As If I Never Existed

Chapter 18

EPOV

"I'm sick of Aro, all he is doing is turning me into a skank. It feels more like he is my pimp than my doctor."

I have to agree, Bella has grown and regained so much of her former self, all he seems to be doing is encouraging her 'promiscuity'. Mind you, having been the beneficiary of her many dates with various men, I can't say I have hated this stage. I guess regardless of my past with Tanya and the others, I still felt some things were not proper for Bella and I to indulge in, so I got to experience them with her through an alter ego, and it meant she got to do everything she ever wanted while I got to hang on to the pretence Bella and I only did respectable things together in bed.

But, I agree, it's time she stopped 'screwing around' and we moved to the next level and became an exclusive couple.

Aro was not happy but personally I think the man maybe has no sex life of his own and lives through those of his clients. He advises Bella to keep making her appointments but she is strong and thanks him for all his invaluable help and walks away.

I'm proud of her, she knows now what she wants and nobody will stand in her way.

We lay on my bed together and I was lacing our fingers and wondering if we would finally have sex after our first date as an exclusive couple tonight, and she breathed out noisily and sighed.

"What's that for, Baby?" I asked, smiling at her.

"I'm just going to miss some of my boyfriends, a little," she admits.

"Maybe you can teach me what they did that you will be missing," I suggest.

"Edward, you would not do half the things to me that Jack did," she frowns.

Jack was a sex maniac who had a thing for trying out different kinds of condoms and I hadn't realized she had enjoyed him so much. To me, anything between my skin and hers was a tragedy but she had never felt a condom inside her and had invented Jack, and some of the ribbed and grooved varieties apparently turned her on even more than usual. So hard to tell that when every date with every man ended with us both screaming in ecstasy.

I had relented and allowed her to bring her 'dates' home to have sex in her bed, mainly because we often needed to use the shower after certain types of sex, and it was impractical to be doing things like that in the car.

Nobody ever got to sleep over in her bed, never.

After 'he left', she would come into my bed and I would curl my body around her and she would relate the highlights of the night and we would touch one another and have gentle hand sex if she wanted. There was nothing wild and untamed about Bella and Edward, they were loving and respectful but it seemed maybe things would have to change now the other lovers had gone.

Bella kissed my lips and grinned.

"Thank you, so much, by the way," she said.

"For what?" I asked, tucking her hair back off her face. It had grown so long in the past eighteen months, she was finally satisfied with it's length again.

"For all my many lovers, they were all amazing."

"Thank you for allowing them to share your body, especially Cedric. That boy has had quite an education, I feel almost sorry for him now."

"Cedric will be fine. Now he can go date other girls and be confident and out going and know what he's doing."

"Cedric loves Bella, though. He will be heartbroken," I whispered in her ear.

"Bella only ever loved Edward, no matter who else did what to her," she whispered back and I held her tight. She was beyond perfect, this new Bella, a mixture of the old Bella I remembered and the strong individual who had replaced the broken bird of two years ago.

"I think Edward and Bella need to announce their engagement and hurry up and get married," I urged her.

She smiled.

"Okay."

"Really?" I checked. I have been waiting patiently for her to agree to my deepest wish and I had never pushed her.

"Yep, it's what I want. A short engagement and a quick wedding."

"And will Edward and Bella be having a baby any time in the future?" I asked.

Whatever she decides, I won't argue but my dreams nowadays include a pretty little toddler with auburn ringlets being swung in the air between our hands as we walk her along the beach and I wonder if she is real or just something I alone long for.

"Maybe," she says hesitantly. Victoria is doing ten years for James murder but her trial for Bella's abduction is looming on the horizon.

"She will be locked away for a long time," I assure my girl and kiss the top of her head. Bella is much more worldly these days and she no longer sees a threat in every strangers eyes but Vicky is a real and proven enemy and that's a fact. One day she will be released and we will be a proper family long before that and I don't want my Bella panicking every time a child of ours is out of our sight. It wouldn't be fair on the child, either, to be raised believing her life was in constant jeopardy.

This problem cures itself before our wedding even occurs.

Victoria's trial began and Bella stood up and faced her captor and never even shook. She told her story and described the years of fear and loneliness and her medical records backed up the damage those two had done to her.

The fact she had never been sexually assaulted stood in Victoria's favor, she painted herself as the one who allowed the terrible James to do all manner of degrading acts on her body rather than allow him to touch Bella but the diary and written passages describing how she had joined in on the assaults on Joy really denied that scenario as being truthful.

