A/N I wrote this for a non-canon couples contest in which it was encouraged that you use s̶q̶u̶i̶c̶k̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶t̶h̶y bizarre pairings. Warning: Drug usage, assault, lemon, language. Special thanks to my betas ABG & DameNellie.
You fondle my trigger then you blame my gun
January 2010- Present Day
"Order!" she yelled, forcibly banging the gavel against the hardwood sound block as she stared daggers at my wife.
"Please, just hear me out. My husband is a good man. I know he didn't do this!" Bella cried.
"One more word Mrs. Cullen, and I will hold you in contempt of court." Judge Weber shot back
I turned in my chair, hoping to catch my spouse's eye. I knew she wanted to help me, but this was decidedly not the best course of action. If anything, she was giving the judge a reason to be biased against me; to want to rush my trial so that she wouldn't have to deal with any more of Bella's fanatical outbursts.
Finally our eyes locked, and I silently begged her to let this drop. Thanks to my parents, I had the best defense attorney that money could buy. My lawyer just needed to be able to do her job without the added theatrics from my wife.
Bella slowly took her seat, her body violently shaking as tears cascaded down the apples of her flushed cheeks. I thanked God that things were coming to a close for the day. I couldn't bear to see her so broken, knowing that I was the cause of her anxiety.
Unable to handle my guilt, I turned my body away from her and toward the witness stand, slightly calming when I felt my lawyer lightly brush her hand against my knee. She leaned into me as I dropped my eyes to her pale, unadorned, fingers and greedily breathed in her scent.
"Don't worry, Edward," she whispered, her lips ghosting across the shell of my ear. "I'll speak to your wife about this…again," she sighed, resigned to the fact that Bella would always try to shield me from any harm.
Even to my own detriment.
Placing my hand on top of hers, I nodded, inhaling her warm redolent aroma once again. I'm not sure how she managed it, but she always smelled like freshly baked cookies; sugary sweet, chocolate, and home. It was an asinine line of thought for sure, but before long, I would be back in that six by eight foot cell that was void of color, satisfying scents and emotion. I had no qualms whatsoever about indulging in this brief, but welcome reprieve.
"Do you have any further evidence to present?" Judge Weber asked, her eyebrows reaching towards her hairline as she addressed Assistant D.A. Jasper Whitlock.
"Not at this time, Your Honor."
"Court is in recess until 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning," Judge Weber said before turning to Bella. "Mrs. Cullen, if you cannot control yourself you will be banned from this venue." With one last strike of the gavel, we were all dismissed.
"Hey, you're the one they call Easy, right?"
"Maybe. Who wants to know?"
"I was hoping I could buy some…um…weed off of you?" she asked, whispering the word weed as if it were a curse.
Inspecting her tennis shoes and gnawing on her pretty pink lower lip, she nervously awaited my response. She seemed like one of those overachieving types who—and God only knows why—did drugs like speed so that they could stay awake longer to study harder.
Yeah, she definitely has the Jessie Spano vibe.
I was pretty good at reading people, and I could tell she wasn't a snitch. So, I dropped my guard and teased her a little.
"It's E.C." I corrected, smiling that crooked grin I knew most chicks would drop their panties for. This brunette was no exception.
"What is?" The doe-eyed girl asked in confusion.
As I slowly perused her body, I took in her long legs that seemed to go on forever, her tight little ass, and her lips. She had the kind of mouth that would look good wrapped around my cock. She could stand to gain a few pounds—probably weighing a buck o' five soaking wet—but she wasn't hard to look at.
She turned just the slightest bit from left to right as if she knew I was appraising her, and I decided right then and there that though she was clearly harmless, she was not the innocent looking girl she appeared to be.
"My name," I said, smirking. "They don't call me 'Easy', it's E.C."
To be honest, her returning smile did something to me, something more than wake up my already stiffening cock. So, I took her soft hand in mine.
"Right this way, babe."
"Isabella," she continued to smile. "That's my name, but you can call me Bella."
"How do you define love?" Dr. Irina Sidorov asked.
After reconnecting with my family, Dad started to notice things about me.
"You don't seem happy, son," he said.
I wasn't…fine, but I didn't know why. I was doing everything that was expected of me now.
Eventually he suggested I speak to someone, and though I was initially opposed to the idea, I could no longer deny him anything after what I'd put him through.
Doctor Irina and I talked about a variety of subjects, never really hitting on anything major, but her current line of questioning made me feel uncomfortable.
"Love," I repeated, turning the word over in my head, tasting it on my tongue. "Love is the act of binding yourself to someone, being dutiful and loyal to them no matter what. Owing them," I finished, nodding my head. Doctor Irina silently evaluated me with a demure smile on her face.
"What?" I asked, feeling like I gave the wrong answer.
"There are no wrong answers, Edward," she stated, as if reading my mind. "Are you aware that you've given me the definition of obligation?"
"Uh, that can be love, too?" I asked. I wasn't sure anymore.
"I want you to think of the most heartfelt instance of love you've ever witnessed?" she continued. "Do you have an example in mind?"
"Yes, my parents love each other, and my brother." I thought about all the heartache I caused my parents, and how, in spite of it, they still welcomed me with open arms. "And me."
"Okay, good. I want you to compare that love to the love you have experienced in your own life and we'll meet back here next week to discuss your findings."
I nodded, already grabbing my things to leave.
"How are you today, Edward?" Irina smirked as if she knew why I had this gigantic smile plastered across my face. Rubbing the back of my neck as an excuse to hide my flaming cheeks, I mumbled a 'good'.
"Over the last few weeks, we've made some very good progress. But I feel like you have an epiphany to share?"
"I think…no, I know that I'm in love," I finally said.
"I assume you aren't referring to your wife," she replied, seemingly afraid to put a damper on my happiness. I could only shake my head in response.
"Have you told Bella yet?"
"I don't see a reason to. I can't leave her, Irina. She doesn't have…anyone." She lightly sighed, but I heard it, and I felt horrible for making her look so defeated.
"So, you're in love with this woman, but you are not leaving your wife?" When I nodded in the affirmative, she continued. "Tell me how you plan to have a healthy relationship—romantic or otherwise—with either?"
I couldn't answer her question because deep down I knew I didn't deserve either woman.
Laying my head against the cold steel table, I focused on the sound of clicking heels, counting the steps until they stopped just outside of the interrogation room.
