April 16, 2011

Chapter Five

Bella

My presence of mind is obliterated.

I'm completely checked out on the drive home. By the time I'm parked, I cannot recall what route I took to get here. I don't remember red lights or stop signs. And when I turn to get out of the driver's seat, I'm wrenched back by the seatbelt I don't remember putting on.

I unlock my room and open the door only wide enough to pull my bathrobe and shower pouch off of the hook on the other side, closing and locking it after.

I can think of only one place I want to be right now.

Regret and shame weigh me down. It feels as if I'm commissioning every muscle in my body just to sustain the slow shuffle of my feet. The binding arms of contrition wrap around me, cradling me as I grieve the loss of my dignity.

I feel depleted. Ashamed.

What the hell have you done, Bella?

I'm grateful for the vacant state of the bathroom...it's appropriate for the occasion. I reach inside the first stall and turn the shower on. I shed the rest of my clothing and hurry into place under the stream.

It is just as I feel the sting of the hot water that it begins.

Sensations from the past two hours crash into me. A series of strategically planned assaults. I'm denied the chance to recover from one before another collides. Hurled with impressive strength, they splinter on impact, scattering throughout until every square inch of me is aflame with the burn of mortification.

Images like a strobe light. Behind my eyes, in my ears...to the bone.

Every compliance I gave him, both body and mind...

Every moan I held back...

The angry jerk of his hands on my hips...

Me, bent over on display for him...


The feel of my knees lifting off of the floor from the angle he entered me...

His harsh breathing and every grunt as he embedded himself...

The dirty words he spat and the undeniable arousal they sparked in me...

Sweat soaked hips grinding into the heated flesh of my ass...

Writhing in the dark limbo between the pleasure and the shame, helpless to commit to one or the other.

Disgusted with myself for allowing his cock to trump my self-respect.

It is a delayed reaction of epic proportion. The emotions I'm feeling hovered silently above my head, growing potent in their intensity, from the moment I crossed his threshold. At the time, the bizarre charm his body has over mine was enough to keep it all at bay. But then the fog cleared, revealing the enormity of what it all means. Whatever secured the bouquet overhead snapped then...and the downpour is relentless.

I turn under the spray and face the wall behind me, pressing my forehead to the cool, white tile and closing my eyes. Despite the temperature of the water, my teeth begin to chatter and my hands shake. Although I know it's not from being cold, I turn the lever again to make the water hotter. It cannot get hot enough...scalding enough...to wash it all away.

Billowing swirls of steam crowd the stall, a visual parallel to how my mind feels.

Bending down, I open my shower pouch and pour body wash into the palm of my hand. Lathering it into foam, I begin to scrub at my body with my hands.

The back of my neck...where he fists and pulls...

My shoulders...

My breasts...my nipples sore from being pinched so hard.

My stomach and waist...

My hand travels downward and I flinch.

It was inevitable. It'd been years since I'd had sex, but Edward wasn't exactly gentle in his approach. It hadn't been exactly painful, but the pressure...the size of him and having no time to adjust is responsible for the throbbing ache I feel now.

I move to pull my hand away and am startled when my thoughts rapidly change direction. In an instant, it's as if I can still feel his hand cupped over me.

His fingers inside of me...

My own on my clit...

My fingertips begin to circle. My hips twitch forward and I startle and open my eyes.

What is wrong with you?

This is the same man who called you a whore...who treats you like shit on his shoe.

My mind vacillates between the deplorable way he treats me and the magnetic hold he has over me. I'm my own traitor.

Furious at how easy it was for him to debase and humiliate me.

Disgusted with myself for how wantonly I responded to him despite that.

And I can't fathom a way to ever reconcile the two.

I turn and press my back to the wall, sliding down to the floor of the shower and not giving a second thought to how fucking filthy it probably is. I hug my knees to my chest and close my eyes again, letting the hot water pour over the top of my head. It flows over my ears and face. The sound of water roars in my ears, but can't hold a candle to the tempest of chaos in my head.

This is one of those moments where I wish I was a crier. Like a full on bawler. I imagine it would help...to unload some of this with good hard tears. But I think that maybe that part of me is broken...if it ever really worked at all. It just figures.

