A/N: I want to thank my wonderful betas Jen's WordSong and twifan82 for helping me out with all the finer points of writing. I love you girlies! You rock my world!
Warning: Throughout this story, there may be scenes that are not suitable for some readers such as: graphic violence, disturbing scenes of child abuse and/or sexual abuse, violence against women, and explicit depictions of murder. Consider yourself warned.
Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight. I own this plot... so don't steal my shizz.
Complete darkness. That's all I ever see.
I smell a campfire and mossy earth. I hear the fire crackling, the rustling of leaves, and heavy footfalls descending from behind me. Fear pulses through my veins. My breathing picks up and my heart begins to race. I feel the wet grass and mud under my fingers. My hands are tied with ripcords behind my back, cutting into the skin, and I sit Indian-style on the ground, backed up against a tree. I try to stand but get forced back to the ground.
He speaks. "Ah, ah, ah. I'm not ready for you yet. I have to deal with your mother and father first. Hmm… and what to do with that little shit of a brother you have? He never should have tried to run."
I hear him move closer. He breathes on my neck, sending shivers down my spine. "I'll get to you soon. I'm saving you for last. I have special plans for you."
His voice is low and gravelly. He smells like cigarettes, bourbon, and sweat. I whimper and feel tears well up in my eyes. I know I should run, but my body won't move. I'm rooted to the earth with terrifying thoughts of what will happen to my family.
I feel him brush my hair off my shoulder and he rubs his thumb against my left cheek. It's rough and scratches my face. I flinch away from his touch and hear him chuckle. "You will be my greatest conquest. So beautiful, so fragile. I may have to keep you around for awhile. No sense in wasting you."
His breath washes across my face and nausea rolls over me. I hold my breath and brace for attack as I hear him stand. He shuffles his feet and starts retreating where he came from. My body is in survival mode and I begin thinking of what I need to do to save my family.
"Why are you doing this? We never did anything to you!" I scream at my captor and I hear him stop and turn to face me again.
"Your father ruined my life, you little whore! He never should have been able to figure out what I did to Victoria, but somehow he knew, and now he'll pay with his life!" He yells as he smacks me across the face.
I scream out in pain and turn to where I hear him walking away. "You will never get away with this, James! Do you hear me, motherfucker?" I spit at him and the wind knocks out of me as his foot connects with my stomach.
"You little bitch! You are a feisty one, aren't you? Just for that, you will get to hear what I do to your parents. It will be slow and agonizing. I promise you."
I roll around and writhe in pain on the cold, dead earth for what seems like hours. It hurts to breathe and I can't sit up. I can't hear him near me anymore and I don't know what to expect. Thoughts of my family flit through my mind as I try to think of ways to save them. All I can come up with is running, but my legs don't seem to be connecting with my brain.
All of a sudden, I hear rustling of leaves to my right. I freeze and hold my breath.
I hear a faint whisper on the wind. I turn to face the sound and wait.
"Bells! It's me. Don't move. I'm coming to get you." I hear more rustling and then feel a warm hand on my shoulder.
"Emmett, is that you? How did you…" I can't finish my sentence. I start sobbing and whimpering. He quickly releases the cloth from around my eyes. He is kneeling next to me on the ground. He has blood all over his face and hair, and his shirt is stained and torn. His pants are hanging in shreds around his hips and he only has on his right sneaker.
"Bells, it's okay. I'm here now. We'll get out of here, I promise. But you have to stop crying and be quiet or they'll find us." He brings me closer to cut off the ripcords and I yelp out in pain. He releases his grip and stares down at me in fear.
"Ow! I think that bastard broke my ribs." I look up at Emmett and he gently picks me up and cradles me to his chest.
"We have to go now. I don't know when he'll be back. He got really pissed off when he couldn't find me before, and he sent out that French fucker to recapture me." He scoffs at the memory and smirks as he looks at me. "I took care of him, though. He won't be coming after us anytime soon."
I lay my head against his chest and grip my arms around his neck as he begins to walk into the woods. We don't get far before we hear them.
They are interspersed with rumbling sounds of a chainsaw. We stop dead in our tracks and look to the left. There is a small cabin in the distance. One light shining brightly next to the door and a window to the right. The door flies open and out runs my mother… screaming and shattering the silence. She stops as she reaches the edge of the deck, wobbles, and slowly turns around. She is covered in blood, and as she turns I feel the nausea roll over me again. Her left hand is gone and blood is squirting in spurts from her wrist. She collapses in a heap on the deck.
My father is screaming. He's yelling, cursing, pleading. We hear James yelling back, mocking him, belittling him. "How did you find out, Charlie? Who tipped you off? TELL ME!" The chainsaw roars and we hear our father scream in agony.
