A/N: Okay, this is something I am writing for me. A little bunny that wouldn't leave me alone, and once I started writing it I realised how much I've missed writing mobward. I have a good number of chapters under my belt already. I am aiming for weekly updates, anything other than that will be an extra. Update day is Sunday. Also, chapters will be on the shorter side because basically this is what is easier for me and my health right now.
A huge thanks to Sherry, Paige, Tiffany & Cristina for working with me on this fic. You girls rock my world. Xx
Also, this is the only warning you are going to get, this Bella is Bratella. If you can't handle that, don't read.
I guess I should have known that after Kate got married, I would be next. I just didn't think it would be as soon. I only was seventeen after-all, a mere child in some eyes, but now I realize that all the warning signs were there. I just didn't want to see them. Strangers had been visiting our house for over a week; my father had been having constant meetings with them and his attitude towards me had changed, but the one clue that I really should have noticed was my mother's sudden interest in my appearance. She was suddenly overly concerned by what I was wearing or how my hair looked. God forbid she caught me looking anything but my best. One time, she caught me in yoga pants, with my hair pulled back. I thought she was going to have a heart attack.
It wasn't until I was summoned to my father's office that I started to suspect something was going on, but by then it was too late. My mother had insisted on fixing my hair before I went down and reminded me to smile. I figured father had an important guest and wanted to show me off, even if it was unusual for him to call me to his office while he had company.
I barely had time to knock on the door when my father's loud voice beckoned me inside, giving me the impression that he had been waiting for me. When I entered the office, I saw my father was sitting in his usual spot, behind his desk. His visitor was sitting in one of the chairs in front of the desk. His visitor was a good looking man, who looked to be about twenty-something. He wore a crisp black suit, paired with a black shirt and tie. He had the most striking green eyes I had ever seen. It was only when I saw him looking at me, that I realized that I had been caught staring at him. I quickly looked away and turned my attention to my father. "You wanted to see me, Papa?"
"Sit down, Isabella," my father said, pointing to the chair beside the stranger. He had a bemused look upon his face.
"Sit down?" I asked him, confused, wondering why he wanted me to sit with him when he had company. He never usually wanted me around business discussions. The less the women knew, the better.
"Yes, Isabella, sit!" he said, growing exasperated. "You will make Mr. Cullen think you are simpleminded, if you can't follow such an elementary instruction."
I pouted, taking a seat. He knew I wasn't simpleminded and there was no need for him to call me that in front of his visitor, giving the man a terrible impression of me.
"I guess you are wondering why you're here?"
I shrugged. I was in a mood now. I didn't like it when papa was snappy or harsh with me, and I hated being belittled. I didn't care why I was here. I just wanted to get it over with so I could go back to my room. I had plans to go out tonight with the girls and I wanted to finish getting ready.
"Mr. Cullen," my father said, gesturing towards the man. "Is a family friend, in fact, his father and I were very close growing up."
I could barely bring myself to smile at Mr. Cullen, but I did so, knowing what was expected of me.
"Mr. Cullen and I have come to an agreement and it is my pleasure to tell you that you are now betrothed to him."
"What!?" I shouted, jumping out my chair, the news completely taking me by surprise. "You can't be serious," I said, looking between them both, but the two of them looked extremely serious. "I'm too young," I protested. It was a feeble excuse, but it was all I had.
"Isabella Marie Swan, sit your ass down on that chair," my father scowled, "you're making a spectacle of yourself, and this family. You are not too young. You will be eighteen in just over a month. Granted, all of this is happening sooner than I would have liked, but it can't be helped."
I reluctantly sat down on the chair and stared at my father, giving him my sad eyes, the ones that usually got me out of trouble. "Please papa," I begged, tears forming in my eyes. "Kate didn't marry until she was twenty-one. Why can't I wait until I am twenty-one?" I asked, sparing a glance at Mr. Cullen, wondering what he made of all of this, but his face was completely expressionless, giving nothing away.
"The decision has been made Isabella," my father said, sternly. "Plans have been put into place, there is no backing out of this now. You are only shaming your family by acting in such a spoiled adolescent manner."
I scowled at him. I didn't care if I was shaming our family. This was my life, my future we were talking about. How did he expect me to act when he dropped such a bombshell on me without giving me any kind of warning? Did he expect me to just sit here and do whatever he told me? Well, yes, that was clearly what he expected me to do, what I had been brought up to do, but I didn't care. This was my life.
"Mr. Cullen's mother has started organizing your wedding, it will take place in two weeks."
"Two weeks!?" I looked at him like he was mad.
My father continued as if he hadn't heard me. "You will go and live with Mr. Cullen until then. I suggest you take the time to get to know your future husband."
"Go and live with him?" I said, glaring at him, then at my future husband. "Papa, you can't honestly expect me to go and live with this man, this stranger. You didn't force Kate to live with her fiancée before their marriage. I don't understand why you are doing this to me. Have I done something? Have I upset you?"
