Edward reluctantly released me as his cell phone started ringing on the coffee table. He picked it up holding on to me to check the caller id. “Sorry, love. I need to take this.”
He stood and answered the phone.
“This is Edward, he announced. Hold on a moment.” He turned to me putting the phone to his chest.
“Bella, this is important so I’m going to go in the other room. You can stay here and read. I’m going to be a little while.”
He walked into the bedroom closing the door behind him. I sighed in relief. At least whatever was going to happen to me next was delayed for now. I picked up the book I had been reading this week and moved to a chair to get comfortable. Within the story I could forget my life and who I was. The drama was pretend in a book.
About 30 minutes later I heard the bedroom door open.
“Come here, love.” Edward said quietly. I padded barefoot across the plush carpeting to the bed. He patted the bed next to him and I lay down with him. He cradled me in his arms with my head on his chest. Stroking my face with his fingers, he kissed the top of my head.
“Bella, I know that you are relatively inexperienced in the area of intimacy…” He started, and I was instantly afraid. It was now an instinctual reaction for me to freeze up. How sad was that? Everyone kept saying that I was going to be a virgin when we married, but I was terribly afraid that he would lose his control and… and take me. I wasn’t ready for that. Yet if I denied him I didn’t know what would happen to me then. He could… dispose of me if he wanted to. He felt me go rigid, and held me closer. Like that would help. “Love, there is no reason to be afraid. I know the only experience you have had has been from Charlie and James and was torturous to you. I am not going to hurt you. In fact, it will be quite the opposite.” I could hear the genuine smile in his voice.
“This is what people do when they are in love. They share their love and desire through intimate contact. I want for us to start being with each other in that way.” What people do when they are in love? Did that mean that he loved me? Did he think that I loved him? How could he say that he loved me? He doesn’t even know me. All he knows is that I am not subject to having opinions. He can do whatever he wants with me and to me. He loved a doll version of me.
“Edward, may I ask a question?” I asked into his shirt.
“Sweetheart, this is the place where we are going to be closest. I always want to know what you are thinking, and I want you to be not only physically, but emotionally connected with me. Especially in our bed, do you understand? All I ask of you is that you not lie to me,” he said softly, and I nodded.
“You said that this is what people do when they are in love. Does that mean that you… that you love me?” I asked in a strangled whisper. He reached down and tilted my chin up so that I would look into his face. The shock I saw there made me instantly regret what I had asked.
“I’m sorry, Edward. I didn’t mean to upset you, please… Please… I’m sorry. Don’t hurt me.” I said quickly, and I moved up in the bed to kiss his cheek. He was still looking at me with that strange bewildered expression.
“Bella, I’m not angry, I’m just surprised. I never realized until this moment that you didn’t know,” He put his hand on my cheek and leaned forward to kiss me very gently. It was such a sweet kiss, so tender that I couldn’t help but return it. Like his crooked smile was my smile, this kiss was my kiss. It held hope for me; he could be kind and gentle. This Edward was the one I was fond of. It was nothing like the rough angry kisses that he had assaulted me with in the past. I felt a faint glimmer of optimism. He ended the kiss, and moved down to kiss my neck. I tilted my head to the side to give him better access, and he murmured into my soft skin “You are enchanting, my Bella. So beautiful.” Then he pulled back and looked into my face. He swept my hair back and stroked it softly. “Yes, Bella. I do love you. I loved the way your face lit up while you were talking to the old man at the jewelry store. I loved the way you kissed me at the bookstore. I love the way that you make me feel when we’re together. I have an ache in my chest that won’t go away when we’re apart. I cannot wait to marry you.”
I lay there looking at him, stunned. He didn’t say that he loved my obedience, or my body, or even his absolute ownership of me. He didn’t mention me being his slave. I didn’t know what to say to him. He must have noticed my expression, because then he asked the inevitable next question, “Do you not love me, Bella?” He asked in a gentle tone.
I thought about it. I knew that this was going to be very tricky for me to answer. I didn’t love him, how could I? Firstly, I didn’t know him. Second, I’d been gift-wrapped like a shiny new Volvo for him without any consideration of my own will. And he went along with it like it was the most practical way of marriage. Thirdly, I was terrified of him. Being scared of him was an understatement. I couldn’t convey the fear I had of him in words. I was always on my guard with him. But then I thought about Alice, and about Rosalie. They both genuinely seemed to love and adore their husbands, the same kind of husband that I would soon have. Granted Jasper deserved all the love Alice gave him. Was it possible for me to fall in love with Edward like that? He was handsome, and could be charming and sweet. I didn’t see how that would ever be possible, but given my present circumstances, I wanted it to be true. I didn’t want to spend my whole life in a loveless marriage with someone who frightened me. I had to salvage what I could of my happiness now.
