The Case: "Because You're Mine"
The Suspects: Edward/Bella/Alice
Liability: It's not mine sweeties!
There will be violence and disturbing images. It's not my fault if you like it.
To see other entries in the "Whodunit?" contest, please visit the C2:
This is a one shot written for the WA Rehab Whodunit Murder Mystery Contest.
There is murder.
There is mystery.
There is this lovely lady, britpacksuccubus who beta'd for me on short notice. Thanks you sweets, you are such a gem and I appreciate your help so much!!
This is all Bella, my dears.
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale. My feet pounded through the icy soil, the October cold biting into my face as sharp razors of freezing rain stung my skin; fatigue invading my muscles and swirling around my head. I could feel my heart beating in my throat. My head still rang from the collision it sustained with the rock, the hardened mineral crushed against the back of my skull. My vision was starting to blur and I brought my hand to touch the wound, the sticky fluid matted into my hair as I inspected my fingers, the bright red striking against my pale trembling hand. The back of my scalp oozed with warmth, trickling down my neck as I stumbled through the overgrown brush behind the Cullen's house. I struggled to maintain my balance, slipping on the damp earth, the decaying undergrowth moist with mildew. I could hear him behind me, faster, more agile as he negotiated the foliage, more knowledgeable in his footing. As panic reared its severed head, bile rose and flooded my mouth, expelling from my body and smearing down the front of my shirt. Branches scraped at my skin, crooked fingers twisting and tearing at my flesh, the abrasions glowing in red luminance. Holy fuck, he was going to kill me.
I stumbled, my foot trapped in the twining roots of a large tree and my face hit the ground with a thud, my hands absorbing the fall and causing my wrist to snap under the pressure of my body. Pain seared throughout my arm, mud stung my eyes and I sobbed aloud as I clutched at my face with my fractured hand. Crying for help, begging, praying, desperation leaking from my pours; survival was my only thought as I struggled to get up.
I heard his low chuckle behind me and I stumbled forward again, my head spinning as I dizzily ricocheted against a tree, falling back to the earth, musty dirt damp in my nostrils.
"Please! Please, don't," I sobbed, the pleas draining from my lips. "I love you. We can go away together. I'll do whatever you want, just please don't hurt me," I begged, trying to reason with the monster before me. Oh please, God, please let him listen, please.
"Shhh, Bella, love, don't cry. It's okay, my Bella, it's okay. Your words are like sweet vindication. It's all I ever wanted to hear, that you love me and want me forever." His voice was smooth and calm, a melodic harmony of desperation and victory. He crouched to the ground, slowly slinking on his hands and knees towards me, his green eyes flickering with delight, wild and depraved.
I trembled, allowing him to take me into his arms, his lips against my collarbone, pressing into the skin laced with mud and vomit. He trailed his lips up my neck, licking and nipping as he moved his mouth to my face, his hands roaming my body and clutching at my flesh. I trembled, recognizing these hands and they flickered an ache deep in my belly, every cell sensitive to his fingers. His hand gently pressed into my breast as the other dug into my hip, firm fingers trailing across my behind and up my back, pressing into the aching muscles as he moved his fingers to the back of my neck and into my hair. My head fell into his hand, relaxing into his mesmerizing touch, the panic subsiding as these familiar hands ignited a new aching fury between my thighs.
Suddenly, his fingers were digging into the wound in my scalp, twisting beneath torn flesh and I screamed in blinding agony. He curled his fingers into the deep gash, widening the wound and I begged for him to stop. Removing his fingers, he brought them to his mouth, the blood trailing down his hand, perfect red lines down his wrist as he wrapped his lips around his fingers. His eyes closed in a seductive trance, sweet ecstasy gracing his features as my blood smeared across his perfect lips. He slowly pulled his fingers across his cheek, a streak of red stretching across his face.
"You...you taste utterly divine, my Bella. I can taste it all, your terror, your passion, even your arousal now at this time of utter hysteria. You want to fuck me, right now, don't you? You want me, even though you know you shouldn't." He licked his lips, his tongue moving across his pink tinted teeth.
"See, taste it. Taste yourself on my skin, Bella. See how perfect we are together." His fingers roughly invaded my mouth and then his tongue as he brought his lips to mine, the viscous metallic fluid causing my stomach to twist, spinning the dark forest around me. I fought to hold onto coherency, vomit choking in my throat once again.
"Please...please...please, let me go. Please, if you love me, let me go," I whispered through the kiss, begging for mercy, trying to appeal to the deep love I knew was buried within.
He stopped at my words, his features darkening as he pulled back. He tilted his head to the side, his eyes narrowing to slits and piercing my flesh to chill straight through my muscles and tendons and icing over my bones.
"Bella, I thought I had made it exceptionally clear before. I will never let you go." He spoke through tight lips, his voice beginning to rise. "You're mine to keep forever. Mine!" He shouted, a high pitched shriek, deafening in the silent forest. His hands pulled my shoulders to him, his face so close I could smell the sticky sanguine fluid on his breath.
"Mine," he growled through clenched teeth. He was panting into my mouth, his nose aside mine as his hands slid to wrap around my neck and I whimpered, tears streaming down my cheeks again.
"Please," I begged, barely able to force the air between my lips. His hands tightened around my neck, crushing my vocal chords as white quivers of light invaded my vision and he forced me slowly to lay on my back.
"Shh, Bella love, just rest, just sleep, love." He hovered over me, his lips against my cheek as he spoke, the soothing words. My vision failing now, I struggle to hold on to consciousness, every blink bringing me closer and closer to utter darkness. I couldn't move my limbs, my strength exerted from the run. I felt leaves and gravel blend into the gaping wound on the back of my skull, profusely bleeding into the earth now as I forced to whisper the words as silent tears trailed down my cheeks.
"Oh, love, I'm not going to kill you. Not until we find dear brother." He grabbed my hand, the disjointed wrist searing with pain, shocking through me as he dragged my lifeless body through the forest. My head knocked against the ground, the friction carving deep gashes into my back and side, tearing up the now exposed flesh as my clothing twisted and tore, providing little protection now. I couldn't find the strength to scream or struggle because a new panic began to bubble in my chest, a confused hysteria as I voiced his words over and over in my head.
Not until we find dear brother.
Fuck, I hate this fucking school. I hate this town. I hate my life. I chanted this mantra, slowly moving my pen in dark swirls on my paper. The same stupid dumbfucks smirked at me as I glared at them muttering under their breath, snide comments behind my back, the same old fucking shit I've been dealing with every fucking year. It was always the same at the beginning of the new school year, stupid ignorant fucks pretending their existence mattered, trying to be something they weren't; seeking acceptance, love, value in their meager, pathetic lives. I hated them all and frequently pictured their complete annihilation as I sat in the back of the classroom, the moron teacher droning on and on about some cellular bullshit that I would never need to know in real life, but he treated it as if the information were vital for survival.
I wanted to die, the boredom so stifling I actually felt myself itching in my skin. The anxiety made my fingers twitch and scratch at my arm, my dull nails scraping away at the skin until the flesh gleamed red and bloody, the pain instantaneously bringing delicious relief. I sighed in pleasure, interrupting the silent students as they turned in their chairs to glance at me. I noisily crumpled the paper in front of me, my hands involuntarily curling into fists.
