Author's Note: This is an AU/AH one shot. Alice is a thirty year old stay at home mom of two young children. She's happily married to Jasper and her life is happy and complete…but when a certain song begins to play on the radio while she cleans her happy home, the memories of her painful childhood come back to haunt her. Based on the song THE RED by Chevelle…link to the song available on my profile. My suggestion is to listen to it first and then read.

Warning: Contains descriptions of emotional abuse and the witnessing of one act of physical abuse. This is far a far cry from any other story I've posted, so if you're one of my regular readers, be aware…this is very different and full of angst.

Disclaimer: Alice and Jasper are properties of Stephenie Meyer and her twilight series. I don't own the rights, but they are excellent creative outlets! I also do not own any of the songs listed in this story or the lyrics to The Red by Chevelle.

The radio was tuned to the local rock and roll station as I wandered around the house dusting and doing a little light housework as my two children sleep soundly in their rooms. Naptime is my time to get a few things done, but I always try to pair it with something for me to help me unwind. Sometimes I read or write, sometimes I try to be a grown up and do something a bit more constructive while listening to some good tunes to keep my spirits up. I've always been a fan of the alternative scene and the station today is playing some great stuff. Lately they have been playing all of the top songs for a different year each day and today they are playing songs that topped the charts in 2003.

As I dance and sing along to the songs like Headstrong by Trapt, I Hate Everything About You by Three Days Grace, and Going Under by Evanescence, I find myself floating back in time as I dust each and every knickknack on the shelves remembering listening to these very same songs six years ago as I unpacked the boxes to make our house a home. We purchased our home two months before our wedding day and to keep all the parents happy, my husband lived at his parent's place during the week and stayed with me on the weekends. Unfortunately this left me alone all day in a new town with nothing to do but listen to the radio and unpack all of our belongings in order to turn our house full of blank white walls into a cozy home.

Just as I was getting ready to flip on the vacuum cleaner my cell phone rings in my pocket, I smile hearing the ring tone and press the send button eager to hear Jasper's voice.

"Hey Ali! How are things going there today?"

"Good Jaz, the kids are napping and I was doing a bit of cleaning while rocking out while dancing my way down memory lane. Listen!"

I held the phone up to the speaker that was currently blasting Audioslave's Show Me How To Live, which happened to be one of our favorite songs to jam to while unpacking our things together over the weekends.

I brought the phone back to my ear in time to hear Jaz say, "Well there's a blast from the past!"

"So, how's your day going so far?"

"Eh, same old, same old. I'm sick of staring at these emails, I can tell you that much! I just needed a break and knew hearing your voice would help."
"I miss you," I whispered stroking the phone wishing it were his face. "I always miss you when you're at work."

"I miss you and the kids too sweetheart. Well, I guess I need to get back to work. I'll be home around six."

"Okay sweetheart, I love you."

"Love you too babe."

I hung up the phone and sighed. I loved my husband so much. He was the yin to my yang. I was the always focused on getting everything done, worry about every little thing, stress over our future constantly part of the couple while he was the laid back, go with the flow, never get in a rush antithesis to my need to control everything issues.

Okay, so yeah, there were some days that his laid back attitude drove me nuts, like when I have been up and moving for the past two hours to get myself and two little ones ready while he slept in and then we're waiting on him more and more on the verge of being late with every passing second because he can't get out of bed thanks to staying up until 2am playing World of Warcraft with his cousin and friends. His love for all things gaming and his super laid back outlook on life could sometimes get annoying, but it was far better than the male influence I grew up with so I tried not to let it get me down too much and tried to be understanding. I was just glad that the man I married was the polar opposite of my father.

Ironically the second that this thought passed through my mind the first guitar riffs of the song that always makes my chest ache began to play on the large black speakers of the sound system in the family room. I had a sick love of this song. I say it's a sick love because on one hand it rips my heart out every time I hear it because it brings memories flooding back to me every time, and yet I never can seem to turn it off. In my youth I used to bottle the pain and the memories, try to push them from my mind and not think about them, but that only resulted in tidal waves hitting me later when the walls would crumble and the memories and pain would flood through and wipe me out leaving me in hysterical tears. After years of therapy and trial and error I finally learned that it was far better to take the pain a little at a time so I could manage it, instead of shoving my head in the sand and letting it pile up so that it would bowl me over later.

