If someone read the timeline of my existence as if it were a story, they would think they knew the exact point that my life went to hell. Well, they would be wrong. They don't know me. They don't know anything about me. They don't understand my mistakes. They don't understand what I did, what I did personally, to bring myself down. I am not a completely selfless person. I am not pure, I am not saintly, and I am not to be pitied. No one understands that I caused this. I invited danger to my back door. It was me.
Freshman year. Yeah, that was a low point. Edward stopped talking to me. Not that I can really blame him, I mean, I was a classified freak of nature. I didn't talk to anyone anymore, I didn't have any friends, I even hung out in the art room any minute of free time we had. Even in the art room I would hide behind my easel, the large piece of parchment a shield to anyone who happened to enter the room. I used my dank, limp brown hair to hide my eyes. It fell in front of my face in greasy strings because I didn't shower. It was disgusting. I was stuck in a funk.
Charlie drove me to and from school in his cop car. It was social suicide, but I understood why he did it for me. He wanted to keep me safe after what happened in eighth grade. He was being extra cautious because his daughter got 'raped'.
In his house.
With his door unlocked.
With his gun on the kitchen table.
It wasn't his fault, anyways. I knew that. He didn't know that. I knew the truth. I knew it wasn't anyone's fault but my own. No one could have prevented it but me. Me and my stupidity, my eagerness to please, my naïveté and carelessness with my own sense of security. I was restless. I thought I was cool. Dating a boy twice my age made me the talk of the school. He dropped out of High School. He was working on his GED. He fixed cars. He was a bad boy with a tongue ring and a horrid case of acne on his chin and cheeks. He picked me up from school in his car. Because he drove. And that was the shit.
Edward didn't like him.
He would tell me that. Every. Single. Day.
I laughed at Edward. He rode home on the bus with the sticky gum on the seats and the bald transvestite bus driver named Vicky. Vicky had a lazy eye. She would look at you when you sat in the front seat. She looked at you while she was driving. She watched every kid get off on every stop. She, he, whatever, watched them file down the hall with her lazy eye, while watching the road with her normal one. And I'll tell you, even a Ford Taurus with a shotty engine and broken windows was better than Vicky and her lazy eye and the sticky gum on those seats.
You know what is sad?
I don't even remember his name.
I just remember his tongue ring tapping on my teeth like a knock, knock, knock on a door.
Jessica was my little bitch in eighth grade. She was my lackey, even though she had bigger boobs and cleavage she could hide money and cigarettes in. I remember she would pull them out in the girl's bathroom. It was like an endless bag of tricks. The cigarettes would pop out. Pop, pop, pop. They were never-ending. I swear she had at least two packs in there. I made her buy them, too. I wanted to look cool. I was cool. I choked on my first one, the smoke burning my lungs. I exhaled it in bursting coughs. I threw the cigarette buds into the bulimic girl's stall, because listening to her wretch was the nastiest fucking shit ever. Jessica followed. She did whatever I did. I think she still smokes to this day.
Edward caught me smoking on the last day of eighth grade. He hadn't hit puberty yet. He was still a short, stubby red-head with weirdly pale skin and no muscle. He was shorter than me. I shot up like a twig that year, lanky and tall. But Edward, Edward was a late bloomer. I just remember him glaring at me and pulling the cig from my lips, throwing it on the ground (stupid move, could've caught the whole damn yard on fire). He yelled at me.
"You know we're not supposed to smoke. You get emphysema, like in health. Like the old lady with the hole in her throat. Do you want a hole in your throat, Bella?" he yelled at me. He spit a little. His voice cracked, breaching two octaves. I looked down on him.
"Oh, Edward," I scoffed. "Grow up."
I picked the cig butt off the ground. He stared at me with his mouth agape. I remember thinking that it would be funny if a fly flew down his throat. None did. He stalked off.
The boy, the boy with the tongue rings and the Ford Taurus and the bad acne, he picked me up. He pulled up in front of the busses, showing off, flicking his tongue ring against his teeth with his tongue. Tap, tap, tap.
"Hey." I kissed his lips. I didn't really like his lips. They were stretched tight like a latex balloon, and red in one corner where he constantly tap, tap, tapped his tongue ring. I waved to Jess. I called her Jess because I wanted to, and I knew for a fact she hated the name Jess. "Bye Jess!" I called it out the window. She grinned but her eyes tightened. She didn't know that she had that little mannerism, but I did. I gave her the finger. She looked shocked. That's all I saw before we drove off.
"Hey," he said. It was sort of a grunt, and it wasn't until we actually pulled up to my house. He nodded his head to the front door. "Your Dad home?"
He never locked his car. He just left it in the driveway, his keys jingling in his pockets, lying lower than his ass on his legs. I don't even know how his pants stayed there. You saw his whole ass, covered with his boxers, hanging out from under his shirt. We walked into the house. He sat at the kitchen table, eyeing the gun on the counter. His tongue ring went tap, tap, tap in time with the seconds on our coo coo clock. I hated that damn clock. Every fifteen minutes, it scared the shit out of me.
Tap, tap, tap, tick, tick, tick.
