A/N: Some of you may already know this but I'm taking off the month of September to deal with some RL issues. I'll be back in October and hopefully posting on a normal schedule again.
Thank you so much Astonmartin823 for beta'ing this story so quickly. You are awesome and such a good friend.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. No copyright infringement intended.
After spending a couple hours in jail, I was brought before the judge. Carlisle was there to bail me out after I was given whatever sentence they had for me. I didn't understand why I was the one arrested when it wasn't even my fault what happened. Mike was taken to the hospital, but released a few hours later after he told the cops some bogus story about how I attacked him and I was the one who brought the alcohol to the prom. With the record I already had, it wasn't hard for the cops to believe him. They never even asked me what really happened, which was such bullshit. Mike was just sleazy enough to get off and let me take the fall for what happened.
I knew I should have controlled my temper better, but listening to him say shit about Bella pissed me off and I reacted. It's my own fault for falling into his trap. It was probably his plan all along. Because of him I ruined what was supposed to be a perfect night with Bella. If she was even allowed to talk to me anymore, she probably wouldn't want to anyway. The look on her face when I was taken out of the dance in handcuffs was heart-wrenching. She looked like someone had just gutted her. I left her at the prom alone and helpless.
"What do you have to say for yourself this time, Edward?" the judge, whom I'd seen numerous times before, asked.
"I'm sorry. It was a huge mistake. I didn't intend to get in a fight at the prom. I was provoked," I explained.
"I see," he replied with an unbelieving tone. "Are you aware you broke the victim's nose and jaw as well as gave him a black eye? You're telling me that was a mistake and you didn't intend to do all those things to him? It was a just an accident? You seem to have quite the record, Edward. Why should I believe you this time?"
"Because I'm telling you the truth," I shouted getting angry at his response. "Mike was making rude comments about my girlfriend and I attacked him. I admit I made a mistake, but I didn't intend to hurt him."
He sighed and sat back in his seat. "I talked to your uncle and he said you have made some huge improvements the last few months. Part of me wants to believe you but the other part wonders if it's too late."
"It's not too late. I've been doing really well for months. You have my record in front of you. When's the last time I fucked up?" He gave me a stern look when I used a curse word.
"I'm going to let you off easy this time with some restrictions. You'll be on probation for the next six months. You'll need to meet with your assigned probation officer once a month. In addition to that, I'm making a recommendation for you to see a counselor once a week for the six months."
"I already do." His eyebrow raised and his jaw tightened when I interrupted him.
"You will be restricted to your hometown for those six months," he continued, ignoring my comment. "You will only be allowed to leave the town with permission from your probation officer and your legal guardian. And lastly, you will be required to stay at least one hundred feet away from the victim. If any of these restrictions are broken, you will face jail time. You only have a couple weeks before you're a legal adult. I'd start thinking about your future before you end up in prison for a very long time. I'm letting you off as a minor but next time you won't be so lucky."
"I understand, Sir." I was released from the handcuffs and sent to sign paperwork before I went home with Carlisle.
I could tell Carlisle was not happy as we walked out of the court room. I followed behind him and got into his car he obviously must have picked up from the hotel. Carlisle never said a word as he drove out of the town and back towards Forks.
"Is Bella still at the hotel?" I asked.
"No," he answered. "Esme came and drove her home."
"I need to talk to her. I need to explain what happened."
"What did happen, Edward? I thought you were past this? I thought you were growing up?"
I sighed heavily and rolled my eyes. "You don't believe what I told the judge, do you?"
"I want to, Edward, but this just seems like more of the same as before. Is this ever going to end?"
"I wasn't lying. Mike was saying crap about Bella. What did you want me to do, just stand there and let him say what he was saying? I had to defend her."
"I'm not saying I don't believe you. I'm saying there are other ways to handle things without getting in a physical fight with someone, especially when you already have an extensive record. You aren't always going to be able to get off so easily," he warned.
"I know, Carlisle. I fucked up again and I'm sure I will a hundred times more. I'm just a fucked up kid who shouldn't be here anymore. I don't deserve to be here. I should have died with my parents so no one would have to suffer being around me."
