First off, I wanted to thank everyone that read No One Saw the Pain. You guys were awesome and made writing that fun. Now I hope you enjoy the sequel just as much. This takes place not too long after the first story ended. The parts in italics are little flash back scenes, explaining parts that happened between the end of NOSTP and the beginning of this story. With out further adieu I hope you enjoy.
I don't own Twilight. all Stephenie Meyer.
Opening Pandora's Box
"Happy Birthday, Bella!" My friend's cried as Edward and I walked into the Cullen's home.
I blushed furiously, squeezing Edward's hand. "This is toned down?" I whispered to him.
"Very much so." He kissed my hair. "Please behave."
"Come on over here. Let's start this celebration off right." Alice motioned to me.
Shyly, I made my way into the room and tried not to cringe as I took in all of the decorations. The hundreds of flowers that adorned practically every surface in the living room, the food set up on the coffee table, my birthday cake on top of Edward's piano, and the mountain of presents I had requested not to get on the floor in front of his piano.
Alice and Jasper hugged me and wished me Happy Birthday. Emmett and Rosalie did the same, Emmett getting a bit too much enjoyment out of watching me squirm and blush.
Then I went to Carlisle and Esme, they hugged me tightly and each kissed me on the head. They asked me the typical parental questions and playfully warned that if Edward was giving me any trouble I should let them know.
I tried to ignore the extreme embarrassment that threatened to take over as we sat down to eat. Being a klutz didn't exactly make me jump for joy at being the center of attention.
Instead, I focused my attention on Edward. Things between us weren't where they were before, but we were getting there. I loved that he was so patient.
"My present for you is at home, love." Edward smiled at me, his arm around my shoulders. He must have noticed me glancing at the large pile of gifts
"Edward, I said that I didn't want any presents." I complained. They had already done so much for me and there was no way that I could repay them. Giving me presents just put us more out of balance.
He just shook his head and touched his fingers to my lips. "You will like this one, I promise. It didn't cost me any money."
Jasper sat patiently, waiting for me to answer his question. He was so patient and was really trying to help us. It was amazing how much he had helped us.
I chewed on my lip nervously, not meeting his or Edward's eyes. "I don't want to answer this right now."
"Bella, you knew we would be going here at some point." Jasper said calmly.
"I'm not ready to talk about that. I just want to forget that it happened." I kept my eyes down, unwilling to meet either of their gazes.
"You know that won't help you move on, Bella. Talking about it, facing the problem head on is the only way." Jasper stated soothingly.
My stomach sank. I knew he was right, I was just afraid that by saying it out loud it would make it even more real. "He made me take my clothes off in front of him. Going over my old wounds."
"How so?" Jasper asked.
I bit my lip again. "He ran a knife over the scars he made from the first attack, inspecting my body. He opened the scars on my hips before raping me."
Edward gave my hand a gently squeeze, reminding me that he was there.
"What did you feel as this was happening?" Jasper continued.
"I felt… dirty. I wanted to die, to go back into my little protective bubble so I couldn't feel anything." I sniffled, realizing at that moment that I had been crying. "He did everything he could to bruise and mark me, inflicting pain however he could."
"Go on, Bella. You are doing so well." He encourage me.
My throat felt dry and wanted to close, but I fought back the urge. "I couldn't breathe, and the entire time he kept me tied to the bed completely naked. He seemed to take pleasure in reopening the scars he had made and inflicting new ones, he bit my breasts until they bled and forced himself in me until I screamed from the pain.
"He took the one thing from me that I wanted to save for my husband." I admitted quietly. "All I want to do now is keep my body covered, never let anybody see it. He made me grotesque."
Jasper didn't say anything for a few minutes, letting me cry it out. When I quieted down he cleared his throat to begin again. "When you get out of the shower, do you look at yourself in the mirror?"
I shook my head. "No."
"How about when you change your clothes? Do you take the time to look at yourself?" He asked.
Again I shook my head. "No. If I look, all I'll see is the scars."
"Edward this is too much." I looked up from the box that held my birthday present.
He just kissed the top of my head. "Love, nothing is too much for you. Besides, it's been in my family for a long time, it deserves to be worn." He took the bracelet from the box and carefully put it on my wrist.
"It's beautiful." I whispered.
The chain was thin and silver and a diamond heart rested in the middle. It was perfect and not overly done.
"Not nearly as beautiful as you." He smiled and kissed my hand, brushing his lips lightly over my knuckles and eliciting my signature blush.
"How do you feel when you hear these thoughts from Bella, Edward?" Jasper turned his attention to Edward now.
Edward took in a deep breath and let out slowly, seeming to contemplate his response. "It breaks my heart. I hate to see her hurting and not being able to do anything about it."
Jasper nodded, waiting for Edward to continue when he was ready.
"She's hurting because I couldn't protect her." Edward admitted.
