Behind Closed Doors
Summary: I can't believe that she can bear to do this to me, every single day. No relief comes, but I can't bring myself to end it. I need help.
Elaboration: Edward and Alice are brother and sister. Edward is the child that everyone loves to hate, and his sister is the only one that he will let himself trust. Bella and Emmett Swan, and Jasper and Rosalie Hale are the only friends he has, and the only reason he keeps on living. Classic abuse story and not much fluff. All human. Major Our Of Character Moments.
Why can't I bring myself to end my suffering? That question, at least, is easy to answer; it is simply not in my nature. I don't like taking the easy way out, I never have. I think that we are all struggling for a reason. Why should I complain that my struggles seem to be worse than others? I am happy for those more fortunate than I, and I pray that their good lives continue.
Still, I can't help but wish things were different, even slightly.
Let me explain. I am sure that throwing you into the middle of a half-completed story is sure to bring about some confusion. The only reason I am writing this, in fact, is because my therapist and friends insist I do. Personally, I would rather not have strangers invade my personal life and experiences, especially ones as painful as those that I am about to relate, but what must be done must be done, and, like I've mentioned before, who am I to complain?
My name is Edward Cullen. I have an older sister, Alice. She is my elder by two years, making her nineteen. She has a tumor in her pituitary gland, making her stand at a small four feet eleven. Her skin is pale as mine and her hair is black and spiky, sticking out every which way. Thankfully, it has already begun to grow back from her chemo treatments. Her eyes are golden, like my mother's. Mother, of course, is used as loosely as possible. She does not share my genetics, and for that I am truly thankful. I couldn't imagine someone doing this to her own child.
I imagine I am confusing you more. Forgive me; my mind is not what it once was. I shall attempt to continue explain the more important people in my life, and finish with the most hated.
My father is one of the best surgeons in the world. His name is Carlisle Cullen, and he has blonde hair and dark green eyes. He's tall, like me – I inherited that from him. He has an easygoing and friendly nature, but is completely oblivious to the torment I suffer every night while he's at work. Alice continually wants to tell him, but I beg her not to enlighten anyone. It only makes things worse to tell.
My friends have always been there for me, even though they don't understand. Emmett and Bella Swan are the first people aside from my family that I had been introduced to, as Bella and Alice shared several classes together. They both have dark brown hair and brown eyes. Emmett has the build of a football player, while Bella is thin and lightweight. They both like to have fun, and I can't help but be lighthearted around Emmett's bear-like playfulness and Bella's wit. Their parents split up a little after Bella's birth, and they live with their father, Police Chief Swan. I am always wary around them, afraid that they might see the scars and bruises, and tell the police. Next come the twins, Jasper and Rosalie. Both are blonde, with Rosalie possessing blue eyes in contrast with Jasper's brown. They are both tall and Rosalie has the body of a swimsuit model, while Jasper, though not overly muscled like Emmett, is bigger than I am, and carries himself almost like a soldier. He's a calming influence on me; I can't find myself to get upset around him. Rosalie thinks that I'm a freak, and reasonably so. Let me list a few reasons why.
First and foremost, I won't let anyone aside from my sister touch me. Even if it's a hug or a friendly handshake, I simply cannot bring myself to do it. It keeps reminding me of her. Every kiss and caress that she forces me into comes flooding back with the contact of another. Alice is the only one that can calm me down. I love her for it. She always has time to help me, despite her own problems. Thankfully, though, her cancer is in remission, so she might be back to her former playful self before long. She and Jasper are engaged, I forgot to mention, and Emmett and Rosalie are dating. Bella and I are the singles of the group. Emmett had once jokingly suggested we pair up, but I couldn't help be paralyzed with fear at the suggestion. At Alice's urging, he let it drop. I had felt bad about that, but I couldn't help the undeniable fear I felt. Every time women came close – and they did so often, because apparently I am desirable among them – I would all but run away. It's terrifying, and I scold you if you laugh at this.
Now back to the reasons I am considered a 'freak'. I only get one and a half meals a day, so I am very thin and sick because of it. People think that I am anorexic and bulimic, but I beg you not to believe them; my illness has good cause. I don't eat breakfast, because as soon as I wake up, my mother comes to my room to give me a beating. She will continue so that I have just enough time to shower and change for school. At school, I get enough food to perhaps feed a horse, but I can't take it all, because my stomach is unused to the amount and rejects most of it, so I spend the second half of lunch hour bent over a toilet retching. At dinner, mother only gives me enough food to stay alive, and have energy to the more frenzied beating and abuse later in the day. Then, she makes me play 'her song' on my piano. The keys are no longer white, but red from the blood that slips from my cut wrists. Before you ask, I do not cut myself, but rather the restraints she holds me in become too tight when I try and escape, and cut into my flesh. Alice joins me in the music sessions, and after we finish, my mother will come over and give us a kiss on the forehead, acting like the model parent. It's at times like this that I hate her most; how dare she act like she loves me! So now you understand, I am apparently bulimic, anorexic, autistic, paranoid, schizophrenic and antisocial, need I continue?
