July 10, 2011

Chapter Fifteen

Song I rocked to write:

'We Have a Map of the Piano' by Múm (thank you to @LeKinkyTwilight)
~fywfywfywfyw~


She hadn't tried very hard or for very long before it became second nature to her. Living in the shadows isn't as difficult when it's the way of one's world. When it's all you know.
All there is.
Very early on, she'd perfected the art of fading into the background, unaware that there was any other way. Convincing herself that someday, it would all be different. That she just had to be a good girl and do as was expected. That it would all pay off one day.
After all, how could a heart so young and fresh and hungry, possibly grasp such a vicious reality without the aid of an incentive, distorted as it may be? 
And so, guided by her naive innocence, she bides her time...learning how to cope. How to ease the hurt and let the pain of rejection roll off and away. Sharpening her concentration and deftly ignoring anything that could serve to distract her. 
When the world claws and closes in, she seeks places of solace. And even in these, she remains alone.
An old, worn out tire in the otherwise unused backyard of her childhood home.
A high-backed booth, off in the corner, away from eyes and ears and the expectation of more.
A second story window seat, overlooking the water and the darkness and the stars, that lets her look out without letting anything in. 
She's ill equipped to identify, let alone engage, the gnawing feeling. The sensation that overtakes her randomly throughout the day, ebbing and flowing, but never ceasing. It hollows out her chest and leaves nothing behind to compensate.
Loneliness.
Time is a funny thing and, unbeknownst to her, it had been busy as well. While she'd been so diligently sidetracked with her tomorrow, time had eroded her spark. Without knowledge of any other way, she'd hardened her spirit, effectively smothering the flame inside of her. 
The fire that had inspired her to fight in the first place is extinguished.
And after the years have made a woman of the girl and appearances try their best to mislead, it is only a matter of time before she sees the truth. Before she opens her eyes and sees it for herself. 
That she's no farther along than when she'd started. 
That she never shook the darkness, for it has followed her toward a place she still cannot reach.
The voice of her heart, weakened to a faded echo, whispers in her ear.
"Is this it?'"
She hears her heart, feels it trying to tell her something, but it's no match for the atrophy that a lifetime has unleashed on her will.
It leaves her unarmed and incompetent, going though the motions yet never making any leeway. 
She's lived in the darkness for so long, she's lost her way out. 
So what's she to do when another soul, jagged and scarred, storms its way in and drags her into the light?
What will she do when the words he won't keep to himself illuminate and expose the part of herself that remains a stranger? To her...to everyone?
Will she flee, scurrying back into the shadows and the safety of invisibility? 
Or will she fight, recovering the spark of a girl who she's forgotten? A girl who, for all her naiveté, had mastered a very simple truth. One that the woman has yet to grasp.
That she was worth more.





~o~
BPOV

"Hello. How are you today?"

How am I today?
Crawling out of my skin.

Wishing away the last three weeks.

Wishing him away.
Exhausted. That dazed kind of tired that sleep can't touch. It knocks me down a peg and a few years back. Five, to be specific. 

It's an unwelcome nostalgia. 

Gone are the days where the exhaustion is unavoidable, yet here it is again. And it seems that I'm not as cut out for it this time. I'd gone down this path for years now. For years. And managed just fine. I'd paid my dues and worked my way out. Along comes Edward Cullen and I'm dunked right back into the chaotic mindset that I'd worked so hard to get out of. And even worse, it seems I'm rusty. 
Somehow, I don't think the woman behind the counter at Seattle Coffee Works could handle the brutal truth. 

"Fine, thanks. Can I just get a coffee, black, please?"

She looks relieved at my preference. I can't blame her after having stood in line behind ten minutes worth of fluffy coffee orders. 

My fingers wrap around the paper cup and my palm stings from the heat of it. With too much time left in my lunch hour and no desire to return earlier than necessary, I bypass the exit and settle into a booth by the front window. I watch without interest as people stroll in and out of the coffee shop and up and down the sidewalks. Droves of people bustle up and down the sidewalk and across the street. A scattered mob of people with places to be on a Monday afternoon.

My leg bounces frantically under the table as I stare out the window and I don't even taste the coffee, drinking it down far quicker than I should. It's scalding hot and the burn of my tongue adds to my slow march toward losing it.

And later, after leaving work for the day, I finally do. 



~0~



It'd been a short forty-eight hours since he'd left my driveway. Since he'd hijacked my run, dropping an impromptu confession in my lap and bombarding my mind with a heap of unwanted memories. Since he'd poured words of guilt and apology and humility in my ears. And then he'd driven away. Leaving me there with all of the shit I wish he'd taken with him. 

The weight of it is torturous. 

He'd left...but he wasn't gone. Just as he'd done with his first two spontaneous visits, he'd smudged my thoughts with the burden of things best left dead. 

I can feel myself slipping. Taking shaky steps backward. Toward a time that I'd left behind.

A time that you think you left behind.
And yes, the badgering voice of my conscience had miraculously returned as well...riding right in on Edward's coattails. 

Leaving was what I'd wanted him to do. He couldn't be gone fast enough, and yet his absence did nothing to alleviate the unease I'd felt from the moment he's jogged up alongside me. I'd tried to keep myself busy with all the things I normally would. Cleaning, working, TV. 

Nothing worked. 

Saturday and Sunday night had granted me a whopping five hours of sleep combined. I'd skipped my morning run on Sunday, too paranoid that he hadn't meant what he'd said about staying away. I kept trudging, thinking that if I could just make it to Monday, I could immerse my mind in work. However brief a time it would be, it was something. I'd take any relief from the onslaught in my head. Any opportunity to ignore the things that were tormenting my sanity and obliterating my focus.

Every account I'd tried to work on fell to the wayside because I couldn't even hear myself think. I'd been pulled so tight all day, that every time someone spoke to me, it chafed my nerves. I'd snapped at a courier first thing that morning and barely made it through a meeting with a client who insisted there be bubbles blown, by hand, at every table of her daughter's sweet sixteen party. Even after returning from my lunch break, the day just went downhill. Kate had finally pulled me aside and asked if everything was okay. While she was a wonderful person, this business was her pride and joy, and she ran a tight ship. I could tell she didn't believe me when I'd said I was just tired, but let it slide anyways. She'd be taking a mental note. Watching me closer now. Having to be pulled into the boss' office for the first time in all of my time at Windsor just served to farther piss me off. And only exacerbated my dilemma.

His words just got louder.

'I heard you....'
'....kick you while you're down...'
'Treating you like shit made me feel better...'
'I used you...'
'I humiliated and abused you...'
'Stop fucking acting like it didn't happen...'
Over and over.

I couldn't turn them off. 

I couldn't even turn them down.

They looped, replaying his points of argument endlessly, as if he were at my side, delivering them into my ear himself.

'I was a better person once...'
'...but I lost that...'
'....buried it alive...'
'...I feel guilty...'
'...maybe the good person I used to be isn't dead...'
I couldn't afford to have his words inside of me. I wasn't any match for them and I suppose a part of me already knew it. But what was I supposed to do? I knew he was waiting for something from me. Anything. I could practically smell it on him every time his eyes drifted away and back to those nights. But what? What was he after?

I am driving down the I-5, heading for home when it hits me. 

What he wants.

It's the only thing that makes sense. Why he was so persistent. The only possible explanation for why he'd try so hard to make me listen to him. Why he'd even care after all of this time. 

With little thought for anything besides finally putting the situation to rest, I jerk across three lanes of traffic and take an exit toward the last place I ever thought I'd go again.


~o~

It's been so long since I'd last been here. So many things have changed. 

The lobby isn't one of them.

It's still as pristine and sophisticated as I remember it, decorated in tasteful, contemporary furniture and completely spotless. It smells the same, leather and a subtle fragrance. Something purposeful, like a hidden air freshener. Even the security guard is the same. A touch of gray in the hair near his temples is the only difference I see. As I walk closer to the front desk, I realize that the grip of intimidation this place always had on me is gone now. 

You're not that girl anymore, Bella.
The guard regards me politely, generically, at first. And then I see his head tilt just a fraction and his eyes narrow slightly. He watched me approach and when I reach the desk, his words startle me. 

"Cullen, right?"

My face heats immediately at the thought of him remembering me. At the possibility that he could know the reason for my visits here. I want to assume he doesn't know anything, but my insecurity isn't so sure.

"Um, yes sir, that's right. Isabella Swan."

