Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight.
Okay, so here's the deal with this story. It's the backstory to a story that I'm working on, a JasperxBella fic, that will be posted eventually. I submitted a version of this to the High Times Contest back in January, but this is a more detailed rewrite. It contains graphic descriptions of drug use and borderline rape, so if any of that offends you, please don't read it. Otherwise, I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this, because it's something I'm a little wary about so I'd love to hear your thoughts.
The story that this belongs to is much lighter, I promise, but this backstory is pretty essential to understand why Bella acts the way she does. Which you'll understand when I post. Sometimes in the near future. Promise.
With all of that out of the way, please read and enjoy.
Gateway: Punch Drunk Love Outtake
It starts off with just a little weed.
James Hunter is looking at me, and I mean really looking at me. He's across the parking lot and staring at me in a way that makes my skin hot under his gaze. We've been doing this little dance for a while, but he's never been so blatant about wanting me.
And I can tell that he wants me.
His eyes are looking straight into mine, and they are ohsopale. Green, pale, pale green. The colour of sea-green glass. And they pierce me, just as glass would.
I want him. I want him bad.
It will look back years later and recognise that at this moment, it was this look that got me into trouble. Attention from the older, perrenial bad boy is never good, and from James it was particularly bad.
But I don't care because he's looking at me like he wants to devour me and then before I can say fuckme he's walking over.
I try not to act flustered, like this kind of thing happens all the time, but he hooks his fingers into my belt loops and tugs me to him, making me smile widely as I tried to stop myself from squealing like the 13 year old I was trying so hard to pretend I wasn't.
Truth is, I'm young. So young. What could he possibly see in me?
James apparently doesn't care about the age difference. And I'm flourishing under his attention. So later that night, after our friends had all split off into their various pairings, and we're lying in the bed of his truck in that parking lot, under the influence of several shots of peach schnapps, I let him kiss me. And maybe a little more.
Just a little more of this and I"m infatuated enough to believe that maybe it's love.
It's not love. It's lust. It's obsession. It's possession.
But I'm only thirteen. So I don't know that yet.
And I'm only thirteen, so when James is looking at me again with that stare - that I know what you need and I'm the only one who can give it to you stare, I know that I'll do anything he asks of me. I'm helpless against that stare.
But also thrilling. At the time.
Tonight his eyes are darker, his pupils dilated from the smoke from the rolled out joint he's holding out to me. I feel like I can see into him when his eyes are like this.
He holds out the joint to me, balancing it with just the tips of his fingers. Like it's a precious substance. Something to be worshiped.
Sometimes he holds on to me like that, too. His caresses are gentle, so gentle. He looks at me like I'm the only thing in the world that he could possibly care about, and I'm so not used to the attention that I take it all in, crave it like the addict I will become.
What I discover about myself over the next few years is that I have what is called an addictive personality. I can't help but want more, always more. Never in moderation.
But we haven't had a day like that in while, a day when I can tell that I'm all he's thinking about. And he's holding out this joint like it's a promise, a promise of what could be, if only I imbibe like him. Smoke like him. Be free like him.
So, of course, I do.
Because he's looking at me with that stare, and how can I possibly say no to that?
I'm already in far too deep.
My first inhale is tentative - I don't want to breathe too deep and then make a fool of myself in front of him and his friends. Alice is here with me and she's looking at me, in some form of awe. I'm not sure if she's impressed or disgusted but at this point I don't very much care which.
All that matters is the opinion of the boy, man, in front of me, scrutinising my every move.
I don't want to mess up.
It's not so bad, so I take another drag, this time a deeper one. This time I can feel a cough bubbling up, but I manage to keep it under control as I look around for a drink.
Apparently I'm not as smooth as I think I am, because James hands me a can of something. That boy can see right through me, reading me like a child's picture book.
I can't read him nearly as well. Sometimes the unbalance in our relationship bothers me. Most of the time I'm just grateful he's paying attention to me.
Sometimes I can tell what he's thinking. Like right now, when it's clear he's proud of his girl. He pulls me into his side, bragging about how cool I am compared to his friends 'chicks' and I can't stop the smile that spreads across my face, wide and uninhibited.
