A/N: First Chapter of my first fanfiction. I hope you enjoy it, am working on the second chapter at the moment and hope to post it by next week.
A LOT of thanks to cdunbar for being my beta and putting up with my way too long e mails obsessing over this story, and my extremely bad grammar and punctuation.
WARNING: THIS CHAPTER INCLUDES A SCENE THAT MIMICS SELF HARM BUT IT IS NOT THE INTENT OF THE CHARACTER TO HURT THEMSELVES.
Disclaimer: I own nothing, it's all Stephanie Meyer. I just like to play around with them all.
1. Robot Girl
It wasn't human at all,
it was a robot boy!
He wasn't warm and cuddly
and he didn't have skin.
Instead, there was a cold, thin layer of tin.
There were wires and tubes sticking out of his head.
He just lay there and stared,
not living or dead.
Robot Boy- Tim Burton
I sank down into the water, my lips below the surface, staring gloomily at the tap as water dripped rhythmically from it.
I hated the noise, reverberating and echoing around the white, cold bathroom. Everything was cold and still and frozen. Me included. I fit in with this bathroom. Lying here naked in the tub, the soapsuds long gone from the water, my skin had turned paler than I thought possible. And I was as cold and white as this whole damn bathroom.
A loud and brutal hammering on the door tore my stare from the offensive tap. "Bella! Have you fallen asleep in the tub again?" I heard my sister Rosalie screaming at me through the door. I just sank lower into the water until my ears were covered as well.
God, she's such a fucking harpy. How on earth does Emmett stand her?
Stupid question, Bella, you know why Emmett stands her. The walls aren't thick enough to hide it from the whole street why Emmett stands her, I thought to myself. I sincerely believe hearing your sister's name screamed out as loud as humanly possible every night has a serious long-term effect on your mental wellbeing.
I sighed through the water causing a stream of bubbles to shoot up from my mouth and break upon reaching the surface. I could still hear Rosalie shrieking. Tilting my head up so my mouth was no longer under the water, I called out, "Coming, Rose!"
"That's what I said!" I heard Emmett call back, followed by the sound of a smack. I rolled my eyes, sadly all too familiar with Emmett's bad jokes that only he found funny and my sister's love of violence. With the amount of times she hit him on the back of the head, it was amazing he was not brain dead; he just couldn't tell jokes anymore.
I heaved myself out of the tub and wrapped a towel around me, grabbing my clothes off the floor. I quietly and swiftly unlocked the door, sidled past Rose without looking at her, but completely aware of her glare, and shuffled off to my room down the hall.
Once inside with the door firmly closed and locked, I took off my towel and looked at my naked body in the full length mirror. I still looked the same as I did before the 'accident', maybe a bit thinner, gaunter, and hunched looking, but my body was basically just as it was before.
My face was something else altogether though. There were no disfiguring scars or marks, not visible anyway. It was more my demeanour that was so different. My face used to be an open book; I would blush over the smallest thing and had no control over my facial expressions whatsoever. If you wanted to know what I was feeling, you just had to look at me. There were some who found it endearing, but I found it embarrassing, which just made me blush all the more.
And then my face became a mask. I only had one expression and it was in place all the time - absolute indifference, halfway between vacant and bored. I became impossible to read, secretly I prided myself on it, because it was almost like getting revenge for years of being teased on how easily fathomable I was. You couldn't even tell by my voice what I was feeling. I would speak as softly as possible, depending on how loud I needed to be, and with an even pitch. I betrayed no emotion. I made it my business not to.
However, I needed to stop daydreaming and get back to the task in hand. Everyday I did experiments on myself, little tests. Ever since the 'accident' I'd steadily grown number and number. I could feel pain, I could feel extremes in temperature, but I didn't seem to register it. It just didn't bother me.
I first realized how numb I'd become when I took something out of the oven once without gloves. The dish felt hot but it wasn't until I'd put it down and looked at my hands that I had realized I'd burnt myself. I ran my hand under the cold tap just because I didn't want blisters, not because I was in pain. I was shocked, of course, but I got over it pretty quickly, and became mildly curious, I decided to make it something I could monitor everyday to keep my mind occupied, if only for a little while. It was hard to keep my attention fixed.
