|Bloody but not broken
Author: random-fandomdotnet PM
Entry for the 'Every Picture Tells a Story' challenge on Random*Fandom. Senator Cullen is in the middle of a nasty divorce. Can a woman from his past help him regain perspective and his will to fight?Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 2 - Words: 5,114 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 24 - Updated: 06-25-12 - Published: 06-18-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8229507
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Every Picture Tells A Story Super Challenge
Prompt #: #3 (to view all prompts please go to: : / / contestsandchallenges . random-fandom ?page_id=7 you will need to remove the spaces from the link)
Title: Bloody but not Broken
Characters: Edward, Bella, Tanya
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or its characters.
Summary: Senator Cullen is in the middle of a nasty divorce. Can a woman from his past help him regain perspective and his will to fight?
"Edward I think you need to watch this." My sister, Alice, said as she entered my office. "I cannot believe they didn't give us a heads up about this." She mutters as she changes the channel on the television.
"What has Tanya done now Alice?" We are in the middle of an extremely bitter divorce and she has taken to the media to tell her version of our marriage. It was beyond embarrassing, the level of detail she gives out about her infidelities and us, she thought my bid for Governor would have me backing down. For me, it was the final piece of proof that after 15 years of marriage she didn't know me at all.
"It's not Tanya. Mom is going to flip her lid, I'm surprised she hasn't…" She was cut off by her phone ringing. Judging from the look on her face she just received the call she was dreading from our mother.
"I didn't know…no, I had no warning…I know mother…its coming on now. Sure we can meet at Edward's for dinner and go over everything." She flipped her phone closed and gave me a pointed look. "She isn't happy, at all."
"At least she has some idea what is happening." I could give her looks too.
"I received a call from an assistant I know on the…" She was cut off as music started to play and Ellen DeGeneres ran out and began her opening monologue for her show, her live show that was filmed in LA.
"What the hell Alice? The Ellen Show?"
"I don't know. As I said, I received a call the show was going to be about you but that's all I know. I don't even know who the guest is Edward."
"Fuck! Well, sit down, get comfortable, and let's watch my soon-to-be ex-wife fuck me over on a national show." I can't believe Tanya stooped to this level, is the print media not enough for her now.
"We'll deal with it Edward, whatever she says I promise we'll deal with it." Having said that we settled in to watch the destruction.
"Today's show has several last minute changes, there is only one guest today, bestselling author IMS Black. She is here to promote her new book and to talk about the new rumors concerning Senator Edward Cullen, a Republican from Washington State. People on this end of the country know of him but the rest of the nation may not. He is running for Governor of Washington State and is assumed to be on the short list for President in four or eight years. He is currently going through a very nasty and public divorce of his wife of 15 years, Tanya Denali Cullen. Please welcome to the show IMS Black."
I gave Alice a questioning look and she shook her head, neither of us knew the author.
"Please call me Bella." I knew that voice and my head whipped around to the screen.
"Holy Fuck," Alice whispered. "She can definitely bury you Edward."
Shock, I'm in shock. Bella Swan is on national television to talk about me. She could bury me is an understatement. My mind thought back to how things ended between us and to say it ended badly would be a huge understatement. I never thought she would do something of this nature.
"I don't think so Alice, it really isn't her style."
"You're joking, right? After the things that happened, how she was treated by mom and dad? This is a nightmare." Her phone chirped and if her groan was an indication it was mother calling.
"So Bella," her name drew my attention back to the television. "I know the changes to today's show were made at your request. I know you are here to discuss Senator Cullen and the new rumors that have surfaced about him. What I can't figure out is how you are involved in this and how the hell you managed to get everyone to agree to this without my approval. I mean this is my show." Ellen held her hands up and looked at the audience. How the hell had Bella managed this?
"Mom is freaking out Edward, and calling Jenks to find out what options we have to shut Bella up."
This type of thing really didn't seem like Bella to me, I can't believe she going to fry me on national TV. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised though, I also had no idea she is a bestselling author.