"That is not true. You know that I don't think that." I said to him.
He sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Regardless, I couldn't keep you safe, love. That's what I live with every day."
"Is that what you really think, Edward?" Jasper asked his voice soothing and calm. "Do you really believe that James got to her because of a failure on your part?"
Watching my hand as he ran his thumb over my skin, Edward struggled with himself internally. "No," he groaned out. "I know that it's not my fault."
"Before you came into my life I was dying. You saved me, Edward." I assured him, kissing his cheek.
He nodded, showing that he heard me. "I just… I swore to you that I would keep you safe and then you got taken. I feel like I let you down."
"You did everything that you could. There's no way you or any of us could have known that he could have found me." I hated the fact that he took all of the blame on himself; he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.
"Okay." Jasper ran a hand through his hair. "I'd like a little word association with Bella. I'm going to say a word and then I want you to say immediately what comes into your head."
He smiled, giving me a chance to relax and clear my head before he started. "Food."
"Cooking." I responded.
"Friend." He said.
"Family." I bit my lip.
Jasper spoke slowly, I guess trying to maintain a since of calm. It was almost impossible to feel uncomfortable or awkward around him. "Home."
"Edward." I smiled.
He gave my hand a gentle squeeze.
"Touch." Jasper shifted the word focus.
"Light." I didn't like where this was going.
"Kiss." Jasper was leaning forward in his chair, closer to me.
"Warm." I felt my cheeks color.
Jasper lowered his voice, looking into my eyes. "Sex."
"Pain." I gasped, realizing what had come out of my mouth. I hadn't meant to say that, why did I say that? My eyes pricked with tears.
"Its okay, Bella." Jasper said with reassurance. "This type of reaction to what you've been through is normal. You've been violated in the worst way, twice. But now that we've established this, I want to work on the healing. Change your view of your body and sex." He sounded completely confident that he could do just that.
Edward let go of my hand and wrapped his arm around my shoulder, pulling me to him so I could cry against his chest. He wound his hand through my hair, holding me against him as he whispered words of comfort to me.
When I finished crying I sat up a little, keeping close to Edward so he could still have his arm around me. I loved the security and safety his touch gave me, no longer flinching away from him.
"Bella, I know this isn't easy. You have come such a long way in these few months and I am so proud of your progress." Jasper stood up, a silent signal that our session was at an end. "Edward, it is good that you hold yourself accountable, but you can't always be the hero. You have limitations and that's fine."
Then he whispered something to him. He leaned in so that I couldn't hear and they talked for about a minute. When they finished Jasper clapped Edward on the shoulder and smiled. "Other than our dinner tonight, I'll see you at the same time next week."
I touched my cheek to Jaspers quickly. "Thank you."
Angela sat in her desk chair and smiled as she read over the last of the revisions I had made for my book. When she finished up she turned her attention toward me, resting her hands on her desk.
"Is it alright?" I asked nervously.
"Bella, it's not even close to alright." She said seriously, before that same smile spread across her face. "It is perfect. You did a tremendous job."
I let out the breath I had been unconsciously holding as I waited for her response. This had been really close to my heart and I wanted to be sure I was telling the story right, giving it the justice that it deserved.
She nodded her head, noticing my relieved expression. "I'm going to get this to Mr. Bryant and then we'll get this printed." Angela started typing on her computer.
"You know that I won't be able to do the book tour to help promote the book, right?" I asked her. "With everything that's happened, I just don't think it would be a smart idea."
Angela nodded. "We'll figure something out, Bella. I'm sure it won't be a problem."
Edward held my hand as he drove home, our fingers linked together, and we rode together in silence. Neither of us really felt the need to speak.
When we got home we got showered and got ready to go to Alice and Jasper's home for our weekly get together's. I wanted to ask Edward about what Jasper had said to him, but I figured that he would tell me when he was ready.
Once we got to Alice and Jasper's I went into the kitchen and was greeted by her and Rosalie. "Hello."
"Bella." Alice squealed.
Rosalie smiled and slid a glass of red wine toward me.
"Why do I have a feeling I'm not going to like whatever it is that you are dying to tell me?" I very nearly groaned, taking a sip of the wine Rosalie had given to me.
Alice was closing the oven door as she held dinner in her oven mitted hands, before she finally rolled her eyes at me. "You are always so quick to jump to conclusions."
"That's because I know you." I sat down next to Rosalie.
They both had very large bright smiles on their faces and I groaned. "Stop it Bella, it's really not that bad." Alice admonished.
I glared at her and turned my attention to Rosalie, begging silently for mercy.
"Don't worry; we aren't playing Bella Barbie any time too soon." She patted my hand, being unusually quiet about the whole thing.
"Please, will one of you just tell me what it is before I have a panic attack?" I took another sip of wine.