“Edward.” I said, and then sighed, looking into his eyes. He asked for the truth, I was going to give it to him. Of course downplayed, I didn’t want to die for speaking honestly. “This is all so new to me, and really I don’t know anything about you. I mean, I’m seventeen years old. But to be honest, I… I want to love you. I think in time I might get there. I love it when you are gentle and kind. I love that you let me go to the bookstore. I loved the kiss that we shared in the exam room before your father came in. I love that you’ve been so patient with me the last few weeks. I just… I can’t love someone that I’m so afraid of.” I finished and implored him with my eyes not to be angry, to understand my feelings.
I saw a flash of anger in his eyes before he controlled it and sighed. “I don’t want you to be scared of me, Bella. But I will accept that for now. I don’t want you to lie and tell me that you feel something you don’t. But I do expect you to try. You have a few months until we’re married to get there.”
He held me close for a few minutes and then pulled away again. “Now, about that kiss from the hospital.” He said, and wore my crooked smile that I liked to see so much. “Let’s say we try that again?” He brought his lips to mine, and I felt that same surge of something when our lips met. He initiated the kiss, but as he stroked my cheek, and molded his body to mine, I found that I wanted to kiss him. I deepened the kiss and he moaned. After a few minutes, he kissed down my neck again and I fought the urge to run my fingers through his messy hair.
“Bella.” He murmured near my ear. “All I want tonight is for you to feel what you body tells you. Do what your instincts tell you to do. Do you understand?” He asked softly, and I nodded. I reached up tentatively and put my fingers in his hair. “Very good, my love, that’s exactly what I mean.” He said softly, approvingly to me. Ladies and gentleman, the ignited fire has been hosed out. He has the ruin everything by reminding me that this wasn’t an expression of adoration, this was training. He didn’t even realize it. His head continued farther down over my chest and I tensed. The only time Charlie or James had touched my breasts was to inflict pain. He sensed my hesitation, and said softly, “It’s okay, love. I’m not going to hurt you.” He said as he lifted my shirt over my head.
As his lips found the tops of my breasts, he moaned and put his hands behind my back. I knew that he wanted to take off my bra so I lifted myself to make it easier. He took it as me arching to get closer to his mouth. “Oh, Bella,” he moaned and then did in fact undo my bra with his skilled fingers. I briefly wondered why he would be so adept at women’s lingerie, but has his hands gently caressed my breasts, I found that I didn’t care. He touched me so softly, his fingers exploring every inch of my breasts. “I love the way your skin feels under my hands.” He whispered and then began to massage them. My back really did arch then, and I felt a moan escape me. This excited him further, and he ran his palms lightly over my already hardened nipples causing me to shudder.
“Yes, sweetheart, that feels good, doesn’t it?” He mused before bringing his face down to my breast and taking my nipple into his warm mouth. He teased my other nipple with his fingers, keeping it painfully erect before rolling me slightly and switching sides. By the time he started scraping his teeth over each of my nipples, my fingers were wound tightly in his hair. I gave low open-mouthed groans at the sensations I was feeling now. Never had I felt something so all encompassing. When Charlie had given me my “lessons”, they had been business-like and efficient. My body had given him the reaction he wanted. It was harsh and cold. This… This was something all together different. This was slow and intimate. If I ignored the warning bells screaming in my head and just focused on the feeling, as Edward had instructed, it was heat and need and… well… and pleasure.
I felt his hands move lower while he continued to focus his mouth on my breasts. I lifted my hips and he pulled my pants down and off. I felt his fingers slide slowly along my inner thigh. I gasped as his fingers reached my panties. When he pulled my legs a little farther apart, I was shocked to feel the cool air and realized that my panties were damp. When he felt this, his mouth came quickly to mine. He kissed me fervently as he rubbed me through my panties. I moaned softly into his mouth, and he rubbed harder. When his hand moved up slightly to grab the waistband of my panties, the fear started to return. He whispered softly to me “I love you Bella”. He stood quickly and took off his clothes. Then he pulled my panties off before lying between my legs with his head on my thigh. He was kissing it softly coaxing my legs farther apart. I felt the stubble on his face graze my thigh as he placed soft kisses there. I briefly wondered why he would want to do this as he placed soft kisses all over the area between my legs. Intellectually, it disgusted me. Then, his tongue was inside me and all thoughts left me in an instant.
As his fingers held me open, his tongue swirled and danced around that sensitive spot. This was nothing like what Charlie or Paul had inflicted on me. With that, the heat was fast, hard, and intense. I only felt it between my legs. This, I felt this everywhere. It seemed like every fiber in my being was warm, and tingling. I couldn’t help the sounds that I was making. I was embarrassed by them, but the feelings were just too overpowering. Gently, he slid his fingers into me and stroked inside of me. I felt myself clenching around his fingers. The friction they caused in addition to his tongue was staggering.
His tongue worked me harder, and I realized that my hips were grinding against the mattress in time with the movements of his fingers. My cries were louder now, all thoughts of embarrassment, or fear forgotten in the heat of my body. I let go of his hair with one hand and grabbed the bed sheets, arching my back. I could feel that tightening in my stomach and for the very first time, I welcomed it. His hand came up to hold mine, and I gripped it tightly. He squeezed my hand as the tightening in my stomach got stronger, and I squeezed back. I began moaning his name as the explosion inside me threatened to detonate. “Edward… Edward….” I moaned over and over.