So that was when I came up with the series of tests, the bath was the first one. First, I made sure the bath was scalding hot when I got in, then I waited until it was freezing cold, and depending on whether I had enough time or not, I would run the cold tap to speed it up or even add ice. Then I would go to my room and pinch myself in particularly sensitive areas as hard as could - the inside of my upper arms and thighs, around my neck, places like that. Recently, however, I'd been feeling barely anything at all, even using my fingernails. So today I tried something different.
I won't lie to you. I was a bit nervous about this, not that you would've been able to tell from my face. I don't want you thinking I am some melancholy, attention seeking, self-harmer. This was in the interest of science and I was running out of options.
I picked up the Stanley knife from my desk. It was just a small one, but brand new and very sharp. I wiped the blade with an anti-bacterial wipe and gently pressed the pointed tip against the soft, tender flesh of my upper left arm. I could feel nothing. I pressed a bit harder. Still nothing. I took a deep breath to prepare myself, not that I was afraid of the pain. Please understand, it was breaking the skin I was worried about. I hated the smell of blood, it makes me faint.
So, I changed the angle of the blade until it was completely horizontal with my skin and very gently dragged the blade across. It was so sharp I inadvertently made a cut and a bead of blood oozed out, trickling down my arm. I instantly put the knife down and reached for a tissue whilst holding my breath. Pressing down on the wound, I waited for the blood to stop. The cut wasn't deep or very long but the blood was still flowing and I needed a few more tissues. Finally, it stopped and I put a plaster on it.
I decided that was enough testing for the day. Even with the new method, I felt nothing. There was the tiniest slither of stinging when I drew the blade across my skin, but not enough to bother me. It seemed the numbness was still going strong.
It was 5 o'clock and I had to start getting ready. Rose and Emmett were throwing a party, which I had been cordially requested to attend. And by cordially, I mean bluntly. And by requested, I mean ordered. Still, at least it was a house party and I could just retreat back to my room when it became too much to handle. Which I was pretty sure wouldn't take long. I picked out a pair of black jeans and a black fitted sweater. I only put on some make up so Rose would see I had made an effort. Adding some plain black flat pumps to the outfit, I left my hair to dry naturally. Not bothering to check myself in the mirror I decided I was ready so I went to open the door but there was a knock the moment my hand reached for the key. I unlocked the door and opened it to reveal Rosalie looking stunning, as usual, in a red, snug dress, looking at me quite unhappily. Most likely she didn't think I'd put in enough effort for tonight.
"Yes?" I asked evenly, as I said everything.
"I just wanted to have a little chat with you before anyone arrives," she replied in almost the same tone, but there was a little more life in hers than mine.
"Okay." I stepped aside, allowing her to glide in and fluidly sit on my bed, looking pointedly at me and the spot next to her. I went to sit by her, but I was pretty sure without her grace. I have my own... interpretation I suppose you could call it.
"I know you aren't particularly looking forward to tonight, but it's important to Emmett, so it's important to me. We want you to try and have some fun tonight. There'll be plenty of people you'll already know, and it won't be hard for you to get to know the ones you don't."
I nodded my head. I'd been fully expecting the "Bella, just don't show us up and for the love of god, try to smile once in a while, preferably at a man" talk. I had to hand it to her, she was handling it with more tact than I thought she possessed. I loved my sister and I know I could be harsh toward her, fairly often, but she wasn't the easiest person to get along with. I nearly had a heart attack when she offered to let me live with her and Emmett. It was the least selfish thing she had ever done in her entire life, I swear.
Her voice brought me back to reality and I realized she was still talking. "... leave you to yourself as much as you want, we don't force ourselves upon you. Sometimes we go for days without seeing you, so I don't think it's too much for me to ask this one little favour of you."
"And what exactly is that Rosalie?" I wished she'd just get to the fucking point already so I could agree and end up not doing it.
"I want you to make an effort this evening. Smile, laugh, engage people in conversation." - for people, read men - "I really think if you just try this evening it'll be a lot easier than you expect and you might just end up having a good time." She ended her little speech with her best confidence boosting smile, which I hated to admit wasn't really that great. Still, I knew her heart was in the right place.
"I'll do my best Rosalie, I promise." She didn't look that convinced and I didn't blame her because my voice and facial expression hadn't changed one bit. But I guess she was just gonna take what she could get because she smiled at me, patted me on the hand, and got up to leave.
"People will probably start arriving in an hour and a half, could you help me lay all the food and drink out?"
"Yeah, sure, of course."
I followed her out of my room and for the next couple of hours, helped her get the place ready for Emmett's "I finally shot a Grizzly Bear and it was in the ass" party. I found my brother in law's love of killing Grizzlies worrisome but, of course, said nothing.