"I will never tell you. All you are is an insignificant prick! You can kill me, but let my family go! Please don't hurt Bella. She's innocent." Tears are streaming down my face from the anguish I feel for my father, and I realize I'm holding my breath again.
"Can you walk?" Emmett pulls me from my reverie. "We have to save mom. Can you walk if I carry her?" He looks at me pleadingly. I can see that he is crying, too.
"Yes… I… I think so. I'll help you. Put me down." He places me on my feet. My left side throbs where James kicked me and I'm a little shaky, but I don't care. All I can think is that we have to save her.
We start walking quietly to the cabin. We can now see that mom is writhing on the deck. She has gashes all over her body and blood is streaming freely from her wounds. We climb the stairs and Emmett bends to pick her up. She doesn't even flinch. She is incoherent; infrequent moans passing her lips.
"Mom… Mom! Can you hear me?" Emmett whispers and tries to wake her from her stupor. "It's Emmett. Bella is safe. We're going to take you out of here." He stutters the last words as he begins sobbing uncontrollably. I can only watch, lost in my own fear. Then, we hear him.
"Bella, run… NOW!" Emmett screams at me as he lifts up mom and slings her over his shoulder. He clears the stairs in one jump and I'm hot on his heels in the next second.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are!" James yells menacingly from the deck, wielding his chainsaw, and we race into the forest.
Emmett stops and turns to make sure I'm still there. "Bella, you have to hurry or he'll find us! Dad will be fine! We have to go!"
I don't realize, at first, that I've stopped running and am turned toward the cabin again. I can now hear soft groans coming from inside and I know Charlie is hanging on with every ounce of strength he has left. I watch as James retreats inside the cabin. I step forward, inching closer to the stairs. "Bella! NO!" It barely registers that Emmett is calling me. My brain flips a switch and I have to save Charlie.
I take the three stairs up to the deck and shuffle to the door. Through the door I hear Charlie pleading again, gurgling through every word. I peek through the window to the right and stare into the cabin.
Someone else is screaming now, off in the distance.
James is standing in the middle of the room, hovering over Charlie who is slumped on the floor in a pool of blood. He lifts the chainsaw in his left hand. The screaming is getting louder in the distance. Charlie tries to lift his right hand, but it quickly falls to the floor.
"I have waited years to do this. I love seeing you in pain. It's payback for the pain I suffered. The pain you put me through, you stupid, pathetic waste of a pig!" James scowls at Charlie. Charlie gurgles and rolls on his right side, blood trickling out of his mouth. "Now, I take my revenge."
With those words I scream, and blackness consumes me once more.
The distant screaming matched my own as someone shook me violently. Huge hands cradled my face as I kicked and punched to get away from his touch. I scrambled away from the hands and clambered to the top of my bed. I was in my room. The sun was streaming through my little window. I started panting and my clothes were sopping with sweat. As my breathing slowed and my heart rate returned to normal, I noticed Emmett was sitting on the floor next to my bed. His knees were up to his chest and he was holding them with his arms, his head bent forward. His safety position. I slowly joined him on the floor and wrapped my right arm around his massive shoulders.
"Bad dream again?" His voice is muffled as he talks into his knees.
"Yeah. I never thought those stupid shrinks worked. It only brings back the memories… and the nightmares." I try to make light of the matter, but the truth is nothing will ever be able to take away that pain.
"You know, Bella… You give me a heart attack every time I hear you start screaming. I just wish there was something I could do to help you." Emmett lifted his head to peek at me over his arms.
"I do, too. But we both know that what happened has scarred us for life and we will forever be fucked up," I justified, reaching for his arm. "You know I appreciate everything you do for me. You're my twin brother and at least we still have each other. Mom and dad would be proud to know we look after each other."
He smirked and I could tell he was worried about me. I tried to smile as best I could, but I knew he could tell I was faking. He grabbed me for a big hug and ruffled my hair.
"Hey, cut that out! You know I'll just end up looking like I have a rats nest on my head and we have to look presentable for our new foster family today."
He laughed. "The families always love you, Bella. It's me they worry about. For some reason, they all think I'm gonna come into their house and bring every bad influence with me. I really don't understand. I've never done anything wrong." He tried to reassure me that I would be fine, but I always felt sorry for him when we got shipped to a new family.