Alice refuses, even when Jacob pleads with her, and then there's a hit of something else in James' eyes. A challenge, something more sinister. But I can't find it in me to care. Because I'm floating. Floating on the high of being accepted into this mish-mash of a group, floating on James' pride. And as he wraps his large hands around my hips and pulls me to him, tucking me under his arm, I know that when I come down, he'll catch me.
This time, at least.
He's already got me hooked on alcohol and cigarettes, but now smoking up becomes a regular thing, daily, sometimes more than once. I stop going to school, becoming entirely dependent on the high and James and his touches, all meant to keep the deeper, more sinister memories at bay.
And for a while, it works. I'm lost in the haze of smoke and lust (which I mistake to be love) and for months, it's enough. I don't remember. I don't feel anything other than what the drug lets me feel. Which isn't much.
Until it does't work anymore, and the weed isn't enough. Darker things start to creep back towards the surface until I'm waking up screaming and getting thrown out of the house for being more trouble than I'm worth.
So I flee to James, and he takes me in and starts searching for the next high with me, the next big rush. It's always more with him, and that suits me fine because the mellow feeling that marijuana gives me isn't enough anymore.
So when he discovers the new thing, the thing that everyone is raving about, the thing that will make you forget and make you euphoric, he's the first in line.
Dragging me right along behind him.
Not that I put up a protest.
He places the little pill on his tongue. It's white, and so small that it's hard to believe that this will make everything better, like it's supposed to.
Methamphetamine, he tells me. Just try it.
And he's smiling and happy and it's been so long since I've seen him smile this wide that suddenly I'm grinning right back at him. He motions for me to open up, so I do. I need to forget.
And James has promised this will help. And because I have no reason not to, I trust him.
I stick my tongue out for him to put the pill on, and he gives it a playful nip, kissing me on my wet lips and then my nose before placing the pill on the tips of my tongue. I bring it in quickly, not wanting to waste this little white piece of heaven, and then I swallow. Once he's seen I've swallowed it he places his hand on the back of my neck and pulls me to him, kissing me long and hard and ohsodeep that I melt right into him. His tongue stroking mine feels so good, and now I'm floating again, even higher than ever before.
Happier than before.
This new feeling is better, faster, more and I have James to thank. Right now I can't think of anything other than the rush of my blood under my skin and the feeling of James surrounding me.
So I thank him. And he asks for his thanks in the form of sex, and it's my first time but it doesn't hurt because I'm still floating and I can't feel anything, which is perfect. It's over quickly, or it takes forever, but I'm not sure which because Time with a capital T doesn't seem to matter anymore.
All that matters is him.
All I want is more.
About eight months later and meth in pill form isn't enough anymore. We've taken to smoking it, big glassy chunks heated and inhaled, a faster release, a stronger high.
It helps to numb the pain. I'm in my fifth home and I'm barely more than a blip on the parents' radar. I get away with more and more, pretty much ensuring my way into a new home in a month or two.
I don't care. Where I officially live may change, but James is still here. He hasn't lost interest, even though everyone said he would. He's six years older, which is a big difference at my age, but I don't care. And apparently, neither does he.
Emmett comes to visit me once or twice, and I always clear up my appearance for when I know he's coming, but even still he doesn't like the state I'm in.
He hasn't seen my at my worst, yet.
Even so, he tries to get me to go with him, talk to someone, get help. But fuck him. He can't make me leave James. I won't. Plus, he was the one that left me in the first place. And I know it will happen again, so I just send him away to spare myself the heartache.
It still hurts when he leaves though, but James is there to comfort me, plying me with more drugs and more alcohol. He knows just what I need.
And he's there. He gives me reassuring words and touches that help numb the pain.
Nothing helps as much as the meth though.
I'm all caught up in James, spending almost all of my time at his shitty, run down studio apartment that he shares with Jacob. Alice has been spending a lot of time here too, with him, but I barely acknowledge their presence, I'm lost in James, swept up and he is his very own drug to me. I always need moremoremore. I'm an addict, in every way possible.
But then, suddenly, meth isn't enough anymore either. I go for long walks at night to prevent falling asleep and reliving the memories I fight so desperately to forget.
