Les Femmes Noires One-Shot Contest
Disclaimer: This story deals with very dark subject matter that may be offensive to some readers. It's rated M for a good reason. Please take this warning seriously and refrain from reading if you are underage or sensitive to potentially disturbing and controversial themes.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
No copyright infringement intended. Twilight is not mine!
To see the other entries in the Les Femmes Noires Contest, please visit the C2 page: http://www(dot)fanfiction(dot)net/community/Les_Femmes_Noires/73127/
I am completely fucking invisible.
I barely even notice myself as I look into the mirror. My body is thin and featureless, my skin is pale and sallow and my wispy hair is just about the most unimaginative shade of brown you can imagine. Mousy. I simply blend in. I guess the only really remarkable thing about me is that I am mind-numbingly average in just about every way possible.
I tie my hair back into a ponytail and slide into the pair of black pants and t-shirt that make up the uniform I wear five days of the week. Looking over at the window, I watch the water as it licks at the pane in fat streams. It looks so much colder and wetter than an early summer rain should be. I grab my purse and head downstairs. I'll be late for work if I don't hurry.
Breakfast is a quick glass of juice and a piece of toast that I hold with my lips in between bites while I tie on my shoes and look for my umbrella. I shove the last quarter of the slice into my mouth whole before I put on my jacket and head outside. Most days I leave my truck at home and walk the fifteen minutes it takes me to get to work, but today I just can't face the rain.
I only have to drive a few blocks to get there. I live in a crappy little town that is just like every other crappy little town in the country. I drive down the same decrepit but desperate-to-be-quaint main street you'll find anywhere else in America, lined with city hall, the library and the post office. I go past the requisite shithole diner, the beauty parlor where all the old ladies go to have their dandelion heads fluffed up and the small park with the ancient, rusting playground where parents take their kids on Saturday afternoons.
Basically, there is dick all to do here if you're old enough to have gotten your rag but you're still too young to have squeezed out your first kid. People here just survive adolescence by screwing each other, smoking weed and playing video games until they can get the fuck out by going off to college.
But a few of us always manage to get left behind for one reason or another and I am one of those unlucky ones. I graduated from high school last year and still haven't managed to make an escape. I am completely and totally stuck here. So I work as a cashier in the grocery store and sleep in the same dingy bedroom at my dad's house that I've always slept in and drive the same shitbox of an old truck I've had since the eleventh grade.
My life bores the fuck out of me.
I pull my truck into a spot at the back of the store and step back out into the rain. I really hate my fucking job. And the pay is shit, but at least I get a discount on the food I buy for me and Charlie and that really helps us get by.
Charlie is my dad. He used to be a cop, but he's been on disability payments for years since he hurt his back on the job. Now he just sits around on the couch and watches too much football and drinks beer with a few buddies on an occasional Friday night. But he's always been the best father that he could be to me. I know it's been hard for him to be stuck raising me here all on his own. My mom fucked off pretty much as soon as they ripped me out of her. I hear from her once in a while, but she's always been more of a pen pal than a mother. I guess I should just be grateful that she cared enough not to just abort me in the first place.
As I'm walking across the lot, my phone chirps with the arrival of a text message and I know who it's from without looking. My best friend since grade school – my only friend, really – is Mal and she's the only person who ever texts me.
Mal's real name is Mary Alice, but only her parents ever call her that. She is ridiculously tiny, like she never quite grew all the way up and she wears nothing but shades of black. Mal's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Brandon, own the town's mortuary and funeral home and she always looks like she's on her way to a wake. It's like she's been in mourning for her entire life. Sometimes I'm surprised she doesn't just go full out and wear one of those old school funeral hats with the lace veil over the face and shit. She looks like Wednesday Addams or Emily the Strange or Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice. She's basically a complete fucking stereotype but I love her anyway.
I flip my phone open to read her message.
cmng ovr 2nite?
I type back a quick reply.
off at 6 cu at 8
I would never have made it through school without Mal. We were both complete outcasts, but at least we had each other to rely on through those miserable years. Every day had been full of taunts, stares and whispers. Most were directed at Mal and her interesting choices in make-up, wardrobe and accessories. I was just her invisible sidekick, but I still felt the sting. We didn't fit in with any of the usual cliques. Not the jocks or the band geeks or the hipster douchebags or even the troublemakers or the freaks. We were the losers. The absolute lowest of the low. If there had been a school shooting while we were students, I bet we would have been the first ones questioned.