"Don't you dare say that ever again," he shouted angrily. I rolled my eyes and huffed dramatically while he did much of the same gestures I was. "Look, I get you were trying to defend Bella, but you have to start thinking about how your actions are going to affect your future. I don't think Bella is going to want to visit you in prison every week, do you? I just don't want to do this with you anymore."
"I've never asked you to do anything for me. You don't always have to bail me out."
He grumbled again and pulled over to the side of the road. "Fine, from now on you can sit in jail for all I care. If you aren't going to care about your own life, then there's no reason for anyone else to." He stepped out of the car and walked a few feet in front leaning against the hood with his arms crossed against his chest. I sat there staring out at him with confusion running through me. I didn't know what he was doing of what he wanted me to do. I just sat there in the passenger seat watching him look up at the sky and run his hands through his hair. A couple times he would walk a few paces in front of him then come right back. It looked like he was mumbling something to himself but I couldn't hear him. He did this for a good fifteen minutes before getting back in the car and pulling back out on the road. He never said another word all the way home.
Pulling into the driveway of the house, I could see the light still on. Esme came running out to meet us with a pained expression across her face. She ran towards me and wrapped her arms around my neck. I could hear her soft cries against my ear as she hugged me. I didn't hug her back. I just stood there until she was done. "How bad is it this time?" she wondered, while walking over to Carlisle, giving him a hug and kiss and waiting for the dreaded answer of how I fucked up again.
"Well, he's on probation, he can't leave Forks, he has to stay away from Mike…"
"No problem there," I added, interrupting Carlisle. I had no intention of being in the same vicinity as Mike if I could help it.
"Anyway," Carlisle continued. "He's going to be watched fairly close for the next few months."
"Did you talk to Bella?" I asked Esme, ignoring everything Carlisle was saying.
"We talked a little during the drive home," Esme said. "She's pretty upset. I think it would be good to give her a few days to calm down."
"I need to explain."
"Give it some time," Carlisle ordered. "It's not just Bella you need to worry about. I'm sure Charlie isn't going to be thrilled about what happened either."
I angrily walked up the steps and up to my room, slamming the door behind me. I plopped down on my bed and stared at my ceiling. Everything was falling apart. I needed to fix things with Bella. She needed to understand what happened.
I waited until I heard Esme and Carlisle go to bed, then snuck downstairs and out the front door. If I'd climbed up to Bella's room before I could do it again. I couldn't wait for her to cool down. I had to explain now.
It only took me a few minutes to run to Bella's house. All the lights in the house were off, even Bella's. I worried about scaring her but I had to talk to her. I carefully climbed up the tree and was surprised when I got to her window to find it wide open. It was almost like she was expecting me to come. As quietly as I could, I climbed through her window. I was stunned when I saw her sitting on the edge of her bed in the dark. Her eyes shined from unshed tears as her eyes met mine. I swallowed hard against the lump in my throat and stood motionless as I stared at her.
"Why?" she asked, her voice weak from crying.
"I'm sorry. Mike was saying stuff about you. I had to defend you."
"Mike always says crap about me. It's nothing new, Edward. Why couldn't you let it go and walk away? This night was supposed to be special."
"I know. I fucked up, Bella. I'm sorry. Please forgive me," I begged.
She stood from her bed and slowly walked closer to me. She rested her forehead against my chest and let out a sigh of relief. My arms instinctively pulled her into me.
As much as I wanted to hear the words of forgiveness from her, the simple embrace we shared was her unspoken way of telling me she forgave me. Bella was far too forgiving of all the shit I put her through. I didn't deserve her kindness or her mercy. I didn't deserve to be loved as much as I was by her.
I'd never told anyone I loved them. The words had never left my lips. Even with my dad, we never said it. It was an unspoken understanding. I'd never cared about anyone enough to actually want to say it. In that moment I knew I loved Bella, but I couldn't say it. The words wouldn't come. I stood there silently holding her in my arms and breathing her in hoping somehow she could forgive me once again for not being everything she deserved.
