to meet the family now, Bella. I want you to remember, when we leave this room, the rules apply.”
He tilted my chin up to look at him. “You will be respectful of me, my father and my brothers. You will not speak out of turn. You may speak quietly with my mother,
Rosalie and Alice, but do not interrupt any conversation we may be having. Can you remember that?”
“Yes Edward,” I nodded. “I’ll remember.”
“Good girl. Since we’re getting such a late start on breakfast, we’ll wait and get your things from Charlie’s later today. I want to take you to the mall after breakfast. We’ll look around and find something pretty for you. After all, I owe you something nice after last night,” he said smiling at me.
I wish he understood that if I had to spend my life with him, I just wanted him to let me have a normal life like every other 17 year-old girl, not spend ridiculous amounts of money on me to assuage his guilt. The trite saying stays true; money can’t buy love.
I knew I was supposed to smile in answer. I was Bella Barbie after all- she’s only plastic, just like my smiles. I smirked internally at my new nickname. It fit perfectly, just like I would be perfect when he was finished with me.
He stood, setting me on my feet. “I think we’ve kept everyone waiting long enough. We should go.” He made the mistake of patting my ass when he finished. It wasn’t hard, but this morning any touch was going to burn like hell.
I groaned involuntarily at the pain before stepping away from him. I didn’t want to bring attention to my pain.
“Bella?” He questioned as he pulled me back by the elbow and turned me to face him. The pain was searing still.
I felt my eyes fill with tears again. I refused to say anything about last night. I just shook my head. Denial was the way to go. “I’m fine, Edward, I promise.”
He raised his eyebrow at me, indicating that he knew I was lying to him before squatting down on his knees. He held me by my hips and turned me around away from him.
I heard his gasp as he raised my skirt and lowered my panties. When he didn’t move, I turned to look down at him staring at my backside with wide, remorseful eyes. He slowly looked up at me, tensely. He averted his eyes from mine, looking rather ashamed, before leaning in to place gentle kisses on my cheeks. In fantasyland, those kisses would erase the bruises and what he had done, but this was reality. As soft and supple as his lips were, they only caused more pinches of pain. He stood back up, straightening my clothes. He whirled me around to face him, finally making eye contact with me. I gasped in surprise as he picked me up and carried me over to the sofa to sit.
He held me for a moment, placing more of his infamous gentle kisses on my face, I let myself drown in his pecks, no pain from the burning, no rules to follow, just kissing. These, these little pecks were quite enjoyable. I sighed contentedly. When I just focused on him and me, his touch and his lips, I do feel something, something magnetic, electrifying. I wish we could always be like this, I thought ruefully. If only he could see…me. After a moment he stopped to rest his forehead against mine.
I didn’t want this moment to end so soon. Pretending to be a robot was tiresome.
“This isn’t easy for me Isabella. I do not apologize…ever. This one time, I-“ He looked at me again, his emerald irises were scorching, “Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
He was apologizing the only way he knew how. He was incapable of saying the words out loud, but I knew he meant it. It didn’t matter though, I had to understand-I was programmed to understand,
“I understand Edward. I accept your apology.” Whether I did or not really wasn’t the point. This was the closest he would ever come to apologizing for any of his actions, I knew. How pathetic. In his mind, he is always right, so there was never a need to apologize for any action. And he was ap-well, attempting to apologize to me, which meant this was very hard for him.
For me, no benefit would come from holding the grudge I felt toward him, Carlisle, Charlie and James for the hell they conspired to thrust me into. It was my place to ‘smile and nod and let him pet me on my head like the good Barbie I was. I wanted to spit in disgust for what I would have to do, I was raised so differently.
“I knew you would Bella. That’s part of what I love so much about you; your forgiving, sweet nature,” he smiled. “Now let’s get you some breakfast.”
We went down stairs and I heard hushed voices coming from the living area. It sounded like everyone was in there waiting. As we came into the room everyone stopped talking and looked at me. I looked at each person watching me- the expressions were what I expected. The women wore blank faces, but I could tell their eyes held nothing but sympathy for me. The men wore the expression I expected without a doubt. They were beaming with pride at Edward. I held in the grimace, and kept my stare neutral. One wasn’t glowing with satisfaction though. That one surprised me, but as he noticed my stare it quickly changed to match the rest. I knew I hadn’t imagined it. It was quick, but I know it was there, a contortion of revulsion at Edward and empathy toward me. I glanced to Edward to see if he picked up on that, but he was too busy having his back slapped by Carlisle- the proud father.