"Mr. Cullen, are you listening?" Jasper Whitlock growled, agitated by my very presence. "We received an anonymous tip informing us that you were involved in the shooting death of one Sam Uley. We found a gun in your home, recently fired and covered in your fingerprints. You had two kilos of cocaine in your office," he used his bony fingers to form quotation marks around the word— presuming I utilized it as some kind of lab instead. "And you have no alibi to speak of. You reek of guilt!" he shouted. He took a breath to steady himself, stepping forward to lean down until he was hovering over me.
"Why don't you just do us both a favor? Sign this confession and I'll make you a deal. I can take the death penalty off the table and offer you a life sentence," he finished, and I involuntarily winced.
"I did not kill Sam Uley," I mumbled tiredly. We had been going around in circles about this since the cops busted into my home and roughly slapped the cuffs around my wrists. "I may be guilty of a lot of things, but I would never kill…"
"Then how do you explain your prints on the gun?" he cut me off.
"It is my gun. Naturally, my prints are on it," I said. "It's legally registered, I'm positive you already know that."
"I don't know how they got there. Someone is setting me up!" I yelled, raising my head to meet his eyes.
"So you say, but you've already told me that no one other than your family had access to your home. They all have alibis, and the police found no evidence of forced entry. Where were you the night of September 13, 2009?" he asked for the millionth time. His outrage was palpable, causing me to rise from my seat and glare at him.
The sound of the door slapping the back of the brick wall interrupted our silent standoff.
"Do not answer that question, Mr. Cullen," the woman ordered, her voice echoing beautifully in the small space.
"And you are?" Whitlock asked.
"His attorney," she said, imperceptibly rolling her eyes as if that fact should've been obvious. He took a step back, eyeing her curvaceous figure, her pointed black heels and matching suit. Her ginger hair was pulled back into a neat bun, and the thin wire-framed glasses she wore did nothing to hide her magnetic amber-colored eyes.
"Of course you are. The guilty ones always lawyer up," he sneered.
"Enough! I need a moment with my client. You know the way out," she said, waving her hand in dismissal.
"This isn't over," Whitlock retorted, grabbing his manila folders and making a hasty exist. When I heard the lock click—signifying that we were alone—my muscles automatically relaxed, and I gazed at her in disbelief.
"You're taking my case?" I asked, completely stunned.
I didn't think she would really be able to help me, but at least I would have her by my side.
"I remember seeing you around my dad's office when I was kid, with that guy…" I trailed off, unable to recall his name.
"James Laurent?" she asked, loosening her ponytail to let her hair drop in full red waves over her shoulders.
"Yes, that's it. James Laurent."
"Or M-m-mister Laurrrrennt, as you called him," she said, playfully teasing me about my childhood stutter. I laughed with her, fortunate that I could laugh about it now.
"Back then, you seemed so much…" I trailed off, looking for a word that wouldn't offend her.
"If you say older Edward…" she warned.
"How about…mature?" I tried, ducking when her hand reached out to playfully slap me. When our laughter died into sighs of contentment, she cleared her throat.
"Well, you were what, eight years old then? And I had just graduated from law school. You hadn't hit puberty yet for Christ's sake," she laughed, tousling my auburn locks that were already out of control. "So, I was easily a foot taller than you. I'm sure that in my early twenties, I did seem rather mature to you."
"I was ten," I corrected, putting a mask of faux indignation upon my face. After she held her hands up in surrender, mumbling something about how even an extra two years worked in her favor, I resumed speaking.
"I had the biggest crush on you," I admitted. "You were my very own Molly Ringwald." she bowed her head in an attempt to hide her faint blush.
In response, I ran the back of my hand down the side of her face, turning it so my thumb could stroke her cheek. The action caused her blush to deepen to a lovely coral color, and I cupped her chin until umber eyes met green.
"Pretty in pink," I breathed, placing my lips against hers.
"Bella, I...I love you," I said, trying to gently pry the book she was reading out of her hands.
"No," she shook her head, tightening her hold on the book. "No, you don't love me, Edward."
"I do," I snapped, incapable of making sense of what I was really feeling. Bella always made sure I was taken care of, so this had to be love, right?
When we first met, I considered myself to be a rebel: determined not to be a trust fund baby, and doing everything in my power to destroy that very image. I sold drugs from my dorm room and hosted underground gambling nights. People lost jewelry, cars, and on one occasion, a year's worth of tuition.
Okay, so the drugs weren't anything hardcore. It was only weed I got cheap from a guy I'd helped out when he was in a bind. I knew there were no suppliers on campus and the market was ripe for the picking. I mean, what Ivy League kid wants to travel down to the slums of the city for a little ganja?
My intent was just to gain my independence; to say that I made it on my own without my inheritance, my wealthy parents, or government aid. But soon enough, I enjoyed the control, the popularity that came with my side business, and I was opposed to giving it up.
That was until Bella came along looking for a quick fix to calm her nerves before some big exam she had to take. The stress weighed heavily on her, and I was all too happy to provide her the release she needed.
"I know I love you because," I began, bringing my attention back to Bella who was close to drawing blood from how she was gnawing on her lower lip. "You taught me to grow up. If it weren't for you, I would still be selling weed and screaming 'fuck the man'. I would still be looking for ways to piss off my parents. You've had my back so many times, babe. You make me want to be a better person, someone you wouldn't have to protect. Fuck Bella, if that isn't love, I don't know what is," I said.
Seeing the tears fall down her face broke my heart. I couldn't understand why the very idea of me loving her would cause this reaction. Bella had to know by now that I felt something for her, something more than kinship. We had a lot in common, and sometimes I found myself finishing her sentences as she did mine. I could admit that my need to protect her was suffocating at times, practically driving us both crazy at points, but I had no other choice!
I owed her my life—my newfound existence as a man, and no longer a punk kid. I couldn't count how many times she was there to cover for me, tipping me off when someone was out to get me.
Occasionally, some overzealous moron would have bad luck at the tables—gambling away thousands of mommy and daddy's hard earned dollars—and blamed me for their fuck-up.
The first time it happened, I was totally unprepared to see campus security at my door, asking to search the premises. I let them in, inwardly cursing myself for having been so careless. But when they left, they were apologizing to me. Telling me they were sorry for interrupting and hopefully I wouldn't inform Dr. Carlisle Cullen, my father and their largest benefactor.