Snickering, giggling, murmuring, it was all part of my day and I could almost ignore it. But today, Rosalie Hale had sat directly in front of me, her Neanderthal of a boyfriend obstructing my view and I had welcomed his girth, able to hide behind him and free to let my mind wander. However, now she was muttering into his ear, her eyes meeting mine as she spoke the words just loud enough for me to hear.
"Poor Bella. She's frustrated again, honey." I watched her glistening red lips form the words and I couldn't take my eyes off of them, the flushed full pucker moving against his ear. "You have to know someone who would give the girl a good fuck, try to relieve some of that pressure. She probably hasn't gotten any since her daddy went to jail," she smirked, her tongue swiping at his lobe. She giggled, turning her face to stare at me as she laughed, her extreme enjoyment infuriating and causing the rage to pound in my head.
"Fuck you, Hale, you fucking cuntrag whore!" I shouted at her stupid, perfect face.
"That's it, Swan. Office, now." Mr. Banner pointed to the door and I kindly stood up from my chair and walked past Rosalie, smacking her in the back of the head with my backpack as I made my way down the aisle. She didn't know shit about my daddy, none of them did, stupid ignorant motherfuckers.
I was seated in one of the plastic chairs outside the principal's office, my knees pulled to my chest as I lazily etched black spirals into the white rubber of my shoes. This was a daily routine for me, waiting for the principal to finish her very important phone calls so she could talk to me about my feelings and recommend I see the counselor; her brightly colored business suits a pathetic attempt to mask her complete ineptitude in disciplinary tactics. I mean, I knew she went easy on me because of my situation, but still, she was a spastic pushover and I knew she thought we had some sort of kinship, some kind of rapport because of the amount of time I spent in her office. I knew what she wanted to hear, what would prevent my expulsion. Principal Cullen was so fucking predictable.
Her door opened and I stood up to enter her office, but instead of her round curvy, overly made up face, I was met with striking green eyes instead. The most beautiful boy I'd ever seen stood so close to me, I could smell the cafeteria pizza he'd had for lunch on his breath. His eyes stabbed into mine, bright effervescent jade that seemed to move with the light as he stood there, breathing from his soft, pouty mouth. Recovering, I stumbled back and they filed out of the office, a female mirror image behind him, followed by Principal Cullen in a bright purple skirt and blazer.
"Ah, Bella. Our standing appointment persists, I see," Principal Cullen commented. I was able to fully assess the twins before me now. They were similar in stature, thin, lanky frames, the boy slightly taller than the girl, her long copper hair waving down her back and a small black headband pushing it away from her face. The boy's hair matched hers in color, brownish reds tangled atop his head, the curls soft and messy and begging for tending. Those were the only differences though, everything else about them matched identically, their facial features sharp and angular, same strong jaw, same pointy nose, same full, pouty mouth, their carbon copy eyes blazing with equaled intensity. They were stunning, both of them, and I knew I was staring but I'd never seen anything like the pair. I couldn't bring myself to look away from these glorious freaks of nature.
"Bella, this is my niece and nephew, Alice and Edward. Children, this is my friend Bella. She spends her fifth period with me almost everyday," Principal Cullen remarked and the twins smiled eerie identical smiles at me, their mouths stretching at the same pace over their gleaming white teeth.
"Hi, Bella," they said in unison, their warm melodic voices in complete harmony.
"Hi," I mumbled, irritated Cullen had called me her friend yet enthralled with the song I heard pouring from the pairs of pouty lips.
"They're new to the school, Bella, just transferred from Chicago. They're going to be staying here for awhile." Principal Cullen smiled at the 'children' in reassurance as they stood silently side by side, a picture of perfect decorum and respect. "Oh! I just had a wonderful idea! Why don't you show them around the school? They're a bit apprehensive about joining our student body and I think you're just the person to set them at ease."
"Are you fucking serious?" I asked her, my face the picture of disbelief and horror. What the fuck was she thinking? I don't think she could have come up with a punishment worse than this. I'd take suspension, expulsion, corporal punishment, but this...wanting me to serve as the fucking welcome wagon for her freak niece and nephew was just hitting below the belt.
"Thank you so much, Bella, for your cooperation. I'm sure your permanent record thanks you." Fucking manipulative bitch. Principal Cullen kissed Edward and Alice on the cheek, something I found highly inappropriate to do at school and walked back into her office, the door shutting behind her with a sickening click.
The three of us stood in silence, the pair of them staring at me, four identical eyes dissecting and drowning me in vacant thought. I blinked, breaking the connection before opening my mouth to speak. "Um, I guess we can start with the science building," I mumbled, turning to walk out the office door. Edward rushed ahead, opening the door for me before I could reach it, his eyes stealing mine the whole time. He smiled as I passed, his brilliant pointy white teeth all evenly spaced. I couldn't help but grin back at the gesture so old fashioned and unheard of now. Alice wrapped her arm in mine, smiling at me as I flinched from the contact, her slender arm warm against my skin.
"Bella, my dear, you seem awfully angry love. You really should engage in some recreational activities, exert some of that pent up hostility. Lets take a hike instead. Our auntie just worries too much. We don't need a tour, we need a sedative," Alice crooned in her sultry voice, steering me towards the forest, the green canopy shading the lush array of vines and shrubs that spread out behind the school.
Edward rested his arm on my shoulders, his touch literally sending tingles down my spine as he pulled out a silver flask from the pocket of his wool coat. He loosened the lid, offering the canteen to me first.
I looked into his snowy face, a smirk upon his lips as he shrugged, his eyes twinkling with mischief. I took the flask from his fingers and brought it to my lips, swallowing the crisp liquor, earthy and smooth and I recognized the scotch at once, the apple tart burning in the back of my throat.
We spent the afternoon amongst nature. Alice climbed a tree in her pristine attire, her Mary Janes and knee socks tossed aside as she lithely scaled the branches, her undies peeking out from beneath her wool skirt. She sat against the trunk, her lean bare legs straddling the branch.
"I love Forks, Edward. Look at how well I can breathe here." She inhaled sharply from her pronounced position, closing her eyes as she took in the crisp, September air.
Edward settled on a large, flat rock, writing in a canvas bound book, and smiling at me from time to time as I sat across from him. I couldn't help but stare, his face so unreal, so incredibly remarkable. I reveled in the small things, the flex of his jaw when he was trying to concentrate, the crease of his brow as he scrawled across page after page in celestial italics, the fluid sound of his pen on paper and became lost in the drowsy patterns.
I sat with my knees in my chest watching his pen loop, his soft and delicate fingers remarkably clean, the manicured nail beds deeply contrasting the strained tendons flexing as he gripped his writing tool. He hadn't touched me since we had reached the woods and I sat, waiting for him to throw his arm around my shoulder or accidently brush my hand. I visualized his mouth on mine and I had to shake my head to free myself from this thought. It was the first time since my father had been convicted that I was actually interested in another human being, and not just a fuck to numb my soul, but the actual person before me. I wanted to know what he was writing, read his thoughts as he plucked them from his brain to place on paper. I wanted to feel his touch and enjoy his smiles. I took comfort in the fact that these two people knew nothing of my past and therefore only judged me based on the present.
