The Façade [Cullen vs. Swan]
"The love that lasts the longest is the love that can never be returned."
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* MADE THIS UPDATE WHILE LISTENING TO "PAPARAZZI" by Lady Gaga. The live version from the VMA's rock my socks. Even when I'm not wearing any.
* RANDOM CRAP: Have any of you read the City of Bones books? They're pretty good. If you leave a comment, tell me your favorite love story (that's in bookstores) because I need a new book to read during study halls.
* WHO'S EXCITED FOR NEW MOON? I love you Chris Weitz. You make my world spin.
* WANT TO SEE PICTURES OF EDWARD & BELLA'S APARTMENT? Go to my profile, and look under the category for this story.
* THANK YOU FOR REVIEWING LAST CHAPTER. I love you guys... and thanks for reviewing even though I kept you waiting.
» • Isabella's POV • «
They do not love that do not show their love... Do you know who said that? Shakespeare.
He was so fucking right.
Love is giving someone the power to break you and trusting them not to.
I want to laugh, I want to cry. I want to be strong but I am weak. I want to hate but all I do is love.
Make it stop, make it stop! All of it, just... please!
My eyes tried to open. Really, they did. It's just the tears that threatened to spill from them once I opened them was daunting.
Why did Edward make me love him? Why do I love someone who does not return my feelings?
"Ed...ward?" My voice choked, my hand coming up to rub my eyes.
A wet cloth rubbed at my sleepy eyes and shushed me gently, brushing hair out of my face. As I became more aware of my surroundings, my fingers trailed along the thick cushions of what could only be a bed and the clothing on me felt light and free. Pajamas. Oh, that's right. I changed before I landed in bed last night.
And then I became aware of the throbbing pain in my right ankle and my eyes snapped shut tightly as a moan fled my lips.
"It hurts... Fucking hell—" I hissed, sitting up.
"Careful, Bella... your ankle is swollen. I found some pain killers in the kitchen cabinet... they're on the nightstand with some water."
"Oh, Edward... I had the worst nightmare about us..." I murmured.
My half-open eyes finally opened and focused on Edward who sat a safe distance away from me, as if wary to get any closer, and I frowned. I needed him closer. It was a nightmare, right? It didn't actually happen— he didn't actually have sex with Victoria, he didn't let me run away crying yesterday, he came to my rescue when I needed him...
"Bella, I'm not Edward. It's Jake, silly. You were crying in your sleep, and I came to check on you... Maybe you should lay back down—"
When my stupid eyes finally stopped being delusional, I realized it wasn't Edward at all. It was Jacob.
My head is seriously fucked up right now.
"I'm sorry, Jacob..." I whispered, laying back down. "My head is pounding. Ugh."
He handed me the painkillers and I took them with the cup of water from the on nightstand.
"Thank you... so much... for taking care of me..." I said, staring up at the ceiling.
Jacob smiled. "No problem. I think it'd be best if we had something to support your ankle. Do you have any support bandages laying around?"
"The bathroom..." I sighed. "Two doors down the hall."
"You guys have to share a bathroom? Seriously?"
I nodded, "Yes." I didn't feel like talking.
Jacob sighed, "Don't move. I'll be right back."
Don't think about Edward.
Don't think about Edward.
Don't you dare even for a fucking second think about Edward—
It didn't take him long to get back. He came back into my room with a roll of support bandages, and he sat on the edge of the bed near my elevated foot.
"Tell me if I hurt you, please, even for a second—" He hesitated.
"I will," I promised.
Don't think of that idiot who let you run, in pieces, from him without calling your name to see what the problem was.
My eyes welled with tears. Every time I thought about him, my heart hurt in my chest. Please, please don't think about him. I'm stronger than this. I'm so much stronger than this. I'm a leader. People look up to... to this? This mess?
Tears flowed from my eyes as he finished the dressing with the bandage. He looked up at me with a rushed, worried look.