"Just one moment, ma'am. I have to call up."

I nod and he reaches for the phone, but is cut off by a voice from just behind me.

"That won't be necessary, Marcus."

I straighten up immediately, a dormant reflex that belongs to him...as much as it irritates me to admit it. And because my body is as traitorous as my mind is lately, the shiver makes itself known. It always seems to slink straight off of him and slither its way up my back, reveling in the transfer and adhering itself to my volition, taunting it. 

The authority that the simplest of his words can convey is impressive. He isn't being short. It's just...him. I wonder if he knows he can do that. If he knows that he bleeds control into a room just by being in it. 

Or maybe it's just me he has this affect on, seeing as how Marcus seems rather relaxed.

"Good evening, Mr. Cullen. How are you this evening?"

"I'm fine. Any messages?"

Marcus' face changes then, and for just a second he looks...hesitant. He lifts a small pile of message memos off of the desk, but doesn't move to hand them over.

"Just the usual ones, sir."

I haven't turned to face him, but whatever he communicates, he does so silently. Marcus nods and balls the papers, throwing them into a small wastebasket behind him. Huh.
"Isabella."

And, damn it, I jump in place. Deciding that having any kind of conversation with him while my back is turned isn't conducive to him taking me seriously. I slowly turn to face him, chastising myself for letting my determination slip for even a moment. I came here with a purpose. And I am going to follow through with it. 

Just as soon as I could breathe again.

A suit. A fucking suit. 

Did it have to be black? Shirt, jacket, pants. Head to toe.

My vision alternates between the Edward of right now and the Edward of five years ago. A cocky sneer and a white business card. 

'I have a proposition for you, Isabella......Isabella.....Isabella......'
"Isabella!"

Edward's voice is just below a yell, startling me out of the memory. Both he and Marcus are looking at me with careful concern, but it's Edward that speaks. 

"Are you o-?"

I wrap anger around my embarrassment and fling it at him. 

"I'm fine. I-I need to talk to you."

The words come out harsher than I meant them. He nods and glances toward the exit behind him and then to the elevators.

"Okay. Did you want to come up, or..." 

He trails off, leaving the decision up to me. I definitely don't want to discuss this in the lobby, and going outside isn't the best idea. Our conversations have a tendency to get...complicated.

"We can do this upstairs." 

I realize the double meaning of my words, and trip over myself to correct them. 

"I mean, talk! We can talk upstairs."

Marcus is still watching me, probably contemplating whether or not I'm all there and Edward's eyebrows are raised in question. 

He nods and motions for me to go ahead toward the elevators. 

The elevators.
I clearly hadn't thought this far ahead. I've never been in such a small space with him before. Well, unless you count his car, but even then I was practically sitting on my hands to keeps my hormones in check. I hate that he brings this out in me. My shoulders sag in shame as we step inside and the doors close. We both stand facing the shiny gold doors. When I glance at his reflection, the last thing I thought I'd see is his face turned toward me. I whip my head to the left and look at him. His brows are furrowed and his eyes are dancing over my face.

"Are you sure you're okay?"

I don't want his concern. I don't need it. And have no idea what to do with it. 

"Yes."

I turn away from him and look down at my feet, but jump away from him when he leans into me. 

He freezes in place, his arm stretched around and past me. Our eyes lock and his jaw clenches, just before he adjusts his body to angle farther away from mine and presses the P button on the panel to my right. He straightens back up and I feel too ridiculous for words. I hadn't flinched from fear, but from...well, I don't really know. 

The air is tense between us now. Although I was just wishing for it, I want to undo it as well. I close my eyes and try to focus on why I'm here. Bad idea. Exhaustion lends itself to relaxation and I sway a little as the elevator comes to a stop.

 The silence is painful as we walk down the hall and I don't know why. I don't care to talk to him anymore than I have to. He stops at the doors I haven't laid eyes on in five years and makes quick work of unlocking the knob and bolt, again motioning for me to go ahead of him. The gesture should feel chivalrous, but it just feels oddly intimate to me. Foreign. However, I don't have too long to dwell on the unease. Not two steps inside the foyer, a heavy weight collides with my stomach. I lose my footing and fall backwards, too fast to catch myself on my hands. My elbows slam down painfully on the marble floor. It all happens in the span of mere seconds. Edward's voice booms from behind me. 

"Paul, no! Down!"

I look up and spot the culprit.  

Edward has a dog? 

A dog named...Paul?

A golden retriever, it looks like. His thick coat of hair is light blonde in color and a stark contrast to Edward's suit as he pulls him back by the collar and leads him down the two steps and around the corner, grumbling as he does so. I sit up and flex my arms, looking for something to pull up on. The form fitting pencil skirt I wore to work today isn't exactly helping me. 

"Shit, I'm sorry about him. Fucking dog. Here...let me..."

Just as I plant my right hand on the table by the wall for leverage to pull myself up, his hand wraps around my left, just above my elbow. I feel his knuckles brush against my rib cage and the heat from his palm radiates from my shoulder to fingertip. 

His touch is hesitant.

 Uncomfortable. 

He's unsure if it's okay, but doesn't want to be an asshole. 

I'm not sure which I'd have preferred. 

As soon as my feet are planted on the ground, he lets go, running his hand through his hair. 

"Thank you."

He nods and clears his throat, brushing his hands down the front of his shirt and jacket, trying in vain to rid it of the mess of golden dog hairs. When it doesn't work, he slinks the jacket off of his shoulders and my eyes dart away from him.

When they land on the mirror that's hanging on the wall to my right, the past takes hold of me.  

I can feel his teeth clamped down on my neck.

The way the heat of his growl burned through the material of my shirt, warming my skin and chilling my bones.

The vibrations of the wall under my palms, caused by the weight of us.

"Um...have a seat. If you want. I'm just gonna..." 

He motions toward the hall and it's my turn to nod, tearing my eyes away as soon as I notice the way his dress shirt clings to his shoulders. I hear a door close as I move into the sitting area and look out at the Puget Sound. The view here really is spectacular, and I settle down onto the sofa that faces the floor to ceiling windows. I avoid looking around the room, not wanting to conjure up any unwanted memories. 

I jerk my leg away as something cool and wet grazes my ankle. When I look down, it's into the round brown eyes of Paul. He's lying down at my feet, looking up at me with his head tilted and his tail swiping back and forth across the carpet behind him. And I can't help it. He's begging me with his eyes. Waiting for my word. 

I reach down and pat the top of his head. His coat is soft and smooth under my palm, and he immediately raises his head and lays it across my lap. He rests it there, patiently. Waiting for me to catch on and give him what he wants. His eager friendliness feels strange here, in a place so devoid of affection.

"Hey there." I whisper quietly to him, partly because it feels kind of silly talking to him and partly because I feel like my voice would echo in the large space. Like the silence isn't mine to break through. 

As I pull my arm back and scratch behind his ear, my elbow brushes against a throw pillow and I wince. I rub my fingers over it and can already tell it's going to leave a wicked bruise. 

"Do you need ice?"

I startle and whip around to where he stands in the kitchen, one hand on the freezer handle. He's changed into a white t-shirt and jeans. My eyes revolt against me, running down the line of his body before obeying me and looking away. 

"No, it's okay."

Nodding, he comes around the large island, passing the sofa and spotting my company.

"Paul, no! Go to your bed!" 

He doesn't yell, but commands him firmly, pointing toward the foyer and hallway area. Paul spares him a sideways glance with his eyes and makes a dismissive snorting sound through his nose. 

"Paul, back!"

The dog doesn't budge and I can tell Edward is frustrated at being ignored. 

"It's okay. He's fine."

He stares at me for a long minute and then drops the arm that was pointing Paul away back to his side. He looks down at Paul as if deciding whether to leave him be, and then walks over and sits in the chair to the left of where I'm sitting.

"You named your dog Paul?"

It's a totally random question, and only after I've asked does it occur to me that he might be offended. He seems surprised by my question, but not bothered.

"Um...yeah. It was the first name I thought of."

I nod and we slip back into the awkward silence that might as well be a third person when we're in the same room together now.

"It was for th-..."

I watch him carefully as he falters in his words. He's turning them over and around in his head, debating whether or not to use them. For the first time tonight, we lock eyes and I see something there. Ever since he'd rung my doorbell on that first Sunday afternoon, he'd persisted and pushed, demanding to be heard. To be listened to. 

This was the first instance where he hadn't cornered me. 