My father never answered. He shared a silent look with Mr. Cullen before nodding his head. Mr. Cullen stood up and buttoned his suit jacket. He lightly touched my arm. "Come Isabella, let's collect your things. We have a flight to catch."
I pulled my arm away from him and glared at him, before running around the desk and throwing myself at my father's feet. By now, I was a sobbing mess. "Please papa," I begged. "Don't send me away. I'll be good. I promise. I'll behave. I'll do everything you say, just don't send me away. Don't sell me off like some cheap whore that you don't care about. I am your daughter, your baby girl. You love me papa, just like I love you."
I clung onto his trousers, my head resting on his knees as my heart broke. No one spoke or said anything for several minutes. Then, I felt someone grab my arm and pull me to my feet. I turned around to see Mr. Cullen standing by my side. His expression was no longer emotionless, he actually looked miserable, but I didn't care. I had already promised myself that I would hate him for taking me away from my life. I had no room for empathy for this man.
"Come Isabella," he said, pulling me away from my father. "It's time to go."
"I don't want to go," I said, trying to pull my arm away from him, but this time he refused to let me go.
I glanced back at my father as he guided me from the room, his eyes were moist, his expression forlorn. I couldn't understand why he was doing this, not if it was hurting him too. Then, realized that it had to be Mr. Cullen. He had to have something on my father. He had to be forcing him to do this, but why? I was sure he could have any girl he wanted. Why would he want a seventeen year old girl?
Mr. Cullen took me upstairs to my room. He waited at the door while I entered. My mother was already inside, packing my things. She looked like she had been crying too. "Isabella," she said, coming towards me. She tried to hug me, but I pushed her away.
"Don't," I hissed. "Don't touch me."
She flinched at my words, but I couldn't find it in me to care. She had to have known about this all along, and she had done nothing to convince my father not to go along with the decision. "Please don't hate me Isabella," she said, reaching out to gently touch my face. I pushed her away again. "This is for the best, in time you will see that. In time, you will learn to love him, if you give him a chance. He's a good man."
I shook my head. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to hear the lies. "Get out," I growled. "Leave me alone."
She left my room crying, but I didn't care. At least that is what I told myself. I slammed the door after her and fell to the floor crying. I have no idea how long I lay there, but no one came to comfort me. No one came to tell me it was going to be alright. In the end, I had no other choice, but to pull myself together.
I looked around my room. I didn't want to leave. I loved my home, my city, my friends. I didn't even know where it was that we were leaving to, or what my finance's first name was. Nothing about this situation was right. This wasn't at all like Kate's engagement or wedding. She got to meet her husband months before. He got to court her, win her heart. Why wasn't I getting any of that? Why was I being punished? What had I ever done to hurt my father?
Nothing. It was the only answer I could come up with. I had done nothing wrong. Sure, I wasn't the perfect daughter. I had my moments. I could be a spoiled brat, but I knew when to draw the line. I didn't go out drinking like the other girls did. I didn't go sleeping around. I had kept myself pure like it was expected of me. I had been a good daughter. I didn't deserve to be treated like this.
I refused to be treated like this.
I got off the floor and grabbed my purse, ensuring that my cell, gun, money and my car keys were inside. I wasn't sticking around. I would run away, find a job and start a new life somewhere they couldn't control me. I went over to the window and pushed it opened, taking a deep inhale of the fresh air to calm my nerves. I hadn't climbed out my window before, but I was sure it couldn't be too hard. Isn't that what all the teens did in the movies? Anyway, there was the bay window on the floor below, which meant the roof stuck out a little. I was sure I could climb down onto that window eave, and then jump onto the ground below.
I got halfway out when I realized that I was being watched. I looked down to see a man in a suit standing in the street below. He spoke into a two-way radio before I had a chance to react. The next thing I knew, Mr. Cullen was barging into my room and pulling me back in the window. He did not look happy.
He pushed me against the wall and glared at me. "What the hell do you think you're doing? Are you trying to get yourself hurt?" he hissed. I didn't answer. I just stood there, staring at him, clutching my bag. His facial features softened after a few minutes and he let me go. "Don't ever try to do that again. Don't ever try to run from me, Isabella."
I nodded, moving as far away from him as I could. I still wasn't sure what to make of him. He went over to the window and closed it, before sitting down on the windowsill. "You have ten minutes left. I suggest you use it to pack anything you don't want to leave behind."
We never spoke after that. I reluctantly went around the room collecting my things since I was out of options. When I was finished Mr. Cullen carried my suitcase down the stairs for me. My parents were waiting by the front door, both of them looked like they had been crying, but I couldn't bring myself to speak to them. I turned my head the opposite way and walked out the front door, making my way to the car parked on the side of the street. I hoped they could live with their decision.