This is a dark story, with mature themes, strong language and sexual situations. If you are not at least 18 years of age, you should not be reading this. Also, if dark isn't your thing, this is your one and only warning that this story is definitely not fluff. For Edward and Bella, it's not always happily ever after.
Alice saw the events play out mere seconds before they occurred. Her scream pierced the silence, bringing the rest of the family to her side. Even Jasper's calming influence could do no good. Her incoherent cries worried her family; they had never seen her have such a violent reaction to one of her visions. Whatever she was seeing must have been horrific.
Late September, 2009
I can feel so unsexy for someone so beautiful
So unloved for someone so fine
I can feel so boring for someone so interesting
So ignorant for someone of sound mind
Oh these little protections how they fail to serve me
One forgotten phone call and I'm deflated
Oh these little defenses how they fail to comfort me
Your hand pulling away and I'm devastated
So Unsexy - Alanis Morissette
Dinner, alone, again. It was the third night in a row Edward hadn't come home right after work, leaving Bella to eat dinner in solitude. She would never tell him how much it hurt her feelings. She knew he would say something like, "It's not like I actually eat dinner, so why should it matter if I'm there or not?"
Well, the truth was, it did matter. It mattered to her. She hated wondering where he was and what he was doing. She hated feeling like such an insignificant part of his life that he couldn't be bothered to keep her company while she ate. The truth was, she craved his company and wished desperately that he felt the same. But, like every night before, she also knew that the minute he walked in the door, clutching a bouquet of freesia, she would forgive him. He would kiss her eyes and tell her how sorry he was for being late, and she would wrap her arms around his neck and forget why she was mad in the first place.
Bella knew her relationship with Edward was dysfunctional. She wasn't blind to the fact that his moods dictated every aspect of their life together. But she knew that she would never be able to leave him. She loved him with everything she had and still held on to the hope that one day things would change - that he would change her so that she could finally become his equal. The constant reminders of her humanity stung like a million tiny paper cuts rubbed with salt. Edward never failed to scoff at her displays of human imperfection. Yet, despite his apparent loathing of her humanity, he still refused to make her a vampire.
It seemed so easy for him to break the promise he made to her before they married. At first, she believed him when he told her that he didn't want to risk her soul. Now, she wasn't sure what to believe. How could he love her so much, yet break the one promise that meant the most to her. There were moments she was tempted to throw in the towel - to tell Edward that she was leaving. Each time she tried, her heart would stop her. She would cling to the beautiful lies he told her, revel in the fantasy of having a perfect love, a perfect marriage.
After she finished eating, she washed her plate and put it away. Since Edward still wasn't home, she poured herself a glass of wine and sat on the couch with a book. She hoped that he would be in a good mood when he came home. Maybe he would even watch a movie with her on the couch. She couldn't remember the last time they sat together and just were - no company, no fighting, just a happy couple enjoying an evening together.
As hard as she tried, Bella couldn't focus on her book. Her mind was filled with thoughts of Edward, and a book, no matter how intriguing, couldn't distract her. So, she let her mind drift. She didn't have a vampire memory, but she could remember the first time she saw Edward Cullen as if it happened yesterday instead of four years ago.
Bella was the new girl at Forks High School. Today, her only goal was to survive her first day. She had made it through her first few classes and had even been invited to sit with Jessica Stanley and her friends at lunch. The moment Edward Cullen walked in the cafeteria with his siblings, it felt as if Bella's world stood still for just a moment. He was the most beautiful person she had ever seen in her life. His hair, the color of an old penny, was carefully styled to look like it wasn't carefully styled. His face was all strong angles; Bella thought of a Roman statue as she took in the perfection of his alabaster skin. Just as she started to admire the lean lines of his body, he caught her staring. The look he gave her in return was pure evil. His eyes burned through her flesh and even though Bella knew she should look away, she couldn't. Despite the fact that he had such undisguised hate for her, she was immediately transfixed by him. Jessica shook Bella's shoulder, ending their very obvious staring contest. She had to know his name, so she let Jessica ramble for a minute before speaking.
"Which one is the boy with the reddish-brown hair?" she asked, trying desperately to sound casual.
