Punch Me, Love Me, Save Me
Chapter Eleven—The Voice
Edward watched his sister as she stared at the ground, fidgeting as she usually did when she was nervous or upset. Nessie bit her lip, looking up at him, her bronze curls framing her small face.
"It's my fault, Eddikins." Her voice was nothing but a whisper. Edward wanted to scowl at her choice of nickname for him. She knew he hated it since the moment she screamed it on the playground when they were five years old and every girl in their class called him the same thing for a long time after. She thought it was cute, but to him, it was annoying. "I was the stupid one that went into the pool."
He had no idea what was she talking about. Did she say something about a pool? Edward's heart lurched; the thought of her anywhere near a pool made him panic. It was stupid, he told himself. His sister was there with him and she wasn't going anywhere. Her hazel eyes were glistening with tears, and the reason behind them didn't make sense to Edward. She repeated herself again.
"No, Nessie, no," he said quietly, trying to get her to understand. It didn't happen, the one thing he tried so hard to forget. Her standing in front of him was proof of that. She started mumbling, something else she did when she was upset. "I don't understand, Ness, you're not making any sense," he said. He couldn't help but smile as she toed the floor, hiding behind reddish brown curls.
I need to make her laugh again.
"I want to go outside, and I'm hungry," she muttered, looking back at him with pleading eyes. Edward knew there was no way he could say no to her. The few times he had, he often regretted it.
"Why don't you go and ask Mom?" he said, turning away to look up at a bright white ceiling. He didn't want her to see that he was in pain, his head and stomach hurt badly. "I'll be down for dinner, right after I've finished this chapter." He looked at her again, watching her lips twitch into a bright grin.
He had to brush hair out of his eyes, causing her to giggle. She always made fun of his hair when he grew it out. Before he could tell her something, another voice caught his attention.
"Oh, Edward," he heard a soft whisper somewhere beside him. Edward looked for the source and Bella was there, her face filled with concern. That confused him. What did she have to be concerned about? His sissy was there, now, with him.
Edward convinced Bella to join him in bed so she could meet his sister. He gave a little prayer that Nessie wouldn't tell her any embarrassing stories at him.
When Bella's body pressed nearly flush with his back, he tried to keep from blushing under Nessie's gaze. He chanced a look at her and found her trying not to laugh again. Instead, she smiled at Bella and curtsied. Sometimes, she was such a show off, Edward thought.
After he introduced Bella to Nessie, encouraging her to say hello, Nessie giggled and whispered in his ear. "She's pretty."
Edward bit back a snort; pretty didn't cut it. Bella was much more, but he would let it pass this time. If he corrected her, she would probably make fun of them anyway. He didn't want to explain that to Bella, since she didn't like him much.
Bella whispered a sweet hello to his sister, though her eyes were mostly on him. Her warm hand stroked down his arm, causing Nessie to laugh again and sing.
"Eddie and Bella sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g," his sister sang softly. Edward gasped and groaned at the singing voice of his sister, feeling a pain in his chest that he didn't recognize. It hurt so much to listen to that sweet voice. He couldn't understand why that was.
The pain was starting to intensify and he didn't want his sister to see him like that. He didn't want to scare her. He made an excuse that their mom was calling her. He had to get her out of there. The pain was becoming unbearable; it felt as if he were burning from the inside out. "But come right back, I've missed you."
Edward watched Nessie nod and head toward the white door. His whole body seized, starting with a pain in his stomach. It was intolerable. It felt like he had hot coals in his gut, churning everything up. Heat and sweat prickled his skin, making it unbearably hot. He fought to kick off the blankets.
Time seemed to pass strangely for a while after that. He could hear or feel Bella nearby, touching him. A part of him wanted to ask her for support, knowing she would hold him up as she had since he first met her. Yet, another part wanted to lash out and tell her to go fuck herself.
Blackness clouded his vision suddenly, causing his whole world to spin uncontrollably. His body felt as if it was being turned to the side. He was thirsty, his chest and throat burned with an intensity he'd never felt before.
His head was pillowed on softness and someone's body wrapped around him, and soon after, his need for water answered. He lapped up the cool liquid. Darkness once again intruded, leaving him wanting the peace of it, and allowed himself to burrow in it.
Minutes, hours, maybe days passed, he could not tell, when Edward sensed another presence in the room with him. One with darker thoughts than his own, with another aching groan, he turned enough to see who it was. In a chair nearby, he could see his mother. She watched him with hard, cold eyes the same color as his own.