"Hey. Let's go upstairs." He shot one last look at the gun and then went up to my room. I poured us two glasses of water and followed him up the steps, entering my childhood bedroom. My bedroom still hasn't changed. I mean, since I was born. It's pink. There are bows in the corner. There are holes in the floor where the crib used to rest, now covered up by my twin bed. Nothing against Charlie, but ever since my Mom left, he hadn't been up for much. Redecorating was never his forte, anyways.
"So." I said, sitting down beside him on the bed. I gave him the water. He looked at it and then set it down on my nightstand, untouched. I took a sip of mine. My hand shook, and the water sloshed around in the cup, spilling a bit. I didn't think he noticed.
"I know what we should do."
I nodded my consent.
My motherfucking consent.
Charlie walked in to us in a… compromising position. The door was unlocked and the handgun was left in the kitchen, and the water sloshed around in my cup every time the bed shook. I think he was shocked at first. He opened the door and just stood there and… stared. As if he was watching porno or some shit. I heard the tap, tap, tap of his tongue ring, against the beat, beat, beat of my heart.
"Mr. Swan," he choked out. We were in a compromising position. And no one calls Chief Swan Mr. Swan. Ever. He stared at us in our compromising position. I'm pretty sure he was too ashamed to extract himself while Charlie stared at us, watching. Maybe he was ashamed because his dick was so small. Then again, I had nothing to compare it to. But trust me, his dick was so small, it practically didn't even exist. I hung limp like a dead fish. My less-than-A-cup boobs were falling out of my bra, so I put them back in. It was the least I could do, really.
Charlie woke up after that. He snapped to life, cocked the trigger, and pointed it straight at his head. His tongue ring tap, tap, tapped much faster, and he withdrew from me. I was left with a bloody, sticky, putrid mess. It stained my sheets. Charlie burned them like they were infected with TB.
I don't even remember what happened after Charlie pulled him out of the room. I just curled up. I curled up and went to sleep.
They tried to get people to talk to me, I remember that. I just really didn't want to talk. I didn't want to talk at all. I didn't want to tell them that I wasn't even a victim. I couldn't even be considered a victim. I was just stupid. Dumb. It was completely my fault, no matter what anyone said. And everyone said it wasn't my fault. Well, they were all dumb, too. Because it was my fault. It was all my fault.
I remember Edward calling a shitload of times. I made sure no one told him what happened. I just didn't want him, him of all people, to think I was the dirty slut that I so easily became. I knew he thought badly of me. I knew it by the way he looked at me. He wrote me a note in Spanish class that told me I changed, and not in a good way, and that he really didn't want to be friends with me anymore. I didn't care because he was a pre-pubescent runt. I didn't know how much his friendship meant to me. I didn't know how much I would lose, acting just like the rest of them.
Freshman year. He wouldn't talk to me. He had friends. I'm pretty sure he was in the celibacy club, ironically enough. He wasn't even religious, and he was in the celibacy club. I remember watching him at his table, with all his friends, all his white pure-bread Christian friends, praying. Praying? Edward never prayed. I knew who he was. That wasn't who he was.
He was being molded. Molded by that girl. Tanya.
He adored Tanya. He crushed on her. I watched him. He followed her around like a puppy-dog. Tanya was a sophomore. She had boobs and fake nails and contacts that made her eyes super blue, like alien eyes. When she looked at people they would oo and aah, but they just seemed like alien eyes to me. And Tanya was super, super religious. So religious that she dangled a cross around her neck, and called her vagina her no-no square and sacred place. Ha.
Tanya paid no attention to Edward. Well, she did let Edward carry her books on occasion. They were heavy, so she made Edward do it. Of course, Edward was all too obliging. Edward would lick the ground beneath her feet to clean it for her, if she asked him to. I watched him suck up to her behind my shield of greasy hair, behind my crappy art and lonely one-person table at lunch. I was invisible. No one even noticed me anymore.
Not even Edward.
Between freshman and sophomore year Edward finally went through puberty, and, my God, he was gorgeous. Tall and well-built from carrying all those books, he became the Greek God of the sophomore class. Then Tanya paid attention to him. It only took two days until they were holding hands and sharing chaste, closed-mouth kisses in the hallway, making everyone secretly jealous and outwardly annoyed by their PDA.
I remember hearing girls talk.
They would talk about his jaw. His strong jaw. They would whisper about me on occasion, too.
'Didn't she used to be friends with him?'
'What ever happened to her?'
'I forgot she even went to this school.'
'Yeah, she like died after junior high.'
'Why doesn't she ever wash her hair?'
'I don't know, it's super gross. Does she even shower? Blech.'
I touched my hair. It was super gross. I didn't care enough to shower. Charlie picked me up in his squad car after school. At least this time his lights weren't flashing. I sighed and sat in the backseat behind the metal bars like the prisoner I turned myself into.
"Have a good day, Belly?" Belly. Ugh.
I nodded a bit and stared out the window, eager to leave school. Maybe I should shower. Maybe they would like me if I showered. But is it worth it? Is it worth it to be friends with Lauren and her DD's? Is it worth it to be friends with Eric or Sam or David or Elizabeth or Sarah or anyone else who could judge me at a moments notice? Is it worth it, allowing them to see who I am? What I did?
No. Because I wasn't pure. I wasn't in the celibacy club. I didn't have friends and I destroyed all of my old ones. I wasn't normal. I was ruined.
I was Bella Swan and I gave motherfucking consent.