***NOTE: This is an All Human Bella/Edward story. It is rated NC-17 for adult content. There is also a rape scene described in this chapter. It's not extremely graphic, but you've been warned!
This was never easy, but it was becoming manageable. I think I had gone an entire week without crying this time. That was the longest stretch of time since it happened.
I was a content honor's student in college before everything changed. I didn't lead a privileged life by any means, but I had good friends and I was on my way to being an English Professor, which is what I always wanted. I never partied much, never skipped class, and I never accepted candy from strangers. I did everything my mom and dad taught me, but I never knew things like this happened to girls like me.
I had heard the rumors going around about one of the fraternities initiation rituals - raping unsuspecting girls. I assumed this only happened at the out of control frat parties held off campus, after a lot of alcohol. Girls were stupid for being there anyways, they were asking for it, or so I thought.
It all happened so fast, I never saw it coming. I had been to the library late one night cramming for a history exam. At 1:00 a.m. I decided I should head back to my dorm to get some rest.
It was dark, cold and pouring rain that night. Typical weather for Washington. To make matters worse, I had forgotten my umbrella. I pulled my rain coat tight across my body and pulled the hood over my head before throwing my bag on my back and heading out into the rain. I couldn't run for the weight of my bag. All I could hear was the rain hitting metal roofs nearby and mixing with the soiled grass. I never heard him coming. When I hit the ground, I initially thought I had tripped. When I was forcefully turned on my back and drug a few feet behind some bushes, I realized that wasn't the case at all.
The man that towered over me stuffed a rain soaked cloth in my mouth to muffle my cries. He had a black ski mask on and he tried desperately to avoid my eyes. I could smell the liquor on his breath, even through the mask. I tried to fight him off, but when I heard guys laughing nearby, I knew there was no hope. I had become the victim of an initiation ritual.
His hands were shaking violently and he struggled to undo my belt and the button on my jeans. After several encouraging remarks from the guys watching nearby, he managed to get my jeans down to my ankles. He only used one hand to rip the delicate fabric of my panties away from my skin. I pleaded with him through my eyes not to do it as he got into position on top of me. My sobs were causing me to hyperventilate and I thought I would surely choke on the cloth in my mouth.
He hesitated for a moment before he plunged into me with full force. The pain was unreal. I felt like I had been ripped open. I gasped for air and screamed in pain, the cloth only slightly concealing my loud cries then. I heard the other guys clapping and offering congratulations.
It only lasted a few minutes and he was done. He collapsed on top of me momentarily before he heard the footsteps of his friends getting closer. He shifted his weight off of me, looked me in the eyes and in barely a whisper, he said, "I'm sorry." His friends pulled him to his feet and they all disappeared into the darkness between two buildings nearby.
I laid there for hours praying to die. Somehow I felt like the rain was cleaning me, so I didn't move. Someone must have found me the next morning. I spent the next two days in the hospital recovering from hypothermia and telling the police everything I knew, but it wasn't enough.
I dropped out of school and moved back to Forks, with my dad. He was the one who made me go to the doctor when I got sick. I knew what was wrong. I didn't need a doctor to tell me. I was pregnant.
Everyone around town seemed to know what happened. Word travels fast in a small town. I got a job at the diner and made pretty good money off tips because people felt sorry for the Chief's daughter. I had never felt more ashamed of myself, especially when I started showing. I wasn't wild about the idea of an abortion, and Charlie was totally against it. I couldn't afford it in time anyway. I was going to give the baby up for adoption as soon as it was born. With any luck, I would be back in school the following year. That was the plan.
Things didn't go as planned. The only people in the room with me when he was born were the doctors, my mom and Alice. Thank God for Alice. She was the only one I could depend on, besides my parents. The nurse mistakenly put him in my arms after he was born. I wasn't supposed to see him. I saw my mom and Alice exchange nervous looks. The nurse realized her mistake and rushed to take him away, but I wouldn't let her. I couldn't stop staring at him. I thought he was going to look like a monster, but he was beautiful. I held him for four hours before I officially made up my mind. I wasn't giving him up. I had no idea what I would do with him, but I couldn't live with myself not knowing where he was or how he was.
My mom stayed in town longer than was planned and Alice became a life saver. I didn't have much. Alice bought me a bassinet as a gift and several outfits for him. Charlie and mom went in together and bought a few months worth of diapers and formula. By the time my mom went home to Jacksonville, I had everything I would need.
I named him Masen. Masen Charles Swan. Fortunately, he was born during the summer and school wasn't in session, so Alice stayed with me the entire time. She kept Masen while I went to work at the diner. I insisted on moving back to Seattle before the next semester started.
I had been so busy over the summer, working as much as possible and sleeping very little, that I hadn't really taken time to think about what happened. I needed to stay busy, to forget.
