April 16, 2011

Chapter Ten

BPOV



My beloved one......my beloved one......my beloved one......

I watch as his words taper off into silence and he leans down and rubs his nose across her forehead. One...two...three times. His lips hover over her ear as he whispers something to her.

When the camera moves forward, Edward's eyes fly up and I feel my breath catch in my throat.

He's looking right at me.

Pinning me with his stare.

His eyes.

Brilliant blue.

His face looks tired, but handsome. He has a slight stubble on his jaw and dark circles under his eyes. The small, rueful smile he gives the camera stuns me. He looks exhausted, but radiant.

And then suddenly, his mouth relaxes...slowly...from a smile to a dark scowl.

He's locked onto me and I'm rooted in place.

Literally.

My feet are bound to the floor by some invisible force.

I begin frantically twisting and yanking with my legs in an effort to move. It's useless.

Wordlessly, and without removing his eyes from mine, Edward hands the baby over to Esme, whom I just realize has been standing off to the side.

She cradles the baby close to her chest and gives me a look I can only describe as desperate...frantic.

Suddenly, her face transforms...

And I'm looking into Renee's hollow brown eyes.

She stares at me blankly and then turns to leave, sparing one more glance over her shoulder at me. Raking her eyes up and down my body, they finally land on my face and she shakes her head back and forth.

It's a look I'd know anywhere. The one I've associated with her for as far back as my memories reach.

Disappointment.

Resentment.

She disappears through the doorway and I'm left alone with Edward. His back is turned to me now, and he's bracing himself on the window frame. One arm on either side and his head bowed down.

He hasn't spoken, but I can hear his breathing becoming heavier and heavier. The muscles in his shoulders and back are bathed in moonlight and I watch as they rise and fall with his breaths.

Contracting and expanding beneath the tight material of his wife beater.

His breathing escalates and I watch as his hands fist against the window frame.

There's pain there. He's bracing himself. Bearing down...

It's not clear at first, due to the lack of light in the room, but I squint my eyes and sure enough...

Slowly...a curling line of black peeks out from under the white material of his shirt on his left shoulder and creeps along his flesh, only to loop and dip back under it.

Edward hunches and curls into himself more, pressing his forehead to the window pane.

If I could move...if I could budge from my place...I would go to him. Help him.

So much pain...

Again the black line emerges, this time from under the shirt on his right shoulder. It curls out and wanders the span of his shoulder blade before retreating underneath the material again.

And it leaves marks in its path.

Writing.

Dark...black.

Words.

His tattoo...

I can't get a good enough look at it before Edward lifts his head from the window pane and straightens up. He drops his arms to his sides and fists his hands.

Languidly, he turns on his heel and faces me.

His body language has changed drastically.

He stands at his full height...tall and intimidating.

All signs of weakness...of agony...are gone.

I fight against the deeply ingrained instinct I have to cast my eyes downward...and I lock eyes with his.

I immediately regret it.

Black. Black as night. Cold. Hard.

Not just his pupil and iris...but the whites of his eyes, too.

Completely blacked out.

My heart seizes in my chest and I feel an overwhelming urge to run. But I'm weighted to the floor by my dread.

One careful step at a time and then he's toe to toe with me.

Towering over me.

He leans his face down toward mine and...stares.

I feel stripped bare.

His gaze is piercing...slicing straight through my flimsy excuse for composure and gutting me to my core.

I'm paralyzed in place. I can feel my pulse in my fingertips as they dangle at my sides.

My heartbeat pounds. Hard. Harder and harder until it's no longer in my ears...but out loud. Loud.

So loud.

Thud.

Thud.

Thud.

He tilts his head to the side and his breath floats along the surface of my skin, hovering above it...teasing it.

The tip of my nose...my lips...my cheek.

He at once intoxicates and terrifies me.

I have to tilt my head back to look up at him.

He opens his mouth, and though it forms words, I cannot hear them.

I shake my head furrow my brow. "Wha-...?"

He opens his mouth again...

And when he speaks, I begin to tremble...crying out and covering my ears.

But it's too late. I've already heard it.

Heard him.

Edward's lips move...but all I hear is Charlie's voice.