“Well Edward, I must say, I honestly didn’t think you had it in you,” Carlisle was boastful. “I’m glad Jasper didn’t feel like making a wager last night. I would have bet wrong. We all heard her punishment last night. Great job son, I’m proud of you.”
At that, Jasper and Alice came forward. “Carlisle, Alice and I are going to go on ahead to get a table reserved, alright?”
“Oh sure, sure Jasper,” Carlisle responded, not really paying attention.
They quickly left out the front door and I heard a car drive away.
Carlisle was sizing me up; his eyes grew a little darker as he took in my cleavage showing through the shirt and my short skirt that showed off my legs. He frowned at the ballet flats on my feet before turning back to Edward.
“What’s this? She’s not wearing heels Edward. I know you love a woman in high heels. Didn’t you pick her clothes this morning?” he asked.
“It was a small concession for her Carlisle. I whipped her pretty hard last night, and I know she’s not very steady on her feet today.”
I was internally fuming. I couldn’t believe he was making excuses for being nice to me! I so badly wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine, knee him in the balls-hard-and force him to prance around in 5-inch stilettos. I don’t know why I thought he would behave any differently around his family. He was still the narcissistic prick he was when I met him.
“Well in that case, I think I should check to be sure she’s ok before we leave for breakfast, don’t you?” he asked Edward.
Edward contemplated for a moment, looking at me. “Yes you probably should. I looked this morning and she’s bruised pretty badly. Could you just check that I didn’t do any permanent damage? I’d appreciate it.”
I felt a chill crawl up my spine as Carlisle appraised me. “I’ll just take Bella up to my study real quick. We won’t be a moment. Why don’t you visit with Emmett while we’re gone? He wants to give you some pointers for the future.”
Edward kissed my forehead before going to talk to Emmett, and Carlisle took my elbow to steer me out of the room and back to the second floor. He led me down the hall to his office and shut the door behind him, turning the lock.
I shivered as I looked at him with fear.
He smiled and licked his lips. “Well Bella, let’s take a look shall we? I want to see the damage my boy did. I heard you scream last night. It made me hard just hearing you.” he reminisced pleasantly. He stalked toward me as I backed away until
I felt his desk behind me and gripped the edge.
“Why do you think I suggested you for Edward? I knew you were perfect for him, of course. I want only the best for my sons, but I have my own reasons as well.” “Did you know I let Charlie help me train Esme?”
He was watching me closely now and I was growing more afraid of him by the minute.
“He never would let me help with Renee though. I know I could have helped him, too. She would have never left him. He didn’t like the idea of sharing her even though I did for him. Some friend, huh? Well you’re my opportunity for a little payback. I won’t hurt my son, mind you. You will be a virgin for him on your wedding night. I’ll make sure of that,” he licked his lips at the thought. “But until then I’m going to be getting even with my good ole’ friend Charlie.”
He was standing directly in front of me now and reached out to brush his hands across my breasts before resting them on my hips.
“Unfortunately today there isn’t enough time for what I want, so we’ll just have to save it for later. I’m anticipating when I can get you alone Bella. Charlie told me how good your little mouth is.” His eyes were so dark. He was looking at me like he would eat me alive. “I can’t wait to see what you can do for me. Now slip off your panties and bend over the desk so I can see what Edward did to you.”
I was shaking and trying not to cry as I did what he said. I dropped my panties on the ground and turned around to lay across his desk with my forehead pressed against the blotter on his desk. I squeezed my eyes closed like a small child; if I couldn’t see the monster then maybe he wasn’t real. Unfortunately this monster was very real. I felt him lift my skirt and draw a breath.
“I have got to give that boy credit,” he said stroking my backside. “When he said he was hard on you last night he wasn’t lying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful ass. Yours is so purple and swollen.” He bent down to kiss my cheeks. “Don’t move.”
I heard him move across the room and heard a cabinet drawer slide open then close. I sniffed to hold back my tears afraid of what he was doing. I sensed him behind me again. I had no idea what he was going to do to me. I just kept reminding myself he said he didn’t have for anything. Edward and everyone else were waiting downstairs. Right now Edward was my salvation from his father.
I felt him pull my cheeks apart and slide something cold and wet up and down. I remembered this feeling. I was terrified of what I knew was coming next. Then he pressed a finger into my rectum. I whimpered and bucked against the desk and he used his other hand to press me firmly into the desk.
