A/N: This outtake was originally written for the Fandom 4 Sexual Assault Awareness.
Special thanks to Dinx for beta'ing.
Disclaimer: This outtake is rated PG-13 for adult themes. I obviously do not own the characters you recognize. That honor belongs to Stephenie Meyer.
Breathe, Renee. Breathe…
Oh God, the pain…
Please don't let my baby come home right now…
I can't breathe…
Renee lay on her back, her eyes closing, opening, closing, opening.
The ceiling was growing blurry. Falling on her.
Bella… my babygirl… I'm so sorry…
Her hand trembled as her fingers crawled toward the cord leading to the phone on the coffee table. It took a few attempts before she was able to pull at it. The phone crashed to the floor, the handset falling off the base.
She was weakening, her breathing becoming labored, but she managed to get her finger to work long enough to press the important numbers.
Renee whimpered as she tried to maneuver her head closer to the handset.
She heard the dispatcher's voice. So close, yet to so far.
"Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?"
Renee's mouth opened as her eyes closed. Her body was going numb. She was so cold, freezing.
"Hello? This is nine-one-one. Do you have an emergency? Hello? Is anyone there?"
Their faces floated in and out of her mind. Bella's smile, her laugh. Her first steps, her first word.
"Hello, this is nine-one-one. Do you have an emergency?"
Edward might return. She found his iPod, and he might return for it. She was concerned that whoever had done this to her might return as well, and Edward would be in jeopardy.
And Bella. Bella was on her way home.
"Help… me…" she whispered, her throat constricting. "Help…"
"Hello, are you there?"
She couldn't be saved. She felt it. But she needed someone to get there, to make sure whoever had taken her life wouldn't take anyone else's.
Her fingers gripped the handset and she pulled it closer, clutching at it with what little might she had left.
"Is this Chief Swan's residence? Nine-two-oh Old Pine Road? Hello?"
"Yes… please… help…"
"We have a unit on the way. Don't hang up, okay?"
Edward was standing at the doorway, his eyes wide, his face drained of color.
"Hello? Don't hang up," the dispatcher's distant voice repeated.
Edward finally moved forward, dropping to his knees.
Tears oozed out of the corners of Renee's eyes as she stared up at him.
Bella… protect her, Edward…
Her free hand moved to his arm, and she grabbed him, her nails digging into his flesh. Startled, he pulled it away, and she let out a cry, then a gasp.
"Hello? Hello?" I don't think anyone's there… the dispatcher said to the person over her shoulder.
Renee felt as if she were floating. The pain was no more. She blinked, her eyes on the whiteness of the ceiling.
Hello, honey. We've missed you. Welcome home…
October 30th, 2005
Renee rose to her feet in the storeroom, dusted her knees off, and walked back into the showroom.
The beautiful weather had lent itself to a busy weekend at the Pike Art Gallery. Renee had sold two pieces, and had leads on two others.
Today, she was tidying up, making sure each piece had her full attention. She was alone in the gallery that day, the manager and her co-workers taking off after the hectic Saturday. She didn't mind working alone. It gave her time to think, to spend time reveling in the fact that she was surrounded by one of the things she loved most – art.
And she got to control the music. At the moment, she had Handel's Messiah playing.
She had her back to the door when the bell chimed, and she put on a smile before turning. Her eyes widened slightly when they landed on the man who had entered.
He looked at her, and she momentarily felt weak in the knees.
You're a grown woman, Renee! Stop that. Be professional, she thought.
As he approached, she could feel the air begin to charge, and then he smiled. It lit up his whole face. The corner of his blue eyes crinkled.
He was impeccably dressed, even in his dark blue jeans and short-sleeved Polo shirt.
Her eyes dropped to his left hand, and she was surprised to see it was unadorned.
Whoever sent this man to me, thank you! she thought, her smile widening.
"Hello," he said, his voice rich and straight-to-the-tummy deep.
"Hello," she replied, taking a step forward. "May I help you?"