"Actually, I'm surprised they didn't give you more information also Ellen. Maybe they thought your reaction would be worth it when I tell you that I grew up in Forks and knew Edward well then. The S in IMS Black, stands for Swan." Ellen's mouth fell open. "I'm the Bella Swan named in the most recent articles. This interview was already scheduled so I called earlier in the week to see about…expanding the content of it."
"What articles are they talking about Alice?"
"I don't know. To my knowledge nothing new has been printed about you since last week."
"Wow. Wait a minute you called earlier this week, these articles just hit the stands today."
"I know, turns out it pays to have friends in the publishing world." Bella says with a soft laugh.
"That would explain why they told me to read the articles about the Senator. I have to ask, are the articles true? I mean it sounds like his family treated you like sh…crap."
"I suppose the accuracy of the articles would depend on your point of view. How I looked at the situation at 17 is very different for what I see when I look back on it today, almost 40 with a son of my own." Ellen was bobbing her head in agreement.
"I can see that. I was told no question is off limits."
"Pretty much, but remember, I knew Edward as a boy, a young man. I haven't seen Edward in close to 20 years and the last time I had any interaction with him we were delayed at Sea-Tac airport for a few hours due to weather. I may not be able to answer all of your questions."
"That's fair." Ellen said, bobbing her head. "Well, let's start with the most obvious question, is this true?"
Ellen was holding a tabloid paper with a picture of my parents, obviously in a fight with someone, and a very young looking Bella. How the hell had the press gotten a hold of those pictures or the story for that matter?
The next paper she held up was about my divorce, my very nasty public divorce. The picture was of a boxing ring with Tanya dancing around with her hands in the air like she had won, while I was sitting in a corner with my face bloody, battered, and bruised in defeat. Someone had a very creative imagination, Tanya may be winning the public battle, but I was winning in actual court.
I zoned out at that point. I hadn't thought of Bella in years, to be honest it hurt too much to think of her. It was times like this though, I couldn't help but wonder how different my life would be if I had stood up to my parents.
"Edward are you listening? Edward!" I jump when Alice yells right next to my ear.
"I hear you Alice. Damn."
"I ask what you thought of the interview. Honestly I can't figure why she is covering your ass but it could have been much worse."
"What do you mean covering for me?"
"Did you not watch the show Edward? What the hell is with you?" She was back to yelling.
"I…zoned out, sorry."
"Please not this Edward. It has been 20 years…20 years Edward. Everyone agreed it was for the best then and it still is, she doesn't fit in our world."
"Leave it alone Alice."
"Okay, mom wants all of us at her house to discuss the next step."
"I'm going home Alice." I pull the recording out of the player to take with me. "I spaced out and missed most of the interview. I'll watch it at home and we can discuss it tomorrow. It's Friday there isn't anything we can do about it at this point anyway." I grab my briefcase and turn to leave, calling over my shoulder, "Tell everyone I'll see them tomorrow."
She didn't follow me and that was a good thing because I wasn't in the mood for her shit. Her comment kept turning over in my head, 'everyone agreed it was for the best'. Not everyone, I hadn't but I had also only been 18 and my family guilted me into doing what they wanted. They hounded me until I gave in and cruelly forced the best thing in my life out of it.
I arrive home, drop my briefcase on the kitchen table, take the DVD out, grab a glass and a bottle of scotch. I load the DVD and fast-forward until it is at the point Ellen was holding up the papers. I pour a full glass of scotch, hit play, and prepare to take a very unwelcome walk down memory lane while getting drunk.
"Is it true?" Ellen asked.
'Well, as I said it depends on your point of view, at 17 yes I would say the article describes what I felt the problem was. Edward and I come from two totally different backgrounds. His family is old money wealthy and has run Washington politics since there have been Washington politics. My family is blue collar all the way with a firm law enforcement background. At 17 it was easy to blame his family not liking me on our social class differences."
"Okay, and now?" Ellen pushed.
"Now, you need to understand Edward and I's dynamic. From the moment I moved to Forks we were caught up in each other, we spent every second together we could. We were as different as we were alike and could debate our differences for hours without malice. It was very intense."
"That's cool. Looking back now how do you see the situation." Ellen persisted.