The rich vivid voice of the lead singer began to fill the air and I sat down on the floor in front of the couch with my knees pulled up to my chest and my arms wrapped around them as I prepared myself for what was to come.

They say freak,
When you're singled out,
The red, well it filters through.

My childhood was a strange double life. My father owned several semi trucks and was an over the road truck driver. Before I was born, my father had taught my mother how to drive and they drove as a team with his one truck for the first three years of their marriage. After a while they decided that they wanted children and they decided that my Mom would come off the road and stay home with the baby when it was born and my Dad would continue to drive in order to support us. My mom was wonderful, she was and always will be my best friend. Dad would be gone for weeks on end and we would have a nice quiet life, just the two of us. We had a healthy relationship and could talk through just about anything and were very, very close. During these times I had a very happy and fulfilling childhood.

Then there was my second childhood, the one that existed during the weeks that my father was home. Suddenly our happy and relaxed life would become tense. You walked on eggshells every second never knowing when you would set him off…nothing was ever quite right. You never were quite sure who you were dealing with and when it would change. Most of the time it was okay, there was softness in his eyes, you knew that even if it wasn't quite like how other people showed love, he did love you, but when you did something wrong it would all change. His eyes would suddenly burn with fury and his lips would curl back behind his teeth and he could hunch his shoulders over and flex his arms and rise out of his seat toward you and all you could see was the hate of the animal that lived inside him. The rage would take over and he wasn't your father any more, he was something else, something scary, something dangerous.


So lay down, the threat is real,
When his sight goes red again.
Seeing red again,
Seeing red again.

Okay, so for the first three years I was blissfully ignorant of the danger. I knew that there was tension when he was home, but what three year old ever considers their parents dangerous unless they've seen something to make them feel that way? Once I did see though, I never had to be hit, it wasn't necessary, the fear was nearly as debilitating.

For the first few years of my life I walked on my toes. It was a genetic predisposition due to hereditary shortened tendons in the back of my legs. My father, his sister, and her daughter all had the same affliction, and it was so much so for me that my first steps were taken on my toes and I had walked that way ever since. It was as natural to me as breathing. My father had faced much ridicule for it as a child though between the fact that he was a boy and his father was even worse than he ever was, so he was determined that I would be broken of the 'habit' as soon as possible. Every time I would be caught walking on my toes he would remind me to walk on my heels.

The day that my father shifted in my eyes from a concerned parent who was trying to help to a monster in disguise all pivoted on that particular habit. My parents had been arguing that morning, although I had no idea why and suddenly it had become quiet so I decided it was a good time to leave my room and go to the kitchen to get a toy I had left there. When I walked through my father reminded me to walk on my heels and I concentrated the rest of the way to the kitchen on stomping my feet in order to force my heels to hit the floor. I grabbed my toy and played with it a few minutes before deciding to take it back to my room. I stood up and danced my way through the living room blissfully ignorant of my faux pas. It wasn't until I heard my father yell from behind me and I turned to see him rise from his chair with the narrowed evil eyes, fists balled at his sides as his shoulders rose and hunched forward giving the impression of a massive angry gorilla coming toward me.

"I told you to not to walk on your toes! Why can't you listen damn it?! Get over here now, I am going to spank your ass!"

My eyes widened in shock and I was suddenly terrified, my body's instant reaction to the danger I was seeing in front of me was to run. I took off as fast as my tiny little legs could take me and hid behind the door in my bedroom. I didn't understand what was so wrong. It's not like I decided to do it to make him mad or just to defy him. I really didn't know what I was doing. I could hear his stomping feet following me down the hallway and I shuddered.