“Don’t move Bella,” he ordered. “I’m just checking how much progress Charlie and James made with you before Edward took you out of their house. This was my special request. Charlie didn’t know that this tight hole would be for my use. He wouldn’t have done it knowing I was going to get to use it. Mind you, I won’t get to use it often, but I will get my opportunity. Edward will appreciate it later.” I felt him slide a second finger into me and I groaned in pain at the intrusion. “Yes, that’s good, you’re still tender though. I’ll need to help you with that later.”
He pumped his fingers a few more times before sighing and slowly pulling out. “Such a shame. We really do need to go back downstairs now. You can put your panties back on.”
He stepped back and I bent to pick them up off the ground. He slid his hand over my backside under my skirt.
“I do love Edward’s taste in clothing.”
He tilted my chin up to see him and put his finger on my lips. “Not a word, understand? Edward will only get angry and you’ll have to be punished for lying to him.”
I felt a tear slip down my cheek. There was no escape from the brutality of my existence. Edward would never believe me against his father.
“No tears Bella. No one likes a crybaby remember?” he admonished before kissing my forehead and letting me go. “Now I need to wash up from your exam and you can go back downstairs to Edward. I’m starving.”
He left me standing there. Carlisle was truly a sick, twisted man. My heart went out to Esme, she was married to the monster. I quickly wiped away my tears and took a deep breath then went down to Edward. Smile, Bella, pretend your soon-to-be father-in-law isn’t planning on violating you in the near future, I reminded myself.
We left the house and drove to a restaurant in town for breakfast. It was quiet in the car. I was focused on not crying from the pain of my whipping and Carlisle’s trespass.
We pulled into the parking lot and Edward came around to help me out of the car. He kissed my forehead. “Are you hungry, Bella?” he asked.
“A little bit,” I admitted. I was hungry but I was also nauseous. I hoped I could eat without vomiting.
We went inside and saw Jasper and Alice talking softly at a table in the corner. They were still oblivious to our arrival. I watched, feeling guilty witnessing their private moment. Jasper was holding her face in his hands and talking gently to her in between sweet kisses. Even from this standpoint, you could see love pouring out of him as he looked at Alice. Her expression matched his.
I bumped into a chair as we were maneuvering through the tables toward them. Jasper looked up at the noise and saw us. He dropped his hands from Alice’s face, and a curtain fell over his gaze. Alice turned away from him and hung her head. I was bewildered. Why would they hide their love for each other just because we were there?
“Hey Jasper, thanks for getting the table. Everyone is about 15 minutes behind us,” Edward was saying. “I don’t know about you bro but I’m famished.” He patted his stomach emphasizing his hunger, in a joking manner, but maybe to also diffuse the tension in the air? It was still there, that constriction between Jasper and Edward.
Edward held a chair out for me and I gingerly sat down biting my lip to keep from shrieking. I saw Jasper from the corner of my eye. I saw the same expression he tried to hide from me at the house. Jasper was looking at me with commiseration! What was going on?
Jasper looked from me to Edward, his gaze guarded again. “Hey Edward can I talk to you a minute outside before the family gets here? We can order the girls coffee and juice to occupy them while we’re out and,” he pointed at the window by the table, “we’ll be able to keep an eye on them from there.”
Edward looked at the window and at me, before he scanned the restaurant patrons. I don’t know whom he thought he was going to find? I looked to see if I could tell.
There were only a couple of elderly couples still dining since it was late morning. He seemed satisfied with what he saw.
“Sure Jasper, we got a few minutes,” he answered as he leaned down to kiss me. “I’ll order our food when I get back in Bella.”
That was to remind me I was incapable of ordering my own food. I ate what suited him. I wanted to order the whole menu in spite of him, but those thoughts were just ludicrous. I sighed as I watched Edward and Jasper leave the restaurant and walk down the sidewalk to stand outside the window by our table. He looked at me and smiled before turning back to Jasper.
“Bella,” I turned to Alice as she softly said my name, “Are you alright?” She looked glum and worried. Her eyes kept darting toward the entrance, watching for the rest of the family.
“I’m fine, thank you for asking Alice.”
She sighed at me and glanced over at the door and the window toward Jasper and Edward. I looked again at Edward. Whatever Jasper was saying was not going over too well with Edward. I could see him getting angry and shaking his head. It seemed that Jasper was trying to convince him of something and Edward wasn’t buying it.
“Bella, look at me please,” Alice said gaining my attention again.
I turned back toward her. “What is it Alice?”