Bella came in minutes after they left, looking like she'd seen a ghost. Slowly, robotically, she pulled her book bag off her back, pulling out her Biology book along with three pounds of weed.
"I heard someone file the complaint at student services today. I knew they were coming, I just didn't know when. I've been carrying this around all day," she said frantically.
It only took a moment before I wrapped her in my arms, rubbing my palm up and down her back to calm her tiny shuddering frame. She stiffened in my arms, and then ever so slowly melted into my embrace.
"You did this for me?" I asked in awe, in frustration, in…love?
"This isn't how your story is supposed to end," she muttered as if in a daze. With an unreadable expression on her face, she fiercely hugged me back—almost to the point of pain.
Shaking my head to clear the memories, I moved closer to her, wanting her to look me in the eye.
"Maybe it's not the kind of love you read about in books." I pointed to the novel in her hands to emphasize my point, completely surprised she wasn't reading something by Jane Austen. "Okay, bad example," I said, gesturing to the tattered copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, "but that aside, I do love you Bella Swan. I'm bound to you."
She was quiet for ages afterwards, our collective breaths the only sound in our small off-campus apartment. Thankfully I wasn't expecting a declaration in return or I would've been sorely disappointed. Instead, I molded my body to hers, holding her until we both fell asleep.
A month later, we were both heading off to class, and as my new routine dictated, I told her that I loved her.
I thought I saw her grimace out of the corner of my eye.
"...and you remember my son, Edward."
"Good to see you again," she greeted, reaching her hand out to shake mine.
Holding it as if she were made of glass, I brought it to my lips and placed a kiss there, not prepared for the surge of emotions that followed. Our eyes locked and we seemed to be stuck in our own private sphere. It wasn't until Mom cleared her throat that I dropped her hand and took a step back.
What was that?
Tonight was the first time in years that I attended one of Dad's charity events with the whole family. And, to be honest, it wasn't half as bad as I remembered them being. Sure, there were still the boring speeches, the awkward meet and greet portion of the evening. But overall, I was having a good time.
"Dude, that chick has got it bad for you," Emmett said, motioning over to the beautiful redhead that I'd been thinking about all night.
"You don't remember her, Em? She used to bring those little caramel cakes to the Christmas party every year. Mom and Dad had to hide them so you wouldn't eat them all in one sitting." I laughed.
"I wonder if she still makes them?" he pondered, rubbing his belly. "Anyways, she's still looking at you, man. I would go over there and lay some groundwork."
"I'm a married man, Em," I chastised, even though my current predicament wasn't his fault.
"I guess I'll have to handle all of the ladies myself then," he chuckled, puffing out his chest and following some blonde toward the bar.
As the night progressed, I crossed paths with the woman once again, learning that she worked for the law firm that represented Dad. We talked about any and everything after that, and I felt so attuned to her—so drawn to her—that it was hard for me to leave when the time came.
She sat across from me, her red lips puckered and her fingers absently twirling around one of her wayward locks. My blood pumped feverishly through my veins, settling at the thickening between my thighs as I took in her rose-pink cheeks and her long, slender neck. I wanted to kiss her, taste her, but it seemed out of the question. So I went with the second best thing.
"Do you want to go grab some coffee?"
"Do you have any idea how it feels to have a son that hates you for no apparent reason? Tell me, Edward, where did I go wrong?" Dad asked, his voice filled with hopelessness.
The sight of Carlisle Cullen near tears was enough to shake me.
Some jackass had squealed about an upcoming gambling night I had planned. Bella—who usually was around to curtail these very situations—didn't warn me this time because she was visiting her father.
Bella worked part-time at Student Services filing complaints and grievances, and if ever my name came up, she would let me know. Her job was a life saver in so many ways, but today, I was on my own.
"I don't want your life, Dad," I said. "I want to be more than a Cullen kid, or Emmett's fuck up of a brother, or Esme's black sheep!"
"When have any of us made you feel that way? I have done everything in my power to give you what you want, but you constantly throw it back in my face. I love you, my first son," he sighed, "but I can't do it anymore."
"What is that supposed to mean?" I asked, my gaze flickering to the office door. The Dean had given us a moment alone to work things out, and I swear I could see my reflection on his shiny bald head from where he eavesdropped just outside the door.
"It means you're on your own. You always hated the Cullen name, the power it afforded us, but you've hypocritically used it to bail your ass out whenever you saw fit," he said angrily. "No more. It ends now."
That was my wake-up call. Not to mention, after that, the university performed a thorough investigation that left me with a criminal record.
"Riley that shit you sold me was fucking rancid, man. I heard some kid was running naked through the dorms, screaming that he was on fire. Half the campus thinks he has some kind of STD now," I laughed.
"Fuck Edward, I know. I didn't find out until it was too late, though. Demetri laced that stash with PCP."
"Shit," I said, and added another 'fuck' because it didn't entirely convey what I was feeling. "Riley, I don't want that kind of shit associated with my name. I don't need that kind of trouble," I hissed.
"I'm fucked too," Riley snapped back. "You think that shit cost the same price as one of your normal picks ups? I need to come up with the missing product or 5Gs before Demetri finds out I sold the wrong shit!"
"You are fucked," I thought and said.
"Well, thanks for that," Riley deadpanned. "If I live to see next week…same time, same place?
"See you Thursday," I huffed, tossing my cell on the nightstand. As I sat stunned by his news, I mentally counted up the number of dime bags and dubs I'd sold from that particular run.
At least twenty of my customers would never forget this Christmas break.
New Year's Eve 2007
"Why won't you say it back?" I yelled, finding it hard to catch my breath.
I went all out: sending Bella to the spa, taking her to a fancy restaurant. I even bought her this royal blue dress that I saw her drooling over in one of her fashion magazines. She thought it overly expensive, but I thought it would compliment her pearlescent skin. Nevertheless, when I came back from the restroom, she wasn't there. It only took a minute for me to find her: at the bar, smiling and flirting with some guy.
I could count on one hand the number of times she fucking smiled at me since we got married!
That was my boiling point.
I knew we had gotten married too soon, but I accepted my responsibility as her husband. So I did everything a man was supposed to. I worked, I took out the trash, I had mediocre sex with her, I called when I was running late. That's what a husband is supposed to do, is it not?
Yet, she still didn't smile that smile for me. She still wouldn't tell me she loved me.
