A/N: Thanks to my ladies, Sherry, Paige, Tiffany & Cristina. This chapter was unreadable before them!
I finally managed to get a PTMD written. It's with my ladies.
I will work away at TTTB next.
Chapter 5 - Part 2 - Stuck in reverse
"Handcuffs?" Edward asked as he approached us, eyeing the cuffs that currently locked me to the steering wheel. His face was unreadable. I wasn't sure if he was unhappy that his man cuffed me or not. Though I knew from previous experience he, himself enjoyed tying me up.
"Yeah…" he said, looking over at Edward. "She wasn't keen on the idea of waiting for you. She got a little angry, so I restrained her to keep her from hurting herself."
I scoffed at his words. I was more than a 'little angry'. I'd been extremely pissed off. I still was. They had no right to restrain me like this. If I didn't want to see Edward, then I shouldn't have to.
Edward nodded, accepting his answer. "Thanks, Emmett. I'll take it from here." They shook hands, did a little fist pump and some badass macho shit and then Emmett was gone.
"So," Edward said, turning his attention to me. "Are you ready to talk?"
I glared at him as he moved closer, blocking my only exit. Not that I could go anywhere until he removed the cuffs. My glare merely earned me a smile, which just added to my level of anger. I wanted nothing more than to wipe that smug look off his face, but while I was still cuffed there was nothing I could do. So, I put on my fakest smile and asked "Aren't you going to take these off?"
"No," Edward said, shaking his head. "I like seeing you like this, and anyway…when you're like this, at least I know you can't run when things begin to get too uncomfortable."
"Things are already uncomfortable," I muttered, which earned me a grin. "Ugh. You're such an ass, you know that, right? You can't keep me locked up like this."
"Why didn't you tell me you wanted to go see your dad?" Edward asked, crouching in front of me.
I sighed because from the look on his face, he truly had expected me to tell him if I wanted to go somewhere. Maybe I would have done that before, kept him informed of my whereabouts or when I would be home, etc. Not that he had forced me to do that. I just knew he was more comfortable knowing where I was. Edward liked to be in control and that hadn't bothered me in the slightest. Actually giving up my control to someone else had been rather comforting. It felt good to let someone else take the lead, but that had been before. Before he had walked away from me. From us.
"I didn't tell you because I don't need to report to you, Edward. You don't own me. If I want to go and see my dad, then that's what I will do."
Edward sighed. "I told you it wasn't safe, Bella. I thought you had more sense than that. I get that you are pissed at me, but you have to start using your head. You have to start thinking."
"Visiting my dad isn't safe?" I scoffed.
"Being out in the open on your own isn't safe," he clarified. "And honestly, if something were to happen to you here, what exactly would your dad do to keep you safe?"
"Ugh. See?" I said, gesturing toward him. "That right there is the reason I didn't want you to come with me. You don't like him and you have no problem in letting me or anyone know that fact. I didn't tell you because I didn't want you there judging him. You act like he is the biggest scum of the earth, but what you seem to forget is that he was once a cop. He's done a lot of good in his life. He's helped a lot of people. Okay, so his wife died and he slipped after that. His world came crashing down and it broke him. You can't judge him for that. No one can."
Edward shook his head in aggravation and stood up. "Yes, I can. I can judge him for that because he wasn't the only one left behind, Bella. He had two daughters to look after. Those two daughters who also lost their mother, but instead of being there for them, he let himself drown. He let himself wallow in his misery and left them to fend for themselves. So while he was doing that, who was looking after you? Who was looking after Tia? Who was providing you with warm meals? Doing the housework and providing all those other things a child needs?"
In the beginning, we had babysitters. Neighbors who volunteered to look after the poor Swan girls who had lost their mother while our dad worked all the hours he could get. It was easier for him to throw himself into his work, than face two children at home who reminded him of his deceased wife. Eventually the overtime was replaced by alcohol and the babysitters came less and less, until no one came around at all. Dad had used all their generosity up. That was when I fully stepped into my mother's shoes. I tried to hold our family together and I'd been trying ever since. "Me," I mumbled. "I was the one who did the shopping, cooked the meals and kept on top of the housework, the best I could. I did my best to give Tia a normal life."