"Oh, sweetheart— Is it too tight? I'm sorry—" he reached for the bandage but I shook my head.
"No, Jake. It's perfect." It's my heart that needs a bandage.
Jake sighed in relief, and I found myself staring at him. When he smiled, my face got hot so I looked away, allowing my hair to shield me.
"Bella, I want to make breakfast for you." He finally said, brushing my hair out of my face and behind my ear.
"You can't, Jake."
He pouted, and then my stomach grumbled and he shot me an accusatory glance, raising a brow.
"I mean... seriously. You carried my ass all around this hotel, you took care of my ankle, you even slept on a living room couch..."
He cut me off before I could ramble on even more, "I care about you, Bella. You're one of my best friends and you're my boss and— please just let me do this for you?"
He was too stubborn. There would be no fighting him, not with the headache I had.
"You're getting hell of a bonus, Jake. That's all I'm saying."
Jacob barked a short laugh before cocking and eyebrow at me, "Does that mean I get to cook for you?"
I nodded, and he flashed me his perfect teeth. I took him in for a moment, and noticed he was still wearing his work clothes from yesterday.
"On one condition," I said quickly. "You let me give you a fresh set of clothes. You've got to be uncomfortable."
"I don't think your clothes will fit me," he chuckled.
I laughed, an image of Jacob wearing one of my t-shirts flickering through my head. "Not mine, of course, you're huge."
"Is that a compliment?"
"Um... I guess?" I laughed.
He smiled then, and it was like a contagious disease because I smiled back. I coughed, and then I ran my fingers through my hair.
"You can borrow some of Edward's—" And then I just froze, right there. I had reminded myself of the man who took my heart and then destroyed it at his whim. I took a deep, uneven breath and then whispered, "Is he... back?" One part of me told me I shouldn't care, and the other part of me was broken without him.
Jacob looked away from me, his jaw clenching tightly and his eyes narrowing.
"Why do you worry about him if he hurt you so badly?" He sneered, his head snapping to my direction, eyes on fire.
For a few seconds, I didn't even say anything. His question repeated in my head over and over.
Why? Why? Why?
And before I knew it, my eyes were watery and my heart was beating fast and my palms were sweaty. I swung my feet the edge of the bed, and Jacob hissed at me, "Bella! What are you doing—"
I limped my way over to my dresser, digging through the bottom draw to where my favorite t-shirt of Edward's was. It was huge when I wore it, usually to bed, but he loved seeing it on me. It was one of his high school jerseys— the colors were black and gold. The shirt was primarily black, and on the front, there was a picture of a mountain lion. On the back of the shirt, the number 17 was stitched in gold with the name CULLEN stamped at the top in shiny golden insignia.
I glared at the piece of clothing that seemed so offensive now. How did I not see that this was just sex? Why was I foolish when I told him yes to friends with benefits when I was already in love with him? Why did I believe he'd grow to love me?
"Bella," Jacob breathed behind me, his hands finding my waist, steadying me.
I spun around, shoving the shirt in his hands. "Here. He won't care for this piece of clothing anyway."
I went into the dresser again and started to look for a set of Edward's pants. I retrieved a set of drawstring pants and thrust them at Jacob.
"Why do you have his clothes in your drawers?"
"I mix up the laundry a lot," I lied smoothly.
"Well... thank you, Bella. And I'm sorry I snapped at you like that."
I still didn't turn around, and Jacob sighed. "The answer to your question is yes, he did come home last night. If you want the details, he was completely smashed, shirt untucked, hair a mess, dragging his feet up to his room. He didn't see me on the couch, and I didn't say anything."
I swallowed and nodded. "Thanks Jacob. The clothes I gave you are kind of stretched out and worn. I hope they aren't too small. Edward doesn't have body builder muscle like you. They're washed of course, he hasn't been wearing either recently, but it's the best I can do without raiding his closet."
"I appreciate the clothes." He said simply, looking to the bathroom. "Wait here, alright? I don't want you to do the stairs without me. I'm going to change and then I'll help you to the kitchen..."
