A/N I don't own Twilight
Before you read this story, please read my warning carefully. This story is completely different from the sweetness I've written before.
This story contains dark themes such as abuse and violence. It deals with the aftermath of child abuse. If you are a victim of abuse, I suggest you consider carefully before you read this. There will be NO graphic descriptions of the abuse, but implications will be made. I try to focus on emotions in this story, because that's what it's all about in the end. If you have any questions, remarks or you just want to talk, do not hesitate to send me a private message. I will always read with care and reply in kind.
Summary: Bella Swan is 17 and has known nothing but misery in her life. The Cullen family take her into her care, as both Bella's therapist Renee and Cullen-father Carlisle strongly believe that 'this time, it will be right'. Bella fights to accept the love and trust of her new family, while constantly being betrayed by her body and her memories. Will she be able to let love in?
Mood music: Linkin Park - In the End; Maria Mena - Nevermind Me; Mika - Any Other World.
"Bella? Bella, wake up. Bella? Can you hear me?"
A soft woman's voice breaks through my sleeping daze and I force myself to open my eyes. I have to blink a few times to clear my vision.
A ceiling, too close above me. The space I am in is altogether too small. I panic and get up, only to find I am constrained. I can't move my hips.
Panic levels rising, I gasp in a breath that is almost too large for my lungs. My body doesn't give me time to breathe out as I gasp for air again. My hands fly to my neck, my eyes are widening.
Where the hell am I? Why can't I move?
"Bella? Look at me. Look at me, Bella," the woman's voice beside me keeps pleading. I realize she's been speaking to me ever since I woke up and started panicking.
I'm hyperventilating just a tad too much to be really able to listen to her, though.
She doesn't give up. Renée never gives up on me. She sits beside me, her big brown eyes full of trust and reassurance, I see when I finally meet her gaze.
"Count with me," Renée says softly. "Here we go. One: you're okay. Two: you're on a plane. You're buckled in, that's why you can't move. Three: You are on your way to Forks, Washington. Four: Your feet are firmly on the ground. Five: you are breathing regularly. Six: your heart rate is slowing down. Seven:…"
As I look unblinking at Renée and silently count with her, my eyes fill up with tears. I'll miss her. I'll miss her so much. The counting method was her idea to help me ground when I'm upset. Start with knowing where you are, then counting your way up to breathing normally and being able to face the world again. And it works, right now it works again. My breathing slows, I get myself in check once more.
She is the only therapist that ever got through to me. And now she is leaving me, too.
Things have gone so fast. After being saved from Laurent at the age of fourteen, I finally got to settle with a family in Phoenix. My foster parents, Stefan and Irina, had been so nice at first. There had been hopes of adoption.
They had two other foster kids, Heidi and Peter. I didn't really like them and we left each other alone, mostly. They came from broken homes, too. Heidi took the art of being a bitch to a whole new level. I learned to stay out of her way when I found my books burnt in the fireplace. It wasn't like we could talk with each other about it, or something.
But then Irina miscarried again and she just collapsed or something. It was like her light went out. She got real nasty with us. She made it damn sure that I knew I was worth nothing. She got so depressed eventually that she had to be committed to a mental hospital. Heidi and Peter were replaced swiftly, but they couldn't find a suitable home for me quickly enough.
It took seven months. Glitch in the matrix, file went lost, computer crashed, and I just had to wait. I didn't tell Renee what was going on. I couldn't. From the second week after Irina was hospitalized Stefan got lonely and drunk and all hell broke loose and history repeated itself on me. I thought it was just my deal in this life, so at first I wasn't even that alarmed by it. The beatings were just physical pain. But then when he started to come to my bed at night, it was harder to ignore. It was like it had been before, with Laurent, but somehow worse. One night, I snapped.
Although I couldn't tell her what happened, Renée had understood immediately when I showed up at her house at 2 am on a Saturday night. She brought me to the hospital and I could stay with her for the couple of weeks it took her to find me a new home.
She looked apologetic when she told me she'd found the perfect family for me.
In Forks, Washington.
She showed me pictures of the family. They did seem very nice. A young couple with three children of their own and two adoptive kids. They were all exceedingly handsome.
I would leave in two days.
I cried some more.
And now here I am, in a plane, on my way to yet another new life. I must have fallen asleep, which alarms me. I have let down my guard, falling asleep in a strange environment. This is a dangerous mistake. I scold myself for being so careless.
I sit up a little. My breathing is regular again, my hart rate has settled back to somewhat normal. I look at my watch.
"We will land in twenty minutes," Renée says softly.
She was the one that insisted on joining me on my trip from Phoenix to Forks. Although I hate that she is going through so much trouble for me, I like that she came along. Both for having her near me and for not having to travel alone.
I sit back and close my eyes. I breathe steadily and count along in my head.
In, one two; out, one two.
"You're doing great," Renée says reassuringly. "Shall I tell you what will happen when we land?"
I nod, not opening my eyes. The soft drum of the airplane is almost reassuring. Like being on a bus, maybe.
I listen to Renée's words, telling me that after we land, we'll go to collect my luggage. Then we will go to the exit, where Carlisle and Esme will be waiting for me. It will be just them, none of their other children. Renée warns me gently that the airport will be crowded with people and that some will likely bump into me. They won't mean me any harm.
I'm not so sure about that, but what am I going to say? Renée seems certain of herself.
I'm Bella Swan. I'm seventeen years old and I've survived a living hell. Twice. The price I had to pay for that? The first time, I lost my willingness to speak. The second time, I almost lost my ability to.
Tell me what you think and if you think it is worth it to continue this story :)