Finally, my orgasm ripped through me. It started at that sensitive spot that he was pleasuring, but it spread throughout my body. I screamed his name as it reached a frenzied height. I held onto his hand like it was the only thing tethering me to the earth as I moaned and thrashed under the onslaught of my orgasm. At last, dimly, I realized that it was starting to ebb and I collapsed onto the bed. I still held onto his hand. He placed tender kisses on my thighs and hips before moving up to kiss my neck. “That was… that was wonderful, Bella. You did so well.” He said softly, and then kissed me lovingly on the lips. I could taste myself, but tried not to think of that.
We kissed for several minutes, and I could feel his erection pressing into me. “Bella, I want you to do to me what I just did to you. I want you to show me how you feel.” I knew this was coming, so I nodded and thought back to how he had started. I knew that he didn’t just want me to “drop to my knees” so to speak, that he wanted me to explore him, as he had me. I looked into his eyes and I pressed his shoulders for him to move onto his back. He complied with a smile that lit up his face. I leaned down and initiated the kiss this time. I reached up tentatively and touched his face. He smiled into the kiss, and wrapped his arms around me. I thought back, and then began to kiss his neck. He had told me that he loved me, but I couldn’t do that. What else had he said? He told me I was beautiful and called me his Bella. I whispered softly near his ear “Edward… my Edward…” He moaned, and pressed his head back into the pillows.
“Yes, Bella.” He said, holding me tighter and caressing my face. “I am yours, just as you are mine. I will always be yours.” He kissed me again, and I could feel the emotion behind the kiss. The intensity of it frightened me a little, and I moved down to kiss his chest. This was the first time I’d really been able to see him naked, and appreciate his… well, his beauty. I ran my hand over his sculptured chest, just looking at him. He watched me curiously as he stroked my hair.
“Wow…” I breathed, and then kissed the muscles of his chest.
He moaned softly and asked “What, Bella?” in a low husky voice. I blushed.
“You’re just so… well… so handsome.” I said softly, my blush intensifying. He grinned and pulled me back to his lips. He kissed me deeply, longingly.
Taking my hand, he held it gently and said “It’s nothing compared to your beauty.” He slid my hand down over his chest, rubbing his nipple with my palm. “You are so perfect.” His hand then moved my hand down between his legs and he pushed my palm against his raging erection. “Do you feel how much I desire you? I’ve never desired, never needed anyone like I need you.” I brought my hand back up to his chest, and moved my face down to take his nipple in my mouth. I knew he was getting impatient, and I wanted to make him happy. He was kinder when he was happy.
Quickly, I kissed over his stomach letting my hair fall across it. His hips bucked softly into the air, and he removed his hands from my face and fisted the sheets at his sides. He didn’t want me to feel like he was forcing me to do anything, and I recognized the effort it must have taken. I reached up and took one of his hands as he had me. He grasped it tightly as I placed open mouth kisses on his hips, and thighs, every inch of him except where he wanted. Finally, he bucked his hips again and cried “Please… Bella.” Again, he didn’t use force with me, and again I felt that surge of hope. I took him into my mouth stroking him with my tongue. He gasped loudly and squeezed my hand. “Bella…” He moaned and he twitched in my mouth.
I did exactly what I had been taught, and sucked him. I teased him with my tongue. I stroked him with my hand. I rubbed between his legs. It was perfunctory now, and I really felt no pleasure in doing it. I wondered if I ever would. The only thing that pleased me was Edward’s reaction. He did not spew crude remarks at me, he didn’t force himself harder into my mouth, and he didn’t direct my head as I moved. Instead he held my hand. Every few minutes he would caress my cheek. He told me he loved me, and loved how I made him feel. Finally, I heard him cry out “Bella… Please sweetheart, I’m so close…” Like I would stop now and not let him finish, like he wouldn’t beat me if I did. I felt a bitter resentment rise in me, but I ignored it as I worked harder to bring his orgasm.
After a few minutes, his back arched and his body locked. I felt him squeeze my hand again, holding it tightly and his hips rocked almost imperceptibly. He cried my name as he came into my mouth. I swallowed as I had been taught, and then cleaned him with my tongue. When it was over I sat back on the bed next to him, Indian-style, still holding his hand. I watched him as his breathing changed and became softer. I saw the sweat beading on his forehead, and watched as he slowly unclenched his jaw and opened his tightly closed eyes. He smiled at me, a sweet and genuine smile. “That was… that was incredible…” He sighed softly, and I looked down, fixing on one of the patterns on the sheet. He watched me for a few minutes, and then tugged on my hand, pulling me down next to him.