Ever since the murders, we had been shipped to different foster families around the U.S., part of Child Protective Services, a futile attempt at keeping Emmett and I safe from James and his cohorts. Over the years, James or one of his minions would catch wind of where we were living and come looking for us. Of course, as soon as James heard of any law enforcement involvement, he high-tailed it out of dodge and we were shipped to another family. Wards of DFS, that's all Emmett and I had been since we were twelve. We didn't have any family to take us after the "incident", so we were forced into captivity, as I liked to call it.
Emmett always had a harder time with new families than I did. I was cute, tiny, innocent, and easy to get along with… at least with the parents. Always a straight 'A' student, I kept my nose in books most of the time. Emmett, however, was bulky, to say the least. Actually, I think mammoth would be an appropriate description. He was never small or innocent looking. Families saw Emmett as this gargantuan oaf who was bound to get into trouble at every turn. I knew better. He was always polite and courteous, even though the families seemed to turn on him every time something went missing. For the record, that diamond necklace was stolen by that bitch Lauren, and Emmett got the shit beat out of him by that dick of a foster father. We had to stay in that house for the next four months while said dickweed got drunk and took out his aggression on Emmett.
Emmett never complained, though. I would try to convince him we needed to call and get moved, but he would console me and say as long as I wasn't getting the living daylights beat out of me, there was no point in uprooting us again. He was my best friend and I know he would do anything for me, even if that meant taking a beating. He was always there to make me feel better after a nightmare and tell me everything was going to be okay. I loved the big ogre and I couldn't wait until next year when all this fuckery of foster care would be behind us.
We were turning seventeen next month—September thirteenth to be exact, and it was the last year we had to deal with alcoholic foster fathers and being uprooted from homes on a regular basis. Today would be our last morning at Mrs. Stanley's house in Colorado. She was nice enough, but her daughter, Jessica, was a hoochie. Ever since we moved here in January, Jessica was all over Emmett. He would kindly decline her advances, but she was too thickheaded to understand that Emmett was better off sleeping with a warthog than tapping that shit. Everyone at school knew she was a skank. She was good for getting drunk and mounting anything that had two legs, including that cock-face Mike, who Emmett ground to a pulp for trying to feel me up at a party. This town was full of winners, let me tell you, but we would be leaving for Forks, Washington in five hours, so I wasn't complaining.
Emmett and I refused to go anywhere without the other. We needed each other like we needed air. We were each other's rock and nothing could tear us apart. In fact, DFS pitched a fit the time we'd locked ourselves in our bedroom when we were fourteen for seventy-five hours, with no food or water, mind you, while they tried every tactic they could think of to get us to separate. They wanted us to move to opposite ends of the country with the promise that we would reunite after one year. Bullshit! We had fun with those asshats, too. We sang songs and wrote them little love letters and slipped them under the door. I recall one that Emmett wrote, "Roses are red, violets are blue. We will not separate, so SCREW YOU!" We peed out the second story window, and we loved every second of it. Needless to say, DFS never fucked with us again. Damn straight! We were always placed in homes that wanted both of us after that.
We were actually looking forward to this move. It would hopefully last until our eighteenth birthdays and then we would be home free, so to speak. This new family seemed nice enough on paper, but so did the last eight we were forced to stay with. The father was an emergency room doctor, the mother was an interior designer that worked from home most of the time, and they had two children: a boy who was our age, and a girl one year younger. We never got pictures sent with the family files so we didn't know what to expect. Emmett and I hoped they would be compassionate, that the boy wouldn't give us too much grief and that the younger girl wouldn't try to jump his bones. We just couldn't wait to be on our own and off to college.
Just one more year of foster fuck ups and away we go.
"So, did you pack your gifts?" Mrs. Stanley stood at the stove cooking breakfast, the smell of eggs and bacon permeating the kitchen.
"Yeah, thanks again for getting those for us. We really appreciate everything you did for us." Emmett smiled fondly at Mrs. Stanley. Damn, I love Emmett. That kid could lie to God and get away with it.
"Yes, thank you, Mrs. Stanley. We packed the gifts in our bags for the new family." I tried to be just as polite, most of the time, but sometimes I just couldn't help myself.
Jessica was sitting across from me at the table looking like a complete slut with her boobs practically falling out of her shirt. Obviously, one last attempt at getting Emmett in her pants, and I just couldn't resist. I glared at her and whispered, "So, Jessica… what will you do with yourself now that you won't have Emmett around to play with? I hear Mike needs a buddy. Maybe you could help him out with his 'little' problem."
"Shut it, Bella," she squeaked back. "You don't have any idea what you're talking about."
I saw Mrs. Stanley look at me after my outburst and I lowered my voice again. "Like hell I don't, twat. I heard Mike gets off on girls with fat rolls who smell like salami. Really turns him on." I smirked as I watched her jaw drop open and her eyes widen in disgust.
