A/N: These characters belong only to Stephanie Meyers. Right now, I'm just borrowing them.
Beware: This first chapter contains a Rape scene. There is no in depth description of it, but it is rape.
As I step out of the fraternity in to the night, a cold breezes my hair across my face.
I shiver as the air cools my tear stained cheeks. There is no moon tonight. The campus security lights aren't bright enough to light my pathway home. I pull my shirt collar closer around my neck and clinch my shoulders. A burning pain shoots through my neck. Reaching up, I run a finger across the skin below my hairline. There are several thin, long scratches and the area stings at my touch.
What did he do to me?
In the distance, a door slams. I glance around me anxiously. There is no one. I continue walking. My boots clicking along with brick pathway, breaking the silence of the night.
I have no idea what time it is, but know it's late. I want to go home. I need to go home. His flannel shirt does little to keep me warm. It's too big, hanging low past my hips. It smells of cigarettes. Anyone walking by would know it's not mine. My hands are covered by the long sleeves. I didn't even bother to tuck it in. I just had to get out of there.
Please don't let anyone see me.
I pull my arms across my chest, trying to find warmth. Holding my arms tighter, I press my fingers into the bruises on my arms. The pain hurts, but it blocks out the thoughts racing through my mind. I have to keep it together. He was big. He was strong.
I live in the senior dorm on campus. I don't have any roommates, but my best friends live right across the hall. We have known each other since freshman year. We are always together. We even joined the same sorority, living in the house for a semester. We do everything together. We came to the party together. We were supposed to leave together.
Why did they leave without me?
My quick pace was causing my stomach to churn. I hadn't thought I drank that much but the acid pooling in my mouth told me otherwise. In two quick strides, I was off the path and emptying the contents of my stomach behind some bushes. After a moment, tears began swelling in my eyes and I fought to gain my breath. I had to go home.
On the path again, I continue walking, this time, much slower. My memory, clearing, provides small snip-its at first, flashed of familiar faces, Phish was blasting over the stereo, and the smell of..
I remember! It had still been early. We were all hanging out in the basement of the fraternity, laughing, dancing, and drinking that disgustingly cheap beer. It had been the group of us: Rosalie, Alice, Emmett, and me. Someone kept bringing me drinks. One of Emmett's frat brothers?
Another flash, now I was sitting in another room with Alice, Kate, Garrett and a few other guys I didn't recognize. That guy that was bringing me the drinks from earlier is there. They're passing around a bong. The guys are partaking, while we girls were laughed hysterically at the faces and sounds they were making.
My stomach began twisting again as the next memory hit.
* * *
In the dark room, someone is pinning me down. His breath was hot and rancid as he pants into my face. My jeans are pulled off. I try to move, to resist, but I can't lift my arms. My muscles are weak.
"Shush, baby. It will be okay," he whispers in my ear. I shake my head in response. He rips my underwear off, bruising my hips in the process.
"Please," I beg, my voice no more than a whisper.
"Everything will be fine, baby. Everything will be fine." At his last word, pain rips through my body as he breaks me.
"No. Please stop," I murmur.
He doesn't and now the music vibrating up from the basement is keeping time with his grunts. I turn my head away and succumb to the darkness.
I came to later. His arm is draped across my bare chest and he is snoring. His long blond hair cascades across a pillow. I choke back the sob as I look over my battered body. Rolling off the bed, I fall to the floor, praying I don't wake him. The light from the hallway that filters under the door helps me find my clothes. My jeans, bra and boots are easy to find. Frantically, I start searching for my shirt.
"Here," his raspy voice calls from the bed, startling me. Looking over, I see his arm outstretched towards me. He is holding a red, flannel shirt towards me.
Taking it, I quickly finish getting dressed.
A deep sigh comes from the bed. I turn back to him. He is lying, his hands covering his face. "Oh, God," he chokes out. "I'm sorry. I am so sorry."
I just stand there, staring at him.
His arms came down and he propped himself up, staring right at me. "We drank too much. Otherwise I never would have….We wouldn't have..."
Avoiding his eyes, I look down and put my boots on. "I have to go."
"Bella, I'm sorry," pleading again.
Looking back at his wide eyes, I can only nod.
Walking over to the door, I grab the handle, sending up a silent prayer that no one is in the hall. Opening the door, I glance back into the room. The room is a mess. Clothing is everywhere along with beer cans and cigarette butts. And there, by the bed was a bloody, used condom right next to my torn underwear.
A noise coming from the hall woke me up. Lying in my comfortable warm bed, I was not ready to wake up. Besides, it was too cold to get out from under the covers. Burying my head further into my pillow, I grumbled. In all the years my parents had talked about St. Lawrence University, they failed to mention how soon the weather got cold. Christ, it's only the first day of October.