He wrapped his arms around me, and I laid my head on his chest. He stroked my face and hair quietly for a long time. Finally, he spoke. “I love you so much, Bella. I think if you let yourself, we could be very happy together. I want you to be happy with me. I want to give you everything your heart desires.” He kissed me softly on the top of the head. How could I tell him that all I desired was not to be beaten, or degraded anymore? I heard the hope and longing in his voice. I knew that he believed what he said. For a while, I let myself wish desperately to believe it too. But not for long, for the truth always crept its way back into my mind.
Edward’s breathing evened out, he was fast asleep. It had been like this for the past week. Every night we performed acts that repulsed me each time. He was so in the dark, so unknowingly oblivious to my feelings. Every night I cried after it was over, not because it hurt, because it didn’t. It felt good- it’s so much worse than being in pain. I felt hideous and dirty, I was filthy for feeling. I didn’t want to give in, but I couldn’t help it. My body was a traitor, it reacted to his touch. My body was starting to respond at the very first touch knowing the pleasure it would feel very soon. This was why I cried. He assumed that my tears were from our act of “love” as he called it. He just didn’t know they weren’t happy tears. They were tears of self-loathsome, and the reactions he forced from me each night.
Each night he wrapped me in his arms afterwards, holding me through the night until we awoke in the mornings. I felt it was his way of keeping me from escaping, the same way Charlie had tied me to my bed each night. I was just as trapped, but this was the sugar coated, berry on top version of it.
I was settling into my routine with him, giving up any hope of another life. I was finally back in school. A place of normalcy for me. There I could pretend I had a normal life like every other high school senior. The talk of dreaded homework, countdowns to prom and who everyone would take, and graduation. Life beyond high school-college, meeting new people, the whole shebang. I would never experience life; I was stuck in one that I couldn’t break free of. I was slowly warming up at school though. Rosalie reminded me this was another place I could turn off Bella Barbie and to take advantage of this fact. As long as I never drew attention to myself there was no reason for any word to leak to Edward or worse, Carlisle.
I still gained attention though. I was, after all, so fortunate to be adopted by Dr. Cullen. I was told repeatedly the first couple of days by the office staff and teachers. He was such a respected member of the community and was on the school board. How sad the deaths of my father and brother. He was so selfless, taking in troubled girls all these years. He was an example for the public. I listened each time with my jaw locked and clenched, similar to how Edward’s looks when he is mad, but to keep from spewing the truth in these people’s faces. Both Charlie and Carlisle’s faces should be on posters in the post office, grocery stores and on telephone poles warning the fine citizens of Forks to run and lock away your daughter’s for safety. They’re not safe in hell’s habitat.
Each morning, Edward dressed up his Bella doll for school and then I prepared and served his breakfast. I hated this time because he continued to insist I sit on his lap to eat after our ‘picnic’ in our room that night. That in itself I could have handled. It was the fact that Carlisle sat across the table from us each morning and watched. I’ve been fortunate so far that Edward always arrives home at the same time as Carlisle so I haven’t been alone with him. I didn’t know how long my luck would hold, but I could see tension building in Carlisle each evening when they returned home from the hospital.
Edward was always waiting for me in the parking lot at school before the bell rang so there wasn’t time to socialize with anyone except during lunch or between classes. I listened to girls drool over how lucky I was that he cared enough to do this for just an adopted sister. They would drool and say suggestively, ‘he can adopt me any day’. How gross. Didn’t they ever think about what that would truly mean to them? Obviously not.
He would drop me off at home so he could get back to the hospital to complete his shift. I spent this time helping Esme, Alice and Rosalie fix dinner for everyone and doing my homework. Edward and I ate dinner in the dining room with Carlisle and Esme before retiring to our room. He would work at his desk while I read a book or finished homework until he decided it was time for bed.
Then training would continue. Edward didn’t call it training though. He called it ‘acts of love’. Has he never heard the expression ‘a horse by any other name is still just a horse’? It was what it was; a disguise. If I ever balked I knew it would lead to a punishment. Each night he coaxed those feelings from me making me want him until I would cry out his name and shudder in my climax. He would kiss me after and whisper words of love and endearment in my ear before kissing me. I was growing accustomed to the taste of me on his lips. I still thought it was disgusting. Then it would be my turn to return the favor. Afterwards he would hold me while I let the silent tears fall on his chest. For some reason I couldn’t control this crying.
Luckily tonight he didn’t hold me in some sort of death grip, so I could swiftly slip out of the bed and slipped on my robe to cover me. I didn’t know where to go, but I just knew that I had to be somewhere else. I couldn’t really process coherent thoughts besides Get out! I tip toed to the bathroom, closed the door, and turned to face my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t like what I saw. I saw a girl who resembled me, physically. But when I looked in the mirror, studying myself, I couldn’t find any remainder of who I was before I was cast into this pit of hell. I knew it was there, hidden in some crevice of my being, but I just… I just didn’t feel the motivation to look for it. I was defeated.
