Monday, April 6, 2009

Chapter 24

Chapter 24- Edward POV

I took a couple of deep breaths before answering my phone. I knew Carlisle would and could catch on to any difference in the tone of my voice, he was unfortunately extremely perceptive, and I couldn’t have that. I couldn’t do that- I may be angry at Jasper, but I would never betray him to Carlisle, he was my brother. I was surprised that even after all this time, Carlisle had no clue what really went on with my brothers and their marriages, especially with Jasper and Alice. Obviously Carlisle’s gene of scheming and secrecy was passed onto Jasper. Lucky him.

I wondered how Jasper pulled off therapy for her without Carlisle knowing. I realized all those shopping trips he took Alice on must be the cover for their counseling. All this time I just thought she was a shopaholic. They were smart to conceal it, there was no way in hell Carlisle would ever approve of that if he knew. That was a sign of weakness he wouldn’t tolerate. Carlisle really was old fashioned. But not in a way that’s typical- he modernized the retro idea of a housewife with Charlie. She is demure, yes, but trained- no way were women back then trained to “perfection”. They definitely weren’t beaten into submission, and the husband didn’t pick her out of a catalogue. I had so many contradicting thoughts swimming in my mind; everything seemed right and wrong at the same time.

I answered my phone on the fourth ring right before it went to voicemail.

“Hello Carlisle,” I said. I mentally sighed with relief, there was nothing to detect in my voice.

“Edward, where are you? I wanted to have lunch with you and I was told you left the hospital for lunch,” he stated.

I should have known this would happen today, especially after my behavior this morning in front of him.

“Jasper called and wanted to have lunch. I just left the club and am headed back now. Is everything alright?”

“When you get here come by my office before starting your afternoon rounds. We can discuss it then.”

I heard him hang up. I put my phone down; grateful I had a few minutes to get my conflicting emotions under control before facing him. I also needed to come up with a buyable excuse for lunch with Jasper. I couldn’t very well tell Carlisle that Jasper berated me for how I treated Bella, that he was comparing me to a monster, and threatened to steal her from me. Okay, I need to quit thinking about this until after my meeting with Carlisle. Otherwise, I’d never be able to get through this without giving Jasper away. I didn’t want to think about what would happen if that got out in the open.


I knocked on Carlisle’s office door and waited for a response. I was surprised his secretary wasn’t at her desk to let him know I was here.

“Come in,” I heard his voice through the door.

I opened the door and walked in.

“You wanted to talk to me?” I asked.

He was standing in front of the window looking at an x-ray.

“Have a seat Edward,” he said without turning around, his voice was detached, uninterested. “I’ll be with you in a minute.”

I knew this game. It was to make you squirm while you thought of every possible thing you could have done wrong, before blurting out a confession. Well I knew what he wanted to talk about; so he could start.

After a few minutes of looking at the x-ray Carlisle finally turned around and sat at his desk. He quirked an eyebrow, clearly irritated that I hadn’t spoken.

“Edward, do you know why I wanted to talk to you?” he asked. He was still waiting for a confession or apology from me for this morning.

“I assume it’s regarding Bella’s recovery,” I asked.

“Mmm- yes, about that. You’re a doctor, Edward. You know as well as I do how her healing is coming along. She’s healing nicely. No complications at all. I think a few days, and she’ll see a full recovery. And I mean a full recovery, son. Enough babying her. She’s not some fragile piece of glass that could break if you touched her. She can take a beating; all women can, and should when warranted. That’s how they learn their place in this world. You know that, Edward.”

“I’m a little surprised by your behavior with her this morning. I am beginning to wonder if you’re ready for the responsibility of having Bella. This morning gave me serious doubts Edward.” He was giving me a calculating look.

“Carlisle,” I said stiffly, “I can promise you I am more than ready. I have made allowances to her because of what she just went through. She was attacked, and like any patient in this hospital, she deserves some time to recuperate. I really don’t see how that should cause you concern. I made strides with her today. I agree I feel she is ready to begin again. This evening I am moving forward with her training.”

I was keeping this as brief and precise as I could, there was no room for speculation with Carlisle. He examined words and body language intricately. He could detect anything. Luckily I’ve had years to master my defenses from him.

Carlisle sat back and studied me for a moment, “So how was your lunch with Jasper today?”

“Fine. Nothing special,” I answered. “He’s expecting a big crowd tonight and is pleased with how successful the club is doing.”

