|The Other Side of the Darkest Valley
Author: letzigprincess PM
Having been subjected to a horrible fate, Bella Swan now hides, convinced that her past will find her. Edward Cullen will swoop in to save her from more mishap but will he be able to save her from her past, or more importantly, from herself? DARK THEMES!Rated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort/Romance - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 52 - Words: 231,182 - Reviews: 571 - Favs: 161 - Follows: 164 - Updated: 10-29-12 - Published: 12-26-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7677599
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight. I am just using the names that she created for her wonderful story.
This story was pre-read and beta'd by the wonderful X-NessieCullen-X. Special thanks to you, my dear, for making this not so pretty story a little more shiny ;)
Steel. Cold hard steel. Some people wear it for jewelery. Others used it to build skyscrapers. My name is Isabella Swan and I work with it every night. Some may think that my job automatically labels me as an easy lay, a whore, a slut, some have even used the term home-wrecker. They assume I have daddy issues, a baby at home, or am addicted to drugs. I am none of these things, though I sometimes wish those were my problems. What I wouldn't give for a life where these were my toughest issues...
"Hey, baby! What time to do you get off work?"
"Check out those legs. How about you show us where they lead, angel!"
The college kids I don't mind. The suits that come in for a drink and a show are great—and pay well, though they make me nervous. It was the old men that got to me. Not real old, usually around fifty, who think they can say whatever the hell they want. They don't give a damn about me or any of the other girls but expect you to give them your full attention. I am getting really good at blocking them out, something Tyler says comes with experience. I hope he's right. Being a stripper has some serious setbacks when it comes to reputation and for a small town girl, reputation means a lot.
I slide down the pole, doing one of the routines I picked up since working here. When I first started, I did the same routine over and over. Eventually, I realized I would have to switch it up but the North Pole—I know totally cheesy—doesn't have a whole lot of regulars. Besides, they aren't there to judge my dancing skills. Seattle was a big place, big enough that no one knew me and no one really tried to. I'd rather no one know me. What I'm running from is bigger than the small town I'm from.
Tonight, there was a bachelor party coming in that Tyler told Bella would consisted of some good guys, he knew a few of them having graduated high school with the groom. It was a small party; the groom, his brother, two groomsmen, and the groom's father. It seemed that they weren't exactly the strip club type and Bella wondered if they would give her trouble or make her life easy by not having a clue of what to expect. They came in around midnight, she could tell which of them was the groom because he was practically being carried in he was that drunk. Great. Ty better not dare to walk away from me. The drunken ones are usually grabby.
In the time she'd been there, she'd seen her fair share of touching. Though they weren't really allowed, some of the other girls would keep quiet about their clients grabbing them, knowing they'd get paid good money. Bella didn't need that kind of money and sure as hell didn't need some drunken asshole feeling her up. She never let a client touch her. Ever. If it was a lap dance, sometimes it happened, but it was always her doing the touching. Ty knew that when he'd gotten her the job there.
She checked out the guys, which was only fair. As they say, an eye for an eye. The groom was freaking massive and Bella fought the urge to step closer to her bodyguard and only friend. The two that had carried him in were both about six feet tall, one was blonde and the other had dark hair though she couldn't make out what dark color it was exactly—the lighting wasn't the greatest. Then of course there was the man who could only be the dad. Poor dad looked like he wanted to run. Far away. Bella relaxed, it might be a good night after all.
"Bells, hey," Tyler Crowley called, striding over to her as she made her way off the stage, "the party's here but Jessica wants to take it. That cool with you? Boss man says you can go home if you want..."
"Um...yeah...I guess. What? Are they good tippers or something?"
"No. Well...maybe, I don't think they've ever been here before. She graduated with and knows them, too. It's up to you about the going home thing. We're slow tonight and you haven't had a day off in weeks."
"God, how fucked up is it that the only place I have to go besides my shit hole of an apartment is a strip club?"
"You don't deserve this, Bella," he said, his tone couldn't have been more serious.
"I don't have many options...for now I will take up James on his offer. I'm going home. Goodnight, Ty."
"Do you need an escort out?"
"No. I'll be fine."
The cool burst of air on her face was welcome after being inside the warm, body heated room. There were only a few cars parked outside, most of them employees, not patrons. On most nights, Ty would escort her out, making sure she got to her car safely and watching her drive away. If anyone ever tried to follow her home, Ty would call her and tell her to come back. It had only happened once but that was enough for her.