"Go away," he whispered, not wanting to alert Bella, who was on the other side of his bed. He wouldn't let his mother see him in his condition. Every muscle and bone in his body ached as he fought to be as still as he could. His eyes closed and he had to clench his jaw shut so he wouldn't say something vile to Esme as he wished he could. He didn't need to see that damn look in her eyes.
It was a mixture of loathing, despair, and revulsion. He'd seen it for far too long.
The dark was comforting in a way he had never experienced before. It was almost welcoming. Most of the time, he tried to avoid it. He was afraid of what he'd find within it. Alcohol helped by numbing him enough, so that if he failed to crawl away from the dark, he wouldn't care what was within. However, he found a warmth and safety in it this time around; a voice nearby soothed him. It said she was there with him, for him.
Unaware of how much time had passed, something awakened him. There were loud voices, someone was screaming.
His skin itched unbearably; something was crawling on his leg. He tried to shake it off. The light in the room was dim as he looked down at his foot. He cried out, fighting to get the bug off him. Something held him down, another voice loud and threatening pierced the air. In seconds, a slew of insects, mosquitoes, roaches, and fucking worms were all over him. They crawled up his body, some into his very skin. His voice hoarse, he screamed at the closest figure.
Why weren't they getting them off? Instead, he felt someone holding him down.
Where was Bella? Why wasn't she there? Frantic, he searched for her in the sea of unfamiliar faces. He found her, dark eyes filled with concern and pain. He hated that fucking look on her, but why wasn't she closer? Why wasn't she helping him?
"Bella, please, you promised!" he cried, kicking out at the sheets. He felt her on top of him, her hands caressing his face, soothing him.
"I'm here," she said, running her hands over his face. "You're safe, I promise. Edward, I'll save you."
Before he could tell her that he didn't think he deserved salvation, the welcoming dark closed over his eyes.
Some time later, he heard some more distant mumbling, but couldn't make it out. They all sounded like if they were trying to talk into a microphone but had their mouths right on it, and the ringing in his ear made it worse. Edward hated that shit. The mumbling continued, much to his displeasure. Couldn't they just shut the fuck up?
He woke up with a groan and a headache, much like the last few weeks. Bella's associates were all there in the room, talking as if he wasn't trying to fucking sleep.
He offered his own nickname for his favorite harpy and watched as she walked over to sit beside him. Two parts of him warred again, he wanted to kick her off the bed or grab and sink his teeth in her neck to solidify his claim.
She tried to tell him about what they'd been doing to him while he went through the worst of his withdrawal. Whatever she said, he failed to grasp it for long. He looked at the one unfamiliar face in the room and matched it to the annoying southern accent he heard days earlier when they kidnapped him.
Edward still wasn't ready to forgive these assholes for doing that shit.
"You're – you're the fucker who grabbed me while I was naked," Edward said, feeling groggy. The familiar cotton and dry feeling was in his mouth as he watched the Texan standing a little too damn close to his warden. The fucker told Edward his name, Casper or something like that. He even had the nerve to bump fists with the moving mountain named Emmett. He remembered him— he was the asshole that laughed because of the naughty he had dream of Bella.
Feeling disoriented after another round of gagging and coughing, his vision becoming cloudy again, he called out for her. Her dark but warm eyes met his, he wanted desperately to touch her, but his arm felt as if it weighed a ton.
His eyes closed at the touch of her hand across his forehead, touching his hair again. He had to squint his eyes a little to clear up the image of her pretty face. "Thank you," he said, trying to fight the need to go to sleep again. It was a lost cause. As he slipped into warm oblivion, he swore he heard his sister laugh.
Edward tried to hold onto the dream, but something at the fringes of it kept pulling him away. He knew it wasn't real, because he was positive his fucking harpy would never allow him to have her mouth anywhere near his dick.
Well, he was sure she wanted his dick, but wanted to play hard to get before she finally gave in to him. A few voices interrupted a particularly nice image of her on her knees, dressed in nothing but thigh highs seamed stockings and stilettos, begging for his cock. The thought of some asshole watching Bella get him off did not sit well with him and he wanted to tell the motherfucker off. Before he could do anything else, nature called.
Edward wanted desperately to take a piss, his fucking dream Bella disappearing like a puff of smoke. Not getting what he wanted, even in dreams, was already making him irritable as hell. The assholes couldn't wait until dream Bella got him off with that pretty mouth wrapped around his cock. His throat felt like sand paper and was what held him back from telling these assholes off for waking him up.
Light started to intrude behind the darkness of his eyelids. He wanted to ignore it, but one voice in particular had him wanting to see his favorite person to piss off. Behind the light, there were two distinct voices.
"He should gain consciousness in the next few hours. I already started to wean him off the meds." He groaned as the light overhead brightened, his lead-like arms lifted as if he could push it away. "Bella, he's conscious."
