|Faster Than My Bullet
Author: EdwardsBloodType PM
After being bullied for years, a teenage boy at his breaking point takes matters into his own hands. Sensitive subject matter.Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Edward & Bella - Words: 4,139 - Reviews: 138 - Favs: 131 - Follows: 47 - Published: 05-21-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8137297
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Faster Than My Bullet
Summary: After being bullied for years, a teenage boy at his breaking point takes matters into his own hands.
Inspired by the song Pumped Up Kicks, by Foster the People.
Thank you to LovelyBrutal for betaing this, and thank you to all of you who donated to this fundraiser. It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of it. I was going through my word docs and realized that I'd never posted this. So I said, what the hell.
Warning* this contains physical abuse, and sensitive subject matter. Please read with caution.
It was late afternoon and the rain fell relentlessly, creating a slanted sheet of icy water blurring his vision. Dark skies muddled the daylight, leaving in its place an everlasting world of gray. Seventeen year old Edward Cullen walked home from school as he did every day, taking the same route, always the same very public highway that led in and out of the small town of Forks. It was extremely dangerous to walk along the busy road, with the combination of huge, speeding logging trucks and slippery pavement a sure disaster waiting to happen. But Edward knew that it was far safer than taking the quiet side streets, where he was a target. Not that it would even matter, really. Edward was always a target.
Quite the amazing feat, for someone invisible.
If anyone passing by had paid the least bit of attention to him, they might have noticed that he was walking home in only gray socks, muddied and stretched, making a slopping sound against the concrete each time he stepped forward. They might have noticed that the boy wore no coat and that his arms trembled, wrapped around his thin middle which made the tee shirt he wore stretch tight around noticeable ribs. His toes felt as they'd gone frozen a good mile back. Caught in the middle of a torrential downpour, it might have been assumed he was simply cold. But because of that very rain, no one would ever know that his cheeks had been stained with hot tears and that the boy's head had been sopping wet before he'd ever stepped foot outside.
It had been shoved into one of the filthy toilets in the boy's locker room.
When the boys had finally released him, he vomited all over the dirty floor and himself. They kicked him in the ribs and then the groin, as he lay helpless in a pool of his own tears and bile. He tried not to cry in front of them, but this time it was too much to contain. After an hour or so, when he was able to, Edward painstakingly crawled to his locker only to find that his battered old Converse, the threadbare gray pea coat he'd worn for the last four years, and his tattered book bag were gone.
He was thankful that he had nothing of value in the bag, except a paperback copy of the Count of Monte Cristo, his calculus book, and his house keys. Unfortunately, it was the only bag he had, and now…there was nothing, and it wasn't as though he had access to transportation to acquire another bag or shoes. He saved every dime he made working as a busboy in Fork's diner in a bank account that his father was unaware of. He was too poor to have one of those hand held video game consoles, and he had no use for an iPod, or a cell phone.
He had no one to call.
The worst part, he thought, as he'd collected himself, resigned to go home, shoeless, coatless and without a means to get inside his front door, was that Bella Swan had seen him like this. Sweet, quiet, beautiful Bella Swan. It was more humiliating than getting his head jammed in a full toilet. Running out of that locker room, dripping in someone else's urine and covered in his own vomit as he crashed into Bella, was more demeaning than everyone knowing that his entire existence was a pathetic joke. She'd seen it up close and in person. He'd been so horrified about the smell that was clearly evident on his clothes and skin that he just scrambled up off the floor and kept running, disregarding Bella's books which had scattered all over the empty hallway.
She'd called after him. By his name.
If he hadn't been so traumatized by the events that had just occurred, Edward would have been elated over knowing she knew he existed.
For as long as Edward could remember he'd been tormented by Jacob Black and James Hunter—abuse which subsequently spilled over to their accumulation of friends as the years passed. It went from two boys to four boys to six almost-men by the time he was a senior. No matter how hard he tried to hide, to avoid the paths they took, to go so far as to volunteer in the attendance office during lunch hour so he could arrange his class schedule around where they wouldn't be…they somehow always managed to find him.
Edward would take their shit day after day. He'd make excuses for the bloody noses and fat lips, (he walked into a door, a can of soup on a high shelf fell from the pantry), he'd tell his Gym teacher he pulled a muscle, when he was nursing a broken rib or two. How many times could he lie about being clumsy or absentminded, before they questioned it?
The thing was, that because invisible people didn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, no one ever really gave a shit.
When his father probed him about the bruises that he was well aware were not caused by his own hand, Edward told him the truth. Instead of teaching his son how to fight back or offering him words of encouragement, Edward's father simply laughed, calling him a pussy.