At the beginning—even at our courthouse nuptials—I let it slide. It was obvious that she had been through something pretty rough, and I wasn't going to push the issue. I figured she would open up to me in due time. Besides, my sense of duty to her would not allow me to do anything more about it.
Now, however, I just couldn't take it.
Things felt off between us. Well, more to the point, I could feel things. Unpleasant emotions that ultimately left me feeling unfulfilled. I wanted that kind of love that she used to read about in her romance novels.
"I can't," Bella weakly offered, seemingly unmoved by my tone of voice. Unaffected by the fact that I was practically having a fucking panic attack two feet from her.
"That's all you have to say? Y-y-you…ccccan't?" I lamely finished, embarrassed that my overwrought emotions were triggering my dormant stutter.
Is she…laughing at me?
Shaking my head to clear the obvious hallucination, I took a deep steadying breath. Bella sat on the arm of the recliner, her legs casually crossed as she stared off into space.
"Why do you come home every night smelling like smoke? Who is he? Maybe you can answer that instead," I snapped, unconsciously moving to hover over her.
She had to be seeing someone else. It would explain why she always smelled like she'd been hanging out in a bar. Why even when I tried to be intimate with her, she wasn't in the mood, or had a headache. Jesus! That would explain why she was out all hours of the night!
She looked truly afraid of me for a moment, but she quickly collected herself.
"There is no one else, Edward. All I think about is you. Every move I make and step I take is with you in mind," she said, exasperated now. "I've known since the very first day I met you that I needed you, knowing all the while that I probably wasn't good enough to delude someone like you in to falling for a 'Plain Jane' like me. And today, you send me out to get 'pampered'? It really felt like you were trying to make me into some one prettier, better. Like I'm not good enough for you."
"You know I don't feel that way, Bella. I've always been grateful for you…I owe you for so much. Why can't you just tell me you love me?" I asked again, utterly stuck on this point.
"Because Edward," she screeched as she rose to her feet. She looked positively furious. "What I feel for you is so much stronger—more powerful—than love," she spat. "It's funny, you know. You can get so upset when I don't say it, yet you say it like it's a chore. And then you tell me that your indebtedness is the abject reason you feel this almighty 'love'. How dare you expect me to say it when you don't even realize that you say it and don't mean it?" she finished, completely turning the conversation around on me. What was more disturbing than how quickly she turned the tables was that I had no response.
I knew with absolute certainty that my wife was right.
"Edward, we can't keep doing this," she said, rousing me from my half-sleep. The sheet was bunched at her knees, and her pale naked flesh was begging me to take her again.
"You're still married to Bella. You shouldn't be here with me," she frowned. I forced myself awake, sliding upward until my back was pressed against the headboard.
"She doesn't love me," I said simply.
"Yeah, but you love her?" It was both a question and an accusation.
"I feel very…protective of her," I said, reaching out a finger to trail down her cheek, her chin, before finally settling my hand over her heart. "But I do know that I love you." An electric current flowed between us, and by the widening of her pupils, I knew she felt it too.
"I don't feel this when I touch her. Only you, Love," I said, diving in to kiss her.
"Do you still…do you make love to her?" she asked, halting my movement. Her dark lashes fluttered against her cheeks as she closed her eyes and waited for my answer. I held my tongue, biding my time until she looked at me. When she did, I quickly answered.
"We don't have that kind of relationship," I told her honestly. "I haven't been with her since before you came into my life." The shock was written plainly on her face.
"It doesn't matter," she sighed. "You still belong to her, and she still carries your name," she whimpered. I reached out to touch her, but she jumped up from the bed, her red hair caressing her milky white back with every step she took.
Filing for a divorce wasn't something I ever saw myself doing. I'd been taught that a commitment is forever, and that you were supposed to make things work. Whenever I dwelled on the subject for too long, I thought about what a disappointment I would be to everyone if I did file. But how can you make things work when you were the only one that tried? I'd long given up on that notion, and grew accustomed to the idea that although Bella was legally my wife, we wore only amiable roommates.
I even went as far as to privately hire a lawyer to draw up divorce papers. Yet, whenever I felt ready to broach the subject with Bella, she wasn't around. Or worse, she would be around, but she'd get this look in her eye as if she were strolling down memory lane. And when she spoke—no matter the topic—it always ended up being another recollection of a time she'd saved my ass. Eventually, the shame at even considering leaving her would stun me into silence.
Just yesterday I, as usual, came home from work to an empty house. When Bella finally arrived, it was around 11:00 p.m. I didn't bother asking where she was, partly because I got tired of asking, and partly because I didn't care. As long as the missus was happy, right? I was irritated and completely ready to ask her for a divorce, so I took a deep breath to ready myself.
Noticing my posture, the set of my jaw, she rushed into speech.
"You'll never guess who I ran into today," she began, taking off her jacket and storing her purse. Once her shoes were removed, she sat beside me on the couch. "Jessica Stanley."
"Oh?" I asked, remembering that name with perfect clarity.
"Yeah, I saw her in…passing today. She was in town for some kind of conference. She works for the Department of Justice now," she stated.
"Really? I didn't realize she was that…" I paused, looking for the right word.
"Smart?" Bella offered.
"Yeah, that's it. Smart. What sector?" I asked, wondering if My Love knew of her, and admittedly trying to find a lie in Bella's story—a way out of this sham of a marriage.
Her eyes widened minutely before she told me it was either the Civil Rights division or Office of Violence Against Women, she couldn't quite recall. Bella did remember that Jessica had friends in high places, though. The same friends that helped me to get my criminal record expunged when Bella pleaded with Jessica for help after dad left me to deal with my own problems.
I couldn't even think the word 'divorce' after that. And a part of me hated her for making me feel like a caged bird.
"Edward," she said, snapping me out of my reverie. She was fully clothed now, her hair piled high on top of her head. "I think you should go home."
"Just stick with the plan, Bella. You've invested too much time, you can do this," Bella half-mumbled, half-panted to herself as she slowed down to a jog on the treadmill.
"You don't need to lose any weight. You're already too thin," I said, thinking about the thick hips and thighs that were wrapped around me only hours ago.
"When did you get home? I didn't hear you come in," she said while grasping at her undoubtedly pounding heart.
"I took off early to come and see you," I lied, presenting the bouquet of flowers and box of chocolates that I'd picked up on the way home. They did nothing to assuage the remorse I felt, knowing that I really took off work to be with Her.