Carlisle sat nodding his head, thinking. “That’s good. I’m glad to see my investment is paying off so well. Perhaps I should talk to him about expansion soon. Did you talk to him about Bella’s behavior?”

“Yes,” I answered carefully, I would need to tread extra carefully now. “I felt that his experience with Alice might help me with Bella.” No point telling him that Jasper saw things completely different than how he raised us. That he was secretly taking her to counseling. Or that he threatened to take Bella from me.

Carlisle shook his head disapprovingly; “I still can’t believe he talked me into purchasing her. She was damaged goods, not worthy of a Cullen. I expected better of Jasper than that.”

He paused, mid-thought, tapping his finger on his chin. “Of course, he did manage to clean her up, she was a wreck. I guess he would be able to give you valuable insight. Listen to him, but don’t take three months like he did. There’s no reason to take that long. Women don’t need that much time to heal, when they’re told to snap out of it…” he sighed, shaking his head. He raised his eyes to my level, answering fiercely, “They snap out of it. I expect to see quick improvements from her Edward.”

“I understand Carlisle. I promise you will not be disappointed,” I assured him.

“Look, I know you want her. She has the potential to be a great benefit for you. But understand me, I will not tolerate less than perfection in the family. Get her past this now. It wouldn’t be any problem to send her to your uncle in Alaska to finish training, and give her to one of your cousins instead,” he warned.

“That won’t be necessary.” I was fighting hard now to keep the anger out of my voice. I knew which cousin he was thinking of. I’ll be damned if I let Demetri have her. He and I had always been competitive, being the same age. I would not lose her to him of all people.

“Just don’t make me regret this purchase Edward. I offered to pay a lot of money for just one girl. Of course, with Charlie’s demise, I guess I could look at it like I got her at clearance prices. Like an After-Christmas sale, literally.”

He started laughing at the irony of his joke. Listening to his musings was making something churn inside of me, almost making me feel sick to my stomach. I knew Bella was my gift, but she’d want me too… right? I was giving her a gift too. She would have a better life as my wife than she ever would have on her own. But hearing my father compare her to a marked down item made me feel uncomfortable. I wasn’t as harsh, right? I certainly didn’t view her as a clearance item. She was special and priceless to me. I know I had referred to her as a gift myself even directly to her. But it was out of frustration; I didn’t view her as a thing now. I saw the woman who made my blood boil with want and need. I saw the woman I would possess, forever. I heard Jaspers’ voice whispering in my head, telling me she was innocent, and I was ruining her life… I quickly squashed those thoughts. I grimaced a smile as best as I could.

“This reminds me I could probably get a full refund. I need to talk to Mr. Jenks. Bella should be sole beneficiary for Charlie now as well.” He was still laughing. “She is turning into quite the bargain; she may actually be free and come with more assets before this is done. I just need to find out where he hid all the money he’s made over the years.” He pressed the button on his phone for his secretary, still chuckling.

“Yes, Dr Cullen?” his secretary responded.

“Get me Mr. Jenks right away,” Carlisle said before turning back to me.

“I promise you will see results very soon,” I said as I stood up. Twice today someone has threatened to take Bella from me, first my brother and then my father. I knew who the bigger threat to me was. There was no way I’d give Carlisle any reason to take her from me. The very idea of losing her was intolerable, making my chest ache.

“So I guess we’ll see you both for dinner tonight Edward?” he asked as I reached for the doorknob.

“No, I’m having Bella serve me in our room so I can proceed with her training.” I answered.

“Glad to hear it. I’m proud of you son. You deserve the best. That’s all I want for you, you understand that, don’t you?”

“Yes, I appreciate it. I’ll talk to you later.”

I quickly left before anything else could be said. I heard him answer the phone as I shut the door.

“Jenks? I need you to look into Charlie Swan’s estate. I want to know if there’s a will and what assets come to Isabella now with his death…”

I got back to my rounds; my mind on everything I was told today. I felt like a student again, lecture after lecture. If I looked at each opinion separately I’d never figure out what was the right way to get past this with Bella. According to Jasper, I had to throw away 24 years of values and morals and start over from scratch. According to Emmett, I should just be more creative with punishment, and don’t worry about every rule being enforced. And lastly, if I didn’t want Carlisle to take her from me there were no options besides his rules. I knew I would never let her go, so Carlisle’s course would be my path. At least until I found another way.

I was standing at the nurses’ station, filling out a chart before leaving for the day when I heard soft crying coming toward me. I looked up surprised to see Maddie and her family. Her daughters were on either side of her gently guiding her as she cried. I stepped out to stop them.