"Hey, Edward," Bella said beside him. Something in her voice bothered him, sounded like concern and he didn't like it. He wanted to fuck with her and tried to think of a way to do it. With his eyes still closed, he turned toward her voice and smirked.
She laughed and ruffled his hair. "Same ol' perv." He nearly purred under her touch.
His eyes opened slowly, her face was blurry, forcing him to close them again. After another minute, he tried again, furrowing his brow. The anticipation in her face was clear, but she also looked tired.
"Who are you?" he croaked.
Her eyes widened, her head snapping toward Rosalie. The blond bitch shrugged. "I don't know, Bella. I can have Alec come in. In severe cases, it's possible to lose some short-term memory, I'm sorry, Bella."
Edward's harpy looked horrified and he felt the twinge of guilt in his chest turn to a spike of pain. Shit, fix it, you asshole.
"Hey," he said softly, tugging on her shirt. "If it isn't the biggest pain in my ass, 3B." The relief in Bella's eyes lasted only a second before they narrowed. Shit, she knew he faked it. Before she could rip him a new asshole, a feat he was sure she could accomplish, he asked, "How long was I out?"
Though his memory of the last few days was hazy, he was aware enough to know they had to sedate him.
"About forty-two hours," she said softly, running her fingers through his hair. It seemed she forgot about her suspicion— good for him.
"B, you need to get him cleaned up. This might be the only chance for a while. Edward, I'm disconnecting your IV so you can shower."
To lighten the mood further, he chucked Bella in the chin. Her eyebrow cocked, waiting for whatever he had to say. From the look in her eyes, she was waiting for him to say something rude. Why disappoint her?
"What? No sponge bath?"
She rolled her eyes at him as Edward realized that he felt fucking gross. His body was sticky and after a sniff under his arm, he knew he smelled like shit. Embarrassed, he shifted away from her. He grimaced at the pinch at his arm as Blondie removed his IV. Fucking bloodsucker. His humiliation deepened as he had to have Bella and one of her goons help him up from bed because his legs were weak.
"I can do it myself, asshole!" he grunted, pulling his arm away from the jerk he didn't recognize. Whoever he was, Edward disliked him already. He stumbled forward, but Bella had his arm draped over her shoulder, and that held him up. He pushed her away, too fucking pissed and embarrassed to be that close to her. He didn't need her fucking help to take a damn shower.
What the fuck was she thinking? That he was an invalid.
"Damn it, Edward," Bella growled at him, shaking her little fist in his face. "I'm just trying to help."
His eyes roamed over her. Her clothes were wrinkled, and from the pillow and book on the chair closest to the bed, he realized she had stayed with him the whole time. Why the fuck did she care? He didn't want her to.
"I didn't ask for your help, bitch!" He did, though; during a moment of weakness, he had practically begged her. It made him sick to think of. He scrambled toward the bathroom, trying to get to the shower, determined to do it without her. Instead of the white ass tile he expected to see, he ended up in the fucking closet.
"You were saying," she hissed from behind him. He wanted to pound his head against the door, wishing he were anywhere but there. She pulled him away from the closet and led him to the bathroom. Once he was in there, she started to turn on the water, as if he wasn't capable of doing it himself.
"You can get the fuck out now!" Ignoring her, Edward pulled off the fucking smelly ass shirt he wore. "I would like some privacy."
"Whatever," she said, walking out of the bathroom. "Emmett, can you stand watch and help Edward if he needs it, since he won't let me."
Edward cursed a string of profanities at the bitch. As if he would let that caveman come anywhere near his naked body again. Grabbing a hold of her arm before she walked out, he hissed, "Fine."
Bella smiled an all-too-smug grin and finished adjusting the temperature of the water. He worked quickly to pull off the rest of his disgusting clothes. It wasn't as if the harpy hadn't seen it all before. Walking into the shower enclosure, the bitch surprised him by handcuffing his hand to the bar as she had the first time.
"What the fuck is this for?" he growled at her. A lesser woman would've cowered from a six-three angry man that hovered over her tiny frame. Not her, she only shrugged and handed him a washcloth. "I asked you a fucking question, 3B." He grabbed the cloth and tried his best to remain standing as he washed his body.
"Another lesson we learned," she said as she started to clean the restroom. Too focused on the shower, he only noticed that there were soiled sheets, towels, and clothes all over the room. The bitch actually put on a pair of sterile gloves. At the door, whoever was there took the bag from her and said he'd burn it. It was probably the asshole, Casper or Jasper, whatever his name was. "Most of the time the addict wakes up after withdrawal cranky as hell, sometimes violent." He cocked an eyebrow, silently asking her to elaborate. "It didn't happen to me here, but at the other center."