"Alright," I said, hopping my way over to sit on the bed. "I'll wait."
As he went into the bathroom, leaving the door slightly ajar, I laid back on the bed and thought about the man in the room on the opposite end of the hallway. I tried to analyze what I was feeling. I was trying to hate Edward. I was trying so hard to scorn him, to hate how he treats me. He never mistreated me, he was always nice to me. Caring. My eyes widened as I remembered the necklace he had given me a night ago. I was still wearing it. My hand reached up and traced the outline of it, and then I lifted my other hand up and unclasped it behind my neck.
I didn't want to wear it right now. Getting up, I hissed at the pain in my ankle and wobbled over to my dresser and laid it on top. Before I could think twice about it, Jacob emerged from the bathroom.
"The clothes aren't that bad, huh?" he asked.
I spun around on my remaining functioning foot and looked at him. The pants fit him alright, and the shirt, huge on me, stretched and worn a bit on Edward, suited him perfectly. Something pained me to see him wearing one of my favorite shirts.
But then I reminded myself that I didn't care.
I just nodded at his question, and then he helped me downstairs.
I sat at the island as Jacob managed to watch four different things at once. The eggs on the pan, the bacon on the skillet, the french toast frying on the pan next to the eggs, and then... me.
He managed to talk to me while doing all that shit at the same time.
"So," he said after he plated everything. "What would you like to talk about?"
I ate a piece of bacon and smiled, suddenly grateful for the food because I realized how hungry I was. "Anything."
And then, upstairs, a door opened and closed. I listened to the shuffling of feet, and then the descent of someone down the stairs. I shot a worried look at Jacob, who's eyes were fixed on the doorway to the kitchen.
I could handle this, I told myself. I am Bella Swan, CEO of my company, strong, independent woman and envy of many—
He walked into the kitchen, and his fingers went to the light switch. With a harsh flick, the lights buzzed off and he stood staring at Jacob, then at me. The only light came from behind the blinds, from the morning sunlight. There was a golden hue to the room, and I focused on the devil in the doorway. There were dark circles under his eyes, I could see them even without the lights on. His hair was sticking in every direction, as usual, but something was very off today. His eyes were wild, the usual shining emerald eyes that I loved so much were dull and bloodshot.
"Edward—" I found myself whisper.
"Shut the fuck up," he hissed, stalking his way to the cabinets and pulling out a bottle of pills. Pain killers. He put two in his mouth, came over to me and then took my cup of water and swallowed the pills. When he pulled the cup away from his lips, his eyes locked with mine. He was inches from me. I could feel his breath, smell the alcohol surrounding his aura. "My head is fucking killing me."
And then his pupils dilated, and he pressed his lips against mine.
"What the f—" I vaguely heard Jacob hiss.
He kissed me hard and unyielding. My eyes widened and he bit my bottom lip, sticking his tongue inside my mouth and wrapping it around mine. His hand snaked behind my head and made sure I didn't pull away. I tasted the alcohol on his tongue and I cringed away against his grasp, "Edward, please! You're drunk!"
He glared at me darkly as Jacob sped to me, standing protectively in front of me.
"Step back, Cullen."
Edward's eyes fell to the shirt Jacob was wearing, and he lowered his head and closed his eyes, chuckling darkly.
"Found another man to be a cocktease to, Bella?" His words were ice.
My eyes widened, and I took a step back even though protected by Jacob. There was nothing Jacob could do to protect me from Edward's words.
"Fuck off," Jacob spat. "Leave her alone. You still have alcohol in your system, you don't know what you're saying. Don't do something you're going to regret later—"
Edward, I love you. Don't hurt me.
Edward just glared at me.
"Don't look at me that way," I begged. "Please Edward, I hate it—"
"Hate it?" Edward sneered. "This is me. Take it or leave it, darling. I fucking hate you and the way you tease me all the time! That is not our agreement! When I ask for something, you're supposed to give it to me, like a good little whore!"