Charlie was sad to see us go. It took some time, but he grew to love Masen. Alice and I followed Charlie in the U-Haul to Seattle. I was so glad he let me take my bedroom furniture. I had nothing else and didn't want to waste the money. I sold my truck for extra cash. I got a tiny apartment in the city so I wouldn't really need it. Charlie promised he would come get us whenever I wanted to come home.
It was dark by the time we had my stuff moved into the tiny apartment. It was time for Alice and Charlie to go. Fortunately, Alice was staying just across town with her boyfriend, Jasper.
I could tell Charlie was worried about me. "Bella, are you sure this is what you want? This isn't the best part of town."
I shrugged my shoulders. "It's fine, and it's close to the library. We'll be okay."
Charlie handed me a check. "I put some money back for both of you. It's not much, but its all I could do in the short time."
The check was for a thousand dollars. I hugged him tightly. "Thanks, Dad. It means a lot."
"I did too." Alice chimed in, with tears in her eyes. She handed me a check.
I didn't even look at it. "Alice, no. I can't. You don't even work!"
"Please, Bella. Take it. I'm going to get a job when school starts. It's from my trust fund."
"Alice, I can't."
"Stop being too proud, Bella. Take it. He's growing so fast, he'll need new clothes soon. And who knows when you'll be able to find a job."
I looked at it. Three thousand dollars. I shook my head. "No way, Alice. This is way too much. Why don't you hold on to it and if I need it, I'll let you know."
"Nice try. I will not accept no for an answer." She kissed my forehead. "Sleep tight, Bella. Call me if you need anything at all."
I gave in and nodded my head in agreement. They both headed to the door. Alice hugged me goodbye. Charlie hugged me too. "Bye, Bells. I love you. Call me, everyday. Okay? I'm going to be worried about you."
"I'll be fine, Dad. Really, don't worry."
I closed the door behind them. I took a deep breath. Who was I kidding? I was scared to death. I had never been alone since it happened. I locked my door and re-checked it several times. I even went so far as to push my couch partially in front of the door. Just in case. I checked on Masen to make sure he was still asleep before I got in the shower.
After I got in bed, I realized I only had enough formula for Masen in the morning, and nothing for me. I sighed and went to bed hungry. I had planned the following day to go see about getting the help that single mom's got. Food stamps, free milk, whatever, I didn't care. Every little bit helped. I had stashed a fair bit of cash, and Charlie's and Alice's contributions definitely helped, but the fear was still in the back of my mind that I wouldn't be able to succeed.
That was the first night I had nightmares, when I was alone in that tiny apartment. I woke up screaming, which caused Masen to scream. I heard an angry woman knocking on the wall in the apartment next to mine.
The nightmares never let up. I wasn't sure if it was being alone, or being back in Seattle. The anxiety of knowing that the man that did this to me was walking around somewhere in this city was getting harder and harder to deal with. I wondered if he would recognize me. I certainly had no idea what he looked like. I knew Masen must look like him, because he barely resembled me. I spent many sleepless nights wondering if Masen would turn into a monster, like his father.
I found a job just before school started. I was a receptionist at a moderately sized law firm across town. It wasn't hard, and I could do my homework and study during the day and attend a few classes at night. It would take me forever to finish school at that rate, but I would eventually.
Masen stayed at a government controlled daycare while I was at work. It wouldn't have been my first choice of places for him, but it was close by and I got a discount through the state. Alice kept him the three nights of the week I had class. I felt like I never saw him anymore.
After a year back in Seattle, I was almost feeling normal again. I had settled into my routine and so had Masen. It was still hard. I still cried, a lot. There were many times when I felt like I couldn't do this anymore. I wanted to give up.
I had massive anxiety when it was dark and raining outside. I skipped a few classes because I was afraid to navigate the campus alone after dark in the rain. Fortunately, I had confided in my professors and they were very grateful to send me the assignments via email if I missed class.
The first time I met him, it had been a horrible day. I was really busy at work and didn't get to work on school stuff. I was late picking up Msaen and had to pay a dollar for every minute I was late. It was only ten dollars, but that was a lot to me. I just wanted to get home. I had Masen in my arms along with my purse, backpack, and two bags of groceries. It was cold outside and I was still two blocks away from my building.
One of my plastic bags caught on a vendor's display rack on the street and cans of soup and spaghetti o's went rolling down the sidewalk. As tears stung my eyes, and Masen cried, I followed the cans with my eyes. They were stopped a few feet ahead of me by a pair of brown leather loafers. I stood up straight and looked at the man who stopped them. He was dressed nicely for this part of town. He had on khaki pants and a dark green cashmere sweater with a button up shirt under it. He must have been at the public library up the street. He had a satchel slung across his chest. As my eyes found his face I noticed he looked shocked and scared. He was making me nervous.
"Are you alright?" I asked, noticing the color fading from his face.
He fumbled for words. "Um, yes. I'm alright. Let me help you," he finally said, picking up the cans at his feet. "Are you going far? I'll walk with you."
"Um, just a few blocks. I think I'll be okay."
"No, please," he said, as he put the cans in his satchel and took the other plastic bag of groceries from me. "It's no problem."