“Maddie?” I asked. “Are you okay?” Stupid question, obviously she wasn’t.

She looked at me with tear-filled eyes. “My George has gone home now. He’s meeting Jesus today.”

“I’m so sorry Maddie.” I was shocked. I was certain he would last a few more days. “Are you going to be alright?”

“Don’t worry about me,” she said patting her daughter’s hand that held her close. “I’ve got my family. George knew I was ready today. That’s why he didn’t wait any longer.”

She stepped forward to hug me and I bent down as she kissed my cheek. She held my face as she had done earlier today and looked in my eyes. I felt like she was reading into my soul. She had an air around her that spoke authority, and I didn’t understand because… because well, she was a woman.

“Edward- may I call you Edward?” she asked. I nodded. “Don’t ever take your young lady for granted. Treat her well. I have a feeling she could use a little tenderness from you. Follow your heart. You’ll find your way.”

“Thank you Maddie, it’s been an honor to get to know you.”

I watched her and her family get in the elevator and leave. I felt a chill up my spine at her words. There was no way she could possibly know what happened to Bella or the conflict within me.

I caught the next elevator to head home to my Bella. Tonight we would move forward. I was ready. I was certain she was too. She didn’t have a choice.



Esme and I hugged Rosalie and Alice as they left through the kitchen door. They took the path that wound back toward their homes each carrying a covered pan of lasagna to feed their husbands. When they got to their homes they would prepare bread and salad to go with the meal. Over the last few days I learned how things were really done within each home. What, at first, I thought would overwhelm me would actually be easy with four sets of hands working together.

Carlisle, Emmett and Edward thought that just one woman ran each household. They were so wrong. And I reveled in the fact they were kept in the dark. Jasper was the only one who knew how things really ran behind the scenes with the Cullen women. I discovered that he treated Alice the way Phil had treated my mom. He was a saint, and I held so much respect for him, all the women did. Anyway, I was amazed at the creativity that really went on. Monday through Thursday every home ate the same thing because all the food was prepared together.

Rosalie laughed when I asked if she or Esme were afraid someone would find out their secret. She asked me if Carlisle or Emmett struck me as the kind of men who worried about what someone else ate for dinner. And Jasper knew so Alice had no need to worry.

Mondays the four of us cleaned Carlisle and Esme’s home and worked on menus and shopping lists for the week. I was shocked to find out they secretly clipped coupons also.

Esme said every girl needed an emergency fund, and over time she’d learned subtle ways of hiding money from Carlisle. She said that she would help me start my own fund. She said it wasn’t ever going to amount to a lot, but you never knew when it would be needed.

Tuesdays we cleaned Jasper and Alice’s home, and then they either went shopping separately or together depending on the husband’s schedules. I was told that I would always go with one of the girls to do my shopping until Edward decided if I could go alone. I had my license but Edward didn’t allow me to drive anywhere. Too easy to get away, I guess.

Wednesdays we cleaned Emmett and Rosalie’s home, and tended to anything that hadn’t been finished for the week. This would also be the day to clean mine and Edward’s home when it was finished.

Thursdays and Fridays, due to Esme’s well-executed plan, we didn’t have anything that required attention. These were our days. We took turns spending the day at each other’s home and played cards. Esme spent a lot of time in her garden and I was reading the books Edward had bought for me. He had given them back the night of my attack hoping I would find comfort in them. I was surprised to learn that Alice quilted and Rosalie built model cars. Rose had said it too hard to hide a car from Emmett in the garage to work on so these would do.

Friday night’s Alice went to the club with Jasper and Emmett and Rose went out so it was just Carlisle and Esme and Edward and I for dinner. Saturday and Sunday the men came and went, so we would be at their beck and call.

Fridays the gardeners also showed up to polish everyone’s yards, other than Esme’s garden. That was her pride and joy, and no one was allowed to touch it, not even us. I didn’t understand her behavior, but she told me one day soon she’d explain. She said there was a few secrets left that I wasn’t ready to learn just yet.

Esme helped me carry the food upstairs along with the dishes I would need to have dinner with Edward, before heading back down to prepare for Carlisle’s arrival as well. I laid everything out on the coffee table in the sitting room and stepped back; analyzing my work to be sure it was perfect and presentable. I left the room to meet Edward at the door. On a whim I pulled the seat cushions off the chairs and set them in front of the table so we could sit on the ground.