The noise in the hall was getting louder. Opening my eyes, I read the clock, 8:40. Crap. My first class isn't until noon. Pulling my comforter up closer to my chin, I started debating my options. I could try to ignore the noise and go back to sleep. Or I get up and yell at the bastard that woke me up. My irresponsible side wanted to stay in bed. The responsible side wanted to find out what the hell was going on. It's my job. I am the Resident Assistant and I'm supposed to look after my hall.
Lying there, I couldn't make up my mind. So I decided more information was needed. I started listening, trying to decipher what exactly was going on outside my door.
The sound were soft; someone was talking repetitively. It didn't sound serious. So I rolled over and closed my eyes.
Crap. Whoever it is, decided to start banging on another door. As this dorm was old and poorly insulated, the sound carried right to my room.. Damn, they were persistent. Just as I was getting ready to jump out of bed and yell at the idiot out in the hall, the knocking stopped. Thank God.
This was a crappy way to start the day after my even crappier evening. I was on duty last night and had to deal with some really stupid sophomores who decided to experiment with smoking tea leaves rolled in Bounce dryer sheets. That had actually been hysterical. I was standing in a double suite with campus security, my resident director, and a first responder, watching these three idiots try to prove that their "tea joint" really did smell like marijuana when burned.
Sighing at the thought of sharing this tidbit with my friends, I decided I actually should get up. While getting dressed, I heard the knocking again. Only this time it was on my door.
I opened it to find Alice looking at me with a frantic expression on her face.
"Edward… I'm so sorry to wake you. But I ……I really need your help"
"Sure. What's up?" responding but not quite understanding why my best friend's girl was standing outside my door. Before I could even think about it, she grabbed my arm, dragging me into the hall. Pulling me two doors down, she stopped and looked at me with the most desperate eyes.
That's when I heard it, a muffled cry coming from behind the door we were standing close to.
"I need to get in there." Alice commanded, her eyes pleading with me. I had a hard time recognizing her voice, it held so much authority.
"I ….. Um..."
"Don't give me that shit. You're the RA. I know you have a master key," her eyes flashed in anger. In that moment, the stifled cries were becoming louder. I stood there, my eyes dashing between Alice and the door. Damn. Why did I have to be the Resident Assistant?
I just started speaking when an agonizing scream jolted through me. Breaking her glare at me, Alice turned towards the door and started pounding.
"Bella, Bella. Sweetie….. Please open the door." Alice was now pounding on the door.
In that second, my instinct kicked in. Turning up the hallway, I ran towards the resident director's office. Crashing through the fire doors, I continued running, turning left, then right until I reached the small office. The door was unlocked. Bursting in, I went straight for the filling cabinet, yanking it open. I fished my hand into the drawer, grabbing the little key that was hidden at the bottom. I slammed it shut before sprinting back out of the office.
Coming back through the fire doors, I took in the small crowd that was gathering outside the door. The agonizing screams hit me again, causing my heart to skip a beat. Alice was still pounding on the door when I reached her.
"Bella….. Bella…..I'm right here…. Please open the door." Tears streaked down Alice's cheeks.
Charging in front of everyone, I slipped the key in the lock and turned the knob. Ducking under my arm, Alice charged into the room. Standing there, I took in the scene before me.
I could barely make out the small form huddled on the bed. The only body part I could see were her tiny white hands, clutching her head, as she rocked back and forth.
Running over to the bed, Alice collapsed on the floor next to the quivering figure. Her hands began running tenderly over the intertwined fingers and brown tresses.
"Bella, honey, I'm right here," Alice said, soothingly. The screams ceased under her touch. A low whimper replacing it. The rocking motion continued unabated.
Glancing over her shoulder, Alice's eyes conveyed a silent message to me. Reading her thoughts, I closed the door behind me, blocking out the small crowd that had gathered outside of the room.
"Bella," Alice called with authority. "Bella, wake up"
Suddenly, the brown mass of hair was thrown back as Bella bolted upright; the covers dropping to her white shirt matched her skin. Her eyes, wide and filled with terror, looked past Alice and bore into me. Her cheeks, scarlet in color, were streaked with tears. I could feel her agony and fear from across the room.
Alice, leaning right into our line of sight, placed her hands on Bella's face drawing her gaze to her. "Bella, it's Alice."
As quickly as the panic had filled her eyes, it disappeared.
"Hey there, sweetie" Alice said, smiling at her.
Looking around her, Bella took in her surrounding, as if trying to convince herself of where she was. The blush of her face started fading slightly as she took a deep, calming breath.