I spent the night with her, holding her in my arms and doing my best to comfort her. It's all I could offer her. We didn't talk about what happened anymore. She didn't want to know what Mike said or why I punched him. She just let it go so simply.
In the morning, before she woke up I snuck out of her room and walked downstairs. I knew Charlie was probably going to be upset knowing I'd been in her room all night, but in that moment I didn't care. I needed to make things right with Charlie just as much as I did with Bella. Charlie would be much harder though.
The sound of my footsteps alerted him and he turned towards me. His face was filled with anger. "What are you doing in my house?" he asked through a clenched jaw.
"I had to see Bella. I needed her to understand what happened. I need you to understand."
"I don't want to know," he said. "I want you out of my house."
"Sir, I was trying to defend your daughter from some guys who harass her at school," I explained, despite his request to not know. For a split second I thought he might be listening to what I had to say. "I know there were better ways I could have handled it, but I reacted. I didn't mean to hurt Bella or make you upset. I'm hoping you can forgive me."
"What were you doing upstairs? Were you up there all night? How many times have you snuck up there?" he asked. I contemplated whether or not to be honest or lie to him. The look on his face made me think he probably already knew. If I lied it might make things a lot worse than they already were.
"A couple times," I admitted. "It's only been for Bella's sake. Sometimes she needs someone to hold her and tell her everything will be alright."
His face turned red with anger. His eyes burned into my face like he wanted to kill me. For a split second I worried for my life. "Get out, Edward. I don't want you to come back to this house ever again. If I find out you're sneaking into her room, I will call the cops. If I need to I'll get a restraining order against you."
"Sir, please don't do this," I pleaded breathlessly. "You can't take her away from me."
"She's my daughter and I will do what I think is best for her. Now leave," he ordered, pointing towards the door. "I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt and trust my daughter's decisions but she's apparently not thinking clearly enough to make wise ones."
"Charlie, I love her. I can't live without her," I admitted on the verge of tears. I hoped my confession would soften him a little, but unfortunately I think it only made things worse.
"She's leaving for Florida as soon as the school year is over. I've made my decision and nothing you or she says will change my mind. Now get out and don't come back."
I looked back towards the stairs hoping maybe Bella would come down and try to stop this. She always had a way of softening her dad and getting her way, but she never came. I walked out of the house and down the sidewalk while Charlie watched me walk away to be sure I didn't come back.
I knew getting Charlie to forgive me for what happened was going to be tough, but I thought maybe after all these months he would at least give me the benefit of the doubt and let me explain myself. Now even if Bella had forgiven me, Charlie wouldn't. He was going to send her away because of me.
I slowly made the trek home and walked straight to my room not even saying a word to Carlisle or Esme as I passed both of them on the way in.
Later in the day I called Emmett and asked if I could come over. He quickly agreed to come get me, knowing by the sound of my voice something was wrong. He picked me up and offered to take me to get something to eat. I hadn't even realized I hadn't eaten anything since the night before. We drove to the small diner on the outskirts of town and ordered a couple burgers.
"So what's going on?" he questioned. Within minutes I had told him the entire story of what happened at the prom, with Carlisle, and at Bella's house. After I was done, he leaned back in his seat sighing dramatically. Even when the food was served he didn't move to eat right away. His eyes focused on me like he wanted to say something but didn't know quite how to say it without making me upset.
"Just say it," I ordered, rolling my eyes at his silent stare.
"You fucked up bad this time, Edward. I don't know what you want me to do to help. I can't make Bella's father let you see her," he said.
"I'm not asking you to do anything," I countered. "I just needed some advice. What do I say to him to make him change his mind?"
"I don't know if there's anything you can say. He's going to need to know he can trust you again."
"He's going to send her away. She'll be forced to go to Florida to stay with her mom, whom she hasn't seen or heard from since she was six years old. I can't let him do that to her," I complained.