Out of nowhere, I feel a curiosity pinching at me. I wonder for just a moment how he sees me. How my silence in the face of his revelations might have felt. How my anger, which always seems to storm to the forefront during our conversations, might be perceived by him. He triggers my ire with very little effort. 

And for the first time, I wonder if it's really him I'm angry at...or what he brings out in me. The taxing reminiscence he sets off in my body every time I see him...hear him. The unwelcome rush of feelings that he causes whenever he's near. They breach my senses and encroach upon my peace, until I'm twisting and jerking to be free. Until my back is to the wall and exasperation turns into anger. And then nothing stands a chance of making it past the wall of defense I throw up.

Can he see it?

Does he see me?
He swallows down his hesitation.

"It was my therapist's idea. 'The first step toward companionship'...whatever the hell that was supposed to mean."

He flings his words around, feigning carelessness, but I can see the finality he feels about what he's said. He can't take it back. It's already out there. The nonchalant way he shrugs his shoulders doesn't match the way his eyes cautiously wait on my reaction. 

"So, you're in therapy? That's...good."

"Was. Not anymore. I don't even know why I kept him. The damned dog hates me. He usually just stays on his bed all night."

I look down at Paul and a clouded memory pushes its way to the surface. Shaggy black hair and white paws. I keep my eyes on Paul's head as I pet him, forgetting myself and wrap my tongue around words I hadn't meant to say out loud.

"I had a dog once. I'd found him eating out of the dumpster behind the school and brought him home. Gave him a bath, fed him. When I came home from school a week later, he was gone. Guess Charlie decided he didn't need one more mouth to feed."

"Charlie?"

I'm snap violently back to the present when I hear that name come from his mouth. 

Just like that, I feel myself pull back and twist inside my skin, gritting my teeth and wordlessly chastising myself for opening my mouth. Figuring it's best to just ignore his question, I try to summon the determination I'd had when I'd jerked my car across the freeway earlier.

"Look, Edward, I just came by to tell you that I thought about what you said. And...that even though I don't think you should feel bad about what happened, you seem to. I understand that you felt you needed to make amends, but there isn't any need to. I made the decision to...take you up on your offer. No one forced me to. You may have known more about my...situation, but it still doesn't change the fact that I  went along with the arrangement. I showed up. And I took the money. I knew where the door was."

He's watching me closely, his eyes narrowed slightly and his posture casual. He's leaning forward with his elbows resting on his thighs, arms folded together so that each hand is gripping the opposite forearm.

"But if it makes you feel better...I forgive you." 

I shrug my shoulders and take a deep breath, relieved to have said it. Eager to give him the only thing I could possibly think he'd be after. That would make him drop this whole ridiculous thing and move on. Go away.

"You...forgive me?" 

His eyebrows raise and I fidget. I don't know what I was expecting. Relief? A smile? A thank you and goodbye? He doesn't give me any of that. He just...stares at me. 

"Well, yes. I do."

"Just like that?"

"Yes."

"Tell me, Isabella, what is it exactly that you forgive me for?"

He's not angry, but I feel his sarcasm toeing the line. And maybe just a touch of skepticism. Sarcastic skepticism. I didn't see that coming. 

"Well...for...everything. All of it."

He stares at me, frozen in place, for nearly an entire minute. Suddenly, I don't feel as victorious as I had just moments ago. 

"It won't go away just because you ignore it. Trust me."

His voice is soft...careful. 

"What?"

My eyes dart to the door and my hands clench on the cushions at my sides, abandoning their steady scratch of Paul's head.

"What happened to you, Isabella?"

I shake my head back and forth, but don't say anything. No. 

"Was it me? Did I do this to you?"

With every word he says, I feel my panic build. I shake my head at him again, but can't begin to formulate an answer. 

I want to leave. 

I have to go.

He buries a hand in his hair agitatedly and exhales long and hard.

"I don't understand you. You came here...for what? To give me your half-assed forgiveness? To lie in my face? Don't fucking patronize me, Isabella. I meant what I said. At least have the decency to be honest."

All thoughts of fleeing are abandoned. 

How dare he? 

His audacity rips my mouth open for me. 

It's the closest to an out of body experience I've ever had. My indignation gags my common sense and pins it to the floor, leaving nothing standing in the way of the words that come next.

I don't mean them. Well, not all of them. But it's too late and they fall out into the space between us. I don't recognize the woman talking. I haven't seen her in so long. Felt the hatred that she's capable of giving off. 

"Honest? You want to talk about honesty, Edward? You haven't exactly been forthcoming about yourself. You keep saying you're sorry and you feel guilty and that you were a different person. Well, fine then! Let's be honest. What happened to you, huh?"

He glares at me, but doesn't answer. And for some reason, it ignites a 
fury in me. And so I lash out, hiding behind a bravery that I don't believe in at all. It isn't real. I know it's not, but I use it to shield myself anyways.

"What happened to your daughter, Edward?"

I register the change in him immediately. It feels like all of the oxygen has been sucked from the room.

He rises slowly to his feet and I can see him shaking with the effort to contain himself.

"Get out."

Two words...two syllables...and they slam into me with such an impact that I flinch.

I'm still seated, and the way he towers over me makes the muscles in my legs tighten, tensing up...ready to run. 

"I said...get out."

I'm paralyzed by the severity of his anger. 

Eyes on fire.
Heaving chest.
Trembling fists.

Standing at his full height above me isn't the Edward that showed up on my door three weeks ago.

Oh, no.

This is the Edward from the booth at the Westin.

The Edward from the dark, dirty supply closet.

The Edward that dominated every cell in my body into submission at his feet.

I was mistaken when I thought I'd spied a glimpse of him before. 

No.

He was here now.

"GET THE FUCK OUT, ISABELLA!"

Adrenaline flies through me and I jump to my feet, narrowly avoiding tripping when the heel of my shoe catches on the carpet. I barely have time to notice that at some point, Paul had disappeared from sight.

I take long strides to the front door, aware of him trailing just behind me. I can feel his rage. It's palpable, hovering just over my shoulder...showing me to the door. Flattening my palm on the wall to the left of me for leverage, I tear the door open with my right. 

I fly through it and into the wall across the way, turning just in time to see him pound each fist into the door.

A thundering, furious roar and it slams closed so hard that I can feel the vibrations of it through the wall I have my back pressed against.

I keep swallowing, feeling my heart in my throat and my pulse in my ears. My hands shake as I smooth them over my skirt and my legs feel like rubber underneath me.

I startle when I hear a bang.

His fists...on the door.

Again.

Again.

Another.

Over and over.

I can hear a colorful rant of words and then it stops.

I'm rooted in place, wanting to run. Having no clue as to why I haven't yet. 

And then I hear it. 

Breathing.

Deep and constant and labored.

Panicked.

A sob, stifled and deep...but I hear it. 

One word repeats in my head. 

Run.
But I don't. 

I walk...slowly. 

And when the shiny gold double doors close, I look away...not ready to see what's looking back at me. 






~fywfywfywfywfywfywfywfyw~


101 comments:

ashblog89 said...

in a state of mind fuckedness. yeah i made that up. OMFG. Im a bit speechless. You are brilliant. Honestly if these two dont fuck an make up soon im gonna be crazy.

Julika7 said...

OMG the end of the chapter was mind-blowing Edward's breakdown was heart breaking I wanted to do something to help him. Please update soon...Idk what I'll do if the wait for the next chapter is long!!

emily8009 said...

That was so good!
I especially like how he didn´t just accept her forgiveness - he knows she has some serious issues and I love the fact that he suspects that he isn´t the root of them.
I hope they start to progress a tiny little bit though. Not fuck and make up (it´s way too early for that) but I would like to see a chapter that doesn´t end in one of them storming out. So tentative steps towards eachother?

AndiP said...

Finally, we have reached a REAL turning point. I just want to hold him. Edward was fooling himself, trying to be what he thought he should be by apologising and trying to make amends. The walls are coming down. They are both so broken in their own way. Brilliant writing, can't wait for the next chapter.

Fardus said...

I think this was definately the best chapter so far Jada. It seems like Edward hasn't changed that much at all and neither has Bella, even though it's been five years. Without sounding like a shrink, I hope they will talk properly soon instead of these short explosive encounters, so they can start to heal and we can find out what really happened to them both. I can't wait to read what happens next:)
@AmbaroFardus

AnastasiaCullen said...