With this realization I cringed away in disgust. My mother would have been disappointed. She tried so hard to help me be an individual, and now I knew why. She stimulated all of my interests by investing in writer’s workshops, trips to Shakespeare’s birthplace. She drove me to produce, to take action of my dreams. Nobody in this chapter of my life knew that I had aspirations, goals, well besides the women. I wanted to be a writer, I feel like I had so much to say, and since I’ve moved to Forks, I’ve just been told to shut up. Well, they wouldn’t stop me, I would still write, and if anything, they’ve given me more drive to create, I had perspective now. I was jaded. I had something to write about.
I felt determined. But then I turned around again and took a glance at myself. And then the balloon full of perseverance popped. I didn’t see a strong writer; all I saw was a broken girl, who had a hickey on her neck. Edward… I felt so disgusted by tonight’s events-again. I wasn’t ready, and I hated what we did. The worst of it was the mere fact that I got off from it. I was weak. My body was overpowering my mind. I grabbed a towel, lathered it with soap and water, and scrubbed at my neck, furiously even though I knew it would be there until it faded. I needed to wash him out. I had to.
We were walking through the park; we had just finished a lovely dinner, and were strolling around. Bella and I had finally moved on from everything and I was so happy. Tonight was a good night.
I told her I needed to use the bathroom, so we stopped at a rest stop. I really needed some alone time, to give myself a pep talk. I was proposing to my Bella tonight. I knew that she would accept. I just wanted it to be perfect. I needed it to be perfect. And I didn’t want to sound like a nervous fool either. So a little time to cool off would be beneficial; Bella was waiting outside.
I gripped the sink and looked at my face in the mirror.
“You got this, Edward. You can do it. No matter what she’ll say ‘yes’. So that’s a weight you don’t have to carry. You’re a lucky son of a bitch. It’s just the delivery, man. Do it right.”
I exhaled a cool breath, anxious and jumpy. I could do this.
I took one more glance in the mirror, and trotted out, anticipating Bella’s reaction. Would she cry? Would she laugh? Would she jump into my arms? God I hope so.
She wasn’t where I left her.
I felt hostility rise in me, but tried to push it away, this was our night, and she could have just decided to get somewhere more comfortable.
“Bella, love? Where are you?”
Okay now I’m getting pissed. How dare she?
“Bella,” I said more crudely, harsher, and louder, “WHERE ARE YOU?”
Again, no answer.
So I started running. Frantically, I searched the place for Bella, she was nowhere in sight. I had a creeping feeling start to rise from the pit of my stomach, but I refused to believe it, better yet consider it. She loved me as I loved her, we were two halves.
I couldn’t stop screaming her name, she was gone, and my worst nightmare had become reality. I couldn’t take it. This was the night I was supposed to put a ring on her finger, declare that she’s mine to the rest of the world. And she wasn’t here.
My Bella, my love, my soul mate, ran away. She left me in the dark, literally. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was so lost. I felt a searing pain rip through my heart. She couldn’t have, could she? How could she?
“Bella,” I let out in a broken whisper, “Don’t leave me.”
“BELLA!” I shot out of my bed, sweating and shaking furiously, what the hell? Thank god, just a dream. More like a nightmare. The worst nightmare actually. I tried to shake those thoughts away, they were ridiculous. I turned around to physically reassure myself that this was a dream, I needed to hold her. My Bella would never think of running away. I just needed to see her, see her in body, in presence. She was a beauty after all.
I gasped. What the hell is going on?
Bella wasn’t in bed. Her body wasn’t where it should be, which is next to me. I felt myself start to convulse, shaking with fear, anger, and most of all, pain. WHERE WAS BELLA?
I jumped out bed, and ran like a tornado through our room, she wasn’t here. “Oh God,” I got out in an agonized whisper. She couldn’t have…
I took a deep breath. And then my stomach growled. Ugh! I was so hungry, and in serious need for some comfort food. Ever since I moved here, I had been fed bird food. Always healthy, always nutritious, proportioned by Edward which was good and all…but I really just needed some Lucky Charms that were in the secret supply closet. I craved for some sugary, bad-for-you food. And I needed it now. I remembered that Esme briefly talked about this. On our days together, we could just pig out, and relish in greasy food. The one benefit of running the food supply in the house was that we could buy some food secretly, and that our husbands wouldn’t notice. They were oblivious most of the time to what we bought at the grocery store. Esme had a secret stash of junk cereal, potato chips, cookies, and soda. The list goes on.
I briskly left the room, and quietly made my way downstairs. When I got into the kitchen I almost fainted. I was surprised to see someone up. There was Esme, sitting at the counter, eating ice cream from the carton, reading a gossip magazine. She looked up, smiled, and waved me over. I trailed across the kitchen and sat in the chair next to her; she opened the drawer below, and slid a spoon to me. I gladly took it, and took a huge mouthful. It tasted so good… I almost let a groan come out from the savory taste of Ben and Jerry’s. She gave my shoulder a squeeze, and put the magazine down.
“I’m not awfully surprised to see you here; we all need our sugar fix on occasion, but may I ask why tonight?” She was so gentle and loving, I just wanted to sob and hug her, thank her for everything.