"Why were you forced to step into your mother's shoes, Bella?" he asked, but he never gave me time to reply. "Because your father failed you. Rather than stepping up to the plate and being there for you both, he allowed himself to fall into a bottle. Christ, Bella. You were a kid. You should have been outside playing, getting dirty and just being a kid. You should've never been forced to take on the role of protector or provider. You've been doing it so long it's ingrained in you. You can't let go, not even when you know they are beyond saving."
Edward was right. I didn't want to admit he was right, but he was. I'd been outside my father's house for at least half an hour now. Most of that time I'd been screaming and shouting and not once had he come outside to see what was going on or if I was okay. I knew the reason he hadn't was because he was probably lying somewhere in a drunken coma, too spaced out of his mind to even know I was here. The truth stung, and it left a very bitter taste in my mouth.
"You're right, Edward," I sobbed. "Is that what you want to hear? My father is a good for nothing drunk. He hasn't been there for me for most of my life and my sister is a selfish bitch who thinks the world owes her something. She's out to take whatever she can get. Does it make you feel better knowing you're right?" I screamed, but he never answered me.
"What would you have me do?" I cried. "Would you have me give up on them? Leave them to self-destruct? Leave them to destroy themselves? Because that's what will happen, and you know it's true. They'll destroy themselves until there is nothing left. Their death will be on me. I'll have their blood on my hands." I lifted my hands as far as the cuff allowed, staring at them as if I could already see the blood there. I couldn't handle the thought of losing them.
"Shhh," Edward said, closing the space between us. He kneeled down in front of me and pulled my head against his shoulder. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for pushing you. I know they mean a lot to you and that's part of the reason I walked away. I just can't stand to see them hurt you. They take so much of your time and energy. You're willing to give them so much and yet you take so little for yourself. You deserve better. I know you don't want to lose them, but they need to learn to stand on their own two feet. They need to learn how to stop leaning on you."
He uncuffed my hand, gently rubbing where the cuff had been chafing against my skin as he placed my hand against his chest. I could feel the beat of his heart under my palm, it helped soothe me. He helped soothe me. As much as I wanted to stay angry at him, I couldn't. He was too confusing. I wanted to push him away and protect my heart, but at the same time I wanted to pull him closer, and never let go. Why couldn't life ever be simple?
"C'mon," he said, helping me to my feet when I finally settled down. "Let's go see your dad."
I didn't bother arguing with him. I knew I'd probably need what little strength I had left to face what I was going to find inside. Edward closed my car door, and I led the way into the house, with him close behind me. He never touched me as we walked, yet I could still feel his presence behind me. It was empowering.
My dad's front door led straight into the living room. He lived in a duplex house. It was our family home. I found him asleep on the couch as I had suspected. He had his arm over his face as he lay there snoring. The sight of him infuriated me, especially when I took in the mess around him. I had already cleaned up this mess at the start of the week. I'd come over straight from work. I lectured him about his careless disregard for hygiene when I'd cleaned it and he promised not to let it get in the same state again, but looking around at the sight of beer cans, cigarette ashes and half eaten food, you would've never known I'd been here.
"Dad," I hissed as I marched over to him, but he didn't move or reacted to my voice. Like I'd thought, he was in an alcohol-induced coma. I shoved his arm a little, trying to wake him up, and when that didn't work I began to violently shake him, taking all my frustration out on him. I couldn't believe he was lying here drunk out of his of mind while his daughter was lying in the hospital injured. Well, actually I could believe it, but that didn't mean I had to like it.