He shoved his hands into his pockets, finally taking his eyes off her and allowing them to move about the showroom.
"I think you can," he said, moving to the left. He walked to a painting depicting a half-dressed woman and studied it closely, folding his arms, tilting his head.
"That's by a local artist," Renee said, staring at his well-toned back. "His name is Rudolf Vanderberg. He's quite popular-"
The man glanced over his shoulder, and Renee stopped speaking. He didn't have to say anything to command her attention.
"Hm, yes. I own several of his pieces already. But I heard he had another showing a couple of days ago, and thought I'd drop in to see if anything was left."
"That's it," Renee said. "The only piece left, I mean."
"Why do you suppose that is?" he asked, tapping his chin.
Renee shrugged, then realized he couldn't see her. "I'm not sure. It's not all that original of a painting, is it? A half-dressed woman, lounging, covered only by a sheet across her waist? There are many pieces like that. Perhaps only a true Vanderberg fan would appreciate it."
He smiled. She could tell because from her vantage point, she saw his cheeks lift.
"I'll take it. Not for me, for my son. He's away on business right now, so I'd like to have it in place before he returns."
Renee nodded. "Very well, Mr…"
He finally turned, and she swallowed as his eyes appraised her. "Yorkie. Laurent Yorkie."
She moved behind the counter to write up the bill of sale. "Mr. Yorkie, where do you want this delivered?"
He gave her an address as he leaned against the counter, watching her. "You have beautiful eyes," he said. "Very spirited."
She felt her cheeks warm and glanced up at him. "Thank you."
"My pleasure," he replied, letting his eyes travel down her neck and to her cleavage. "What's your name?"
"Um, Renee, sir. Renee Swan… um, Cooper."
He casually looked at her left hand, noticing the absence of a ring, before settling his eyes on hers.
Swan… he thought. I wonder…
"Swan's an unusual name," he said.
She cleared her throat, placing the bill of sale on the counter for him to sign. "It's, um, a married name. But I'm not. Married, I mean."
"That's good," Laurent said, picking up the pen. "I mean, I'm sorry. Should I be? Because I'm not."
Renee was flummoxed by this man in front of her. "No, no. It was a long time ago."
He quickly signed the paper, pushing it toward her. "I don't suppose you'd like to join me for dinner one evening, would you?"
Oh, dear… Renee thought. Would I!
"I'd like that," she replied, smiling.
Laurent left with her phone number, and the following Friday, they had their first date – which turned into breakfast.
It wasn't until their second date that Renee sprang the news on Laurent that she had a daughter, and from there, things just got strange.
"Forks?" Laurent said, running his fingers along her arm.
Renee nodded, placing her fork on her plate. The temperature in the restaurant suddenly seemed to spike.
"Yes, she lives in Forks with her father," Renee said.
Laurent thought about this before answering. "When you said the name Swan, I immediately thought of the police chief. Charlie, is it?"
"My ex-husband," Renee replied. "We weren't married long, and we were young. Foolish."
"You were obviously married long enough to produce a daughter. She's how old?"
Renee sighed, her appetite gone. "She just turned twenty."
"My son is a couple years older. They would have gone to school together," he said, smiling. "Small world, isn't it?"
Renee smiled. She liked how he could put her at ease without really trying. He was also a gentleman, holding doors, pulling out chairs.
All the things that Charlie and Phil didn't do for her. Laurent made them look like inexperienced high school boys.
It wasn't until they had their sixth date that Laurent dropped a bombshell on her.
"I'm married," he told her as they sat on the balcony at his son's townhouse. Laurent used the home whenever his son was away, which was frequently.
She stared at him, mouth agape. "You're … but you said … why did you lie?"
He sighed, reaching for her hand. She yanked hers away, placing it with her other on her lap.
"I'm sorry, Renee. I really, truly am. It hasn't been easy for me, keeping it from you."
"Obviously it has," she rebuked, shaking her head. "Married."
She got to her feet, and he stood, reaching for her.