"I agree, Alice. The scenery is rather beautiful, especially from where I am sitting," Edward responded to his sister, his eyes scanning my face and settling on my eyes as his mouth spread into a sly smile. He leaned forward to reach across the distance, lightly grazing my cheek with his gentle fingers. I gasped, turning my head into his touch, a blaze left burning across my skin.
"Yes, she is quite beautiful, brother, but there's no need for theatrics," Alice laughed, her chime echoing through the trees as she closed her eyes and sang a quiet tune, the melody lulling in the quiet thick of the forest.
Edward continued to hold me with his gaze, his hand at his side now and his face creased in frustration.
"What?" I asked him, his disapproving features perplexing.
"Why are you so sad?" He reached out this time to take my hand and bring it to his lips, the simple act so careful and deliberate.
Befuddled and incoherent, I shook my head and searched for the words to respond. "Um, sad? I'm not sad. Completely disturbed and disappointed with the blatant stupidity of humanity? Yeah, that I'm guilty of." I retracted my hand, wrapping it once more around my legs to close myself off. This was how I was comfortable, a detached and curled up into a little ball of disdain.
"Ah, but you see, that anger is a falsity. It's not what truly lies in your expression, in your tone, or in those warm, bleeding brown eyes." He leaned in close, his nose touching mine now and at first I was frightened by his proximity. However, the fear was quickly overshadowed by my primal need for him, my heart thumping in exhilaration and hanging on his every word. I should have ran away, my head telling me to protect myself, but my mesmerized heart held me in his spell as he spoke.
"No, Bella, I believe you are a wise soul, very good at hiding your true emotion, yet all I can see now is a little fear, a hint of arousal and a whole flood of sadness," Edward whispered and again my chest tightened, restricting my inhalation and I found myself panting quietly into his beautiful face.
"I'm going to kiss you now," Edward warned quietly. I nodded, unable to move, unable to speak as the anticipation of his full mouth on mine fanned the quiet embers resting in my soul.
He gently brought his hand to cradle my face as he pressed his lips to mine, the contact heavy against my mouth. He sucked my lip between his teeth, gently gnawing the flesh as I shifted to press further against him. His hands, slender and lovely, slid firmly against my back. He slowly pushed his tongue into my mouth, licking at my lips first, my breath escaped in heaving gasps and pants sending shivers of pleasure spiraling through my veins as the forest spun around me. I had kissed boys, I had kissed men, but I had never kissed like this. My entire body begged for his attention and I willed him to discover the most intimate details of my figure. Please grab my ass, please touch my boob, please, please, please put your hand down my pants.
I wanted him to completely consume me, control me, and devour me, the mental penetration a complete tease itching to be satisfied. It was just a kiss, but I knew in that moment that Edward Cullen would be the death of me.
Edward pulled his lips from mine and chuckled slightly. He still cradled my face, his thumb tracing the lines of my lips and pulling across the flushed tissue as his melted eyes spilled into mine.
"Alice, it's not polite to stare," he said, his eyes still holding mine. I looked up quickly to find her glaring, her mirrored melted pools mournful as she smiled shyly before shifting her gaze to the forest, her legs swinging on either side of the branch and her soprano voice once again engaging in song.
Edward resumed his writing, joining in on the crooning and I sat peaceful on the flat rock in the presence of choral angels, their darkened halos surrounding and engulfing me in blissful intrigue.
I fucked Edward Cullen in the backseat of his Volvo before the week was through, then again in the library and twice we had ditched class to fuck in the forest, the cool damp earth beneath us, grasping at leaves as he pumped into me fast and hard, roughly gripping my hips in frantic need. We hardly ever removed much clothing, my pants around my ankles as he pressed me against a tree, slamming into to me from behind, my palms scraping against the bark, each time more frantic that the last.
I needed him, needed this liberation, escaping for a moment into my own dim little dream world. Edward made me feel important and beautiful, his gentlemanly nature reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood, his demeanor rich in a sophistication not of this era. I admired them both, Alice, a musical starlet, her classic Audrey Hepburn ambiance regal in her mannerisms. In the short month we had spent together, she had become like a sister to me, absorbing me into her life with open and encompassing arms.
When I was here with them, it was almost as if my father had never been arrested. I could almost imagine he had never responded to that emergency call, never had to physically restrain that crackhead whore who had left her children locked in her car while she serviced a patron in his apartment. He had never been accused of raping her, the stupid fucking jury of morons accepting a drug-induced falsehood rather than a well reputed plea of innocence from my father. The case had been highly publicized, my father, the big bad dirty cop taking advantage of a poor single mother, forced into turning tricks to make ends meet. Everyone assumed the worst, that my mother and I had been victims too, despite our adamant denial, but they saw our cries as just that: denial. Eventually I stopped correcting them, stopped talking altogether and now, three years later, this is what I was: angry, bitter, and utterly disappointed with the brainless, imbecilic humans that plague this planet.
But Edward was changing that. Edward was changing me.
Edward was different. He wrote poetry in his journal, pages and pages of imagery and run on sentences that flowed from one thought to the next. His uncanny wit and insight into the inner workings of the human brain were fascinating and completely sublime. He crooned old show tunes as we walked the halls at school, Alice's arm threaded through one side, Edward on the other, a tiny cocoon of oddity and no one fucked with me anymore. No one looked, no one whispered, no one said a damn thing. It was as if I had never existed and this suited me just fine
I stood outside the Cullen's house watching a young man tending to the rose garden. His curly blond hair stuck out from beneath his baseball cap, sweat dampening his white t-shirt and causing it to stick to his solid, muscular frame. Precariously chewing a toothpick, his chiseled jaw rolled as the stick bobbed between his lips, his shears clipped at the stems with crisp, clean cuts. I watched the blade encircle the thick green flow of life and with a flick of the wrist the withered bud fell to the ground, a pile of dead stems around his feet. He caught me staring and tipped his hat, flashing me a fluid, seductive smile as he waved his shears.
I waved back, flashing him a shy smile as the door flew open. Alice's perfectly put together physique stood in the doorway. She quickly glanced at the man in the roses before turning her gaze back to me and cocked her head to one side. Her jade eyes pierced right through me, sharp, cold, and calculating before quickly fading into a slow, sly smile.
She engulfed me in her long arms, her lips against my cheek and I heard her inhale slowly as she greeted me.
"Hello, Bella. It's wonderful to see you. Please, do come in." Alice moved aside to let me into the foyer. "If you'll excuse me for one moment, I need to speak with the gardener. He's entirely too liberal with his shears." She stepped onto the porch, her hand grazing my waist as she moved past me.
"Edward should be in the sitting room," she said, her black Mary Janes stepping into the dark soil of the rose garden. "Close the door behind you, please." Her eyes were fixated on the man buried in the roses.
I watched her profile disappear behind the ornate mahogany door as it slowly swung shut. Quietly, I walked through the bright mansion, the house familiar to me after a month of daily visits. Principal Cullen, Esme as she had instructed me to call her, and her husband Dr. Carlisle Cullen were apparently loaded, their huge white house far from the highway and located along a secluded dirt road. Nestled against an encroaching wood, the house itself was a contradiction to the dark forest. The light airy porch wrapped around the front and the walkway was concealed by the massive rose garden, the bushes thick with flowers of all colors. The branches were slowly beginning to wilt as the October fog settled among the decaying, trodden leaves.
