Image # Used: 21
Word Count: 5 364
Rating: M (to be safe)
Summary: A small, insignificant number can change lives
A/N: I don't own the characters.
Two minutes is all it took to ruin my life. In fact, it took exactly two minutes to ruin a bunch of lives, not only mine but that of everyone that ever meant anything to me. It never occurred to me that at the tender age of 15, that any decision I could possibly make would have such a profound effect on anyone or anything.
Two minutes was all it took from the time he took off my clothes until I felt the innocent part of me being ripped away and him twitching and pulsing inside me. I really thought that it was supposed to take longer than that. Rose and Alice both promised me that there was going to be some sort of build up; a grand gesture if you will that he was going to want to make me feel good. That he would want to make me feel good before I felt the pain.
"He loves you. He's going to take care of you," they said over our shared Skype conversation. They were both trying hard to calm my nerves.
Like me, he was a virgin and had no one to tell him the rules of this fucked up adult game we were playing. After the two minutes were over he was sullen, embarrassed, in fact, that it had taken him so little time and even less effort to come. I tried to lighten his mood by assuring him that it would get better, that we just needed to practice more, but he just shook his head, collected his clothes and left. He spoke no words. Not even a goodbye. He didn't tell me he loved me, he didn't tell me anything. For the first time since we shared that sentiment he left without saying it. I felt used and alone, broken, ripped apart not only in body, but in heart and spirit.
He apologized, multiple times, the next day, but I was still upset that he hadn't stuck around to take care of me. Rose and Alice both told me that when they lost their virginity Emmett and Jasper took care of them afterwards. Emmett with Tylenol and a hot bath, Jasper let Alice soak for a while in the hotel's hot tub. Maybe if he wasn't an only child he would have had someone older to tell him these things the way I did.
I guess it pays to wait, maybe if Edward and I had been older he would have thought of these things. Maybe we would have if we hadn't listened to all the locker room bullshit telling us that we needed to be getting laid by now. I cried into my pillow that night and wished that my sisters lived closer to me so they could hold me and tell me it would get better.
Two weeks was all it took before I broke down at school and placed a 3-way call to Rose and Alice from the bathroom. Edward had been acting weird; sure he still held my hand and told me he loved me. He didn't touch me like I thought he would though. I thought he would be all over me. I thought what we shared would bring us closer together; make our relationship stronger. We gave each other the greatest gift we could give and now he was treating me like I had the plague. Every time I tried to deepen a kiss, he would quickly push me away. I thought he would be trying to pull me closer. Instead of our love growing deeper, my hurt was.
It didn't even occur to me to check the stalls before making the call to my sisters. I just sobbed on the phone about how Edward and I had finally done it and how much it hurt. I explained how both physically and emotionally he just left me afterward, how even though he was still there with me he was acting like I didn't exist to him. I could take the physical pain but the emotional torture was breaking my heart. I no longer ached and burned in that private place, but I could barely breathe through the ache in my chest.
"Bella? Bella?" they screamed over my sobs trying to get my attention. "Have you talked to him? You have to tell him how you're feeling, honey. We are sure there's an explanation. Edward's not the type to just close you off like this."
They left me cry for a while before coming up with a plan of action. I felt more in control of the situation. After school, I would talk to him and tell him how I felt. We needed to clear the air; get back on track. We needed to get back to being us. We rehearsed for a while and I let out a breath of relief.
It was short lived.
I had just hung up the phone when I heard the unmistakable creaking of the stall door. There stood public enemy number one. She was wearing the most devious smile on her ratty looking face. Miss Jessica Stanley, Whore Extraordinaire. The bane of my existence. Her beady eyes glowed evilly even as I hung my head in shame. She sauntered out of the bathroom and I swear I could hear the wheels in her underused brain turning.
Two minutes was all it took for Jessica Stanley to spread it around the school that I had indeed given it up to Edward. It was the most humiliating thing to ever happen to me. I walked around the rest of the day with people calling me a slut and a whore behind my back. Pretty ironic, considering that the news had come from the girl that had bedded half the sophomore class.
Edward on the other hand was being congratulated like he performed the greatest task known to man. He was being treated like a King. It pissed me off that the same girls that were calling me a slut minutes before were sticking to him like white on rice. It made me sick to my stomach to witness them falling and fawning all over him. He just stood there and let them do it, while at the same time silently letting me know that he had gotten what he wanted and that I was no longer of any use to him.
