The Twilight Characters are owned by Stephenie Meyer
When I entered the room I noticed only six chairs set up in a semi-circle. Three were already taken, so I sat on the end, with an empty chair between me and the tall blonde girl. None of us looked at each other, and I didn't raise my head when two other people walked in.
I tried to be very interested in my jeans and played with a small tear on my knee. One girl, a tiny dark haired motor mouth, was making small talk with everyone. I found out the blonde was Rosalie and a big guy, and I mean huge, was named Emmett.
I tried to tune out their talking, but the room was so quiet I couldn't completely ignore them. The door opened for a final time and two adults walked in.
"Hello, kids," the man said, pissing me off. We were not legally adults, but we were far from kids.
"I am Dr. Carlisle Cullen and this is my wife Dr. Esme Cullen. We will be your group counselors and private therapists. We want you to think of each other as a family of sorts."
Like hell, I would never consider these losers family. I was in this stupid school because of how I treated family. I was going to do my time and get out of here.
"Everything we do will be together," the woman said, "So get to know each other and learn to lean on lean on one another."
"Do we get to leave the facility?" the talkative girl asked.
"We will take group outings," Esme said, as she pulled up a chair.
Carlisle remained standing, most likely trying to intimidate us, and spoke, "Let's go around the group and get to know each other. Edward, would you begin by telling us a little about yourself."
"Pass," he said, which caused me to lift my head and look at him.
He was lounging in the chair on the other end of the semi circle, with his arms folded, and a permanent scowl on his face. He kept his eyes on his feet, which were extended far out in front of him. I felt myself smile and quickly pulled it back.
"This will be a safe place to talk, Edward," Esme said to encourage him.
"I have nothing to say," he mumbled.
"I'll go first," the tiny girl spoke up. "My name is Alice Brandon. I am here because I like to shop." She giggled as if making a joke.
"Your parents sent you here for shopping?" Emmett asked in shock.
"Well, I like to shop, I just don't like to pay for it," she laughed again.
Emmett laughed with her and his voice seemed too loud for the stuffy room. "I'm Emmett McCarty and I have a steroid problem," he admitted.
"You know what that does to your nuts, don't you?" A guy with an angelic face spoke up. His hair fell in golden curls around his cheeks and his thick lips made him look like a painting.
"Yeah, but look at my guns," Emmett laughed as he flexed his arms.
The other guy shook he head and said, "My name is Jasper Whitlock and I haven't done anything wrong, I just talk other people in to doing it for me," he chuckled.
"Sheep," I muttered softly and everyone turned to look at me. I kept my eyes down and waited for the uncomfortable silence to end.
"I'm Rosalie Hale, and I'm bulimic," the gorgeous blonde shared.
"Where is that?" Emmett asked and I couldn't help but smile. I looked up just enough to see Edward chuckle and shake his head.
"It isn't a country, you caveman, it is an eating disorder," she explained.
Emmett looked confused, so Jasper explained further, "She barfs up her food."
"It is an illness," Rosalie defended.
"It is an idiot," I said under my breath and Edward looked right at me and smiled softly.
"Why are you here, vampira?" Rose threw at me.
"I drink the blood of stupid girls," I said hatefully to her and Emmett laughed loudly.
"Okay, lets stop giving out insults. We are here to support each other, not to cast dispersions," Carlisle said. "Bella, why don't you introduce yourself."
"I'm Bella," I said quickly.
"Why are you here?" Alice asked, and I realized she had been quiet during the whole exchange.
I shook my head as I folded my arms in front of me. I wasn't going to share a thing with these people. "Pass," I finally said.
"Oh man, these two are going to be loads of fun," Jasper said looking at me and Edward.
"Can't they just be their own group," Rosalie asked Esme.
"They will warm up to the group, just give them some time," she responded.
"Don't talk about us like we are not here," I said angrily.
Edward glared at me to let me know he was not okay with me speaking for him. I took a deep breath and went back to staring at the floor.
"This is Edward Masen," Carlisle said as he nodded toward his chair, "and this is Bella Swan. We are going to have a group session right now and I encourage each of you to share what you feel comfortable sharing. Emmett, can you tell us why you first used steroids?"
"For football, my family has a reputation, I have six brothers and I needed to stick out, you know, get ahead of the pack."
"Do your brothers use them?" Esme asked.
"No, but I want out of my small town. I want a scholarship."
"I can teach you how to hack into your grades and get you a scholastic scholarship," Jasper laughed.
"Yeah?" Emmett asked seriously.
"Alice, tell us when you first shoplifted," Carlisle said to stop the guys from planning criminal activity.
"Okay, I was at the mall, because they were having a huge sale, but most of the good stuff was already picked over. I was trying on some jewelry, not the real stuff, just the cheap crap they keep out, and I put on a gorgeous ring. It had a large ruby in the middle with little rhinestones around it, nothing expensive just cute costume stuff and I had a shirt that would go perfectly with the ruby…"
"God, make her stop," Edward said in irritation.
Alice let her head fall and I thought she was going to cry. It made me mad at Edward. Alice was tiny and yeah, she talked too much, but she seemed harmless.
"Shut up," I yelled at Edward. His eyes flashed to mine and his entire body tensed up, but I kept going. "She chose to share and you didn't, so shut up and listen."
I expected him to call me names or say something hateful, but he only glared at me. It caught me off guard and I tried to focus back on Alice, but Edward had me rattled.
"Anyway," Alice said sadly, "I took the ring and I liked the rush it gave me."
"Rosalie?" Esme asked.
"I was always the pretty girl," she said softly, just on the verge of tears. "It is a lot of pressure and I felt like I had to be the thinnest to keep people interested in me."
"Guys like girls with curves," Emmett said trying to help.
"Girls don't," she said adamantly.
"You're a dyke?" he asked in shock.
Esme laughed and interjected. "Emmett, girls compare themselves against other girls, most of the time they worry more about what other females think than what men think."
"Well, I think your hot," he said to Rose.
She smiled and mouthed, "Thank you."
"Jasper," Carlisle pushed, "would you like to explain your issue to the group?"
"I'm a con man," he smiled. "I learned from the best, my father. I could talk the panties off a nun."
The group laughed and I glanced at Edward to see him glare back at me. I scratched my arm with just my middle finger, and he moved his eyes slowly from my arm up to my face with pure hatred.
"Bella, your turn," Esme said,
"I set my stepfather on fire," I said without remorse.
Everyone's mouth fell open except Edward's. His eyes actually softened a bit.
"I don't want her in our group if she is dangerous," Rosalie protested.
"Bella, do you want to elaborate?" Carlisle asked softly.
I only shook my head and hoped they would actually kick me out of the group. Esme came to my defense, "Bella is not dangerous, and we are not here to judge anyone."
"I like you," Alice said to me with a smile on her face. I couldn't help but smile back. She was infectious, just like Emmett.
"Edward?" Carlisle asked.
"Pass," he stated again.
"If you don't share why you are here, I will be forced to do it for you," Carlisle explained.
Edward sat up a little and finally said, "I beat the piss out of my father."
Our eyes connected across the circle and we understood each other. We were both victims of adults who thought they could do what they wanted, but we stood up. We wouldn't let them continue and it got us both put into this place.
"I think those two should be removed from the group," Rosalie said worriedly.
"If we get out of line, just vomit on us," Edward said hatefully to her.
Emmett's laughter filled the room and Edward actually smiled a bit.
"I don't want you guys teasing Rosalie," Esme said forcefully. "Her issue is very real and we want her to get better."
"So do you like eat, and then feel guilty, so you vomit?" Emmett asked her.
"No, I try to control my eating and if I fall off my diet I take ipecac or laxatives to get it back under control." She was talking just to Emmett as he nodded like he understood. They were both turned to face each other and I noticed how her knees kept bumping his.
"You don't need to diet," he said with a furrowed brow.