"You think you can get away with that, bitch?" She scowled at me.
"Watch me, skank. I'm leaving in less than three hours and I'll never have to hear from you and your smelly coochie again. Don't say I never did anything for you. I saved you from the worst fuck up in your lame high school career last weekend when you got shit faced and started stripping at the party. You owe me for saving you the embarrassment of being called "Lollipop" for the rest of your existence."
Her jaw dropped again and her cheeks were now blotchy and red. She was fuming, but she knew I was right. No one, and I mean no one, wanted to see what she was going to do with that lollipop while she straddled the coffee table. I shivered at the thought.
Emmett was sitting to my left and I could see him fighting off giggles while he sipped his orange juice. He was at the party, too, and couldn't believe I'd actually saved her ass.
What can I say? It was my one attempt at being nice to her before leaving this shit hole town.
"Okay, kids. Breakfast is finished. Come get your plates. And Emmett… save some for the girls, please." Mrs. Stanley scolded as she placed plates on the counter and popped bread into the toaster.
"Like that whale needs more food." Emmett scoffed as he rose from the table. I nearly spewed milk out my nose when he said that. I was sputtering and coughing on my failed attempt at swallowing, and Mrs. Stanley came rushing over to my side to see what happened.
"My dear! What's the matter? Go down the wrong pipe?" She questioned, looking at me with concern.
"Yeah," cough, "I think," sputter, "I swallowed wrong." I glared at Emmett who was chuckling while piling his plate with scrambled eggs.
"This all looks great, Mrs. Stanley. Thanks for breakfast. Bella and I will be ready to leave by eleven for the airport." Emmett was trying his best at being civil, but Mrs. Stanley never liked him.
Surprise, surprise. At least she never beat him.
After breakfast was over, we finished packing our few personal items and were on our way to the airport. We couldn't wait to get away from here and move on to a new town where no one knew us and no one cared who we were in the first place. We hugged, and smiled, and "thank you'd," then fake cried when we arrived at our terminal and said our goodbyes. Emmett and I took our seats on the flight and we waited for takeoff.
"So, you excited, Bells?" Emmett looked down at me with a boyish gleam in his eyes.
I couldn't help but smile back. "Of course, you big doof. I couldn't wait to get away from skankoid back there. She was really cramping my style. And we finally get to move to a small town with a nice family, hopefully. Their profile seemed promising."
"Yeah, I hope so, too. We deserve a nice family for all the shit we've been through." He was always so hopeful and nothing seemed to bother him. Well, except when someone tried to get in my pants. Then he went apeshit, but I loved him nonetheless.
"You know no matter what, we'll have each other, big guy. That… I know I can count on. And I'll always have your back." I smiled up at him and gave him a hug.
"I love you, too, Bells. Don't go getting all sappy on me now. I need your wit to keep me goin." He snickered and ruffled my hair again.
"Shit, Emmett! Do you really have to do that? I just got that tamed and now you go and fuck it up. I hope that older brother's not hot, because now I look like Chewbacca." I tried, futilely, to reshape the mane, but nothing was working. I huffed and grabbed a hair tie out of my carry-on and wrapped up my hair in a messy bun.
So much for being presentable.
The flight was three hours, which was tolerable because I wasn't sandwiched between two douchebags like I was the last time I was on a plane. Nope… this time Emmett and I had the seats next to the window, so it was just the two of us, goofing off. We got a kick out of watching the flight attendant blush at our potty mouths, and kept asking for peanuts just so we could peg unsuspecting passengers when they walked by. Yeah, I was pretty sure we'd never be allowed to fly on that airline again. We felt like special kids on the short bus when security escorted us from the plane after it landed.
What a trip!
After touching down at SeaTac and gathering our bags, we headed out of the terminal and looked for a taxi. We were standing there just putzing around when I noticed him.
He was tall, slender build, wearing a grey fitted t-shirt that showed off his muscles, dark-wash button-fly jeans, and black, ratty Converse sneakers. He was nervously bending his fingers back and forth while looking around for whoever he was picking up.
I bet those fingers would know their way around my lady bits. I wonder if he likes to spank?
As my eyes wandered up his frame, I felt a small moan escape my lips as I watched his biceps ripple every time he moved his arms. Then I saw his face.
Cue panty drop in three… two… one!
He had a perfect, strong jaw with lickable stubble in just the right amount. His cheek bones were well-defined and I watched intently as his mouth moved while he chewed on the corner of his bottom lip. Holy crow… his lips! Plump, luscious masterpieces of deliciousness that I really wanted to taste.