My dad practically jumped out of his skin as I shook him. He threw his arm back and lunged up on the sofa, looking around him, dazed and confused. He took in Edward's presence - who was still standing on the other side of the room - before looking at me. "Bella, what are you doing here? What time is it?"
I moved to give him some space to sit up, and the first thing he did was swing his legs off the sofa and grab a can of beer, taking a drink as he reached for his cigarette pack. "Is something wrong?" he asked when I didn't answer his previous question. "And why is he here?" he said, nodding toward Edward. "I thought the two of you broke up."
I sighed, taking the can out of his hand and throwing his cigarette away before he could even light it. I sat down on the coffee table in front of him and looked him straight in the eye. "Dad, Tia's in hospital."
"Tia is in hospital. She came to my apartment in the middle of the night. She'd been badly beaten. She wouldn't let me call the cops, but luckily one of the neighbors had called them. She refused treatment. She won't talk to anyone. They had to sedate her."
He sighed, sitting back on the sofa and running his hand through his hair. "Do they know who did it?"
"Her boyfriend," Edward said, stepping forward. "Caius Volturi."
"Volturi as in the Volturi family?" my dad asked in disbelief.
"The very same."
"Shit," my dad said, shaking his head. "What the hell is she doing messed up with the likes of him?"
It was a rhetorical question, but I answered it all the same. "I have no idea, but you can ask her when she wakes up. Do you want to go and see her?"
"Yeah, just let me get my shoes," he said, standing up, swaying on his feet.
"No, Dad," I said, putting my hand on his arm. "You stink of beer and cigarette smoke. You need to shower and put on clean clothes before we go anywhere."
"Shower," he said, nodding. "Yeah, right, okay. I'll go shower. Give me five."
He headed upstairs and I turned to survey the mess once again, taking a deep, shuddering breath. I had no idea how he could live like this. I keep hoping he'll get better. That if I give him time, he'll change. He'll pull himself together, but the truth was, he was never going to change.
I went into the kitchen which was adjoined to the living room. I grabbed a trash bag from beneath the sink before returning to the living room to begin picking up the mess. "What are you doing?" Edward asked, stilling my hands.
"I have to keep busy," I answered, pulling away from his hold, not even daring to look up at him for fear I would crack.
"Bella," he said, reaching for me again, but I shook my head.
"Please, Edward, don't. I can't… If I don't keep busy then I'll just think about everything… like how my father isn't going to change. Or like the fact that you only had to say the Volturi and my dad knew who you were talking about." I paused, looking up at him. "This is bad, isn't it? Is Tia messed up with the mob or something?"
Edward took the trash bag out of my hands and dropped it to the floor, before turning me to face him. He cupped my face with both of his hands and stared into my eyes. "It's bad," he agreed. "The Volturi family runs a crime syndicate. It's possible that Tia has seen or heard something that she shouldn't have. There's no telling the lengths they will go to keep her quiet, which is why I don't want you wandering off on your own. It's not safe."
"Okay. I, uh, I just… it's a lot to process. You, Tia, my dad, everything."
"I know," he said, pulling me into his arms, and holding me tight against his chest. We both stood there silently, taking comfort from each other. Neither of us spoke or moved until the sound of my dad's footsteps could be heard coming down the stairs. That was when I pulled away from him like a teenager who had just been caught kissing her boyfriend.
"You ready?" my dad asked as he came into the living room. He was freshly showered and he'd combed his hair, but he still needed a good shave. His skin had a tint of yellow to it and his eyes were bloodshot. There was not much I could do about that, but at least he wasn't going to the hospital stinking of alcohol.
"Yeah, let's go," I replied.
We all began to move toward the front door when Edward's cell rang. I glanced at him, but continued to follow my dad out the door. It wasn't until I heard Edward speak that I stopped dead in my tracks. "What do you mean she's gone?" Gone? Who was gone, I thought as I looked at him, but I knew the answer by the way he was staring at me, he was talking about my sister. Tia was gone. The question was how? Had someone taken her?