As the water begins to cool, I stand slowly and turn it off, feeling no cleaner than when I entered it. In the mirror, the splotchy red spots on my skin from the heat of the water are eerily apropos. I feel...altered somehow. Tainted. Edward's words from last week return to me.

'...I have no intention of marking you physically.'

Yeah, well the road to hell and intentions and all that.

~o~

Sunday morning arrives entirely too quickly for me. My racing mind and restless body meant I'd barely gotten two hours of sleep. I just can't afford a repeat of last weekend. I decide that I'm not going to devote anymore of my energy to torturing myself over what happened last night. Over what I cannot change. I by no means feel any kind of resolution about it. I don't have anymore answers than I went to sleep with last night but I can't stand to think of it for one more second.

Besides, I have to get some studying under my belt or the week is going to swallow me whole. I also haven't even started my essay, which I have to turn in on Tuesday.

This is good. It means I have enough to do to keep me busy for the rest of the day.

I get started and let everything else fall away around me. I put my nose to book and don't stop until my essay is written, I'm caught up on all of the material I was behind on and my neck and back are stiff from being hunched over my desk. Excited that I was able to accomplish something productive today, I glance at the clock...and realize it's only been three hours.

Well, damn. So much for keeping busy the whole day.

I stand to stretch, contemplating what the hell I'm supposed to do. This is completely pathetic. For the first time in years I actually have free time on my hands and I'm completely at a loss as to what to do with it. I wrack my brain for ideas, but...nothing. I'd welcome a shift at the hotel right about now. At least the monotony of the cleaning would keep me too busy to stew about...things I'm tired of thinking about.

It occurs to me that perhaps this is all harder than it needs to be because I've been so busy working like a machine for the last six years. And, really, even before I left home I'd never gotten out much. Never saw the point, really. I've never had this extra time to have to fill.

I need...a hobby.

I scan my memory for things I've seen or heard other people enjoy doing in the past. The only problem there is the massive lack of all things social. It's kind of hard to reference vicarious living without friends, or even acquaintances

Aha! Angela! The idea withers and dies almost instantly when I realize her hobbies most likely include sleeping, coffee, expletives and sarcasm.

So I do what any intelligent person would do.

I Google it.

I type 'hobby' in the search bar, hit enter and click the first link in the list. A hobby is an activity or interest that is undertaken for pleasure or relaxation, typically during one's leisure time.

I stare blankly at the words for a long moment. There are about seventeen things wrong with this statement. Virtually the entire definition just doesn't pertain to me. Interest? Pleasure? Relaxation? Leisure time? I drop my forehead to my desk and allow myself to fully feel like the lifeless, hobby-less, hot mess that I am.

And then I'm pissed. Pissed that I have no hobbies, pissed that I've never cared before, pissed that I care now. I stand up and begin to pace, running my fingers through my hair and gritting my teeth. Sixteen days ago. That's where I want to be.

Sixteen days ago, a lack of hobbies was no big goddamned deal.

Sixteen days ago, I'd have been slinging drinks and cleaning toilets.

Sixteen days ago, my life was the way I was used to it being. The way that worked for me.

Sixteen days ago, I was untouched by an entire gamut of emotions that have since done a death march across my face.

Sixteen days ago, I may not have had a free moment to take a deep breath, but I had a marginal fraction of sanity. It may not have been conventional sanity. It may have been an exhausted and strained brand of sanity. But it was MY sanity, damn it! It was how it'd always been. What worked for me. All I knew.

'Aaaaaaaaargh!' I scream out in frustration and plop face down on the bed. I'm so tired of thinking about this. So fed up with dealing with it. And just like that, I've spent the rest of my day practicing my new hobby:

Avoidance.

~o~

On Monday, I have my first appointment with Mrs. Fisher of Windsor Events. At the beginning of the quarter, we'd been given the opportunity to participate in the university's Mentor Program. It's a mash up of students and a number of Seattle's leading businesses. You're assigned a mentor and are expected to work closely with them for a period of time. The goal is to gain exposure to the realities of the business world. An introduction of sorts to what we'll be dealing with once we graduate. I've been eager to do this. To get a taste of what I'd busted my ass for all of this time. I feel like I'm taking one step closer to my goals. It's the closest I've ever been to actually being excited about something. And it makes me feel pathetic. So, utilizing my new hobby, under the rug I swept it.

