Hi guys, this was my entry for The Godfather Contest. I placed third for Host and Public. I am very honored to have placed at all. I dont know when I am getting to the extended version of this. I plan on it but it might be a little while yet. Anyway I hope you guys enjoy this one shot.
Title of Story: My Own Life
Word Count: 2647
Story Summary: Bella has never been allowed to make a decision for herself. Edward is The Boss; the most powerful man in America. Can he pull her out of her own personal hell and make her the most powerful woman in America?
Standard Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.
My life has not ever been my own.
I don't remember a day where I got to decide what I wanted. I know I dreamed of a life.
A life where my father said I was beautiful and that he had great hopes for me. Instead, I heard about how I was plain, and how he couldn't get anyone to marry me so he could pass his business on to my spouse.
In my dream, I went to college and obtained a degree in special education and one in child psychology.
But my father says I am too stupid, too retarded for that.
I look around for my husband, James, the man my father chose and basically sold me to when I was eighteen.
At twenty-two, I know what my father and husband are. Thugs, murderers, and weapons suppliers.
In fact, they supply the most important family in this city, maybe in this country.
Edward Cullen is the most feared man in America. I know that James is currently trying to avoid him because a deal has gone wrong.
When James is beating me or making me watch him fuck his mistress, I often wonder if Edward is the same way.
All the men I know are.
Edward is an Adonis of a man. Bronze hair, six-feet-plus tall and just having an air of power that draws everyone to him.
I sip carefully on my champagne as I spot my pig of a husband dancing with Victoria, the bane of my existence. She lives with us in our mansion. She gets his good side while I am nothing more than dirt on his shoe, but he has to have me to get my mother's money.
I look around at all the people at this gathering. We're all here for a fundraiser, all the biggest names in crime here to raise money for the children's hospital. The only reason my father and husband are here is because the Cullen family demands it.
Those who do not obey the Cullens die.
It just seems ironic to me that all of these murderers want to help anyone at all.
I sigh, thinking about my life; I hate it, because it's not mine. Something settles deep inside of me; I know what I need to do.
I look around for the man I need, finding him standing next to his family's table, eyes narrowed on James across the room.
I walk over to him. "Good evening, Mr. Cullen," I greet him politely.
He turns to me with wide eyes, but a smirk claims his lips. "Mrs. Hunter, what a surprise it is to see you here." He turns his gaze to where James is publicly molesting Victoria, much to my humiliation. Edward turns back to me, and I have no doubt he can see the moisture forming in my eyes.
"I have something I want to give you." I take a piece of paper out of my clutch and hand it to him.
He opens it up, and his dangerous eyes flash to mine.
I nod. "Have a nice night; I think I'll find my way home." My own eyes can't help but watch as James kisses Victoria's neck.
Edward takes my hand and brings it up to his lips. "I hope your evening gets better."
I blush, knowing how my evening is going to play out. With me leaving without him, James will say it's an embarrassment to him, and he'll beat me to the point that I can't walk, then go fuck Victoria.
"It will probably be worse," I murmur and walk away, not wanting to see the expression on his handsome face at that little bit of information.
A driver is waiting for me when I step out of the building. He takes me home, opening the gates with the code I give him. It's just a few hours later when James escorts Victoria to her room.
He comes to mine, his eyes dark with anger. His fist connects with my jaw, sending me to the ground.
He proceeds to hit and kick me. I swear I feel my ribs break, and I can't catch my breath.
"Please!" I gasp.
"You are such a whore, a pathetic piece of shit. I wish I could just kill you!"
When he grabs my hair, I scratch at his hand, but it doesn't help. His fist connects with my eye, then my jaw again.
He throws me down like I'm nothing more than a ragdoll. "You'd better not leave this room until I say it's okay," he sneers in my ear.
I can only sob in pain.
Waiting until I hear Victoria and James loudly fucking down the hall, I begin to crawl to my nightstand, grabbing my stowed-away gun.
I press it to my chest, trying to catch what breath I can before I make my way down the stairs to the door.