Now that you have a somewhat better understanding of my situation, let me enlighten you as to the true nature of my 'mother'. Again the sarcasm strikes. She is in no way my mother. I came about when my father cheated with Elizabeth Masen, a nurse at the hospital. She died when giving birth to me, so Carlisle took me in. Esme reluctantly forgave him and cared for me as her own. That is, until I was about nine. Then the first beatings started. It was around when my sister was diagnosed with bronchitis, so I think she blames me. How am I to tell her it's because of her second-hand smoke? She will simply beat me again. My sister, being the kind soul that she is, does not blame me, and is with me every night to this day nursing my wounds and treating my injuries. She is all I could want in a sister.
If only my mother stayed to mental abuse. That I could take, perhaps even a bit of physical. But…some of the things that I am forced to do make my lunchtime retching that much easier. Of course, the cunning bitch doesn't strike my face, or anywhere that would make my marks obvious and raise suspicion, and her worse beatings are at night, where I have enough time for the pain to dull to a throbbing before the sun rises. I hate the sun, it just heralds a new day of my heart struggling to beat, my breath rasping in my chest as I try and get enough air in my lungs to continue the day, and two more bouts with my mother. How I hate Esme.
Then why don't I end it, you ask. Why don't I leave? This is a question I cannot truly answer, for there are many reasons, but none of them seem to be enough. They all add together though, so that I can find enough resolve to stay.
One of them is that my sister needs me. We need each other just as much as the other. It's a steady relationship, and I am closer to my sister than anyone else, naturally. The second is, like I said before, I do not take the easy way out. I don't back down from fights and I don't run away like a coward. At least, that's what I like to tell myself. Thirdly – and most practically – is where would I live? I couldn't live at my friends' houses without raising suspicion, and that would be the first place that my parents would look. How I wish my mother hadn't died, perhaps things would be different. Hard, but different.
So here I am. Hair the bronze of my mother's, and eyes the green of my father's, but with the vibrancy of Elizabeth's. I maintain a steadily unhealthy hundred pounds of body weight. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but that is always my medium. And this is a story I do not wish to tell you, but I shall anyway. Because with the wonderful people at my side, I feel like it's possible to open up, to share, and to trust. I hope that you do not prove me wrong.
"Edward!" I heard footsteps coming heavily up the stairs and rolled onto my back, bracing myself for the all-too-familiar figure to come through the door. I winced as the movement, gentle though it was, sent shots of pain down my spine and scars, and I bit my lip to stop myself crying out in agony. I heard her footsteps come closer, and the door flew open to reveal the object of all my worst nightmares. She smiled maliciously at the sight of me and sauntered forward, sitting down at the corner of my bed. She pulled her caramel hair back from her neck, pulling it up into a band. I kept my eyes focused straight ahead. She beat me if I looked down, and she beat me if I looked right at her. I couldn't understand why she even bothered with me; surely it would be less effort to simply ignore me than take the time and energy to beat and abuse me every single day, but she seemed to get some cheap thrill out of it, and even more since I was so submissive to her. I couldn't really help it; it was simply my nature. I didn't want to receive any more pain than necessary, but I wasn't going to fight her off to prevent it either. I'm a sick, sick masochist.
I felt a stinging slap on my cheek and fought the urge to cry out in surprise and pain. I chance a quick look at her and her cheeks were flushed with anger, her breathing already heavy.
"You will look at me when I'm talking to you!" she screeched.
"Yes mother," I replied quietly, looking slightly to her right so I didn't have to meet her angry golden eyes. She seemed satisfied with my response and calmed down. She reached her hand up and ran a finger heavily down my arm where numerous half-healed marks from ropes and sharp objects could be seen against my pale skin.
"How are you feeling?"
How was I feeling? Stupid two-faced bitch. How dare she act like she cared about me! Just get my beating over and done with. I was almost tempted to say it to her, but stopped myself at the last moment; insulting her and provoking her would do no good.
"Better," was all I said. I hoped she could find no incentive to hurt me this morning. The times were few and far between when she would simply let me be for the morning, though the sessions were twice as hard in the evenings and often involved…but I won't go there now; you'll see soon enough.