So James finds something new.
Something new. Better. More. Moremoremore.
This something new is called MDMA. Or ecstasy. Isn't that name just promising? It's happy in little white pill form.
Ecstasy: feel the love.
And I do. I feel it. Ecstasy is a big, warm hug from all your favourite people, it's warm sunshine on your face and the feel of soft sand between your toes. It helps to keep the big sadness at bay.
For a little while at least.
I'm on cloud nine. We go out to clubs, James sneaking me in, and we dance all night. We come out sweaty and deliriously happy in the morning, tired but sated, and then collapse into bed until we're ready to do it all over again the following night.
It becomes a routine. Lather, rinse, repeat.
After a while, my life is just one long party, an endless cycle of loud music and sweaty bodies pressed up against me. But I don't mind, in fact, I love it, because it takes my mind off the things that used to keep me awake at night. Now I don't have to think about that.
I don't have to think at all.
Everything is great, fine, perfect, couldn'tbebetter, until one night, when I see James all over this other girl. His tongue is lapping along her neck in that way that turns me into jelly and I can feel the hurt rising up in me. It's a tidal wave, breaking through the dams and stopgaps I've put in place to stop myself from feeling.
I feel physically ill, revulsion rising in me, and just as I'm about to turn away, James looks up and catches my eye. I'm sure in that moment he can see everything, and I don't hide. I want him to see. See what he's done to me.
He's changed from being my saviour to my demon.
He's caused the hurt this time, the hurt that makes you so raw, makes it feel like every nerve ending is on fire, and your heart is physically aching in your chest and there are no words that can adequately explain.
So I don't try, and I walk out instead.
This is the first time I try to leave. I march out the club, the last vestiges of music pounding in my ears and leaving them ringing as I step into the dark night air. It's quiet out here. I feel like I'm alone.
And I don't like it at all.
I'm dithering in the parking lot, not at all sure of myself or where to go, or even where I can go, when he's there and he's pleading with me. Forgive me, he says. She means nothing. Lessthannothing. She was there and he was high and he's ohsosorry and pleaseforgivemeI'lldoanything.
For once I'm uspet at the high. I want to be clear minded. I feel like I'm looking at him through a fog, and I can't see clearly. His words are hitting me out of sync, like they're being relayed through something, but they're coming out in one big rush and all I can think about it stopping the hurt inside of me.
He's always been my save haven. And even though I now feel like it's tainted, I want to try out this forgiveness thing, because if it's going to stop the hurt and take away the pain then I'll try anything once.
I nod at him, a short, sharp movement though it feels sluggish and like I'm not even in control. But the resulting smile on his face is so beatific that it's worth any personal sacrifice I've just made. He slips me another little pill and I feel so light that I'm twirling and he scoops me up to take me back inside. After that he doesn't leave me side, clutching me to him as we dance for hours.
I can't live without you, he says.
I don't want to live without him.
When the club lights come on and we're made to leave, he grabs my hand and pulls me alongside him, not letting go, neverletmego. We walk home, light as air, as the early morning light peeks over the building tops. We walk home down deserted streets, convinced we're the only two people left after some apocalyptic disaster. Of course, we're not, and when we get home we see Alice and Jacob fast asleep, proof of life outside of us.
We collapse into bed, curled around each other as if we are each others' life preservers.
All I know is that he is mine.
After that, James' libido increases. He wants it all the time.
It's not rape, because I don't say no, I don't ever say no, but it's not exactly consensual lovemaking either.
I'm stuck in a rut, but I'm in too deep to see. I can't even fathom a way to get myself out of it. I don't want to. I can't see.
Emmett sees. He tries to contact me again and again, pleading with me. I don't tell him where I am, but the repeat calls make James jealous. He gets possessive, throws away my phone, and I know then that I've lost my one contact to the outside world. I don't have money, or any way of getting any. I'm entirely dependent on James.
I don't care.
When I defend Emmett he pushes me up against the wall, the cool brick scraping at my flesh where it touches exposed skin. His hands are vices around my wrists, shackles pinning me in place.
I am the prey, caught by the handsome, fearless predator.
I'm in so deep I don't care.