Jasper laughed, getting Emmett's attention. "And you don't need steroids you Neanderthal."
"Stop that," Rose said to Jasper, "he was just showing concern, you don't need to call him names."
"Oh Jesus," I muttered. I really needed to keep my smart ass remarks to myself. I was causing way too much attention on myself. When the entire group looked at me I added, "Do you two want to be alone."
"You're just jealous," Rose said and scooted closer to Emmett.
"Yeah," I laughed, "I want my own sasquatch."
"Have you ever heard of the skunk-ape?" Emmett asked in total seriousness. "Back home in Tennessee there is this thing that lives in the hills…."
"Okay, I think we've had enough of a diversion," Esme laughed.
"You're from Tennessee?" Jasper asked Emmett. "I'm from Georgia."
"Alright," Emmett said loudly, "The south will rise again."
"I'm from New York," Rose stated as if that meant something to any of us.
"I'm from Kansas," Alice laughed, "and nobody better call me a munchkin."
Edward and I looked at each other, neither one willing to go first.
"You're from Chicago aren't you," Esme asked him.
I chuckled, enjoying the fact he had to spill before me. He only nodded.
"Chicago has decent shopping," Rosalie admitted.
"Really," beamed Alice. "Like upscale shops or touristy places?"
"Chicago cops will beat you if they catch you stealing," Edward added.
"Are you a cop?" I said and then quickly wanted to kick myself. I swear I need a muzzle or something, but the chance to point out he had beat his father was too much to pass up on.
"No, are you a fireman?" he threw back at me.
Crap, I didn't think it through enough. It was going to be harder to get under his skin than I thought. I was truly beginning to like the rest of the group, but didn't like the fact I would be spending so much time with someone like Edward. We couldn't have two people refusing to open up, and I was hoping to be the one to claim that spot.
"You two need to get laid," Jasper said shaking his head.
"Is sex allowed here?" Emmett asked and I noticed how he glanced at Rosalie.
"This isn't prison," Jasper laughed.
Alice scrunched up her face for a second and finally asked, "Does that mean yes or no, because they have sex in prison, but I don't think they are supposed to. And if this is school, you aren't supposed to have sex in school but teenagers do have sex, and…."
"I like you," Jasper said smiling at Alice.
"Are you making fun of me?" she asked him.
"No, not at all. You have….spunk," he pointed out.
"Talk the nurse into giving her a valium," Edward said to Jasper.
I did it, I kept my mouth shut and didn't let his comment bait me into another remark. He looked at me as if he could tell I wanted to say something so badly, and even raised his eyebrows as a challenge. I bit on my lip and remained quiet.
"I have some packets here with room assignments and a rule book. Take time to read it. It also contains your class schedule and therapy sessions. If you need anything learn to turn to each other. We will be together all year, so lets all start getting along," Dr. Cullen glanced and me and Edward as he spoke.
Our room had three bunks, meaning six girls would be living together. Whoever designed the place was insane. I quickly three my packet onto a top bunk and Alice put hers under mine. Rosalie took another bottom bunk and we all got on our beds to read the packet.
"Can I see your classes?" Alice asked me.
I handed her the paper and she squealed, "We have two classes together."
"Wonderful," I said dryly.
She moved over to Rose's bunk and looked at her schedule too. "Wow, we have a lot of classes together," she said happily.
"What do you think of Emmett?" Rose whispered.
"He's cute, but kind of dumb," Alice admitted.
"I think he's sexy," Rose said, deep in thought.
"I think Jasper is so beautiful," Alice sighed. "He should be a model he is so pretty."
"He should be a woman, he is so pretty," I added.
"I hate Edward," Rose said adamantly.
"Give him a chance," Alice said. "He is probably a tortured soul."
"I think he was raised in a trailer, with a drunk as a father, and they beat each other up as a family activity," Rose judged.
I grabbed my back pack off the bunk and pulled out my laptop. There was one way to find out about Edward Masen, but I wasn't about to share with the other girls. They would most likely Google my name, too.
I read about the Masen's from Chicago, they were anything but trailer trash. His father was a wealthy lawyer and his mother was a socialite. They were involved with many charities and every picture showed a loving family. But I knew how pictures could be deceiving.
Edward attended an all boys prep school in the suburbs, most likely wanting attention from his too busy parents. He received many accolades, all documented by articles probably placed by his father. Maybe he didn't pass a class or receive a certain award that caused a fight with his father? Or maybe it was something the Masen's had hidden deep within the walls of the family home.
"Let's head to the cafeteria," Alice suggested and then gasped to Rose. "Is that okay?"
"Oh my God, don't be so melodramatic. I eat food, I just count calories," she explained.
The other three girls walked into our dorm room at that moment. They introduced themselves and a girl named Jessica did all the talking. She was a typical valley girl, every other word was 'like' and she spoke nonstop about all the cute boys.
Angela took the top bunk across from me. She seemed quiet and reserved and I was so happy Jessica was afraid of heights. Lauren was the third girl. She played with her hair constantly and seemed to feel Rosalie would be her main competition, so she watched her every move.
I was happy to leave and head to the cafeteria. I was not happy when Alice and Rose walked straight to the table where our guys sat. "Is the food any good?" Alice asked.
"Vomit worthy," Edward said dryly.
"Got to hell," Rosalie said and headed to the food line. Emmett jumped up to help her, or apologize, or to just stand in her presence.
"Where did you get the salad?" Alice asked Jasper and he stood to show her the salad bar.
It left me and Edward at the table alone and I felt my mouth go dry. He turned to look at me for a moment and finally said, "We never got around to where you are from."
"Arizona," I said as I looked away.
"Do you like the Cubs?" he asked.
"Don't you mean the Diamondbacks?"
"The Cubs have spring training at Hohokam Park in Mesa," he explained.
"Why would that mean shit to me?" I said hatefully. He was a typical preppy kid, thinking his world was the only one that mattered.
He smirked and said, "Because there is a large fire station by the park, I thought you would know the guys or something."
"Sorry, I don't hang out at galas and charity functions as my parent's pet," I sneered, and he tensed.
Rose and Emmett came back to the table and she looked at me. "Aren't you going to eat?"
I stood and looked around the place, "Is there a place to smoke?" I asked.
"You are not smoking in our room," Rose demanded.
"There is a pavilion out back where they allow smoking," Edward said, without adding anything hateful to it.
I headed toward the door he nodded at and heard Rosalie complaining as I walked away about the dangers of secondhand smoke. I was sitting on a picnic table by myself when Edward walked out and pulled a pack of smokes from his pocket.
"Didn't you walk for cancer or some shit like that?" I said hatefully.
"Are you looking into my life?" he asked in anger.
I was embarrassed he actually caught me and looked away from his accusing eyes. He lit a cigarette and took a long draw before nodding at my lighter sitting next to me.
"They let you keep that?" he asked to get even with me.
"I didn't use my lighter," I said to dismiss him.
We both sat quietly and he finally sighed loudly. I looked at him, but he was staring off in the distance at nothing. I finally asked him a serious question.
"Does it seem weird to go to school with girls?"
Just his eyes moved to look at me and he shook his head back and forth slightly.
"Does it seem weird to go to school where it rains?" he asked back.
I looked at the green surrounding me and the drizzle on the sidewalk before answering, "No, my dad lives here in Washington."
He stared at me for a moment and finally pulled something from his pocket and tossed it to me. I looked at the granola bar in my hand and then at him, confused.
"You didn't get anything to eat," he said looking away.
I noticed how my hand began to shake and I felt a lump in my throat. He was so mean and then did something so nice. It confused me and touched me at the same time. I opened the package and took a bite of the bar.
"Thanks," I said with a full mouth.
He only nodded and took the last draw of his cigarette before tossing it in the bucket of sand next to the table. I expected him to leave, but he leaned back on his hands and just stared at me.