Edward greeted me cordially as I walked into the bright sitting room, his pristine white collared shirt crisp around his thin lanky frame, and tucked into his khaki slacks, pressed and creased to perfection. He took my hand in his, bringing it to his lips and letting his mouth linger, his tongue slipping from between his teeth to taste my skin. My heart quickened it's pace as I imagined his tongue lapping at other, more delectable spans of flesh. His mouth spread into a wide grin as he observed my obvious reaction.
"Oh, my Bella," he whispered under his breath. "Your racing pulse discloses your more lascivious desires. Do not fret, my love, I have every intention on indulging your every betrayal." He ran his fingers through my hair, pushing a loose strand behind my ear.
"I missed you," he said and I rolled my eyes. I never really knew when he was serious, always with the charade. I knew it was all a show because I knew the profanities he growled enveloped in ecstasy, pressing into me passionately and furiously, treating me like anything but a lady. He was so difficult to read, a contradiction that I could not decipher. Sometimes I felt our time together was an answer to his boredom, my body a toy for him to play with to pass the time, but then he'd whisper sweet nothings or run his gentle fingers through my hair and I'd feel something more, something that blurred my disgust for humanity. I couldn't define it or rely on it, but it was there and it had totally fucked with the realities I had created in my head.
"Honestly, Bella. I'm useless when you're not around. I can't eat, I can't sleep. It really is quite pathetic." I could see the truth in his face, a hint at the vulnerable boy behind the facade and then instantly masked over as Alice joined us in the sitting room.
Alice always looked perfect, her white sweater perfectly formed to her straight shape, her pleated wool skirt pressed to her knees, white socks and Mary Janes, the same outfit every day only varying in color. Sometimes her sweater was yellow or pink, like the petals of the roses in the garden outside, all the same, all beautiful in bloom. She kissed her brother's cheek before seating herself beside me. Like always, she laced her arm in mine, smoothing the lipstick of her familiar bottom lip, a lip very much like Edward's and I found myself dragging my tongue across my mouth in response.
"What did I miss, twin?" She asked her brother, her skirt shifting to expose the skin of her knee as she crossed her legs. The pearlescent white was smudged with brown and green and tiny blades of grass stuck to her skin. She slowly slid her skirt down to cover her knee, meeting my gaze with a wink and a smirk and I presumed she was doing much more than speaking with the gardener.
"Oh not much, sister, we were just discussing how lovely the roses looked. That gardener must know what he's doing. I've never seen roses so flushed," Edward said, sarcasm dripping from every word.
Alice narrowed her eyes, slits glaring at her brother. "Jasper's adequate." Her features smoothed over quickly, a pout now upon her lips. "Although, he was rather flirtatious towards our girl here, so I got rid of him. We can't have the help hitting on our company. It's rather rude, wouldn't you say?" Alice soothed, snuggling into my side and bringing her head to rest on my shoulder.
"Alice, Aunt Esme is going to be fairly upset you dismissed her gardener, even if he was being horribly disrespectful to our guest," Edward growled through clenched teeth.
"Oh relax. Some lonely maid will take him in. He was a hot piece of ass, but dumb as a doornail. Such a waste really, he was such a hard worker, aimed to please, if you know what I mean." Alice brought her hand to twirl my hair, my brown curl looped around her white finger.
"Enough, Alice!" Edward shouted, smacking her hand away from my face, rage emanated from his being, the fury rolling off of him and burning into the space around us. I sat frozen in my seat. I had never heard Edward raise his voice at his sister and I had never, ever seen him this angry. He was breathing heavily, his chest heaving as he towered over us.
"Temper, temper, dear brother. You wouldn't want to hurt anybody, now would you?" Alice said in a low and quiet voice, her eyes fixated on me and a fragile smile upon her face.
Edward resumed his seat, pulling me protectively away from Alice's touch. "You'd better be careful, Alice. One of these days your antics are going to get you into trouble."
I arrived at first period the next day in a fright. The Volvo was missing from its usual parking spot. Edward and Alice had never been absent from school and Edward hadn't mentioned anything about being gone the night before. He certainly didn't seem sick either, engaging in a rather explicit display of fornication, his strength and stamina not wavering in the slightest. What the hell was going on here? I had to admit their absence scared the shit out of me, causing an unfounded hysteria to swell in my chest as I thought of those days before their arrival. Fuck, when did this happen? When had their presence become such an essential in my life that the thought of surviving without them left me panting with panic? Directly following first period, I ran to see Esme, Prinicpal Cullen, to see where they were.
I found her in her office, her face bare and clean of her make up, her soggy eyes red and strained and her hair pulled back in messy ponytail. She was wearing a pair of jeans and a white collared shirt, uncharacteristically casual and I was instantly perplexed at her disheveled appearance. She looked at me as I burst in through the door.
"Where are they?" I demanded, out of breath from the jaunt.
"Bella. I expected to see you. Have a seat, please close the door behind you." I followed her instructions, eager to hear her explanation.
"Bella, Alice has disappeared. Her bed was empty this morning. Edward's at home, he was too distraught to come to school today," she said, her eyes glistening with tears. "The poor girl, I don't know what's come over her. She's done this before but if anything happens to her, I just don't know what he'll do. He's already been through so much."
Disappeared? What had he been through? Thoroughly confused, I sputtered my questions. "What do you mean, done this before?" I asked, grasping for clues.
"Alice is a bit…emotional. We think she ran off again. She was quite disturbed by something last night before bed and then this morning she was gone. I called the police department but they can't file a missing persons report yet and I'm just sick to death that something is going to happen to her. She doesn't know this area and I can't imagine where she would have gone to." Esme blew her nose into a tissue, fresh tears streaming down her cheeks.
Why would Alice run off? She had seemed fine last night, the only disturbance happening early in the afternoon when Edward had yelled at her, but other than that the night had gone pretty much the same as it had every night for the past month. We played bridge until dinner, then we filed into the dining room to eat and then Edward and I went to his room. He wrote in his journal, reading some of his musings aloud to me, which led to sex and then I left to go home. Although, last night had been different. As Edward walked me to my car, he had whispered three words into my ear before letting me go. Last night, Edward had told me that he loved me. But I didn't see how this would matter to Alice. She couldn't have even possibly known about that and why would it upset her? She loved me too, I was pretty sure, the best friend, the sister I had never known.
"Why?" I whispered, the concept still beyond my comprehension.
"Bella, Alice and Edward have been through quite a bit in the last six months. Their parents died in a tragic car accident last June, an apparent brake malfunction in their brand new Vanquish. They had a horrible time with it and I brought them here in the hopes they could start fresh, try to repair some of that damage. But now, I just don't know what else to do. I couldn't even be at home today, his distressed cries making me sick to my stomach. I had to get out of the house, even if it was just for a couple hours." Esme sobbed into her tissue and my heart wrenched at her news.
I knew this sadness, to lose a parent. I mean, sure my father was still alive, but his absence had gashed a hole I hadn't been able to fill, not with drugs or alcohol or sex, none of it had been enough. Then I had met Edward and his attention, his love as he now called it, filled me to no end and I had found complacency in him. I wanted to go to him, to make sure he was okay, but I wasn't sure if it was appropriate, wondering if he needed his space. I decided to let him come to me. If he wanted comfort, surely he would seek it in me.