Well...that was intense.
Good chapter!
I cant say anything that hasnt already been said but yeah I cant wait to see what happens next with these two, they both still have so much to overcome

FFpassion said...

wow that was just so intense.
Edward's breakdown was heartbreaking but that may be what starts them talking and healing together.
Looking forward to the next update.
Thank you and have a wonderful Sunday.
love
Irene
xx
@FFpassion

happysinglemom said...

please update soon!!!!

kpsp95 said...

Fantasic chapter. Very intense, Bella stll seems so far away from her breaking point where she admits she needs help.

roon0 said...

Ouch. This story, this chapter just hurts. Can these two people be any more damaged? I cannot help wonder if there is any hope for either of them? Sighs. I really do hope there is.

Looking forward to your next update.

Gabriela said...

Fuuuuck. I though he was going to really hurt her. I totally get why he reacted that way but it really feels like he has no control over it.

*scolds you* You really scared me Jada >_<

I really hope you can update soon because this is the talk I've been waiting for since the beginning. I'm not saying I wanted it to be all perfect and have everything fixed. I just really want to know what happened to get him into such a fucked up state of mind. We have clues but until he comes out and says it we wont really know...

Rainransom said...

Your writing..as always..is all consuming..I would liken it to an intense undertow in the ocean that you cannot breath until the tow releases you and you will never forget being down for so long..your writing is the same. I can't come up for air cause I am consumed until the chapter is done! And then it is on constant rewind pushing too many thoughts through my head of these two..over and over! Brilliant is an understatement! Edwards meltdown was hopefully nuclear enough to push forward progress in them talking and not walking. Im glad he called bullshit on her little forgiveness game because she is giving him what she thinks he wants..not what she needs and so no hope for her to have a better life as she so hoped for herself! Yes.. I felt that sexual power between them and if they just fucked the daylights out of each other things would be better..Id probably feel better too..but only for the very short future before it all falls away again...so that's not the right choice. If there was one thing I would wish..cause I know you will someday have the fucking come..yes Im not erasing that..this story is so much more than that.. I hope this was the pivotal chapter to start the healing. I loose my mind waiting for you to update, but if this is what you lay on the table then the loss of some more brain cells wont kill me!! Thanks for making this Sunday July 10 the best!!

ksw3 said...

Ok, I typed out this really well written response and wouldn't you know it, it's off in cyberland somewhere never to post! Loved the update! Still a lot of anger there! I think Edward needs more therapy! LOL! Soon, I think they will have some hot, anger filled sex, kinda like Closerward and Smella against the wall! Please update soon!

Chloe Masen said...

Worth the wait. My advanced thanks was deserved as I knew it would be. My only disappointment comes from the knowledge of the wait that looms before us. Damn, I hate being patient. Edward, I do not hate. Nope. Not at all. Not even a little bit. Never did. As if that were even possible. Well, put some tender kisses on his beautiful hands, and a hug around his damaged heart, and do that thing you do. We'll all be waiting.

sncmom said...

Wow. The intensity built up really well. The explosion when they are both together is going to be ....yeah. They are going to have to learn to be honest with themselves first to heal each other.

Paul. hahaha

Suzie55 said...

Like many before - this form ate my review.UGH!

Anywho...

The intensity between them is palpable but it jumps right off the page and settles into my chest. They are both so broken and that something that is shared between them (whatever it is - good, bad, or ugly) challenges their every thought and their words.

Their words are a cover for their reactions and that's where we see where their heads are really at - in their reactions. The other stuff is the superficial stuff they are using to cover themselves, to hide behind.

They way you tangle the words with such strong emotions is pure perfection.

You are a talented and brilliant writer and I missed this story.

Thank you for writing and take care,
Suzie55

Maria said...

Still no progress...

latuacantante4him said...

His pain is still so raw. With one question she has managed to rip him wide open. Her issues are bubbling at the surface ready to spill over. Why didn't he just accept her attempt to absolve him of his guilt over their arrangement?? What made him call her out on it?? He suspects that something happened to her. Will he go to see her again?? Great chapter. So worth the wait.

Rob's hand monkey said...

jesus give us something! what the hell? we get it....he had a trauma happen so what the fuck is it!

HeyCarrieAnn said...

OMG! I am speechless! He has a dog, named Paul! he is so broken and I think she needs him! Thank you for the update!! So great!

Autumnltd said...

I loved how this chapter read just like a poem. Painful, truthful and very sad... Where can they go from here?

lacramici said...

hey, welcome back. thanks for update, loved it... can't wait for the next one. what B will do? hope she'll not gonna run anymore

flyrbrd said...

Thanks for the chapter. It was great! I can't wait for the next interaction ;)

Athene noctua said...

wow, intense, very intense..
loved Edward's calling out on Bella's lame atempt at an apology. But my heart broke towards the end, for both of them, but right now for Edward's grief, because for all his therapy and stuff he still has not reached a poinr where he can just endure someone even mentioning his daughter.
Please update soon, not like this time, where you literally tortured us for a month!

norcaltwitard said...

Oh my Jada. Apparently, his calm cool 'I-feel-guilty-for-using-you-so-I'm-better-now-and-know-your-fucked-up-so-tell-me-about-it-and-I'll-fix-you' attitude is just a mask to hide the fact that he really hasn't dealt with his issues at all. He sounded so condescending and holier-than-thou when he questioned her as if he had a right to know. Then his defenses went up when Bella threw his issues back at him. I bet part of his reaction came, in part, from being shocked by how much she really knows about him. His tenuous hold on the rage he has bottled up inside was just broken and Know he has something else to feel guilty for: aiming all that ire at Bella...again. It was a great chapter and, like always, I cannot wait for the next one.

Amy Fontaine said...

OH.MY.GOD. I don't have any words really. I think everyone has been waiting for this chapter...for the shit to hit the fan so to speak. Well, it finally hit it, and boy did it hit it had (that sounds lame). Anyways, I didn't think Bella was going to bring up Edward's daughter but I'm so glad she did. He asked his previously what she knew about him and she lied. It's great that she's being honest but phew, Edward's reaction was scary and hot in a bizarre way. The way he towered over her reminded me of how he used to be with her.

Edward's break down just tore me apart from the inside out. The pounding on the door, the breathing, the heartbreaking sob...God, it just kills me. The ending of the chapter makes me think that he opened the door and looked at Bella as the elevator doors closed...eek!

This was seriously such a great chapter and I cannot wait for more!

twimom0974 said...

OMG!!! I loved it! I can't believe she went there. I can't believe he went there. They are both at different shades of fucked up and yet are so drawn to each other. I loved it. Can't wait for whatever's next. I can't even take a guess with this story. You are too good, gurll! Thank you for sharing.

Heather said...

I love how he called her out on her issues, and she was able to go right back at him with his. Great chapter! I did feel some sort of sexual tension......interesting. Update soon if you can, I realize RL can get wicked busy especially with kids.

KlrTwiLuver said...

Wonderful chapter as always. Not quite sure that your Roughie should have quit his therapy.

His anger is just seething below the surface of a calm facade.

Love ya darling.

j johnson said...

Arrrgh! Isabella is going to be the death of us all. I want to shake her. Honestly, I don't know how she functions in the world. Thing is, she's very self aware of her issues. And very intelligent. She understands what plagues her. The question is, and I think the essential problem is, WHY doesn't she seek to emerge from this darkness that she lives in.

This bit here ...
"Will she flee, scurrying back into the shadows and the safety of invisibility?
Or will she fight, recovering the spark of a girl who she's forgotten? A girl who, for all her naiveté, had mastered a very simple truth. One that the woman has yet to grasp.
That she was worth more."

This is essentially the story. This is essentially the journey.
This is from Bella's own mind. She knows that this is her fork in the road. So I say again, WHY isn't she choosing to move forward.
I don't know what will FINALLY be the catalyst for this change. I thought it would be Edward. But I have serious doubts about this now. He can't seem to get anywhere with her. And yes, he still has his own issues. He should still be in therapy.

He breaks down when Bella confronts him about his daughter. Of course, she does this in order to avoid talking about her own personal life. It was a perfect diversion.
But it set him off, and caused another panic attack. Something Bella was completely aware was happening. And she turned away from him, again. Yeah, she doesn't 'run'. She walks. Bully for her. Do we call this progress? I don't.

If the teaser holds true, they meet again and Edward confronts Bella about knowing of his daughter. Does this take place because Bella changes her mind about leaving his apartment? Or does Edward seek her out again?