Joy had never been identified, nobody knew who she was or where she came from. Nobody had known her in the village and it was concluded that she must have been a tourist who had wandered far from her expected itinerary thus her loved ones had just not associated the dead girl with their child.

That hit Bella hard because she knew, had James and Vicky ever smuggled her out of the area, she may well have been an unidentified body herself by now.

The day that Victoria was found guilty should have been a happy day for us all but I knew Bella was worried her sentence may end up being served concurrently with her present stretch, and she may be released while any children of ours were still young and vulnerable.

As we waited on the final morning for the court to open to hear her sentencing, it became obvious something was happening. Police were running about and Bella turned and reached for me and I grabbed her into my arms.

"She's escaped, hasn't she?" she cried in terror.

"I don't know, but something has happened."

We were finally called into a room and informed Victoria had been shot and killed in an attempt to escape and I for one, was very glad of that outcome.

Bella was all the stronger for facing her enemy in court and now it truly was all over. My Bella was finally free.

X~x~X

JPOV

So, you are all sitting here thinking, well, that Jason Jenks was a complete waste of time and money, right?

Ha, if only you knew.

I knew where Bella Swan was from the day James took her. I had his back, I made sure there were no clues and nobody looking too closely his way.

What was in it for me?

Firstly, the entire Cullen family piss me off, just because they have money they think they can do no wrong. They think they are picture perfect and deserve to all live happily ever after. Not like the rest of us. One small kid goes to school with a few bumps and bruises and they call in the new local doctor, all young and eager, and he decides this child needs to be taken away from the only home he knows. It's not bad enough his real parents are dead and all he has in the world is his older brother and his Pa?

No, so off young Jason Laurent goes, into a children's home then a foster home and guess what, foster daddy is not exactly an angel either. At least James and Pa only used me as a punching bag. Mr Jenks thought I was his own personal play toy and Mrs Jenks was glad for the break. While he bothered me, he left her alone.

I knew exactly who that Edward was that Bella Swan was crying over.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is sit back and just let the world turn and guess what, not only did I have Edward Cullen hire me and keep me on retainer for eight fucking years, I also got the pleasure of seeing Carlisle Cullen, that brilliant fucking doctor, see how it felt to have his own family torn apart.

When Tory blew James away, I was more than happy to take a more active role. Just answering my phone as 'The Government' was hardly a chore. Chief Swan played right into my hands and gave me a legitimate reason to be seen visiting the lovely Tory despite the police protection and she was just as happy with the younger Laurent brother in her bed. No, make that, she was far happier.

We had tasted each other's delights many times before but suddenly we were going on police sanctioned dates together and laughing ourselves silly as I related to her the reports I made to Charlie Swan.

"Oh I'm sure Miss Tory is as pure as the freshly fallen snow, Charlie. That bad James fooled her alright, she's heartbroken."

It kept him away for a time and made things easier all round.

I actually sat there at Charlie's desk and listened as he spewed out all the pain Bella's disappearance had caused him and all the time, I was sitting there thinking about the times I had sat at James' table and watched little Bella on the cctv. Hell, I even ate a meal with her once along with James and Tory, when she was fully trained. She never even raised her eyes to look at my face.

I could probably stand a foot in front of her and not have her know who I was.

Course, even moron that he is he finally worked out it was most likely Tory that shot my brother.

Why did she kill James?

Convenience mainly, and boredom.

He was too willing, too complacent.

Tory likes a man who is a challenge, not a fucking puppet.

"Don't fuck Bella, James" she says and he never even tries.

What she wanted was for him to slap her around and demand the girl join them in their bed by the time she was properly broken.

I'm much closer to the type of man she needs.

I killed the cop for her, too easy.

I just about had Tory convinced we had to off Edward and leave Alice to slowly starve in cold storage when Bella somehow found the courage to defy her captor and lock Tory in the bathroom and escape, thus freeing them all.

I had all these plans, five years of sharing a bed with both Tory and Bella then maybe I would have offed Tory once Alice was dead , and there you would have had it. MY Happy Ever After.

Oh well, at least I inherited everything James owned.

I know what you are thinking, he wouldn't dare start up where James left off. He wouldn't dare bring home a girl and put her in that Box because it's been done before but think about it. Bella Swan lived in that Box and basement undetected for eight years. The mistake James and Tory made was letting her out alone, or at all.

I think if a girl spends five years in The Box, she will be ecstatic to be free to wander that basement and never even long for the great outdoors. I won't be a lazy cow and use my captives to do my household chores, either, that just gives them opportunities.