"Leave it to you to fuck up a good thing, eh, Bella?"

Edward's intense stare...with the disgusted, venomous voice I hadn't heard in years.

The combination is too much...overwhelming in its severity.

No. No. No. No. No.

"NO!"

My eyes fly open and I spring upright, quickly realizing that I'm in my booth.

Screaming.

In public.

Reflexively, I cringe and scoot out from under the hand that is lightly resting on my shoulder.

"Ma'am? Are you alright?"

I look up and recognize one of the waitresses that works in the bar here.

I don't know her name.

I don't care.

She's looking at me with concern.

She doesn't even know me.

I want to ask her what the hell she's looking at.

"I'm fine."

In seconds, I'm on my feet, bag in hand. I stand up too fast and wobble, planting a palm on the table top to steady myself.

The waitress pipes up again. "Are you sure, ma'am?"

"I said I'm fine." I bite out and she seems taken aback by how short I am with her.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I'm slightly embarrassed for snapping at her, but anxiety and confusion from the dream are still clouding my thoughts.

I need to get out of here.

"I'm...I'm sorry. Excuse me."

I rush past her and pray I can maintain my equilibrium until I get to my car.

It seems like every muscle in my body is throbbing.

I'm sore from head to toe.

The exhaustion isn't just physical. I can't seem to get a hold on my state of mind.

My thoughts have been running errant since Monday.

Since the video.

Since I'd, by some miracle, managed to slip away unnoticed by Esme.

Even thinking of her name drudges up the look on her face.

The sag of her shoulders.

The tears...

And now, two whole days later, it's only gotten worse. Of course, it didn't help that Edward called on me yesterday, the very next day.

Or maybe it helped. Not having time to think about it.

I don't know why I went.

Denial, I guess.

I tried to convince myself that what I'd seen...what'd I'd heard didn't matter.

That it didn't change anything.

That it wasn't my business and that I could walk into that penthouse and shed it all at the door, the way I'd been coping for weeks now.

How wrong I'd been.

As I rush through the lobby and into the parking garage, images and sounds from last night...with Edward...replay in my mind.

His hand gripping my throat.

Not being able to sustain my usual oblivion with him...being distracted by images of pink cheeks and tired, happy eyes. No matter how hard I tried to dismiss my curiosity...to mute all of the questions that were now eating away at me, I failed.

Losing myself in my head and crying out, disobeying his command for silence.

His words echo in my mind, loud and booming.

'Can't follow a simple goddamn instruction, can you?'

My hands are shaking. I drop my keys on the pavement twice before I get my car door unlocked.

'Is my attention not enough for you.....?'

Inside my car, the reflective surge is ruthless. I grip the steering wheel tightly and close my eyes, willing it all away.

I'm desperate for even a moment's peace.

It's fruitless.

My thoughts are erratic. It's as if he exists as two different people in my mind. The two images of his face are like a strobe light behind my eyelids as he fucks me hard and fast...angry at my disobedience.

The light, glowing face of Edward cradling his daughter disappears into wisps of smoke, giving way to the angry, glaring eyes of the Edward I've come to know.

Eyes of blue darken from a clear sparkling to cold and steely in color.

My cheek pressing into the gold glass of the window as he lifts my body and thrusts into me hard from behind.

'That's it, bitch. Take. My. Cock.'

I press a hand to my face, palm to cheek...and I swear I can still feel the chill of the glass there. HIs tight grip on my flesh as he works me over. I fist both of my hands into the hair at either side of my head and lean my forehead onto the steering wheel.

Exhausted...spent. On all fours as he punishes my body. Manipulating it. Up in the air, down to the floor. Unable to make his mind up. Me, feeling torn between disgust for myself for ending up where I have, and desperate to come...just once more...before it's all over.

Before I make the decision that can't be undone.

Coming apart around him and the roar that thunders from him and echoes off of the walls.

It's the most volatile he's ever been.

I believe, tonight, we finally have something in common.

I wonder why he is who he is now, when he obviously wasn't always...

I chastise myself for caring...for being unable to let it all go.

I feel incompetent for not being capable of its dismissal.

'You. Don't. Run. This. Shit.'