It was about half an hour after the party was in full swing that I was just about ready to pull down the hunting rifle hanging beneath the poor head of the bear Emmett had shot and use it on myself. I might have a small problem with reaching the trigger, but I figured I could always use some string or something.
Rosalie was flitting from guest to guest, being the perfect hostess, and Emmett was retelling his hunting story with a new round of people. I was standing on the other side of the living room, wine glass in hand, watching him re-enact his story for the umpteenth time with amusement that didn't show on my face. It was entertaining to see that while he was so cheerfully telling his story, there were a few people who just couldn't quite manage to hide their repulsion at his glee in killing an animal he'd intentionally pissed off. Emmett obviously saw this and just rubbed it in their faces a bit more. If anyone had a hope in hell of even making me smile, I was pretty sure it would be Emmett.
I saw Rosalie orbiting her way over to me, a couple of guests in tow. She'd been doing this all evening, introducing me to people I had no desire in knowing. It primarily started off with men. Her obviousness in trying to get me paired off or, at least, laid was just embarrassing for all concerned, but sadly she hadn't seemed to notice. Thankfully, since I had turned my back on and walked away from the last man she'd introduced me to, she'd gotten the hint and hadn't returned with any more. Now it was couples, or individual women, and there had been a couple of gay men. It appeared she was trying to find me a friend. Could I be any more pathetic? The latest couple she approached with consisted of a very petite brunette with short spiky hair and elfin features and a tallish blonde with a conservative look on his face. Perfect. I couldn't wait for the scintillating conversation I was going to have with these two.
"Bella, this is Alice and Jasper," Rosalie introduced them to me. "This is my sister, Bella. She's a writer." Rosalie always said that, as though that was the only interesting thing about me. She never said that I was an unpublished author who made a living by forging horoscopes for some trashy magazine aimed at middle- aged housewives. Quite the conversation starter, that one.
The short one, Alice, was practically vibrating with excitement. "Oh my gosh! Really! What do you write?" I started to tell her quite honestly about how I made my living but Rose smoothly intervened before I got the chance.
"Oh you know, romance type novels and that sort of thing. She keeps it all very hush-hush." That was the one great flaw in Rose's plan, she wanted people to be interested in me so she told them I was a writer, but she didn't want them to know what I actually wrote. It was all very Catch 22ish. Besides, apart from the horoscopes, she didn't actually know what my unpublished novels were about, since I refused to show her.
"Oh. Well, I'm an event planner, and Jazzy's a military advisor for a TV show," Alice replied, looking at me.
"Very interesting," I said, though I really couldn't care less. She didn't seem to be put off and 'Jazzy' even seemed amused.
"Yes, it is. I love the versatility to it. One week I'm planning a wedding, and the next, a dog's birthday. It's great! And Jazzy's name gets shown on TV every week. I scream every time I see it." She leaned in closer to me to whisper in my ear. I bent a bit so she wouldn't have to stretch so far. "And it's such a turn on."
I managed not to gag.
"Alice's brother, Edward, is here also. I think he's over by the bookcase," Rose said. She turned and peered over people's heads to try and find him. "Oh yes, there he is talking to Tanya."
The crowd cleared a bit and I saw a tall bronze haired man leaning in close to a strawberry blonde I vaguely recognized. They looked quite cozy as she reached up and ran her hand through his thick hair before running her fingertips round his ear and then down his neck. Allowing her hand to rest on his chest, she threw back her head and laughed so lustily I could hear it from where I stood.
"Who's Tanya again?" I asked Rose, still looking over at the couple.
"She's my friend from college. You've met her a few times, I'm sure."
Oh yes, I remembered now. The memories come flooding back to me. Tanya was the one person you could count on at a party to be fucking some poor unsuspecting male she'd somehow snared - I'm not sure exactly, but rohypnol was my guess - against the bathroom door around 4 o'clock in the morning. I suddenly felt very sorry for this Edward guy, although he looked lucid enough, so maybe not that sorry.
"What kind of person is she?" 'Jazzy' asked. It was the first time he'd spoken. He had a heavy southern drawl to his voice that I supposed was not without its charm.
"She's… very nice. We've been friends for a long time. Impeccable taste in wine," Rosalie answered, trying desperately to describe Tanya in such a way that would not make Alice charge up to her, slug her across the face, and drag Edward as far away as possible from her.