At the rate these two are going, they'll be senior citizens before they start really dealing with their issues.

On a happier note, I love that Edward has Paul. Paul would never hate him. Edward just needs to give his puppy a chance, and accept the affection that Paul so dearly wants to give him.

I don't want to lose empathy for Bella. I want to continue to pull for her. I still am pulling for her. But she's stretching my patience and endurance a bit. Part of me wants to tell Edward to cut his losses and just work on himself because Bella seems like a lost cause. But then we wouldn't have an Ed/Bella story now, would we? And I'm still all about Ed/Bella.

Wonderfully heartbreaking chapter, Jada. I long so much for these two to connect with each other. I hope it happens one day.

BellaBedazzled said...

Wow that was intense. Obviously Edward is in need of much more therapy. I can't stand the suspense. Please don't make us wait so long for the next update (PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE).

girly613 said...

Oh how I love roughie.and even though he may still need some therapy,glad to have that glimpse of him and maybe,just maybe he might make Bella his therapist..cant wait for the next chpt!

jbds said...

I find it amazing that in the five years that he has been away from her he has accomplished nothing in terms of his own mental health. I also find it amusing that even his own dog doesn't like him. Her assumption that he had changed was just wrong. He puts on jeans and a t-shirt and that is his big metamorphasis? Lots of people suffer through horrendous ordeals and don't use other human beings as their whipping posts. I don't have a lot of sympathy for Edward.
Bella seems to be getting somewhere...albeit slowly. Finally she gets it that running away and hiding from her painful past doesn't make it go away. I'm looking forward to seeing Bella grow. I sense that she is getting there.
Jada...this was your best chapter. I thoroughly devoured every word and I will re-read this again. I rarely re-read anything. I also want to say that this story can stand on it's own legs and I admire you for sharing it with us. The content can be so hard to swallow sometimes and yet I find myself eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

Unknown said...

I only have one question. Why do we have to wait so long for an update? I have to go back and remind myself what is happening when there is an update a month later. Please try not to take so long because I am invested. Love it so far.

jeninef said...

I'm in the middle of no man's land on vacation and somehow got a twitter update, which said that fyw updated so I took the few minutes of 3g I have here and loaded the blog post! Such a heartbreaking chapter to read! They are both in so much pain...I hope they can both start to deal. I want to shake them silly though too for not realizing this. I am highly anticipating the next chapter! Love it as always!!

Shay said...

I LOVE this chapter. Very intense. I had a shudder run through me. WOW can't wait for the next update. Can't sign into Twitter for some reason so I can't follow whats going on right now with the story, but glad I randomly checked today.

PullMyDaisy2 said...

OOOOOoooohh INTENSE. Ole Eddie isn't over the past yet either I see. The sexual tension in the elevator was HOT. I'd have hit stop on that sucker and leaped on him. UNF. Can't wait for more. LOVE YOUR STORY!
PullMyDaisy2

MarchHare5 said...

Oh. My. God.

Once again I am completely freaking blown away by the emotions in this story and the way you portray them.

The way these two push each other's buttons is just unbelievable. And it's obvious, not just from his breakdown from hearing that one word, that Edward's far from healed. His dog has seen it happen before and knows when to get out of the way.

Good god.

But I love the way he recognizes that she is wounded as well, above and beyond what happened between them five years ago.

You amaze me, woman. ;)

LetRobstenLuv4ever said...

These two are both so screwed up. they need to grab a hold of each other and he needs to make love to her and they both have to tell each other what the hell happened in their past. Its killing me waiting so long for an update.

SnowyHedwig said...

Dammit darlin'! You write these two so very well. Edward is not as healed and put back together as he'd like Bella to believe, is he? And Bella's accidental ramblings about Charlie show that she's still got so much she needs to deal with - both from her childhood and their past.

Who will approach who now? Fantastic update, thank you so much!

FanFicCrazy said...

UGH Jada! These two are such a mess! As soon as they open their eyes they'll realize they can help each other heal. I cannot wait to find out what's happened to them! I'd also like to know how things are between he & his family. Sigh.. Just love it!!! :)

SBKJD said...

Angst to the MAX!
Love it!!
Thanks for sharing.

adonicass said...

I'm w/Klrtwiluver - maybe they can get a group rate on therapy.

Of all things - I'm worried about the dog.

It bothers me when reviewers nag authors to post more frequently. Just putting that out there.

I love your writing - makes me feel like the third person in the room. Powerful stuff, J!

xx

horphan said...

Best chapter yet J, I hope they can cross this bridge together, soon.

majose said...

That was so good! As usual. They are both so incredibly fucked up that it is not funny. Poor Isabella, he was trying to get rid of him and now I am sure that she just earned herself a future visit/apology. Hopefully he'll bring Paul with him as a peace offer.

nkubie said...

I am stuck between relief and frustration. I'm relieved that we have an update and Bella seems to be coming to more of an understanding of where she is in her life and that she needs to do something to get her past where she is stuck. I'm frustrated because all of this self-awareness doesn't seem to be helping. She's not actually doing anything that is helping her to heal. She isn't confronting her demons. Her halfhearted forgiveness was a token gesture and when asked how she got to be the way she is she deflected. That isn't progress. It's like with each update I'm just more frustrated. I still have hope that at one point Bella and Edward will connect on a non-confrontational level, but at this rate it may be when they retire. Please, please, please give them some progress, Jada. I wouldn't feel so strongly if your writing wasn't so good, but I can't get rid of the frustration. Jada, only you can help!!

spk_lvr said...

Amazing update! Need another already! Cannot get enough Roughie!

Luxie said...

Fuuuuck! Jada, why oh why did you have to stop there?! ::wails::

I don't want her to run.. walk.. skip.. jump (whateverthefuck) away from him right now! I want her to witness his breakdown; his sobs, his vulnerability.. all of that. And witness this, not from behind a stair case, but one on one this time. However, I do understand why she fled. I would have. Him punching the door was a bit scary. But now.. the question remains: will he go after her? Doubtful. :/ But how will they see each other again??

I am hungry for some further progress b/w these two. They just keep butting heads. Its aggravating. (Ugh, gross understatement!) :/

Roughie definitely seems like he's trying, but is clearly not wholly reformed.

These two just tear at my heart. I yearn for them to find healing and solace in one another.

I'm just gonna unabashedly plead w/ you right now...I understand RL gets in the way, but pls oh pls do not make us wait too long for the next chappy?? The wait for the impending ch is just as agonizingly painful as Bella's desolate psyche. *sniff* :'(

As always, thank you for the ch.

P.S.
I love that Roughie has a little fury friend. Methinks he needs to be more affectionate and patient w/ Paul tho. :)

Nadia M. said...

Even though I find this story utterly fascinating, it's hard to root for Edward when Bella is constantly pitted against his very volatile mood swings. She really is in the dark, and I suppose until she learns what caused Edward to treat her as such, Bella will constantly be torn about what happened to herself with him.

Sometimes I thought that their arrangement felt like consensual abuse. Bella liked and abhorred it at the same time, but there's no denying that Edward has caused her serious psychological issues.

In Chapter 12, when Edward appears, Bella automatically lowered her eyes. If that's not psychological trauma of some kind, I don't know what is. Edward really needs his shit together and Bella needs to talk to someone (anyone) as well. She's kept it in all these years.

In the end though, I'm still massively enjoying this story.

Dr. Swild said...

I think I love you. There, I said it. :)

Nicola said...

As ever receiving the update made me 'squeee' a little. SO so good. Can't wait for the next update.

Carol said...

Ah, there he is, back in his rage. But what? She's caught him out with her words, brought his intense feelings to the fore in a different way. Oh, please Jada, don't make me wait! What next? Will she go back in there? cat5050

fran.richards50 said...

Well worth the wait! Maybe they could do couples therapy!!LOL. Seriously though, I hope Bella goes back in and they can take it from there, as they both have 'vented' and now they can sit down and work it out. Please update soon!

none said...

mind blowing. =)

Soni'sAngel said...

Hey Jada, I love this story and am fascinated with the plot;) I am so glad that Edward did not accept Bella's half assed attempt at forgiveness. They are both so broken and really need to heal, I suspect that they will be able to do so but only with each other. One of them needs to man up and stop walking out, even when requested as they seriously need to talk or vent. Both were damaged before they met and just set themselves up for more pain and heartache with their behavior toward each other. You write this story so brilliantly and keep me impatiently waiting for the next update;)

Keye Cullen said...