Officer Tom is still in touch. I drop in, spend time with him and his wife Afton and his kids, Pete and Charlotte and that stupid show dog. Who pays that kind of money for a fucking dog, right?

And his daughter is forever letting it slip out the gate past her then it's everybody out in the street calling for Mr Puffles.

Fucking poodles, I can live without ever seeing another one again.

But Mr Puffles is a special friend of mine and I slip him treats when nobody is looking because dog is man's best friend.

Charlotte's a very pretty girl and just turned thirteen, such a great age. Add it up, thirteen plus five years in The Box equals eighteen, folks, that's the age she will be when I let her live in the basement. Course I've done some renovations down there as well as the basement I ripped out the second bedroom, put in a proper functioning bathroom, and converted the leftover space into a very nice playroom because unlike James, I like hardcore games.

You know, shackles on the walls, whips, chains, and of course canes, I just love that sweet sound as they whip through the air.

Then I built a new and improved Box.

Smaller,so it will be like being locked upright in a coffin. All four walls touching against your body from all sides at once. No head room, it's a mere five foot tall so any girl will have to be slightly hunched. Just to make them all the more relieved when I finally release her into the play room.

Who would choose to go back inside that monstrosity of complete darkness compared to the fun and games area? I'm sure my girl will soon decide she is happy and willing to play with me. Anything to delay being put away again.

Well the renovations are all done and guess what, it's Wednesday and I know what happens tomorrow because I have been watching Miss Charlotte as she pretends to catch the school bus every Thursday and instead sneaks off to join her friends in the arcade.

Once again, never dismiss the usefulness of just sitting and waiting and letting the future come to you.

I'm parked around the corner and here comes Mr Puffles, he's escaped as Charlotte heads for the bus stop again.

I open my car door, and wave around a nice juicy strip of fresh steak and he's in my car and we are gone before anyone even gets to the corner.

A night in the basement and he's still asleep when I'm ready to leave after breakfast.

I tie him to a tree and slip him a doggy tranquiliser and he is back in dreamland.

Now I just need to 'bump' into Charlotte as she escapes from the bus stop before she gets near that arcade and tell her about how I found poor Mr Puffles caught in a bear trap in the forest and how I need her help to free him and get him to the vet and she'll get into my car willingly and come with me, I can guarantee it.

Why wouldn't she, I'm not a stranger.

She knows all about stranger danger but nobody warned her about family friends.

And here she is.

School uniform gone, civvies on, bag on her back.

Sneaking in through the back alley and there's not even any witnesses and the security cameras are strangely broken, I think they had an accident late last night.

"Charlotte, thank God,I found your dog but he's hurt, he's in the forest. Gosh, Tom must be mad about him getting out."

"He escaped yesterday when I left for school, I'm so glad you found him. You saved my life."

"Glad to help but I need you to come and help me free his leg from a bear trap, the vet's meeting me at my house but he is in emergency surgery and can't be there for half an hour. And poor Mr Puffles is in such pain, we need to free him now."

"Oh no, I hope he's going to be all right."

"I'm sure he will be. That's it, just shut that door properly and put on your seat belt, Charlotte, safety first."

X~x~X

EPOV

Bella is quiet in the car and I can't think of what to do to help her feel better. It does seem kind of anti climatic, knowing Victoria had been found guilty and waiting to hear how much time she would do, then, suddenly, she's dead and it's all over.

"I think I need to go to that house and just see it again, and know I did escape and I did survive and I'm okay now. Better. Stronger. I just need some type of closure, Edward."

"I think that's a good idea. I know you feel torn about Vicky dying but at least this way, while she won't ever pay for what she put you through, at least she can never harm anyone else again."

Bella turned and smiles radiantly.

"Edward, we can have a baby."

"We can, my love, as soon as you want."

"Do we have to wait for the wedding?"

One would think getting married would be a straight forward event but Esme and Alice are both buzzing around madly making sure every detail is perfect and that the napkins match the table clothes or whatever and all Bella and I want is to be together forever in every way, including in the eyes of the law.

"That's entirely up to you, love. I don't mind if we start married life with a little baby already underway in your belly. Just do whatever you need to do. If you prefer to wait until after the nuptials, I will agree to that as well. You are in charge of your own life, Bella. Do things your way."

She smiles and reaches for my hand.

"I think it's our decision, not just mine."

"You are right, again. But I will never stop you doing anything you want to, you know that. I want you to be happy."

