Hello and thank you for your enduring patience. I won't drag this out here but rather let you all get straight into the story. Before that though, I urge you, please, take a moment and read the previous chapter, though a complete re-read might also be a good idea.
Forgive any errors, this is not beta'd.
Someone Else's Shadow
Stricken ill, I was unable to speak and barely able to breathe as a smirk grew on Bella's face, one that no longer appeared to belong to her but whatever, or rather whoever, now resided inside her.
"Nothing to say to that, hmm Edward? I fucked you senseless and speechless." With a satisfied sigh she... or whoever this really was, knelt on her knees, looked up at the ceiling and haughtily proclaimed, "It seems you were right all along, Elizabeth. I truly am a slut." Her words were defiant, but said with a perverse note of pride as though she had waited years for just the right moment to get this off her chest.
She looked back at me, her eyes no longer the rich brown that had beguiled and engulfed me the past few weeks, but now a colourless, fathomless lack of life looked back at me, leaving nothing but the physical body of the woman I had begun to care deeply for.
"Elizabeth always did say you and I were meant for each other, Edward," the voice purred as she crawled toward me. "She always said it to punish me and make me believe there was no one for me since you died before we could be together; and yet here you sit, frozen, in shock with your pants around your legs, freshly fucked and covered in me.
"Tell me Edward, was it good? Tell me you waited for me like I've waited for," she keened as she stalked closer, her hair falling around her face. Her back arched like a cheetah about to attack. Every movement, every sound heightened; there was nothing else in the world but this creature and my furiously beating heart.
"What have you done with Bella," I asked, my voice raspy and painful to use.
"She's still here, somewhere inside this body she's given me, but you don't need to worry about her anymore, sweet Edward. You have me now," she said as she sat at my feet and reached a hand up to brush a sweaty lock of hair from my forehead.
I recoiled back in fear, every molecule of my body on alert as her eyes took on a maniacal glare at my attempt to move away. "Uh uh uh, you don't want to do that. I'm not fun to be around when I'm upset. Elizabeth knew that all too well of course, and that just got her in all sorts of trouble," she said with a sickeningly sweet smile.
I swallowed nervously, thinking my only way out was to gain her trust by empathising with her, much like freed hostages do with their kidnappers. "I can't imagine what it must've been like," I managed, "to be hurt like that; the torment and the sadness."
She sat back on her ankles, looking beyond me, a vacant stare on her face. After a moment she said, "No, you can't Edward. She tortured me every day with the knowledge that I'd forever be alone because the person I was meant to be with – you, would never live, never draw breath. But she was wrong… you're here. You've come back to me." She cradled my face like you would a small child, stroking her fingers down my cheeks.
"Tell me you've come back for me, tell me I'm yours," she cooed, but with a detectable hint of menace.
"I…, " I choked on the words, unable to speak. No matter how much I wanted to appease her, to keep her calm, I couldn't say it. With blinding quickness, she grabbed a hold of my throat, seething madly, "Tell me how much you want me." Her nails clawed my skin, digging deeper the longer I held off my reply. "Tell me how much you've missed me," she came closer so that I could feel her breath mingling with my own. "Say 'Siobhan, I've come back so we can be together.'" I swallowed deeply and opened my mouth but before I could manage anything, I felt her lips on mine, covering them, violently sucking both between hers. Then she released my lip and bit on it before shoving me away from her with a look a disgust.
"WHY CAN'T YOU JUST SAY IT!" she yelled, foam forming at the crease of her mouth.
Frozen, I watched in horror feeling outside of myself as she screamed, the sound not unlike an uncontrollable baby. Her breathing became ragged and pupils dilated and then her eyes rolled back into her head, only the whites visible. Her head lolled to the side and then she slipped from my lap hitting the floor with a dull thud.
So cold and dark.
Don't let her take me.
Oh God, please help me.
My throat was burning and tight, and my legs had long gone weak from the pressure of Bella's thighs. I shuffled forward and then dropped off the couch, beside where Bella lay prostrate on the rug, her hair splayed out hiding her face from view.
Moving so I was alongside her, I could see her hair puffing out in front of her nose. Relief that she was breathing coursed through me.
I took in her body as I contemplated what to do next. Her shoulders were hunched and her fingers were clawing at broken angles in the rug, digging in as though she was hanging on for her very life.
Hesitant as to what I'd see and who I may be dealing with, I tucked her hair behind her ear and was shocked at the dark purple bruises swelling beneath her eyes. Her skin had taken on a sickly transparency. She shuddered a few shallow breaths, and I thought she may have been coming to.
