So, here's the basic idea. Edward left Bella, but she never jumped from the cliff. Edward never went to Italy. How has Bella's life changed? Will she ever see Edward again?
There is violence and abuse in the later chapters. Even a little in this chapter. You have been warned.
Disclaimer for the Story: The Twilight Series belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
"You're no good for me, Bella," his words cleaved my heart in two, reminding me of my deepest fear. It was something I always knew, always had lurking in the back of my mind. I wasn't good enough for him. I was an imperfect, stupid little human who clung desperately to him and his love.
I shuddered away from him, pained against the realization that his cold, black eyes revealed nothing but the truth. He didn't want me. I sunk to the forest floor, kneeling at his feet. My head sunk into the comfort of my hands as I sobbed weakly, drained of life. "Please," I sobbed, my body quaking in pain, "Please, please... don't leave me. I love you. I need you. Please stay, please!"
I heard the crunching of fallen foliage as he sank to his knees in front of me. I didn't dare look up, continuing my mantra of sobbing and begging. My hands shot out, reaching for him longingly. With a rough intake of breath, he pulled me to his stone hard chest, enveloping me in his icy embrace. His scent encased me, drawing me into him as he pushed his face against my hair, no doubt breathing in my own scent. He pressed his lips to my head.
"Take care of yourself," his voice broke at the end as he mumbled into my hair. I inhaled sharply as he pulled away, trying to keep him here with me. By the time my eyes snapped open, he was gone. I heard a bizarre ripping noise and assumed that it must be my own body tearing itself apart. I couldn't care less... what good was it without him? Finally, I realized the ripping was my own strangled sobs tearing out of my throat.
"No! No, no, no!" the words ripped out of my throat in agonized howls. My hands tore at the ground, my skin breaking against the wooden twigs. The pain seared from the wounds, but I didn't care. In fact, I was happy for it. Maybe it would bring him back to me. Even if only to kill me... it would be better than this. I hoped. My screams continued, my hands bled. I cried out for him desperately, "Ed-..."
"-WARD!" I screamed his name, ripping at my soul as I spoke it for the first time in a year. The hole I had closed up flared in pain, my wounds opened and bled as I sobbed. I had awoken from my dream. The forest was gone and I was in my own bed, the covers twisted around my legs. The tears refused to cease, my body wracked with my sobs.
"Shut up, Bella!" an angry voice yelled beside me. Something hard connected with my left temple and I found myself momentarily airborne, thrown out of my bed. I toppled to the floor in a tangled mess of limbs, a sickening crack sounded as my head hit the wall. I laid there, whimpering, having waken from a terrible reality only to find out that I live in one even worse. A pillow was flung to the floor beside me.
"Stay there," the voice warned. A voice I had come to know far too well. My husband, Mike, rolled over and easily fell back into a slumber, his snores filing the room like they did every night. I pulled the pillow to my body, stuffing it against the wall to lean my head against it. I stared off into the dark, silent tears streaming from my eyes.
It had been four years since my 18th birthday. Four years since the day... he left. I forbid myself from thinking his name, terrified it would bring on a new fit of tears that would wake Mike again. Mike... oh, I had been a stupid girl. I had been broken, mended slowly, and then promptly broken once again. Once by... my true love. My only real love. Once again by Jacob.
A lump rose in my throat, threatening to bring with it a fury of tears that would inflict more pain than release. I choked back my sorrows as Jacob's name invaded my mind, ripping at the fresh, exposed wounds left over from the nightmare. Jacob... he was my best friend. I think I had even loved him, in a way. Perhaps not in a romantic way, but enough to at least numb the wounds that had been left, carved into my soul. I could have smiled with Jacob, even been happy given enough time.
So many things had changed after that night at the theaters. Mike had gone home sick and so had Jake. He had avoided my calls after that, dodging my completely. I had only seen him once more after that. He had been with a girl I had never seen before, locked in a passionate embrace. I had been standing out of hearing distance and yet Jacob had looked up at my when I gasped. He stared at me, his eyes wide with pity, and then her turned and walked away. The girl follow him.
I never went back to La Push, never called Jacob again. It was a mutual agreement between us never to talk again. I had been broken twice and Charlie watched in fear at the pain consumed me whole, forcing me back into the living dead state I had been in prior to Jacob's help. Charlie threatened to send my back to Renee, going as far as buying me a plan ticket. I realize now that this was my own breaking point.