"I am happy. I feel like seeing the house and being able to walk out that door again, together, will end everything bad and really allow us to begin our life together. Our forever. Maybe we can start trying for a baby tonight."

I grin at that thought.

"Sounds like a plan."

Bella just needs to draw that line between her past and our future and nothing will ever stand in her way again.

The house looks different, cleaner.

"It's been painted," Bella says as we approach. "Do we need permission to come here? Does anyone own it now?"

"I have no idea. Maybe the estate had it cleaned up to sell. Let's try the door."

Bella barely hesitates and the door swings free as she turns the new doorknob.

We both hesitate as the furniture inside is all new and the whole interior has been updated. The kitchen has been torn out and renewed, the sitting room is full of leather sofas and a flat screen covers much of one wall.

"We can't go inside, somebody new lives here," she says.

The trapdoor is open and I have to look and see what's been done down below.

"Wait here and call if anyone comes," I tell her and walk across the room.

Alarm bells shriek in my head.

Whoever that unknown accomplice was has clearly improved the trap and is probably out getting himself a girl right now. No phone coverage inside, we have to get the Hell out here and inform the police.

X~x~X

JPOV

I stop still as I spy the two of them at the door. I hadn't bothered locking it as I intended getting Charlotte inside and downstairs quick smart and now that fucking Edward and Bella are in my way.

"What's all the signs up for?" Charlotte asks, as if she's too stupid to read them herself.

"They are allowing hunters in some zones here. No hikers are allowed in the area for the next week. The deer cull is on. Don't go past that fence over there or someone will mistake you for Bambi."

"Where's Mr Puffles?" Charlotte asks and I turn and lead her into the woods. Her dog barely responds to her anxious voice as she falls down beside his still body and starts crying and patting him.

"This isn't a bear trap, he's just tied up," she says with relief.

I'm standing there, madly trying to decide what to do. Go to the house and shoot those two busybodies? But then I have bodies to dispose of and Charlotte will be screaming her fool head off. Nobody here cares what anyone else does in general but I'm sure nobody wants the cops back again like when James was killed.

"Charlotte, clearly Mr Puffles needs help, take him to my car and I'll be there in a few minutes. Lock yourself inside and don't open the door to anyone but me."

She scoops the hairy white canine into her arms and does what I say.

I step over the fence into the restricted zone so I can sneak up on my callers and surprise them by coming up behind them.

X~x~X

Emmett's POV

Jasper has shot four deer and I have shot exactly none and I'm rather pissed off. Since when did he become a crack shot and I lose my touch?

"Come on, bro. We are only allowed to kill five deer in any one trip, don't forget," he reminds me yet again.

"Then you put your rifle down and let me have the last one, at least," I holler. Fucking restrictions on how many deer a hunting party may cull pisses me off, there was a time when you could shoot as many as you wanted. There are so many here in this forest they are eating all the vegetation and starving to death, so the total hunting ban has been lifted and a restricted licence is granted to experienced hunters only.

Next time I will fucking come alone, that's for sure, and bagging all five on my own.

A flash of brown moves inside the zone and I raise my rifle and shoot. It goes down but the sound of the animal hitting the ground alerts me to the fact is is either a very small deer or some other animal entirely.

"Emmett, Rosie is in labor, we have to go," Jasper calls, holding up his cell phone and I decide to accept this face saving excuse to leave without my clearly pathetically small kill.

My wife is delivering our third set of twins today and this time it's one of each. I think our family is probably complete now, as far as Rosalie is concerned and I guess I can settle for six kids. Still outnumber Jasper with his mere two, Joshua and Jacinta, and Edward and Bella have yet to even begin.

"Come on Bro, I'll show you how a real man makes babies," I shout and we run for the truck.

X~x~X

Local Private Detective Shot Dead In Hunting Accident reads the headline of Forks Times.

Most people in Forks and Meadowlea have never heard of Jason Jenks so the story is a one day wonder. More interesting is the news that House Of Fear has been renovated ready for some evil bastard to carry on where James and Victoria left off.

The police had responded to a call by a member of the public but the man had failed to identify himself on the phone and was no longer there when they arrived. The house will be destroyed in the interests of public safety.

In the Birth Notices, the locals are pleased to read the new Cullen twins, Rebecca and Raphael are doing well after a scary delivery that left them both needing a few days in Special Care but they are fine and will be released any day now.

All the family had been summoned urgently to the Delivery Suite when things looked bad, but Forks favorite Dr Carlisle Cullen is photographed on the front page the following week with his new grandchildren and many more people read that front page than ever had bothered a week earlier.

THE END