My blood ran cold, and my lungs felt paralyzed. It took me a second to realize that I was having trouble breathing. I clutched at my shirt, and felt tears run down my cheeks.
Jacob shoved Edward backwards and into the refrigerator. The contents inside rattled violently.
"Back the fuck up, Edward! Leave her alone! She did nothing to you!"
"P-Put him down..." I whimpered. It's not his fault that he doesn't love me. Don't punish him for it—
"Fuck you! Get the hell of of me!" Edward shouted in Jacob's face.
I could hear my erratic heartbeat in my ears. I could feel the air leaving me in whooshes.
I was having a panic attack. Suddenly the room seemed to small, too cluttered.
The room was too dark. I couldn't see anything except Edward and Jacob.
Stop fighting, stop fighting, please!
No one was paying attention to me. I was wavering and whimpering and pleading and then all I saw were Edward's eyes suddenly on me, widening and shouting in alarm.
"Fucking catch her, asshole!"
But it was too late.
I fell to my knees, clutching at my hair, and let out a blood curdling scream.
Catch me now.
Waking up was like being splashed with cold water. I wasn't ready for it. I was alone in my bedroom, and the door to my room was closed. I held my head and looked around, noticing my clock and realizing that it was 10PM.
I need a drink.
I slowly shifted my legs to the edge of the bed, and my ankle was burning again, so I ripped off the goddamn bandage and endured the pain. Cringing my way to me dresser, I opened the top drawer to pull out the bottle of Vodka. My stash, for emergency purposes. I opened the bottle, and drank straight from the top. Searing my throat on the way down, I smiled and welcomed the burn.
» • Edward's POV • «
"Don't look at me that way," she begged. "Please Edward, I hate it—"
"Hate it?" I sneered. "This is me. Take it or leave it, darling. I fucking hate you. I despise every aspect of you, you stupid whore!"
Jacob shoved me backwards, into the refrigerator.
"Back the fuck up, Edward! Leave her alone! She did nothing to you!"
"Fuck you! Get the hell of of me!" I shouted in Jacob's face.
I saw Bella out of the corner of my eye, shrinking away, her eyes wide and afraid. I knew that look. I said the first sensible thing I had spoken all day.
"Fucking catch her, asshole!"
But I was too late.
She collapsed, and let out a scream that made my blood run cold.
I woke up from the nightmare with a pounding headache. Ugh. What happened? Where am I?
I sat up in my bed which reeked of booze, and my head spun. The shower. I need a shower. I stripped myself of my clothing and ran a shower and stepped in. The hot water ran over my body and I sighed.
What happened last night?
My mind went back to Bella and me in the maintenance closet... and then she ran out looking so... broken. I wanted to chase after her, but the adrenaline and alcohol pushed me to get angry with her.
And then I went out and I met up with Tanya. And I fucked her... because she's easy, accessible, and in Chicago for the week. And then the details became fuzzy because of the alcohol buzzed through my veins, but I distinctly remember calling Bella's name when I came... and then Tanya slapping me in the face.
What the hell is wrong with me? Why can't I forget about Bella for one second? What has she done to me?
I shut the shower off and grabbed a towel and dried myself off. I walked into my room and threw on a clean pair of boxers, pajama bottoms, and a white undershirt. I ran the towel through my hair a couple more times before throwing it into the laundry and opening my door. I wandered downstairs looking to see if Bella was up, needing to talk to her. The light was on in the kitchen, but when I walked in, it definitely wasn't Bella sitting there.
It was Jacob, sitting at the kitchen island with a cup of coffee, my drawstring pants and my shirt from high school that was Bella's favorite. The named CULLEN shined even in the darkness. The only lights that were on were the soft lights that hung above he island.
And, of course, I said the first thing that popped into my head:
"Tell me we didn't have wild gay sex. Please tell me we didn't have wild gay sex."
It was the first thing that left my lips. I had good reason for it, right? He was wearing my clothes, and I was having a hard time remembering last night. Alcohol made the details fuzzy.