When Mike Newton approached me and not so subtlety asked me when he could have his turn, I looked to Edward for protection. He merely glared in my direction and stalked out of the cafeteria. I was heartbroken. I left school early that afternoon and barely made it home struggling to walk through the waterfalls of tears. Every thing came flooding back to me while I sobbed on my bed until my dad hesitantly approached me to ask if I'd be coming down for dinner. I prayed to God he that hadn't spoken to Alice and Rose, and more that they wouldn't tell him what was going on. I was embarrassed enough I didn't need to witness the disappointment that would surely shine through my father's eyes. It was times like this that I wished my mom were still here, she would know what to do - she always did. I declined his invitation and cried myself to sleep.
Edward hadn't spoken to me for two months. The one and only time he did choose to talk to me was the day after Stanley opened her mouth when he came to return all of the things I'd given to him. Things that a few short weeks ago he said meant everything to him - to both of us. He proceeded to scream at me, while he paced across my bedroom floor, all the time repeating how he couldn't believe that I had chosen to talk to Jessica Stanley.
"You told me you hated her Bella!" he sneered. "Of all the people in the school, why did you pick her, of all people, to tell what a lousy lay I am? I trusted you, Bella. Jesus, I LOVED you! Why did you turn on me? You knew I was embarrassed enough as it was, and you had to go do this. It just proves that maybe I never really knew you at all."
I tried to tell him, begged him to listen, but he just continued to glare at me.
"EDWARD, LISTEN TO ME PLEASE." I begged "You have to believe me. I was talking to Rose and Alice, on three way. I didn't know what else to do. You weren't talking to me. You were acting like you hated me. I was afraid and scared. It wasn't supposed to be this way! I had to talk to someone. I didn't even realize she was in the bathroom until she opened the door and sauntered out. I never spoke one word to her. Not one!"
It was useless; he didn't believe me. Said he didn't think he could anymore. He slammed the door shut as he left, and I broke down again. I Skyped my sisters and they repeatedly assured me that it would get better and he would get over it. If we were meant to be, then it would work out. For the first time in my life I couldn't bring myself to believe them.
Rumour had it that he had moved on to the new girl.
I hated her more than Jessica Stanley and I hadn't even seen her. I hadn't yet them together, but he was no longer sitting in the cafeteria at lunch. He had succeeded in changing his schedule, so we no longer had the same classes. Angela was given the job of telling me that a group of people had seen them out at the diner the night before laughing and sharing a plate of fries. It made me furious that he could have moved on so quickly while I was dying inside. Just the thought of him with someone else made me violently sick. Every day it became harder to just ... live.
Growing worried by the "deadness" in my voice, my sisters made plans to come home one weekend to spend some quality time with me. 'Sister Revival Camp," I think is what Alice had called it. Their plans centered on getting me out of my funk. My plans consisted of spending the weekend in bed and crying, but they refused to let me win.
When they showed up and found me lying in bed in my sweats Operation 'Get Bella bathed' was in full swing and the questions started. They were relentless. I answered them the best I could, but I couldn't really concentrate on anything other than the searing burn in my chest where my heart used to be. Alice finally said something that caught my attention. I held that question longer in my brain, let it roll around a bit, and it was at that point that I thought I was having a heart attack at the ripe old age of 15.
It took exactly two minutes for the test to come back positive. Now I was positive I was going to die because my father was going to kill me.
I was pregnant, with Edward's baby.
I couldn't have a baby, I was a baby. We were only 15 and he didn't even like me anymore. Rose held me and repeatedly whispered to me that everything was going to be okay. I knew she was wrong. Alice quietly suggested that I get an abortion. Rose snapped at her, but I agreed. I figured that would probably be the best thing for everyone involved.
That night at dinner I was starting to feel a bit better. I was able to eat and even laugh at the jokes that Jasper was telling Emmett and my dad. I was in the middle of a laugh when I heard Leah shouting from upstairs. I hated Leah; really hated her. She was 2 years younger than me and always up in my business. I caught her going through my drawers and ever since then I have never trusted her. It's bad enough that my Dad tried to shove us together thinking we would be fast friends but I just plainly didn't like her.