I hadn't chosen event planning per se, but of the list of businesses provided, it was the only one that stood out to me. It may very well be the only thing in my life I ever decided on a whim.

Meeting with Mrs. Fisher-or Kate-as she insisted I call her, was surprisingly pleasant. I had somehow worked myself up into thinking I was going to be a nuisance to her, and I really wasn't looking forward to being treated like the boss lady's hanger-on. That's right. Kate Fisher, née Windsor, was CEO of Windsor Events. Turns out her family had founded the company four generations back and were still very much involved in the operation of it. She was extremely friendly and welcoming to me from the start. We met at a cafe and went over everything she expected of me and all of the ways she was hoping to help me learn.

Kate decided that the best introduction I could get would be for me to jump in head first in the early stages of a job. I would tag along with her to an on site appointment for the Hale/Brandon wedding. It was to be coordinated and held at the client's home. After giving me directions, we agreed on a time and I headed out to the house after class Tuesday afternoon. If you had a confirmed meeting with your mentor, it acted as a hall pass of sorts. You could bow out of class early, barring any exams or major material being covered.

The family's home was in a suburb of Seattle, about thirty minutes outside of the city. I never had the time or reason to drive any farther than The Westin, and now, Edward's building, The Citadel. In the past two days, between work and school, I'd managed to steer clear of the capricious thoughts and feelings I have as far as Edward and our little...arrangement. Some may call it denial. I simply see it as productive postponement. Nothing good can come of me marinating in the dysfunction that I've gotten myself into. Like I said before...I get in, I get paid and I go home. Where does it say that I have to analyze this at all? After all, it wasn't that long ago that I was a master of compartmentalization. It's what helped me through things in the past. This is no different...no different at all.

After about an hour's drive, I spot the street sign I'm looking for and take the turn. Last house on the left...Holy shit. The house is magnificent. Stones of multiple shades of brown, red and white blanket the high sides, which are punctuated on either end by tall, turret-like structures. Several balconies and windows adorn the entire spread of the three story masterpiece. In a few select spots, lie smaller hexagonal windows. The framework of the house is unique in that it appears to be not one solid building, but a network of several stacked and melded together. And although it is a large and quite obviously expensive home, it isn't ostentatious. I'm still staring out of my driver's side window in awe when Kate walks up to me and chuckles.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" She smiles and stares up at the home as she speaks to me. Kate is in her mid to late fifties. I wouldn't dare ask her to specify. Her light brown hair is highlighted with thick streaks of gray and cut just to her shoulders in a layered bob. It's stylish without making her look like she's clinging to her youth for dear life. Her gray blue eyes are situated behind thin, modern gold eye glasses and the wrinkling around her eyes and mouth add to her beauty somehow. They gave her character.

"Beautiful is a serious understatement." I grab my notepad and pen from the passenger seat of the car and get out to greet her. "How are you, Kate?"

"I'm doing just fine, dear. How are you? Did you have a good drive up?" As we turn and begin walking, she does the same thing she did when we met yesterday. She raises her hand and rubs me gently on the back of my shoulder. The gesture startles me and I immediately feel badly for the slight cringe I give. I like Kate, I really do, but physical contact has never been something I've been good with.

Could've fooled me on Saturday.

I'd found that although I had found salvation in avoidance, my subconscious would not be repressed.

If Kate noticed, she didn't show it. We continue to make our way up the stone path toward the front of the house. She lowers her hand and her smile never waivers as she waits for me to answer.

"Um...I'm good. Busy, but good." I'm hoping that I can at least fake general normalcy long enough to make it through this program and learn something from it. I'm excited about this and don't want to sabotage myself because I can't handle a harmless gesture of affection. A perfectly acceptable display of social behavior. I can't put my finger on it, but there's something about Kate that makes me nervous. It makes no sense to me. She's been nothing but kind to me. Nothing but pleasant and accepting of me from the moment we met. But I can still feel it. An unease that coats our interactions. I feel stupid for feeling this way, and try to stay focused on the conversation.

