Warning: Corrupting Influence contains references to suicidal thoughts, child abuse, school violence, and attempted rape. The chapters with these references will be preceded by warnings.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Stephanie Meyer. Aside from a few obvious parallels to the Twilight universe, including some fanfictions that will be mentioned when pertinent, this plot belongs to me.
Theme song for this fic: Rasputina's The Hunter's Kiss.
"Vices are manifold, take countless different forms and are incapable of classification." – Seneca the Younger, Letter CXXII translated by Robin Campbell
The virgin and the whore plot corruption.
At least, Bella was sure that was what they saw, all the other occupants of this little den of debauchery.
The virgin's innocence—Bella's innocence—writ large across an anxious visage.
The whore's depravity—Tanya's depravity—clear from the immobility of her marble countenance.
The voyeurs watched as Tanya wrapped her long red-tipped fingers around Bella's arm, pulling her closer to whisper into her ear.
When Tanya confessed that she too knew Edward Cullen, Bella sputtered, nearly spilling her wine. The mere mention of the man's name was still enough to send a jolt through Bella's frame.
Looking at Tanya, though, it made absolute sense. 'Hair and breast steeped in perfume, she would wake desire in an old man.'
Bella didn't ask for details. She didn't want to know about the nature of Tanya's relationship with Edward.
Unfortunately, Bella was too inebriated by that point to hold her own tongue. 'One medicine, my friend, alone is fit—wine—and get drunk on it.' She told Tanya everything.
Then Tanya made a proposal.
Bella was horrified. How could Tanya possibly suggest such a thing after what she'd just heard?
Because it was just too much.
Nevertheless, Tanya calmly and carefully refuted every one of Bella's arguments.
At a loss, Bella took one last stab at convincing Tanya that it was a waste of time. "I don't think he'll go along with it."
Tanya cackled. Except that it sounded like bells ringing, uncannily melodic, the laughter of a Disney witch masquerading as a queen. Bella's very own evil fairy godmother come to life.
Someone must have slipped Bella a drug, because none of this could be real.
"Isssabelllla," Tanya purred, her lilting accent stretching out the consonants, the unique inflection of her words having become more pronounced as she became more and more intoxicated. "If he's not interested, it 'ell not matter, 'ell it?"
Tanya was right. And Bella was suddenly angry.
Tanya was smoking a cigarette in a holder. A fucking cigarette holder, like she was some Hollywood starlet from the '30s, the smoke curling around Tanya's arm. She and Bella were sitting at a back table, lit only by a candle and a couple of sconces on the walls. Curtains billowed around the other tables, assuring the patrons' privacy as they enjoyed varying degrees of debauched revelry. Bella could see limbs snaking in and out of paisley silk, the air rancid with patchouli. It was Delacroix's Death of Sardanapalus, minus the naked dancing girls.
And they think this is corruption? Bella thought scornfully. But who was she to judge?
She had tried so hard to appear blasé! A fool in her best dress finding out that her knickers were out of fashion when a stiff wind exposed her nether-regions to the world.
Suddenly sobering, Bella considered just what it was that Tanya was asking of her.
Bella could feel it, her own destruction leering at her, black and cold.
Because this would end her. She was sure of it.
Fuck the world, Bella decided, a sick, treacherous feeling spreading through her limbs.
With a quick nod, she accepted Tanya's proposal.
'Hair and breast steeped in perfume, she would wake desire in an old man.' — Archilochus
'One medicine, my friend, alone is fit—wine—and get drunk on it.' — Archilochus
HEA. Edward/Bella. Canon couples in the end, but some very minor slash before we get there. Unbetaed.
Rated M for language and subject matter.
I actually wrote Corrupting Influence first, decided that I hated it, and used it to write Gothic. But now that I'm rewriting/editing Corrupting Influence and posting it, I've decided not to take out the parts that I stole for Gothic since they were originally meant to be here. So there are some thematic and linguistic crossovers, but not many.
Rec: NewTwilightFan's Monolith - *Red Eyed Edward Contest Entry: 1st Place Judges' Vote* Bella has returned to Forks to live with her father every other year since her parents' divorce. Her emotional isolation threatens to overwhelm her, then she senses a mysterious force drawing her deep into the shadows of an abandoned graveyard. The force emanates from a standing stone. . . the gateway to her destiny. AU Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense/Horror - Bella, Edward - Chapters: 12 - Words: 34,435 - Reviews: 787 - Favs: 375 - Follows: 427 - Updated: Jul 10 - Published: Nov 16, 2015 - Status: Complete - id: 11618477