thanks so much to everyone still reading this. =)
kellyprovence - thank you for your beta'ing skills.
Warning: For How Long deals with physical & emotional abuse. If these things offend you or are hard for you to handle then please don't read. It won't be anything too graphic but the abuse is still there.
Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight. I own this story.
For How Long - Always
"no matter where I am, what I'm doing, or who I'm with...I will love you, always."
I don't come out of my room for the rest of night. I say good-bye to the Cullen's through the door and I feel awful for being so rude, but I'm just so upset.
Demetri was right. My family was never going to support me in this. Mom as much as said so. I need to talk to my brothers. Surely they'll be on my side and maybe they can work on mom and dad.
I wonder if my dad will be as hard to convince as my mother…
I'm just crawling into bed when there's a knock.
"I just wanted to say good night."
I give Edward a small smile and ask him to come in.
"Thank you for staying with me earlier. I'm sorry for what my mom said." My apology seems weak and I'm reminded that maybe everything I do will come off as weak.
He shakes his head and takes my hand in his.
"Bella, I don't want you to apologize for a single thing your mother does from here on out. Besides, there's nowhere I'd rather be then next to you. Helping you get through this."
I'm not sure what I did to deserve Edward's friendship. I'm not even sure I have earned it yet. So far, it's been a lot of me taking and him giving. I want to be in a position to give him something other than stress and anxiety.
It's not his problem. I'm not his problem and yet he takes everything I'm carrying and never has an ill word to say about it.
One day, I'll do whatever I can to show Edward how much his support and concern mean to me.
I go to sleep with so much on mind that it's a wonder I sleep at all.
"Hey, I'm glad I got to see you before I left," Edward greets me as I walk into the kitchen. I glance at the clock and see it's nearly nine.
"Sorry, I just couldn't drag myself out of bed."
He gives me a small smile and takes a drink from his coffee cup.
"Back to work?" I ask, leaning against the counter.
"Yes, I'll be there all day I'm afraid. I'll try to wrap it up around six though, okay?"
I nod. "Edward, you don't need to live your life around me, I'll be fine."
The words are true, but if I'm being honest, I want him here all the time. I feel safe with him and I enjoy his company immensely. I know I can't ask that of him though. He's already done so much for me.
"I would be a horrible host if I left you to fend for yourself all day and I won't do it often, I promise."
His words brought a question to the front of my mind.
"How long can I stay here?"
He gets up from the table and makes his way over to me.
"You're welcome here for as long as you want to stay."
"I don't want to become an imposition though. You have your own life and things to do."
"Bella, I want you here. Call me selfish but I like your company, and I want to make sure I can keep my promises. That being said, I also don't want you to feel as if you have no other option. If you feel like you need to be on your own, then I'll help you do that."
I didn't know how long I wanted to stay at Edward's. A realistic timeline needed to be decided upon though. I knew us living together would work for now, but if we were ever going to pursue a real relationship, we would need our space. Plus, who knows what Demetri would do, especially now that he knows I'm staying here.
"You've done so much for me," I say quietly.
"This may sound strange and I hope it's not too much, but you mean a lot to me Bella."
I can't help the smile that crosses my face. It's not like I don't have people who care about me, but it's nice to hear it. I so rarely do.
"You mean a lot to me, Edward." I look up to meet his eyes. I want him to know I'm sincere, that I mean it with everything.
He gives me his own smile and kisses my forehead.
I can't catch the sigh that escapes. All the bad things go away when it's just him and I. I know it's too soon to be thinking like that, but I can't help it. He's good to me, for me. I have a long way to go, I know that, but maybe it won't seem so long with him beside me.
Jasper calls first. I invite him over because he deserves to be told in person. On the phone he sounds calm and neutral. Honestly, I didn't think he'd want to see me, but he said he'd be right over. I'm taking that as a good sign.
The bruises are pretty faded now and I'm glad. Regardless of what Jasper thinks or how he'll react, I don't want him to see me covered in bruises. They're my burdens to bear.
When they call to see if Jasper is allowed to come up, I'm nervous. I'm not sure why exactly. He's my brother and one of my best friends. He wouldn't let me do this by myself.
I open the door when he knocks and we just stand there. He won't meet my eyes and he's playing with his keys. He's nervous, too.
I step to the side and he enters. He takes a seat on the couch and I take the chair. This is probably the most silent we've been our whole lives.
He survey's the living room while I fiddle with the end of my shirt. The silence is almost overwhelming. I hate this.
Finally, after what seems like forever, Jasper speaks.
"This is a nice place."
I notice he still won't look at me. I nod anyway.
"Yes, it is."
Again, we're in silence. It's like the elephant in the room just keeps moving from one corner to another but won't come close enough to address.
Jasper lets out a heavy sigh and starts, "Listen, Bella, I don't know what to say or what you need me to do. I don't think any brother wants to hear about their little sister getting abused by someone that vowed to take care of her."
He looks to me then and since I have no idea what to say either, I just nod and look away. I owe him an explanation, or maybe I don't. Hell, I don't even know if he wants one, but until he makes that clear, I'm not going to offer up any details. Who really wants to hear about that, anyway?
"Dad told me how mom reacted and it pisses me off. You're her daughter for God's sake. She should be here comforting you or doing that girl bonding thing. I just…I'm sorry, B. I can't change how Mom's acting, but I'll be here for you. Always, ok?"
I'm fighting tears because out of the three family members that know about this, Jasper is the only one that has told me that. He's on my side, always. I stand up and he meets me half way with a huge hug that only your brother can give you.
"I love you, sis."
I stop fighting the tears.
"I love you, Jasper."
It comes out as a whisper, but a gentle squeeze tells me he heard what I said just fine.
"So what are you going to do? Where ya staying?"
I walk over to the kitchen table with the sandwich's I fixed for Jasper and I.
"Well, Edward is going to let me stay here until I'm ready to be on my own. Carlisle and Esme have been wonderful with everything and they've recommended a lawyer for the divorce."
Jasper nods his head but doesn't comment. The word divorce is bitter on my tongue. I didn't think I'd ever be in the position where that would be the only option I had.
"Edward is treating you ok?"
I smile at Jasper's concern.
"He's great and really supportive. He's definitely the reason I had the courage to finally leave."
Jasper shakes his head, "No, Bella, you had the courage, you just needed to be reminded that you did."
"Well, anyway, he's been really amazing through this whole thing. I'm lucky to have him and his family."
"I'm sorry you don't have that support from our family."
"Jasper, I have you and Emmett. That's plenty of support."
"Dad is on your side, ya know. He's just trying to keep Mom from going all crazy on you. He wants you to know he's there for you, too."
I want to believe that, but he hasn't said anything like that to me and passing the message through Jasper isn't good enough. There are ways of getting around Mom.
"I'm going to call Emmett tomorrow; have you spoken to him?"
Jasper leans back in the chair and shakes his head.
"No, but I know Dad called him last night after he spoke to me."
"I hope he's with me on this," I say with a nervous smile.
"Bells, he's your brother, he'll definitely be there for you. Honestly, he'll probably want to beat the shit out of Demetri, so it's a good thing he's in Tennessee."
"Yeah, I don't want him getting into trouble for me."
I didn't even think about anyone wanting to hurt Demetri because of this. It's not that I don't think he deserves it, because he certainly does, but he's not worth the trouble that would bring. Demetri is worth very little.
"We'd do it, Bells. That's what big brothers are for."
short chapters from here on out. but hopefully that means i'll get them out faster.
i fail...i know. but i really appreciate everyone whose stickin with me on this.