“This past week Esme, it’s just been so hard to stay calm. I have to put the wall between him and me, and that takes effort, so I don’t slip. But when he falls asleep, and I’m left to my thoughts, they…they consume me,” my lip was already quivering, on the verge of tears, “I’m just not ready for physical contact-sex. I mean we’re not having sex or anything, but, everything else leading to the final act. All I can think about is that it was only a few weeks ago, it was with my freaking family doing this to me. It was used as torture. And now I’m expected to believe that all things sex… is for love? How is that love? What even is love? All I know is that is sure is hell isn’t this. Love is… my mom and Phil. And Allie and Noah from The Notebook.”
We both giggled at the silly comparison. It was nice to have a light moment. I didn’t get those very often. I composed myself for what I was about to tell her. I had to tell someone.
“Seriously, Esme, I know I have to turn that switch on and off for Barbie and me, but to immediately dispose of the association of sex with agony seems impossible. And…and I guess I can tell you something else. I’m safe now that he’s dead.”
Confusion crossed her face. She ushered me to continue.
“My brother, James,” I shivered at his name, “He…he raped me.” Esme gasped, and I quickly jumped in, “Not like that…I didn’t lose my… you know, virginity. The other way,” I hinted. I couldn’t bear to say it out loud, but I just needed someone to know.
I ran down stairs, ready to scream my lungs out, when I heard something. It was hushed talking, feathery whispering. I recognized Bella’s voice, and strangely enough…my mother’s. I sighed with relief that Bella wasn’t gone, but then the anger rose up in me, why the hell did she leave our bed in the middle of the night? I really didn’t want to punish her; she would only fear me more. I was torn, but then a new thought arose. I then became fascinated, intrigued. What was she talking to Esme about that she couldn’t have waited until morning to discuss with me? I haven’t really seen her interact with anyone else besides me or my family, or Charlie and James. I heard Jasper’s words in my head again. Damn! I’ve been successful repressing my conversations with him last week. I wondered what they were talking about. I listened in, it appeared that Esme was comforting Bella. But for what? I decided I would deal with her blunder for leaving the bed later, but for now, I wanted to hear what they had to say.
I started listening in and observing. It appeared that Esme was comforting Bella about something. I wondered briefly if Carlisle should know of Esme’s indiscretion. She was my mother. I loved her, and even though I punished Bella, the thought of my own mom being penalized made me feel sick. Carlisle just seemed… like he would be merciless and relentless to punishment. Where on earth did they even get ice cream? I kept listening, shocked to hear what was coming out of their mouths.
Understanding washed over her face, but then replaced with sorrow, she quickly hugged me, kissing my head, “Oh Bella, I’m so sorry,” she breathed out. “I just feel so awful this happened to you, you don’t deserve any of it, none of us do. But you’re still a child, and he was your brother. Oh, those two…bastards,” she spewed out with venom, I was shocked, I hadn’t ever seen Esme look mad, “deserved what they got. They will burn in the deepest hollow of hell.”
“I’m just, so sad that you’re here. Not that I don’t love you like my own, I feel a fierce maternal instinct for you, I just hate that I can’t do much but help on the outside. I really tried to raise my sons the right way, you know, hint that this lifestyle is wrong. Jasper had his awakening, thankfully, and Emmett made some progress, not enough though. And Edward…he just needs time. I have that same feeling like I had with Jasper, he’ll come around Bella. I know it. He’s blinded right now by his father, but you can be his eyes. Please, just bide your time, and wait for the right moments to show him it could be different.” She was still cradling me, and kissed my cheek, and I felt tears well up, she reminded me of my mother.
“Did you really know my mother?” I whispered.
She smiled, and released me, going in for another mouthful of ice cream. I almost forgot about it, I took another scoop and took delight in the sweet flavor.
“Mmm, this tastes like heaven,” I sighed in content. Esme laughed, and added in, “Yes, ice cream can cure anything from a broken heart to a broken leg. And of course, dear, she was my best friend. I have a lot of wonderful memories of her, and if you’d like, I’d love to share them with you. It could help… keep her spirit alive, I suppose?”
“I’d love that! I miss her, and I just need some reminding, you know? It seems like the memory of her is fading, Edward doesn’t want me to talk about them. He said it’s better to put it behind me. He didn’t even ask about her or Phil for that matter,” I sighed in disappointment.
“You know, Bella, I actually remember the day when she left with you like it was yesterday. I also saw the whole fight she had with Charlie. I witnessed it, actually. I was there helping her pack her bags while Charlie was fishing. He came home earlier than expected. I hid, naturally. But I wouldn’t leave her, he stormed over to her, and she simply said “We’re leaving Charlie, Me and Bella; I won’t let you destroy me. And I sure as hell won’t let you destroy her.” He was furious…I remember it so clearly…,” She was in a daze, her eyes had that faraway look that told me she was reliving this, and I was enthralled, I wanted to know this so much.