"Don't touch me," she spat, tears in her eyes. "I can't believe this! You're not who I thought you were. Not at all."
"We're separated, Renee. If you'd let me finish. Victoria and I, we've been separated for nearly a year. I'm planning to file for divorce soon. Please. I don't want to lose you."
Renee softened a little, meeting his gaze. "Are you really? You're not just saying that."
"No, of course not."
"Why? What happened between you two?"
"We've grown apart," he said. "We're on two different paths. I have to stay in Tacoma, and she doesn't really care much for the place, so she stays in Forks. The distance hasn't done us any favors. I plan to run for Senate, and she's not really happy about that, either."
"She's still in Forks?"
He nodded. "Year-round."
Renee had always thought she was a fair judge of character, though she'd certainly misjudged men in the past. Or maybe it was herself she had misjudged. Either way, she believed Laurent, and she let him touch her.
As the holidays came and went, then a new year, Renee and Laurent continued to grow closer, and one day, Laurent broached the subject of the two living together.
He said he had filed for divorce, and she felt relieved. Renee could never live with herself if she remained "the other woman."
Gradually, her things began to find their way to the townhouse in Queen Anne. He even bought her a new cell phone, but she decided to use it exclusively for him.
She couldn't bring herself just yet to tell Bella that she was getting serious with a married man, even if that man was about to be divorced.
It was on a day in March, when Bella was home from Berkeley for the weekend, but out with friends in Port Angeles, that Renee went up to the attic to look for some photos she could take back to Seattle to show Laurent.
As she dug through a box, her eyes landed on a purple book, its cover littered with stickers.
Renee sat back on her heels, looking down at the book. She was never one of those meddlesome types when it came to her daughter. She figured Bella told her everything she needed to know, though she suspected she kept some things to herself.
She was especially curious about Bella's relationship with Edward Cullen. It was no secret in their household that Edward and Bella didn't get along. Renee wasn't entirely sure why, for Bella had never told her anything about him. She had been around the Cullens a handful of times, and had never seen any outward animosity between the two.
She'd even seen Edward looking at her daughter on more than one occasion, and the look wasn't one of a boy who disliked a girl.
She opened the cover and began flipping through the pages. It was mostly short entries, doodles of a teenage girl. Renee didn't even read any of them. She smiled as she neared the end, but what she saw there made her stop.
It was the longest entry in the book. Nearly three pages, and across each page, Bella had obviously applied the pen with force, carving lines into the pages.
Curiosity got to her then, and she began to read.
I'm so stupid. I can't believe I liked him. How could I ever like a guy like that?
I let him touch me and I'm so sorry I did.
I didn't think I was going to get away, but I knew I had to fight. I didn't want to let him rape me, and he almost did.
I want my first time to be with someone who loves me, who cares for me deeply.
Eric Yorkie was just using me!
I know that now.
I feel so sick… I can't tell anyone. Not even my mom. What would they say? I'm so ashamed…
The book fell from Renee's hands, and she covered her mouth as a sob escaped.
"Oh, Bella," she whispered. "My poor babygirl."
For a week after reading that entry, Renee ignored Laurent's phone calls. He came by her apartment a few times, and she never answered the door. She kept an eye out at the gallery for him, and the two times he stopped by, she hastily disappeared into the back, telling her co-worker to say she wasn't working that day.
Finally, Renee felt ready to approach Laurent about what had happened between their children.
What she wanted to know first and foremost was if he knew what his son had done. She assumed he didn't, but what if he did? How could she ever forgive herself, knowing she had dated the father of a boy who had tried to rape her daughter?
She had met him at the townhouse one afternoon, taking a long lunch break. He sat on the sofa, watching her walk back and forth.
"What's wrong, love?" Laurent asked her after a minute of her pacing.
She paused in her steps and looked at him. "I found something of Bella's. Something that concerns your son."
Laurent visibly stiffened, and Renee stared at him. "Did you know?"
"Know what?" he asked.