He didn't even turn to look at me. "You're not funny. Finally sober, huh?"
He's mocking me in my own apartment? Hell no, Black.
"What the fuck does that mean?" I hissed through my teeth. "And what the fuck are you doing in my apartment?"
Jacob sighed and raised his eyebrows, still not turning his fat ass around to look at me. He took his cup of coffee and sipped it before saying, "... because of Bella."
Jealously pumped wildly through my system. Bella went to him for comfort? I knew I had no right to feel the way I did, because I knew the terms of our arrangement and I fucked other girls all the time, but I couldn't withhold the anger in my voice when I hissed, "You had... sex with Bella?"
Your dick doesn't hold a candle to mine!
Jacob scoffed and turned to face me. "You really don't remember anything, do you?"
I was silent, and I stood still. I tried to remember what happened last night, but I didn't remember anything past Tanya. All the details before that weren't clear. I had been frustrated yesterday at work and started drinking after I kicked Victoria out of my office. I had already been drunk when I arrived at home. What I did to Bella wasn't right— I hadn't even treated her like a human being. I basically threw her on the ground in the tiny maintenance closet and ordered her to get me off. When she fled the room, I wanted to chase her but the alcohol made me think about myself first. And after that... I didn't remember much.
"Where's Bella?" I whispered, my throat burning.
"You stay the fuck away from her," Jacob hissed, standing up now, sizing me. "After what you did to her last night, I'm not letting you anywhere near her."
I glared at him, at the shirt he was wearing. Why was he in my clothes? "What did I do, and why are you wearing my clothes?"
Jacob snickered, "Take a seat, jackass. Let me enlighten you."
And he did. We sat there for an hour talking about what I said to her, what I did to her. And I fell apart, head in my hands, broken. I almost felt like crying, my eyes getting all fuckin watering and shit. And then Jacob called me a pussy and hissed at him. I knew Bella since we were babies. We grew up together, and I just ruined all that. I would never intentionally treat anyone that way, let alone a woman. Fucking alcohol.
"I can't believe... I never act that way towards her— not even when I'm drunk—"
"Don't expect forgiveness," Jacob said, shaking his head.
"... so right now, she's upstairs in her room?" I choked out.
Jacob nodded. "Asleep."
"I'm never drinking again," I hissed through clenched teeth. The nightmare I had earlier actually showed me flashes of how I treated Bella, it wasn't just a dream. I wanted to fucking get to my office and throw away all the alcohol I had.
Jacob yawned and made a suggestive hand gesture before I suggested that he leave. I wasn't being offensive, and I knew he understood that because he was contemplating it.
"Well?" I asked.
"I'm debating whether it's safe to leave you here, alone, with her. I have some things to check on at home, calls I have to make... but—"
"You can trust me, Jacob. I'm sober, and..." I can't believe I'm about to say this— "but, truly, I'm sorry for the trouble I caused you."
Jacob looked at me with tired eyes and nodded. "Alright. I'm going to head out. You have to promise to let me know how she's doing, though. Let her call me or something because listening to her voice is a lot better than listening to yours."
I rolled my eyes as he stopped in the doorway before it hit me:
"Give me that fucking shirt back, you gaytard."
"Are you asking because you want to see my chest?" Jacob snapped back.
He took off the shirt regardless, revealing a black undershirt. He threw the shirt at me and I reminded myself to wash it as soon as I could. The only scent on this shirt that I wanted was Bella's.
He caught me staring at the shirt, and he raised a brow. His hands went to the drawstrings of the pants and dropped his voice to a disgustingly low level. "Want the pants too, big boy?"
"I just threw up in my mouth a little," I answered, before pushing him out the door.
When the door closed, I leaned my head against to the cold structure of the door. It felt good against my forehead, and I sighed. I stayed like that for a long moment— eyes closed, teeth clenched, grasping a shirt a bit too tightly. Bella gave him her favorite shirt of mine. It appalled me and stung like a bitch at the same time.