"What?" I asked.
"Nothing, I just don't want to go back inside."
"Do you like Emmett and Jasper?" I asked, feeling uncomfortable with his silent staring.
He chuckled and nodded. "Emmett is just a big kid, and Jasper is cool. He's a little deep for me, but whatever."
"Deep?" I asked.
"Yeah, he's a bit of a philosopher."
"How so?" I pushed.
"Well," he began slowly, "he thinks you are tied up with guilt."
"He's philosophizing about me? I asked in shock.
"Not just you, everyone."
"So why does Alice steal?" I asked.
"She is so tiny she isn't noticed, it is her way of being larger than life," he laughed.
"Jasper is full of shit," I said angrily.
"Why do you think she steals?" he challenged.
"Because she wants to feel the adrenalin rush. Shopping got boring so she found a way to make it exciting."
"Maybe she just wants the stuff?" he proposed.
"She could get a job and buy it," I retaliated.
He laughed loudly and said, "I can't picture her working at McDonalds."
I laughed with him until he turned the conversation back to me. "So, are you feeling guilty?"
"Not at all," I said staring right into his eyes.
"Is he dead?" he asked and my whole stomach tied in knots.
"No, I didn't try to kill him," I said and looked away at the rain.
We sat in quiet again and I finally asked, "Did you get hurt?"
"No, he didn't fight back," he offered quietly.
We both sat deep in thought, unwilling to share anything else, when Lauren and Jessica walked up. "Hi Bella," Lauren said and I only raised my hand in answer.
"Who are you?" she said seductively to Edward.
He sat forward with his arms over his knees and his fingers clasped in front of him. Lauren was angry when he didn't answer and grabbed Jessica's arm. "Let's go, there is nothing exciting here."
I watched them storm off in amusement and finished the granola bar Edward gave me. I knew rooming with those girls was going to be a lot of drama and I liked that Edward got them riled up.
"They're my roommates," I explained. "How are yours?"
He shrugged and added, "I haven't really talked to them."
"What classes do you have?" I asked and watched as he pulled a paper from his pocket and began to unfold it.
I moved over to his table and sat next to him to look at the schedule. "We have science and gym together," I said without any emotion.
"I'm not going to gym," he said in disgust.
"Afraid to change in front of other guys?" I laughed.
"I don't find hitting a ball with a stick and running in a circle amusing," he said, but I didn't buy it for a moment.
"You know the name of the park where the Cubs hold spring training," I pointed out.
"I don't play organized sports, it is for guys like Emmett," he tried to explain.
"So what is for guys like you?" I laughed.
He pulled out another cigarette so I said, "No wonder you don't play sports, you probably don't have the lung capacity."
"Look around, love," he said out the side of his mouth as he lit the cigarette, "your habits are just as bad as mine."
I moved away from him and sat back on the other table as he smoked in silence. Emmett and Rosalie walked past us, completely oblivious to anything around them, as they chatted and laughed. A guy walked out the cafeteria door and saw Edward and headed over to him.
"Hey, Masen," he smiled and then looked at me with a bigger grin.
"I'm Mike Newton," he said and held out his hand.
I nodded but didn't take his hand. For some reason I felt unable to really talk to the guy in front of Edward. I felt like I would be betraying him by becoming friendly with someone he knew. He pissed off Lauren, and I felt it was for me, so I had to reciprocate.
"What's your name?" Mike asked.
"You don't need to know," I said and looked away.
"Her name is Bella," Edward told him and I felt anger build inside of me. I glared at Edward and got up to leave.
"Don't go," Mike said nicely.
"Nothing against you Mike, but your buddy is a real ass."
I walked away and heard Edward chuckle. He was so infuriating and I was glad something reminded me we were not friends. I went back to my room and found Angela lying on the bunk. I climbed up on mine and looked at my schedule.
I moaned when I realized I had therapy in less than an hour. I was not looking forward to sitting in a circle with Edward again.
"Do you like your group?" Angela asked nicely.
"Most of them, but it is only the first day," I admitted.
"Yeah, mine's good," she smiled sweetly.
"What in the hell are you doing here?" I asked, thinking she had lost her way to church camp or something.
"I….I self mutilate," she said as her eyes filled with tears.
"You're a cutter?" I asked in shock.
She nodded and I wasn't quite sure how to respond, so I decided to leave her alone. I pulled out my laptop and tried to find more information on Edward. He was such a liar. I found information about his school baseball and soccer team, which he was a member of. He also swam freestyle for a club team.
I looked up Emmett and found his family was quite famous in their small town. The McCarty boys were great athletes and I understood his temptation to muscle dope. Jasper's name provided no information at all and it made me wonder if it was actually his real name.
Alice and Rose returned to get me for session and I followed reluctantly behind them. Both girls were smitten with the boys in our group and I cringed at the thought of being paired off with Edward. When we got into the room the guys were already there.
Edward was sitting in the chair I had used earlier and it made me hiss at him.
"What's your problem?" he said hatefully.
"You," I answered honestly.
"Deal with it," he said as he crossed his arms over his chest.
I was glad the two Dr. Cullen's walked in to save me from ripping his throat out. I sat in the chair opposite him, that he used that morning. We both looked hatefully at each other. It was going to a long, long year.
Everyone got very quiet and waited for Carlisle and Esme to begin. I could tell we were all nervous no matter how cocky we acted.
"Is everyone settled in?" Esme asked.
We all nodded and I rolled my eyes at the way Rosalie looked at Emmett for validation for her every move.
"We want to talk about safe zones," Carlisle explained. "This room is a place you can feel free to express anything, without worry of it being spread around campus. That means you are all to keep your mouths shut about things you hear in here."
"Private sessions are also safe zones," Esme continued. "We will not share anything you tell us with the rest of the group."
"And my bed is a safe zone, too," Emmett laughed and Rosalie smacked him.
"Now I want to vomit," I sneered.
Alice laughed at me and turned to Jasper, "Are we allowed in your rooms?"
"You can always feign ignorance if you never ask permission," he explained to her naïve little mind.
"You need to read the rule book, Alice," Carlisle said authoritatively.
Edward began biting his nails as if he was completely bored and I forced myself to stop watching him. Something about his mouth and tongue made me uncomfortable.
"Today we are going to delve into our feelings about authority," Esme began. "How do you feel about the stress of being almost an adult, but still under the authority of others?"
"I don't understand how our parents want us to be all grown up, but they won't allow us to make our own decisions," Alice complained.
"Are you sure they aren't just guiding you to make the right decisions and you view it as control?" Carlisle asked.
"Well, my dad gives me a credit card, but then he goes over my charges and complains about them," she offered.
"Maybe you should offer to sit down with him once a month and explain the charges to him, so he doesn't have to ask, and he knows you are aware of what you are purchasing," Esme suggested.
"Or maybe you should just steal more," Edward said nonchalantly.
"How would that help?" Carlisle asked him.
"She wouldn't use the card and he couldn't complain," he said.
"I wish I had a credit card," Emmett joked.
"I can get you one in several different names," Jasper offered.
"Emmett, how do you handle your expenditures?" Esme asked him.
He shrugged, "When I have a good game people around town just buy me stuff."
I looked at him sadly and knew his steroid use was being accepted by the whole town. How would he be able to walk around with his head held high if he stopped using and his performance faltered? I felt very sorry for him.
"What if you asked someone in town for a job, something flexible that you could work into your sports schedule?" Esme suggested.
Emmett nodded like it was something to be considered.
"Japer how do you view authority?" Carlisle asked.
"Well, my authority figures are not the most scrupulous people. I guess I view authority as something to be conned."
"Are you a religious person?" Esme asked.
"That's the biggest con around," he laughed.
I thought about my own beliefs and had to admit I never put much thought into personal ethics or values. I just did what felt right and stayed away from what felt wrong. My step dad Phil was certainly a wrong.