"She and Edward appear to be getting on well," Jasper said with a smirk on his face. Alice looked worriedly in their direction, then back at me. My face was carefully blank so I had no idea why she was looking at me.
A loud crash, followed by, "Oh shit! My fucking bear!" caused Rose to excuse herself and try to clean up whatever mess had happened, leaving me with Alice and Jasper.
"So how do you know Rose and Emmett?" I asked.
"Oh, I met Emmett through work. His firm handled the construction of one of the sets and we sort of bonded over a mutual love for outdoor sports," Jasper said.
"Yeah, and Rosalie and I sort of met through them. We've all gone out for dinner together a few times, haven't we Jazzy?" Alice added, cocking her head at Jasper, who simply nodded.
"Oh" is all I could think to say. I wasn't aware Rose and Emmett had gone out with them. In fact, the party was the first time I'd heard of an Alice and Jasper. Though I wasn't really that observant when it came to Rosalie and Emmett's social life.
"So Rosalie says you moved here from Seattle?" Alice asked. I nodded, not wanting to elaborate and she seemed to sense this. "How do you like Chicago?"
"It's okay." I purposefully tried to keep my answers as short as possible, hoping they'd get the hint and go away.
"You and I should go shopping sometime, if that's your idea of party wear."
She looked disapprovingly at my outfit and I bit back my retort of "Well, we can't all go around dressed head to toe in Gucci or whatever the fuck you're wearing" and just answered with, "I really don't need any clothes.".
"Oh that's okay. I'm sure we can still find something anyway. How's next Saturday?"
I fought to not look incredulously at her. Here I was acting my coldest and she wasn't affected at all. I admired her spunk. If I was my normal self, we would have probably been friends by now. Ah well, no point contemplating 'what ifs'. I decided to agree and cancel later, be conveniently ill or something, and then lose her number and forget to return any messages I may receive from her. She had Rosalie. She didn't need me and I was no one's pet project.
"That would be fine," I merely said. She seemed satisfied by that and we chatted about nothing for a few more minutes before I excused myself on the pretence of 'freshening' my drink. I went to the drink table and refilled my wine glass, but I was actually covertly looking around the room to make sure Rosalie was conveniently occupied so I could escape to my room.
I didn't think I could take much more. The last couple was okay, I supposed, but I had reached my limit of ogling men who made me feel physically sick, looked at with pity by couples, or flat out hostility from single women.
Relax! Take any man you want. I am no threat, believe me! I wanted to say to them. Sadly, they had 'must marry and bear children' practically gouged into their brain by whatever Stepford robot brought them up. One thing you could say about Renee, she let you make your own choices. If I didn't want to marry and have kids, that was up to me.
Whoa, better stop there. That line of thinking was too risky and I'd put way too much effort into my blank façade to ruin it now by breaking down here in front everyone. Plus, I was pretty sure Rose would have a stroke from the shock.
I went back to scouting out Rose and saw that Tanya had surpassed herself as she and the bronze haired guy, Edward, were no longer by the bookcase. Wow, not even midnight and already she'd got him up against the bathroom wall. I just hoped they wouldn't be too loud, not that I'd be able to hear them over the music, which had just got noticeably louder. I spied Rose by the fireplace, holding the bear head. It seemed to have fallen off the wall, taking some ornaments and glasses with it. She was looking at it with positive distaste and I saw my chance, swiftly weaving my way through the crowd and dashing up the stairs to my room without being seen by her. Thankful that my room was the first one on the second floor, I ran in, shut the door behind me, and sank against it, closing my eyes with relief.
However, now that I was away from the loud music, other noises were making themselves known to me. Noises that sounded like, "Oh god, yes..." and "Oh harder, baby. That's it, good boy." I opened my eyes quickly and through the moonlight saw a certain strawberry blonde kneeling naked on my bed with a certain bronze haired guy grinding and grunting behind her. One of his hands cupped her breast, the other on her clit, and her hands wound in his hair, fisting and tugging. I stared wide eyed at the couple, not even bothering with my fucking façade now. All night I had put up with stares, the looks, and the mind numbing conversation. I'd finally been able to retreat to the one place in the world where I felt any semblance of peace and some skank and man-whore were fucking on my bed.
I started screaming.
A/N: Hope it was worth reading, reviews would be good just to get some feedback considering only three people have read this and 2 of them had to be nice to me or I'd hurt them. But of course it's up to you.