Um....Jada Honey? I hate to tell you this but the other half of this chapter? Well, it didn't post. Could you check into that for us? *snicker*

That was some cliffie you left us dangling with there sweets! I was wondering when that cool facade of Edward's was going to crack and crack it did! I have to agree with another reader that said that Bella was trying her patience. I can understand that remark. She is trying mine too. Perhaps this will be the break though that is needed for them to get someplace.

Can't wait to see what happens next!

~Elli~Iris~ said...

Ch 15
“She was worth more.” That is a very difficult thing sometimes. Knowing your own worth. A stranger asks her how she is. It’s a rhetorical question. Most of the time the one that asks doesn’t really want to know. It is just a natural opening question. There are times a person asks out of true concern.
What does he want? She thinks she has figured it out. She goes to him. He is there. Tossed messages hmmmm? From his family? “I don't want his concern. I don't need it. And have no idea what to do with it.” I know that feeling. Edward has a dog named Paul? I’m as shocked as Bella seems to be.

She has come to forgive him. To set him free. In the hopes he will stay away? Or something else? Does she need to forgive him? What does she want? Something is missing for her. She is obviously still attracted to him. Conflicted. She says she wants him to go away. She is still running. He sees it for what it is. It won’t go away if she ignores it. Ignore him and the past. He challenges her. She takes the challenge and turns it back on him. Neither one of them really talk about themselves. Each turns it back on the other. Bella, low blow, but it is out there. What did happen to his daughter? And here comes the teaser for this chapter. Oh shit. Now he wants to run. He wants her gone. Because he is afraid of what he will do to her? Lose control of his anger? Or because he is still running too? Running from the grief of what ever really went down with his daughter. I think he left therapy too soon. What’s looking back at her? Her own reflection? Someone else? Has he opened the door? Oh man! He is breaking behind that door. Just as his cruel, sexual release used to do. A panic attack. Grief. Progress. To the story. Closer to the secrets. They both have them. I’m ready for them to be revealed. Thanks for writing!
Iris~ Elli

cristynd said...

So good, thank you. A part of me hates E and wants him to know B's only real sexual experience was with him and he treated her horribly. Another part feels bad for E and wants him to find peace. So happy for the update!

Dahlia B. said...

Many others have said what I can't right now. This chapter has left me completely gutted. Your writing is...just starkly beautiful. I love the way you say so much, paint such vivid pictures in my mind with surprisingly few words. That's quite an accomplishment.

I know how RL can get in the way, but with a cliffie like that I may just whither and die if we have to wait another month for an update! Pleeeeeeeease do whatever you have to to update soon!!!

moflo19 said...

Was so happy to see an update. Your writing is deep and thought provoking and really seems to engage the reader into feeling very strong emotions. However, there really hasn't been much progress with these last few chapters. I find myself more and more frustrated. It wouldn't be so bad if you were a "once a week" poster, but with once a month it just seems to make the story drag a bit. Having said that, I am completely intrigued to see how these two broken people deal with their issues and the mess they have made of their lives. (The main reason I haven't flounced, I HAVE to see what happens, lol) You have written some very interesting characters, I just want to see a little more development.

Nonita said...

Wonderful, as always...Can't wait to see what happens next!
Please update asap.

Maribel

jrms100 said...

I like your story, but your Bella is too weak. Not to impose on your writing at all because like i said, its amazing. But despite everything all I see in this Bella is new moon Bella. Given her circumstances, I understand the way she is sometimes, but then again it's kind of annoying.

When I read this, your writing is fluent and detailed in a perfect way. I knew she'd be a little freaked out due to Edward coming back and talking to her, but you have put her in some kind of coma. And it's not how I really pictured her going.

I guess what Im trying to say is, I figured and had hoped your Bella was stronger than becoming a little weak thing that your portraying her as.

Like I said, I LOVE your writing. Honestly. I love this story and the concept. And maybe this is just a little stage your putting her through, but I wish that she would get out of this pity party and just grow up and stop letting Edward overtake her life.

Keep on writing.

Lulu said...

My comment disappeared, but Ellie Iris said it all for me. I like how Paul knew to get the f$&k out of there.

This is incredible. What did she not like in her reflection? Or was it a glimpse of Edward as the door closed? I really hope one of them goes after the other. They have to stop running from each other. They have to start healing eachother. Bella should go back unless it was a Edward by the door. And just for the record when they finally have their epic, Epic, EPIC makeup sex, I can't wait for him to tell her to look in his eyes.

I am begging you shamelessly for an update not in the month of August. Maybe even in the teens of July? Lol. I know from the teaser they do talk again about her knowing more than she let on so that helps me get through it a little bit. A liiiiittle bit.

You own me. Thank you for writing!!!

Roshambo

reve2weaver said...

I think we can see why Edward sent his therapist away...
He can front like he is all in control and 'fixed' all he wants, but it he thought he was controlling the show, like he always does, and that he was the only one who had cards slipped under the poker table.
Boo!

honeycrunch said...

Jada, I love this story, I really do. But like other readers previously said, it has become a little bit stop-and-go, back-and-forth. There's no real progress, it is stagnating. They meet, they get angry, one of them leaves the other and vice versa. It's a little bit frustrating. And I have to follow another reader that Bella's behaviour is very weak and she's full of inferiority complexes and that's a little bit frustrating and aggravating, too. Nevertheless, I will continue reading it because I am still confident that they will have a thorough conversation and that finally we will read about what happened to Edward's daughter. Maybe we'll even get a very tiny small lemon in the next chapters. I will stay tuned!

kayjanna said...

WOW! That was an intense chapter! I can feel their pain behind your writing. Edward said he wasn't in therapy any more but I'm thinking he still needs it and Bella definitely needs to start. I'll be looking forward to your next update. You are an awesome writer and it's such a pleasure to read your story. Thank you so much for sharing.

Sarita Dreaming said...

Wow, that was something. Love the dog named Paul, ROFL.

This is rough, and they are both so fucked up. I know things can't happen overnight, but it would be nice to see something more between these two than guessing who's going to explode and run. Don't get me wrong, I love the story, but I'd like to see more progress. It feels like a tug of war with very little being revealed.

I'm sure you'll be progressing things soon, and I just can't wait.

Oh, and Roughie is totally yummy. JS

Sarita

DebbieCDC said...

OMG, the level of intensity between these two -- it's so energy charged. And I don't just mean sexual tension, it's emotional tension as well. Neither one of them is being honest with the other: E with his apologies and B with her forgiveness. There's too much unspoken going on here -- her past and his past and neither one of them dealing with it. E needs more therapy and god knows B needs some.

Roughie has some nerve, asking B"what happened to you" and wanting an answer but when she turns the tables and asks him the same question, it's snap time. Understanding B's state of mind is easier, knowing at least what we know of her backstory, but WTF is E's?? What the hell happened? I want to smack him upside the head while my heart breaks for his obvious pain, both at the same time. This story totally consumes me: the tension, the emotion, the hidden pasts and unspoken desires!!!!

Oh the dog!! That almost made me cry because as fate would have it, I had to have my 16 yr old dog put down this weekend, so I'm all dog emo at this point. Roughie best be good to that pooch, or he's gonna hear from me!

Loveya babe -- can't wait for the next update!

joli cullen said...

exciting
I love this chapter
Edward wants to change is not the worst one hundred percent change he has in mind
Bella did not give you his forgiveness
she wanted to feel again the dominant Edward
thanks jadalulu
please do not kill us
do not delay dying for more

liliane_moussa said...

Gurl Jada, you have me on a leash, I swear I am baffled by your characters, the psychological mayhem which you put into words,so simple in themselves yet so difficult to fathom their implications, for they direct us to the depth of the issues involved, for both B/E.

I just want to say that if some of the readers like the Harlequin or Mills & Boon kind of stories, with 12-15 chapters and all is good and well,in romance-(pink)Lalaland all they have to do is stop reading this story.

I myself was blown away in the first part by the intensity and the details of Bella's awareness of her problem(s) summed up in the sentence "she was worth more."

I was also disappointed, at first, when she went to him, but when I read it all, it became clear why she did it, and Edward called her on her BS. She was doing this " forgive and forget" 2 step dance with him and her PAST, for her sake not his. And he knew instantly what she was trying to pull there.
Thinking if she forgave him she would stop thinking about him thus her physical attraction ( which is triggering her defenses as in Ire and anger ) would also vanish.But the girl is almost showing addictive behavior to him, bcz his old treatment of her reminds her of her parents in a way, and what she sought deep inside maybe was his anger to give her proof that he did not change and that she is right in behaving as she is, and seeking "Safety in invisibility"!!
Ignoring him = Ignoring also her old parental problems.