I thought it was a mistake for my mother to marry someone so much younger than herself, but she constantly made the wrong decisions. She should be the one in here talking about authority, I never saw her as my role model or authority figure. I was always the adult and she was the child.
"What's wrong with you?" Edward asked me and stunned the group into silence.
I looked up with a nervous gasp and wondered what I had missed while I was so deep in thought. I looked at Edward as he continued to bite his nails.
"Nothing is wrong with me, but you were weaned off the bottle too early," I stated to him. "You smoke and you bite your nails."
He put his hand down from his mouth and spit something onto the floor. "You smoke too, and I don't see a recent pedicure on your hands, so what's your point."
"My point it you are a fucking liar," I said angrily. "You played baseball and soccer."
Everyone was staring back and forth between us and even Drs. Cullen, male and female, were take aback.
"We want to keep the conversation civilized," Carlisle interrupted.
Edward smiled mockingly at me and said, "Bella's not into civilized, she's more into native things."
My entire body froze and I felt my heart beating out of my chest. He knew about Jake and I had no idea how he could. I had looked up my own name on the internet and came up with nothing. How did he know about a childhood friend I had dated recently?
"Daddy too busy to play with you?" I said, knowing full well it was hitting below the belt. "What fun would gym be if daddy isn't here to put it in the paper?"
"At least he's not trying to screw me," he threw back just as hatefully.
I couldn't move, I felt like he had stabbed me right in the heart, but I suddenly knew exactly what had happened between Edward and his father. My gut told me what the internet didn't.
"No, he's just screwing everyone except his wife," I lashed out.
Edward jumped up in anger and Carlisle had to hold him back from attacking me. I moved behind my chair in case I had to defend myself. Edward was cussing and calling me names, but I stared unemotionally at him. He started the whole fight and I wasn't about to cower from him.
It took several minutes for everyone to calm down and the other students were in shock. Alice had tears down her face as she looked at me. "Did your father molest you?" she asked.
"No, my father's a great man, he's a policeman here in Washington," I said to defend my wonderful dad.
"So it was your step dad?" she clarified.
"I didn't let him touch me," I said as I began to shake. I crossed my arms to hide my hands and glared at Edward for bringing my situation into the open.
"Man, Bella, I don't blame you for setting him on fire," Emmett said shaking his head. "I would have done the same thing."
I felt tears begin to fall and I hated Edward so much at this moment. Rosalie had her own tears falling and she said, "I had a guy at school try to rape me. My parents called the police and they didn't do anything to him. He said I wanted sex and then changed my mind, he lied," she cried.
"Some men believe woman dress a certain way or speak a certain way to solicit their advances," Esme said to the girls. "How do you feel about that?"
"I don't care if I am naked, no means no," Alice said.
"If you are walking around naked I doubt you are saying no," Edward pointed out.
"Maybe I am naked for someone else and not you, so yeah, no means no," Alice said smartly.
I laughed at how she was able to embarrass Edward, causing him to glower at me.
"Why didn't you just tell your mother to divorce him," I said looking directly at Edward.
He shook his head and refused to answer. It angered me even more. "Come on, you made me admit to my step dad trying to stick his dick in my mouth, be a man, Edward."
He raised his eyes and I could see how much he regretted pushing me. He was apologizing and I had to look away so I wouldn't fall for it. He finally said it out loud, "I'm sorry, Bella."
"Yeah, sure, so why did you hit him," I pushed back.
He took a deep breath and said, "I love my mother."
Alice and Rosalie both sighed loudly and began telling Edward what a wonderful son he was, but something made me think it wasn't the entire story. He had already lied too many times for me to believe him about this.
We were all given a piece of material and told to divide into partners for a game. Rosalie and Emmett instantly partnered up as did Alice and Jasper. Edward and I remained sitting across from each other, neither one moving closer to the other.
"Okay," Esme began to explain. "First one person wears the blindfold and is led on a tour by the other. You have fifteen minutes to end up back here, then you switch. Try to make the walk as difficult as possible so the blindfolded partner must learn to trust the person leading them."
Alice began jumping up and down and begging to go first. Rosalie insisted Emmett go first because she didn't want her hair messed up by the blindfold. Edward and I ignored each other.
"Bella do you want to lead first?" Carlisle asked me.
I shrugged and Edward finally stood and tied the material around his head. The others quickly walked from the room, but I only took hold of the material on Edward's sleeve and pulled him forward.
Once we got onto the walkway he pulled from me and lowered the blindfold. We walked toward the trees surrounding the school and Edward stepped behind one and lit a cigarette. I stopped and leaned against another tree, staring at my shoes.
"I'm sorry, that was really shitty of me," he said earnestly.
"Whatever," I sighed.
"You should have tried to kill him," he said forcefully.
"She is still with him," I admitted stupidly.
He narrowed his eyes as he looked at me and then said, "You didn't deserve it."
"I know," I said, trying to sound certain.
"No you don't, you're blaming yourself," he said still looking at me.
"You're psychic now?" I said without humor.
He chuckled and nodded at me again, "You are way too easy to read."
"What am I saying right now?" I smirked at him.
He continued to stare and I felt myself become uncomfortable, so I looked away.
"I thought so," he said softly.
"You thought what?" I asked nervously.
"You are into me," he said as he took another drag.
"You are mentally handicapped," I sneered.
"I have a girlfriend," he announced.
"Writing letters to the magazine you jack off to doesn't make her your girlfriend," I said snidely.
He laughed loudly and pointed at me, "You're quick."
"That's what your girlfriend says," I said sarcastically and began heading back to the class.
Edward followed after putting out his cigarette and laughing to himself. He placed the blindfold on right before entering the door and held out his hand.
I grabbed the material again and pulled him through the door.
"What did you learn?" Esme asked.
"Bella hates handicapped people," he said.
"Edward is handicapped," I offered.
"Let's see if you can learn something about trust with the next round," Esme instructed.
We switched blindfolds and I held out my hand, thinking he would take the material of my shirt but instead he took my hand in his and led me from the room. I tried to pull it back when we got to the walkway but he held it tightly.
"We're not seriously doing this, are we?" I asked when he wouldn't let me remove the blindfold.
"Why not?" he said softly and kept walking.
"You didn't do it, with me," I pointed out.
"You didn't ask me to."
I planted my feet firmly on the ground and stopped our forward motion before reaching up with my one free hand and pulling off the cover.
"If you didn't do it, I'm not doing it," I demanded.
He laughed at me and said, "You're spoiled rotten."
"I am not," I said in anger. "You are the one with a silver spoon sticking out of your mouth."
"You don't know one thing about me you didn't pull off the web. Don't act like you know me."
"So how did you find out stuff about me?" I asked, actually extremely curious.
"I have my ways," he said cryptically.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I had not even been here a full day and I was so exhausted, emotionally and physically. I looked around the place and saw in the distance Emmett and Rosalie locked in a steamy kiss.
I made an unconscious tisk sound and Edward followed my gaze. He looked angry for a second and then said, "She wouldn't give him the time of day in the real world."
The real world, something so far removed from this place of misfits. Life seemed so surreal at the moment and I felt tears in my eyes. I ran my fingers through my hair and noticed Edward staring at me. I turned to face away from him, but he took hold of my hand.
"Feeling lost?" he asked, and I wondered how he could read me so easily.
"I'm just counting how many more days I have to stay here," I said, still looking away.
"It might not be so bad," he offered.
"What makes you think that?"
"You don't have to be afraid here," he said softly.
I couldn't even find it in me to tell him he had no idea what he was talking about. I only raised the blindfold to hide myself from him and held out my hand.
Once classes started the days moved a lot faster. I studied hard and tried to stay out of all the drama going on in our dorm room. Jessica liked a boy Lauren liked, and the boy, didn't know either one existed. Rose talked about Emmett nonstop and Alice changed her clothes at least three times a day.
