Chapter 1

Bella's POV

A semi blasted it's horn as it blew past me on the lonely Kansas highway I'd been trudging along, ignoring each twinge in my ankle. What doesn't kill you …

When I was younger, I used to think running away from home would be an adventure. A fun adventure. I would read the Boxcar Kids books and I loved to picture myself as violet or sometimes Jessie. And in some ways, my story so far has been one long independent run. I've been resourceful an a survivor, but I was still part of something—in the system. It's not exactly that foster care was a great adventure, but I'd certainly encountered some perils. Mostly they were minor. And then I met Renee and Phil.

I stopped walking for a minute to hold my side. Breathing wasn't getting any easier and I couldn't remember the last time I'd eaten.

Suddenly, running away wasn't so attractive because I had a place I wanted to stay. I had a two-story home, not a house. I had someone that made breakfast for me.


My mouth watered at the thought and I forced my mind to turn from the flashing pictures of pancakes, eggs, and toast. I reached into my pocket gingerly and pulled out a stick of gum. Flavor burst on my tongue and I sighed. Relief, temporary, but very welcome. Starting to walk again, I tried to ignore the hitch in my side. I would really have to figure out something for lunch—or was it dinner now?

And after the foster homes I'd survived, Renee's house was heaven. They were a younger couple and I was their first foster. At 16, I thought I had moved past adoption and onto counting the days to emancipation from the state. But Arizona and Renee had other thoughts.

It had been two weeks of normalcy. Rules, responsibilities, kindness that I had only imagined, never experienced. And then, two days ago, that I realized how stupid I had been. I had been too greedy and too selfish. I had asked for too much and let my guard down.

Disgust flared as I remembered Phil knocking on my bedroom door—his seemingly innocent questions, looks, pats, and then it had turned so ugly.

When he had knocked on the door, it had been so casual.

"Bella, it's Phil, can I come in?"

"Of course."

And I had invited him.

He walked in and sat down on the edge of my bed. "I need to talk to you about something."

I shrugged okay and went over to sit beside him. "About what?"

"Well, Izzie, I've noticed that you've been settling in so well here, and I just wanted you to know how much I love you."

It was strange for me to receive so much touchy-feely emotions and actions. I smiled uncomfortably. What was I supposed to say, I appreciated both Renee and Phil so much, but I didn't think I loved them yet. Two weeks was way too soon for that. For someone like me anyway.

He gave me a hug and I tried to ignore the twinge of discomfort. He was pressing my chest into his and I stiffened.

"You just need to loosen up some, baby."

I really hated that name, but my voice was stuck and I just sat there. I didn't know what to do. When to voice a concern. It was probably nothing, but …

He got up and went over to my door and locked it.

I was panicking ever so slightly.

"What are you doing?" I asked, my voice quavering a little bit.

"Just making sure that you know that you're loved."

"I know," I started, standing finally in motion. This was definitely not right.

He started toward me, but I jumped back, out of the way. He snagged my wrist and hauled me up against him. He started running his hands up and down my body. It felt gross. I tried to pull away, but he had an iron grip on my wrist.

"Please," I choked out. "Please stop."

He grinned soothingly. "Stop what? I'm just giving you some love. I have a feeling you've never really had any."

He threw me on the bed and landed on top of me. I tried to squirm away, but his body weight was too much for me to throw off.

He kissed me, sliding his mouth against mine. I couldn't stop him, I continued to struggle, but he just kept on going. His hands ran over my hips and up my stomach.

I tried to plead with him again, but as soon as I opened my mouth, his tongue surged in and ran along the insides of my mouth.

I started crying, I wasn't going to be able to stop him.

He moved his mouth against mine painfully.

"Please," I gasped, "please stop."

He sucked on my earlobe. "You're just scared because you're new at this," he murmured against the hollow of my throat. "I knew when I saw you that day, you needed this as much as I did."

"Renee—?" I asked, desperate.

"Oh, she'll never know, because you're sure as hell not going to tell her are you. Because if you do, the next time I won't make it so good for you. I'm going to love you and treat you so nice," he continued in a hushed whisper, "I just want to give you what you need.

His soothing voice was bouncing chaotically in my mind.

Was this wrong? Yes.

But what could I do? My thoughts raced and in the end all I could do was plead through the heart-pounding panic.

"I don't want this," I said, crying hard now.

He didn't respond.

He slid his hands under my shirt. I grimaced as his ice cold hands ran over my bare stomach, and up and on my bra.

"This won't do," he murmured to me and pulled my t-shirt off of me. I started to flail, and I tried to hit him, but my blows just seemed to glance off of him.

In response, he got both of my wrists and pinned them on the pillow behind my head.

"You'll understand after I'm finished, but it's normal to be scared of the unknown, baby."

No matter how many times I asked him to stop, he wouldn't. With one hand, he unbuttoned my jeans and unzipped them. He jerked them down off of me. After that was done, he took his free hand and ran it up the inside of my leg. It felt so wrong, I tried to push him off with my body, but I was too small to do anything about it. It only made it worse.

I couldn't stop the shudders than contorted my body.

Then, as if by a miracle, God answered my prayers. I heard a key turn the door and someone open it.

"Phil, Bella, are you home?"

Quick as a flash, Phil shoved his hand over my mouth, muffling my scream.

"Don't say a word," he said as he tied a strip of my t-shirt across my mouth. He tied both of my wrists to the bedposts with two more strips and then walked out of my room. As soon as he left, I began to tug at the ropes urgently. I had a window of opportunity. My wrists ached and groaned in protest, but I kept at it, until they started feeling rubbed raw. The feeling of my skin peeling off made me gag against the restraint on my mouth. Still I kept on pulling until they came free. I could hear Phil and Renee arguing in the background.