It feels like I'm crawling through glass and fire moving my body down the steps to shut the alarm off. But I do it, and then I crawl over to sit on the steps and wait. I keep the gun in my hands and my ragged breathing echoes throughout the empty first floor, but the front door opening joins the noise I am making.
"Shit," I hear the velvet voice swear.
"Mr..." I breath heavily, "...Cullen."
He shushes me as he crouches next to me. "He do this to you?" he grits through his teeth.
I think I smile. "It's okay," I coo through the blood in my mouth.
More men join us. I hear Victoria screaming, James cursing, and both are begging.
This isn't my life. It can't be.
Edward helps me stand so I can see the scene before me through my swollen eyes.
James is naked and so is she. His hands are tied behind his back, while one man is just holding her arms.
"Edward, what the hell?" James tries to sound brave, but it fails.
"You thought you could steal from me and I wouldn't punish you, but thanks to your wonderful wife here, I have everything I needed to come fetch you." His voice sounds so powerful, sending James into a sniveling mess.
Victoria is crying, babbling for them to spare her.
"We don't kill women," Edward tells her calmly, but I can hear the distaste in his voice.
They might not kill a woman. I use what little strength I have and point the gun at her head and pull the trigger, sending blood splattering everywhere.
James starts screaming.
I hear myself laughing maniacally before the darkness takes over.
I brush hair away from her broken face, wishing I could see her brown eyes instead of the black and blue of the bruising that surrounds them.
Isabella Hunter is a one of a kind woman. She's absolutely beautiful every time that I see her. I hate James, mostly because he had something I wanted and treated her dishonorably.
I kiss her forehead gently and leave the room.
Beneath my estate are rooms and hallways. A secret space only known to me, and my top men; Emmett, Jasper, and my father.
I walk to the room I know they are in and as I open the door, the stench of piss hits my nose, causing me to cough.
"I see the party has started without me." A sinister smile graces my lips as I take in the scene.
James is naked, hung up by his wrists in the middle of the room. His face is bloodied and bruised. Jasper is taking his brass knuckles off, and Emmett is putting a cigarette out on James's torso.
"Sorry, boss, but looking at little Bella and knowing he was down here ready for the picking… " Jasper shrugs his shoulders, not giving a shit about the damage he's caused.
Jasper is in my inner circle, but he's also a doctor and has a practice that we use for everything above and below board.
I nod. "Its okay, as long as he's still alive."
I walk up to James, looking at his pathetic form. "I wanted to just take your life for stealing from me, but after seeing what you did to that beautiful, innocent creature? Killing you is a mercy you don't deserve."
He shakily brings his head up to look at me. "Please."
My lip curls. "How many times did Bella say that, when asking you to stop?"
His head drops.
I punch him in the stomach for good measure, then take my favorite knife and make small cuts all over his body, ignoring his screams as he begs for death.
Death that I won't grant him.
I clean myself up and walk with Jasper back to Bella's room so he can tell me her prognosis.
I watch her as Jasper talks vitals and doctor shit.
"I'm keeping her in an induced coma for another day, then I'll begin to wean her off. Hopefully the worst of the pain will have passed." Jasper puts his stuff back in his bag.
I nod my head in understanding.
Another day comes and goes. Bella slowly comes around, opening her eyes.
She answers Jasper quietly, but she doesn't talk otherwise.
I worry why she won't talk.
"Calm down, Edward. You have to remember the crap she's been through. Just be there and listen when she's ready," Jasper tries to calm my frustration.
I continue just focusing on work instead of the broken women recovering in my home.
It's almost a month after I brought her to stay with me that she comes to me in my office late one night.
She's in sweat pants two sizes too big and a large hoodie. Her eyes show fear as they flick around my office and her hands hide in her front pocket.
I lean back in my chair, waiting for her to talk.
"What do you want from me?" she finally says, her eyes focused on me.
I feel dumbfounded by her question. "Bella, I don't want anything. I want you to heal and feel safe. If there is more I can do for you, just ask, and I'll take care of it."