Edward is not fairing much better since he is also projecting on her, ( since the beginning I may add) because I am sure that for him, what started as a cold blooded business like arrangement turned into something else when SHE LEFT Him. And this was cemented when he saw her at Alice's wedding, by the way she looked at him, or how come he'd noticed if his whole being was not focused on her presence, and when one focuses on someone else's, then there must be a reason, whether it being denied or admitted.

The poor chap needs more Anger management, let alone continuing his therapy, bcz I am presuming that the circumstances in which he lost his child were atrocious, ergo the reaction to her rebound against his "sarcastic skepticism"...was equal and opposite, and I am still intrigued by his Mom's role in all of his drama.

This is by far the most well written, best characterization (and developing the said characters in each chapter) - of E/B I have ever read, unlike what some said about "stagnation and status quo" between the 2 of them - let alone Bella being a pity-party planner and executor!!

Again as usual Jada you deliver,with your unparalleled understanding of the psychological and emotional entanglement, creating whole situations that are always authentic and true to the E/B story, who obviously couldn't behave out of their own character, from one chapter to another, because you respect the realistic feel of this story though it is fiction, and you respect your readers much more that you keep them heading forward into the unfolding events to come, but always at the right pace, and in the right path, seeing both to the aim, what they are seeking, in the most realistic kind of story yet keeping the fiction feel to it !! Amazingly and brilliantly depicted,Heavy and intense, a slab of of tons of emotions to rock the basis of our simple life, reading you is not only a pleasure,it is a learning process of how to make the reader use active reading and not a passive one, and try to use some brain-cells to appreciate your brilliant talent.

As always Standing ovation and Hats off :)

Mcgt said...

I feel like I'm kind of on a treadmill with these two in this story. Your prose is beautiful, but IDK - this chapter left me a bit wanting. I'm sticking with it, as I've loved it till this point. Maybe my patience is running out with these two or something? Anyhow, well written and I can't wait for another chapter.

Carol said...

I don't think I can breathe. I started this story and cannot put it down. It is so powerful. I want more, I want them to get it all out in the open...I want them to heal each other...I want them to love each other....more please!

dra said...

Jesus...

sallyhop1 said...

OMG, Jada! This story is just non-stop emotions. When are these two going to come to terms with all their past issues. They are just killing each other with their hatred of past mistakes/issues. Just another amazing chapter! Thanks
Sally

TwiRK_World said...

Well I really just want to say I only find one flaw in this whole story. I don't have another update yet ;) However, reading your story I understand why it takes so long for an update. Reading each chapter is emotionally draining I can't imagine writing the beast. Every word, phrase, thought has intent and impact. I can tell your whole heart and soul is in this story and as a reader I am grateful and thank you for taking such time and care with this story. Of course I'd love for this to update faster but that's just because I can't get enough. I drop everything when I get an update. I read it on my mobile but had to log on just to say thank you so much for this amazing piece of work.

Olena said...

Goose bumps... it was so worth the wait!

I think he'll give her Paul, the poor dog seemed to like her much better than him. I can't believe Bella mentioned Charlie in Edward's presence. I also can't believe she mentioned his daughter. His breakdown was epic. I hope it will help him to understand that he's far from healed or changed. If they only could communicate with each other, they could progress a great deal IMO.

I wanted to mention the readers who thing the story is stagnant or not developing fast enough - that's just not very smart, not to mention rude to make such comments. "Please hurry up because I'm invested"? Really? have you tried to WRITE something like that? *shakes head*

Dear Jada, take all the time you need, the perfection cannot be rushed.

Nico said...

Wow so did she actually leave or did she just watch the doors close but she stayed behind???? Damn the tension between these two kills ya but it's awesome :)

b.krumova said...

I'm retarded and I just found out how to post a comment from my account (Don't give me shit, I'm blonde as in natural)

Anyway... J-esus! Can I just say "Motherfucking perfect." It's creepy (and I have never done it before), but I stalked this story every single fucking day for an update, going as far as DREAMING about the next chapter (Yeah, I screamed stalker at myself). So yeah, even though I dreamt about it, this chapter totally nailed it. It couldn't have gone more perfect than that!
Now, I seriously don't have any idea where you're going from here, but fuck me backwards if I'm not here to read the epilogue.

xx
-B.

EnamoredHeart said...

Five years and they are back to square one…none of them is capable to even begin to face the trauma each of them endured in their lives.

As right as Edward may be that Bella is still trying to dismiss what happened by offering him a false forgiveness, which she didn’t come to really feel in her heart (for that she would have to acknowledge just how wrong what happened between them was and be able to come to terms with it), Bella is also right that he’s bullshitting himself. Until he sets right the hurt over his daughter, all the apologies and forgiveness in the world for what he’s done to Bella won’t matter.

Hopefully they’ll find a way out of this impasse…

Profoundly emotionally disturbing story, but very well written Jada…you have a gift for conveying your characters’ emotions with such clarity as if they were a portrait, immediately etched in the reader’s heart.

somanywards said...

Thank you*

jendill said...

woa... amazing chapter. I love how you see him change, and can't wait to see what happens next.

LIZ said...

Great chapter. I think she'll go back and try to help him, but will he open the door? Perhaps they'll help each other.

I'll try to be patient while awaiting the next chapter!!! Can't promise I won't be "bugging" you on Twitter, wondering WHEN we're going to get it!!!

HopeStreet said...

I came to check out your blog to re-read chapter 14 for about the tenth time and read what others think about Bella and Edward and instead was treated to chapter 15!

Bella and Edward are opposite sides of the same coin. Of course Edward can recognize Bella's inability to face her demons because he's done and is still doing the same thing with his own demons. The main difference is that Bella knows what Edward's trigger is - his daughter - but he only has a sliver of an idea of what her trigger is.

Edward may have seen a therapist for a while but I think he only snowed the therapist if they ever touched on the issue of his daughter. What he and Bella have in common the most is the strategies they have employed to keep from feeling their pain and developing strategies and routines for living their lives around their pain - kinda outta sight - outta mind.

Another similarity is their anger. Edward's might be more explosive, but it definitely resides in Bella. But I think anger is the way that Edward deals with his pain and confusion and muddled thinking is how Bella deals with hers. If she can't put words to it, then she can't feel the pain.

Your characters are so interesting to me. I think they know each other - really know each other - and understand each other on a deep level that transcends their pain. On that level, they cannot lie to one another. Edward may have thought that he had Bella scoped out and called her out on it correctly. How surprising it must have been to him to discover that Bella isn't as out of touch as he thought she was when she turned the table on him. I cannot wait for the next update. I'll probably re-read this one ten more times till then.

lisazj said...

Oh Bella. Oh. Though so, so much had been done to Bella that was cruel, I didn’t know she had it in her to BE cruel. Cause she knew, she KNEW, perhaps better than anyone what a question about Edward’s daughter would do to him. She might as well have taken a knife and stuck it right in his heart. As far as his response goes…..I have to say I’m with Roughie on this one. I know she felt dissected, laid bare in a way she doesn’t want to acknowledge or think about, and maybe she really felt she was calling him on his supposed hypocrisy or maybe she was just trying to deflect, but that was WRONG. What does what happened to Edward’s baby have to do with how he might or might not have changed, except for the fact that what happened is most likely what DID change him into the hateful, cold bastard he was when he met Bella. Just because he might have tried to change himself (or not), does that mean he’s without his personal demons, or the urge to strike out at someone when they wound you?
I’ve always been appalled at how Bella was treated by Roughie, even while admitting that you couldn’t really blame him, as she was always a willing participant. Yeah, he caught her at a vulnerable time and yeah, she has all these issues with her self-worth. But that didn’t affect her intelligence or her personal sense of right & wrong and she knew what she was agreeing to, always. She knew she could say no. She just chose not to. And even came to want it. I never thought I would be on Roughie’s side for anything. But man, does she owe him one big fat fucking apology. Though it would probably make him mad all over again.
Yeah, all that stuff in the beginning overview of the chappie, that’s exactly what’s happening to Bella now. Since Edward has shown back up, all these realizations are trying to make themselves known, and she doesn’t want to hear it, doesn’t want to KNOW it. I kinda really can’t blame her. Cause when she knows it, all of a sudden all of the pain, the fighting and clawing for what she wanted, the loneliness and humiliation, it all becomes for nothing. Snap, just like that, she’s right back where she started from. Not that she’s not already anyway, but it’s a nice, cushy illusion that allows her to get up every morning and exist. Well, I guess we found out what she would do when Edward wouldn’t keep it to himself, didn’t we? She fought back, viciously. So what’s gonna happen now, after she’s finally able to look herself in the eye again? I’m so very curious what Bella will see when she finally does.
Damn Jada, you are seriously trying to kill me here. This story is so compelling. I don’t just read a chapter and go on til the next one comes out. I think about it, a lot. I spend time wondering what happened, what Isabella or Roughie is going to do or say next, where the story is going to go. I wonder what happened to Edward’s daughter, and who took her from him. Who is it that owns that misplaced, black hate that he was taking out on Bella? Why does he somehow blame his family?
Your writing draws me in and binds me tight in the story threads, no freaking lie. So well written bb. It sure as hell evokes passionate responses in everybody, LOL! Good or bad, everyone has an opinion. I just hope you don’t let haters turn you off of writing fic, as had happened with so many of the awesome writers in the fandom.
Thanks for writing bb, love it SFM. Well, sometimes I do. Sometimes I’m horrified, but I ALWAYS can’t wait to read it, every single chapter. Can’t wait to see what happens next. :P