It was a Saturday. You were seven years old at the time. And luckily unaware of the development that Charlie and Carlisle had established. Wives were…servants. Your mother was never going to bow to Charlie, be his little Stepford wife. She lost the love she had for him, just like how he lost his mind when he agreed this was how life should operate.
That Saturday, Renee and I were at her house. We were sitting at the table, drinking coffee and eating. You were taking a nap and James was spending the day with friends in La Push while Charlie fished.
“Esme,” Renee whispered, so broken and lost, “I have to get out of here. He’s trying to drown me, but he knows it’s impossible. He knows I won’t break. So he’s trying to get to Bella. I know it. With all of these little secretive tactics that I pick up on, he thinks I don’t see it, but I do! James is already gone. I’ve lost my son to Charlie’s influence. I’ve caught James hurting Bella and Charlie just laughs. He won’t put a stop to it. I don’t want to leave because of you, but I just…I’m so scared of what that man will do, and how far he’ll go. What if he hurts Bella? What if he kills me? Bella will be left alone with him.”
“Renee, dear, you know I’ll love you with my whole heart even if you leave. You know I can’t leave. I would, but Carlisle would lead a dog hunt to find me and the boys. I can’t leave them. My only hope is to try to instill some measure of decency in them without Carlisle’s knowledge. But I’ll help you, I promise. I love Bella so much too, and I would be heartbroken if Charlie got to her. I always hoped that one day she would grow to marry one of my boys so you and I could truly be family. But you’re right. You need to get away. You have to protect her from Charlie before it’s too late. We can whip up a plan to break you and Bella free of this.”
“But what about you, I’d be leaving you deserted. I can’t do that-“
“Renee, this is about Bella. Okay?”
“When is the best time for you to leave?”
I gasped, “Now? As in, today, Saturday?”
“Yes, he’s gone fishing, we have time, and I don’t have that much to bring. Just Bella, her things, and a few of mine. I want to forget about all of this.”
I nodded my head, and then we got started. We frantically threw your life possessions and hers together in a few suitcases. She went to the bank, while I kept an eye on you, collected money that Charlie hadn’t isolated from Renee yet, and then bought tickets. Tickets to another ground, far, far away. Phoenix. She grew up there; they were her roots, so it made sense to go back.
When she got back, we assembled everything at the bottom of the staircase. You slept through all of this, and then we woke you, do you remember? Probably not. You were so young. Still disoriented too, from napping. And then while we were dressing you for travel, the door opened. We both froze, looking at each other with fearful eyes. Charlie was home early.
“Renee? I’m home. Where’s dinner?” He bellowed from the doorway. He would see the suitcases momentarily, so we just held our breath, waiting.
It took about five seconds.
“Renee!? What the hell is going on? Why the fuck is there suitcases down here? Get your ass down here, now!”
Renee let out a shaky breath, we had a plan for this, in case we had to deal with Charlie. We had the State Police phone number, Forks Police wouldn’t work-Charlie was the chief after all. A crook of a chief, none the less, but to the naïve residents of Forks, he was legendary, the picture of protection.
“Stay here,” she ordered to me, “when I leave, sneak out through the back door in the utility room. Don’t let Charlie see you. I can’t have Carlisle or he knowing you helped me. They’d kill you. Do you understand?”
“Of course, just let me hug you and Bella, I may never see you again.”
With that we embraced each other. This moment was so bittersweet. She would be free, and Bella would be protected. But… we would be separated. The thought made me hold her tightly, we kissed each other’s cheeks, and then I hugged you, you wouldn’t remember but I told you to grow up to be a strong woman. No man could complete you, you completed yourself.
“Renee, wherever you end up, be safe. I wish there was a way for you to let me know how you’re doing, but we can’t risk it. You’re my only friend and I love you. Remember that. And don’t worry about me. I have my sons, and my garden. You’ll make it. I know it.”
“Oh, Esme you’ve been my best friend for so long. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ll miss you, you better be okay here, and you need to survive it. Fight, like I did. You’re stronger for staying. I’m sorry for being a coward. I love you to the end too, okay?”
I tearfully nodded, and we embraced once more, I kissed your cheek and she picked you up, and walked out. You had no idea what was happening, but I think it was for the best. You were silent. That was the last time I saw your mother. But, it wasn’t the last time I heard her. She was brilliant to your father, stood her ground, and won.
I hear their voices.
“Renee what the hell are you doing? And what’s all of this?”
“We’re leaving Charlie, Me and Bella; I won’t let you destroy me. And I sure as hell won’t let you destroy her. I’ve had enough of this… this twisted reality! You and Carlisle are complete monsters! You are living in some sort of lala land for thinking I will stupefy myself any longer to be a robot of a wife and I won’t let you hurt my daughter. ! I don’t love you-this isn’t love. You want to lead this absurd lifestyle that I simply won’t live anymore!”
“Damnit Renee if you take one more step to that door-“
“What are you going to do, beat me?”
“I sure as hell will teach you your place! Which is with me, under me, bitch. So get your ass upstairs NOW.”