"That's good. I'm glad to hear it. Now, shall we get started? As I said before, I've already made the family aware of your participation in this and they're happy to oblige. I'm really excited for you to meet this client. They're actually friends of mine. Their daughter is getting married and aiming for a winter wedding right here at the family's home...outdoors at that! I really think it has the potential to be just stunning, Bella, I really do. The yard is spacious and just perfect for it! Can't you just see it?" She turns to me, with her hands clasped together and tucked under her chin and is absolutely beaming. She's in her element. Doing what makes her happiest. The sight makes me burn a bit, if I'm being honest. I want this so badly. The contentment she obviously feels with where she is in her life. She radiates it. Envy drips from every angle of me. I feel like my dream is sitting in the palm of my hand, just waiting for me to curl my fingers and take it. And I'm so close.

"I can't wait." The words come out quiet and somewhat dazed. Kate continues to gush, having not realized we were momentarily having separate conversations.

"Oh, neither can I. Okay, remember what I told you. Don't think of this as a stuffy old assignment. Have fun. Ask questions, Bella. That's what I'm here for. What you're here for." I nod my head and smile as Kate reaches forward and rings the doorbell. The door opens and a handsome, middle-aged blonde man appears with a friendly smile on his face.

"Kate, how are you?" He leans forward and kisses her on the cheek, squeezing both of her upper arms in his gently. "How's Charles?" His smile is wide and sincere as he looks at her intently, genuinely interested in her response.

"Oh, we're both just fine. He's off somewhere swinging a club, of course, while I work these dainty fingers to the bone." They both laugh and I feel like an outsider. Outside my class...socially and every other way possible. "Carlisle, this is Isabella. I'm working with her in the Mentor Program down at U Dub. She'll be shadowing me throughout the wedding."

I reach forward and take the hand he offers while praying that my smile looks friendly and not stunned. "It's very nice to meet you, Isabella. Welcome to our home. Please, both of you, come in."

"Please, call me Bella. It's nice to meet you, too." I smile and he returns it.

"Okay then, Bella. My two favorite ladies are upstairs pouring over a very large, very scary pile of what seems to be material. I was just about to head to the hospital, but I'd be happy to walk you up."

Carlisle closes the door behind us and motions to the long, winding staircase leading up to the second and third landings. The cathedral ceilings seem endless and the large chandelier hanging above us glitters in the afternoon sun. The decor is simple, but quite elegant. Lots of cherry wood and wrought iron adorn the staircase as well as the two landings I can see from the foyer. To my right, centered on the large span of wall that runs from ground level all the way to the third, is an impressive rendering of the Seattle Space needle. It strikes me as odd that a resident of the Seattle area would have something like this in their home. But then again, who am I to judge? I didn't know the first thing about art. Tourist attraction aside, the colors were what stood out to me. While the needle itself was done in a muted cream, the background was a combination of several shades of teal. The ground and decorative embellishments were deep, maroons and reds.

"Oh! The fabric samples for the bridesmaids' dresses must have some in! I'll go up...I know the way. You go on and go. We'll befine. The faster we nail down a color theme, the better." Kate turns to me, and her smile falters a bit when she sees the discomfort on my face. Mom and daughter and wedding bonding. Not going there. Kate doesn't know my reasons, but must pick up on my unease. She, thankfully, plays it subtle. "Bella, why don't you go on into the study and get that paperwork set up for us. I'll be down in just a second." She winks at me and looks to Carlisle.

"Can I get you ladies anything to eat or drink before I go?" As he looks between us, I note that his hospitality is...sweet. Authentic. The warm feeling it brings me is overlapped by one of apprehension. I feel like I'm intruding. And then I'm frustrated with myself and my inability to react normally to civility.

"No, thank you. I'm fine." And this time, my slight smile is a contemplative one. What it must have been like to be raised like this. At the hands of a man like this.

"Kate?" He smile warmly and raises his eyebrows at her.

"Oh, you get on out of here! I know where the kitchen is, you silly man!"