“You know you can trust me don’t you?” she asked. “I know you’re not fine. I know Edward hurt you last night even deeper than just your whipping. Believe me, I know how it feels to have every last bit of dignity ripped from you. I know we can be best friends if you will let me in. You don’t have to keep your guard up with me.”
Her smile was to reassure me that I was with a friend, an ally. I didn’t have any confidants here so I needed the friendship she was offering.
“I honestly don’t think I feel anything anymore Alice. I’m numbing, he’s getting to me-this life is getting to me. And I’m scared Alice, I’m so scared! I don’t feel like the same person I was 3 months ago before my mom died. That girl died at the hands of my father, brother, Carlisle, and Edward. She doesn’t exist any longer. I don’t know who I am anymore. They’re erasing me and I don’t know who this person is in her place.”
“I despise them, and there’s nothing they can do to restore any sense of trust. Edward wants me –or should I say is forcing me-to trust him again, to forgive him! I have no say. They’re corrupted, immoral, vile-the list goes on forever! They’re all evil human beings, and I don’t know how you, Esme, and Rosalie survive. This isn’t how life is supposed to be!”
That was the first time I vented my thoughts-no airbrushed version. It felt wonderful and liberating.
Alice smiled at me before reaching her hand across the table to me. I put mine in hers as she squeezed.
“I know, Bella. Please don’t give up all hope just yet in Edward. There may be a way.” She was looking out the window again at Edward and Jasper. I saw again that sparkle of love in her eyes.
“You really love him don’t you?” I realized in wonder. “You’re not pretending.”
She looked at me, her eyes channeling the deep and ardent devotion she felt for him. “Yes I really love him. He’s not like the others Bella. He is a better man now than he was before. Love does that to you. He’s hoping to help you by convincing Edward there’s another way.” She nodded back to the window.
I looked again. Whatever Jasper was saying now had Edward pinching the bridge of his nose and holding up a hand like he was warding off his brother, warning him. Then he glared at Jasper and stalked away from him, heading back towards the entrance of the restaurant.
“Please don’t say anything to anyone Bella. Only Esme and Rosalie know what really happened between Jasper and I when he married me. His father and brothers wouldn’t understand so we have to keep it a secret.” The door opened, and Edward and Jasper were coming in, followed by the rest of the family.
“Time to play Barbie’s Bella.” She was smirking, and winked before squeezing my hand, and then put on the expression I saw her wear before. It was amusing to see the complete conversion, because it was just so absurdly different. She was playing two different people. There was no sign or trace of the girl I had just talked to. She was safely hidden away from the monsters.
I put my own molded mask back on, and turned as Edward sat down beside me to smile at him.
I held the door to the restaurant for Bella to enter before me. She had been very quiet in the car on the drive over. She must be in pain, and I felt guilt trying to crush me again. I pushed it down. I had already apologized to her so I shouldn’t keep thinking about it. After breakfast I was going to get her something really special to make it up to her. I remembered I still had her books locked away at the house also. If she behaved today I would give them back to her this evening. I had some work to do on the computer anyway, so it would keep her occupied.
I saw Jasper and Alice sitting at a table in back. My brother had a foreign expression on his face while he was kissing Alice. I’d never seen him look at her like that before. He was transfixed, and entranced by her mere presence.
Bella bumped into a chair as we were winding our way over to the table. Jasper looked up at us and dropped his hands from Alice’s face while she turned back and looked down at her lap. His whole demeanor changed, he looked stiff and rigid.
“Hey Jasper, thanks for getting the table. Everyone is about 15 minutes behind us,”
I said as we approached the table. “I don’t know about you bro but I’m famished.” I patted my stomach, trying to ease up the awkwardness. It didn’t work, Jasper still looked solemn, and wasn’t relaxing.
I slid a chair out for Bella and watched as she daintily sat down biting her lip. I thought I saw Jasper drop his guard and look at her with concern. Then his pretense went back up and looked at me. Was that disgust I saw flash in his eyes at me, surely not? He understood training as well as I did. I must have been mistaken. Last night’s guilt was making me see things that weren’t really there.
“Hey Edward can I talk to you for a minute outside before the family gets here? We can order the girls coffee and juice to occupy them while we’re out and,” he pointed at the window by the table, “we’ll be able to keep an eye on them from there.”
I looked at the window and at Bella, affirmed I would be able to see her from the window. Then I looked to see who else was in the restaurant. There were only a few elderly couples still eating at this time. I wouldn’t need to worry about another man bothering Bella.