"Your son tried to … rape my daughter. She was just a baby, Laurent! Not even sixteen! And he took advantage of her." Her words were spilling out hysterically, and Laurent stared at her, slack jawed.
"There has to be some mistake," Laurent said, laughing a little. "Eric would never-"
"But he did," Renee said, cutting him off. "She wrote about it in a journal, Laurent. A girl tells only the truth when she's writing in a journal. Those are her secrets!"
Laurent stood swiftly, his face growing red. "Not if she suspects someone might read it."
Renee glared at him. "Are you saying my daughter lied about it?"
"My son is one of the most respectful people I know, Renee," he stated. "He was raised better than that. He would never hurt someone, especially a girl. Perhaps your daughter was lacking attention, or-"
"You bastard," Renee said between clenched teeth. "How dare you!"
As if on cue, the front door opened, and Eric walked in, whistling some unknown tune. He walked straight into the living room.
Renee stared at him, hatred in her eyes.
"What's up, guys?" Eric asked, tossing his laptop case onto the sofa.
"You-" Renee started, but Laurent quickly cut her off.
"Renee, this is not the time."
Renee moved her attention to Laurent. "Now's the perfect time, Laurent. I want to hear your son tell you he isn't as perfect as you think he is."
Eric looked at her, then at his father. "Dad?"
Laurent sighed loudly, moving in front of Renee and turning his back to his son. "Renee, please. Let me get this sorted out. I'll let you know what steps should be taken, if any."
Renee took a step forward, flinching when Laurent's arm shot out to stop her.
"Eric, will you leave us alone for a minute?" Laurent asked.
Eric said nothing as he turned and loudly walked up the stairs. A door slammed, and Renee slapped Laurent.
"He won't admit it, and you know it," Renee said, tears burning her eyes. She moved around him and grabbed her purse. "This isn't over, Laurent. I fully intend to do whatever it takes to let the world know what kind of man your son is."
She hurried from the townhouse and to her car, crying as she pulled away.
She didn't want to talk to Bella about it, embarrass her and bring up past pain, but she would have to if she wanted to do something about it.
Before she had the chance to, though, things took an unexpected turn. Laurent began to threaten her, telling her that Bella had made the story up, just as he had said, and Eric had never done anything to the girl.
But Renee knew better. She began making plans to talk to Charlie about it, to find out what options they had.
And one day, instinct kicked in and she sat down to write a letter to Bella for her twenty-first birthday. She didn't think Laurent had it in him to harm her, but she couldn't be so sure about his son.
So, she wrote the letter and placed it in between several framed photos in a box, hopeful that it would be found if her worst fear came to fruition.
Bella returned to Forks for the summer, and Renee was there to spend some time with her. She planned to fix them all a nice dinner, and the first chance she had to be alone with Charlie, she was going to tell him everything.
It was a pure fluke that Edward happened to be passing by when she had gone to the car to retrieve a bag that fateful evening.
She waved at him, smiling as she closed the door to the car. He waved back, and she motioned for him to stop, calling his name. He slowed, removing the earbuds from his ears.
"Hello," he said, trepidation in his voice.
"Hi, Edward," she said. "How are you?"
"I'm good. You?"
"Fantastic," she replied, grinning. "And your parents?"
"They're doing well. Keeping busy."
"I would imagine so, with summer coming up. I ran into your mother yesterday in Port Angeles. She was picking up some paint samples, and she asked my opinion on a few colors. She's really got an eye for that. But I guess you knew that. Anyway, I'm in town to see Bella, fixing her dinner, actually, and the faucet is leaking in the kitchen, but I'm a bit of an idiot when it comes to fixing things," Renee said, realizing she had probably bored him to death with her rambling.
Edward looked at her, and then toward the house. "I could take a look at it, if you want."
"Oh, you don't have to do that," Renee said, touched by his offer. "I'm sure Charlie can fix it when he gets home."
"It's no trouble," Edward replied, smiling. "I had my share of leaky faucets in Seattle. Old building, you know."
"That's so nice of you, Edward. Okay, come on in."