I was sitting outside smoking when Edward walked by. We had both been very quiet in our sessions and let Alice do most of the talking. We already proved we knew each other's secrets so we didn't have much else to say.
He walked up to me and handed me a note with a red sticker on the top. I laughed when I read he was being put on notice about not showing up for gym.
"I guess you better become interested in hitting a ball with a stick and running in a circle," I teased.
He sat down next to me and I handed him my cigarette. I watched as his mouth formed around the filter and then forced myself to look away.
"What do you wear to gym?" he asked seriously.
"Sweats or shorts," I told him.
He nodded a then handed me back the cigarette before leaning back on his elbows. I laid my head on my knees and looked over at him.
"I feel like a caged animal," he said as his eyes darted around. "I need to get out of here."
"Planning on going AWOL?" I asked him.
"No, I just need to see something new." He chewed the side of his mouth for a minute and then leaned over to speak quietly to me. "Do you want to go somewhere tonight?"
"Where?" I asked a little piqued.
"I don't know, a movie or something."
"A date?" I asked in shock.
"Hell no, I told you I have a girlfriend. I just need to get away from the walls that are closing in," he explained.
"Okay, I'm game. I know a little club that has local bands, they don't card."
He smiled and said, "Meet me by that tree we stopped at on the first day. I'll have someone pick us up."
"What time?" I asked him.
"Midnight," he said and looked at me to see if I was going to object.
I wasn't sure he would be able to pull this off and thought I would show up only to have to come right back to the room. I dressed in jeans and pulled them up under my nightgown so I could sneak out easily. Rosalie was out with Emmett and I would threaten to turn her in if she ratted me out.
I showed up right at midnight and Edward was standing by a small car on the roadway outside the gate. I climbed over the fence easily and got into the car next to Edward. A guy was driving and a girl with long red hair was sitting next to him.
"This is my cousin James," Edward said, "and his girl, Victoria."
I said a soft hello and Edward asked me to give directions to the club. James knew exactly the place I meant and the car grew quiet. Edward held out of cell phone saying, "You can call your guy if you want."
"Your information was out dated," I said to let him know I had no reason to call Jake. "Why don't you call your girlfriend?"
"It is two a.m. in Chicago," he said quickly.
"She's made of sugar or something?" I pushed.
"Who are you talking about?" James asked.
"My girlfriend, Jane," Edward answered.
James gave him a funny look through the mirror but didn't say anything. We pulled up to the club and I jumped out and walked ahead of the rest of them. A man at the door smiled and said, "I didn't know you were back, Bella."
"I'm on the DL tonight, don't tell my dad," I instructed.
"Are you singing tonight?" the man asked.
I shook my head and looked at my feet, hoping the guy would stop saying stuff in front of Edward. I found a table up front and asked for just a glass of ice water. Victoria sat next me and huffed as if she was already bored. The next amateur stepped onto the stage and we all tapped along with the song.
"Hey," Edward said to me softly.
I looked at him and he smiled, "Come on, sing."
"I don't have a guitar," I said to get him to let it go. A piano was on the small stage but I didn't know how to play it.
Edward stood and asked a guy at another table if I could borrow the guitar. He handed it to me with a huge grin and nodded to the stage. I took it in irritation and pulled a chair up to the mic and lowered the stand.
I played for a moment and finally closed my eyes and added vocals to a slow rendition of the tune I was playing.
The keeper of the gates of wisdom
Please let me in
'Cause I just can't go through
Another heartache again
Pretty lies and alibis
How could I be so blind?
Now I'm all alone and scared to stay
Slowly going out of my mind
I was letting the chords hang in the air as I held the notes just a little too long. I was feeling the song deeply and kept my eyes closed as I began the chorus, but the piano picked up the pace and a soulful voice began the next part ahead of me. My eyes shot open to see Edward at the piano, with his own eyes closed, singing.
She was my strongest weakness
I surrendered heart and soul
It's gonna be a long, long time
'Til I regain control
I'm still a prisoner
Held captive by her memory
she was my strongest weakness
And I'm afraid she'll always be
I continued to follow him with the guitar and played louder so he slowed the tempo of his playing. We both sang the next verse. I used the word 'he' and he sung 'she,' we didn't harmonize but his rough guttural voice was haunting over my higher octave.
I gave my faithful heart to someone
I couldn't understand
How he held my little world
In the palm of his hand
Now he's gone and life goes on
So if this pain will ever end
Will I be afraid to risk it all
Ever fall in love again?
The crowd began clapping and whistling in approval with our performance and I looked over at Edward, but he refused to look at me. We stood and walked off the stage and Edward motioned for James to head out.
"Come again, Bella," the doorman yelled to me as I followed Edward out the door.
We got in the car and nobody spoke. Victoria and James seemed to be mad about something and I felt like I had experienced a black-out of time.
When we got back to the school Edward climbed the fence ahead of me and then waited for me to climb. He walked with me to the dorms but never spoke. I finally said, "Thanks for the ride."
He looked at me like he was going to say something, but just turned and walked away. The next morning I got called in to speak with Carlisle. He was angry and I knew we had been caught. I didn't say a word and never denied or confirmed a thing. Pretty soon Edward walked in to join us.
"I am very upset with the both of you. The rules are clear about leaving the campus without a chaperone."
"Listen," Edward said politely. "I want to talk to you about getting me and Bella out of gym and into a music class."
My mouth fell open and Carlisle sat and thought for a moment.
"We didn't drink, do drugs, or have sex," Edward clarified. "We sang, that was it."
"Am I supposed to just take your word for it?" Dr. Cullen asked.
"No, you can call the club if you want," Edward said angrily.
"Wait a minute," I interjected, "I never said I want out of gym." I actually did, but I never told Edward that and I didn't like him supposing things for me.
He gave me a disgusted look and said, "You sing much better than you run."
"How do you know?" I asked in shame.
"I know," he said and turned back to Carlisle.
"Let me see what I can do," Carlisle offered and looked at Edward sternly. "No more field trips, understand?"
Edward nodded and I got up to leave but Carlisle stopped me. "Have you two discussed the reasons you are here?"
"Why?" Edward demanded.
"I want to know if you are finding someone to open up with," he explained.
We both remained quiet giving Carlisle his answer, so he told us both to have a seat. I sat in a huff but Edward seemed resigned to his situation.
"Bella, do you have nightmares about the fire?" he asked.
"Nope," I said honestly.
"How do you feel about your mother staying with him?" he pushed and I noticed Edward look at me, wanting to hear the answer, too.
I shrugged, "It's her life."
Edward laughed mockingly and shook his head. I glared at him and had to fold my arms so I wouldn't reach out to slap him.
"You should hear her sing, doc. The pain is all there."
"Me," I accused, "You should talk about your own tortured intonation."
"I was backing you up," he yelled angrily.
"You were not, we were not even harmonizing, you took over the song."
"Oh my hell," he said throwing his arms in the hair, "Were you even paying attention last night?"
"Yes, I was paying attention to you singing out your broken heart," I said incredulously.
"I don't have a broken heart," he sneered.
"What happened to how much you love your mommy?" I said accusingly to his angry face.
He was so mad and stood to loom over me, "I admit my father is an unscrupulous son of a bitch, but he's not a pedophile. Your whore of a mother chose him over you, and that has to hurt."
I felt the tears begin to form and I stood up to face him. "You have no idea what you are talking about. I handled the problem; it has nothing to do with my mom."
"I fought for my mom," he said with a softer voice, "who is fighting for you?"
"I can fight for myself, your feelings of inadequacy have nothing to do with defending your mother, she was an excuse to knock daddy down a peg to make yourself feel better," I said with disgust.
"Judge me however you want, but you shouldn't have to set some fucker on fire to defend yourself," he pointed out.
"Shut up," I screamed into his face.