I stepped out of the shower, the cold air hitting my damp skin, paralyzing my limbs and causing my breathing to accelerate as I frantically grabbed my towel, wrapping myself in terry cloth comfort and hurrying to my room to change into my pajamas. My room was dark, the autumn wind howling outside my cracked window and I rushed to it, slamming it shut to keep out the cold. Something outside caught my eye and I pressed my face to the glass, trying to get a better look. I could have sworn I saw a tall figure underneath the large tree. I watched it for a full minute, small shivers spiraling down my spine as I gazed in trepidation. It didn't move, still as a statue and I figured it couldn't be human or animal, the stoic stillness unnatural.
I rushed to turn on the light, moving back to the window and finding nothing out of the ordinary now. The figure gone, I chuckled at my stupidity, my imagination running rampant again. I quickly pulled a long cotton nightgown over my head and crawled into bed, pulling the covers snuggly to my chin. Edward and Alice fermented in my mind as I tried to fall asleep. I still hadn't heard from him and I didn't want to appear obsessive but I didn't know why he hadn't called. Maybe he regretted telling me he loved me, it was a bit soon but it was there, the love. I had known it too but only he had been brave enough to say it aloud.
Rap, rap, rap, rap, rap! There was a loud tapping at my window, the loud, incessant noise interrupting my pondering.
I jumped, my hand clutching at my heart as I peered out the pane. There was someone out there, a thin figure in the frame.
Rap, rap, rap!
I walked to the window, my eyes failing in the darkness blanketing the front yard and suddenly, there was Edward's face in the glass. I gasped, taken aback by his presence as I opened the window as wide as I could.
"Edward! What are you doing here? Are you okay?" He climbed in silently, his white collared shirt a bit crumpled and he smoothed the wrinkles as he moved into my room, seating himself on the edge of my bed and placing his head in his hands.
"Edward? Esme told me about Alice. Have you heard anything yet?" I sat down next to him, placing my hand on his arm, his skin cool from the night air. He looked up, his green eyes trembling and I had my answer.
"She's gone, Bella. Just gone. I don't know what to do. I'm just so lost, so alone. I've never been alone before, ever. With a twin, there's always someone, always Alice there with me, she's always been there. And now she's not." Edward laid his head on my chest and I ran my fingers through his hair, his hands wrapped tightly around my waist as I kissed his forehead. His hands gripped my nightgown and pulled me closer to him. I bent my head to kiss his lips, his mouth hesitant at first yet I urged him on with mine, pulling at his lips with my own until finally he responded, his mouth slowly enveloping me. His lips moved slow and deliberate, as if he were savoring each lick, each taste, relishing in the union of our mouths as he never had before.
There was something in this kiss, something smoldering and fluid, his need fluttering through me and vibrating off every push of his tongue. I slid my hands up his neck, pulling him closer as his arms gently guided me to lay on my back. His hand glided over my breast, massaging the flesh through the thin cotton material before bringing his mouth to lick my neck. I pulled at his messy hair, the need to feel him inside me grumbling deep in my core. Suddenly, I felt his teeth on the tender crook of my neck, a sharp pain searing into my skin and I yelped, the pain igniting a fury within and causing my hips to writhe against him. My hands pulled at my nightgown, untying the top to reveal the perked flesh of my breasts. I rolled and twisted my nipples between my fingers, begging his mouth to find them, the desire dampening between my legs as I rubbed my thighs together in search of the much needed friction.
Edward pulled away from my neck, his hands finding mine, his lips kissing the flesh of my breast, his tongue licking at the rosy hardened skin and I groaned as his mouth made contact. He pulled away, staring at my hands, my face, back to my breasts. His fingers trailed light paths up my thighs, his thumbs slipping and sliding as he rubbed between my legs, pushing his fingers into me and spreading the natural lubrication, he rubbed hard circles into my most sensitive skin, alternating pumping and rubbing, my hips frantically grinding into his hand as soft pants fell from my lips. I was burning and writhing, my body desperate for the orgasm now, when suddenly, Edward stopped. I brought myself to rest on my elbows, the moonlight casting interesting patterns across his face as his eyes roamed my body.
"What's wrong?" I asked breathlessly, frantic for him to continue.
"Bella, I'm going to taste you now," he said calmly and my chest heaved in anticipation as I saw him lower his pretty face. His mouth gently kissed the inside of my thighs and his thumbs gripped my legs as his lips moved closer and closer, hesitating a moment before slowly plunging his tongue into me. I groaned at the contact, my toes and fingers tingling with the impending euphoria. As he quickened his movements, sucking and plunging, his tongue delicately attended to the swollen skin. My legs quivered as they rested on his shoulders, my thighs pressed against his face. The speed of his tongue increased, causing my hips to rise from the bed, using my hands against the wall behind me as leverage, pushing myself closer to his face. Grabbing my thighs, and pinning me to his mouth, I was unable to move, the loss of control forcing me into orgasmic bliss, the burst of sweet relief spiraling through me as I writhed against his mouth in ecstasy. My chest heaved and I sat up, pulling his lips to mine and tasting my fluid upon his mouth as he kissed me feverishly and I moved my hands to his waistband.
Pulling his mouth from mine, he grabbed my hands instead. He sat beside me as I stared at him in confusion. This was not expected and I was utterly perplexed as to the reason behind his hesitation.
"I can't, Bella. Not now," he said, his hands rubbing at his eyes now. He must be tired, the ordeal with his sister pressing in his awareness and I nodded in understanding. He placed his long fingers around my hand, bringing it to his lips and inhaling softly with a gentle press into my fingers. "I have to go now, love. I'll see you soon, I promise."
Turning to leave, he climbed back out the window and lithely perched on the roof. I leaned out the window, fear now clouding my initial euphoria. It was pretty standard for Edward to leave quickly after consummation, but still, this was a bit abrupt. I still felt the residual ache between my thighs and I couldn't help but feel a bit insecure about the situation.
"Edward?" I said, stopping him as he was about to climb down. He looked at me with wide, questioning eyes and I quickly voiced the words I had been unable to say the night before. "I love you, Edward."
"I know." A slow, sad smile crept across his mouth, the shadows of dancing leaves strewn across his angelic face. He swiftly climbed down the large tree outside my window and was on the ground in a heartbeat, his face peering up at me through the darkness and I hoped, for the sake of his already damaged soul, that Alice soon returned.
I woke up the next morning startled and dazed, a dozen eerie dreams fading into incoherency as I became fully conscious. I checked my cell phone for any messages, hoping to see some news about Alice, but there was nothing, no messages, no missed calls, nothing. I got dressed quickly, pulling on a red v-neck sweater and jeans and brushed my hair back into a long pony tail.
My mom was in the living room, passed out on the couch. Picking up her empty bottles, I could smell the whiskey that exuded from her pores as it filled the room with the pungent aroma. The television set was still blaring, the news reporting a missing person and I stopped to listen to the newscaster, in case the report had information pertaining to Alice.