Mmmm, and I bet they taste sinful.
Then his tongue darted out of his mouth and licked the corner of the lip he was just worrying. I could feel my body start to quiver and my panties get wet.
Yep, zero to Niagara Falls in 1.2 seconds.
Then, I noticed his eyes; deep green and endless. Eyes that would swallow you whole and make you forget your name.
What… Huh… Oh yeah… Continue with the eye-fuck, Bella.
And to top it all off, bronze sex-hair that made him look like he was freshly fucked and ready for more. I let my sight linger again on his eyes, when I realized he was staring at me. He was giving me the once over I had just so blatantly given him and I felt my cheeks start to flush and I bit my bottom lip.
Well, at least he knows how to give a good eye-fuck. I wonder if I could make him… Cripes, quit staring, Bella.
"Bella? Earth to Bella. Hey, are you listening? We have a ride. Come on. The meter's running."
"Damn it, Emmett!" I punched him hard in the shoulder as I berated him. "You ruined my moment with Mr. Hotness over there. I was getting a rather good eye-fucking and I wanted to make it last."
We started loading our bags into the trunk of the cab when I felt a tap on my right shoulder. I immediately stiffened and held my breath. I turned around slowly and once again got lost in the depth of those green eyes.
"Um… Yes?" I'm not sure how I managed to form words at this point, but at least I said something.
"Well… ummm… yeah. I mean… Hi, I'm Edward Cullen and… I think… I think you and your brother are supposed to be staying with us for a while." He was running his fingers through his hair and I swear I noticed a blush on his cheeks. "My father sent me here to pick you up. He was stuck at the hospital for a double shift. He's terribly sorry he's not here to greet you."
My brain was mush at this point. I had no idea if I would ever be able to speak again after this amazing dazzling. At least Emmett could still move his mouth because I was lost in the world of Mr. Sex-hair again, and I never wanted to find my way out.
"Thank you, Edward. This is Bella and I'm Emmett. It's a pleasure to meet you." The whole time Emmett spoke, Edward stared into my eyes. Everything around us seemed to blur. I felt Emmett tug on my arm and I shook my head to regain composure.
"Yes… well, ummm… pleasure to meet you, Edward," I stuttered as I looked down at my feet. Thank god I'd worn my good bra today.
At least my boobs are working it for me.
"Okay then. Shall I take your bags, Bella?" Edward looked directly at me and I felt my body reduce to a heaping pile of goo. The way my name left his lips was mesmerizing. I definitely wanted to hear him say it again.
"S-Sure. Thank you, Edward." I took this opportunity to glance at Emmett. He was trying not to smile at our little exchange, but he knew all too well what was going through my mind. I turned again to see Edward reaching around me to grab my bags from the trunk of the taxi. He lightly brushed against my arm and we both flinched at the touch. I gasped from the warm tingle that ignited on my arm where his skin grazed mine. He breathed a simple, "sorry" in my ear and his sweet breath washed over my face.
Commence panty combustion.
"I'm the Volvo, right there." Edward pointed to the silver Volvo not far from where we were all standing.
"Great. I'll just pay the cabbie for his time and meet you over there." Emmett left us and went to the front of the taxi.
Wonderful! Emmett left while I couldn't formulate coherent thoughts and I was forced to navigate walking alongside Mr. Panty-dropper. I just hoped the word vomit didn't start soon.
"So, do you have a girlfriend?" Shit! No such luck with the word vomit.
Edward hesitated, "Umm, well, no. I don't. I'm keeping my slate clean for now and focusing on keeping my grades up so I can get into a good college. My father wants me to go to med school, so I really need to focus, since this is my senior year and all." He stopped talking abruptly and opened the trunk of the car. He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair again.
Gah! I bet it's soft. I wonder if he likes it to be pulled?
"Oh. I guess your parents are really proud of you. I mean, I would be proud of you… Uh, I mean… shit, forget it." What was wrong with me? All he had to do was look at me with those eyes and I was toast.
I turned around quickly and promptly fell on my ass. Then, I picked myself up off the pavement and climbed into the back seat. I swear I heard Edward chuckle before he shut the trunk and walked around to get behind the wheel.
"So, we ready to roll?" Emmett sneaked into the front passenger seat and smiled back at me before turning to Edward again. "Oh, and Edward? If you touch my sister, I'll kill you."
Emmett! You stupid shit!
This was going to be a long, fucking ride.
A/N: Thank you for taking the time to read my first ever fanfic! I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. I plan on switching up POVs every once in a while, because really, who doesn't love a little variety! The next chapter should be up soon. Please click and review! I would love to hear what you think. ;)