"Make me," he said forcefully.
Dr. Cullen finally stood and placed himself between us. "This has got to stop. You should be confiding in each other, not adding blows."
"I'm not confiding in him," I said adamantly.
Edward chuckled and said with absolution, "You already did, I heard it all in your song."
He turned and walked out of the room and Dr. Cullen let him leave. I was shaking with anger, and sorrow, and wanted to get out of that room and smoke a cigarette.
"Bella, it is not a weakness to feel pain," Carlisle said softly.
I was breathing heavily and felt trapped. I didn't want to talk about it; I didn't want to even think about it. "I took care of it," I said in a panic.
"Did it happen several times, or just the once?" he asked.
I looked away as I shook my head furiously. My leg was bouncing up and down and I felt sick to my stomach.
"We'll talk later," he finally said and let me past him.
I made it out the door and began to run back to my room. I flew around a corner and ran smack into Edward. His hands reached out to steady me and our foreheads crashed together in a loud crunch.
I burst into tears and held my head in pain. Edward backed up moaning and holding his own head. He looked up after a moment and saw me crying my eyes out. His eyes widened and he reached out to touch me.
I screamed and moved away from him as I muttered, "Don't touch me," over and over again. Other students began to gather to watch, thinking Edward and I were having a fight. He yelled for them to leave and I turned toward the wall to block out all the staring faces.
He came up to the wall to talk to me and I tensed in total fear. I knew it wasn't Phil, I knew I was in Washington, but my mind was confused. I felt the same fear I had felt when I would lock myself in my room to hide in my laundry basket.
I began scooting my way down the wall toward the dorm doors. I stopped when I saw a group of students waiting there. I heard a very soft voice speak to me. "Bella, nobody will touch you, you're safe."
I closed my eyes tightly and heard very soft singing. It was a soothing lullaby I had heard my mother sing to me as a child.
Baby mine, don't you cry baby mine, close your eyes.
I turned to look at Edward leaning against the wall singing so quietly only I could hear him. I took a deep breath and said, "I'm okay?"
He nodded and said, "Yes, you're okay."
"What happened?" I asked as tears fell from my eyes.
"I think you had a panic attack," he said confidently.
"I'm so tired," I whispered.
"Can I take you to your room?" he asked.
I nodded so he held out his hand for me. I hesitantly took it and he pulled me to his side and wrapped his arm around me protectively. I closed my eyes, so I wouldn't have to look at the faces of my peers, and let him lead me to my room.
I was surprised when he climbed up on the bunk to lie next to me. I vowed at that moment I would never be mean to Edward again. I didn't realize how hard it would be to keep that vow.
I woke up to screaming and laughing and saw Lauren and Jessica staring at me. I sat up and saw Edward's leg across mine as he slept soundly. Jessica narrowed her eyes and said, "I'm telling."
"Go ahead," I said and fell back onto the bed.
Edward stirred and looked over at me. "What's going on?" he asked.
"Jessica is telling on you," I told him.
"What did I do?" he asked.
"You're sleeping," I said with my eyes closed.
"Shit, that's nothing," he laughed.
"Don't tell Jessica, she thinks something major is happening," I said in anger.
He laughed and said, "Take your shirt off and really get her worked into a tizzy."
I looked at him and laughed loudly, "Did you just say the word 'tizzy'?"
"Why can't I say that word?" he questioned.
"You have a penis, don't you?"
He looked down and lifted up his jeans and then looked back at me and smiled, "Oh yeah."
I rolled my eyes and pushed him, so he rolled onto his side, leaning against the wall. "You better leave, she really went to tell on you," I warned him.
"So what, I didn't do anything," he said with a yawn and closed his eyes again.
"What will Jane think?" I asked.
He opened one eye to look at me and then reached into his back pocket to pull out his wallet. He tossed it to me and said, "Look inside."
I opened it to find some money, condoms, and pictures. I counted seventy eight dollars, laughed at the colored condoms and looked at a picture of a little girl about eight years old.
"What am I looking for?" I asked him and he only moaned at my voice waking him.
I looked at the picture again and turned it over to read, 'I love you Edward. Jane.' I laughed at the realization his girlfriend was a child with a crush. I pulled out the condoms and looked closer at them. It was that moment Esme walked in the room with Jessica.
I dropped them from my hand and moved them behind my back. I pushed Edward to wake him up and he looked at Esme and sighed. "I'm sleeping and that is it," he insisted.
"You have your own dorm room," Esme said.
"I'm following Carlisle's orders," he said and I looked at him in confusion.
"He told us to confide in each other," Edward smiled at me.
"I want to talk to you both, please come down here," Esme instructed.
"Can you wait in the hallway?" I asked her nervously.
"Why?" she insisted.
"I just need to tell Edward something, privately," I said.
She stared at us both and Edward raised his hands to say he had no idea what I wanted. She finally stepped from the room and I quickly grabbed the condoms and began putting them back in his wallet.
"What were you doing?" he asked as he watched me.
"Nothing, she just walked in at the worst moment."
He laughed and took his wallet from my hand and began rearranging the condoms. "I thought you would steal my money not my protection."
'I'm not Alice," I said in irritation.
He laughed and jumped down from the bunk. We walked into the hallway to find Esme talking to a very pale Rosalie. I had been so busy with my own rule breaking I had no idea what was going on with her. We waited our turn for a tongue lashing and she didn't disappoint.
She threatened us, warned us, and made us feel awful, before allowing us to head to the cafeteria for dinner. We walked in silence, trying to feel the remorse we were supposed to feel, and both broke into laughter.
"You slut," Edward laughed.
"You man whore," I threw back at him.
"I'd need Viagra to keep up with you," he laughed. "Shit, you wanted to use four condoms in one afternoon."
"Maybe you're just used to dating children, like Jane," I laughed. "Big girls like sex."
"Jane loves me unconditionally," he said truthfully. "And what are you trying to tell me?"
"Who is Jane?" I asked him.
"She is the daughter of our cook."
"You have a cook?" I asked in shock.
"Don't change the subject," he said, "Get back to the big girls liking sex."
"Do you have your own concubine?" I asked shaking my head.
"No, but my dad does," he said hatefully.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean, you know."
We grabbed a tray of food and sat together at a table by ourselves. I couldn't believe how much things had changed between us in such a short amount of time. I hated him just the other day and now he was my only friend here.
"Let's go grab a smoke," he said as he kicked my foot. I followed him outside to the dark patio and when I sat on a table top he sat on the bench right under me between my legs. I felt my heart pounding and I couldn't look at him.
He lit a cigarette and handed it to me. I took a puff, and handed it back, so he rested his arms on my thighs. I was so afraid he would be able to tell I was shaking so I leaned back on my hands to move further from him.
He chuckled and stared at me while he took a long drag. I was feeling my arms shaking so I sat up again.
"Am I bugging you?" he asked.
He moved his arms off of my thighs and looked away. I instantly missed the feeling, but was too afraid to say anything. I took a deep breath, angry at myself for being such a baby, and reached for his cigarette. He handed it to me and watched me put it in my mouth. Our eyes locked and he smiled softly.
"Horrible habit," I said to him.
"I almost had it licked and then my dad…." He stopped talking and I put the butt in the sand bucket and looked back at him.
He put his arms around me and laid his head on my lap. I stared at him for a moment and then hesitantly reached out to touch his hair. He sighed and I put both of my hands in his hair and massaged his head.
He tightened his arms around me and I felt him kiss my thigh. I began shaking again and he noticed. "Bella," he said as he kept his head on my lap.
"Yeah?" I said with a nervous voice.
"Are you a virgin?"
I made a loud gasp and he quickly said, "Never mind."
"Why would you ask me that?" I asked him in shock.
"It was easier than asking what I really wanted to know," he said sadly.
"What do you want to know?" I said hesitantly.
