Disclaimer: I am not Stephenie Meyer. I don't do fade to black - and I don't just mean on the sexy stuff!
A/N: You read the summary, right? This is darkward. He is never going to take Bella on a picnic to the park. Ever. My Edward was raised at Cullen Manor. He barely interacted with people outside of his family. He doesn't like to share. He doesn't like being disobeyed. He doesn't like people under 18 reading this fic either. Sorry, Edward's rules.
Thank you mahooosively to PTB for clearing up this chapter.
Shades of Sin - Chapter 2 - The Manor
The grounds of the manor were coated in a blanket of snow. The pristine-white flakes, laying thick and undisturbed from the previous night, only heightened the beauty of the grounds - a beauty you could only appreciate after being here for a while. Jasper and I had been living at the manor for almost three months now and I was fully enraptured by its ethereal charm.
Every morning, after breakfast, I would take a stroll around the grounds. Edward, which I had learned was Mr. Cullen's name, was not happy with me out in the cold airs of winter, but he humoured me. I wrapped up warm and stayed off the snow covered grass, sticking only to the many paths that wound through the grounds like the strings of a spider's web.
The dawn broke early over the grounds of the manor, and the dusk was never far behind it. It seemed as though days were passing by like hours. All notion of time was gone - it simply didn't exist here. It was like the manor was on its own axis, existing purely on its own, and sometimes I forgot about the outside world all together.
A murder of crows sat perched on the branches of a willow tree, each one echoing the others call of 'caw caw, caw caw'. They looked beautiful perched in the trees. Black dots in the sea of white that was embracing the manor.
I watched the murder for a moment, before drifting my gaze back to the snow. The snow made me remember what time of year it was, and I found myself smiling.
It was the week before Christmas. I was excited and saddened at the very thought. It was to be mine and Jasper's first Christmas without our fathers, and our first Christmas away from home. It also meant it was almost the New Year, and Jasper was leaving January first. Edward had taken him to enlist into the army. Jasper had been to many induction days and health tests in the past few weeks, and now the day he would leave me was finally drawing near. I was powerless to stop all the changes in my life, so I simply stopped dwelling on them. I would deal with Jasper's departure on the day he left - not before.
Edward was taking me shopping today. He had made several comments on my wardrobe and had eventually made the decision that it was completely unsatisfactory and simply would not do. Shopping had never really been something I looked forward to. Living most of my life surrounded by boys, it was usually chaos to try and shop. Except for grocery shopping of course - the boys loved that.
The limo driver beeped the horn and I ran to the car, leaving the loud crows in my wake. The driver held the door open and I thanked him, sliding into the vehicle. Edward was seated inside, wearing a long, thick black coat and black leather gloves. He didn't smile when I joined him. He simply stared for longer than was usually appropriate. That was another thing about Edward, and the manor; there seemed to be no boundaries. Edward's will was law, and it was scary how easily you became accustomed to this.
"Enjoy your walk?" Edward asked as I fastened my seat belt.
"Very much so," I informed him, turning to face him with pink cheeks and windswept hair. "Jasper doesn't understand how I find walking the same grounds day after day so enjoyable. I tried to explain that there was so much to see, and all of it a new sight with the changing seasons, but he still doesn't get it."
The driver started the engine and we began our journey into town.
"I must say, Isabella, it is refreshing to see someone getting as much pleasure out of the manor as I do." He finished with the first real smile I had ever seen on his face.
I smiled back and turned to stare out of the window. The silence between us wasn't awkward, but there was something else in the back of the limo with us - I just wasn't sure what it was.
The journey into town was a long one, but as ever with Edward, time had no real bearing. We spoke a few times, just idle chit chat on my behalf, but Edward never said anything without meaning behind it. If he questioned you, then you knew he was genuinely interested in the answer, or the body language you displayed when answering.
"When I tell you to try something on today, you will do so, no answering back. Understood?" Edward spoke in a tone that commanded authority.
I only nodded my reply. What did he think I would do? Refuse the clothes he was buying me? I was raised better than that. That showed no manners. Plus, in my time at Cullen Manor I had learned one thing above all; Edward had exceptional taste. Not for things that were considered 'in fashion' or for the things consumerism taught us to crave, Edward had an innate ability at judging what simply was excellent. I would never refuse something he had chosen for me; I would be a fool to do so.
The driver opened the door on Edward's side of the car and he stepped out, reaching his hand back into the car to me. I shuffled over the seat,and placed my hand in his as I climbed from the limo.
"Thank you, Sir," I said to Edward, smiling at him as he released my hand.
His eyes locked on mine, and once more I was lost. He knew the effect he had on me, I was sure of it now. He seemed to be testing me each time he looked at me this way, presumably to see if I had the same reaction each time. Of course, I always did.