She led him into the house and to the kitchen, thinking that he certainly wasn't the boy she remembered, the one that she knew had caused Bella so much grief.
"Excuse my mess," she stated. "I'm fixing lasagna for dinner. I have to spoil Bella while she's here for the summer. I'm sure she doesn't eat very well at school."
Edward laid his iPod on the counter, and Renee opened up the doors beneath the sink.
"What kind of tools do you have?" he asked, kneeling.
"Oh, I don't know. Charlie should have some in the basement. Let me go check."
Renee headed down to the basement, stopping at the bottom step to glance around. She had no idea where a toolbox would be kept, but she eventually spotted two and grabbed both.
"Sorry. I have no idea what you need," she said when she returned to the kitchen. He took them from her and sorted through the tools before lying down, pushing his body up under the piping.
Renee moved around the kitchen, chatting about this and that as she prepared dinner. She needed to call Charlie and find out when he could be expected, so she excused herself to use the phone.
"Chief Swan speaking," he said, his voice full of authority.
Renee had to hide a snicker. "Hello, chief. What time should I expect you home for dinner?"
"Uh, probably around six-thirty, I suppose," he said. "What are you fixing?"
"Bella's favorite, of course," she replied, pausing to listen to the clanging coming from the kitchen. "Edward's here."
"Is he? Why?"
"The faucet's leaking. He happened to be passing by, and he offered to fix it for me."
"He should be done soon. Hopefully he'll be gone before Bella gets home. I gotta go, chief. See you soon."
She hung up and headed back to the kitchen. "How's it coming?" she asked, peering down into the cupboard.
Edward took a minute to answer before he moved out and sat up, looking at her. "Done, but you should have Chief Swan wrap it up with some tape."
He tossed a wrench in the toolbox before standing.
"Wow, that was quick. Thank you so much, Edward."
"You're welcome," he answered, smiling politely. He washed his hands and dried them before moving to pick up his iPod. "I should be going."
"Oh, hang around for a few. I'd love to chat some more. I want to hear all about college! What are you going to do with yourself? Can I get you some tea?"
He seemed to hesitate, and she wondered if he was worried about seeing Bella.
"Bella won't be home for a bit," she said, hoping to put him at ease. At least, I don't think she will be… maybe it wouldn't be so bad for them to see each other… she thought, grabbing a glass out of the cupboard.
They moved to the dining room table and talked for a bit, mostly about Seattle and Edward's plans since graduating from college. She liked him; she couldn't deny it. He was definitely charming. She found herself wondering if perhaps she should persuade Bella to clear the air with him.
"I should go," he said finally, standing. "It's getting late and I have to finish my run."
"Of course," Renee replied, following him to the door. "Take care, Edward. Tell your mother I said hello."
"I'll do that," he said, smiling.
She watched him until he disappeared before heading back to the kitchen.
It wasn't but a few minutes before she spotted his iPod. She started toward the living room, but the smoke detector began screeching in the kitchen. She groaned, going back to get the broom. The smoke detector had a knack for going off whenever there was just the slightest hint of oven heat in the air.
"Stupid thing," she muttered, using the broom handle to hit the button and silence the offending instrument.
Once it was quiet, she picked up Edward's iPod and moved to the living room. She needed to call the Cullen house to leave a message for him, but she never made it…
Chapter End Notes: This likely answered a question I get more than any other: Who did Renee call while Edward was visiting? It actually was answered in Ch. 1 (Going Home) of the fic. Charlie told the detective that Renee had called him and told him that Edward was there.
I enjoyed writing Renee's side of the story because we didn't get to hear from her during the main fic (obviously). She was completely enamored with Laurent, but she also realized what she had gotten herself into later - and it was too late. To answer another question I've gotten several times - no, Laurent had no idea his son was going to kill Renee, or rather, have her killed, but as we all know, he did everything he could to make sure Eric didn't get caught. He also didn't expect his son to take it so far, offing as many people as he did. It's amazing what the desire for power and control will do to a person.