A/N: Okay. So here's chapter one of my new story. It will have a different tone to it than To Love and Protect did. As you'll see with the first chapter, it will be darker. So, just as a precaution, I will warn you that Bella is in an abusive situation. If you aren't comfortable with it, please don't read. Disclaimer: SM owns all characters from the book.
This will mostly be from Bella's POV. If there are any changes, I will note them.
"Isabella! Where's dinner?" I flinched as I hurried to get the food off the stove. He was in a bad mood today which would not bode well for me.
"I coming, James." I ran into the dining room, setting the food down a little too hard on the table. As I made to move back into the kitchen, he grabbed my wrist.
"You know it's supposed to be on the table when I get home. Never make me wait again. Never!" His grip tightened until I cried out. "Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes." I whimpered, almost a whisper. Tonight would not be good. I made my way back to the stove to grab the garlic bread I prepared to go with the pasta. I placed it gently on the table before taking my seat across from my boyfriend.
As I made to reach for the spoon, he shot me a look that stopped me dead. "You aren't eating that. I won't have a fat girlfriend. Make a salad or starve." I nodded, too afraid to speak.
Once more, I entered the kitchen. As much as I wanted to cry, I knew that would only set him off more. It was better if I waited for him to leave tomorrow for his meeting in Florida. It would be safer when there was a thousand miles between us.
I took my salad, and also a glass of water, back to the dining room. He was already finished eating, but waited until I finished so that he knew I wouldn't go behind his back and eat anything else.
Once finished, I quietly picked up our dishes and took them to the kitchen. I stared longingly at the dish washer but knew he would retaliate if I used it. After running the water, I began the task of cleaning our dishes, as slowly as I could.
I made my way upstairs and heard water running. Good. He's in the shower. Maybe he'll go to sleep before I am done tonight. Of course, I knew that was too much to ask for.
I took out the suits he would need for his trip and went into the utility room to set up the ironing board and iron. As I worked, I thought back over the year and couldn't believe how much James had changed.
When I first met him, he was the man of my dreams. He was tall with light blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He was sweet and charming, always opening doors, carrying my books at school. He even managed to win over my father, Charlie, who was with the FBI.
But, somewhere over the last year, he changed. It was almost like a switch inside him was flipped. It started innocently enough. We were arguing and he pushed me, causing me to fall and hit my head on the table. He immediately jumped to action, apologizing and taking care of my wound.
After the next few fights, supposedly because I was "flirting" with others in our classes, his caring ways stopped. So did the visible wounds. He began to hit and kick me in places that wouldn't be visible.
Then, one night I made the mistake of telling him no. He didn't take no for an answer and raped me. Since then, he hasn't tried to seduce me. He just shoves me down on the bed or against the wall and takes what he wants. Then, I spend half the night in the tub washing away the dirty feeling.
My best friend, Alice, tried to warn me about him. She said something just didn't feel right. Alice was known to be right on with those gut feelings of hers. I didn't want her to be right. I wanted James to be my dream. After all, he noticed me when all of the others around me were so much prettier.
I hung the first suit on the door and moved on to the next, still thinking about the past.
When James first approached me, I was 5'4" and around 125 pounds. I wasn't extremely skinny like the others in my classes. Where they were blonde with big eyes, I had long, curly brown hair and rather dull brown eyes. I was on the pale side compared to the tanning bed queens.
Now, I had lost probably 20 pounds. Not because I wanted to, no, because James made me. I was even paler than I originally had been. I kept my hair pulled back from my face because he wanted to see my eyes when he talked to me. He said that way he would know if I was lying. I had begun to withdraw into myself. My degree was wasting away as he wouldn't let me work. To top it off, he had cut off all communication I had with Alice and most of the communication I had with my father.
"Isabella!" Oh, no. He's going to do this before he goes to bed.
Without responding, I made my way to the bedroom. As I entered the door, I felt two rough hands push me against the wall. My forehead connected hard, causing me to yell out. "Shut up, you stupid bitch."
He pushed my skirt up around my waste and literally ripped off my panties before shoving roughly into me. A couple thrusts later, he was finished.
He pushed away and I fell to the ground. It seemed the pain of these encounters was getting worse each time. I waited until I heard the bed creak beneath him before I crawled my way to the bathroom in the hallway.
I stripped down and looked at myself in the mirror. My entire torso was covered in bruises and I was bleeding from the most recent event. Knowing I still had to finish ironing his clothes as well as pack his bag, I cleaned up quickly, using a pad to catch any bleeding.
I hobbled down stairs and back to the utility room. I finished ironing as fast as possible so that, hopefully, I could get a few hours of sleep before he woke up.
After I had his suitcase and garment bag ready and waiting by the front door, I made my way back upstairs to my own bedroom. No, we didn't share a bed unless it was convenient to him. Of course, you wouldn't hear me complain about this either.
As soon as my head hit the pillow, I fell into a deep sleep of disturbing dreams.
I woke up at 4 in the morning, ahead of my clock. I went downstairs to get breakfast ready for James so that he could eat before he left. I was actually in a very good mood because I knew I would have a week without him. I didn't even care that his little secretary, Victoria, would be with him. That's right. I know all about him cheating on me.
Yes, I should leave him. But, if I do, he'll just drag me back kicking and screaming. I tried to leave once before and ended up with two broken ribs.
I heard him moving around and put his food on the table. I got my regular, half a grapefruit and water, and stood by his chair waiting for him. I wasn't allowed to sit down before he did.
He ate his food quickly. He walked out the door without so much as a thank you in my direction. Honestly, I didn't care.
The phone rang and I ran to answer it. "Hey Bella."
"Ohmygod! Alice! You have perfect timing. He just left."
"Awesome! Does that mean I can come and visit?"
I thought about it for a few minutes. I would love to see her, but he probably had someone keeping an eye out on me. "I don't think that's a good idea right now, Ali. You know he has his spies."
I heard a noise as she started to answer me back. Before I had a chance to respond, I felt my head hit the floor.
"I thought I told you that you weren't to talk to her! This will teach you to disrespect me!"
I felt James' foot make contact with my side, followed by a sickening crunch. The sound of more broken ribs. But, this time he didn't just stick with my sides. His foot made contact with my face before it also stomped on my arms and legs. Then, he grabbed my head and began slamming it into the floor, over and over.
Then, just as suddenly as the attack began, it ended. The door slammed once more and he was gone.
That was the last thing I remembered before darkness overtook me.
I warned you. But, don't worry. Bella will be okay in time. After all, this is her story. Please, R&R.