"I want to know what happened to you," he said.
I pushed him off my lap in anger. "I told you I didn't let him touch me," I said forcefully.
"Okay, that's all I wanted to know," he said trying to calm me down.
"Why did you ask, do you think I lied, do you think I would let him slobber all over me…"
"Because I lied to you," he admitted. "My father broke my jaw."
I looked out into the darkness as the tears fell down my face. "I fought him," I said in tears.
"I believe you," he said softly.
He stood and looked down at me and waited for me to look at him. He placed his hands on my face and said directly into my eyes. "I wouldn't hurt you, ever."
I nodded and more tears began to fall so he pulled me to him. I put my arms around his neck and lay my head on his shoulder.
"You are so soft," he said with his mouth against my head.
I pushed him away and headed to my room. He didn't try to follow and I was glad. I couldn't explain to him that his kindness and gentleness made me feel unworthy of him. I didn't want him to be mean or physical; I just needed him to move very slowly with me. How was I supposed to explain that? It was easier to just walk away.
At the next group session we were told the Cullens had arranged for us to spend an evening at their house. They promised us they wouldn't hover, as long as we behaved, and would let us use their big screen for a movie night.
Something so lame would have been laughed at last month, but we were all so excited at the prospect of seeing something beside the tall walls around this place that we were ecstatic.
We arrived at the Cullen's house in a school van and walked nervously into the house. Esme had food all over the place; bowls of chips, candy, cookies, and trays of all different kinds of sandwiches. Emmett began scarfing the food and Rosalie looked at him in disgust.
"We want you to feel right at home, so please dig in," Esme offered.
We all grabbed a plate and filled it high with the junk food we had been missing so much. We settled in front of a huge television and began fighting over which movie to watch. The girls wanted a mushy love story and the boys wanted action.
We ended up watching a comedy. I was sitting on the floor with my back against the couch when Edward nudged my shoulder and motioned for me to scoot over in front of him. He placed his legs on either side of me and I pulled my knees up, so he couldn't see my legs shaking.
After several minutes he began playing with my hair, lifting it into his hands and letting it fall on the couch between his legs. I felt like the entire room could hear my heart beating and I couldn't even concentrate on the movie. I was staring at the screen, but only aware of Edward playing with my hair.
When the movie ended Carlisle was in his home office and Esme was cleaning up in the kitchen. Alice climbed on Jasper's lap and they began kissing as Rose and Emmett whispered quietly to each other. I felt so out of place and noticed Edward began to bite his nails.
I began to stand, wanting to see if Esme needed any help, when Edward grabbed my hand. "Don't go," he pleaded.
I sat back onto my knees and looked up at him. He smiled nervously and then gave me a quick flip of his head showing me he wanted to go outside. I followed, feeling terrified at the prospect of him possibly kissing me. I wanted him to, but at the same time I wanted him to stay far from me.
We stood on the covered deck and he pulled out a cigarette and handed it to me. I shook my head, afraid he would notice my hands shaking if I took it. He lit one and turned to lean against the railing and looked at me.
"Why are you afraid of me?" he asked pointedly.
"I'm not afraid of you," I challenged.
"I would never hit a girl," he said with sadness showing in his voice.
I gasped and my eyes went wide. "I am not thinking you will hit me, that doesn't even enter my mind."
"Then wh….. Oh," he laughed.
"What does 'oh' mean?" I said in anger.
"It means, I get it now," he chuckled.
"You're delusional," I said and walked to the other side of the deck.
"If you asked me, I would," he said but remained on his side.
I ignored him and pretended to be very interested in the dark forest before me. He remained quiet and continued smoking. Carlisle opened the door and looked from Edward over to me and seemed very surprised to find us on opposite sides of the deck.
"We're heading back soon," he said and went back inside.
I turned to follow him and Edward called out for me. "Bella, come here," he said softly.
I walked up to him with my arms folded and he looked at my defiant eyes. He reached out and took hold of my arms and pulled them from the tight hold I had them folded into. I felt a shiver go down my body when he ran his fingers down my arms and he chuckled lightly.
"What are you doing?" I finally asked him in almost a whisper.
"I have no idea," he said honestly.
"We have to go," I pushed.
He leaned in and I froze, so he moved to my ear, "I don't want you to be afraid of me," he whispered.
I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what he wanted to hear, and I didn't know how to articulate the feelings he stirred in me. I stood there like a statue and he finally took my hand and led me inside.
Rose and Alice smiled at me, like they all knew we were humping in the woods like rabbits. I looked at the floor and tried not to cry. We drove back to the center in silence. Emmett was rubbing Rosalie's neck and Alice was tucked tightly in Jasper's side.
Edward and I sat like mannequins without even moving our heads. When we headed to our rooms Rose and Alice got on either side of me and laughed, "Okay, spill it."
"Spill what?" I asked.
"You and Edward, is he a good kisser?"
"I have no idea," I admitted.
They both pulled me to a stop and stared at my face in shock. I tried to act unaffected but tears began to form and I couldn't keep up the pretence.
"We are not a couple, we are just friends," I tried to explain.
"No way," Rose informed me. "A friend doesn't look at you like that."
"Like what?" I asked quietly.
"Like he wants to devour you," she said as she crossed her arms.
"You're just hungry," I told her and watched as her face grew angry.
"That was mean," she said and walked away.
I looked at Alice and shook my head, "I didn't mean it."
She smiled and locked her arm in mine and began walking with me, "It was mean, but most likely true."
I dreamed of Edward that night. He held me in his arms and said sweet, beautiful things to me. His touch was tender and loving, nothing like Phil, and I wanted more from him.
I was nervous to go to science, and hoped Edward was late, so I wouldn't have to pass him when I walked to my desk. I wasn't so lucky; he was sitting with his book out and watching the door. When I walked in he smiled and called me over.
"Guess what?" he beamed.
"We are out of gym and into independent music study. We actually get to sing for a grade," he laughed.
I smiled, but it wasn't genuine, and he could tell right away. "I thought you would be happy," he said in irritation.
"I am," I said and looked away.
"Calm down, you may piss yourself," he said angrily.
I walked away and heard him kick the chair next to him. I couldn't tell him I didn't want to sing with him, that it was too hard to feel all those emotions with him. I felt exposed and vulnerable. I felt like Phil made me feel and I didn't want that.
I could feel Edward's eyes on me during class but I didn't look at him. I didn't show up for music either. I went to gym and acted like I had no idea I had been released from the class. When I got to the room for a session, Edward was there glaring at me.
I sat down in defeat and he turned to me and said, "You didn't show, I went to a lot of trouble and you didn't show."
I looked away and refused to answer.
"Bella," Esme said softly, "Edward would like an explanation."
"Yeah, I would like a lot of things, life is tough," I said hatefully only talking to Esme.
He reached over and kicked my chair and yelled, "Don't ignore me, Bella."
I slowly turned to face him and I expected to see anger in his expression, but he was hurt. It disarmed me and I dropped my head.
Esme moved her chair closer and took my hands, "Bella, tell me what you are feeling."
"I want him to leave the room," I said softly.
"Edward, can you step out for a minute," she asked.
"No," he said with force.
"I'm not asking, I am telling you," she said with her own force.
He stood and marched to the door with heavy feet and after the door slammed I began to cry. I felt so…female. A gorgeous, interesting, great guy who I had a crush on liked me, and I was crying in despair over it.
"I feel so stupid," I admitted to Esme.
"Honey, your feelings are valid no matter what they are. What has gotten you so upset?"
"I like Edward," I said out loud.
"He seems to like you," she said sending me into loud sobs.
She chuckled and squeezed my hands as she said, "I understand."
"Well, I don't," I admitted.
"Didn't you have a boyfriend?" she asked me, "A native American boy?"
I looked at her in surprise and she smiled, "It is in your file."