She recognized one of the groomsmen by the door; he was taking long pulls from his cigarette and running his hand through his already unruly hair. He was cute in a keep-your-distance kind of way. Bella could tell he was a bit of a loner and she totally got how that felt—she'd been by herself for years now. Of course the one damn night Ty wasn't with her, she made it to her car only to find a group of guys getting out of a car parked by hers. "Hey, little girl."
Bella kept walking, hitting the unlock button and reaching for the handle. Her six inch stilettos didn't exactly allow her the freedom to run...which was a shame because of course a man with a baseball cap came over to her. The way he grabbed her arm and leaned into her, brought her hip to the car and brought the other hip up to become acquainted with a fleshy mass in his pants. Fighting the urge to vomit, Bella pulled her arm away. "You seriously need..."
"Excuse me, gentleman, but if you could back the fuck away from my girlfriend that would be great," mysterious cigarette man said behind them. The big guy let her go, obviously drunk and surprised that anyone else was even in the parking lot besides himself and his cronies. "Sorry I'm late, love. I got tied up at the office. Apparently, the judge wants me to represent..."
To Bella's amusement, that got the guys attention. They looked between her and the stranger, obviously wondering what the hell he was doing with a stripper. "You're a lawyer? Look man, we don't want any trouble..." he said, stepping even further back. Great, a lawyer.
"I didn't say you did. Should I have reason to question that, though, boy?" The way he said 'boy' was incredibly arrogant.
To her surprise, the drunken asshole walked back over to his buddies and said something to them before getting into their car. Debating on whether or not to get into hers or talk to the mystery man was giving her a headache. Everything about this was screaming 'wrong'. People didn't help you, not like this, not unless there was an ulterior motive.
"Bells? Hey, what's going on?" Tyler asked, approaching from the front door of the club.
What the hell had just happened? "Um, I'm fine, Ty. Someone was causing trouble but this guy here took care of it..."
Tyler looked over at the man dubiously. Right, ulterior motive. Perhaps she wasn't the only one assuming that. "Well, come back inside. I'm off in an hour and I can follow you home. I don't want anyone trying to follow you," his eyes slid to the strange man, as if that were exactly who he was worried about.
Without saying anything, Bella took this as a time to follow Tyler, only she was completely aware the man was following them. To her relief, he went over to his friends and stayed there. A few minutes later, she got the courage to glance over at the group. Her mystery man was sitting there, swirling a drink in his hand, and looking completely indifferent to the naked girls around him. Jess was all over the groom, her bare ass stuck out as she dangled her mediocre at best boobs in front of his face. She knew them? Graduated with them? Bella rolled her eyes, the last thing she would want to do is dance for people that way, knowing that they knew her outside of work.
The bar was fairly easy to man. It was your typical beers on tap, a few bottles that were stored in a case behind her, and simple mixed drinks that were requested. She had worked in a bar before, one where they had a lot of girls come in. They'd rattle off drinks she'd never heard of, pretending that they'd look cuter if they were holding something colorful. These pain in the ass mixed drinks didn't happen very often here, the most requested being your simple Captain and Coke. The men who came here weren't particular about their drinks, they just wanted a buzz and colorful fru-fru drinks were not the way to accomplish that.
Planning to go home, she hadn't changed out of her 'work attire' but when she'd come back in with Ty, she'd changed into something much more normal. So, a half hour later when she found herself wiping down the bar, she was wearing a pair of cut-off shorts, flips flops, and a white zip up hoodie. She realized she was lighting up because of the black light and she had already had a couple customers tell her it looked cool. She didn't mind, if they wanted to order a draft for two bucks and tip her three, who was she to laugh at them?
The daddy dearest of the group came over, looking a little troubled. Bella had seen this many times on the faces of the men who really had no business being at her place of business—and it meant they knew that fact all too well. "Miss, may I please get a bottle of water?"
Bella couldn't help but smile. This man was throwing off the air of I-swear-I'm-not-a-horny-old-pervert. "No problem, sir." She said it with respect, something that didn't happen for her to men very often. Not after what she'd been through. The way he'd given her respect though, calling her 'Miss', instead of demanding what he wanted, made her want to hug him. Another no-no in her moral, no touch code.
She reached down into the floor cooler below the bar and pulled out two of them. "The second is on me, it looks like your group's groom could use some rehydrating..."
"You're probably right," he chuckled, "and thank you. Keep the change."
As he walked away, Bella looked down at the bill he'd left on the bar, a ten dollar bill. The water was only a dollar a piece. She wanted to call him back, argue with him that it was too much, but that was another no-no and besides, he knew what he was doing. He was taking pity on the young stripper.