“No, Charlie, there will be no ‘punishments’ today. And you know what? You dare take one step closer to me, I will call the police. And no, I’m not naïve enough to call Forks. I mean the State police. I wonder, what will they think about the charade you and Carlisle have going? Do you think they’ll slap you on the back and say ‘Hey man, will you train my wife?’ No, I don’t think so. They’ll lock you two criminals up behind bars, where you truly belong. I’m holding this phone, and if you think to come near me, so help me God I will call, and justice will be served.”
“You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into, Renee.”
“I do know. There’s nothing I know more than this-I’m leaving. We’re leaving-and we won’t see your hideous, loathsome face again. If you come looking for us, you’ll be put away before you can say ‘punishment’. You got that, Charlie Swan?”
“Are you threatening me?!”
“I sure as hell am.”
“Renee, this is bullshit! Get upstairs now-and put Bella in her room.”
“Charlie, I don’t think you fully understand, I’m leaving this house, this town. Now. And if you stop me, I’ll call the police, I have the number.”
“Well what about your son, you gonna leave him too, bitch?”
“I don’t have a son anymore, he’s died because of you! You poisoned him, and it spread-all throughout his mind. He’s gone.”
“Renee after some severe punishment, I will be able to look past this-“
“Shut up Charlie! I’ve packed our bags, I’m taking my car, and then we’ll be out of your life forever. If you come anywhere near us, you’re gone.”
“Get out then. You think you’re so tough. You honestly think you can make it in the world without me? You walk out of here with nothing, no money, and no security. How do you think you will survive? Don’t ever come round here again unless you’re ready to do in on your hands and knees. Got it, bitch?”
I heard doors opening, suitcases moving, and eventually another door being shut. And then a car roaring to life.
That was the last time I saw your mother, she was so brave, so strong. She really pulled through. She saved you, Bella. She was such a wonderful person…I miss her so much.Esme was coming out of her trance. She smiled reassuringly at me, hugging me close. “I do miss her. She was very brave and she made a good life for the two of you. She was so fortunate to have Phil in her life and for you to have a wonderful father even if for only a short time.”
“Thank you Esme. She never told me anything about our life before Phoenix. She spent the last 10 years shielding me from the world. Do you know I’ve never been on a date or even kissed a boy until I came here? Everything here is just so upside down. For the rest of my life I will have the memory of my first kiss being my brother while he made me strip for him in my bedroom.”
“I’m so sorry Bella that life has brought you back here this way. I always wanted you to marry one of my sons. I saw your strength even as a child and your ability to love passionately. I know if anyone can change Edward it’s you. You are the hope for my youngest son and for our entire family. If you can change him I feel Carlisle’s reign will be broken.”
I shook my head, “I’m not that strong Esme. I am trying though and I will try to help Edward for you as much as for my own future. I promise.”
“Well, we better get back to bed before Carlisle or Edward notice we’re gone,” she said. We each took a final bite of ice cream before she slipped it back into the frozen broccoli bag and put it at the back of the freezer. “I’ll see you in the morning. Sweet dreams, Bella.”
“Good night Esme. And thank you for telling me about my mother.” I hugged her before tiptoeing back upstairs.
I wish I’d made it downstairs just a few minutes faster. I wanted to know what Bella told my mother that made her so angry and upset about Charlie and James; aside from the obvious. There just seemed to be more to it.
I listened in shock at what happened when Bella’s mother took her from Charlie and the reasons behind it. No wonder he was so adamant about keeping her with him as long as he could before giving her to me. He wanted to make up for lost time and to get back at her mother. Bella was a form of revenge for him.
Then to hear her say that James was her first kiss. God, we really were a fucked up bunch. I would need to find someway to make this up to her.
I heard her and my mother saying ‘good night’ so I quickly slipped back upstairs undetected.
I crawled back in bed and waited. I closed my eyes pretending to be asleep as I heard her open the door and pad across the room slipping in the bed from the other side. I felt the bed dip and her settle into her pillow. I turned toward her slipping my arm around her waist pulling her against me. I felt her stiffen in my arms. As I started kissing her shoulders and her neck I felt her melt against me. She was always so responsive to my least little touch now. I smiled knowing that I made her feel this way.
“Where were you, love?” I asked gently. “Is something wrong?” I knew the answer but was curious what she would confess to me.
“I was on the sofa reading. I couldn’t sleep.” She turned toward me in my arms wrapping her arms around my neck giving me better access to her throat. “I’m sorry I woke you.” She started kissing my chest and running her fingers through my hair.
I groaned as my body started responding to her touch. I knew she was distracting me. I knew she was lying to me about everything, but after hearing what she and my mother said downstairs I decided to she could keep this secret. However, I wouldn’t let her leave in the night again. I never wanted to feel that intense fear again from my dream. I needed her too much.
I would just have to find the right balance between Carlisle’s expectations and what I could live with. I wanted to see Bella look at me with the same love that Alice looked at Jasper and Rosalie looked at Emmett.
Maybe she would be my salvation.