She nodded and smiled, kissing me on the forehead. I wanted to shy away from her touch so badly, but one wrong move and I would be in agony the rest of the day. She got up from my bed and left the room, calling Alice to wake up. I stared after her for a few seconds, waiting with hopeful wariness in case she returned, then rolled out of my bed, quickly pulling on the classic outfit I always wore – jeans, hoodie, t-shirt. Plain, simple, and covered everything without drawing attention to myself. Sometimes I had to wear gloves as well, but those days it was always cold, so it was in the norm. I swear the stupid little…I swear Esme planned the days when she could inflict more pain in more places. Cunning little bitch. I hissed as the coarse fabric slid over my scars, ripping the scabs off of a few smaller ones. I shook it off; this pain was fine, I could bear it easily. It was nothing compared to some of the things she'd done to me.
Alice came into my room a few minutes later, knocking twice softly on the door before coming in, sitting in the middle of my unmade bed and watching with wide knowing eyes as I stiffly made my way around my room, cleaning the miniscule pieces of dust and dirt out of the way so that mother wouldn't have to. Again, this was another reason she'd hit me, if my room weren't clean. I swear she comes in and makes my room filthy just so that she can have an excuse; I guess being a stay at home wife does have its advantages for torturing your bastard son.
Finally I turned for my bed, finding my pixie-like sister there. I flashed her one of her crooked smiles and she returned it half-heartedly. She got up from my bed so I could make it, smoothing every crease and corner with precise movements. One thing was for sure; when and if I ever got out of this hellhole, I would definitely be a neat freak. She stood, waiting patiently for me to finish. When I straightened up she flashed me another smile, this one wider, reaching her eyes. I kissed her on the top of her head, hugging her small frame to mine.
"Did you sleep well?" I asked gently. I felt her nodding as her hands slowly encircled my waste with a gentle touch in case any more scars and wounds had made their way there, and were sensitive. I smiled at her care. "You'll find no new wounds, Alice." She pulled away a little, sadness in her eyes. I understood. My parents doted on her, while Carlisle ignored me, and Esme…well, you can guess what Esme does by now. She felt guilty, but I couldn't hold anything against her. As soon as I was old enough we would move out, and I could get a job and support us both until her cancer was fully rid of. The doctors had said that there was a surgery available for her, and she was still deciding on whether to have it or not. I could guess why she stalled; she didn't want to leave me alone here. That only made me feel guilty – I loved my sister and wanted what was best for her, even at the price of my own happiness. With the cancer gone, she would be able to marry and live with Jasper, and they would be able to have a family of their own, but I knew she never would leave me, not until I could make it on my own.
"She didn't hurt you this morning?" I shook my head and she breathed a sigh of relief, taking my hand and pulling me downstairs. "Alright, then let's go, we don't want to be late." I agreed wholeheartedly; you haven't gotten the trend of 'any excuse' by now?
We arrived with time to spare, as always, and met the other four outside the first building to our classes. Alice hugged everyone while they all exchanged nods with me while I hung back, keeping my comfort zone. Bella smiled, her brown eyes warm as always and I smiled a little as well, in a slightly better mood than usual. The bell rang, and we split into the three groups making our way to each class. I had my classes with at least one of them every period, and I was incredibly grateful for that. In fact, Alice had used her little dazzling abilities to organize it so, as it hadn't started off like this. I think you can now understand how much I love my sister, and why; she won't stop at anything for my happiness and well being.
I had English with Emmett first. We sat next to each other at the back as always. We exchanged casual banter and small talk as always. Girls ogled both of us as always. It was a very routine day, and time flew towards lunch. I bought too much food as always, having ignored the rare opportunity to get breakfast. Rosalie kept shooting me glares across the table. She muttered something to Bella, who kicked her under the table. Alice sat next to me, creating a barrier between Bella and I, and Jasper sat across from her, with Emmett across from me. Jasper and Emmett kept talking about some movie that was coming out tonight that they were going to see, and were currently trying to talk the rest of us into joining.
"Come on, Bella, you'd like it."
"I don't like anything you like, Emmett."
"That's not true! It has stuff for both of us! For me, we have blood and guts and action and gore! And for you, we have a love story." His nose wrinkled and I fought the urge to smile. I would have laughed, but my laugh died years ago.
"Well…" She was folding. We could all see it.
"Oh alright, damn it!" She threw her hands up in the air and sat back, arms crossed, lips jutting out in a playful pout. Emmett roared with laughter at her expression and I shied back from my food, startled by the loud noise. I felt Alice's hand, comforting on my forearm, and relaxed, much like a skittish colt.
"How about you, Rose? You in?"
He seemed disappointed with the lack of resistance, but quickly set his target for Alice and I. "How about you guys?"
"What time does it start?" asked Alice diplomatically.
"I can't go," I said automatically. Alice nodded.
"Yeah, we can't go. We have to be home by seven every night."
"You guys get a curfew that early?"