The repeated beatings he could take. His father had singled handedly accustomed Edward to that type of non-verbal "affection" since the day his mother walked out on them eight years ago. But it was the public humiliation that wore Edward down until eventually his self-worth was nothing but a sliver.
He didn't want to be noticed by anyone, especially Bella Swan. He didn't ask to be special, or wanted… or loved, even. The days of hoping for a kind word of praise or a simple pat on the back from his father or from a teacher were long gone. Edward just wanted Jake and James to leave him the fuck alone. He would pray for the school year to end, so that he could get the hell away from this wretched arm pit of a life and go to a small college where he could get a fresh start. A new life where no one knew him, or of the abuse he'd accepted without choice.
That was the plan.
But today, Edward saw the look in Bella Swan's big brown eyes. After the initial shock of being slammed into by him, all he saw was pity reflected back at him. Poor Edward Cullen, submitting to the bullies once again.
That was unacceptable. It jostled him and broke him enough to thoroughly fuck up his plan of enduring and simply getting by until he could get out.
Edward dragged the cracked, weather beaten planter, upturning it so that he could use it to reach the window screen. Once he climbed through into his dark house, he trembled while peeling off his drenched clothes, careful not to leave water marks where his father could see them. He'd learned his lesson before, the hard way.
Edward headed straight to the shower, where he let scalding hot water wash away the stink of his shame. He sank to the floor, bringing his knees to his chest, sobbing until he could feel nothing but numb, caught in a place between terrified and furious.
He'd never felt so alone before.
He cried for his father and the always empty bottle of scotch that he loved more than own son. He cried for the mother who abandoned him without so much as a goodbye. He cried for the girl who saw him only as pathetic excuse for a man. He cried hot tears for what he was about to do, for what he had to do…at the same time as he prayed for God to forgive him.
And then he dried himself off with a new resolve. The sweet, gentle heart that no one ever had a chance to know, no one ever made any attempt to know, was hardened and shattered, each thump perpetuating him toward his goal of revenge. He climbed the stairs slowly, each step on the cold wooden stairs painstakingly meticulous. Edward's father was not home, but he was careful anyway. What he was doing, where he was going…his final destination was absolutely forbidden.
Edward knew very well that once he reached the room, it would be the point of no return.
There was no key to the liquor cabinet. Edward thought it was a trap or a test, to see if he'd ever try to get inside, giving his father a justifiable reason to beat the shit out of him. Up until now, he'd never taken the risk. The glass door vibrated against his hand, and Edward didn't bother to wipe away the prints it would leave. He slid out the bottle, twisted off the cap and took a sniff which made him wince and cringe at the pungent odor. He'd never been drunk before, but his Daddy always said it took the edge off. Edward needed something tonight, because he definitely felt that edge piercing him in the heart.
After a long swig, he closed his eyes, letting the burn numb his throat. He took another and another until he felt a calming tingling sensation in his fingers and toes. In his father's dresser drawer, he found a pack of cigarettes. With sluggish movements, he slipped one out, setting them on the dusty dresser top aside a well-used pack of matches from a seedy little strip joint located in the next town over. On the shiny black cover, was a hot pink silhouette of a woman with large breasts and a tiny waist, inverting her body off a pole. He'd watched pornography before, tapes he's found in his Daddy's box of forbidden treasures. He'd snuck them out of the closet on a night when he knew his father wouldn't be home until morning, touching himself with visions of Bella Swan obsessing in his brain, before carefully replacing them.
That's when he'd discovered the gun.
The idea that a weapon of such caliber was in house frightened him, knowing how violent his Daddy could be. The box of ammunition still had the wrapping on it.
Edward sank down to his knees, slowly dragging the cardboard box from the darkest corner of his father's closet. The gun lay on the bottom, an instrument which looked to be well used; all of the metal that used to be shiny, now dull.
He never shot a gun before. Never even held one.
But he'd learned how to load it on YouTube.
Edward held the weapon in his hand, loving the feel of how heavy and cold it felt against the warmth of his palm. Spying the cigarettes on the dresser, he popped the lone one in his mouth, bringing the flame of the match to the end. He liked the sulfur smell and the way the plastic filter felt between his lips. It made him feel cool, and important, and badass. Laughable.
With a wide stance, Edward held the pistol out, locking the fingers of both hands around the handle, pointing it at nothing in particular. He was a rock star. He was a cowboy. He was invincible. The cigarette dangled from his lips and he squinted one eye, taking aim. He imagined it was Jacob's face that the bullet would pierce, and James' heart. They deserved to die. They all did. Slowly and painfully.