His hands, his words...demanding. He manipulates my body, clueless to the fact that he's doing the same to my mind.

My body is spent, lagging and only barely able to yield to his orders. And I have the strangest, most potent urge to turn and find his eyes.

To see if maybe there's even a trace of the 'old' him.

The one from the video.

The one that seems to have existed light years ago.

But I don't.

My stability, mentally and physically, is in shreds. In a way I've never experienced before.

The darkness I know I'd find there would do me in.

And even thinking of his reaction to the eye contact makes me shudder.

So I play my part.

I'm his good little whore.

Just one more time...

'You'd wear my cum with pride, wouldn't you Isabella?'

And when he'd disappeared into the bathroom with a slamming of the door, I wasted no time in cleaning myself off and redressing.

When I'd passed the table in the foyer, I briefly contemplated leaving the money.

Everything had changed. Drastically. So quickly.

My pride wanted to leave the envelope untouched in its place. But the realist in me knew what the next several months could very well entail for me.

I'd spent years in the same predicament. And I couldn't see refusing the cash.

I'd earned it.

So I pocketed the money and pulled a pen from the front pouch of my bag, which I'd discarded just inside the door. The blue ink bled into the stark white of the envelope. Leaving only three words.

I'm sorry,

Isabella

I don't know why I chose those words. They were all that came to mind. I certainly didn't owe him an apology...so why did I feel like I did?

Like I still do?

And that was the part that had been eating away at me for two days now. Why did I feel...bad? I couldn't help it. Maybe it was because I was now privy to the fact that the one dimensional asshole didn't seem to have always been that way. My mind was torn into two.

Two conflicted sides of itself.

I was simultaneously curious about what could have happened to him, and vehemently fighting off any explanations. Any hunches.

Yet, they came anyway.

The baby. It had to do with the baby, I just knew it.

How happy he looked, how happy Esme sounded.

How in the hell did that turn into a house without any pictures of Edward...of the baby girl?

Why was he such a sore subject?

Why did Esme seem sadder and sadder the closer the wedding got?

Stop, Bella.

You don't care.

You don't care.

You don't care.

Don't care, Bella.

Don't.

The only thing I knew for sure...was that I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't go to him and pretend I didn't know.

Couldn't carry on with him the way I was, regardless of my financial needs. I knew it the moment he laid his hands on me last night.

The second he was inside of me and all I could see when I closed my eyes...was his smile.

And all I could hear was his laughter.

And all I could feel was strangled.

Smothered and bound.

I was floundering. In search of the state of oblivion that had carried my mind through so many of our past encounters.

I wanted my darkness back.

My indifference.

This had turned into something much more than it should have been.

Why couldn't I feel numbness setting in?

Why couldn't I make the questions in my head stop?

The wondering?

Oh, I knew why.

And in the end, it was too much. Too complicated.

So I walked away.

And I wasn't going back.

Sitting up straight and glancing at the clock on my dash, I realize my nap and parking garage breakdown had taken longer than I'd thought.

Great. No time to change. Off to class in my uniform.

~o~

Days pass.

I go to school.

I go to work.

I go to sleep.

Today is Christmas.

But that's an afterthought for me. It's never meant much before, and I didn't see that changing anytime soon.

It's secondary to what today really represents.

Saturday.

As in Saturday.

I don't know why today feels so...final.

Maybe because it isn't six o'clock yet. And although I'd made my mind up not to go back, I guess I'd gotten it into my head somehow, that it wasn't all over...until that that long hand passed the twelve.

It isn't over...'til it's over, I guess.

And for some reason or another, I did...nothing.

All day.

I'd been just sitting here in the window seat of my dorm room.

Staring out at...nothing.

At the red brick of the building across the courtyard.

At the people coming and going, zig zagging up and down the walkways of the campus.

Running, walking, jogging, standing.

Talking, laughing, wildly gesturing with their hands in excitement.

They make it all look so simple.

Hours pass.

Until the one I've waited for is here.

And passes.

No phone call.

No text message.

Nothing.

'And believe me when I say that I won't be chasing after you.'

It's over.

~o~


More days pass.

I work.

And work.

And work.

No school.

Fucking winter break. Like I need more spare time.