I quickly pulled on a new shirt and some jeans. I grabbed my wallet and my back pack that held all of the possessions that I needed and slid out the window. I hesitated as I stood on the roof. It was two stories up, but I was pretty sure I could make it. I heard the door unlock and Phil started in.

"What the . . .?"

I had to jump, I had to get away. I closed my eyes and jumped, but he grabbed a hold of my ankle at that exact moment. I was flung face first on the shingles of the roof. I kicked out at him, catching him in the face. He let go, but as soon as he did, I fell off the roof, landing on the porch roof on my stomach. Then I rolled off that before I could catch myself and fell to the ground. Unfortunately, I landed on my back, and I didn't exactly land on the ground, I landed on one of Renee's potted plants. I screamed in pain.

I could hear Renee's panicked voice from inside the house. She would be coming soon. They both would. And I didn't know what Phil would do—how to look at Renee. I just wanted to leave. The instinct to flee overrode all of my senses.


I wanted to just make it all go away. Black spots appeared in my vision, but hazily, I pushed them away as I forced myself to stand upright. I grabbed my backpack that had fallen beside me, hissing from the pain and took off. I fell down on the side walk a groan emitted from me and all I wanted to do was stay there, lying on the ground and just rest, but I knew Phil would be coming after me soon. I picked myself up and kept going. I reached the bus idling at the stop as the last passenger walked off. I saw Phil's car coming around the corner. I hurried on before he saw me, throwing down some change. The bus driver's startled face was ignored, so were the passengers. I just needed to leave. Phil's car followed before he lost the bus in downtown traffic. I started counting my money as the bus jolted and I hissed in pain. Enough for a ticket. I didn't know where it would go, but it would be far and I would figure out the rest later.

Kansas was brutal and just as I was feeling like I might need to take a break again, an elderly couple stopped. Pulling up beside me, I felt blinding sensations of relief.

"Are you alright dear?" Her matronly features marred in concern.

"Yeah, I'm fine, I wouldn't mind a lift though …" I tried not to be hopeful, but then the woman motioned to the back door and her husband rolled his eyes.

He would be the one to talk her out of taking me somewhere other than a bus station and she would be the one to silence him with a look as she gave me a hundred dollars when we were parting ways. I brushed back hot tears roughly and gave her my best wobbily smile as I boarded a greyhound bus to go as far as I could.

So that was how I ended up in Wilmot, Wisconsin. It was a gray dreary little town and I was all alone. I wasn't sure how I was going to survive. I cleaned myself up as good as I could on the way here, but my wrists still looked raw and bloody, I couldn't hardly move my back without wincing in pain, and I think I bruised a couple of ribs in the fall. Also the ankle Phil had grabbed was swollen and constantly throbbing.

There was no one I could turn to. But I was tired of going and this was far enough. I found a motel clerk eager to take the last of my cash and I decided to walk to the free clinic in the hospital in town. Maybe they could recommend a job position while I was looked at. Wincing as I walked down the potholed road, the building loomed ahead of me. I had noticed a bar, but that was not a road I was eager to go embark on.

I hadn't eaten anything in two days. Distance was more important than sustenance. I felt weak and exhausted but I kept going. I walked into the first entrance I saw, the emergency room.

I walked up to a blonde haired man in a white doctor's coat. He gave me a distracted smile over his chart as I approached him.

"Excuse me?"

He looked up briefly from the chart, "I'm Doctor Cullen, do you need any help finding anything?"

I stared at him, nodding soundlessly. He was gorgeous. I'd never seen anyone so beautiful in my whole life. His features didn't even look real.

He waited for me to say something. I opened my mouth, and really had to make an effort to come up with the words.

"Um, I'm looking for the free clinic."

He smiled kindly. "It's open tomorrow at 9. They close early on every Friday."

My chest tightened. It would be fine, I gritted in my mind.

"Okay, well … thank you for your help." I tried to be polite and mask my disappointment.

He leapt into action as I turned to go. "However, I'm a doctor for the clinic and I can take a look at you now." He frowned as he began to assess my body. I stiffened. Even someone gorgeous as him—I didn't like eyes on me.

He smiled brightly at me, seeming to sense me unease, his momentary frown forgotten.

He turned and started walking, and I halfheartedly started to protest.

"I can wait, it's not a big deal—I'll just be back tomorrow." I started to ease away from him.

His hand went to stop me and I flew into survivor mode. I didn't want him to touch me. I jerked backwards sharply. My side protested loudly at the action. I whirled around to see an ambulance worker, who was not paying attention to where he was going, ram an empty stretcher into my back.

I couldn't withhold the pain any longer, and a shriek of pain escaped from me. I grasped onto the wall as I staggered, trying to keep myself from falling. But I couldn't hold on for long. I felt my knees buckle, and I went down. Before I hit the ground, hard arms caught me and pulled me back up. I didn't have the strength to say no. I couldn't think at all.

Black splotches swam in my vision and I groaned in distress. The black splotches started connecting. My head reeled, and I swallowed the urge to be sick back. I was swung into the air. It made the nausea worsen.

Dimly, I could make out the hallway moving, or maybe I was moving? And I heard a voice, faraway sounding. "I swear I didn't hit her that hard. She just moved so fast."

"I know Frank," I heard the doctor's velvet voice reassure him. "I've got her now."

Then I lost all reality and the black consumed everything.

A/N: So, this is my edited first chapter. I'm going to be revamping each one. I'll try to get to the second chapter soon! Just so you know that you can feel free to read ahead, but this week I'm going to try to rewrite the story up to the point I stopped years ago and then complete the story. I don't want anybody to be confused or frustrated when the next chapters are replaced in the coming days! Thanks guys and review if you like to let me know what you thought! I always appreciate feedback!