"That was thoughtful," she said, taking them from my outstretched hand and walking straight past me.
"Must stick with the plan," she repeated, shaking her head at the box of chocolates.
Women could be so fickle about their figures.
Everyone was so happy that I turned over a new leaf and cleaned up my life. My parents didn't have to worry about calls from the school asking them how to handle my latest fuck up, Emmett told all of his friends about how fuckawesome (his word) his older brother was. And lastly, Bella didn't have to keep my secrets anymore.
We had just finished eating dinner and I was stuffed. All I wanted to do was go up to my old bedroom and fall asleep. However, Dad had other ideas, and asked me to meet him in his study. This was my first time coming home since I'd left for school, and I couldn't begrudge him this simple request.
Dad sat down on the opposite side of the desk, sliding a cup of coffee in front of me. As I sipped on it, he cleared his throat.
"Edward, I'm so proud of the man that you have become. I want you to know that," he said, and I couldn't help but feel a 'but' coming. "But, I have to know. What changed?" Without hesitating, I told him it was because of him and Bella.
"When you told me you were done helping me, I was angry, Dad. I thought if you loved me that you wouldn't just abandon me like that. Then after the shitstorm, I told Bella what happened. She said to put myself in your shoes, that maybe you felt abandoned by me because of how I behaved, how I was ruining the name you worked so hard to earn, how I didn't bother checking in with you guys until I needed something.
"Then Bella told me about her own family. How both of her parents neglected her, and never had time for her. I should've been more grateful that you even gave me the time of day. She told me I was being the very thing I didn't want to be; a spoiled little rich kid," I loudly exhaled, scrubbing my hands down my face. "Bella said I should be lucky that I had parents that cared about me, and not to take it for granted."
"I see," Dad said, slowly nodding his head.
"What sold it for me was that you both said the same thing, that you were tired of covering for me. And you both looked so exhausted, so hurt. I realized then that I did that to you both. I put that look in your eyes. I…I broke you without even realizing it. I broke her, too," I said lowly, not bothering to hide my tears.
"I swore that day I would do whatever it took to make it up to you both. I'm so, so sorry, Dad. Please forgive me?" I asked, watching his eyes sparkle with unshed tears.
He rose to his feet and came to kneel at my side.
"I love you, son, and I forgive you," he said, opening his arms to me, and I gladly let him wrap me in his absolution.
February 2, 2010
"So, Edward Cullen was known as the go-to guy for drugs?" Whitlock asked.
"Edward was the go-to guy for everything: parties, girls, and yes, drugs. But only weed. I never knew him to deal with any heavy shi...stuff."
"Mr. Newton, you know what they say about gateway drugs. Isn't it possible that the defendant graduated to selling something more potent?"
"Objection!" she belted out, looking like a lion about to pounce, "calls for speculation."
"Withdrawn," Whitlock returned, an evil glint in his eye. He knew the seed had already been planted, and there was no way the jury could 'disregard that statement.' It would sow itself deeply and firmly into their minds, causing them to have reasonable doubt about my innocence.
"I have no further questions for this witness," he said, taking his seat. Judge Weber turned to the defendant's table. To my table.
"Mr. Newton, when was the last time you purchased an illegal substance from the defendant?"
"It's been years since I've seen him, longer than that since I bought from him…maybe summer 2006? I tried to buy again after that, but word was he got busted and didn't sell anymore. He didn't live on campus anymore either, and whenever I saw him on campus, he was with that Swan girl."
"You mean, Mrs. Cullen?" she corrected, pointing at Bella who looked more frazzled than usual. I tried to ignore the malice in my lover's tone when she pronounced the word Mrs. This was not the time for her jealously. She knew that I only loved her.
"Yes, that's her," Mike answered. "Wow, she hasn't changed much," he said, sending a wink her way.
Is he serious?
"Do you have anymore to add, Mr. Newton?" she asked, ready to get this greaseball off the stand.
"No, that's it. Oh! And it was definitely September 2006. I had just pre-ordered my Nintendo Wii and I was so stoked that I wanted to get hi…um, to share the news with someone. But like I said, he wasn't selling. He was either reading or with Bella," he stated, winking at Bella again before his brow furrowed in concentration. "She used to hang out with the de…"
"Thank you, no further questions."
"You can leave the stand, Mr. Newton," Judge Weber directed.
"Edward, honey," she began, her tone wearisome. "I can't continue to represent you. It's a breach of conduct, a breach of our trust as client and attorney. I'm not just fighting for justice, for your life, but for us, and that is a clear conflict of interest. Please forgive me," she begged.
Pulling her onto my lap, I pressed both of my palms to her cheeks, using my thumbs to wipe her tears away. "There is nothing to forgive, Love," I said, accepting my fate. I didn't kill Sam Uley. I didn't even know who he was, but there was enough evidence to say otherwise. Enough of my past fuck-ups to make it look plausible.
It was enough knowing that I righted my wrongs: protected Bella as best as I could, became a better son, brother, and overall human being. The people who really knew me believed in my innocence, and that was all I could ask for.
"No, Edward," she said, her voice full of conviction. "Don't give up." It was my turn to look away, feeling moisture gather and trickle from my own eyes.
"My only regret was not being a better man to you and Bella. She deserved my honesty—not to be kept in the dark about us. And you…you deserved my all," I said, burying my face into her neck.
"I love you, Edward," she said. Apart from my mother, she was the only woman to ever say those words to me.
"I love you so much," I said, hugging her with everything I had.
"I'm recusing myself from the case this afternoon. I've already notified my associate who's been following the case thus far. Alice Brandon is one of the best…" I let her voice fade out. I didn't want to hear anymore.
I'd accepted my fate and there was no way out now.
January 21, 2010
I thought things were working in my favor since the jury had been more sympathetic towards me after testimony from my character witnesses. I was so hopeful that my luck was turning that I decided to finally tell Bella it was over in order to give the one woman I'd ever really loved what she deserved—all of me. Yet, the moment I contacted my divorce attorney, Jason Jenks, everything went to shit.
Bella was the next scheduled visitor after Jason left, and I prepared myself to tell her everything.
"Bella, what happened? Tell me," I demanded. I knew the trial was emotional torture for her, but she was physically hurt now. There were two small cuts under her right eye, the tank top she wore showed various scrapes on her elbows and arms, and her knee was wrapped in gauze.