She was always around now doing stuff with my dad. He had started dating her mom about a month ago and she acted like the boy he never had. She liked to fish and hike and watch sports on TV. I just wanted to lie on my bed and cry all the time, so I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. Once again I felt like I was being replaced and I didn't like it.
My face paled as she rushed into the room holding the test stick. Life as I knew it was going to end as soon as dad figured out that it was neither Rose nor Alice giving him the grandchild he always dreamed about. It took him exactly two minutes to figure it out.
It took exactly two weeks of trying to talk to Edward in the hall before he agreed to talk to me. He looked awful, with dark circles under his eyes; like he hadn't slept in weeks. Of course Tanya was with him, tenderly rubbing circles in his back when I asked if I could speak to him privately. He refused, making some comment about having no secrets between the two of them. I didn't want his new girlfriend knowing my business, but he left me no choice.
"I'm pregnant." I blurted.
Edward's face paled and she gasped.
"But you don't have to worry about anything, I'm.. um, well you know," I lowered my voice into a whisper "taking care of it."
I turned away before I could see the look in his eyes, but didn't get quite far enough before I heard the groan escape his lips. I went home for the rest of the day, knowing I couldn't face the idea of possibly seeing him being comforted by her. Even though I didn't have to see them every day, I knew they were always together, and that would make the ache in my chest grow. My dad reluctantly let me stay home the next day, too. I was thankful that he was even being nice to me. I think he may still have been in some short of shock. He hadn't said much to me since he found out that I'd fucked up my life so badly except to tell me how disappointed he was, not in me personally, but of the choices I've made. That wasn't a big stretch...
I was disappointed in myself.
It was two days later when there was a knock on the door. My dad opened it up to find Esme and Carlisle patiently standing on our front porch. Esme was pale and Carlisle, well, he looked tired. Edward was with them, but I couldn't bare to look him in the eyes. I didn't want to see the hatred that I knew would be there.
Esme and my dad had a huge fight.
"SHE HAS NO RIGHT TO ABORT MY GRANDCHILD WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF ITS FATHER." She seethed.
Charlie shot right back at her, "It's BELLA'S BODY and SHE can do with it what she WANTS."
Carlisle told my dad that perhaps if I had been more responsible with my body then we wouldn't be in this mess, to which my dad replied that maybe if Edward had been taught about protection we wouldn't be, either. I just sat on the couch and cried. I knew it was my fault; I knew everyone hated me.
Edward sat beside his parents and didn't say anything. I wasn't surprised that no one discussed this with us. They yelled and screamed and never even thought to ask either one of us our opinions. Guess we didn't matter to them either.
I finally had enough and got up and left the room. I stood on the porch in the cold and the rain and decided to just let the parents fight it out. Twenty minutes later the Cullen's left, none of them even looking at me. My tears flowed faster. Dad called Sue and asked her to come over. I knew he was completely out of his element here. She joined me on the porch and wrapped her arms around me. I was grateful for some affection even if it was from her, so I snuggled in closer.
It was the first time since I lost my mom that a woman, other then one of my sisters, had hugged me. She told me she was supporting my choices even if dad was mad. I was thankful that someone was in my corner. She surprised me however when she told me that dad and the Cullen's had decided that I would indeed have this baby and after it was born we would sign over all rights. The Cullen's were going to take complete custody and raise it as their own. I thought it was kinda ironic that in a small town like this that they would think they could pull that off.
I was devastated and afraid. I didn't want to give birth, I wasn't ready for that. I wasn't ready to experience teenage pregnancy and have everyone see what a huge slut I was. I was just finally getting comfortable with this new pubescent body I was developing, and now it was going to be taken over by another person. I shut myself up in my room and refused to come out.
Hiding at this point felt like my only option.
I was in labour for two full days. Edward and his parents sat in the waiting room the entire time. Rose and Alice came down to help me with the birth and on their way into my room I could hear them yelling at the Cullen's in the hall. They yelled at Edward about how they thought that he loved me, and asked him how he could treat me so callously. I didn't want to care, but I did. I wanted to yell at them, tell them to mind their own business and to leave him out of it. That this was out of his hands. The decision had been made and he had just as little say in the matter as I had. They had no right to treat him so horribly he was going to become a Daddy today. It should be a joyous occasion.
"Alice, Rose enough. Stop please," I begged. "I'm a nervous wreck and you guys are not helping. I'm the one who fucked everything up." They quickly denounced that with the old adage that 'it takes two to tango'.