I welcome this possession. I crave it. I scarcely notice when I lose contact with Emmett, or anyone from my old life. There's only this life now, only James. Jamesjamesjames.
But then there's Alice and Jake. But they hardly matter. Alice is my best friend. or she used to be, but she and Jake are still using meth, content with the comparatively mellow high they get from it. It's not enough for James and I - and it is always JamesandI. Never just James. Never just me. We come as a pair. Always.
And we prefer out X.
But soon even that starts to not be enough and we're craving the next big thing. Something that will take our minds of the destruction of our lives, something bigger and better to numb the pain.
Something bigger and better comes in the form of a white powder called cocaine.
I think it's ironic that cocaine rhymes with pain. Because in the end, that's all your left with.
But we tried it, because we needed it. We needed something. And why not? Why not throw caution to the wind, start a cocaine habit. Maybe it will stop the pain of living. Maybe it will end the suffering.
But cocaine doesn't numb the pain. It was an experiment that failed. It doesn't last long, but at first when I take it I'm on top of the world. I'm the ruler of all and you will bow down to me. My heart beats fast, in time with James', and we lie with our chests pressed together, our hearts pounding in unison as we revel in our mutual glory.
But cocaine doesn't make you forget. It intensifies. So when the feeling of being on top has gone, all you are left with are the memories, amplified times a thousand.
James gets manic on it, hyper. He flits around the room, dancing from one thing to the next as nothing holds his attention for long. Except for me. He strips off, not caring about anyone seeing him naked, but when he tries to undress me I resist. I still have the ability to recognise that there are other people in the room.
But James doesn't listen. He doesn't care. He takes it as a rejection. And then he gets angry, and backhands me across the face.
This is why I don't ever say no.
This is also the second time that I try to leave.
I manage to push him off me when his attention is diverted and I make my escape, running out into the cold morning light. It's early, so early, and I can't think straight. I have no gameplan, and my only semblance of an option is to go to Emmett, but I don't even know where he lives now. I'm running down the middle of the street when I realise that I have nowhere to go. I stop dead, cars honking at me as they pass. I should move. I need to move. But I'm frozen.
I desperately think about where I can go. I can feel my lip bruising, it's tender where I push my lip against it. I can't think about it though, my mind whirling, until I finally come to the conclusion that there is nowhere. Nowhere I can go. No-one wants me.
No-one but James.
I've stood in the street for too long. James has caught up to me, his eyes wild as he apologises and cries for me to forgive him. Don't cry baby, he says, don't cry. I'm sorry i'msorryi'msorryi'msorry.
It's not until he says it, his hands reaching up to my cheeks and coming away wet that I realise that I'm crying. His eyes are clear and pale, so pale in the morning light that they pierce through me like cut glass. He's the only one who gets me.
He needs me, he says. I need you more, I think.
I try to imagine a life without him, fight to remember a time before him, but there's nothing. There is only him, so when I look up into his palepale eyes, so familiar to me, I can recognise the moment he knows I'm coming back with him. Because they widen and crinkle in the corners and then he's smiling and I'm fisting my hands in his shirt as he pulls me into him, surrounding me in his arms. He's sobbing, clutching at me like I might disappear.
And then I believe him. That he needs me, just as much as I need him.
And then I believe him when he says that he'll never do it again.
I'm only fifteen after all. And pretty gullible. And completely in love, foolishly so.
After that, James tries to stop. We both do, quitting together. Alice tries to convince me to leave, but only halfheartedly. She's in as deep as I am with Jake, though she tries to pretend they're not as dysfunctional.
What the fuck ever. I love her, but we're not the same anymore. We're just... different.
For a while, we both stay clean. It's hard. We both suffer from the consequences of going cold turkey, James is crabby and short with everyone and I'm suffering from the effects of sleep deprivation. The nightmares are so bad that I force myself to stay awake, to prevent myself waking up screaming every night.
But addiction suits James, suits us both, and before long he's back on whatever he can find. But not cocaine. He slips me pills of happy and I take them when the pain gets to be too much. I just need to be numb again. I'm spiralling, falling and falling and falling and there's nothing anyone can do to help me.
I'm tumbling down.