"…college student Jasper Whitlock has been missing since Monday. Sources say he went to bar Monday night and never returned. If you have any information regarding his whereabouts, please contact the Forks Police Department at…" the announcer read off the numbers as I glanced at the screen, a familiar face flashing across it. I recognized the blond beauty at once, his sly smile lighting up the screen. My heart started to pound in my chest as I went over the details of the report. He'd been missing since Monday. Monday, the same day he was trimming the roses, the same day Alice had fired him for smiling at me. Monday, the same day that Alice had disappeared. Could this just be some freak coincidence, or was this all connected? It was evident Alice had a relationship beyond business with this man, Jasper. Could she have run off with him?
I was still considering the implications of this new information when I heard a knock at the door. Edward was on my porch wearing the same white collared shirt he had worn last night. He looked tired, like he hadn't slept, dark encircling his eyes, his lips a taught line of distress.
"Edward!" I greeted him in surprise. I usually met Edward at school. "Is everything okay? Any news?"
He shook his head no. I didn't know which question he was answering so I just wrapped my arms around his neck, bringing my lips to his as his long arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me into a tight embrace. My body pressed against him, his tongue mixed with mine and I couldn't breathe. I tried to pull away but his hand moved to the back of my head, holding my face to his and blocking my airway. I started to panic, trying to voice the words and uselessly calling his name. I mumbled for him to stop as his tongue forced its way into my mouth, his fleshy lips overtaking mine and causing my head to spin. I used my hands to push him away, my fists clutching his shirt and pounding into his chest. Finally, as white flashes of light began to invade my vision, he pulled away, both of us panting and I stumbled to the ground, the freezing ice on my bare hands.
"Get up. We're going to be late for school." Edward said, helping me to my feet, his long fingers wrapped around the top of my arm as he led me to the car.
"What the fuck Edward?" I pulled my arm from his grip, stopping in the driveway and refusing to move. If he thought I was going to ride to school with him after that bullshit, he was insane. I folded my arms across my chest as he turned to look at me, his face quiet and emotionless.
"I'm not going anywhere with you, not after that, that kiss, if that's what you want to call it," I barked at him. "What the hell was that for?"
"You didn't like the kiss?" Edward said, walking slowly toward me. My heart pounded as he approached. He stood close, his nose practically touching mine before bringing his hand to touch my cheek. I flinched slightly as he grazed my face, the caress gentle and careful, a direct contradiction to his previous behavior.
"Bella, you didn't like the kiss?" he asked again, his warm breath washing over me. "I'm sorry. I want you so much, Bella, to just be happy. It's all I ever want. You didn't like the kiss?"
I didn't know what to say. I felt horrible, the disappointment in his eyes, the hurt, the betrayal, all staring back at me expectantly now. Maybe I overreacted; maybe he didn't mean anything by it. Maybe he was just being passionate and I had gone and misinterpreted it. I felt so horribly foolish and confused, like a complete piece of shit.
"The kiss was great, Edward. I'm sorry, I just didn't sleep well last night," I muttered, his eyes softening as I spoke.
"I know. It's okay. Come on, we're going to be late. You're riding with me today." Edward took my hand, his slender fingers lacing into mine as he led me to the car.
We rode to school in silence, his hand gripping mine the entire time, my stomach jumping and turning with apprehension. I suddenly remembered the missing gardener and thought I'd mention it to Edward, in case it was related to Alice's disappearance in some way.
"Edward! I saw something on the news today about your old gardener. He went missing on Monday just like Alice. Do you think it could be related? Do you think she ran away with him?" I rambled the ideas as they came to me, the thoughts flowing from my brain as Edward sat silent in his driver's seat.
"Why would it be related?" Edward asked quietly, the Volvo accelerating as he spoke.
"I don't know, didn't they have a relationship?" I asked confused. I thought the nature of Alice and Jasper's interactions had been obvious.
"Why would she have a relationship with the help? That is utterly repulsive, Bella," Edward spat, his hand gripping the steering wheel.
"The help? He's just a normal guy, a college student. He's no more the help than I am. Are you repulsed by me?" I retorted furiously, his arrogant, elitist attitude wearing thin on my patience. I glanced out the window, the landscape blurring beside me. Shit, why were we going so fast?
"Bella, you're special, different from the small town folk that fester here," Edward remarked.
"I'm not though. I'm just as boring, just as small town, just as festering as the rest of them. Just like Jasper Whitlock," I stated stubbornly, fear and nausea began to growl in my stomach as the streak of trees outside my window made my head spin. "Edward? Can you slow down? I feel sick."
"Why do you keep bringing him up? Did you like him or something? You liked his attention, the way he smiled at you, chewing his fucking toothpick. Did he make you feel special, Bella? Attractive? Wanted? Well, let me tell you something about Jasper Whitlock, he was a complete asshole. All he was ever looking for was a fuck, another girl to take advantage of just like he took advantage of my sister. She knew this, that's why she got rid of him," Edward ranted fiercely, his driving becoming more erratic with every accusation. His words were disturbing and caused guilt to simmer beneath my skin, the crimson blush crawling up the back of my neck. I closed my eyes, trying to calm the boiling in my belly.
Jasper Whitlock had made me feel special, the brief interaction nothing at all really. Still, it was something, something other than complete indifference. So yeah, the attention had made me feel attractive. This made me feel horrible, like I had betrayed Edward in some way. I reached across the space to connect to him, my hand resting on his arm.
"I'm sorry. I just thought…I don't know. I'm just really worried about Alice and I'm trying to think of anything that might help," I said sincerely, trying to ease some of the tension and get him to slow down. It worked, his face softening as he looked over at me, his foot relenting off the gas.
"You're worried about Alice?" he mumbled, his normally clear eyes clouded.
"Of course! Alice is my friend, it would kill me if anything happened to her," I said, perplexed. The scenery outside began to slow and I tried to roll down the window to get some fresh air. "Please? Can you unlock the windows please?"
"Don't worry, Bella. Everything's going to be fine. I would never let anything hurt you. You are my life now, Bella. You're all I have left." Edward said, his eyes on me the entire time. The car veered into the oncoming traffic lane as Edward steered without looking. My eyes oscillated back and forth between Edward and the road, thankful the highway was somewhat vacant this morning, still struggling to roll down the window.
"Please, Edward. Your driving is scaring me. Please pull over, I feel sick." I really did feel sick, but I was mostly worried about him driving while he was obviously so emotional. Something was wrong. I couldn't tell if it was just his panic over his sister or if he was really this upset about the gardener, but something was off and it was starting to worry me. He just kept driving, turning his attention back to the road and ignoring my pleas.
The rest of the week passed and Alice never returned. The Forks Police Department was investigating the case now and with their incessant questioning, Edward's behavior became more and more erratic. He became unpredictable, secretive, and quiet. I just didn't know what to expect from him and I was afraid to speak, petrified I would say something that would set him off. He was a live wire, the constant risk of electrocution present as he lay exposed, daring me to make contact. I just kept trying, his words lashing out at me as I jerked my hand back time and time again, the shock and sting scarring my soul but I refused to walk away. He needed me right now. I was all he had left. A week had passed and still no Alice. All I could think of were Esme's words, her fears just kept ringing in my head. "I just don't know what he'll do."
The wind stirred around me as I walked up to the porch to Edward's house, a soft rain beginning to mist. The sky was dark, the purple clouds billowing high in the sky as I wrapped my coat around me. It was going to storm tonight, the smell of it in the air as I rapped slightly on the Cullen's door.