Sprinkle some Kate in.

Some Angela.

Some Cullens.

Fortunately, I'm not due back at their house again...until the wedding.

Which I'd made a weak attempt at trying to get out of.

But Kate insisted.

Like the polite kind of insistence that's really not a request.

And I didn't want to be rude. Honestly, I was curious. I'd worked pretty hard. And apart from the secret coincidence I shared with the family, I'd actually...enjoyed myself.

At times.

But who was I kidding?

The only reason I was even considering showing my face at the wedding, was because I knew that Edward wouldn't be there.

Kate was the one who'd announced it at the last meeting, as the final guest list was being tallied.

He'd had his assistant call with his regrets.

I'd wondered if it was the same person whose low breathing and shuffling papers I'd listened to on speakerphone while Edward fucked me...whispering taunts in my ear and feeding off of it.

If his declining of the invitation bothered any of the family, they certainly hadn't shown it. In fact, they didn't seem surprised at all.

~o~

More passing days.

More work.

Only now that I knew that I'd collected my last 'paycheck' from Edward, did I begin to realize how much of a strain it had alleviated.

For the first time in months, I had to call and request payment extensions.

Car insurance.

Tuition.

And then there was my first grocery shopping trip since I'd ended our arrangement.

It was back to the basics.

Bread. Peanut butter. Jelly. Ramen.

No Milanos.

No Häagen Dazs.

No cantaloupe.


~o~



I got up.

I went where I was supposed to.

I did what I was supposed to.

Said the things I was supposed to when I had to.

But nothing was registering.

Noises and voices...they all came across as white noise.

I felt like I was moving underwater.

Hearing underwater.

Everything was muffled and warped.

And I felt so...frustrated.

Tense.

I'd made a pact with myself after Christmas.

Not to think of...him.

Not to entertain thoughts of his body and how capable it was at bending mine to his will.

Not to think of the video.

Not to think of the pain that radiates from that family.

Not to think of anything but my plan.


Because that's what all of this started out as, right?

It was only supposed to be the answer to a dilemma I'd been faced with.

A way to make ends meet until I could do it for myself.

It was never supposed to turn into...this.

It was never supposed to be...anything.

And that's when I decided...it didn't have to be.

And so I reached down deep inside of me...and pulled the old Bella out.

The one that I hadn't seen since Edward Cullen had gotten a hold of her.

The one who could shelve it all.

The one who didn't waste time on things she couldn't change.

The one who only knew this one way to be.

I pulled her out and dusted her off and swore that I'd never let my guard down again.

That I'd learned my lesson.

That I needed to realize that I had problems of my own.

That I had no room for his...for theirs.

It's none of your business, Bella.


~o~


Arriving at the Cullen home was...overwhelming.

Coming here always did a number on my nerves, but today was throwing them into overdrive.

People. So many people. Seeing the number on paper was quite a different experience than seeing it in person. I guess I'd underestimated the number of elbows that Carlisle and Esme seemed to rub.

I'd be lying if I said I hadn't waited until as latest as possible to show up. It was late afternoon, after handing over my car to the valet, I ran my hand down the front of my skirt and hoped I looked halfway decent.

There was no way in hell that I could have afforded a dress on the budget that I'd been newly reunited with. Not even something used.

So I'd gone out on a limb...and asked Angela. We were pretty much the same size, and I only had to suffer through ten minutes of grilling questions about why I needed it and if I had a date. And yes, she still wasn't letting go of the E.C. Asshat thing. And I'm not entirely convinced I had her convinced that he, whoever she thought he was, wasn't involved in my needing the dress.

She'd also threatened bodily harm if I didn't return it to her in pristine condition.

And that's how I found myself swathed in the dark purple wrap dress, or so Angela had called it, making my way up the winding stone path to the front door of the Cullen home.

For the last time, I'd decided.

Entering the foyer, I immediately felt transported.

Tightly bound bunches of white roses and calla lilies adorned nearly every available surface in sight. Randomly placed lit tea lights flickered throughout the space.

As inconspicuously as possible, I made my way through the foyer and down the hall to the french doors that lead to the backyard, stopping just outside the threshold.

And my breath caught.