"Okay," Alice stepped around the counter and stood in front of me, taking my hands in hers. "I wasn't purposely looking for this… I just wanted to see what this particular new designer had for his spring line. But, while I was looking I found the perfect wedding dress for you."
My jaw dropped. Wedding dress? Edward and I hadn't even set the date. I was nowhere near ready to even begin thinking along those lines. "Alice! No!" I was furious.
She held onto my hands. "Bella, please don't get upset until you at least see the dress." She pleaded, using the Cullen pout on me.
"Fine." I sighed in defeat. I picked up my glass and walked out of the kitchen.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you." She called after me.
Emmett grinned when he saw me entering the living room area. "Little Swan, you're all red. Is this from embarrassment or anger?" He enquired.
"Right now it's from embarrassment." I went over to Edward and put glass on the coffee table before I snuggled into his side, hiding my face in the crook of his neck.
He laughed at me, wrapping his arm around me. "What's the matter, love?"
I held onto him a little tighter. "You're crazy cousin has taken it upon herself to buy me a wedding dress."
"What's wrong with that? I thought you were going to let her plan the entire wedding anyways." Edward whispered in my ear.
"Edward, we haven't even set the date yet. I just… then we have to plan the honeymoon and I can't even…" I was starting to ramble in my rant.
He seemed to understand what I was trying to say, rubbing my back gently. "We don't have to set the date until you are ready. Don't worry about setting the date until you are ready. I will wait forever for you."
I pulled back a little so that I could meet his eyes. "I don't deserve you." I leaned in and pressed my lips softly to his, enjoying his gentle touch.
"Okay, enough love birds. It's time to eat." Emmett boomed from the dining room.
We both chuckled as we parted. Edward stood up and took my hand in his, helping me to my feet. Everyone sat around the dining room table and we got our food.
The guys talked while Rosalie, Alice, and I sat quietly. Finally, Rosalie looked up from her plate and smiled at me. "Ali and I were thinking of having a girl's night tomorrow. We could go out for dinner and then maybe a few drinks. What do you think, Bella?" She asked me.
I pushed the last of my dinner around my plate. "Sure that sounds like fun."
"Do you want to make a day of it? We could get some lunch and go shopping, maybe get our nails done?" Alice suggested, obviously trying to make up for upsetting me earlier.
"Actually, I have plans tomorrow afternoon." I told her apologetically.
"Bells, if you don't get your butt out here right now." Jacob warned me.
I came down the stairs from my bedroom. "Watch it, Jake. This is supposed to be a new beginning, but don't think I won't hesitate to kick you out."
"Ha. Like I'm really scared of you, Bells." His 6'7" form towered over me as he stood in front of me. "I'm starving."
"Relax; the pizza should be here any minutes." I led him into the living room and we sat on the couch in front of the television. "I just wanted to thank you for giving me space, after everything happened. I really appreciate it."
Jacob shrugged his shoulders. "Don't worry about it. I want us to be friends again and for that I needed your trust."
I took his hand in mine for a moment. "Well you've got it. Thanks, Jake."
Rosalie smiled. "That's fine; we can meet at your apartment around 6:00 for dinner then."
I nodded my head. "That sounds perfect."
We finished up dinner and then had desert. We were in the living room when Edward glanced at his watch and noticed how late it was.
Saying my goodbyes to Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie, I turned to Alice last. I smiled at her and hugged her tightly. "I love you, you crazy little pixie Nazi."
Alice giggled and squeezed a little tighter. "I love you, too."
Once we released each other Edward brought me outside to the Volvo and drove us home. No matter how many times I ride with him, I will never get used to his driving.
I noticed Edward standing in the living room as I made my way up the stairs. "Are you coming to bed?"
"Just a minute, love." He flashed his crooked smile at me.
Blushing, I went the rest of the way up to our room and began my routine for bed. I brushed my teeth and pulled my hair back into a pony tail before I went to change my clothes. I stood in the closet in my underwear for a few minutes as I decided on what to wear.
I took a deep breath and pulled on Edward's Dartmouth shirt. It still smelled like him and it felt right. Adding a pair of pajama bottoms to it, I turned the light out and climbed into out bed.
Edward came out of the bathroom and smiled when he saw me. "I love it when you wear my clothes." He climbed on the bed and pulled me to his side.
We looked into each other's eyes, speaking with out words.
He pressed his lips to mine softly. "You are beautiful." He kissed my cheeks. "And precious." He kissed my nose. "And truly amazing. I don't know what I'd do without you."
A few tears escaped my eyes and I tried to dab them away. "Thank you." I pressed my lips to his again and then curled up against his chest, inhaling his incredible scent.
Okay here's the thing with With arms open Wide, I was having a lot of trouble starting the next chapter and I know that I promised to work on that story next. I promise you that I will, I just decided to redo it because the story line didn't feel right to me. I promise it will be worth the wait and once I finish it I will start posting for it again soon.
Please don't be too angry with me.