The house was silent and dark, highly uncharacteristic for this time of evening. Usually, Esme was preparing dinner, her husband frequently absent due to his highly demanding position at the hospital. Edward was always waiting for me though, expecting my arrival, but today no one stirred within the white walls. I knocked again, ringing the door bell as well, thinking that maybe they just hadn't heard me. I stood on the porch for ten minutes before trying to open the door.
I tried the latch, the metal freezing on my fingers. It was unlocked, the door swinging open before me, the entry way illuminated slightly by the twilight sky.
"Hello? Edward?" I called into the quiet house, my voice echoing through hall. It was then that I heard it, the soft melodic purr of strings and horns offset by the deep croon of a classic voice, the vibrato low and radiating, seething with imperfections as the record scratched from upstairs. I recognized the voice at once, a voice of a different era and I flicked on the light in the entryway, the darkness quieted as the warm glow flooded into the room. I instantly eased, walking more confidently now as I climbed the stairs to Edward's bedroom.
"Because you're mine, the breeze that hurries by, becomes a melody and why? Because you're mine…" The voice grew louder as I reached the landing, the Italian icon's smooth voice surprisingly not coming from Edward's room, but from another room, a room that had been silent, vacant, empty for the last week. Alice's room.
"I only know for as long as I may live, I'll only live for the kiss that you alone may give…"
"Edward?" I called again, approaching Alice's room, tingles creeping down the back of my neck and over my spine. I peeked into the dark room, flicking on the light switch. The room was empty, pristine and perfect, just like Alice. There were hardly any signs that a teenage girl had lived here barely a week ago. On a small vanity by the window, an old record player set open, the black vinyl record spinning as the tune poured from the speakers.
The song ended and I quickly left the room, desperate to find Edward now. I ran to his room, finding it dark and empty as well. Again, I flooded the room with light, noticing his open journal partially hidden beneath his pillow on the bed. I gingerly reached for the book, flipping the pages as I admired his neat handwriting, the date labeled in each corner. Curious, I flipped to the page dated the day Alice disappeared and read the script. He had written about me, how he loved me, how I filled his soul and eased the loss of his parents, how I was different than them all and how I was his. Written there, in his neat cursive were the words, "…and she's all mine. Something I won't ever have to share, not even with Alice."
A chill ran through my body, goosebumps marring my skin as I eagerly flipped to the next page. The handwriting was more frantic now, the loops more rushed as I read the snippets of information. I didn't know what I was looking for, but my intuition was telling me that this journal held answers so I continued.
The next entry was the day that they had found that Alice was gone and Edward's mood had definitely been sullen. He wrote about how her bed hadn't been slept in, her room undisturbed. He feared she would never return, stating he was alone, the last of his family gone from this world. And then, the tone changed, relief now in the words. "She still wants me, she still loves me. Soon, things will be as they should."
My heart started to pound in my chest, the tiny clues all coming together as I continued to read, hint upon hint of his desperation to love me, to own me, to keep me all to himself. His sentences deviated from Alice and focused more and more on me, the exact color of my eyes, what I wore each day, commenting on the way my hair swayed in the breeze and then, he began to worry. The handwriting became sloppy, barely discernible as I tried to read the words. He didn't like my questions, my presumptions, "her mind is too quick for her own good." He feared I was going to leave him, and complained that I no longer showed him the love he deserved.
And then I gasped. Disbelief in the words as I read them, surely a mistake, the handwriting so messy it could be easily done, but I tried to think of what it could have said instead and nothing came to mind. Nothing else made sense. I uttered the phrase aloud and panic forced my fingers to quiver. "This charade has run its course. It's over. She doesn't belong in this world. I will end her tonight, just as I got rid of Alice." I read from the book the final bit of evidence, my hands trembling with the horror of the realization. Edward! Edward had killed his sister. His strange behavior began to make sense, the way he showed up at my window, the suffocating kiss, his jealousy of the gardener. Oh my God! The gardener! Edward may have had something to do with his disappearance too! And now it was my turn. He was going to end me, remove me from this world. He was going to kill me.
"They say poetry is the voice of the soul." Edward's voice rang out behind me and I jumped, my head pounding with horror as the book fell from my fingers. "What does my soul tell you, Bella?"
I turned around slowly to find his perfect figure poised in the doorway, his beautiful, angelic face cold and emotionless. I fought back the tears now welling in my heart, my entire body aching from the betrayal. I tried to think, my survival now the priority. He thought I didn't love him enough, that I asked too many questions, but he loved me. There must be a sliver of that still in him, still perched in his awareness. I decided to appeal to his supposed love for me, maybe I would be able to at least call for help.
"It tells me you've suffered a great deal of loss, that you're hurting. You need people to be close to right now, during this time. People like me, who understand what you're going through, people who love you." I walked slowly towards him as I spoke, trying to calm the panic in my brain, fighting back the vomit rising in my throat. I needed to show him that I wasn't afraid, that everything was fine. I stood in front of him, wrapping my arms around his waist, his white shirt thick beneath my fingers as I forced myself to lay my head on his chest when all I wanted to do was run as far away from him as possible.
"I love you, Edward. I'm yours, forever," I said, the words trembling from my lips. Surprisingly, he returned the embrace, his lips pressing against my head and a silent tear slid down my cheek.
"Of course you are. You're mine to keep forever. Why, Bella, are you okay? You're absolutely white. You look like you've seen a ghost." Edward chuckled and I sighed in relief. He didn't suspect anything, not yet. I had to leave now, get away before he realized what I had read.
"Um, I think I need some water. I'm just going to get a drink from the kitchen. I'll be right back," I mumbled, slipping away from his grasp as I walked down the stairs to the kitchen. I could feel his eyes on me the entire way and I struggled not to seem rushed. I glanced over my shoulder to find him peering down at me from the top of the stairs, his eyes chilling as I struggled to smile up at him before quickly moving to the kitchen.
I ran straight out the back door, pulling my cell phone from my pocket as I struggled to hit the proper numbers.
"911 Emergency," a voice calmly hummed.
"I need help. He's going to kill me." I muttered into the phone, running around to the front of the house. Suddenly I heard a deafening crack, and then I felt it. Searing pain radiated in the back of my head, the agony blinding and I fell to the ground, crying out as my head throbbed and pulsed. Tears welled in my eyes, the fear crippling before I realized what had happened. My face pressed into the soil, the thick stems of the rose bushes in front of me now, the dead petals littering the dirt. I grasped at the back of my head, the warm sticky liquid oozing onto my fingers as I heard a thud on the ground next to me. A sharp, pointy rock, the mineral conglomerate stained with red. Blood. My blood.
"You know Bella, most of what we say isn't done with words, but rather our body language. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Your body betrays you every time." I heard his voice towering over me and I crawled to my feet, mustering every ounce of strength I had left, I forced my legs to move, panting and trembling I headed for the forest.
My head bounced off the ground, Edward slowing as he dragged me through the woods. I slowly realized what was happening and where I was. I had blacked out, the loss of blood mixed with the constant knocking of my head against various objects on the forest floor had caused me to lose consciousness.
I couldn't move my limbs, my body frozen and weak as I tried to call out, my broken wrist in Edward's grasp throbbing. His words floated in my memory now, "Not until we find dear brother." What the hell was he talking about? He didn't have a brother. Did he?