Things got easier in a lot of ways when school was finally finished and I could fade into the everyday routine of small town life. Now I'm just the girl who puts your shit in bags at the grocery store.
But despite this morning's cold rain, the summer is beginning and all the assholes I went to high school with are starting to trickle back into town at the ends of their college semesters. Some will stay through the entire season and others will just swing through for a visit to hit their folks up for cash on the way to backpack through Europe. But they will all show up at one point or another and I dread having to see pretty much every single one of them.
I walk into the store and it's abnormally quiet and deserted. I guess the weather's making everyone lazy on this Friday morning. I'd stay in bed today too if I didn't have to come bust my ass for eight fucking dollars an hour. I hang my jacket up in the staff room and steal a trashy romance novel from the rack of books we keep beside the magazines on my way over to my register. At least I'll have something to keep me occupied if we don't get a single customer before noon.
But not twenty pages into my shift, Rosalie fucking Hale and her mother prance up to my till. Rosalie and I pretend not to recognize each other, but I can see a smug sort of pity cross her face when our eyes meet. She was the girl with it all back in high school. She was the queen bee, the student body vice president, the pyramid topper, the church youth group's self-righteous, hypocritical whore. She was like the Sarah Palin of our school. Dumb as a fucking truckload of the dumbest rocks on Earth, but oddly self-confident and popular. I guess they're both just pretty and bland enough to fool some of the idiot masses with their vacant, dipshit smiles.
I've hated Rosalie since she marched into our first grade class in her perfect little blonde pig tails and shiny mary janes and started calling me Smella because Charlie had dressed me in the same thrift store sweater and pair of jeans for three days in a row. That cunt's cruel nickname has haunted me for years.
"Hi there, Bella. How's your dad doing?" Mrs. Hale asks me with a big, fake grin as she starts plunking her crap down on the belt.
"Oh, he's hanging in there," I mumble.
She forces her grin to spread even wider and squints her eyes at me to try to sell it. "Well, that's good to hear," she says before she turns away. I've been dismissed.
"You'll be home for dinner, Rosie?" Mrs. Hale asks her daughter as I blip their groceries across the scanner and sort them into paper bags. Diet cola, celery, rice cakes. Those Hale bitches like to stay skinny. "I've invited your Nan and Pop over and they can't wait to see you."
"Yeah, I'll be there, Mom. But I'm going to hang out with some friends later tonight, so I can't stay too long."
"Are Lauren and Jessica back from school now too?"
"Pretty much everyone is," Rosalie tells her. "The Cullens are having a party."
A momentary shiver of excitement runs through me, but I maintain my focus on the food. Skim milk, instant oatmeal, a bag of apples. I manage to feign disinterest.
I haven't heard anyone say that name in months, but it's never far from my mind.
I finish scanning their shit and swipe Mrs. Hale's plastic and send them on their way to go paint each other's nails or bleach each other's hair or do whatever the hell it is that skankhole mothers and daughters do together in their free time.
As they walk away, I feel my hands start to tremble and a tear pricks at my eye.
The Cullens, Edward and Emmett, had been high school royalty. Emmett, older by one year, was the star athlete, all smiles and dimples and blue eyes. And Edward, the younger brother, was absolutely everything else a guy could be. A music prodigy, captain of the track team, the valedictorian. And he was just fucking gorgeous. He was my obsession, my frustration, my delight and the only reason I made it out of bed in the morning on so many days of educational hell.
I feel heat begin to pool between my thighs as I think about him and I try to fight back the color I know is spreading across my cheeks.
I can think of nothing else for the rest of my shift.
"You want me to go stalk Edward Cullen with you?" Mal asks with a frown.
The rain has cleared up and the evening is warm and breezy. We're sitting on the porch in front of her parents' big, creepy house that's attached to the funeral home next door. She still lives at home like I do. Who the hell can afford their own place these days?
"I want to check out this party," I lie. I know she won't believe me.
"Bullshit. You know we can't just walk in there. And I wouldn't want to either. Didn't you get enough of those assholes back in high school?"