With a chuckle and a nod, he turns to me. "Right. Well, Bella, the study is just behind you there. Please make yourself comfortable."

"I will, thank you." See, that was easy. This doesn't have to be so difficult, Bella.

After Carlisle leaves and closes the door behind him, Kate throws me one more wink and starts up the stairs. "Go on and wait for us in there. We won't be too long."

Turning and walking into the open double doors of the study, I set my notebook and pen on the end table closest to me and look around at the cherrywood paneled room. It's sparsely decorated and there is only a brown leather couch, love seat and chair arranged in a circle around a coffee table. Beyond the furniture, there is a desk with a large, flat screen computer monitor sitting on it. There are built in bookshelves lining the back two walls of the room and I walk toward it to get a better look at the photos and books that line them. Most of it seems to be medical journals and things of the sort. There is also a couple of shelves of interior design, a swell as art, books. As I walk alongside the shelves and slide my pointer finger over the spines, the photographs begin to catch my attention. There is an old, weathered picture that seems to be several decades old. A young couple sitting side by side at a table, smiling and holding hands tightly. I recognize Carlisle in several of them, as well as a beautiful brunette woman whom I am assuming is his wife.

I push my hands down into my jean pockets and continue my perusal. There is a vast assortment of frames. Large, small, brilliantly decorated frames and subtly plain ones as well. A beautiful one of Carlisle and his wife dancing at what appeared to be their wedding. Another photo of them, more recently, embracing one another and smiling sweetly at one another. A couple candid shots of a petite, short-haired brunette woman and a curly haired blonde man. I wonder if this is the bride and groom.

Just as I turn to have a seat an wait for Kate, my eye catches something toward the back of the shelf. On the middle shelf, tucked between the row of books and the cluster of photos, is a frame I would have missed if I hadn't been standing so close to the shelf. Without a thought, I reach up onto my tip toes and pull it out slowly, so as not to knock anything over. The frame is heavy and thick, made of rich gold mosaic tile. The barest hint of dust covers the front of the frame and I blow it away as I settle back onto the flats of my feet.

And nearly lose my footing completely.

I can't blame the loss of balance on poor coordination or a faulty equilibrium. No, the slight knocking together of my knees and the elevation in my breathing could only be blamed on the photo I held in my now shaking hands.

It was taken on the beach, on an absolutely breathtaking day. The sky doesn't sport a single cloud and the ocean in the background is sending waves splashing and lapping at the shore. Rivaling the beauty of the day itself, are the subjects of the photo.

The radiant looks on their faces. The happiness there is unquestionable.

The girl's blonde hair is swept up in both a ponytail and the breeze coming off of the water.

She's clad in a tiny, red one-piece bathing suit with white polka dots. Her legs fly out straight behind her as she is tossed high into the air. Although her eyes are squeezed tightly shut, her smile is open wide. Ear to ear. Four teeth. Two on top, two on bottom. Her arms are thrown out to her sides like the wings of a bird. As lovely as she is, she isn't what has me stiff with shock.

It's the absolutely beaming face of the man who is tossing this tiny beauty into the air. He's tall and strong in appearance. Barefoot and clad in faded jeans, rolled to mid-calf, and shirtless. His arms are stretched above his head, ready to catch her when she comes back down. And the look on his face...he's absolutely stunning. Smiling broadly, his eyes alight with a palpable joy.

This isn't the type of photograph that belonged stashed behind others and forgotten. What is it doing back there?

I stand here staring. I lift a single fingertip and trace it across the face of the man, almost for assurance of what Im seeing. That it's really him.

Edward.

But...not.

My mind is suddenly a barrage of contradicting sights and sounds.

A litany of demeaning words echo in my ears and I close my eyes as the vision of his dark, angry stare comes to mind.

The carefree smile on the face in the frame in front of me. Failure to conjure a sound that may resemble his laugh.

Fingers wound tightly into my hair, pulling. Vulgar words spoken through clenched teeth.

Arms of protection and strength, poised to catch and protect.

Dark, black ink. Line after line of indiscernible script etched into flesh.

Smooth, creamy skin pulled taut over firm, ripples of muscled back..free of words.