Slowly but not without a struggle, her body a dead weight, I rolled her onto her side and manipulated her into a position that would be more comfortable for her prone form, her fingers finding grip on her clothes.
Her eyes opened, flickering as though they were irritated by a bright light even though the light in the living room was dimmed. She sniffled a little and released her stranglehold, white fingers slowly taking back their natural pink hue.
Cautiously, I reached out to touch her, trying desperately to offer any comfort I could, but as my hand connected with her body she instantly recoiled, folding her body in on itself like a concertina. Trembling, her eyes frantically searching the room unable to focus on any one thing, she grabbed at her hair, pulling it, almost ripping it from the scalp. Every movement was jerk-like, sudden, and I was terrified she would hurt herself.
Without giving much thought to the fact that my next movement may hurt me more than her, I quickly moved forward and pulled her into my arms, her knees bent awkwardly, one barely resting in my lap and the other on the rug. I held her tight, my arms acting as a ribcage protecting her fragile organs.
She jostled trying to free herself, slight whimpers turning into screeching cries for me to let her go as she began thrashing from side to side like a bull trying to dislodge its rider, but I held tight cupping my left hand with my right, my nails digging into the backs of the fingers. "I'm not letting you go Bella, I'm not. I'm going to get you through this," I said though I wasn't sure if this was more for my benefit or hers as her violent moans and cries were so loud, so raw, I was certain she wasn't cognizant enough to take it in.
"Let me go, let me go, let me go, STOP! NOOO!" she screamed, the centre of her throat hollowing from the exertion of sound. She clawed at my shirt, pulling the collar tight around my neck. Every violent action made it seem like this was Siobhan person, but I knew it wasn't. This was Bella. And she was desperately frightened, and in turn so was I.
I didn't know what to do. Nothing in my life had ever prepared for something remotely like this. Everything up to this point had been child's play in comparison, and I doubted there was any circumstance, any book or theoretical simulation that could prepare anyone for this.
Tears of frustration welled and without a clue about what to do, despair overwhelming me, I tightly held onto Bella fearing that there was nothing that could help either one us.
"Pl…. please," she blubbered, "you have to let me go." I roughly shook my head, my throat thick with tears, scared of what would happen if I did, but also knowing that I couldn't hold on to her forever.
Suddenly her movements calmed and she shuddered deeply, the reverberations of muscles as she exhaled rolling over my body like a receding wave. I held my breath, my heart was thundering in my ears, and my vision was splotchy.
She dislodged her hands that had been fisted between us, and I went to readjust my grip but as I briefly let go to stretch my quickly cramping hands, I was shoved back so forcefully I fell backward, my head hitting something hard. Immediately a sharp pain radiated from the base of my skull right down my body. I opened my eyes, my vision black at the edges, my fingers and toes tingling as though I'd be zapped.
My mind immediately went to Bella, and I attempted to sit up but the room was spinning and it felt like there was a pendulum in my head banging from side to side.
I struggled to stand grasping the table behind me whose sharp edge had likely given me a slight concussion. I stumbled a few steps to the wall and held onto it as the room slowly began to come back into focus. Looking around, I couldn't see Bella anywhere and there was no sign as to where she'd gone. The front door was shut and it didn't look like she might've left but as I went to check the driveway just in case, I heard a muffled sob come from somewhere behind me.
I turned around too fast and a throbbing pain ripped through me; I cried out and brought my hand to the back of my head and held it there, the gentle pressure feeling as though I was holding my head in place.
Inhaling a deep breath through my nose, I slowly let it out through clenched teeth, and then inhaled again, thinking only of the rhythm of my breaths to keep the pain from my mind.
Listening for that sound again so I could place where I might find Bella, I moved to the bottom of the stairs so I'd be in a better position to hear more of the house, and then I heard it again. This time louder and mixed with something else: a soft banging kind of sound.
It was coming from somewhere upstairs.
I wish I could put forward an excuse that might mollify the embarrassingly long wait that occurred between the last chapter and this one, but I doubt I have any more of a justifiable reason that anyone else that writes fan fiction. Honestly, I got writer's block but rather than try and overcome it, I put the story aside waiting for the block to work its way out naturally. Of course, it doesn't work like that and the longer you put off writing, the harder it is to get back into it.
So in light of that, I do hope that what you've just read is satisfactory. I apologise for its short length but figured a short chapter is better than no chapter.
In order to keep some kind of momentum flowing, chapters will remain short from here on out and I estimate there's 3-4 left. So I do hope you stay with me to see out the end.
Reviews, if you're so inclined, I would love to read them.
Thank you, truly.