"Please…" I say, stopping as my voice starts to quiver. I'm so close to fucking tears. "I just need to see him. We won't stay long. We'll just see him and go."
I look at Mal and see that she's almost crying too and now I feel like a total bitch for asking her to go with me.
"I just can't do it, Bella," she tells me. "I can't put myself through that shit again."
And how can I blame her, really?
So I head out to the Cullen mansion by myself. It's just outside of town on a secluded country road. I've been out here so many times since I learned how to drive. There's a spot a little ways past their driveway where I can park the truck without being noticed. From there, it's just a short walk through the forest before I can see the house.
It's lit up like a jack-o-lantern with its oversized windows framed by the blackness of the night. From the cover of the trees at the side of the house, I have a clear view into the kitchen and the living room. Both are packed with familiar faces – all the fucking assbags from school are there.
But I know they can't see me. I'm still on the outside looking in.
They are all still so fucking untouchable.
I scan the crowd for him. I watch his brother Emmett practically dry humping that slut Rosalie as they dance together in a corner. I see an audience gathered around the kitchen island to ogle Jessica and Lauren as they drink body shots from glasses nestled between each other's implants. And finally I spot Edward as he enters the living room with a bottle of beer in each hand. He's as fuckhot as ever, all untamed waves and perfect angles and evening shadow. As he moves through the room, it looks almost like he is walking towards me. But he stops just before he reaches the glass and snakes one arm around the waist of the cuntfaced bitch I hate most in the entire world.
I was hoping that she had died or been horribly disfigured or at least that he'd have finally ditched her skank ass since the last time I saw her.
But I watch him pass her a drink and whisper in her ear and take her hand and together they come out the back door of the house onto the patio. They're laughing and kissing and tugging at each other's clothes. They leave a trail of fabric on the ground behind them as they stumble across to the hot tub. Edward steps into the water first, still in his boxers, but she strips right down, kicking her panties at him as she steps out of them. And then she's sliding into his lap and he's squeezing at her skin and they're just all fucking over each other.
And that's when I turn and head back towards my truck.
It's more than I can take.
In the morning, I wake up feeling dull and hollow. I've slept in late and it's almost noon. All I can think of is Edward. I can't stop picturing him in the hot tub with that fucking whore. I can't stop seeing his hands all over her. I should never have gone to that fucking party.
My phone rings and it's Mal. I think about letting it go to voice mail. She's just going to ask about last night and I'm going to have to admit to her what a stupid jealous bitch I am. But I pick it up anyway. She's the only friend I'll ever have.
"Don't even ask," I warn her. "It was a huge disaster."
"Bella, I have to tell you something."
She sounds so fucking serious.
"What's going on?" I ask, worried now. "Is something wrong?"
"It's Edward Cullen," she says. And she pauses in the way that people do when they have terrible news and my heart constricts. "Bella, Edward is dead. He died last night."
For a few moments I feel like I don't even exist. I can't understand what she's telling me.
"Edward died at that party last night," she repeats. "There was some kind of accident in a hot tub. He drowned."
I can't speak. I can't even swallow. Everything is fuzzing up around me. I hear static.
My room feels like a mirage around me, shimmering and unstable.
"Are you still there?"
He can't be fucking dead.
"But I saw him," I protest. I have to fight for air. "Last night in the hot tub. I saw him there. He was fine. He didn't drown."
She lets out a little sigh. "I don't know what happened, Bella. My Dad said he was drunk and hit his head. He's gone to the hospital to pick the body up right now."
I lose my shit and just disintegrate into fucking hysteria and now it's Mal's turn to be quiet. She does the only thing a real friend can do and just listens to me scream.
"I saw him," I manage to get out. I'm angry now. "I fucking saw him."
"I know," she says, trying to soothe. "It's going to be okay."
But it's not. Nothing's ever going to be okay.
"Fuck. I have to go," I tell her. I disconnect. I just can't talk.
I draw my knees up to my chest and sit in my bed, stunned and immobile. My room looks the same as ever, but my whole world has changed. He's been everything to me for so very long.
I remember Mal saying that her dad went to the hospital to pick up the body.
How can someone go from being a person to just a body?
I need to see. I need to know for sure.