"I can honestly say if my son came home tomorrow with a girl and they had something as intense as we did as fast as we did, it would totally scare the crap out of me." They both laughed. "His parents weren't the only ones that had a problem with our relationship, my parents did too. They were constantly trying to get me to spend time with other people and just, slow down with Edward. In hindsight I think that was where his parents were coming from more than anything."
I press pause and stare at Bella on the screen. When had she become such a skilled liar? For some reason she was bailing my family out of this pickle. It had totally been about your difference in social classes. When we started talking about going to the same college my parents had a fit and had taken every opportunity to stress to me and Bella that we needed to end it now, she would never be an acceptable Senator's wife and they fully expected me to keep up the family tradition.
They had been ruthless and relentless, on us together and separately. When we didn't cave as easily as they expected I was given an ultimatum. We had gotten into most of the same schools so my parents picked the two Bella hadn't been accepted to, Yale and Princeton, and told me I had to go to one of those if I expected them to pay for it or ever have access to my trust fund. They also took every opportunity to put us in situations that pointed out to Bella that she didn't belong in 'our' world. She wasn't born and raised as a snooty rich bitch and therefore didn't act like one, or look down on others, and that made her unacceptable to my mother.
I start the DVD again and watch as Bella backs up the lie about the reason my parents didn't want us together. She isn't lying about her parents, they thought we were too intense but did nothing to try to keep us apart.
"How did it end? Was there a big blow up?" I hear Ellen ask.
"No, no, no." Bella says, shaking her head. "The end was how many high school relationships end I imagine. We went to different schools for college and tried to keep in touch as much as possible but eventually drifted apart. It's been close to 20 years since I have seen Edward, other than on television. Actually, I'd like the chance to address something else in the article, if I may?"
"Sure, go ahead." Ellen encouraged.
"I'm sure you're acquainted with the issue, as I'm sure Edward is, but I am not accustomed to people printing things about me without someone I know personally verifying the facts."
"I am very familiar with that situation, yes." Ellen laughed while commenting.
"Well I'm not." Bella huffed. "And since that is what happened with that article I want to set the record straight, I am not now nor have I ever been friends with Mike Newton or Jessica Stanley. I guess she's a Newton now, but we were never friends, we never double dated, I barely spoke to them in high school and definitely haven't since then. The thought they were better than everyone in high school and it is obvious they are getting their 15 minutes of fame now. I'm sure they assumed Senator Cullen wouldn't stoop to answer their claims and I, as Bella Swan a nobody, wouldn't have the means to answer their claims either." Bella turned and looked directly into one of the cameras.
"Michael, Jessica, even though you were part of the popular crowd in high school, people didn't truly like you. Both of you were manipulative, bullying, gossiping, rumor-spreading assholes then and apparently," she held up the paper, "nothing has changed. For your sake, I hope you haven't given any other interviews based on what you think happened then because if my name appears in print, in a quote either of you have given to anyone my lawyers are under instructions to slap you with a libel and slander suit that I have already refused to be settled out of court. Slither back under your rock and stay there, for every piece of information you think you have about me and what happened then I have verified facts about your actions and am prepared to act on them. Don't push me Jessica you will come up the loser in this situation, as usual."
"Wow, that's quite a statement. Or should I say a threat?" Ellen laughs out.
"It's the truth, my father is still Chief of Police in Forks, so if they think their lives are private, please, it's a small town everyone talks. Unfortunately, for them, I'm in a position to take them to court and I will. They are speaking of things they know nothing about and it stops now."
Wow! I pause the player again. Wow. Bella has always been strong, she had to be to stand up to my parents as long as she did. They took every opportunity to let her know she wasn't good enough for me and could never possibly hope to be good enough. They went out and found someone they thought would be perfect for me, Tanya Denali, then forced us together at every opportunity. Eventually, fighting them became too much trouble. As they say, resistance was futile. If the situation weren't so sad, I would probably find it ironic that Bella is displaying more class than Tanya held in her little finger at the moment.