Over the next few hours we went to several stores and Edward bought me everything from summer dresses to winter boots. He bought me most things in several colours, and had more than a few arguments with store clerks on what was and was not appropriate clothing for me. When a male shop assistant had suggested a short skirt to me to try on, Edward had snapped at him- quietly, but with definite anger in his voice. He apologised to me afterwards, but only on behalf of the shop assistant. He told me that I was not a common whore and for the assistant to try and dress me like one was insulting. He promised it would never happen again. I thanked him, of course, but I wasn't entirely sure what for. I hadn't seen anything wrong with the skirt, and had owned one like it back in my old life - not that I was in a rush to tell Edward that.
"I have a surprise for you," Edward told me as we left yet another shop.
"What?" I asked eagerly.
"Now, Isabella," he began, placing his hands over my eyes and standing behind me. "Where's the fun in me telling you?" His voice came from behind my ear, and I could feel his breath on my neck. My breathing sped up and I forgot we were in the middle of a busy walkway. We were not that far apart in age, and acting so familiarly, to passers-by we would have looked like a couple. My body reacted instinctively, and I was about to push myself back into him when he began walking us forward. We walked a few paces up the pavement and turned right, entered a doorway.
"Surprise," Edward whispered into my ear, releasing his hands from my eyes. The mixture of his lingering scent, presence behind me, and the view that filled my eyes was borderline overwhelming. My hand flew to my mouth dramatically, and I gasped loudly. I couldn't help but act like I was in a cheesy film; I was blown-away. Literally stunned.
"So, what do you think?" he asked, sweeping my hair back over my shoulders and running his fingers through my long brown locks. The gesture made me feel a little uncomfortable. It was an intimate thing to do, and we were not alone.
Mere words could not capture how I was feeling. He'd brought me to a dress shop - a Ball-gown dress shop. Spinning on my heel, I turned and kissed his cheek, lingering a moment longer than was polite.
"The shop is yours for the day, Isabella. Choose whatever you wish," he whispered into my ear. I pulled away from him, a smile on my face so wide I was sure my cheeks would be sore tomorrow, and began to shop.
The first dress I tried on had a white, tight bodice with thousands of crystals hand-stitched in. The white faded into a lemon yellow skirt that reached my ankles, and it had a green leaf beading detail around the bust and the back, like vine leaves. It was exquisite.
I bought several long elegant numbers, then a few more risqué outfits for the more sensual dances. One of which was a pink dress that finished mid-thigh. The thick straps around the neck dipped well below the cleavage, down to my belly button, with a diamond bra stitched in underneath to cover my modesty. There was no material covering my back, it dipped all the way down to the very base of my spine, barely hiding my bottom. It was skin tight, and stunning.
Edward bought everything I wanted and needed. He bought me dancing shoes and lotions to rub into my limbs to help with stretching. He even bought me a foot spa from another shop as I was in the changing rooms - to take the best care of my feet, apparently. He certainly was thorough.
"Is that everything you need, Isabella?" Edward asked from his seat in the middle of the dressing room.
"Yes, Edward. More than enough," I replied, stepping out from behind the dressing room curtain in my own clothes once more. "I'll never be able to repay the kindness you have shown to me and Jasper. Saying thank you will never be enough, but it is all I can do for now, so thank you. For everything."
He looked for a moment like he might smile, but the trace of raised lips was gone as soon as I registered it. Instead he rose from his seat sinuously, slipping on his jacket. Edward moved with the same grace as a dancer, and it was quickly becoming an obsession of mine to daydream of us dancing together. I imagined him dancing me around his ballroom whilst I wore a long, beautiful gown.
Edward thanked the store owner, and we waited inside as the sales assistants packed our purchases and brought them out to the waiting limo. For a moment it was just me and Edward in the silence of the shop, until the banging started on the shop front window.
Startled, I turned towards the front of the shop, I was pleasantly surprised by the source of the noise.
"Mike?" I called, receiving a beaming smile from the blond outside. He opened the door, waving at me, and a chilly breeze blew in with him.
"Bella? It is you. How have you been? How's Jasper?" Mike asked all at once, embracing me.
I embraced him back, breathing in his familiar smell. He always smelt like a little too much after-shave, but in this moment he smelt amazing. He smelt like home. My old home, to be precise. It was easy enough for me to forget where I had come from with my phone broken and no contact to anyone I used to know, apart from Jasper.
"I'm good, Mike. Really good," I told him, pulling back from his hug and looking into his eyes. "It's so good to see you." I smiled, tears coming fast to my eyes.
"Hey now, don't be upset, Bella. It's really good to see you. You look fantastic." He looked over my shoulder and caught sight of Edward.
"Where are my manners? Hello, Sir. My name is Michael Newton, me and Bella are old friends." Mike spoke politely, side-stepping me and extending his hand to Edward.
Unless you spent as much time as I did studying Edward's face, than you wouldn't have noticed the slight narrowing of his eyes as he shook Mike's offered hand. But I did. Of course, being the gentleman Edward was, he was polite and welcoming to Mike, but I could hear the slight strain in his voice.
After the awkward exchange of pleasantries between Edward and Mike, the store assistants bustled back into the shop, announcing that all of our bags had been placed into the limo.
As Edward thanked the staff, I turned back to say goodbye to Mike.