The days leading up to my delivery date found my depression reaching an all time high. I couldn't sleep and I could barely eat. The only reason I forced anything down was because I didn't want to jeopardize the baby. I didn't want the Cullen's saying that I'd done anything on purpose to complicate this already fucked up situation we were in. They already blamed me for ruining Edward's life, and I didn't want to give them any more ammunition.
The pain was excruciating, but by the end of it I had a baby girl. Well, I didn't have a baby girl, the Cullen's did. I couldn't find it in myself to hold her, knowing I would have to give her up. I felt so detached from her. I pleaded through hiccupping sobs to Alice.
"Please, Ali, just take her out of the room when the nurses are done doing what they have to do. Take her and give her to whom she deserves to be with ...and that's not me." Rose held me while I cried and my dad, well, he cried with us.
My family was worried about me, I could tell. They had a shrink come and talk to me about post post-partum depression and a social worker about adoption. I pretended to be fine and I must have said something right because I was discharged 36 hours later. I went home and shut myself up in my room.
It was two weeks later. I was home alone because my tutor had already left. I had deluded my father and sisters into thinking I was ok and that they didn't need to worry about me or my mental state. I claimed that I was fine and for some reason, they believed me or realized that it was no use to fight with me about it. I was becoming an award winning liar. Another trait I was so proud of. I knew better. Inside I was dying. I missed my baby, I missed having her grow inside me and feeling her kick. Even though I hated every minute of being pregnant now I could only feel the phantom movements while I slept. I cherished my sleep time and did it often. It was the only time of the day that I was genuinely happy.
I don't know what possessed me to answer a knock on my door that afternoon. I was surprised to see Tanya nervously standing on the other side. She asked if she could come in and talk with me and by the look in her eyes she was hurting as much as I was.
She explained to me that Edward was devastated over what had happened.
"He's a shell of his former self. The baby is beautiful Bella. Against his mothers pleading, he named her Marie, after you. She looks just like you. When he holds her, I can't explain it. It's the only time he smiles."
I couldn't figure out why she, of all people, would come to my house and tell me this but I never questioned her motives. When she left she gave me a hug and told me to hang in there, she pressed something into my hand. After I had closed the door I looked down into the smiling face of Edward and a beautiful little bundle pressed close to his face. She had her eyes open and you couldn't tell the colour but they looked brown and she had a full head of unruly brown locks.
I sunk to my floor sobbing. I traced his and Marie's forms on the picture with my finger. They looked happy and content; and I knew he would never look at me like that again. Reality hit me when I realized that I had lost the one thing I truly wanted and had given away the one thing I thought I didn't.
I couldn't take it anymore.
I don't know how to change the path that those two minutes took us down. Maybe if I hadn't been such a dick after we had sex, she would have told me how she felt about it. Maybe if I had been nicer to her after Slutty Stanley had spilled to the school how we had done it and told her I believed it wasn't her fault, she would have still been talking to me. Maybe if I didn't glare like a jealous asshole when the Newton's of the school hit on her, she wouldn't have thought I was mad at her when it was them that I wanted to rip the limbs off of.
I didn't know how to go back and change any of my behaviour and fix the mess our relationship had become. She could barely look at me. I couldn't stand to sit back and watch the wolves descend. I had done that to her. I had done nothing to dissipate the rumours. The girls called her a slut and the boys just wanted to "call" her for everything and anything. I was thankful when my parents told me that my cousin Tanya would be moving in with us for the rest of the school year. I would have a confidant my age that I could hang out with. I wouldn't have to sit in the cafeteria at lunch and be hounded by the Whore Brigade. For some reason I had become their reluctant king. I spent all my time outside of classes with Tanya hiding out in the music room where I hid from my responsibilities and poured my heart out to a piano.
I don't know why it took me two weeks to be able to talk to Bella. She approached me one morning outside my locker saying she wanted to talk. When she told me she was pregnant I could have torn out all my hair. I wanted to hit something, now it was official; I had completely ruined her life. I couldn't believe that she would want to abort our baby, though. Had I really meant nothing to her? Tanya took me home and explained to me that she could understand where Bella was coming from and how scared she must be. I talked that night to my parents. Well, I talked - they yelled and screamed and paced and told me how immature and irresponsible I had been. When I told them Bella's plan to abort I thought my mother was going to faint. I don't think I have even seen her so sad. I told them I wanted to keep the baby. That I wanted to raise it, even if Bella didn't want anything to do with us, I wanted to keep the part of us that we had made together. I knew I was young, but I prayed my parents would support me.