Staring at the frozen image of Bella on the television brought back memories and feelings I locked away long ago. She was…is the love of my life. My family may have been able to break us up but I never stopped loving her. I dated and then married Tanya but she never held my heart. I thought I had done a job of hiding that fact from her, but apparently not good enough. Thank God she didn't know the woman I love is Bella. Of course the cat would be out of bag now, I wonder how long it will take her to run to the press with this information. The press will hound Bella even more if Tanya airs her theories publicly. I push play, may as well finish watching and get all the bad news at once.
"So, I'm curious, a lot of people are probably curious, what do you make of what Mrs. Cullen has had to say to the press?" Ellen ask.
"Truthfully?" Bella ask with a raised eyebrow that Ellen just nodded at. "I feel sorry for her; she is embarrassing herself and doesn't even realize that's what she is doing? I mean she is admitting to all these infidelities and raising questions regarding the paternity of her children. She has never once said Senator Cullen cheated. I'm sure her hopes are to make him look weak and then he will pay her to be quiet, but I think the articles say more about her than they do him."
"The average voter doesn't see things that way though."
"No Ellen I'm sure they don't. That too is a reason I wanted to clear up the misconceptions caused by the Newton's statements. The Cullen's have enough to deal with." She sighed heavily before continuing. "I understand people's beliefs and thinking change throughout the years but I highly doubt their basic values have undergone that large of a change, even if it has been 20 years."
"I don't understand."
"The Cullen family I knew, especially Edward, values privacy more than anything. Loyalty and honor are words taken very much to heart. I suppose when you are raised and live in the public eye it would be hard to know who to trust, outside of family. I'm sure Mrs. Cullen's behavior came not only as a shock but a deep betrayal to the family. Edward probably feels it the most; she is his wife, the person he should be able to trust beyond anyone else. The fact that his children are old enough to understand at least some of what she is saying must cut him even deeper. Family is very important to him and if he grew to the man I saw as a boy, her hurting their children would be a sin to him."
"True, the children are 14 and 11. Do you think she told them first that she didn't think they are the Senator's?" Bella laughed a humorless laugh.
"God I hope so. How much of a bitch do you have to be to do something like that publicly? The sad thing is the public seems to eat this crap up, does no one realize how much this has to hurt two innocent girls. They don't deserve this just because they were born into a wealthy, famous family."
"True, true, nor can they help the fact their mother appears to be a money grubbing bitch." That statement got a reaction out of the audience. "I know you can't speak for Senator Edward Cullen, but Edward Cullen, they boy you knew, how would he be taking all of this."
"I think his first reaction would be shock, not only about what she has done, but the fact that she is doing things so publicly. Anger wouldn't be very far behind, anger at her and himself, for not seeing her for what she was and preventing her actions. Last would come sadness."
"Sadness?" Ellen asked, obviously confused.
"Yeah…the man I knew takes a lot on himself. He would be sad that his marriage is over, that she is attempting to tarnish his family name, and that the public is being brought into what should be a private matter. I'm sure he is especially sad that his daughters have become a pawn in their mother's game. Blood or not, he raised those girls, they're his, he'll never give them up."
"But a paternity test..."
"He'll never agree to that. He loves them, they're his kids and Tanya probably put the final nail in her coffin with this stunt."
I paused again and thought about what Bella said. Tanya had definitely made my decision much easier after this, those girls were mine, my blood, I'm sure of it. They may not look too much like me, but they have too many of my quirks to be anyone else's. She is playing to the press and it was about to come back and bite her in the ass. I press play.
"I don't know Bella, he's been pretty quiet so far. Not responding to any of her accusations and rumors." Ellen held up the gossip rag with a picture of me looking like a broken fighter and waved it around to stress her point.
"I don't expect him to respond publically beyond what he has already. If he is anything at all like the Edward I knew, he may look down and out, but that is when he is at his deadliest. I bet he is beating her in court and with this interview," it was Bella's turn to pick up that rag with the picture. "Ellen, I'd be surprised if she ends up with much more than limited visitation, a cornered Edward, is a ruthless Edward."
"I guess we'll have to wait and see how everything unfolds. Now, one last question about Senator Cullen before we move on to your book, I have to know, will you be voting for him in the election." Bella laughed and blushed but I knew what her answer would be.