"To be honest, Edward, it might be a good idea for everyone if you spent some time apart." I glared at him and breathed out of my nose causing my nostrils to flare. "Here me out first," he ordered, defensively holding his hands out in front of him. "You need to earn Charlie's trust again. Give it a summer to change your whole outlook on everything. Toe the line for a while so when Bella comes back hopefully by then Charlie will see you as a different, more mature person. You can even come work for me more than you already do. I know I haven't had much for you to do lately, but I'll find something to keep you busy over the summer. If Charlie and even Carlisle and Esme see you as making an effort maybe things will be different. I think it would be good for Bella to spread her wings a little anyway. She's never had an adventure like going to Florida. Give her some space so she can find herself."
"She doesn't want to go to Florida, though. She doesn't want to see her mom. I won't let her go. I'll protect her. Would you want to see your mom after she abandoned you as a young child?" I asked.
"Would you want to see your mom even though you've never even met her?" he countered.
"That's different. My mom didn't have a choice. Bella's mom did and she chose to leave Bella behind."
"Maybe she had good reason for leaving her behind," he argued further.
"Even if she did why come back into Bella's life after all these years and cause her more heartache?"
"I don't know the answer to that, all I know is if you want Bella in your life then you need to let things go and not interfere with what Charlie decides. You can't get mad at him for doing what he thinks is best for his daughter."
"I won't let him send her away," I argued angrily.
He grumbled frustratingly. "Whatever, Edward," he said giving up with a toss of his hands. "I'm trying to help but you don't seem to want my advice so I don't know what you want me to do."
"You aren't really helping."
"No, you don't think I am because I'm not saying what you wanted to hear. Not everyone is going to see things the same way you do. I'm sure Charlie and Bella's mom have good reason for wanting her to go to Florida for the summer. I almost wonder if it's more to do with Bella, than with trying to keep her away from you. I've known Bella and Charlie for quite some time and he genuinely seems to like you. Believe me, if he didn't you wouldn't have lasted this long. No boy who has ever shown an interest in Bella has lasted longer than the first date. Just let it go for now and I'm sure with time it'll blow over. Charlie is just angry at the moment and needs some time. Give him that and stop trying to interfere."
Emmett irritated me. Why did he have to agree with everyone else? Why couldn't anyone ever agree with me for a change? It felt like everyone was against me.
We ate silently and left right after we were done. Emmett tried to give me words of encouragement during the drive home and again offered to let me work even more. I had grown bored of the small jobs I did for him and on most days didn't even go. He didn't seem to care since I wasn't technically an employee. I just did odd jobs for him. It wasn't anything special. I told him I'd think about it and it all depended on Bella.
Once I was home I went straight to my room and tried to call Bella. Charlie answered and told me not to call anymore. I was so angry at him I actually threw my cell phone across the room. I paced my bedroom floor for quite a while trying to decide whether I should go over to her house and sneak in or if I should stay away. The last thing I needed was to be arrested again or have a restraining order against me. I ended up staying home and staring at my ceiling most of the night while trying to figure out what to do to make this better. Nothing I thought of seemed to do any good though. No matter what I thought of I would end up hurting Bella in some way. I started to question if everyone was right. Maybe Bella and I shouldn't be together anymore. Maybe it would be best for her to go away so she could get over me. It was my fault she was being sent to spend the summer with her mom anyway. It was my fault she was being locked away now. Everything was always my fault. I killed my mother, I killed my father, and now I was taking Bella's life away by being with her. She would be better off without me.
End note: Not only am I hosting the Emerging Swan Awards but I was also nominated for a few things. I'd really appreciate if everyone went and voted for your favorite under appreciated stories/authors. There are some really great stories/authors in the mix who truly deserve some recognition. It would be awesome if I got a few votes but I'm up against some really great authors. I'm just so excited to be bringing some joy into the fandom with these awards. I can't tell you how happy it makes me when we get a tweet or PM thanking us and telling us how excited they are. It's such a great feeling. :) Anyway, the link is on my profile or you can just google Emerging Swan Awards. Please go vote!