Preferably covered in their own urine.
Edward enjoyed irony.
With his brandy buzz still very much present, Edward played around with the gun for a while, familiarizing himself with the trigger. Without hesitation, he opened the box of ammunition, methodically loading the bullets into the chamber just as the video had instructed him. It was an accident that he'd found the video in the first place; he certainly wasn't looking for it at the time. But it planted the seed in his head, a seed that grew and sprouted and blossomed as it was fed and nourished with daily torture and humiliation from his peers.
He'd panicked when he heard a car in the driveway. Daddy was home early.
Carefully placing the gun in the box just as he'd found it, Edward snuffed out the butt of the cigarette on the torn flap of the box and slid it back into the dark recesses of his father's closet. By the time his Daddy was through the front door, Edward was under his covers, pretending to be fast asleep. He knew his father didn't care if he smoked. Shit… he was the one who'd offered him his first drag years ago. But he'd certainly be pissed that Edward had imbibed his liquor, and Edward wasn't in the mindset to get into it tonight. He needed his anger to focused on one place and one place only.
Edward stayed in bed staring at the shadows shifting over the ceiling. He was planning, working out all the little details in his head, wondering if he could really pull this off.
When the sun came up the next morning, Edward's strategy for the ultimate revenge had not changed. His anger had cooled down to slow simmer, but the spark still burned hot and bright in his head. He would not back down. He was not a fucking pussy.
And this time, he'd show them all.
He waited until his father left the house before he retrieved the gun. The only means of transporting it was an beat up gym bag Edward's father had stowed away in the same closet as the pistol. He put on an old military jacket that belonged to his grandfather and turned to look in the mirror. The olive green washed out his already pale skin, and made the odd reddish hints in his hair seem a vivid orange. The reflection in the mirror told him that he was weak as ever, but inside he felt like he was a giant.
In sneakers a size too big and the bag clutched tightly in his fist, Edward made his way to school along the highway with adrenaline pumping through his whole body. For once he wore a little wry smile, for he knew something that they didn't. Today would be the day they would stop tormenting him. Today, he would have his revenge.
He opened his locker, disregarding the word "faggot" written in black marker a week ago that none of the custodial staff had gotten around to removing. He stashed the bag inside his locker, then unzipped it, reaching inside. As his hand closed around the cool metal, his head flooded with images of Jacob's brains exploding against the lockers behind him, the bright red blood a stark contrast to the dull, grey metal. He imagined James sliding down the wall as his chest oozed; his body slumping around a pool of crimson.
The visions of the end result of his revenge didn't satisfy him, though. It was actually rather disturbing. Disturbing enough for Edward to shudder and pull away.
He felt a presence lurking behind him, and he almost whipped out the gun, drawing it toward his attacker.
Only she wasn't about to attack.
"Um…Edward?" Her eyes were bright, and the blush on her cheeks made her look prettier than ever. Edward's heart raced. He felt his ears heat up. "Hi, how are you?" she said, practically stuttering.
Oh God, she was here to ream him out for knocking into her yesterday and not even apologizing for it. Edward didn't know what to say or how to answer Bella, so he just responded with a very timid, "Hi….Bella."
"Hi," she said again, clearly nervous. "I uh… I was wondering if you maybe might be free tonight? I know it's short notice and all, but there's a movie playing at the theater and um…it's a zombie movie and I saw that tee shirt you were wearing the other day had like, a zombie on it, so I assumed that you'd probably enjoy that kind of movie…and would you want to go?"
Surprised and taken aback by the offer, he narrowed his eyes at her. Surely she was playing a joke on him. "With you?"
Bella nodded hesitantly, her eyes glossing over as though the sensed the beginning of a rejection. She'd worked up the nerve to ask him and now he was snubbing her?
He turned to face her, holding back a snarl. "Why?" He hoped it would catch her off guard, maybe make her admit that someone put her up to this, obviously. There was no possible way she'd be interested in Edward Gets His Ass Kicked Every Day Cullen.
"Why?" she squeaked, blinking her eyes rapidly. She had no idea how to answer that question.
"Why would you possibly want to go to the movies …with me?" Why would anyone want to go out with a loser?
Bella stammered a bit before she could compose herself. "Because you're smart and sweet and you're really cute. And to be honest, I…"
"You feel sorry for me, right?" he scoffed, turning away from her, seething. It was a pity date. Of course.
"No," she snapped. "I just thought we seemed to have a lot in common and… I…I like you." Bella shrugged. She was so sweet, he thought, suddenly moved by her words, which warmed his insides. Could this truly be genuine?