“Sure Jasper, we got a few minutes,” I answered. I leaned down to give Bella a kiss and let her know I’d order our food when I came back in. She didn’t need to worry about it.
I followed Jasper outside and around to the sidewalk so we could see Bella and Alice through the window. They were talking quietly inside. That was good. I turned back to Jasper.
”So what’s on your mind this morning Jasper? Want to congratulate me for last night like Carlisle and Emmett? None of you thought I could do it,” I said slyly. I wasn’t really proud of what I’d done to Bella, but my family would never know.
“No Edward,” he sighed, “I don’t want to congratulate you. I have a question for you.” He was looking at me like he was preparing a battle plan for war.
“How do you really feel about what you did last night? Are you proud of the pain you caused with your hands?”
He was watching me carefully for my answer. I didn’t know what he was digging for. Jasper and I had always been close growing up. We didn’t drift apart until Alice came into his life. I guess that was to be expected, getting married and teaching your wife to adapt to your specific needs. There’s only so much outside training can do. I decided to give him a partial truth.
“I didn’t enjoy punishing Bella, Jasper,” I answered defensively. “But it’s a necessary step in teaching her. You know this. You’ve had to coach Alice, and don’t tell me you’ve never punished her. In two years she’s had to have made mistakes.” I reminded him. Who was he to try and bring up my malpractice again?
“No Edward, I don’t punish Alice. I never have. Our relationship isn’t what you see on the outside.” He was watching me meticulously for my reaction to his revelation.
“What do you mean you’ve never punished her? How do you discipline her then?” I asked.
“Simple. I don’t.” he stated.
“You’re not making any sense Jasper. I’ve seen her with the family and she never steps out of line. Are you saying Charlie and James are that good at what they do?”
I wouldn’t believe they could do a better job training Bella than I could.
“No, what Charlie and James did to Alice scarred her emotionally, they nearly destroyed her” he growled. “Do you remember when I first brought her home? What she was like?”
I remembered. Alice was freakishly similar to a robot when Jasper brought her home. She never looked at anyone, and would only whisper when spoken to. You could see her tremble any time one of us came near her. He never would tell us what happened to her with James. Only that he terrorized her.
He had locked them in their home for the first three months keeping all of us away. He even closed his club “for renovations” so he never left her.
“Yes, I remember.” I said. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“Is that what you want for Bella?” he seemed to be sizing me up now.
“Of course not! I’m not a monster and I don’t like your implication that I am.” I was getting angry now. Where did he come off? He was raised in the same home I was with the same standards and morals.
He placed a hand on my shoulder trying to calm me. “Edward, that’s exactly what is going to happen if you continue this ‘training’. You will have nothing left but a shell of whom the real Bella is. Have you even seen the real Bella yet? Or have you only seen the trained version?”
I thought about his question and remembered yesterday at the bookstore. I remembered her squeal of joy and her jumping into my arms at my offer to let her go in. She had kissed me with so much fervor when I told her to pick out several books. And I remembered that glitter in her eyes. That glow about her dazzled me, and took my breath away. Was he saying that was the real Bella? Wait, was he saying that if I trained her, I wouldn’t see that radiance again?
I pinched the bridge of my nose while I thought about what he was trying to say.
That what I was doing would eventually butcher her? No! I refused to believe I was wrong. I know I’m right. She is learning and all so she can be disciplined, how all wives should be.
“Edward, I know it’s not easy,” he said.
I held my hand up to stop him. “No Jasper. You’re wrong. I know I’m right in how I’m training her. I know I went too far last night. I won’t let that happen again. But this is how to teach her. She needs this.”
He wasn’t letting up, “Edward, did you even apologize to her? Really apologize? Say
the actual words, ‘I’m sorry for hurting you’?”
I growled at him. I was boiling now. “Just shut up Jasper. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I stormed away from him. I saw Emmett’s jeep and Carlisle’s Mercedes pulling into the parking lot. Perfect timing. I have 3 minutes to calm down before I face everyone.
I went back inside the restaurant. I saw Bella smiling astutely at Alice. She had an artful, vivid flare in her eyes that I hadn’t seen before. She turned to me. I saw a shift in her expression as she realized I was watching her. I knew this smile. This was the demure Bella that I wanted. Didn’t I? My mind flashed a picture of Bella, smiling animatedly and brilliantly, eyes twinkling with elation and exuberance.
Could Jasper be right?