She bites her bottom lip for just a moment. "I don't understand why you helped me. I am nothing, I should have died. I wanted to die." Tears fall quickly down her cheeks as she confesses.
Rising from my chair, I move to stand in front of her. Trying to keep the anger out of my voice, I assert, "You are something. Whatever that man told you, he was lying."
A small sob escapes her lips. "It wasn't just him. My father also said I was worth nothing."
I can't help but wrap my arms around her, trying to comfort her. I want to kill Charlie Swan. I knew he wasn't the greatest man, but to tell his only child these things. Did he know what James was doing to his daughter? Did he not care?
After a few minutes of her still crying, I sweep her up in my arms and carry her to her room, laying her in bed. She won't let me go, so I lie next to her and let her cry while hugging me.
After a while we both pass out, her body wrapped around me as if I'm her life raft.
This becomes a normal routine. I work during the day, and at night Bella sleeps while clinging to me.
She never talks about what she lived through, but I know it wasn't good based on the nightmares that she wakes me up with most nights.
It's a few months later while paying another visit to James, who is still begging me to kill him, that I can't help but ask.
"Why marry Bella? If you hated her as much as you did, why stay with her?"
James, who can't lift his head on a good day, seems to be taken back by the question and lifts his head to look at me. "Charlie couldn't get to the money her mother left her. Bella had to be married in order to get it. So, he said if I married her we could split the money. But then we found out she only had access to so much of it a month. If Bella were to die, the money goes to charity."
I stare, shocked at the admission that basically neither man in Bella's life gave two fucks about her. They wanted the money left to her, and they couldn't kill her to get it.
I knock him out and walk back upstairs where I find Bella in the kitchen, baking. It's a new hobby of hers, and I love it.
"Edward," she greets me with a big smile. Her face has healed, and she's put on weight, giving her the best curves.
"Bella," I greet her with my own smile.
I watch her get back to making cupcakes.
"What do you want to do with your life?" I ask off-hand, knowing she should find her way in life.
She freezes for a moment before she turns to look at me. "I… I don't know. I've never been asked."
Anger engulfs me, but I quickly squash it, hoping she doesn't think I'm mad at her.
"Well, I think it's time that you think about it. You can do whatever you want, love." I kiss her forehead and head to my office.
Edward is different from anyone else in my life. He treats me as an equal, always asking what I want. He's a gentleman, pulling chairs out and kissing my cheek and forehead. I want him to kiss something else, but I'm too afraid to be so forward. Even if every night we sleep together, and I wake up to his large endowment poking me.
I want to touch him. I want more than this platonic relationship we've started.
When he asked me what I wanted to do with my life, child psychology and special education teacher flashed in my head. I want it so bad, just as I want him.
But I don't know how. How do I go for it? How can I pay for anything?
I pace my room, nibbling my lip and building courage to go talk to Edward. I want to ask how I can enroll in college and try to bring to life the dream I've always had, but knew would never happen. Now I can, if Edward helps me.
Just do it! I finally move my feet to Edward's office.
I tentatively knock on the door.
"Come in!" he calls from behind the door.
I take a deep breath, opening the door and walking in.
As always, Edward is sitting in his chair working on the laptop with a glass of amber liquid sitting next to it.
He looks at me with a smooth expression. "Evening, Bella, what can I do for you?"
I can feel myself shake with fear and apprehension. "I want to be a special education teacher with a degree in child psychology."
He smiles gently, leaning back in his chair. "That's amazing, Bella."
I let out a shaky breath. "I don't know how to proceed, though; how do I pay for it? Where would I go?"
Edward chuckles, standing up and engulfing me in a hug. "We'll figure it all out, love."
I inhale his scent. "I also want you."
I thought I said it in my head, but his body freezes, and he gently pulls away.
"I want you, too," he admits quietly, pressing his lips gently to mine.
I wrap my arms around his neck, pressing my body against his.
It feels as if my body is on fire and alive, something I've never felt before.
And I know.
I own my life.