I sat at the window seat in the living room watching for Edward to drive up. Esme had told me it was the perfect vantage point to see the driveway, and give me ample time to be by the door when he arrived.

I thought about the day I had. I was learning to compartmentalize my thoughts and feelings between the real me and Bella Barbie. Esme told me it would become easier with time to do. It would soon be as simple as flipping a switch to turn ‘me’ on or off. She said that’s why the women were so close and spent so much time together, so as not to lose our identities. Rosalie said in the beginning her ‘switch’ was her shoes. When she was barefoot she was herself. As soon as she slid on her heels she became Rosalie Barbie for Emmett. She said she didn’t have to hide as much now as she did in the beginning. She told me Emmett no longer physically punished her. She smiled, and said he discovered the benefits of fighting with her. What frustrated her most about Emmett was his hard-fast stand on her place in their marriage. She laughingly said she absolutely loathed housework, if she had her way she’d be in the garage all day tinkering with cars. It was something she learned during her time as a runaway, and found that it came naturally to her, a genuine talent.

I was brought out of my musings by the sound of a car coming up the drive. I couldn’t see it yet for the trees hid it. When it finally made the last bend in the drive, I saw with trepidation that it was a black Mercedes, not the silver Volvo Edward drove. Carlisle was home. I listened as Esme’s heels clicked on the oak floors, hurrying to the front door to wait for him to enter. I shrunk from the window, huddling myself into the sofa and pillows, praying he wouldn’t notice me when he came in. I watched furtively praying Edward would be right behind him. Even though Carlisle never approached me again after that time in his office, I was still terrified of him. I saw him exit his car and walk to the front door.

“Good evening dear,” I heard his voice in the foyer greeting Esme, kissing her on the cheek.

“Good evening Carlisle,” she responded.

“Where is Bella?” he asked. I felt my heart start to hammer in my chest. I looked at the drive again. “Please hurry Edward,” I silently whispered.

“She’s in the living room waiting for Edward.”

I heard his footsteps coming toward the room. I quickly stood up and held my breath as he came in the room.

“Bella,” he said.

“Good evening Carlisle,” I answered.

“How are you feeling this evening?” he asked. His gaze raked over me, taking in my appearance. I internally gagged; I held so much sympathy for Esme, being married to the demon himself.

“I’m well, thank you for asking,” I said politely. My ears strained for the sound of Edward’s car.

“That’s good to know Bella.”

My eyes widened slightly as I caught a tone in his voice. He was watching me carefully and smiled, knowing I heard it. He inclined his head slightly toward me. I recognized what he was telling me. He hadn’t forgotten his threat in his office. He had only been biding his time.

I glanced to Esme beside him. She knew nothing of his intentions. From everything I had heard and witnessed, he had never touched either Rosalie or Alice. He was only a threat to me.

I knew how hard Esme worked to make this life bearable for all of us. I knew the reason she stayed with Carlisle all these years, it was for the sake of her children. She subtly tried to instill decency in each of them to counter Carlisle’s influence. She knew Carlisle would have hunted her down if she tried to leave with her sons when they were younger, but she would never leave without them. Now she stayed to help make life bearable for us. I would never hurt her by telling her either. She didn’t deserve that on top of every other card she had been dealt by Carlisle. She was the only one of us who had no hope of change from their husband. Although things weren’t looking so bright for me either, Edward somehow managed to give in to Carlisle’s lifestyle easily, and bought into it without a second glance.

Esme touched Carlisle’s sleeve to gain his attention. She saw my unease, but I knew she was thinking it was toward men in general due to my attack. He pulled his gaze away from me to look down at her.

“I have dinner ready for you in the dining room Carlisle. If you’re ready?” she said, trying to steer him out of the room.

He frowned slightly at her and opened his mouth to say something. He was stopped by the sound of a car stopping in the driveway. I sighed with relief. Edward was home.

“Please excuse me Carlisle. I should get to the door to greet Edward.” I said, swiftly walking to slip past him.

He cleared his throat. “Yes. Esme, I’m ready to eat.” He turned back to me. “Bella, we’ll talk later.”

I made it to the door just as the knob was turning. Edward opened the door and my only thought was he saved me from his father. I launched myself into his arms startling him as he reached out instinctively to catch me.

“Edward! You’re home!” I exclaimed. I felt like laughing. Relief flooded through me, knowing I would be able to avoid any further interaction with his father tonight.

As I tried to step back from him, embarrassed by my actions, his arms tightened keeping me pressed against him. His face lit up with the crooked smile that made my pulse quicken. That was my smile, when I felt the inkling of hope for him.