I couldn't leave. Even if I wouldn't allow myself the luxury of his name for fear it'd break me, even if everything around me reminded me of him... I wouldn't leave. I feared that if I left Forks, my memories of him would fade and finally disappear. The only thing worse than the pain of remembering, would be forgetting him altogether. I wouldn't forget him. So, with that promise, I threw myself headfirst into one of the worst mistakes of my life.
I decided I no longer cared. I loved him. I had tried to love another, tried to move on as I knew he wanted me to. It didn't work and I had only succeeded in wounding myself further. So, I went to Forks High the next day prepared to belong to the next person that wanted me. To appease Charlie and secure my home in the one place I could never leave without him. I would lock away my heart, smile and pretend, praying that he would one day come back to me.
It came as no surprise to anyone that Mike was the first to try to win my heart. Unsuccessful, though he was, I started to see him and thus began my horrible charade. I pranced around like I was happy... I may even have appeared happy to those who didn't know me well enough. Anyone who bothered to look into my eyes would see how fake I was, how I had already died and buried myself inside this shell of a body. He was never coming back and neither was I.
I went to the prom in my ungraceful shell and lost myself to Mike later that night. I don't even know if it was consensual sex, in my state of mind, although my choice couldn't have mattered less to Mike. I was exotic when he wanted me and too familiar now that he had me. We moved in together, the first of our many mistakes. We worked in his parents' store; he was following his dream and I was raising money.
I still dreamed of college, since every other dream I had was now a broken ruin. I had a goal to work towards and my mind finally began to wake up and realize the place I had put myself. I had attached myself to a man I never loved, and hardly liked. I had lost everything familiar and he had never returned to Forks. My depression became evident and I began to see, for the first time, a side to Mike I never knew he had.
I never expected Mike to be a violent person, but he was yet another man to surprise me. It was light attack at first. Forceful hand grabs that left bruises across my knuckles, hair pulling that left my scalp aching whenever I wore a ponytail. At first I wrote it off... he simply grabbed my hand too hard, or playfully pulled on my ponytail a bit too roughly. It took a while, but as it became consistent, I realized I was being abused.
The real violence began when the dreams started. Every night that I woke up screaming, he would know why. He knew who I really loved, who I would always love, and he began to hate me for it. He would often strike me across the face and knock me off the bed, much like he had done tonight. Those were the good nights. The nights he didn't follow me to the ground, punching and kicking until I was nothing but a broken, whimpering bloody mess of the floor.
The sun was rising now, peeking through the window and shining the light on me. I stood, my legs wobbling beneath me as I took a few shaky steps to the mirror. I examined the damage, running my fingers gingerly along the cut beneath my eye, no doubt caused by his nails. It was an angry red, stark on my already puffy face, the result of my lack of sleep and the bruises I had earned. I barely heard the squeak of the bed and the sleepy groan behind me, "Damn..."
I turned around to meet Mike's critical gaze, dropping my hand from my face and holding it behind my back. I tried not to stare at him with pained eyes, but how was that possible after so many years? He glowered at me, running a hand through his messy hair as he slumped over the side of the bed, slowly standing to his feet. He walked closer to me, mumbling, "You look like shit, babe. You're staying home. I'll tell them you're sick."
"I already missed work last week, Mike, I can't miss it again..." I began, but quickly silenced myself at the look that twisted his features. The same mask of hate that tore his normally kind face whenever I spoke back.
I barely had time to cringe before his hand came flying at my face, knocking me into the wall next to the mirror. I winced at the doorknob of the closet jabbed into my side, sinking to the floor in a quick defeat. I whimpered, my hand reaching up instinctively to comfort the new injury. He stared down at me, regret in his eyes.
"I'm sorry, baby," he whispered. He always did that. As if those words would steal the pain away. He touched his fingers to the top of my head, brushing at my hair. I would have flinched away, but I knew better by now. "You know I hate hurting you. Don't make me give you a real reason to miss work."
I gulped. His voice was kind, but his words held an obvious threat. I sat on the floor, my head pressed against the closet door behind me. He talked to me as he dressed for work, his words coming in a jumbled mess of mumbles. I could hardly hear over the ringing that sang through my head, screaming against the pain he had caused. I barely noticed when Mike had left the room and then finally, the house.
Why did I put up with him? Why didn't I just take my money and run back to Charlie? I could leave this place forever, or even find my own place to live. There were a million other things I could do other than sit here and deal with this day after day. So why didn't I leave? I must have asked myself that a dozen times... I knew the answer. Why did I stay?
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