My heartbeat slowly escalates until I can hear it in my ears and I feel myself begin to sweat.

If this photo is here, then that means that Edward is tied to them somehow. I wrack my brain trying to remember if Kate ever mentioned their last name. I draw a blank, only that she called it the Hale/Brandon wedding. Names aside, his picture isn't here for nothing.

Holy shit. I have to get out of here. What if he finds out?

I'm so fucking close. I can't go back to how it was before. I'll never make it to graduation. I need to-

"You know him."

I startle and look up. There, leaning one shoulder on the doorframe and her arms crossed over her chest, is the young brunette woman from some of the photos. She's petite, shorter than me, with straight hair just past her shoulders. Her eyes are a startlingly bright shade of blue. I try my hardest to calm down and not act like she just stumbled upon my personal breakdown. Only after I take a couple of breaths, do I realize that she's not asking, but making a statement. Oh shit.

"I...no. I just...the photo...it's beautiful. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry." I'm not sure what to do with the frame. She regards it impassively and shrugs.

"You can just set it down anywhere. Not like it matters." Her tone isn't rude, just blasé. I take a chance and slide the frame back into hiding where I found it. Turning back to her, I slide my palms into the back pockets of my jeans and figure introductions might be nice.

"I'm Bella, by the way. I'm here with Kate. I assume you're the bride?" I smile in an attempt to alleviate some of my nerves and she tilts her head to the side slightly and narrows her eyes. When a hint of a smile creeps over her lips, it's friendly, but cautious.

"I am. Alice Brandon. Soon to be Hale."

"Congratulations."

"Thanks."

"Yup."

I don't know why I feel like I'm being sized up, but I do. And on top of that, our one word conversation feels forced as hell. I attempt to end it.

"Well, maybe we should join them?"

She pushes off of the doorframe and smiles at me. It seems genuine enough, so I grab my notebook and pen and follow her through the foyer and across the hall. Going down two steps into what I assume is the den, I'm relieved when I spot Kate smiling at me.

"Ah, there they are. What took you two so long?" Before I can open my mouth, Alice chimes in.

"I was showing Bella here some family photos." My eyes widen a bit and I swallow. Alice looks between myself and who i assume is her mother.

"Well, that was nice of you, Alice dear. Hi, I'm Esme. Mother of the bride." Her cheeks pink a bit and I can see the obvious pride there. "How are you, Bella?" We shake hands and I take a seat next to Kate on the sofa.

I take a chance.

"You, too Mrs...?" Please, God, don't say Cul-

"Cullen. But none of that. Call me Esme." She has the friendly smile that Carlisle did and I feel like the scum of the earth.

My eyes close in defeat, but only for a second before I open them and try to keep it together.

"Of course, Esme. Thank you for letting me tag alongside Kate. I really appreciate it."

I glance over at Alice and see her giving me the size up again. It makes me want to scream. Everything about the last twenty minutes is making me want to run from this house and never come back. But how the hell am I supposed to do that? It just figures that the second things were even resembling an upside, shit would hit the fan. I have so many questions, and they're only multiplying every minute longer that I sit here.

Wedding talk ensues and they might as well be speaking gibberish. All I can think is that I'm sitting in the home of someone that is somehow related to Edward Cullen. And every feeling of guilt and humiliation over what I'd done that I'd been able to hold off for three days, comes flooding over me. Wave after wave saturates and overwhelms me.

For the next hour and a half, I manage to pipe up and ask a question or two as well as take an occasional note. If you asked me to recall any of it, you'd be highly disappointed. I can feel myself succumbing to the panic. I feel like there's a huge neon sign above my head giving me away. Realistically, there's no way any of them could know, but there's no room for common sense during a nervous breakdown. Just as I'm convinced I'm about to pass out cold right here on Esme's oriental rug, Kate announces that she's got to get going. I want to kiss her square on the lips.

"After a strained goodbye between Alice and I, Esme kisses my cheek and thanks me for coming. Kate says her goodbyes and we begin the walk back to our cars.

"Are you okay, Bella? You're really pale, honey."

"I'm fine. Just really tired. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night." I try to force a yawn, but it comes out more like a throaty moan. Kate looks at me sideways for a second, but lets it go.