“Now that’s a homecoming,” he said smiling. “I may have you welcome me home like this every night.” I controlled the frown that wanted to take its place on my face. Way to ruin it. He had to act all possessive and domineering without even thinking about it. It came so naturally to him. He kissed me lightly before releasing me, to step back looking past me. “Hello Carlisle, Esme.”

I blushed realizing my actions had been observed, and Carlisle knew what caused them.

“Hello Edward, dear.” Esme said as she came to give him a hug and kiss on the cheek. She looked at me quickly before turning back to Edward. I knew she was curious about my actions also. There was no way I could explain them to her. Carlisle was looking at me with disapproval.

“Edward,” Carlisle nodded. “Esme I’m ready for dinner. Bella needs to tend to Edward. I believe he has plans for tonight he would like to pursue.” He hinted staring at me.

I could feel the fear start to creep back in and my eyes widened. He was subtly punishing me for getting away from him. He turned and guided Esme back to the dining room leaving me to stand there with Edward.

“Bella, is dinner ready?” Edward asked.

I turned to look at him, forcing my smile back on my face. “Yes Edward. Everything is ready in our room like you requested.” I answered. I was scared what Carlisle’s comment meant for me.

“Well, let’s eat. I’m starving,” he said and guided me toward the stairs.

I followed Edward to our room. He noticed the cushions on the floor and looked at me raising an eyebrow in question.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“I thought it would be nice to sit on the floor. We used to do it at home a lot on movie nights.” I quickly ran over to pick the cushions up and put them back. “I’m sorry.”

He came up and put his hand on my arm to stop me. I looked at him. He gently took the cushions out of my hands and tossed them back on the floor.

“It’s fine Bella. It’s actually a nice idea. I’m glad you thought of it,” he said smiling.

I smiled in return relieved he wasn’t angry.

“Thank you Edward. If you’ll sit down I’ll get your drink.” I gestured to the table.

He sat on the floor shifting the cushion to get comfortable as I came up to him. I chewed my lip looking at him. I hadn’t thought how was I supposed to sit on his lap to pour his drink then get up holding the pitcher?

He glanced up at me and laughed softly.

“Is there a problem Bella?” he asked kindly. “Didn’t think it through, did you?”

I could feel the pricking of tears at my frustration. He knew this wouldn’t work and was just proving it to me.

“I’m sorry Edward. I won’t do this again.” I said softly.

He quickly stood up and came to me wrapping his arms around me.

“Shh Bella, I didn’t mean to upset you.” He tilted my chin so I was looking at him. “I was just teasing you, love.”

My lower lip trembled and he leaned down to gently kiss me. This was sad, I couldn’t recognize when he was just playing around or being serious.

“Why don’t you slip off your shoes and set the pitcher down beside my plate. Then come to me and I’ll show you how we’ll handle this tonight. Okay, love?” He smiled to reassure me that he wasn’t upset.

I nodded and smiled as he released me. He pulled the cushion a little further back from the table and sat down getting comfortable. I put the pitcher down by him and went into the bedroom to remove my boots and put them away. I came back out and stood next to Edward. I gave him my hand as he reached for it tugging me down onto his lap.

He turned my legs so that I sat between his facing the table like he had held me in the bath that first night. He gently wrapped his arms around my waist and rested his chin on my shoulder.

“Now,” he said, “let’s try it this way.” He pulled my plate over next to his. I looked back at him in question.

“I like holding you Bella,” he smiled. “Why don’t you just stay here and eat?”

I took a shaky breath and nodded. “Yes, Edward.”

I poured our drinks and waited for him to give me my plate after he put the food on it he wanted me to eat. We ate in silence for a while. It took a little adjusting for Edward to figure out how to get to his plate and eat with me in his lap, but he refused to let me leave. He finally turned me sideways on his lap so that he could eat more comfortably while keeping one arm around me.

He said he missed holding me the last few weeks and was making up for lost time. I shuddered thinking why he didn’t hold me. I was uncomfortable in this position. This morning was the first time he’d touched me in 3 weeks and I still wasn’t sure what he thought about me any longer. I toyed with my food while I pondered this.

I was startled when I felt his breath against my neck. “Bella, you need to eat,” he whispered.

“I’m sorry. I’m not very hungry.”

“Eat your dinner Bella,” he scolded. “I’m only telling you for your own good. I don’t want you to get sick. Now eat.”