He glanced back at the gun in his bag, and then at her big brown eyes, so innocent and sincere. "You do?"
She nodded, a slow smile spreading on her lips. Edward couldn't help but mirror it.
"I've been wanting to ask you for a while and then yesterday when we ran into one another, I looked at it as a sign or whatever…and well, I figured carpe diem, you know?"
Carpe diem. He nodded, because he did know. "Okay, yeah, sure." He was giddy inside. "I don't have a car though." Because I'm a loser.
"That's okay, I'll pick you up!" she said, brightly. "Seven?"
"O…okay, seven is great," he muttered, still dumbfounded by her proposal. To his surprise, she reached for his hand, giving it a little squeeze before she walked off. He watched her descend the hall, smiling dumbly at the little bounce in her step.
The gun never left the bag. It was taken home that afternoon, riding alongside him in Bella's beat up old truck. She'd seen him walking on the highway, and pulled over to ask him if he wanted a ride. After all, she forgot to ask his address and needed to know where he lived if she was to pick him up later on.
He tucked the gun away in its cardboard home alongside its porn star neighbors, after carefully removing the ammunition with his breath held. Edward showered, shaved, and dressed in his nicest clothes, pulling out a crumpled twenty dollar bill and a few singles from under his mattress. He hoped Bella would offer to pay for the popcorn if he got the tickets, because he had just enough, and the last thing he wanted was to be humiliated again, especially when James and Jake were nowhere in sight. As he waited anxiously by the door for Bella, his father came home, looking at him oddly.
"Hey dad," Edward said quietly, averting his eyes. It was such an unconscious submissive motion that had become habit. If he didn't look straight at the beast, maybe it wouldn't notice him.
He cracked open a beer taking a long swig. "Where you goin'?" His pussy of a son never went out, so he was surprised to see Edward dressed to go anywhere on a Friday night.
"To the movies." Edward smiled a little, unable to help it.
"With who?" he snickered. "A girl?"
Edward nodded, ignoring his father's insulting remark. "With Bella Swan."
His father looked surprised. "The cop's kid?"
When Edward nodded, almost beaming, his father smiled; the earnestness in it was unmissed. "Well… good for you, kid. Be a gentleman now, you hear?"
"Yes sir, of course," Edward responded.
To Edward's surprise, his father handed him a twenty dollar bill from his pocket, patted him on the shoulder in a very rare gesture, and told him to have fun. When Bella Swan pulled into Edward Cullen's driveway, looking as pretty as ever in her pink sweater and her hair in fancy curls, Edward knew in his heart and soul that he'd done the right thing that day. He refused to think about that, as he'd vowed to keep his plan of revenge a secret until the day he died. No one would ever know just how horribly broken they had made him. Because from now on, Edward knew, he had to fight back. He'd just needed a reason, and it seemed as though Bella Swan was it.
As they drove into the next town, they made nervous small talk as music lingered in the background. It turned out they had a lot in common, like their love of literature and art, and the fact that they were only children living with single fathers who were absent a lot of the time. Bella never said a word about when they'd run into one another, but Edward got the sense that she wanted to ask about it. At some point, he decided, he would probably tell her what had happened in the locker room…if she hadn't already guessed.
He prayed that the night would go well. Looking down at the too large shoes on his feet, Edward wished that he could show Bella that he was not the freak that the other kids, with their expensive sneakers made him out to be.
He was a good person, in an unfortunate situation. It was time to turn things around. He didn't know how, but he knew it needed to be done, and not the way he'd planned this morning. That Edward died when he put the bullets back in their box.
The movie started, but Edward was too jazzed by the girl willingly sitting next to him to really care. It was all gore and fake blood, and contrived horror based on a fictitious entity, anyway. Edward smiled when she suddenly reached across the seat, placing her hand on top of his. Surprised and delighted, he turned his hand into hers, palm to palm and linked their fingers together. It felt amazing. He felt stronger than ever before.
It was amazing how empowering the feeling of being wanted could be. Edward decided that he was going to kiss this girl tonight, if it was the very last thing he did.
It dawned on him then, that had it not been for her invitation to the movies, two people might have been dead tonight. He might have been locked away, or even dead himself, having never been able to know this girl beside him, his angel. The thought sent a cool chill up his spine. He covered his mouth, holding back the sudden wave of nausea that welled in his belly.
If she only knew what her simple, kind gesture had done, how it altered the lives of so many people including his own.
Just then, Bella smiled at him, squeezing his hand.
Maybe, Edward thought as he gazed upon her angelic face…maybe she did know after all.
This is just a one shot. It won't be continued.
Thanks for reading, you guys. I've missed you all. xoxoxo