Lizde said...

I'm kind of glad she lashed out at him. What he did reminded me a lot of what her father did to her. She would do her best to be what he wanted and he would just tear her down and belittle her. At the time she couldn't defend herself and she had no one to stand up for her. Now, here we are and she tries to give Edward what she thinks he wants (forgiveness) and he belittles it and insinuates that there's something wrong with her. At least that's what I'm sure it felt like to her. I think he was justified in questioning her "forgiveness" and I saw his comeback as genuine concern (mixed with a healthy dose of frustration) on his part, but I can see how she would take it as him pointing out her defects.

So while I'm glad she lashed out because for once she didn't just sit there and take it when someone tore her down, I just wish she'd gone about it differently. What I noticed the most is that she didn't actually defend herself, she just redirected his attention. She has no sense of self worth anymore so naturally she's not going to stick up for herself. I want to see her get to the point where she'll do that. Hopefully this encounter wakes her up a little. I don't think she really meant to cause him pain, she just reacted without thinking. I'm sure that wasn't the outcome she wanted.

I'm anxious to see what's next. And I really hope he gives her the dog. She needs a buddy and Paul obviously likes her more than Edward.

_Becca25_ said...

Omg! When another update! Can't leave me hanging here. Ohmmm. Wishing for an update soon.. Lol

Ketyane said...

Jaaaada! You always surprise me, there is always something I was not expecting.

I love the way you write, I loved the first part of this chapter, despite everything that got Bella grew, many things continued as usual, and the words of Edward somehow made her agree to this, he can mess with Bella in several different ways, not only physically, but he manages to make her put out previously hidden emotions.

I never thought that Bella was looking for Edward, not really, I thought of several possibilities, but this was something I bet not. The doorman recognized Bella immediately, but a sign that Edward still do not get visits.

Edward and Bella have much in common, both have dark past that need to be debugged, Bella has a problem very early with his family, his relationship with his father was not healthy, and the relationship with the mother is absent, I think that the agreement between her and Edward helped her become more self-enclosed, Edward also has serious problems, do not know be started before or after the adoption, but he has a grudge of Esme and still has that story of the daughter that was taken.
When I finally thought that Edward and Bella would talk "normaly", no way! we know Now that Edward had therapy for a while, but it seems that this therapy did not help much, at least now we have Paul lol
What is it that Edward wants? What he hopes that Bella do? What she says she was used, humiliated, abused? That's what he wants? Be punished?

He really wants feedback?

Bella can not outside what you feel and maybe she did not know what realy feel, did she realy wanted Edward away? I think not, but she can't explain what she feels and she said everything is fine.

This time Bella drove hard to talk about the Edward's daughter ! He was pissed, a lot! This issue leaves the Edward is out of control! Now he know she lied in their last meeting, where he asked her what she knew about him, now he knows that she knows more about him than he ever imagined.

Does Edward will look for it again to apologize for having put out!?

"And when the shiny gold double doors close, I look away...not ready to see what's looking back at me." Paul!?? Poor dog, he cannot stand Edward!

barbarito said...

Loved it so much!!! Cannot wait for more!!!

Sessahhh said...

So good!! I can't wait to find out who crumbles first. Who will go to whom, who will apologize and who will tell their story.

Great job!!

Ketyane said...

I think Edward wants helps, and thinking well, I guess he thinks Bella is someone who can help you, because she's makes he's connected with somewho he was one day (he said that, I think something like the guilt he felt for what he did with Bella, getting it closer to the good boy he once was), it might be the last hope of him. Rereading, I wondered in the last sentence (must be the fault of my bad English) "And When the shiny gold double doors close, I look away ... not ready to see what's looking back at me." She saw her reflection, or other else!? Looking better I think she saw herself and how she is worth more (perhaps, as she was struck by the Edward's affliction) and she can do something to help Edward.

P.S. I wonder if you understand some of what I write! Rsr I read better than write, I guess...

Cullenboyz said...

You continue to amaze the shit out of me, you crazy, funny, talented person. This chapter was another kick in the stomach (thank you, may I have another?). Despite finding the whole thing heartbreaking and wonderful and fascinating, I'm also kind of cracking up, wondering which fucked up nut-job will kill the other first... I'm used to fucked up Edward and stable(ish) Bella. Having them both this fucked up is quite the carnival ride! :D

luv4kristen said...

"She's lived in the darkness for so long, she's lost her way out" and Edward's her light. OMG the way you described her very being was nothing short of brilliant and just absolutely perfect.

I really thought her going to Edward's place would have garnered a little bit of conversation that would help them both begin to heal, but boy Bella sure did hit that big, red "punch me in the gut" button right on its ugly head. I can't believe Edward's reaction, so angry, intense, threatening. It had me holding my breath.

Paul is a little strange for a dog's name, but at least it's not Jake LOL.

Other than not having sex, nothing has changed for either of them. It's so much more volatile without that connection and release.

They both need to find a way to heal soon; so much time has been wasted. Edward needs to face the demons surrounding the loss of his daughter, and Bella needs to face her horrid past with Satan, oops I mean Charlie, and Renee.

Another fabulous chapter! Your writing skills are sublime, and I can totally understand the longer than average update times. Quality trumps quantity. However, I can't wait for the next one :) Thanks for sharing! Gwen

missrebecca said...

It's amazing, once again, but I just need to know what's happening. wtf is going on! these poor people
and paul! poor paul!
Can't wait for the next chapter :)

tigger1 said...

Holy shit. THAT was intense. They are both hiding their pain so deeply it is cutting into them from the inside. Will one of them break towards the other ? Or are they doomed in this constant painful cycle ?
Very powerful and moving.

Elysita said...

Shit!
His story is great I started on Friday and have not stopped to this day ..
I want more.
This Edward is totally wow!
And Bella is all a case to psicoanalicis
Kisses and I hope the next chapter
I read it from the last place in the world Valparaiso, Chile

Blondemel47 said...

Absolutely terrific! Totally loving this story & dont know how I didnt read earlier when first posted - but now its great cause I can jump straight into next chapter. Love all the tension & angst. What a low shot that was for Bella - Ouch! So felt for Edward even tho he was a bugger 5 yrs ago. He's trying to make amends & can see Bella is not ok in the real sense cause he's been there. Ok running on & hope you dont keep us waiting too long for chapter 17.

MPMassen said...

Wow! I just founf this ff yesterday and have read all 16 chaps!! I just couldn't stop! Wonderful writing! 24 hours later I need sleep then tomorrow I will start salivating for the next chap :) Ok, so I've already started that!!

PAW'sPeaches said...

geebus. all i can think now is what am i going to do when i get to end end of chapter 17?

i dont want to be without more roughie. i want to always have roughie to read...

Robsmyyummy Cabanaboy said...

My mind is reeling...I'm confused, I'm enthralled and I'm devastated...they are both so broken.

kelly said...

Fuck. That could have gone better :/

Midnight Raven said...

That was heavy man. Excellent.
I wanted to rush through reading...but wanted to savor it at the same time. That's great writing. Thank you!