I nodded and forced myself to finish the food on my plate. I felt a little nauseous after. I didn’t know if it was because of everything I ate or the fact that I ate sitting on his lap.

When he was satisfied that we were done he let me get up to clear the dishes. Edward worked at his desk while I cleared the dishes and took everything back to the kitchen. It took three trips downstairs to get everything cleaned and put away. I hated that I had to put my shoes back on for this, but Edward reminded me I was only allowed to be barefoot in our room. If he only knew, I smiled. I had been barefoot though this entire house. All of us had.

When I was finally done and came back to the room Edward got up and sat on the sofa. He gestured for me to sit beside him.

“Bella, do you agree that I’ve been patient with you?” he asked.

“Yes, Edward.” I answered. Even though these were questions, they were actually just statements I was “trained” to agree to, no questions asked.

“I’m glad you agree. Carlisle feels you are sufficiently healed to move forward. So it’s time we re-establish the rules for you.”

I sat quietly waiting, forcing the fear down at what this would mean.

“I am moving into our bed tonight. I have made allowances for you while you healed. It is no longer necessary for me to sleep on the sofa.”

“You do not need to sleep in a t-shirt any longer Bella. I allowed it while you recovered because I knew that it gave you security. I am your security now. I won’t make you get rid of the t-shirt. It obviously means something to you, but I won’t allow it in our bed any longer. I have decided I don’t want clothing between us at all in our bed. You can use the nightgowns I bought you for the nights that I’m at the hospital and you sleep alone. Do you understand?”

“Yes, Edward,” I answered swallowing the lump in my throat.

“I will be depositing funds bi-weekly into a checking account for you to use to take care of our needs. You will need to show me an accounting of the moneys you spend so that I know you are being wise with your budget.”

“I’ve also met with the administration at the school and enrolled you to start Monday. Along with your core classes I’ve signed you up for Child Development and Horticulture for your electives.”

“I wanted to take Philosophy and Criminal Justice this year,” I told him.

What a punch in the gut. Child Development and Horticulture? Really? It was laughable; I briefly wondered why a school would even offer such courses.

“Bella, what have I told you about disrespect?” he warned. “You are not allowed to questions my decisions, Isabella. I know what is best for you and you will abide by my rules. Is that understood?” His jaw was getting tighter now.

“Yes, Edward. I’m sorry.” I answered. I was rocking Bella Barbie.

“As I was saying, you will start classes next week. While you are in school you are not to discuss our life together other than to say you were adopted after Charlie’s death. There is no reason to go into more detail with anyone. You will not discuss our relationship. It would be too confusing to others for now. Later you can say that we’ve grown close, as you will grow closer over time. You may make friends, but you will not encourage any teenage boys to take interest in you.”

He pulled me into his lap with the last comment and leaned me back against his arm. “Never forget Bella. Who do you belong to?”

I gave my rehearsed speech to keep the devil at bay. “I’m solely yours Edward. I belong only to you.”

He smiled and leaned down to whisper against my lips. “Open your mouth to me Bella. I want you to forget all your fears tonight. You’re mine, and I’ll never let anyone hurt you again. Tonight is only you and I. There is no one else between us. I never want anyone between us again. I won’t be denied any longer.”

I swallowed my fears and forced myself to respond appropriately. After all, I knew this was coming. Esme, Rosalie and Alice had spent most of the last three weeks talking to me. They helped me find the strength within myself to face my terrors and beat them. I had never known I had this much inner strength. I’d never needed it before. Now I knew there was an untapped reservoir of strength that would carry me forward through this life. I would use it to keep my sanity and my identity. I would need it if I ever did have to face Carlisle alone. That would be my one fear that I could not share with anyone.

I closed my eyes as my mouth opened to him. Tonight my training continued. Who knew what tomorrow would bring?


  1. Damn Carlisle. I was too optimistic to think he wouldn't want Bella anymore because she was "damaged goods". And I rather think he is going to make her pay dearly for what he sees as her rebellious behaviour. And, being a doctor, he'll be so careful to make sure Edward won't be able to see anything...

    And damn Edward, too. One second he's a reacting wonderfully, then he ruins it with his possessive dominance - and outlining those damn rules to her like she's a puppy at obedience school... grrr.

  2. Damn!! So disappointed in Edward. I thought that just maybe he was starting to understand that he needed to make some changes. Wrong! Ugh!

  3. of course he's going to be able to rationalize his decisions... for now!

  4. Poor Bella, her agony knows no end. Carlisle better not break her...