"You still have my number, right? I've tried calling but it says your phone is out of service. Give me a ring, Bella. Any-time." He smiled and dipped his head slightly, then was out of the door before I could tell him that I didn't have his number any-more. I would have went after him, but I remembered that Jasper had Mike's number.
Still in a slight daze from running into Mike Newton so far from home, I didn't put up any resistance as Edward grasped me by the arm and led me to the limo, even though he was gripping me a little too hard.
We were half-way back to the manor and the atmosphere was thick. I'd noticed Edward's reaction to Mike in the shop. I'd noticed his grip was a little too tight. I'd noticed these things, but I wasn't sure what his actual problem was? Had I over spent? Had he actually hated the dresses I had chosen? Edward sat staring at me and I stared back.
It was awkward.
It was intimate.
It was intense.
It was something I only ever experienced with Edward.
"Who was he?" Edward finally snapped at me, his gaze still penetrating mine.
"Who?" I asked, momentarily confused by his sudden breaking of the silence.
"Michael Newton?" He sneered.
"Mike? He's an old friend," I replied, not seeing how Mike could be the cause of all the tension.
"He seemed a bit too friendly to just be an 'old friend', Bella." Edward's tone was like a slap in the face. It was harsh and clipped.
"I don't get what you mean, Edward. I've known Mike for years, as has Jasper. Me and Mike used to dance with each other."
Then I knew I'd said the wrong thing.
Edward's lips curved into what I could only describe as a snarl, and he looked at me so bitterly, I actually shuddered.
"You. Danced. With. Him?" Edward was furious. I was confused.
I swallowed noisily, and nodded my head ever so slightly.
His face turned ugly, spittle formed at the corners of his mouth and before I could comprehend what he was doing he closed the small distance between us. He had already been facing me, so instead of turning he just leaned forward, hovering over me, and pinning me to the seat in the back of the limo. We were already surrounded by boxes and bags, so there was limited space as it was. We hadn't been wearing our seat belt's due to the limited space, and I was sorry now that we hadn't. There was no way he could have pushed me into this position had we both been wearing them.
He pushed his face towards mine until I could no longer pull myself away and I was lying back against the seat. Manoeuvring his legs, Edward positioned himself so that he was above me, but not quite touching.
For a brief moment it was just me, him and the anger in his eyes.
Then I was lost.
I was captured. I was transfixed. I was mesmerised.
He was still mad.
Bringing his right hand to my thigh, he began slowly trailing it up the outside of my leg until he was at the joint between my thigh and hip. Had he flexed it, his thumb could easily have reached somewhere no one had ever touched me before. His gaze still locked on my own, he clenched his hand around my flesh until it was so painful I whimpered.
"Is this how he touched you, Isabella?" He sneered, anger burning through his very being. "Did you want him to touch you? I bet you did, Isabella. I can see it in your eyes." He squeezed his fingers impossibly tighter, and the tears I had barely been aware of spilled over my lashes and began trickling down my face.
"You really are a whore," he spat.
Then silence. The only sound I could hear was my heart racing. Or maybe it was Edward's? Maybe both? I wasn't really sure.
He remained caging me to the seat, his eyes still locked on mine. For the first time since I had met Edward I wanted to look away. Instinctively I knew that would be the wrong thing to do. Something inside Edward had snapped, and I knew I just had to wait it out. Once he had calmed himself he would surely apologise.
I waited, terror stricken, but silent.
After a while, Edward's eyes softened, and his lips twitched into a smile. With his face so close to mine the sight was still terrifying, but I was happy that he seemed to be calming down.
His breathing normal, he slowly pulled himself from off of me, releasing his hand from my thigh. The sudden rush of pain on my upper leg startled me – I had forgotten he was clenching his hand onto the joint of my hip and thigh in the sheer panic of the moment. I was sure it would bruise, and I'd be unable to dance until it healed.
With Edward sitting back in his own seat I slowly sat up in a state of shock. Glancing at him out of the corner of my eye I saw that he was staring out of the window looking eerily calm. Like nothing had occurred. Nothing at all.
The rest of the car journey was taken in silence. Even my thoughts were subdued. I was embarrassed and confused. I stared at the bags containing all my wonderful new clothes, and my new dance dresses. They were such a waste. The shopping trip had not been worth this. Nothing was worth revealing this side of Edward. Nothing.
One thing I knew for certain - I'd agreed it to myself before the thought had even crossed my mind, it seemed. I would not tell Jasper what had happened. I wouldn't tell anyone.
Besides, I wasn't even sure what the hell had just happened?
I did know one thing: Edward had a dark side to him. A very dark side indeed.
A/N: This note isn't important, feel free to skip.
If you DO read it, then thanks for reading :) Now, firstly I would just like to say that I have written another darkward. MY other darkward is a o/s entry for the pick a pic challenge. It's called 'Through the trees, the darkness is radiant' and the link is on my profile. It is A LOT different to this darkward. That said, feel free to check it out. And if you like it, you can always go vote for it ;) It has my favourite lines from Midnight Sun in it - so Thanks Mrs Meyer, those dark lines truly inspired my evil side!. Okay, shameless hinting over. Thanks for reading!