"Edward is very intelligent, educated, compassionate, and in general a good man. Senator Cullen seems to be an efficient, well liked politician, but in the end he is a Republican and that has always been a point of contention for us."
"So you aren't going to vote for him?" Ellen pressed good-naturedly.
"Well, I do come from a very blue collar background. I won't outright rule out voting for him but like I said, he is a Republican. If I do I'll probably never admit to it." Bella stated laughing.
After that, the talk moved on to her new book, her son, and her late husband, Jacob Black. I didn't realized he had died and close to 10 years ago. The talk of her marriage had me thinking of the last time I saw Bella.
It was Christmas Break my senior year and I was flying back to Yale. Seattle had been hit by a freak snowstorm and the airport shut down. I was contemplating getting a hotel room for the night when I saw her at a Starbucks, god she was as beautiful as ever and the pain in my chest was as strong as it was the day I walked away from her. I love her still. I tried dating at Yale and no one measured up to her, so I stopped dating and started a friends with benefits arrangement with two girls in my program.
I almost turned away before she could notice me, I half expected her to slap my face. She didn't, she seemed happy to see me. We sat for a while and caught up on school, she was attending Vassar, we avoided any talk of either family. It felt right, she felt right and I wanted her in my life. Could I take on my family for her now, at 21? Would I?
They announced that it didn't look like that storm was going to pass quickly and flights wouldn't resume until late the next afternoon. I told her I had booked a hotel room and invited her to go with me to the hotel bar so we could continue our conversation.
Honestly, I'm not sure how it happened. We had drinks in the bar, a lot of drinks, then we were in my hotel room. I couldn't even remember who suggested going to the room. I do remember that once we got there we couldn't get our clothes off fast enough. The first time I had her again was against the door, it was fast and furious, both of us cumming quickly. It was also the best sex I had had since the last time with her.
We didn't get any sleep that night. I fucked her in the shower and she rode me was I leaned against the vanity. She had bruises on her hips from doggie style hanging onto the back of the couch. I had a bite mark on my shoulder and scratches from her nails on my ass from when she tried to be quite because the people in the next room pounded on the wall to get us to tone it down. She had hickeys on her inner thighs from when I feasted on her pussy while she lay over the back of the couch. She gave me a hickey on the underside on my dick, she said it was so the girls would know no one sucked my dick as well as she could, and lord knows that was the truth.
The next afternoon we both were slow leaving the room, our bodies not use to such a sex marathon. We caught our flights out and as soon as I was in the air I realized I had no way to contact her.
Several weeks later I heard she eloped with Jacob Black, I was pissed. I couldn't help but think she must have been seeing him when we ran into each other. I never would have taken her for someone to cheat, then I remembered I didn't know any more, I didn't know anything beyond what she told me that night. That knowledge is what pushed me to tell my parents I would try with Tanya.
I didn't love Tanya, hell, most times, I didn't like her. She made my family happy, she said she loved me, and she would be a good wife for a politician or so I thought. Things progressed from there.
My sleep was tormented. I dreamt of Bella, past and present. I dreamt of Tanya and the different ways to get rid of her. In the light of day I realized actually killing her wasn't an option but some of those dreams held good ideas. I also dreamt of my family and the fit that was waiting for me from them. It was a restless but clarifying night.
In the shower is when I cemented my decision to do what I should have done all those years ago, stand up to the family pressure. It would be a fight, but it was a fight I was prepared to wage. I wasn't the young, dumb, impressionable boy I had been the first time around. I'd grown, in good and bad ways, I understood the family dynamic and would use it my advantage this time.
As I drove to my parents I ran through my mind how my parents probably thought this meeting would go, they were in for a rude awakening. I wasn't going to allow myself to be swayed from my mission, I am almost 40 years old, it is time to start living my life how I want. I'm going to divorce Tanya, keep custody of my kids, be elected Governor of Washington State, and then, God willing, convince Bella that the boy she loved still lived in the man I let myself become. I am going to get my girl back, if she still wants me.
~A Note from the Random*Fandom Team~
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