Did that mean she ran more than one? Edward was about to ask her, but figured out he didn't give a shit about it. The only thought in his head was getting cleaned up and something to drink. At that thought, he opened up his mouth to the water cascading up from above, turning the hot water off for a while to quench his thirst. Before the water froze his balls off, he switched on the heat and grabbed some shampoo from the dispenser mounted on the wall. It was a good thing he had long fingers and was able to do it one-handed, he didn't want to ask the witch for help just to get shampoo.
Forty-two fucking hours had passed. Fuck, he hoped the worst was over. Though he was barely aware of what had occurred over the last two days, most of it hazy, but by how fucking shitty his body felt, he knew it hadn't been pretty.
As he scrubbed at his face, he felt another round of tremors start. Mild in comparison to the ones he had for days, but he quickly shut off the water. Bella was waiting outside with a fluffy white towel, watching him with too-knowing eyes. He tried to shrug off the shivers and hoped she wouldn't notice. The warden moved warily toward him and removed the cuff.
His shaking knees must have been a dead giveaway because she quickly sat him on a bench he never noticed in the shower. He tried to fight her off when she tried to help him dress, but when he couldn't even hold open his fucking boxers, he threw them at her. As she assisted, he called her every name in the book, but she didn't bat an eyelash.
Fucking hell, he thought, how could someone take that much verbal abuse and not become homicidal…or suicidal. He reminded himself that he didn't care about her.
"I don't need your help," Edward said through clenched teeth.
"Shut the fuck up," she finally said, her face flushed as she rose to feet and helped him up. "I'm here to help, whether you want it or not." She grabbed his arm, but he wretched it from her grasp and made his way toward his newly made bed.
"Wait, Edward," she screamed, and he fell flat on his face, his legs giving way. Edward groaned and turned onto his back.
"Dumb ass," Bella said from beside him, putting her arms around his shoulders, helping him up on his feet again.
Faced flushed, head and heart pounding, he growled, "Fuck! I hate this shit!"
He didn't think, he only acted and tried to bolt for the door, but the blonde banshee blocked his way. Emmett popped his knuckles, getting up from one of the chairs in the room and walking toward him. He felt cornered as he looked at every face. These people were with cause of his imprisonment. He hated them all!
"What? Have I been giving you a good show?" He threw up his arms, laughing. "I bet it was fun watching some fucking rich asshole piss and vomit all over himself. Huh?"
Bella grabbed his attention by snapping his ass with a towel. "No one here is happy to see anyone go through hell, Edward. Especially me," she said. "I know that you find that hard to believe but it's true."
Edward glared at her, his vision turned completely into a red haze of anger. Why didn't she understand that he didn't want their help? Why couldn't they let him just fucking drink to forget everything?
He needed out to get of there like he needed air. Lunging for the door, not caring who got in the way, he side-stepped Jasper and Bella. He heard a body hit the floor before Emmett stopped him, getting him in a bear hug that completely lifted Edward off the ground.
"Get him on the bed," Rosalie cried out as Edward tried to fight back. Jasper jumped back to his feet, trying to help Emmett keep a hold of him.
Edward kicked and screamed, trying to get them off him. Somehow, they managed to get him on the bed, and the bitch Rosalie was spewing out instructions and slipped a needle out of her pocket, injecting Edward with something to knock him out. He felt his body go numb several seconds later. His mind still aware of his surroundings but the rest of him too exhausted to do much more.
"Shit, B!" He heard someone scream.
Another voice grunted, "Fuck, she's bleeding."
"Bella!" Rosalie continued. "Bring her to the clinic."
"No," Bella groaned. "Office. Ow! Ow!"
"Fine, the office," Rosalie hissed. "Fuck, she's out. She may need stitches. Jasper, you stay here with him. Call down if his heart rate picks up." Her voice grew distant as she instructed Emmett to call Alec to get a CT as a precaution.
Edward wondered what the fuck just happened? His head was in fucking chaos and nothing made sense.
Suddenly, ice-cold blue eyes filled his vision, hovering over him. "I should beat the fucking crap out of you," Jasper seethed, glaring.
Edward tried for a smile. "Try it, mother fucker. Bella won't let you."
The asshole had the balls to smirk at Edward. "She won't know. By the look of the bump and cut on her head that you just gave her, I'm sure she'll be sleeping it off."
What? The blackness veiled over his vision, not allowing Edward to know if Bella was going to be okay.
"Jasper?" another voice intruded, firm and with authority. "I think you better join Bella and Rosalie."