"Something like that." I couldn't help but hold back the bitter snort that followed my statement. It was times like these that my normally oblivious friends knew something was wrong with me. I told you my laughter died years ago. That's not exactly true. My real, honest laughter died years ago. All that's left is a bitter shadow of its former glory. I looked up from where I had been picking at my forgotten plate to find five pairs of eyes looking at me with different levels of concern, the most coming from Bella. She had inkling, I think, of what happens at my home, but she never said anything. She was the first to respect my distance and boundaries. I think she understood that I would talk about it of my own free will.
"Can't you break it?" Emmett was whining now. I clenched my fist, ignoring the streaks of agony that shot up my wrists and arms. I glared at him.
He stared at me for a while, startled at my vehemence. Jasper put a hand on his shoulder, once more inserting his calming aura into the building tension. "Let it go, Emmett. They can't join us. Maybe next time."
"Maybe next time," Alice repeated, smiling in gratitude at Jasper. I think he knew a little also, or at least knew that something was wrong. It must be hard to keep something like this from her fiancée, but I managed, and I hoped that Alice did also.
I felt a low clenching in my stomach and groaned. Alice rubbed my back a little, all five of them recognizing my impending 'purge', I suppose you could call it. Might as well go along with the bulimic story, right? That is what I'd learned about people; if you let them come up with their own stories, then they will leave you alone. At first I had denied that anything was wrong, so of course that made people more suspicious. I had given up eventually and admitted my 'problems'. I was supposedly seeing a therapist about them. Yeah, right. Note that sarcasm is used again.
I got up, running suddenly to the bathroom to keep my stomach contents in before I reached the toilet. Throwing open a stall, I emptied my stomach into the toilet bowl. It was a full seven minutes before I could control my retching and continue to breath normally. I felt Jasper behind me and turned around, wiping my mouth on my sleeve. Yeah, I know, gross, but he simply stared at me solemnly, letting me finish in peace. I had to retch once more before I was finally finished, the smell having set me off once more. I flushed it and rushed to the sink to clean myself off, vigorously washing my hands and face. When I was finished I was drying my hands off on a paper towel, wincing as it rubbed my wrists, when Jasper caught me mid-motion. His fingers closed in a vice-like grip around my forearm, making me cry out in pain and fall to my knees. I bit my lip to keep the tears in, and I think I drew blood. I looked up to find him examining my wrists, where there were distinct purple and red bruises and embedded metal digging into them, making the flesh swell around the metal in them. His expression was a mixture between rage, disgust and shock.
"What the hell is this?" he yelled, shaking my arm towards me. I had tried to get up during his staring period, but fell to my knees once more as his fingers rubbed along the wounds that were now oozing blood and pus, opened by his rough handling.
"Edward Cullen, what the hell is this?"
"Jasper, please, I can explain -."
"Edward, did you do this to yourself?"
"Damn it let go! You're hurting him!" Alice had come in through the door, obviously hearing our yells. Jasper immediately released my arm and I cradled it to my body, hastily pulling my sleeve over it, hiding it from view. My sleeve was quickly soaking with the various fluids coming from the wound and I bit my lip once more, trying to ignore the pain. I felt Alice's tiny hand on my shoulder and got to my feet. I daren't meet Jasper's gaze, but could feel his eyes livid on me. Alice led me out of the building and slid my sleeve up to take a closer look.
"Holy hell, Edward, when did she do this?"
"She put them on a few weeks ago, and has been tightening them every few days. She's due to tighten them tonight, actually. Alice! He knows, Jasper knows! She's going to kill me. You have to make him swear he won't tell. Please, Alice! She'll kill me. You know she will." The tears that I had fought against spilled over now, and I looked down. I hated showing weakness, even in front of the one person I felt that I could trust.
She tried cleaning the wound a little, and then gave up. "I will Edward, it's alright." She stroked her clean hand through my hair and I relaxed under her careful, gentle touch. My head was possibly the only untouched – well, unhurt I should say – place on me, and I loved it when she played with my hair. I felt loved, then. "I'll make sure he doesn't tell. How is your wrist?" The pain had numbed a little, and I told her so. "Will you be able to make it through class?"
"What choice do I have?"
"Right. I'll see you after school then?"
"Until then, Alice.
We parted. I ignored Jasper's continued staring at me. I could guess what he was thinking, but I hoped that he didn't think that I had inflicted those wounds upon myself. That would be horrendous. I will not take credit for what this creature does to me each and every night. I just hoped that Alice would convince him to stay silent.
For all our sakes.
Author's Note: I thought I'd give this storyline a shot. Let me know what you think and be nice! I'm not used to writing this sort of thing, so please let me know how I did and don't sugar coat it. Updates will probably be few and far between, because I want to finish my other fanfictions first.
I didn't beta this well. If you don't know me well, or if this is my first fanfiction that you've read, let me just say that I've been feeling like crap, and I haven't read Breaking Dawn, not that it matters with this fanfic anyway, being AU and everything. Love you all and keep reading!