"Okay, well, I hope you get some sleep. We'll be meeting with Alice and Esme on Friday to go over the reception details." Kate had suggested that since Alice had a clearer idea of when she wanted at the reception, we start there the next time we met.

"Sure thing. Thanks so much, Kate. I'm really excited." I fight the urge to break into a sprint to get to my car faster.

"Well, I'm glad. It's going to be a lot of fun. You'll learn a lot. Now, are you sure you'll be okay to drive home? I'm sure the Cullens wouldn't mind you leaving your car-"

"No!" My abruptly loud interruption startles her, and her eyes widen at me.

"I just mean, I'd hate to put them out that way. I'm absolutely fine, but thank you."

"Okay. Well, I guess I'll see you on Friday. Here again at two o'clock."

"Here? Again?" There's no way I was stealthy about the panic in my voice. Her eyebrows furrow.

"Is that a problem?"

Yes, you see I'm getting paid by one of the Cullens to play the part of his sexual punching bag so that I can graduate and not become the small town waste of space Daddy Dearest always knew I'd be. That's all.

"Not at all. I'll be here."

"Good then. We'll talk more about how you felt about today later. You go ahead and get home. Get you some rest."

I don't have the heart to tell her I'm on my way to a shift at the hotel. I feel terribly about how I'm acting, but can't help it.

"Thanks, Kate. I'll talk to you later."

I climb in my car and spend the entire drive back home losing my shit.

~o~

Several hours later, I'm on my way back down to the main floor after having only cleaned half of my assigned floor. The routine I used to be able to count on to keep my mind wiped clean of certain subjects has failed me tonight...epically. And now I'm out of toilet paper, coffee filters and towels. This never happens. I always stock my cart accurate to the number of rooms I have.

Get your head on straight, Bella.

Just as I round the corner to the elevators, a hand clamps over my mouth and I'm snatched into one of the supply rooms. It's pitch black. I can't see a single thing.

Panicked, I begin to kick...until I feel it.

Fingers, hard and fast, slide under my ponytail and snatch it back viciously. My head jerks back and I cry out from the pain.

"Shut the fuck up."

The noise dies in my throat.

Edward.

All I can hear are my hard breaths in and out of my nose and the low, steady hum of his in my right ear.

"Five hundred cash. Right here, right now. Yes or no? Shake your head or nod." His voice is rushed and impatient. A harsh, forceful whisper.

I could waste my time explaining the benefits of the unexpected sum of money he's offering me.

I could say that I'm afraid of what saying no will mean for the future of our little deal.

I could formulate any number of excuses for why.

And they'd all be a lie.

Although a fraction of truth can be found in them, none of them are why I nod my head in acquiescence.

None of them can be held responsible for the relief I feel when he rips my panties clear in half and off of my body.

None of it explains the speed with which I comply when he bends me forward over an empty trolley.

None of it is reason enough to give me goosebumps when I hear him snap on the condom.

None of it can dismiss the feeling of...relief when he shoves himself into me entirely without preamble.

None of it is grounds for the way my eyes roll into the back of my head as he pounds into me hard.

"That's it. Take all of my cock, Isabella. Take it." He grunts through his commands and begins thrusting even harder than before.

He lifts my left ankle of of the floor and roughly places my foot up on one of the shelves of the trolley. If it's possible, he slides up higher inside of me and I bite down on the back of my hand to keep the moan I feel coming quiet.

I could list off endless reasons, and yet none would accurately explain why I explode around his cock the moment I feel him jerking inside the condom. I come silently and don't get to enjoy the aftershock of ripples when he rips himself away.

I'm left with labored breathing and my uniform skirt bunched around my waist. It takes him under half a minute to tuck himself away before I hear a slap of paper and wet splat on the floor. Light momentarily spills into the closet as he leaves without a word.

I lower my leg and smooth my skirt down the front of my thighs. I reach out blindly and flip the light on. There, on the floor, are my torn panties, a wad of cash folded in half and the used condom and wrapper.

And for a few moments...I don't care. I'm not concerned with how cheap and used I should feel right now. I ignore the clawing that my dignity is doing at my back, wanting to know what the hell I was thinking. I throw away my panties with the condom and pocket the cash.