I finally agreed, as I felt the weight of Masen making my arm cramp. We walked silently to my apartment. He took the elevator up to the 5th floor with me. I unlocked my door and let everything fall from my arms as soon as I was across the threshold. I put Masen in his playpen in the corner. He was almost 16 months old now and he got into trouble every chance he got.
The nicely dressed man unloaded the cans on to my kitchen counter and then stood by the door. I noticed he was looking around my apartment, he was probably disgusted. He had probably never seen government housing before.
"It's all I can afford," I finally said.
He glanced at me quickly. "No, I wasn't..."
"It's fine. It's not easy being a single mom. I'm doing the best I can." It was one of those days where I just wanted to feel sorry for myself and I wanted people to stop judging me.
He stood there speechless. He fumbled for words again. "I didn't...I wasn't..."
I cut him off. "Thank you for helping us." I opened the door and held it open, waiting for him to leave. He didn't move. His attention was focused on Masen who was standing up in his playpen, staring back at him. "Sorry about him, he's never seen a guy in here before." I laughed.
"No, no. It's okay. I'm sorry," he darted out the door quickly.
"Awkward," I said to myself as I closed the door and locked it. "You scared him, Masen!"
Masen laughed loudly and bounced up and down in his playpen, begging for my attention.
A couple weeks passed before I saw him again. They had been a few good weeks. The nightmares had let up, and I was getting a little more sleep. I was in the library getting some reference books for my English mid-term when I noticed him asleep at a table nearby. His hair was unmistakable and recognizable anywhere. It was a big bronze disheveled mess.
"What are you studying?" I asked, startling him. He picked his head up from the desk quickly and his face lost color again.
"Um, contracts and torts," he replied.
"That's exciting," I said sarcastically. "You in law school?"
"Yes, thank you for waking me. I didn't realize I had fallen asleep."
"No problem. Hey, thanks again for the other day. It was a bad day."
That was the first time I saw him smile. It seemed familiar. He was beautiful when he smiled. "Your welcome. What are you studying?" he asked.
"Oh, I'm just getting some reference material for my English paper," I said, holding up the books in my arms. "I better get going, it's getting late." In fact, it was getting dark and it was raining and I didn't want to get caught outside in the rain and the dark.
"I was just leaving. Let me walk you home?" he asked, as he gathered his books up.
I turned around and glanced out the large glass windows that faced the street. Rain was coming down in sheets and there was no trace of the sun. "Okay." I agreed. "Let me check these out real quick and I'll meet you out front."
He shook his head in agreement and I headed downstairs to the checkout counter. When I finished, I turned around to see him standing near the exit doors with a large umbrella that must have been under the table upstairs.
"I never caught your name," he said as he pushed open the door for me.
"Bella," he repeated. "I'm Edward. Edward Cullen."
"Nice to meet you, again."
He smiled that crooked smile again and we headed outside and he held the umbrella over us the entire way back to my apartment. He stayed with me all the way up to the apartment, stopping at my door.
"Thank you for walking me home. You can't come in though. My best friend is inside with Masen and she'll flip out if she knew I let some strange guy walk me home." I laughed.
He laughed too. "Just some strange guy, huh?"
I felt my cheeks flush. "You know what I mean," I said, looking down.
"His name is Masen?"
I looked up quickly. "Oh, yes. My son. Masen."
I smiled. "Thanks, I better get inside."
He shook his head and started to walk back towards the elevators. He stopped and turned around. "Bella?"
I looked up from the door handle where I had inserted my key. My eyes met his. "Hmm?"
"Would you like to go to dinner sometime?"
I was at a loss for words. Why would he want to take me to dinner? I looked down at myself, trying to remember what I had worn that day. I was still in my work clothes, a pair of black slacks and a red sweater. Nothing fancy. I probably smelled like diapers.
"Um..." I hesitated. My door flew open and startled me.
Alice popped her head out. "She would love to!" She disappeared behind the door almost as quickly as she had appeared. She must have had her ear glued to the door. I was so embarrassed.
Edward and I both laughed. "I'm sorry," I said, apologizing for Alice's behavior.
"It's quite alright. I hope she's right," he said.
"Right?" I asked.
"I hope she's right, that you would love to go to dinner sometime."
"Oh." I blushed again. I took a deep breath. "Okay. After mid-terms though. I'm so busy."
He smiled. "That's perfect." He took a few steps towards me and handed me his cell phone. I looked at him with a confused look on my face.
"Put your number in there," he laughed. "I'll call you next week, after mid-terms."
"Oh, right. I'm sorry, I'm not used to..."
He cut me off. "It's okay."
My fingers shook as I typed in my cell phone number. I handed it back to him.
"Thank you. Goodnight, Bella." He turned back towards the elevators.
"Goodnight, Edward." I walked into my apartment, not yet ready to deal with the wrath of Alice.
***Author's Note: Thanks for reading! I hope you all enjoyed it. There's much much more to come!
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