"You know me, I'm just clumsy." She said it said so softly I had to lean closer in order to hear her. The smell of smoke assaulted my nostrils, but it didn't bother me. Not anymore.
"Don't lie to me, Bella. Tell me," I said, ignoring the irony of my own statement.
"They followed me home today. I can usually avoid them, but they saw me leaving the courthouse and followed me," she wailed, using her hands to shield her face from me. "When they called my name, I ran and tripped on the stairs outside of our door."
"Who? God, are you okay?"
"The reporters. They want me to give them a statement about the trial. I got away in time," she said, still looking at the table between us.
"Promise me you'll stay with Mom and Dad until this all over, Bella?"
Without much effort, because of how frightened she was, she agreed. Once again, I felt shame and responsibility for what she was going through.
Once again, I felt trapped.
It's like she had some magical power of avoidance. Whenever I was ready to have 'the talk', the conversation always took an unexpected turn.
"Please, give us another chance. I'm lost without you," I begged, encircling her in my arms.
"I miss you so much," she replied, melting into my embrace.
"Then let's not do this. Come back to me, my love." Lowering my eyes to her mouth, I wondered if she'd ever let me back in her life.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" she asked. I could barely concentrate with her body pressed so tightly to mine.
"I need to taste you," I said, only just able to restrain myself.
"Then kiss me."
I promptly complied.
Bringing her lips to mine, I kissed her with a passion I didn't know I possessed. And before long, her legs were wrapped around my waist, and I was moving us toward her bed.
I took my time undressing her, whispering words of affection every time I discarded another piece of clothing until she was bare before me. I slowly kissed her again, lazily nipping on her bottom lip with my teeth, and in response she parted her lips.
Groaning, I took her face in my hands as our tongues swirled to an invisible rhythm. She reached up and grabbed my hair, brushing her bare chest against mine.
Leaving her with a chaste kiss, I worked my way down to her neck, and then to her collarbone, only pausing when I reached her full breasts. She protested when I moved away from her to undress myself, but I made up for it by taking one of her pert nipples into my mouth. I licked and sucked from her while my hand imitated my actions on her other breast.
"Edward…now…please," she panted, spreading her legs for me.
With my cock in hand, I coated myself with her wetness, aligning myself and pausing one last time.
"I love you," I said, enjoying the breathy moan she released when I filled her. She arched against me as I continually delved inside of her. I was on the brink of losing my control, and it had never felt so unbelievingly good.
"Open your eyes, love. Look at me," I groaned. When she complied, I lost myself in her hazel depths, holding her hips as she came apart beneath me. My orgasm swiftly followed, and I pulled her to my side so I didn't crush her with my weight.
"Edward, I love you. No matter what," she promised. This time it wasn't my voice but my heart that stuttered before soaring at her declaration.
As she lay sleeping in my arms, I silently vowed to her that I would make things right.
February 4, 2010
"Edward, they won't let me testify. I could clear this all up! I know you didn't do this. You've turned into a good man, a good husband," she sobbed. "I keep telling the DA but he won't listen. And your lawyer keeps talking about spousal privilege...I don't think she likes me, Edward," she hiccupped. "You are a good man. I know you didn't do this."
"I don't know if I am a good man, Bella," I muttered, ready to get everything off my chest. Closing arguments were only a day away, and I didn't want to lie to Bella a moment longer. Whether I was found guilty or not, I needed a clear conscience.
"You know that I care about you and I only want you to be happy, right?" I asked, grabbing her hand. She nodded in response. "I've never really been in love with you though," I exhaled. "I've always wanted to protect you, as you've done for me, but I know now that it's not enough. It's not the way a man should love his wife. At least not the only way," I said, releasing her hand. "Please forgive me for all the times and ways I have wronged you. I am truly sorry.
"I know you may never want to see me again, but I'm filing for a divorce. I'm…in love with someone else," I choked out, realizing how foolish I sounded.
It wasn't like I was a good catch. She probably didn't even want me now.
Not knowing what to expect from Bella, I closed my eyes, assuming she'd slap me. However, the pain never came. I opened my eyes in time to see her retreating form.
February 12, 2010
"Things will work out. I know it looks bad right now, but things will work out," my new attorney whispered to me after she finished giving her closing argument.
I didn't trust Alice Brandon, at all.
Whenever Judge Weber would call on her, she seemed to be in another world. It took her forever to word questions the right way to the witnesses. It was as if she were looking for specific outcomes to their repeated answers. Worst of all, she wanted to forgo privilege and put my wife on the stand. My soon to be ex-wife who I hadn't heard from since the day I asked her for a divorce!
Bella couldn't lie to save her life—not that I would want her to. But they would ask her about my past, and there was no way she wouldn't accidentally divulge the seediest memories, adding even more fuel to the fire.
I turned back to meet Her eyes, and she gave me a sad smile.
Her red tresses were down today, the way she knew I liked. She even wore my favorite shade of green, giving me one last visual to keep with me when they surely found me guilty and sent me upstate.
It hardly registered with me that Whitlock had begun his closing argument. Focusing my attention back to the present, I watched each juror. Some nodded their heads at what he said, others offered him soft smiles, and some even scowled at me. The jury always seemed to hang on Whitlock's every word, his every emotion.
I was fucked.
"…During the winter of 2005, there was one reported car accident; one rape, another two that were attempted; and a report of vandalism. Edward Cullen is the reason behind each of these crimes. After further investigation, we know that the people involved had either bought, smoked, or simply had the bad luck of being in the vicinity of someone who had gotten high off of the drugs he sold.
The car accident happened when a girl had to slam on her brakes to avoid a male student who was running naked in the streets. The vandalism occurred when a couple of kids smoked together and decided to trash their fraternity house. Two young women were lucky to escape to their dorm rooms the night that Edward 'E.C.' Cullen sold a potent mixture of marijuana and phencyclidine to two sexual deviants!"
"The third woman, or child, rather, at only eighteen was not so lucky. She is known simply as Jane Doe. A passerby found her stripped naked in her dorm room. Her body was bloody and covered in bruises. Several witnesses had seen her with her boyfriend that day, noting that he only left her side for about an hour. We presumed this is when he met up with some of his friends to get stoned. When he made it back to his girlfriend's dorm, he was said to be delirious.