Again, seeing it on paper and reading it in words is one thing...

But to see it come to fruition was just...breathtaking, really.

Alice and Jasper had made it clear from the beginning of the planning process that they didn't want anything extravagant.

Simple. It was the word they'd used most often.

The yard was divided into two sections and lined with rows of white wooden folding chairs. And down the middle, were white rose petals strewn about, in lieu of an aisle runner.

The petals stopped about six feet from the base of a giant oak tree, its thick branches twisted in every direction and hovering just over the spot where the couple and the pastor would be standing.

And just above, hung dozens of circular white lanterns. Some long, some short. All hung from clear wiring, giving the appearance of being suspended in the air, hovering over where they'd soon make vows to one another.

It was perfect. And I mentally slapped myself on the back for the minor part I'd played in it.

"Oh, Bella! You're here!"

I spun to see Kate trotting toward me with a smile on her face, the long skirt of her dress flowing around her legs as she neared me.

"Hi, Kate."

"Oh, Bella, you look wonderful. This color is great on you."

Feeling uncomfortable with her fussing, I motioned with my hand to the backyard.

"It all turned out wonderfully, really."

Her smile widened as she winked at me and motioned for me to follow her into the foyer.

"We did good, didn't we, kid?"

And she was giving me too much credit. This is her forte. Her passion. But I couldn't deny how much I genuinely had enjoyed the process. Being a part of something productive.

I was beginning to understand her draw to the event planning business. The planning and envisioning. To create a vision and watch it take shape. I felt something slide into place in that moment. Like, maybe I was onto something here.

Due to my late arrival, the ceremony was set to start only about half an hour later, so Kate quickly ushered me to get seated. I chose the back row.

The ceremony was beautiful. Intimate and sweet. Alice and Jasper wrote their own vows and I had to look away as they spoke them to one another and kissed to seal it.

The ceremony took place outside as well, as the chairs were cleared away and replaced with a dance floor. Several round tables and chairs had already been placed on the far side of the yard, ready to be moved into place.

I hung back and tried my best to blend in with the crowd. I stayed unnoticed throughout the evening, much to my relief. The family seemed bombarded with well wishers and family and friends.

Now that it was dark out, the lanterns hanging from several trees throughout the large backyard provided enough light for the guests who remained there. But the majority of them had retreated inside. The ceremony festivities were over and now people were just mingling and drinking, dancing and having a good time. I took it as my cue to leave.

But before I did, I turned bak and took one last look at the Cullens. Alice and Jasper were on the dance floor together, swaying slowly and whispering in one another's ears. Alice's heels were dangling from her hands, which were linked up and behind Jasper's neck. His arms were wrapped tightly around her waist as he guided her in lazy circles. They were lost in their own world. And it was in that moment that I realized what it was that made me feel so awkward around the two of them.

Envy.

Of what they had together. It was foreign to me, their connection. Something I'd never witnessed before.

It was magnificent...and I hated how bitter it made me feel.

I wasn't meant to have that.

I glanced over to the round table closest to the dance floor...and there were Carlisle and Esme. I hadn't gotten to see them together often, but tonight, it seemed that he hadn't left her side. Every time I'd seen one, there was the other.

She sat with her elbows propped on the table, hands clasped together under her chin. Watching Alice and Jasper with a look of pride. And a smile. A genuine one. One of the few I'd seen her don in the past several weeks.

Carlisle sat closely to her side, his arm wrapped around the back of her chair. He leaned forward then, and said something to her. Her eyes never left the newlyweds as she nodded and blinked a few times.

I watched as a single tear fell from her eye.

And I watched as Carlisle caught it before it fell, wiping it away and kissing the spot it'd been in.

I turned away, content to remember them this way.

I had just slipped my coat on and was approaching the front doors when I heard a loud crash from the other side of it. I startled and stopped, looking around to see if I had been the only one to hear it.

I hadn't.

"Sir, you can't park there. Sir! Sir!" The muffled voice of who I was assuming was the valet attendant sounded from the front yard, followed by that of the last person I'd expected.

"Fucking watch me! Esme! Esmeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Several people around me had begun looking around in confusion.

But I was acutely aware of what was happening.