"That's Edward. He's gorgeous, of course, but don't waste your time. He doesn't date. Apparently none of the girls here are good looking enough for him."
The bitterness in Jessica's voice was enough for Bella to guess that he had turned her down. For some reason that made her smile. Bella chanced another quick glance at him and could have sworn she saw a smile flit across his lips. She hoped it wasn't at her expense. Sure, she found him fascinating, but she wasn't going to be one of those girls who threw herself at his feet.
But, no matter how much Bella resolved not to waste another thought on him, it was an undeniable fact that Edward intrigued her. She didn't want to think about him. She didn't want to wonder where he was when he missed school. But, she did, and her thoughts verged on obsession. If only she could have known then what her life would become because of Edward Cullen. He would become both the best and the worst thing to ever happen to Bella Swan.
*dialogue taken from Twilight, page 12.
The sound of the key in the lock shook Bella out of her thoughts, and she quickly smoothed down her hair and took a gulp of wine.
"Bella, love, I'm home." Edward sounded happy. It broke her heart that she had to fight to remember the last time she had heard genuine happiness in his voice.
"Baby," she cried, jumping off the couch and launching herself into his arms. These moments were the ones she lived for. The moments when he was the Edward she fell in love with, or at least the Edward she thought she fell in love with.
"I missed you today," he said, burying his face in her hair.
"I missed you, too," Bella replied, too caught up in her own elation to form a more coherent sentence. Despite the fact they had been together five years, Edward's scent still had the ability to make her dizzy with want.
"So, what did you do today?" Such a simple question, but one filled with so many traps, one of which she was about to fall in to.
"Besides work, not much really. I made a casserole for Billy. He's having such a hard time lately, and Charlie asked that I go look in on him. Jacob was home so we-"
"Tell me you didn't socialize with that dog," Edward growled, his good mood quickly replaced by darkness.
"I...well...he was there visiting Billy, so it would have been rude not to speak to him," she replied, kicking herself internally for her blunder. Edward tolerated her trips to see Billy because it was something she did for Charlie. However, where Jacob was concerned, Edward had drawn a hard and fast line in the sand. Unless Charlie was present, she was to have no interaction with him at all.
"Wasn't I clear in my direction that you weren't to speak to Jacob unless Charlie was present?" It was more of a statement than a question. All Bella could do was meekly nod her head as a single tear dripped down her face. There was a time when Jacob was her best friend. Now, he was barely an acquaintance. No one would ever know how much it broke her heart to let him go.
"I'm sorry, Edward. We talked about work, the weather, just mundane things. I was barely there ten minutes. Please, don't be angry with me." Bella hated groveling, especially when she felt she hadn't done anything wrong, but having Edward mad at her made her feel like a knife was lodged in her stomach. She raised her hand tentatively to his face, tracing the smooth skin of his jaw when he didn't pull away from her touch.
He nuzzled into her hand, sighing quietly. For a moment, her heart seemed to stop beating, just waiting for him to tell her that she was forgiven.
"You know I can't stay angry at you, love," he stated. While Bella knew it to be a lie, she drank in the words just the same. A lie coming from his beautiful lips flowed like honey through her mind, rich and inviting.
"But Bella, please stay away from Jacob, for me." Edward punctuated his request with a kiss that dissolved into a moist, hot demand against her lips.
She couldn't deny him anything, so with a silent plea of forgiveness to Jacob, she closed her eyes and whispered, "For you, anything."
That night she dreamt of Jacob. Flashes of their time together flitted through her mind like an old movie. Being with Jacob was so easy; she never had to walk on egg shells around him. Things between them had started to become strained the day she told him about Edward. Little did she know then that the animosity between Edward and Jacob ran much deeper than just simple jealousy. But, through everything, she never stopped believing that she could keep his friendship. After all, there was no reason for Edward to be jealous. Her heart belonged to him and him alone. If Jacob hadn't kissed her, maybe things wouldn't have gone so wrong.
Edward insisted on dropping Bella off at the "line" - the area that divided the Cullen land from the Quileute. While frustrating, she did admit it was a small concession to make as it allowed her to still spend time on the reservation. That fateful day, Jacob and Bella were leaning against his Rabbit, waiting for Edward, talking about nothing in particular.