Not quite remembering which room was hers, he banged on several doors, yelling her name as he went. He accused her of cheating and began to threaten random males that were in the surrounding area, saying they were her lovers. Reports say that it took her over 20 minutes to coax him into her room. He was the last person seen with her and she was found a few hours later.
Edward Cullen caused this.
I know, these facts are horrible, and you're wondering what they have to do with this case. I'll tell you. The defendant," Whitlock said, aiming his glare at me. "Has ruined more lives than I had time to investigate. Like I said, these are only the reported cases. The evidence of his character is here! He is not the reformed truant turned family man that the defense wants you to believe. He is a murderer."
"Some of you may think the evidence is not substantial enough to convict, even though his prints were found on the murder weapon, and drugs found in his office that belonged to the deceased. If that isn't enough to return with a plea of guilty, look at all the lives he's tarnished. If you can't find him guilty for the murder of Sam Uley, make him pay for his mistakes."
"My husband did not kill that man!" Bella shouted, both surprisingly and unsurprisingly at the same time.
When did she get here?
Bella stared directly into the DA's eyes, looking positively homicidal. "Just hear me out, Edward didn't do this."
"Order, order in this court! Bailiff, remove Mrs. Cullen from my court room. She has had enough warnings," Judge Weber commanded.
The place had turned into a circus: Bella's screams, my mom sobbing just behind me, and even My Love couldn't keep up her hopeful façade.
Everything Whitlock said weighed heavily on my mind and heart. All of that happened because of me? Because I tried to prove something to...anyone that bothered to listen? My heart was beating furiously against my ribs and I was starting to feel nauseous. I took one last look around the court room before everything went black.
The last image I had was of the bailiff hauling my wife away.
Why was she smiling?
September 13, 2009
"Bella, I'm running late. I have a ton of work to get through before I leave." I said, muffling the receiver of my cell phone when an ice cream truck—blaring its loud carnival-like music—drove past.
"It's okay. Do you know what time you'll be home?" she asked.
"A few hours maybe," I responded as I took the stairs two at a time and knocked on the white door.
"Edward, you're here," she said, pulling me through the threshold by my belt.
"Bella, I have to go now. You know the service is shitty in this building…" I lied, pressing the end call button.
"Mmm, Mr. Cullen," she purred, firmly palming my thickening erection.
"Yes, Ms. Cope," I groaned.
"Bella? I'm home," I tiredly said, feeling exhausted from my afternoon tryst.
"I know it was him, just please look into it…yes, I'll hold," Bella quietly said, and I followed the sound of her voice.
"There you are birthday girl," I said, obviously startling her. "Who was that on the phone?" I asked, loosening my tie and removing my jacket.
"Just Jessica again," she replied. After they ran into each other several months ago, they had become close friends. "She thinks her new boyfriend is cheating on her," she added, and I flinched as if she were accusing me.
"I asked her if she thought he was 'the one', because if not, what's the use in crying?" Bella continued, oblivious to my discomfort.
"What did she say?"
"Well, she asked me how she was supposed to know if he was the one, and I told her how I knew," she said, making me feel like shit. "I think he was on his way over, so she had to let me go."
I harrumphed but had nothing to add. Looking at my watch, I realized there were still a few hours left before restaurants started closing down.
"Well, it's still your birthday. Wanna do something?"
"Cullen, you have a visitor." Scratching at my overgrown beard, I stood up and made my way towards the metal bars. Once I was in position, my wrists and ankles were shackled and I was led to the visiting room like a sheep to slaughter.
"You ready?" the guard asked, adjusting my lapel and making sure everything was in order.
I nodded my answer.
"Seth, if things don't go…I just…thank you for treating me like a human and not some kind of monster," I finally said. I expected Seth, the prison guard, to be especially harsh with me once I found out that he personally knew Sam Uley. But he was kind, handling me better than any of the other guards.
"Edward, don't be a pansy. Now get out there."
I wasn't surprised that I was found guilty of all charges, but I was shocked that I hadn't been transferred to a maximum security facility. I knew it wasn't the Cullen money keeping me in the local jail—I had finally managed to tarnish the family name. Instead, it was Alice Brandon who had already filed an appeal against my sentence as well as the guilty verdict, keeping me firmly where I was. Somehow, Alice already knew I'd be convicted and we would have to find another way out of this mess.
"Bella? What are you…you're here?" I asked incredulously.
"Oh, Edward, of course I'm here. I signed the divorce papers last week and thought I should see you one last time," she smiled.
"Well, thank you for your promptness. It'll be nice not to have to deal with all this and a messy divorce on top of it. Besides, Shelly and I want to get married."
"Shelly Cope?" she guffawed. "I never knew you were into cougars, E.C.," she laughed again. "What is she…fifty?"
"She's only thirty-seven," I retorted.
"Well, good luck with that," she mock shivered, her tinkling laughter that I once found cute now annoying me. After she regained her composure, she exhaled deeply and looked me dead in the eye. "I promised myself I wouldn't come here, but I couldn't stay away. After having one purpose for so long, it felt weird having nothing to do, nothing to plan."
"I'm sorry if I made you feel like you had to protect me. I never meant to hurt you Bella." At that she laughed again as she dug around in her purse, producing a pack of cigarettes.
"Since when do you smoke?"
"Since when haven't I?" she shot back. "I gotta tell you, Edward. You made this a lot harder than I thought it would be. It wasn't difficult, per se, just more work than I expected. I mean, I figured this whole thing would take a year, tops," she cryptically said. "I guess you really are a changed man."
"What are you talking about?" I asked, leaning closer to her.
"Remember when we met?" she continued. "I was such a mess that day. That whole day I kept thinking, just kill him and get it over with, but then something told me that your death wouldn't be enough. I needed you to suffer like I did. Maybe when they finally ship you upstate—put you with the other criminals—you'll experience what you put me through. Here's a tip," she said, her harsh scent overtaking my senses. "Don't drop the soap," she whispered, and then tilted her head back with a sardonic smile to study my expression.
"Bella, I have no idea what you're talking about. Please explain."
"You know, I planned to wait a little longer. Perhaps give you some kids just so you could see them taken away, but then you started seeing someone…Shelly Cope, I presume?" she asked. "I knew my time was up then. Things would only work out if I was still your wife; if they didn't let me testify."
"Oh, silly Edward," she sing-songed, patting my hand as she took in my bewildered expression, "let me start from the beginning. When I first met Jacob Black, I knew he was the one. He was sweet, kind…everything I thought a man should be. He was a bit possessive, but I could handle that. Besides, his jealousy—though unnecessary—made me feel good, wanted.