Bella threw open the window of her small apartment, the smell of disinfectant making her stomach turn. She'd been scrubbing down the walls and her floors, pretending that she could make them look a little whiter and less dirt colored. It was a joke. After a quick shower, she headed down to the library she lived beside. She worked nearly every night but during the day she was free to do as she wished. It didn't stop the paranoia, though, so she just walked as quickly as she could towards her musty haven. The library was actually a used 'book store', the thing was, no one bothered to buy them. There were always people around, crashed on bean bags, in mismatched chairs, or even on the floor reading a novel that they had fallen in love with. Bella went to grab her favorite book, one that she had memorized the shelf for, but was disheartened when it wasn't there.
Of course, some people did buy the books and she figured her bad luck would bring her to lose her favorite book to someone else who'd fallen in love with it. This particular book was not one you could find on Amazon, this book was one that was written independently by someone who did not have a publishing deal. It was good and Bella felt bad for the person who'd written it, wondering who the person had been, and what caused them to give this amazing piece of work away for free.
The only reason she hadn't bought it herself was because it didn't feel right letting anyone profit off of the person's work who would never receive a profit for it. It was gripping, raw, honest, and Bella had trouble pulling herself away from it. Since she was a little girl, she'd read every book she could get her hands on but they were always the run of the mill stories. This particular book was dark and not just vampire story dark. This kind of dark was the dark you hid from others. The kind of dark that elicited gasps and moans and dirty thoughts. The kind that made you fantasize, knowing you would never have the guts to act on it but loving to pretend.
It was written in first person, giving you the point of view of the main character as she entered a consensual deal with a man who loved to dominate. The sickest part about all of this? Bella had firsthand experience of just how dominating men could be. The girl from this particular story held the power. Oh, she was a submissive if nothing else but she had her master wrapped around her little finger. She let him have his control but all the while trusted him implicitly and in turn, he gave her the wildest ride of her life. The biggest pull towards this story? The fantasy that you could trust someone, especially a man.
Finding the typical romance novels, Bella flipped through them but realized they just weren't hard enough for her and was just walking past the war books when she tripped over something—not just a something—a someone's leg. "Oh my, God. I'm sorry," she said, looking up at him, embarrassed. Of course he had to be adorable. His perfect, white smile against the man's tanned skin made it hard to look away.
"It's my fault. I shouldn't be taking up the whole aisle. Are you okay?" He asked, holding a hand out to her.
"I'm fine." Bella refused his help but still smiled.
"You look familiar." Oh, God. Please tell me he doesn't know me from the club... "I've seen you in here before...yeah...you always sit over in the corner with a guilty expression on your face..."
Bella blushed, fully aware of her guilty pleasure. "Um...yeah...I'll leave you to read your...bird watching book?" she said a little confused after craning her neck to read the book's spine.
He looked down, embarrassed. "I know, ridiculous, right? This is my guilty pleasure. I hide in the war section—it makes me feel not as girly..."
"Well, your secret is safe with me. Sorry about your leg. I hope I didn't hurt you..."
"It's fine. I can take it. I'm Jacob by the way. Jacob Black."
"Bella. Bella Swan."
"Well, Bella, maybe someday we could get something to drink..."
"Um...no. I'm sorry...it's complicated..."
"No, it's fine. I understand. It was a pleasure meeting you, Bella. Feel free to trip over me anytime..."
An hour later, Bella headed back to her apartment to get ready for work. As was routine, she packed her work clothes, shaved places she'd never admit shaving to anyone except the assholes who watched her at the club, and when she was satisfied with her body, she showered...again...and headed out. James was at the bar when she walked in and she strode past, saying a quick hello. Jess stood in front of the mirror, fluffing her hair up and applying bright red lipstick. "Hey, Bells!"
"Hey, Jess," Bella said with a fake smile, the girl did little more than annoy her.
"Alright, girls," her true friend, Angela Weber said. "Here's the lineup. Jess, Bella, and I will work the floor first. Lauren, you're on stage first tonight. Then it'll go Jess, me and Bells, you're last tonight. Let's do this, ladies!"
Bella rolled her eyes but couldn't help but laugh at Angela's excitement. "Alright, ladies, are we ready? We have a full house out here already," Tyler called in, averting his eyes. The girls headed out as "The Show Goes On" blasted from the speakers and Lauren made her way to the stage to work her magic. Bella found a group of college boys and brought over a tray of shots already prepared by James. The boys were watching Lauren and as they took shots off the tray, handed her way more money than necessary. "Do you boys need change?" she asked, a smile on her lips.