I decided I wasn't going to bother Bella until the morning, so that we could talk this over. Heading towards the kitchen, I opened the fridge and pulled out one of the Hershey bars inside. I had an undeniable sweet tooth, 24/7. I'm not ashamed. I broke a piece off and went to the living room to drown my sorrows in pounds of endless chocolate when I heard noise upstairs.
It was the sound of glass shattering across a hard surface.
My eyes widened, and I dropped the shirt to the ground and bolted up the stairs.
"Bella?" I called, going to her door and and realizing that it was locked.
There was no reply on the other side, and I knocked my fist on the door. "Bella, open the door! Are you alright?"
Still no reply, and I was fully fucking prepared to knock down this motherfucker. But the door clicked open, and Bella stood in the doorway. Alcohol wafted up my nose from the inside of the room, and Bella's image was completely past drunk. She was looking at me, but she wasn't really looking at me. I didn't know what to say. I had never seen her this wasted.
"Oh, Edward..." she slurred. "I dun... feel like fucking r... right now."
Her bangs were in her face, and her pajamas were wrinkled. She was biting her bottom lip, and her beautiful brown eyes were bloodshot.
She went to close to the door, but my hand moved quickly, catching the heavy wooden door before it closed.
"No, Bella." I said. "I didn't come here for that."
She didn't reply, but turned around and walked into the room. I opened the door and saw that there was a shattered bottle of vodka on the floor, the remainder of its contents spilled around the glass shards. She walked straight towards the glass, oblivious of the pieces of glass.
"Bella! Wait!" I moved quickly, thinking of nothing other than how I would help her. I caught her wrist and spun her around towards me, resulting in her being pressed against my chest. We were silent for several moments, the only sound in the room was my heavy breathing from the dart up the stairs and the adrenaline pumping through my system after rescuing her from slicing up her feet.
"Your heart..." Bella murmured quietly.
"What?" I whispered quietly, holding her still. I knew she was safe now, her feet inches from the glass, but I found myself unable to release her.
"Your hearts... beating... really f... fast..." she slurred.
I rested my chin on the top of her head, staring at the wall and her dresser behind her. There was a mirror above her dresser, and I saw us reflected in it. She fit perfectly in my arms. My hands tightened around her, and I saw the necklace I gave her the other night sitting on the top of her jewelery box. Seeing it there, cold and away from her, made me upset. I closed my eyes.
"It's what my heart does when I'm around you," I replied softly.
Silence filled the emptiness between us for a little while, before she sighed.
"My h-heart hurts when... I'm around y... you..." she whispered.
My entire body grew frigid and stiff, the effects of her words weighing heavily on my conscious for reasons I couldn't explain.
I held her carefully as I helped her towards her bed, maneuvering her to avoid the glass. She laid down, the alcohol making her tired. She curled into a ball once she got onto the bed, and her tiny hands clutched at a pillow.
"Bella—" I whispered.
"You dun... haves to stay with meh..." Bella said softly, her eyes closed.
I looked down at her, and I realized that my fingers were itching to touch her.
"Would you like me to stay with you?" I asked politely.
Bella furrowed her brows and moaned, "Only... if you promise me you won't... leave..."
I smiled, despite the circumstances. "You're going to be angry with me in the morning, when you're coherent."
"Co... hear... ants...?" she whispered. "If you want... to make... an 'scuse... you coulda jus said you were goin to Vic... toria..."
My eyes widened. How did she know about Victoria? It breaks one of the rules of our agreement. If either one of becomes sexually involved with someone else, relationship or not, our deal ends. I crawled into the bed, spooning her into my arms.
"Bella?" I whispered against her neck.
"Mmmm..." she replied.
I'm sorry. You weren't supposed to find out about the other women I have.
"I..." But then I stopped, because I didn't know what to say to make anything better.
Her tiny shoulders began to tremble, and it took me a second to realize that she had started to cry.