"One night, he went out with some of his friends: Paul, Embry, and a guy name Sam who looked at me like he hated me. I think it was because I was a white girl and he didn't want his Native American friend slummin'. Anyway, I wasn't worried about him breaking us up because Jacob couldn't stand being away from me for more than an hour at a time it seemed. So, like clockwork, there was a knock at my door and there Jacob stood.
She paused, her eyes clouding over.
"He accused me of cheating and made a spectacle of himself with his delusions. I thought I had calmed him down when we went into my room, but something was still off. He kept scratching at his arms, checking underneath my bed and in my closet looking for the supposed guy. Of course he didn't find anyone, but that wasn't enough to pacify him. He decided to call his friend, Sam, to tell him how he was right about the 'pale faces'. How I couldn't be trusted," she frowned. "And then he just took off.
"I sat on my bed crying my eyes out waiting for him to come back, and when I heard the knock on my door, I didn't think, I just opened it. It wasn't Jacob, though. It was Sam…Sam Uley who had come to teach me a lesson," she said, her small frame trembling. "When he was...done, he left me there to die," she hissed.
She took a moment to compose herself before she continued. "A week later, Jacob wouldn't even look at me, couldn't stand to be in the same room with me. Did you know that I heard him tell Paul that I was damaged goods? Jacob acted as if I let Sam have me?"
"Bella…" I began, staring at her with wide eyes.
Hearing the details first hand was positively astounding.
"It took some doing," she cut me off, "but I found out that Jacob and his friends were high that night. And then I found out where the drugs came from. It was you that turned my life into this…abomination. I decided right then and there that you and Sam would both pay for what you took from me." She stopped speaking long enough to look me directly in the eye.
"Oh, what's wrong, baby?" Bella cooed. "You look like you've seen a ghost, E.C."
"It was really you?" I confirmed.
"First," she waved her hand in dismissal, no longer speaking to me. "I had to fix you. I mean, you had to rise before you could fall, right? It was so easy to give you the attention, the control you needed. When that was done, I made you think you loved me. Again, easy. Any fool could see how loyal you were.
"Getting to Sam was the hardest part of the plan…did you know he became hooked after the first hit? The first hit you sold him? He was already so drugged up and paranoid that people were out to get him, that it made actually getting him quite difficult. So, once I had the drugs—which Sam conveniently had at his place—I put them in your office. The package was under your laundry for two weeks!" she manically laughed.
"On my birthday, when you said you were working late, I had to act fast. It was obvious I'd lost you to another, and without your devotion my plan wouldn't work. That was the night I took your gun and went to Sam's apartment, and then…bam! I didn't realize how simple it would be, how good it would make me feel to end him. He never did turn himself in for what he did to me. The coward," she spat.
"Bella, I'm so sorry you had to go through that," I said, my head bowed in shame.
"S'ok. Consider us…even." she smirked before looking at her watch. "Whew, would you look at the time. I really must be going if I'm going to make my flight on time."
"How…how did you do it?" I inquired. "You're the world's worst liar."
"You're right about that," she sighed, rising to her feet. "But I never once lied to you or anyone. I told the police officers that you didn't kill Sam. I told Jasper Whitlock that you were a good man, a good husband who didn't have it in him to knowingly hurt anyone. The cops never asked me where I was the day he was killed. Once they found out that my husband had no alibi, and that poor little old me was left all alone on my birthday, I guess they felt sorry for me," she shrugged. "The anonymous tip I called in may have helped them to overlook that small detail."
"But they should have found the connection between you, Jacob, and Sam," I seethed, unable to collect myself.
"Like I said, you are so silly Edward. I was a minor back then and I didn't formally press charges. They don't release the name of the victim."
"Time," Officer Clearwater said, gesturing to his commanding officer who had entered the room. Seth pulled me back towards the exit as Officer Peter Astin seized Bella's wrists.
"Isabella Marie Cullen, you are under arrest for the murder of Sam Uley. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney…"
Three weeks prior
"Alice," I greeted, shaking her hand.
"Shelly, love," I exhaled, pulling her tightly to my chest. She matched my strength, peppering my jaw with sweet kisses.
"Okay, you two. There will be plenty of time for that later," Alice smiled. "It's time," she said, getting a faraway look in her eyes.
"Time for what?" Shelly and I said in unison.
"I think you both should sit down," Alice instructed, and we did as we were told.
As Alice went on to tell us the elaborate tale of Bella Swan, I couldn't believe my ears. This was all a set up?
"So, if I'm right, she'll want you to know who did this to you. What's the point of revenge if the person just thinks it's bad karma? Anyhow, your visiting days and times are limited, so we'll just have to place a wire on you each time you have a visitor." Alice paused, tapping her chin in thought. "It'll be soon though."
My thoughts and emotions were a tangled mess. I was happy, angry, and most of all fucking relieved! Turning to face Shelly, I took her small hand in mine.
"Shelly Cope, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?" I asked, and then tried to backtrack upon seeing her expression. "I know this isn't romantic and that…you have better options…"I fumbled.
She gasped, and the next thing I knew she was on my lap, her arms wound tightly around my neck. As she peppered my face with kisses, she told me how much she loved me. Pulling back, I could see the sincerity in her eyes.
"I love you, Shelly. Will you marry me?" I asked again.
Christmas Eve 2006
"I don't think your family likes me very much," Bella said, plopping down on my childhood bed.
"It's not that. It's just that I've never brought anyone home before. They're just shocked." I took the spot beside her, pulling her up until she was facing me.
"Does it bother you," I asked, after the silence became awkward between us.
"Being with my family, and away from your own home," I clarified.
"No, this is where I need to be. Besides, I haven't seen my mom since I was three, and Charlie...let's just say he was happy that I got accepted into a college so far away from home. You're all I have, Edward," she said.
"Marry me," I smiled. "I'll be your family. I promise to always take care of you. Just like you've done for me."
"Edward, are you serious?" she asked, inching closer to me.
Smiling like a fool, I excitedly nodded.
"Yes, I'll marry you, and I promise…" she hesitated as if seeking the right words to convey her emotions before the most beautiful and genuine smile I've ever seen her wear graced her face.
"Edward…I promise to give you everything that you deserve."
A/N Leave me a review and let me know what you think!