Suddenly I heard my mother's voice above the sound of all else calling his name and telling him to leave me alone just as a loud crash echoed down the hallway. Suddenly the direction of the stomping changed and I could hear his even more angry voice growing more distant and yet louder. I heard more sounds I couldn't quite make out and I crept out into the hallway to see what was happening out to be horrified by the sight that would be burned into my memory for the rest of my days.

My mother was pinned in the middle of the living room floor underneath my father and his hands were wrapped around her neck choking her. I screamed and ran toward the living room screaming "Daddy, Daddy, stop it daddy, please stop it! I'm sorry Daddy!"

Suddenly he let go and his back straightened and he turned to look at me and the monster was restrained, but still there behind his dark eyes. He got up and stalked away to the kitchen and I ran to my mother and kneeled beside her crying. She tried to calm me and tell me that she was okay in her horse and raspy voice. The red marks of his fingers that stained her neck would soon become dark black reminders of the monster hiding inside of my father to be unleashed at the most unexpected moments and suddenly there was no running away from it. I knew he existed and my life would never be the same.

This change, he won't contain,
Slip away, to clear your mind.
When asked, who made it show,
The truth, he gives in to most.

The rest of my childhood and teenage years, my father never touched my mother or me in that manner again. I did have a few occasions where spanking would get carried away and I would be left with welts and once when I was a teenager and I was trying to explain something and he slapped me, but other than that, he never crossed that line again, not that he didn't threaten to every time he got angry. If I got money every time I was threatened to be thrown through a wall I'd be a very rich girl right now. The fear was there and from that point on, all it took was for the monster to peek out from behind his green eyes and I was a sobbing frightened mess and the ironic part is that as much as my mother told him and told him I was afraid of him, he never believed her.

So lay down, the threat is real,
When his sight goes red again.

As I became older, I began to understand more and more. During one particularly nasty fight when I was about nine or ten, I learned far more about my parent's past than I ever knew. I had let go of the screen door a little too soon while going out to the car excited to go to the fourth of July picnic and it snapped back to hit my father and spill a bit of his tea on his shirt resulting in him screaming at me and throwing his cup against the side of our trailer house. My mom just told me to get in the car and we went up the park, but neither of us wanted to go back home knowing we were going to have to face the wrath of the monster. After about an hour checking out the activities and picking up some barbecue and slaw for lunch to take back, we returned home in hopes that the monster had adequate time to burn off the rage and maybe my nicer Dad would be back. No such luck.

As I listened to the fight brewing between my parents from my place in the rocker in the living room, the tears slowly flowed down my face, and the past began to peak to the surface of their words. I was shocked to learn that my father was an alcoholic that supposedly quit when I was a baby and that during the times that he had been drinking he had been unfaithful to my mother. I sat in shock with wide eyes trying to process the things I had just learned when at that same moment in fit of fury my father slammed his hands up on the underside of the counter that separated the living room from the kitchen and it went flying toward me in the living room barely missing me and showering me in the barbecue and slaw that had been sitting on the counter for us to eat.

So lay down, the threat is real,
When his sight goes red again.

That wasn't the last thing to be thrown by any means. He was big on throwing things, sometimes it was across the room, and sometimes it was a little too close for comfort. He got a new job and we had to move to a whole new state when I was twelve and when we came up to join him, I went to hug him goodnight and even though I had never been around drinkers, I somehow recognized the smell of alcohol on his breath. The next morning Mom and I loaded back up the car and returned to our old home which thankfully had not been sold yet. My Dad called her on a daily basis begging her to come back, promising therapy for all of us and that he would join AA and get his act together. I begged her not to take him back, begged her to let us stay down south with our family where it was safe, but eventually she gave in.

Therapy was good for me. I was learning to cope. When I was little the visions of what happened when I was three would hit me out of the blue, in the car coming home from church, in the living room while watching TV, it could be anytime and I would just collapse in hysterical sobs. My Mom hated to see me hurting and would tell me to just not think about it. She would say it was the past and I should let it go and I would eventually get the stopper back on the pain and push it back until once again the dam would break and I would be flooded with hysterics once more. In therapy I learned to allow my feelings to come, I started to feel comfortable discussing what I was feeling and was getting really good at being upfront with my Mom and my friends about my feelings.