The wait at the hospital was the longest two days of my life. I thought I would lose it when her sisters showed up and started yelling at me. I wanted to scream at them that we had made an adult decision to have sex and Bella wasn't being very adult either by hiding from me and not talking. I was scared shitless when Emmett and Japer showed up announcing that we needed to have a little chat. They lead me outside acting like they were going to kick my ass but they just listened while I yelled at how unfair everything was. I just wanted my fucking life back, to return it to how it had been before all this shit happened. They chastised me for not coming to them sooner if I had questions. I understood their loyalties lied with their wives and Bella, but it was nice to know they didn't hate me.
That evening, when Alice placed her niece and my little girl in my arms for the first time I could feel the tears pouring down my cheeks. She opened her eyes to peek at me I smiled for the first time in months.
She was beautiful, dressed in a little white sleeper with pink hearts over the spot where her heart would be. She looked just like her mother. I had never been so thankful in my life that she looked more like Bella then she did me. The only thing of mine she'd seemed to inherit was the complete head of unruly hair. Alice had put a white bow in it to try to contain it, but it was a losing battle.
The first two weeks home were the hardest. She barely slept and cried all the time; I had to learn how to change diapers and make bottles and bathe her. Tanya and my mother were a huge help. I wouldn't have been able to get through it without them and I was thankful for their support. We got to know each other and spent our days together with her attached to me in a sling while I played Bella's favourite songs for her on the piano. It seemed to be the only thing that soothed her.
That night at dinner, the phone rang. My dad answered it and his face paled. Mom tried to ask him what was going on, but he wouldn't say. He said he had to go and deal with some work business. I knew it was for the coroner's office that he was going because if he was going to the hospital, he would have said.
Hours later he came home covered in blood, and paler then I'd ever seen him. He could barely look me in the eye when I asked him what was wrong. He sat me down on the couch with my mother and Tanya and proceeded to tell me the worst news of my life.
Bella, my Bella was gone. I was inconsolable. I went up to my room, slamming the door behind me and proceeded to rip the whole place apart. What had I done to her? I'd ruined her, destroyed her life, killed her. I was a murderer. I may not have held the knife that my dad said was used to slit her wrists open, but I was the catalyst behind it.
The next morning, something my dad said shocked us all, well, most of us. He told us that when he arrived at the scene Bella, had been clutching a picture of me with Marie that had been taken the day before. It wasn't long before Tanya broke down and said that she had gone to visit Bella - she was the one that gave her the picture. She thought she had a right to see how happy I was and how she had given me the greatest gift. She thought if Bella saw how the baby hadn't ruined me like she probably thought, then she would come back to me and Marie and we could be a family.
I didn't know whether I wanted to kill her or hug her for that.
Two days later, I stood for two minutes beside the hole in the ground they'd dug for Bella and cried for what I lost and what Marie would never have. I held my little girl in one arm, and tossed a handful of flowers onto her casket with the other. I cried as I told her how much I'd always loved her, how I still loved her and would love her until the day I died. I cried because I had failed her. Failed us. I sunk to the ground on my knees, and vowed to her that I would always make sure that Marie knew who she was, and how much she loved her. How much it probably killed her inside to give her up. Strong arms wrapped around us both and I looked up into the tear stained face of the last person on earth I thought would want to be around me - Chief Swan. He led me to his car and brought me home.
Two years have passed since I lost my Bella due to a two minute lack of judgement. I look around me at the faces of all those who love me and care for me and help me take care of my Marie. Chief Swan and Sue. Alice and Jasper. Emmett and Rose. My parents, and, of course, Tanya.
After Bella's suicide, we all came together and vowed that for Bella, we would all raise Marie as a family. She would never want for anything and she would always know how loved she was. With all of their help, I was able to graduate on time and start Medical school. I still mourned my Bella every day, and sometimes it was hard to look into Marie's eyes, and see her mother staring back at me but I was thankful for every moment that I had with her.
I would never fully move on. I would never love again as hard, or as much as I loved Bella. I had made Bella a promise, and where I had failed to live up to it in the past, I wouldn't fail her in the future.