"Please…please, Edward, please," I moaned, his sharp features visible now. He laughed, a growl in his chest erupting into high pitched squealing.
"Shhhh, Bella, you're going to scare him. He's not going to like to see you so upset," Edward warned. A sob broke from my chest, the tears flowing freely as I cried in great gasps. "Stop being such a baby, we're almost there."
All I could think of was that episode of Oprah where they give you tips on how to escape an attacker. Don't let them take you to a second location. Well, we were almost there, the second location. The place where Edward was going to kill me, a place in the forest that was far from the house, far from the ears of listening neighbors or police officers who might miraculously be answering my 911 call. Hope drained from my limp body as I welcomed my impending fate.
It didn't really matter anyway; the one person worth living for would inevitably be the reason for my demise. It was bittersweet in a way and I almost wanted to thank him for doing it, for taking me from this place. I quieted my mind, focusing on the pleasant things I had experienced in this life: pancakes smeared with peanut butter and syrup, the smell of the ocean in the morning, especially briny from the rise and fall of the tides upon the undisturbed sand, and his hands roaming every inch of my skin, Edward's hands, the hands which would soon be stripping my body of life.
He panted, breathing heavy from the hike, and stopping beside a large pile of leaves. He dragged my body to the pile, releasing my wrist and I struggled to keep conscious, the stench engulfing me and I gagged, coughing as I struggled to breathe. I grasped at the dead ground with my hands, the crunching of the leaves between my fingers. I felt something slippery, something familiar, the brittle compounds spongy in my hand. I wasn't alone lying here in the leaves. There was something beside me. Something human.
My fingers shaking, I rolled over and there, staring back at me was a pair of green eyes. The pointy nose and sharp jaw bloated and barely recognizable, crawling with insects, the eyes rimmed in dark purple circles. It suddenly dawned on me as I looked into that face, there was no question in my mind, it was Edward.
Vomit choked in my throat and I sat up, spitting the bile in great gasps. I sobbed, his beautiful face broken and swollen and I struggled to understand.
"You see, Bella, you're bright but you don't know everything," Edward's voice rang in a high soprano beside me. "He wasn't going to share, Bella. He was going to leave me, and take you with him. I couldn't let that happen."
"Edward, please," I sobbed, confused and teetering on the brink of insanity. I had no idea what was real anymore, what was illusion. I just wanted it to be over. I begged for it to just be over.
"Stop calling me Edward!" he screamed, high and piercing as I cowered beneath him.
He stooped down close to my face, his nose mere inches from mine. "I loved you too, Bella. I worshiped you. But I knew all you'd see in my face was him, that all you'd think about when you looked at me, was him. So I took him out of the equation." He pressed his lips to mine, slow and lingering.
"And when we kiss, that wasn't thunder, dear. It's only my poor heart you hear and it's applause, Because you're mine," he sang his voice high and melodic, the chiming sound ringing in the trees. I squinted, his features morphing as he sang in that beautiful voice, reeking with femininity and oozing that sensuality and regal charm I had seen so many times in the past month, charisma I'd seen in someone else, someone I had called my friend.
"Alice?" I whispered in disbelief. It couldn't be. How could I have not seen it? How could I not tell the difference between the two? I gaped at my own gullibility, my own blind stupidity in believing the façade that was right in front of my face the whole time. Fresh tears rolled silently down my cheeks as I looked at her face. It was evident in her expression. She was proud of herself, her pale face gleaming in the darkness surrounding us, a smile spread across her wild face.
"That sounds so beautiful, my name coming from your lips, Bella," Alice breathed against my face, her lips smearing in the blood and tears and vomit that lingered on my mouth.
I was stunned, desperate to understand, petrified to know the truth. "How?" I asked, my voice wavering. Alice pulled away, her hand wiping my mouth, cleaning my face.
"It was really quite simple, love, much easier than killing my parents. There wasn't even any preparation to do really. I knew you'd never love me for me, but you loved Edward. I heard him say it to you. Edward's never loved anyone but he loved you. Yes, he cried for you when I killed him. We had gone for a hike, like we often do and he brought his flask, like he often does. He was drunk and I had planned on poisoning him but ended up slitting his throat because he wouldn't shut the fuck up about you. Bella's so beautiful. I love her so much. I want to marry her and take her away from this place." Alice mimicked his voice so exact, so perfectly, I had to remind myself that it wasn't him, but his psychopath sister instead. "I left him here, in the forest before running back to the house to hack off all my hair, using the shears to recreated the exact haircut I give him every month.
My heart ached for my lost love, the body lying beside me void of those dreams and I sobbed, the pain wrenching through my soul and bellowing in the forest. Motherfucking bitch! Anger built in my chest now, the fury causing my hands to shake.
"What about Jasper Whitlock? Where is his body?" I knew she had killed him, I was sure of it, the evidence now realigning with Alice's disclosure.
"The gardener? What about him? Did you really think he wanted you, that he would have loved you like we did? Bella, he was just a distraction and like I said, I got rid of him," she smirked.
"Where is he?" I said through clenched teeth. I didn't want her to get away with this. I owed it to Edward to stop her from ever doing anything like this again.
"Why, in the rose garden of course. By the time they find his body, they'll have quite a hard time identifying him. He was quite careless with his clipping shears. Snip, snip, snip!" Alice cackled, her high pitched laughter ringing in my ears.
"Why, Alice? Why would you do this?" I asked, my head swimming as I felt the veil of unconsciousness begin to weigh on me.
"Bella, I told you. I love you, I want you all to myself, a beautiful doll to keep by my side, always. And you want me too. You showed me, when you let me love you, let me put my mouth on you, accepted me inside of you. Didn't you like it?" Alice asked, her hands caressing my face.
"Yes, but I thought…" I tried to say, but her hand covered my mouth.
"It doesn't matter what you thought. All that matters is how you feel. What do you feel now, Bella?" Alice's hand left my mouth and all I could feel was hatred. Hatred for what she had done to her brother, how she had taken him away from me, stolen the one decent thing I had left in this world.
"Say it, Bella, say it!" she urged, her hands sliding around my neck as she shook her hands, slamming my head into the ground again and again. I couldn't breathe, her knees pressing into my chest as she pressed into my airway, constricting the flow of oxygen and I swam in the darkness. Wave after wave of euphoria washed over me as I closed my eyes, seeing Edward's bloated face behind my eyelids and I welcomed it, because it was different from hers. Faintly, in the distance, I could hear dogs barking. I could hear the urgent siren growing closer and closer and I knew they were coming. They would find us here, Edward and I, together and they would know the truth. She wouldn't get away with it, and with this secure in my mind, I was resolved, absolution swiftly pouncing upon me as I pictured her in a mental institution.
I don't even know if I had voiced his name before the darkness consumed me, the breath leaving my body as those familiar hands pressed against my chest and throat. Letting go, I succumbed to the quiet, only one vision in my awareness as I gasped my last breath.
How'd you like that little twist, my lovelies? This story was inspired by Mr. Alfred Hitchcock and my all time favorite horror flick "Psycho".
"Because You're Mine" as performed by the great Dean Martin...my "if I would have been alive in the fifties" soul mate.