I throw off my covers and I run. Out of my bedroom, down the stairs, through the front door. I don't stop until I'm standing on Mal's porch. But I don't knock or ring the doorbell. I just sit down on the steps and I wait for him to come. I look down at my feet and realize that I'm cold. I'm still wearing my nightgown. My toe is bleeding. I should have put on some fucking shoes.
I haven't cried yet.
Before too long, I see Mr. Brandon driving up the street in the van he uses to transport bodies to the mortuary. The hearse is reserved for the short ride to the cemetery.
I try to imagine what the name Edward Cullen will look like carved in stone.
Mr. Brandon doesn't seem to notice me as he pulls into the funeral home's driveway. I just watch as he opens the back of the van and pulls out a stretcher. The wheeled legs scissor out and snap into place. And on top is definitely a body, shrouded in folds of perfect, pristine white.
I wonder why they always use white.
Mr. Brandon rolls him away and I watch until they are out of view. And then I just sit there. I'm so calm, but on the inside I'm breaking.
I don't know how much time passes before Mrs. Brandon comes out and finds me sitting there on her steps in my fucking nightgown. She tells me come inside and makes me a cup of tea and gives me a sweater. And then Mal is there too and they're both treating me like a glass baby and all at once I'm so grateful and so fucking pissed off.
Mal and I go up to her room and she just lets me lie on her bed like the big, pointless lump that I am. She calls Charlie for me to tell him where I am. She tries to make me eat something.
But I'm not hungry.
I can't stop thinking that Edward is downstairs inside the funeral home. Mr. Brandon will drain his body and pump him full of chemicals to delay the rot. My Edward is going to fucking rot.
I still haven't cried.
I stare at the window. I watch the clouds turning to indigo by the setting sun and I drift off to sleep. Twilight.
It's after dark when I wake up and Mal is asleep beside me in the bed. I listen to her deep, rhythmic breathing. I realize I'm not feeling the same kind of desperate pain I felt earlier in the day. I feel numb, detached. I'm drained.
I think of how close Edward is to me now. He's just downstairs. He's down there all alone.
I need to see him.
The house is completely dark and noiseless, a dense void in the night time. I slip out of Mal's bed, moving as slowly and as quietly as possible, trying not to disturb the stillness. As I creep across the room, I wonder what it must have been like to grow up here in this house that is infused with such pervasive silence. It must be strange to have to live in fear of waking the dead. Mal moves slightly in her sleep, turning to occupy some of the warmth and space I have vacated.
I'll fucking kill her if she wakes up now.
I tiptoe out of the room and down the hallway. Each bare step squeaks slightly on the cold hardwood. In the almost black, I can barely make out the top of the stairs as I inch towards them. With my luck, I'll probably fall down on my ass and wake the whole fucking house up.
One step at a time, I lower myself down into the foyer. Five, six, seven. I don't know why I'm counting. It helps me concentrate, but I don't even know how many stairs there are. Nine, ten, eleven. I cling to the banister as I go. On thirteen, I feel a subtle change in the texture of the wood beneath my sole. I've reached bottom.
I slide my hand onto the finial and pivot into the living room. I move along in stop motion, stepping and then pausing, feeling my way along the walls and the furniture. I grope my way through the house towards a door in a hallway behind the kitchen. It connects the living quarters to the working areas of the funeral home.
If it's locked, I'm screwed.
But the knob twists easily in my hand and with a click and a creak I am through the doorway. I've only been back here a few times, so it's even harder to find my way around in the dark. We had the viewing here when my grandfather died. And Mal and I snuck in sometimes when we were kids. She showed me the prep room once and we'd seen the body of our first grade teacher, Mrs. Nesbitt. Her tits had looked like pancakes.
It doesn't take me long to find the door to the mortuary. As I step inside, the frozen tiles beneath my feet send a shiver right through me. My nipples stiffen almost painfully. Thick shafts of moonlight pour through the windows, bathing the room in an otherworldly glow, painting the sheet that covers him in eerie blues and grays.
I step across the room slowly, intentionally. I take a deep breath and peel the sheet back, timidly at first, a little afraid of what I'll find underneath. But even in death, Edward Cullen is so fucking beautiful. Ethereal. His skin looks like pearl by the light of the full moon – palest white, impossibly smooth, nearly incandescent.