"Mmm...just keep 'em coming baby..." a short blonde said suggestively.
Bella just took the now empty tray back, putting the money into a jar she kept under the bar. "Anyone gives you trouble, just let me know, Bells," James said, eying up the guys she'd just waited on. The place was pretty packed as it was a Saturday night and she was busy just taking drinks to people. Lauren and Jess loved the interaction but she preferred to just serve drinks, not liking all of the attention.
Around midnight, it was her turn to take the stage. She wore a deep purple laced corset and latex booty shorts. It was more material than any of the other girls had on for their performances but Bella knew men loved it when skin was exposed little by little. The corset was soft, not shape making, and could be rolled up to expose her belly. Under the shorts she wore a black thong. She approached the stage, the song "ET" by Katy Perry blasting this time. She stood, her legs apart, as she braced herself against the pole before starting her routine. Cheers came from the college group she had been catering to all night and as she glanced up at them, her eyes caught someone sitting by themselves towards the back.
Holding her head up high, Bella brought her right arm up to grab the pole before wrapping her body around it and sliding to the floor. Her eyes settling on the lone man. When Jess went over to him, he turned down a drink...and whatever else Jess was desperately trying to get him to buy. She tried to remember that there were more men than just him she was trying to please with her body but there was something about him. Everything in her body screamed to her to stop her train of thought, that he was just another man—another man who she had no reason to trust.
When her college boys whistled to her, she let her tongue escape and slide seductively across her lips. Two men in suits slid up closer to the stage, pulling a few dollars from each other their pockets and placing them on the stage in front of them. On all fours, Bella climbed over and took the cash. She could have sworn the man on the right was drooling. He reached his hand up and before he could get within three feet of her, she slid back and grabbed the pole like it was her life line. Biting her lip, she forced herself to continue with her little show. She risked one glance back at her avenger from the night before and saw that he was leaning forward now, his intense gaze falling on the drooling men in front of her. He looked lethal. Now he's my avenger? Where the hell did that come from?
Making her way off the stage, Bella went straight to the dressing room, breathing heavily and trying to pull herself back together. No one could know she was reacting to the harmless men who paid her well that way. Tears threatened to fall and she shook her head, hating the reflection she saw in the mirror. Men in suits freaked her out. In fact she'd take the drunks and druggies over the men with money any night. From her experience, when men had money, they typically used it for bad things. Subconsciously rubbing her wrists, Bella took a deep breath and headed back out onto the floor, a smile plastered to her face.
Over the next few days, Bella watched as every night, her mystery man would come in and sit in the back. He hardly drank, though he did smoke, and it seemed more than anything he spent his time ignoring Jess. The man would stay until she was done on the stage and in street clothes working the bar. It made her nervous but he was starting to show up in her thoughts outside of work. They were almost always sexual and she reminded herself that the only time she ever saw him was at a strip club. Sex would be associated with this man.
On two weeks to the day that he pulled the 'boyfriend' card to save her, Isabella woke up practically panting. Her fists were clenching the ratty old quilt she'd had since she left Forks, sweat covered her body in a thin sheet, and even more surprising was the fact that her panties were wet. Did I seriously just have a wet dream? What am I a teenage boy?
Throwing her sheets off, she pulled off the soiled clothes and made her way into the shower. This was the third night of her dreams and that was the most intense of all the dreams she had about the mystery man...or any other man. Leaning against the cracked and permanently streaked mirror, Bella rested her hands on either side of the yellowed porcelain sink and stared at her reflection. Tonight she was going to demand an answer from him. If he knew her, she wanted to know how. He seemed too young to be one of...them. She had to know. If they found her, regardless of how old he was, she had to run.
This story is DARK themed. I'm not going to warn you every chapter. From this point on their will be mentions of graphic sexual situations-up to and including accounts of extreme abuse, possible character death-though they will never be Edward or Bella, mental health issues, and other things that some of you may not be comfortable with. If you are brave enough to continue onto the next chapter, I can only hope that you won't be disappointed. If you'd like a preview of chapter two, please leave a review with what you think and I will send it out to you. If you have any questions concerning the content that I have just discussed, please p/m me and I will try to answer them as best as I can. I plan to update late Thursday or early Friday but it depends on the response I receive. You can follow me on Twitter letzigprincess. It's good to be back. Letzy xx