The reality of the situation is that I welcomed it.

I wanted it.

The temporary escape that submitting to him granted me.

I welcomed the way he strips me of all awareness.

Of any power.

For a few glorious moments, nothing else existed.

I had no inner turmoil. No conflict of morals. No dilemma to agonize over.

I was free.

And the consequences of surrendering to that are something I couldn't have anticipated.

17 comments:

Paula-Bells said...

he is so rough... I want to hate him but is so not possible.

rebernardi said...

I'm loving it!!!
Really...
I started to read because I saw Rose's blinkie and it doesn't disapointed me!!! Rough and soooooooo good!!

This.is.Yady! said...

Rough Edward is un-fucking-believable! Even calling her a bitch its fucking hot!

pixiebella said...

ohh Roughie, so broken yet so freaking hot. Loving it xx

ashblog89 said...

I'm so fucking speechless right now. WOW. Just Wow. I wish Roughie would find me an take me in a supply room. 0_0

Idk, this could be bad I'm admitting to this. Jada you are brilliant.

maxandmimasmummy said...

Wow. What are the chances that Bella would be working with Edward's family? Dying to know Alice's story.

I'm sorry, but Edward Cullen is a pig.

isleesme1 said...

damn. i love it

~Elli~Iris~ said...

Ch 5
Googles for a hobby. Oh Bella. I am lonely for her. An internship with Kate the Wedding planner. And for Alice and Jasper I assume. Carlisle is Alice’s father? Will Edward be a relation? My heart aches for Bella as she mourns the simple kindness she receives from Carlisle and how awkward it is for her. She does crave or thinks she deserves the kind of treatment she has gotten from Edward and her parents. It is what she knows. A picture of Edward, happy on a beach, with a blonde girl? Like little girl or young woman? 0-o She is in Edwards family home. Oh my. Nice parents with a lost son. Alice adopted? Alice knows she knows him. A quicky in the closet at work. And she feels free? Ya these two are both pretty fucked up. Iris~Elli

Blondemel47 said...

Wow, grabbing her whilst at work for a quickie - smoking. Guess he'll want his moneys worth next time! Also guessing Edward maybe lost a daughter - guess there'll be angst soone or later - love me some angst. Really loving this story & eager to discover more answers.

Blondemel47 said...

Wow, grabbing her whilst at work for a quickie - smoking!! What a sod he is. Guess he'll want his moneys worth next time! Also guessing Edward maybe lost a daughter - guess there'll be angst sooner or later - love me some angst. Really loving this story & eager to discover more answers.

Millie said...

i am loving it. Hmm I'm thinking Edward's daughter wasn't his and his ex was a ho thats why he's so detached. Just guessing.
Loved the quicky at work.

1redsock said...

Am a word nut and love your turns of phrase! :0)

So a part of Bella likes it. The letting go, a moment out of control. But I suspect she's also intrigued by knowing [a tiny] something of Edward's personal life. It's a connection or even a possible weapon in her arsenal.

Oh I'm so addicted to this -
TYSM!

- red

kelly said...

The shower was very upsetting :(

Soooooo Edward is related to this family. And he had a little girl?! Sad :(

Nymphadora said...

fdgfdkhjrih roughie had a kid??? Answers, get in my eyeballs rtfn!

MissWinkles said...

A kid? What? How old is Edward?

That's 1k in a few days....GRL...I'd be taking the cash too. Dirty, rough storeroom tryst be damned!

x Wink

kneon said...

At first I thought he was going to tell her she can't do the mentoring job. Then it was just a quickie.

Why the twists and turns keep coming in this.

seymourblogger said...

I have not commented up to now because I wanted to respond in a thoughtful way to you because you write seriously. This is a fanfic for grown-ups! The loss of will at the end is important. We live in a culture of the individual, the do it yourself, I can be x,y, or z. As Baudrillard has made clear in his writings - and Canetti also - this is not true of most of the world's cultures. I have written about this in my twilightirruption blog at blogspot. Also if you put these coments on disqus it makes it easier to comment and there are many readers there for you.