I knew then Edward had somehow looked at my file. My anger was winning over my heartache and I lifted my jaw, ready for a fight. "I'm just being stupid, I'm fine," I lied to her.
"If you want to talk, come to me at anytime," she said kindly and then rose to open the door and let the group in.
I didn't turn away from Edward; instead I glared at him as he walked over and took a seat. He stared back with his own anger, but I didn't falter this time.
"How did you do it?" I said angrily to him.
"You need to be a little more specific," he seethed.
"You read it, don't bother trying to deny it," I accused.
The group was watching us both and everyone remained quiet to let the quarrel escalate.
"So what, I read it, big deal."
"It is a big deal," I screamed at him. "That is private, personal information."
"I was curious," he shrugged.
"You wanted the details," I said as my voice rose. "You wanted to find out the answer to your question, to know if I was damaged goods."
His eyes almost popped out of the sockets and he leaned forward in his chair. "That is not true," he screamed.
"Yes it is, and then you threw it in my face during session."
"You landed some pretty tough blows yourself," he yelled even louder.
I stood and my legs felt numb as I walked up to where he was sitting. I could tell he was trying so hard to control his anger and my urge to slap him fell away. "I didn't want you, of all people, to know that stuff," I said softly and walked out the door.
He came running into the hallway and got in front of me so I couldn't walk out of the building. "Bella, I was an angry mess when I got here, you know that. I'm sorry I invaded your privacy, but things are different now."
"What else did you learn?" I asked him.
His face grimaced and he huffed as he dropped his head and began rubbing his neck. I felt like cold water had been thrown in my face and I began breathing heavily. I wanted to crawl in a hole and disappear, but he was standing right in front of me and he knew all my secrets.
"Do me a favor, and leave me alone," I begged him.
Carlisle opened the door and called us both back inside. "We have some information you both need to hear," he said with authority.
I walked behind Edward and wouldn't look at anyone. I saw a form on my chair and picked it up to see we had to write someone's name on it.
"We have a visitation day coming up," Carlisle explained. "You need to choose a person who would be supportive and not confrontational. It can be anyone, so don't think you have to invite your parents."
I quickly wrote 'Charlie Swan' and handed Esme the paper. She was sitting right next to me and smiled kindly. I noticed when Edward turned in his paper the name 'Elizabeth Masen' was written on it. When everyone had them turned in Carlisle opened the session.
"We are going to discuss why you chose the person you did. Rosalie, can you start?"
"I chose my sister, because she has some of the same issues I have about body image, so I want to tell her what I have learned."
"That is a wonderful idea," Esme said to her.
"I picked my mom, because she will go shopping first and bring me new clothes," she giggled, making us all laugh.
"I picked my coach, so he can see I am staying in shape," he admitted and we all groaned.
"I chose a good buddy I've known for awhile," he said cryptically and I noticed how Carlisle looked concerned.
"I chose my father," I said without any further explanation. Edward glanced at me and I looked away.
"And finally, Edward."
"I chose my mother, because I want to make sure she is okay," he said softly, making Alice and Rose sigh.
"Our private sessions will center on these specific relationships this week. You are all free to leave, but I want to meet with Bella," Carlisle announced.
I noticed how Edward tensed up and glanced in my direction before heading out the door. I sat frozen to my chair and played with my fingers. Carlisle stood and got something out of a cabinet and walked over to hand me a guitar.
I looked at him in shock and he smiled gently. "I would like to hear you sing, Bella."
I began to shake my head, but he stood again and explained. "I will be working on some files, just play around a bit and forget I am even here."
He sat at a desk and opened some folders. I began playing small bits of various songs trying to find something that I could feel. I began playing 'At Last' and it resonated, so I added the lyrics. I played slower than usual, which was my style, and I could hear Etta James in my head so I followed behind her.
At last my love has come along
My lonely days are over
And life is like a song
At last the skies above are blue
And my heart was wrapped up in clover
The night I looked at you
I found a dream that I can speak to
A dream that I could call my own
I found a thrill to press my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
You smiled, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
And you are mine at last
I was completely gone in my head, transported to a dark, smoky club, where a bright light hid the patrons from my sight. I felt the longing in my heart for someone to call my own and finally opened my eyes to see Carlisle staring at me from his desk, and Edward staring from the doorway.
My hand dropped making a loud echoing thud on the strings and I moved the guitar off my lap. Edward huffed loudly causing me to look at him.
"Why won't you come to music class?" he demanded.
"Because I feel exposed when I sing," I admitted.
"That is what makes it so beautiful," he said with frustration.
I felt tears form and I admitted something so painful it hurt when it broke free from my soul, "It always brought him to my room."
Edward looked at Carlisle and I don't know what passed between them, but Edward walked over to sit next to me. "I think it would be a good thing if you made some memories of singing that didn't bring him to your room. Memories just for you to enjoy," he said softly.
"I hate him," I admitted in a whisper.
"I hate him, too," Edward added.
I leaned my head against his shoulder feeling totally exhausted. Just facing the little things took an emotional toll. He said very softly, "Are you upset that your singing brought me in here?"
I smiled to myself and said softly back, "No, I'm glad it brought you."
"Will you come to music class tomorrow?"
"Yeah," I answered.
"You can go now, Bella," Carlisle said with a smile. I looked at him and stuck out my tongue. He knew what he was doing and Edward and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
I walked alongside Edward and he reached out and took my hand. It wasn't anything romantic, just soothing. When I got to the dorm door he walked through with me, so I stopped and looked at him with raised eyebrows.
"Let's piss off Jessica," he laughed.
"Okay, but Esme's going to get tired of dragging you out of here," I said, and then tried to back pedal. "I just mean twice….not that you will…."
He laughed at my embarrassing attempt to rephrase and pulled me to my room. He jumped up on my bunk and patted the area next to him. I climbed up and he laid his head right next to mine. "Sing something," he said and I immediately began to laugh.
"I am not singing to you," I announced.
"Fine, I'll sing to you," he said and cleared his throat. He began singing a soft, Gaelic tune I had never heard before, and I closed my eyes and began to feel my entire body begin to relax. When he finished I looked at him and smiled.
"My mom used to sing that to me," he said with emotion.
"You really do love your mother, don't you," I smiled.
"She's so wonderful, she just doesn't know it," he said sadly.
"How did she deal with the whole fight thing?" I asked him with trepidation.
"She's not….well….mentally," he said slowly. "I think my dad screws around so he can remain in denial. I think when you vow for better or worse, you can't take the better, and run out on the worse."
"What happened?" I asked and quickly added, "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."
"Well," he said with a smirk, "I did look at your file."
"How?" I asked him.
"Dr. Cullen left it sitting on his desk and I came to talk to him, but he was gone."
"So you know what I did?" I asked in shame.
"He deserved it," he said forcefully.
I grew quiet and he knew I was not ready to talk about it, so he answered my question instead. "I was up all night with my mother, she was so upset and feeling abandoned. My dad walked in smelling like perfume and booze, so I grabbed him by the collar and threw him out of the house. He called the cops and tried to come back inside. I warned him I would stop him, but he tried anyway. We yelled at each other and I told him he would have to hurt me to get me to back off, so he did. He knocked me down and then kicked me in the face. I didn't even feel the pain, I was so enraged. I probably would have killed him if the police hadn't show up when they did. He got it all swept under the carpet and I got sent here."
I stared at him and he suddenly looked so young. He was a sixteen year old child who loved his mother, and got beaten down for it. He looked at me and we stared into each other's eyes. I could see the self doubt and the insecurity he usually didn't allow to show.
"You are so brave," I said in a whisper.
"No I'm not; I gave into my rage and lost control. You are the brave one; you did the one thing you knew to stop him."
Jessica walked into the room at that moment and put her hands on her hips as she glared at Edward. He jumped off the bunk and headed out the door as he casually tossed out, "love ya, Bella."