And for just this one night, this one final night, he can at last be mine.
I pull the sheet away, unveiling him completely, exposing the exquisite, elegant lines of his figure. How can he still be so perfect?
My eyes rake him over and I can't help but stare at his cock. I try to picture what it would look like if he still had the beating heart to make it swell. I've never really seen a guy's junk before. Unless you count that time I caught a glimpse of Mike Newton's hairy ball sack in the tiny shorts he wore to PE class. And I certainly do not.
I inch closer. The first thing I touch is his mouth, pressing one fingertip lightly to the pout of his lower lip. I shouldn't be surprised at the coolness of his skin, but it makes me suck in a quick breath. I don't understand how he can feel so much colder than the chilled air. I pull my nightgown over my head and my skin prickles to instant gooseflesh. I step out of my underwear, and turn back towards the table where he lies.
His metal bed stings at me as I climb up beside him. I stretch out on my side, aligning my body with his, pushing myself against him skin to skin. Leaning across the flawless lines of his chest, I angle myself so I can bring my mouth towards his.
"Edward," I whisper against his lips. "I've loved you for such a long time."
Closing my eyes, I press our mouths together, imagining for a moment that he is alive beneath me, warm and breathing. Alive and wanting this, wanting me.
But he remains cool and lifeless – unmoving, unyielding. I sweep my nose along his jaw and inhale the faint soapy, medicinal scent that clings to his skin. In senior year, I stole his t-shirt from the boys' locker room and slept wrapped in his musk for weeks. But he doesn't smell like himself anymore.
I sit upright so I can slide across his hips. A coiling, sweet pang stirs within me as my legs spread out around him. He is ice cold against my heat.
I still want him so fucking badly.
Leaning down against him, stomach to stomach, warmth to chill, I bring my lips to his flesh. I kiss him again and again – his forehead, his cheek, his neck. My nipples tighten to crystalline as they trail across his chest. I slip my hand between us, reaching down to the hot and the wet where my most delicate skin touches his. And then I am rocking slowly against him, riding my own hand, riding him.
The pressure climbs and I slide a finger inside myself and then two. My thumb rolls over my clit in grazing, careful touches. And I almost growl, it feels so fucking good. I work my hand around with the push and pull – curling, circling, squeezing. I reach up to cup my breast and my movements turn from smooth to frantic. Blood is crashing and boiling in my veins. And I'm groaning and quaking and the delicious ache just builds and builds and builds.
"Edward," I gasp, sucking in between clenched teeth as my body reaches its towering swell. "Fuck. Edward…"
As the surge recedes, I collapse with my cheek on his chest and lay atop him panting, still throbbing against his unfeeling flesh. Against my burning, misty skin he feels colder than ever. And finally I start to cry. Thick, silent tears stream down my cheeks and puddle on his skin. This is as close as I will ever get to him and I am so fucking empty. I'm still totally alone.
I wish I was dead here with him.
But I'm afraid to linger much longer and I slide off the table and get back into my nightgown. I stroke my fingers through his hair. A final goodbye. But I can't leave him behind completely. I take a pair of scissors from the counter top and cut a single lock from his tangles, from the back of his neck where no one will notice that it's gone.
They will put him out on display in a box the next day and then deep in the ground on the one after that. But my kiss will be upon his lips and my salt and my sweet will be on his skin. And in some little way, I will always be a part of him.
Two weeks after they bury Edward Cullen, I am loading my stuff into my truck. I don't have much to take, just my clothes and some books and a few sentimental things. I've already said my goodbyes. I know Charlie understands. I'm ready to go.
I hop up onto the seat and crank some tunes. I pull the ribbon-tied charm from my pocket and fasten it onto the rear view mirror so it will hang where I can always see it. I put the truck into gear and pull out onto the road. I drive down my little street and along the main strip, out towards the highway. And as I make the final turn out of town, the morning sun shines through the windshield and turns Edward's dangling wave of bronze to gold.
If you've made it this far… thank you so much for reading!
When I heard about this contest, I decided I wanted to try to write something that made me feel really uncomfortable. So, ummmm, mission accomplished in that department. I know some of the subject matter of this story is pretty taboo and I hope I managed to write it as tastefully as possible.
Still, I am a little scared about actually posting this. Please don't hurt me :p