Of who was about to happen.

16 comments:

fanofbones said...

Completely fantastic chapter, OMFG. My heart just aches for her.
Edward showing up at the wedding is going to be very interesting.
I’m so excited for the next chapter. WTH will be his reaction to Bella being there and knowing his family? I’m actually a little afraid for her.

fab/vicki

Kymbersmith said...

Hi,

I was so sad to see thaat FFN had pulled FYW. I haven't been able to read the llast 2 chapters because I was moving house, but I'm glad I haven't missed out.

I loved this chapter. I'm so proud of Bella for making that decision to leave Edward. It would have been so easy for her to keep taking the money she so clearly needs.

The wedding was beautiful, but my gut told me that Edward would show up at some point. I hope he notices her and tells her how he really feels.

Kym

fr_larsson said...

Love the chapter, =) heartbreaking and i wonder how Edward´ll react to seeing Bella here.. . *dun dun dun*
Glad you got your own blog =) and that i found you again =D

best wishes, Linda

rebernardi said...

And the shit hits the fan...
OMFG!!!
I bet he will be worst... the lack of release... this can be good!!

ksw3 said...

Not good! If Edward is going to be an ASS why show up at all? It will really set him into a rage when he finds Bella there. I wonder who he is getting his sex fix from since Bella quit showing up? Hand job Edward? No one else will put up with you. Cant wait to read the next chapter! I hope they have some interaction.

addicted-to-bedward said...

I worried for a few minutes,thinking I lost your story.
I'm glad I found it. This was supposed to happen, right? The meeting after so many days.

This.is.Yady! said...

I cant believe ff.net pulled the story from the site.... fucking haters reporting stories!

pamcamcris23's FICtional Life said...

Holy shit.... In pins & needles here! I have one more chapter (chapter 11) until your next listing, then I'll wait, not sure about gow often you post though? I found the story on FF but kept putting off reading it until another one of he maby stories I've been reading ended. So when it did & I went to e link & found the story missing but found the link to the blog, I breathed a sigh of relief. My God, how fucking intense is Edward?! Shit! Ok, onto chapter 11.

Sessahhh said...

Fantastic cliffieee! Glad I have three more chapters to catch up on. What a depressed state your Isabella has found herself in. I cannot wait to see what happens and if the crazed (and possibly drunk?) Edward sees her and makes a further scene.

maxandmimasmummy said...

I desperately need to read the next chapter!

~Elli~Iris~ said...

Ch 10
Nightmare. She is fucking A Jeckle/Hyde kind of guy, but no more. She is done. “I’m sorry.” All she could say. What would he make of that? He doesn’t expect him to come after her. He said he wouldn’t. Would he?
The wedding- He declines as expected. How does one miss their sister’s wedding? Grow the fuck up and sand up like a real man Edward. But it was beautiful, and she envies their relationship. Their love. Something she recognized but has never experienced.
Oh shit! He is thee? Drunk? Don’t ruin this Edward. How will Bella get away? Man am I glad I am not caught up here yet. These cliffies my kill me when I reach 14….
Iris~Elli

luvnrob said...

Oh shit!!!

PAW'sPeaches said...

oh lord.

ive missed roughie. It's been five months. the last chapter left me crying in my kitchen, this one has me totally identifying with Bella pulling her "old self" out - the one that shelves it all. i've got one of those too- surely we all do.

anxious to see whats got roughie in a tizzy.

ive missed your passionate writing jp- it shines like a thousand suns. we feel all of that passion when we read your words. so beautifully eloquent, you've delivered this story, just so so well. salute.

xoxo~ cuppycakes

kelly said...

I hate that Bella is so numb. She did do the right thing though. Edward is broken. She couldn't continue with him given all that she knows. Even though it's not much, it's too much given their arrangement.

Oh fuck. Edward is at the wedding. There to fuck everything up :(

fancastride said...

So heartbreaking. What broke her, her present or past or his. He came and does not sound like his is in control.

kneon said...

That was heartbreakly beautiful. Bella is so broken in her own way, bc of the way her parents were with her. Verbal abuse is so bad.

Edward showing up is not going to be good & him seeing Bella there.