Hello all! Sorry for the long break between updates. I had many exams I had to take time to study for, so here's the next chapter!

Hands. All over, hands. Dirty, grimy, rough and huge hands roamed all over my body and I felt bile rise in my throat and my heart speed up, pounding furiously against my chest. My breath came out as small gasps as one of the big, dirty hands covered my mouth harshly. I started shaking as my eyes filled up with tears.

No, I thought firmly. I am not going to let him see me cry.

The man on top of me shifted his weight so that he was pressing hard against my ribs. A squeak of pain came out of my mouth and he took his hand off of my mouth for a second to backhand me harshly across the face. I used this small window of opportunity when my mouth was free to scream as loud as I possibly could. My voice came out a strangled, hoarse cry, a desperate call for help, and I only hoped that someone, somewhere had heard it.

The man, obviously not expecting my scream, became even more furious, ravenously ripping my shirt off and letting his hands roam down my body. A shiver rippled through me from the icy air and the terror and I couldn't help the tears from leaking out.

As he was unzipping my jeans I still struggled and he grabbed my wrists and squeezed them in one hand, pulling them above my head and kissing my neck. My vision was blurred and, although my mouth was free, I couldn't seem to scream again. I was just about to stop fighting when I heard it.

A rustling of leaves a man's voice, calling out.

The person on top of me suddenly froze, his eyes wide. The voice called again and he held me still, silent. He seemed to be debating something, although I couldn't tell because I refused to look at his face. Finally, after what seemed like an agonizingly long time, he roughly let me go and ran deep into the woods until I could no longer hear his footsteps.

The voice called out again and I wrapped myself into a fetal position, trembling wildly.


I wanted to speak so badly, but I couldn't get my voice out. Maybe he was here to save me. And, somewhere in the midst of my breakdown, I knew I had heard that voice before.

The rustling got closer and I squeezed my eyes shut tightly, wanting to disappear from the world. No one would miss me, I was sure.

"Jesus Christ," the voice muttered and I opened my eyes up in the dark night to meet the person who scared my attacker away.

Edward Cullen.

My heart constricted in my chest and I shied away from him, pulling my legs closer to my chest.

"Bella," he whispered urgently, taking in my ripped shirt and what I was sure was my bruised face. I gulped and continued to quiver.

He reached an arm toward me and I cringed away. My mouth opened to speak, but no sound came out. His forehead was creased in worry and his eyes looked troubled.

"I-It's okay," he murmured, taking off his coat, "I won't hurt you."

I shook my head slowly, not believing a word he was saying. He always hurt me, it's what he did.

He winced and I could swear I saw guilt in his eyes. "I know it doesn't seem like it, but you can trust me right now."

I closed my eyes, giving up. If he hurt me, then so what? At this point, I didn't care.

He dropped to his knees and steadily rested a hand on my arm, ignoring the way I flinched from his touch. But these hands weren't dirty. They weren't grimy, or rough. They were soft and albeit cold, they were comforting.

Edward looked away as he covered my body with his coat, wanting to protect the dignity I had left. He waited for me to stand. After it was clear that I had no use of my wobbly legs at the moment, he lifted me up and carried me out of the forest and to his car, settling me down in the passenger seat.

My jeans were still unbuttoned and unzipped and my shirt was still off and in the forest and I all I felt in that moment was pain and humiliation. I couldn't control my tremors and I tried to constrain myself. I had never shown this amount of pain to Edward before, and I didn't want to give him a reason to hurt me more.

The car started and he smoothly pulled into the highway. The car ride was silent for a few minutes before I couldn't hold it in any longer. A wretched sob escaped my mouth and he glanced over at my appearance. I was staring straight ahead, my eyes focused on the road.

"Oh, Bella," he said softly, his voice an aching tone.

The car-ride seemed to last forever until finally, he pulled up into my street. I didn't know he knew where I lived, but I couldn't seem to find the words to ask him.

As soon as he pulled into my driveway, I took off my seatbelt and started fumbling with the door handle, wanting to just get out and scrub the dirt away. The coat slipped off my frame and, as if it were the last breaking point, I gave up, pulling my knees to my chest, sobs wracking my exposed upper half.

Far away somewhere, I heard a car door shut quietly and a few seconds after, I felt cold air enter the car. I shivered even more, if possible, as I felt strong arms wrap around me, forgetting the coat, and carrying me to the front door.

"Bella, sweetheart, are your parents home?"

His voice sounded kinder than I'd ever heard it and I shook my head 'no' and struggled to find my voice.

"There's a key under the door," I whispered, my voice raspy.

Edward easily lowered himself and me to grab the key under the 'Welcome' mat and I nuzzled closer to him for warmth. He unlocked the door and carried me upstairs, trying a few doors before he got to my room.

He had checked the rooms before I could stop him, and I started to protest, not wanting him to see what was in them. Not wanting him to see what I didn't even want to see in my past. My mind was foggy, though, and I couldn't seem to do more than squirm weakly in his arms.

He ignored my struggles and gently laid me on my bed, sitting next to me.

I sat up stiffly, my hurt muscles aching in complaint and I glanced at Edward's face for the first time since the woods. His eyes held hurt and pain and confusion. A thousand questions shone through his emerald eyes and I knew I would have to answer some of them.

Yet, despite my attack and my fear and my trauma and my tears and my shaking, a few seconds later, I found myself crying into Edward's chest as he held me, all the while whispering sweet reassurances in my ear.

And I felt safe for the first time in while.

Hi! So sorry for the short chapter, but there's a reason I'm ending it here.