"I'm fine, Emmett. You can relieve me in a couple hours."
Before Edward could make out the rest of Emmett's response, he shut his mind down enough. He didn't want to think; too scared that he hurt someone else that didn't deserve it. He should face it, everything good in his life he touched turned to ash.
Something intruded on his dreams again, but this time, Edward was thankful. The dreams were nightmares, ones that seemed to blend the past and present. The lights overhead were dim, but the glaring white of the ceiling still fucking hurt his eyes.
"Shh." He instantly stilled at the giggle he heard accompany the sound. Edward's eyes adjusted to the minimal lighting, and found his sister, Nessie, tickling Emmett's nose. The man was asleep in a chair, snoring away and completely unaware. She laughed harder when Emmett scratched his nose, and Edward couldn't help but snicker, shaking his head and shushing his sister.
He missed her so much. She'd been gone for hours, and he had no idea where she'd been. It scared him so much that he tried reaching for her, but she danced away from his stretched out arm.
"Edward, I want to go swimming," she stated, smiling widely. "Can we go swimming?"
A familiar fear gripped his heart. "No, you can't go swimming," he said firmly, though he hated denying her anything. Maybe if he joined her, it would be better. "I can't leave this room, anyway." He motioned toward the locked door, hoping if he couldn't go that she would stay with him.
"Fine, but I'm going," she huffed, sneaking toward the door quietly. She turned back to look at him, giggling when the door opened easily for her.
For some reason, Edward knew it wasn't a good idea for her to go outside alone. The thought of her near the pool made him jump out of bed, but found something was stopping him. He had equipment strapped and taped to his arm. It only took a few seconds to turn the sound off on the unit and detach the IV from his hand and the plastic clamp monitoring his heart rate on his fingertip off.
Edward made his way to the door and checked it, finding it locked, of course. He groaned and stared at the keypad. Looking over at Emmett, he saw that he was still snoring. It was best to act now while he had the chance, his sister was out there by herself. He pressed a few buttons quickly to test the tones, canceling so as not to alert anyone. It didn't take long to figure out which keys had what tones.
The code for his door was 4389.
After he entered each number, the little green light lit up and told him that he'd been right. It was a good thing that the keypads had audible tones that his keen ear was able to pick up easily.
Bella would learn another lesson if he managed to get away. That wasn't important, because Nessie was his priority. If Bella found him outside, at least she could get his sister to safety. Edward quickly made his way down the hall, past the kitchen and Bella's room. He stopped beside it for a second, wondering if he should just ask for her help. He shook his head, continuing. There wasn't time for that. The door that opened to the poolside was less than a hundred feet away. He ran toward the door, entered the code he remembered the few times he heard Bella use it. In seconds, the light lit up, the door opened in his hand.
The cool Mexican desert climate hit him hard. He shivered slightly, making his way to the pool. As he closed in on the courtyard, he could see Nessie…
"No!" Edward pulled off his t-shirt. "Not again, Nessie!" he screamed, diving into cool water. His feet hit the bottom and he quickly bobbed to the surface. "Nessie!" he cried out, unable to find her anywhere. He dove under the water again, but couldn't see for shit, forcing him to resurface. "Nessie!" He frantically searched, screaming for her.
"Please, please, please," he said, spitting out water. Bella, help me please.
His body protested and he could barely manage to stay afloat a second more. Before he went completely under, he heard someone scream.
"Edward, oh my God!" Bella, he thought. She heard his silent plea for help. He heard the splash, before he slipped beneath the surface. Something hit him in the water, an arm curling around his waist.
"Help me get him over the edge," Edward heard Bella gasping near his ear, his eyes refusing to open.
A set of strong arms lifted him from the water and onto the decking nearby. "I've got him, boss."
Edward coughed, spewing out water trapped in his mouth and throat. "Nessie! Bella, she's in the water. I saw her in the water!"
She was there in front of him, taking his face in her small, cold hands. "I know that's what you see, Edward," she cried, wiping his hair from his eyes. "I know, Edward. She's gone, honey."
Her wide-eyed look of despair broke him, as he dropped his head onto her shoulder, sobbing. "She's gone! I couldn't fucking save her again! She's gone." Bella held him in her arms, and he felt his body tremble with terror as he relived the moment of Nessie's body floating in the water on repeat, every time he closed his eyes. He looked up at Bella's heart-broken expression; he noticed the same look before in her eyes. She knew what it felt like to lose someone she loved, too.
"Bella," he whispered, touching her cheek. "Please…don't let me go."
AN: I wanted to thank you all, for your words and reviews. I just wish I had time to reply to all of them. Thanks again.