Focusing solely on Alice, Bella's face relaxed, melting into the palms of Alice's small hands. Her eyes closed, for a moment. Popping back open, she looked at Alice in panic. Instantly, her face turned almost translucent and I saw her jaw muscles clench.
Knowing that look from my experiences living in a fraternity house, I quickly scanned the room. Finding what I needed, I jumped towards the two girls, propping the waste paper basket in front of Bella.
Throwing up is never pretty to watch, but my heart ached as Bella began retching into the basket. Alice continued to kneel next to her, holding her long brown hair out of the way.
Spotting a mini fridge, I walked to it, hoping to find a bottle of water for her. I was in luck. Grabbing one, I went back over to the bed, but not before picking up a towel I found lying on the floor. Opening the water, I poured some of the contents onto the towel, dampening it.
"Here," I said, holding the towel out to Alice. She took it and began wiping it along Bella's forehead. After a moment, Bella straightened up. Looking over at me, a sheepish smile crept over her lips. Stepping forward, I held out the water bottle.
She accepted it, taking a small sip. "Thanks"
"Better?" Alice questioned.
Bella nodded before taking another sip. A shiver trembled through her body and she leaned back into her bed. Alice continued to stroke the damp cloth over her face.
"I am so sorry," Bella said after a moment. Her voice sounded hoarse after her interlude with the garbage pail.
"Don't even worry about it, honey," Alice chirped before continuing. "Was it a night terror?"
Looking down at the water bottle clasped in her hands, Bella shook her head. "I don't know. It's been so long." She stopped, taking another sip of water. "I really can't remember anything."
Alice stood then, sitting next to Bella on the bed, all the while continuing to rub her friend's back.
I was the odd man out and I knew it as I watched Alice comfort Bella. Sensing something deeper going on between them, I turned, heading for the door. I was about to open it, when three thunderous knocks came coursing through Bella's door.
"Shit," I muttered, knowing exactly who was on the other side. "I'll take care of this," I called to the girls before opening the door.
Just as I expected, two guards from campus security were standing in the hall. Squeezing out through a crack, so as to not open it any further than necessary, I turned towards the officers.
"Hey guys," I greeted them, quietly closing the door behind me.
"Hi, Edward," the taller of the two responded. "We got a call about some screaming."
Trying my best to relax my posture, I folded my arms across my chest before answering. "Yeah, one of my residents had a really bad dream," I said. A smirk came across the older one's face. Shit, they don't believe me.
Just as I was about to launch into some psycho-babble about dreams, the door behind me opened and closed again, Alice popping up next to me.
"Oh my God. I am so sorry," she started, launching into a whirl wind explanation. "My best friend, Bella has night terrors. I was her roommate freshman year and let me tell you it scared the hell out of me too." She paused, taking a breath. "She's had them since she was little. Esme, the campus counselor knows all about them. And so does Edward."
At this point she was staring knowingly at me. Nodding to the security guys, I cemented her argument. Boy was she good, I thought silently to myself.
"Anyway, I am so sorry you both had to be brought out here for nothing. But I really appreciated it and so does Bella," Alice said in the sweetest of voices. Just for effect, she leaned into me slightly, caressing my arm in a very sisterly way. Damn. Remind me never to go against Alice. Batting her eyelashes a few more times, the guards were basically putty in her hands.
"Well, as long as everything is okay?" the younger one questioned me.
"Everything is good, Officer," I replied, hoping that emphasizing his title would help the situation. It did. A minute later, they turned and walked back towards the entrance of the dorm.
Once they were through the fire doors, I turned to Alice, "A night terror?"
Alice stood next to me and for the first time I realize she looked scared.
"I don't know" she admitted, her voice wavered slightly. "Bella had terrible dreams when we lived together freshman year. One time she woke up screaming, but I have never seen anything like that." Alice leaned closer to me.
"It was terrible for the first few months of school during freshman year. When she finally opened up to me, I found out that her parents had just separated and were getting a divorce. But even during those nightmares……" Alice stopped, looking me straight in the eye. "Edward, she never screamed like that before."
Nodding, I digested her words. Alice, always so confident in herself, was scared for her friend. Reaching across the distance, I took her thin forearm between my fingers and squeezed. She closed her eyes, accepting my touch. Then, turning, she opened Bella's door and re-entered.
Standing in the now-empty hallway, I began to process the events that had just taken place.
I had known Bella since the second half of sophomore year. That was when her roommate, Alice, began dating my best friend, Jasper. We would talk on occasion. We even shared some classes together. But I was too preoccupied with school, my fraternity and my job to really pay much attention to her.
Things would be different now. Her screams, her cries, and the absolute terror in her big beautiful brown eyes were going to haunt me. Something had happened and I need to know what.
A/N Please read and review. It's the only way I'll get better