Unfortunately I forgot about the monster somewhere along the way as my father was trying so hard to make my Mom see that he was changing. He came home in a bad mood and got mad about the fact that the TV was set up to watch movies when he wanted to watch the news and he yelled and threw the remote control on the couch and not thinking of what I was doing, I picked it up and simply stated that it really bothered me when he did things like that because it wasn't necessary over something so trivial. It was a bit of smart mouth thing for a fourteen year old to say, but it was a product of my counseling…I was sharing my feelings. The monster sprang to life and was less than an inch from my nose screaming with a red face and bared teeth with rage and anger in its eyes. Suddenly the monster reached over and grabbed the cable box off of the TV and threw it with all of the force he had across the room and right toward my face. I ducked and screamed at the same instant that the coaxial cable became taut and pulled the box back mere inches before it met with my face. The monster raged on insisting that it wasn't going to hit me even if the cable hadn't caught, but I knew the truth as the fear returned to my body along with a deep hate for the man that I also loved. I mean he was my father, he wasn't all bad, there were good times together, but in moments like those, all of the good times disappeared under the umbrella of anger and hate and fear.

So lay down, the threat is real,
When his sight goes red again.

As I became older, our relationship changed, but there was always that undercurrent of fear. The things I became ridiculed for changed, nothing was ever good enough. If I came home with a report card with all A's and one A-, instead of immediately being praised for my good work, I was asked instead why the A- instead of all A's. It was always something like that…something that wasn't quite good enough. I was too clumsy, I was too heavy, always there was something to nitpick.

There was one thing during all of those years that my father did very right though. When I hit fifteen my father started teaching me self defense techniques. It was actually a bit surprising that he allowed these interactions considering how controlling he was most of the time, but it was actually some of the best times we ever had. We bonded in some ways, and eventually he had taught me things that were reactionary. He taught me how to block punches and to thwart attackers who would come at me from the front and back and sides and I actually got really good. He wasn't a small man, weighing just over two hundred pounds, but by the end I was able to take him down when he would come at me as though he were a oncoming attacker and I got to the point where I could block about ten of his punches as fast as he could throw them.

This reactionary self defense, ironically, was the way eventually saw that I really was scared of him. My senior year of high school my grandmother on my mother's side passed away and we went to her funeral back down where we had lived during my early childhood. The night after the funeral we drove home and it was the wee hours of the morning when we arrived home and I convinced my mother to write me a note to get me out of the first three hours of the school day and let me go in after lunch so I could get a little more sleep since I was only going to be missing phys ed, study hall, and chorus and would still get my academic classes in that afternoon and she agreed. I went off to school blissfully unaware of what was going to meet me that evening.

When I got out of my car after school and began to walk up to my house I was met by the sounds of my parents arguing and I nervously walked toward the house hoping I could rush straight to my room and avoid the drama. When I put my hand on the door I heard my mom express her concern that I was home knowing I was going to suffer his fury too. I didn't even get my backpack put down before he started in on me screaming at me for skipping the morning classes. I tried to explain and he screamed louder not listening.

I was shaking as my own frustration and anger took over tired of being pushed around when it was so unnecessary and I yelled, "Just listen damn it!"

He screamed more and finally I screamed "NO!" and this brought on the gorilla exit from his chair as his lips pulled over his teeth in the aggressive show of anger, his eyes full of fire and rage, his fists balled at his sides, his arms flexed in as he stormed toward me from his recliner in the living room. Immediately the reactionary training he taught me kicked in and I dropped my book bag to the floor with a loud boom and I planted my feet as my fists came up in a blocking stance and I felt my muscles tense. A look of surprise crossed my father's face and his body relaxed and he took a half step back most of the fire drained from his eyes, but his mouth continued to yell and spew anger.