"Bells, do you ever think about what it would've been like if you had chosen me?" Jacob looked so serious as he asked the question that her heart jumped. This was definitely not territory that Bella was comfortable discussing.
"You know I don't see you like that," she responded. "I can't imagine being with anyone but Edward."
"We could be so perfect together. I wouldn't try to control you like he does-"
Bella cut him off with a glare. "Don't, Jake, just don't."
What happened next changed the course of their relationship forever. Without a word, Jacob leaned down and brushed his lips against Bella's. At first, it was tentative, then it became urgent, demanding, even as she didn't reciprocate. Bella had just started to push him away when she heard the unmistakable sound of tires squealing on asphalt. In an instant, Edward had ripped Jacob away from Bella and pulled her into his arms.
"Did he hurt you?" he demanded. "Did that mongrel force himself on you?" The rage pulsed from his body in waves, flushing his cool skin just a shade warmer. "Jacob Black, I am seconds away from tearing you apart, so if you value your life, you will leave now and never speak another word to Bella."
Bella was too stunned to form words; her worst nightmare was coming true. "Jake, just leave, please," she begged him, hoping he would heed Edward's advice and go back to the reservation. She and Edward could talk about the no contact thing later, after he had had a chance to calm down.
She peeked to the side and could just barely see Jacob. His fists were in tight balls at his side, and his body was vibrating with anger. "Please, Jake, just go."
"This isn't over, Cullen," he spat, turned, and phased. His tattered clothes silently fluttered to the ground.
Edward stayed angry for days and would not relent from his demand that she stay away from Jacob. Bella's visits to the rez became more infrequent, but she and Jacob still ran into each other from time to time. Their conversations became never strayed from polite inquiries and discussion of the weather as Bella did her best to honor Edward's wishes. Eventually, Jake just quit trying to talk to her all together. Their friendship died slowly, painfully, until one day it was as if the carefree days they had spent together had never happened.
Bella woke up the next morning with a heavy heart; losing Jacob would be something that she would never get over. But, before she could fall too deeply into despair, Edward appeared next to her on the bed. Waking up with him beside her would never get old. He ran his thumb along her jaw and murmured "Good morning, love."
As always, her heart sped up as his scent enveloped her. "Umph," she grumbled, not yet willing to completely break her hold on sleep. He drifted closer, peppering her face with kisses until she opened one eye. "I'm awake. The bed is just so comfy and warm," she whined and pressed herself into Edward's side. He wrapped his arms around her and stroked her hair as she tried to shake the vestiges of sleep from her mind.
"Better?" Edward asked, brushing her tousled hair away from her face and placing a kiss underneath her ear.
"Much," she replied. "But, if you keep that up, I can't guarantee I'll be able to control myself. I wouldn't want to make you late for work."
She was silently praying that he wouldn't stop. Whatever else might be happening in their relationship, sex was never a problem. It was the way they communicated when they didn't have the words to express their emotions. It was "I love you, I'm sorry, I want you, I'm scared, don't leave me," said with their hands, their mouths, and the sacred connection between their bodies. And, of course, the sex was fantastic. Beyond fantastic really, but Bella couldn't think of a word to adequately describe the things that Edward could do to her body.
Edward growled deep in his chest and flipped Bella on to her back. She could feel the hardness of his erection against her thigh and hooked one leg around his hip.
"How you tempt me," he whispered in her ear, his fingers bunching up the material of her t-shirt. She sucked in a breath as his cool finger traced random shapes on her stomach. "But, I have to be in the office early. Alice has seen a popular stock crash today, so I have some work to do."
Bella pouted but didn't say a word. Edward was a stock broker with a firm in Seattle. With Alice's help, he had risen through the ranks until he was the youngest head of his division in history. She knew that it was important for him to keep up appearances, so he dutifully went to the office every day like any good human would.
"I understand," she finally said, removing her leg from his hip. "Can I get a rain check?"
"That, my love, is guaranteed," he replied, grinding into her one last time. "I love you." He kissed her once on the lips, both of her eyes, and just under her ears before rising from the bed and leaving her to the silence of their empty house.