Suddenly I felt like the three year old girl again with a need to flee. I turned and walked toward the back door, not bothering to pick up my purse or a coat or anything. I could barely see for the tears that blurred my eyes and I walked as fast as I could to the back door. He followed me screaming the whole time that I better come back and he grabbed my arm which I deftly twisted out of grast, again thanks to his instruction, and ran out the back door and down the street to the sounds of my Dad yelling that I shouldn't come back.

I didn't know where to go or what to do, so I walked all the way across town to my best friend's house as fast as my feet would carry me, constantly looking back to make sure he wasn't going to follow me. My body shook with my deep lamenting sobs, but I continued on pushing myself as fast as I could. My friend and her mother comforted me as best they could and after I finally calmed myself down I called home to let them know where I was so they wouldn't worry. I hoped my Mom would answer, but no such luck.

"Get your ASS home now!"

"NO! Tell mom to come get me when you calm down."

"No get your ass home now or don't bother ever coming home!"

"NO! I'm staying here, tell Mom." And I hung up…

Two hours later my Mom picked me up and explained that it wasn't really about me to begin with and what the real fight had been about. I apologized to her for how I had acted knowing that I was being defiant, but I couldn't stand it anymore. She told me not to apologize and that she was proud of me. My relationship with my father changed forever that day, but the memories always remain.

Seeing red again,

Seeing the monster for the first time as a three year old as he towered over at me looming toward me like a villain or a demon.

Seeing red again,

My mother gagging in the middle of the living room floor, red rings on her neck from his evil fingers.

Seeing red again,

His angry eyes screaming at me threatening to throw me through the wall.

Seeing red again,

His body tense, arms bowed like a gorilla coming at me with his teeth bared and his eyes full of fire.

Seeing red again,

His face inches from mine as he told me to get out of his face that he couldn't stand to look at me.

Seeing red again,

The cable box flying at me as he flung it with all of his strength rebounding just inches from my face and falling to the floor with a sickening thud.

Seeing red again,

The realization that he resented us and especially me all of those years…we were the reason he was angry, while over the road he was doing everything he wanted, drinking, women, who knew what else, and while he was home he had to play the role of father and husband, he had to refrain from doing what he wanted, he was going through withdrawal from his vices, and we suffered for his frustration.

Seeing red....

After I graduated college and was no longer beholding to him for my livelihood, my relationship with my father changed further. We developed a bit of a friendship in a way. He watches his temper with me, recognizing that I no longer have to accept it, that he could lose me forever with the least bit of venom directed at me or my family. I didn't have to put up with it anymore, and I was now the protector of my family. I would defend them from anyone that would cause them pain. If he wanted to see me or his grandkids he would never, ever threaten me or speak to me in that way again. I can tell there are times that he wants to and he holds back, but I also recognize a new respect for me now. He even calls me and asks me for advice and tells me I'm the smartest person he knows and he wants my opinion. It's such a long way from the relationship we had in my childhood and I know deep down in my heart that in some way it is linked to that day my Senior year when my body reacted to his fear in the defensive manner that he had instilled in me, and he finally realized that what my mother had told him all of those years was true. I did fear him, but I wasn't going to just lie down and take it anymore.

I was a lucky woman, I found the man that I was meant to spend my life with, I had two lovely children, a nice home, good friends, and had learned to be strong and stand up for myself. Never again would anybody ever walk all over me in that way ever again…and I was determined that my children would never know that kind of fear.


They say freak...
When you're singled out.
The red, it filters through...

The last word escaped the speakers of the stereo and the DJ began talking and I took a few more seconds to collect myself and wipe away my tears before I stood up, stretched my now tight muscles and walked toward my children's bedrooms. I stood a few moments watching their innocent faces as they slept and reiterated my vow to them softly.

"I will never let you suffer like that. I promise you my loves, I will protect you…no matter what."

Author's Note: Okay, so there it is. Please review and give me some feedback. I'd like to hear what you think. I'll go ahead and answer this question that I'm sure will be asked eventually…Yes, this is based on a real story. Thanks for reading.