The final misstep in my spiral comes in the form of a deep brown powder that is heated and then sucked up by a syringe before being injected straight into my veins.
Alice refuses to touch the stuff. Her and Jake are now firmly into speed and oxycodone, content with the rush that speed gives them and the way that
But James is looking at me again with that look, his eyes piercing me. Don't I want to try? Don't I want to forget?
And I do. I do I do I do.
So I nod, ever so slightly. The brown liquid is sucked up, the syringe lifted to the light, air bubbles got rid of. The cold tip of the needle is pressed against my flesh and James is asking me with his eyes, are you sure? But I can see the warning there. 'No' is not really an option.
The tourniquet around my arm is already in place, but i can't for the life of me remember how it got there. I'm drunk, but it's not enough, and all I know, all I can see is James.
His eyes are still looking at me. Seeing through me.
I nod at him. I'm begging him. Keep the big sadness at bay. Make me whole again.
It's been so long since I've felt normal.
The needle pierces my skin, the initial pinch a sweet relief against the pain welling up inside. And then, the plunger is pushed and I'm filled with a sweet, sweet rush, the likes of which I've never felt before. It's better than any meat injection, says that film. Better than any orgasm.
At first I agree, but then I'm dizzy and bending over to empty my stomach and James warned me that this could happen, but I don't care because that's just the first time.
And there will be many more after this. Because I have never felt anything like this. Nothing has ever been this good.
I lie back and the dizziness stops. I lie, and I'm calm, and I'm not hurting. I've finally found the thing that will get rid of the big hurt. A warm weight lies next to me, bouncing lightly on the bed, and I clutch at the space between us. Knowing what I want, he reaches between us and grabs my hand. We exhale in tandem, our collective breath leaving us in a big rush.
We are one, and we are none, fading away into nothing but the high and the numb.
I don't want to feel anything but this.
And then, I'm late.
It's one of those rare moments when I'm sober and my mind is clear. I'm not on anything, and I'm counting the days to see when my period should have been.
Three days ago.
I'm late. And so incredibly fucked.
I can't deal with the thought of this right now, but I can't do anything about it. I can't take the pain away without hurting the... thing that may be growing inside of me, and I may be all kinds of screwed up but I will not pass that onto another human being.
James is sleeping beside me, his snores filling the air between us.
I can't deal with this.
I fight against everything to get to sleep. I don't want to think right now. I don't want to feel now, more than ever.
The stick says that it's negative. I had to steal ten bucks from Alice, I couldn't even face her to tell her, but the stick says it's negative and I don't know how I feel about that.
This is a new kind of non-feeling.
I don't like it.
It's the third time I try to leave. I figure this is a wake up call. A big flashing sign saying 'Get The Hell Out'. But when I go back to the studio to get my stuff, James sees me, and sees the emotion on my face. He pulls me in to the tightest hug, reassuring me even when I haven't told him anything. And then I know I cant leave. Even if I'm starting to see that this isn't healthy, and it's dysfunctional and completely codependent, I can't leave. Not yet. Just a little bit more.
A little bit more turns into a lot more, and then I'm sixteen and completely hooked on heroin. It's managed to do what nothing else could. It's pure magic and I couldn't stop even if I wanted to.
And why would I want to?
Why would I possibly give up the one thing that makes living life bearable. It buries the memories and shields me from the harshness of life.
Until one day, when we're in James' hole of an apartment like we always are, coming off the end of a hit, and I can hear screaming. A huge, ungodly wail, coming from this hulk of a boy.
No one should ever have cause to make that kind of noise.
I sit up in a daze, look over to see Jake holding Alice in his arms, rocking her backwards and forwards as he shakes her slightly. Her head lolls back and forth, unresponsive, and a white froth has dried at the corner of her mouth.
She isn't waking up.
Why isn't she waking up?
I crawl over and pinch her arm, feeling where it's wasted away. We're both skinny, so skinny, but I'm only just now seeing it. I pinch her again, and tell her to stopplayingcomeback.
But she doesn't.
A new noise fills the air, a higher pitched sobbing that rings in my ears until I realise that it's me. I'm crying and desperate and wailing because my friend is dead.
Overdosed on oxycodone.
I don't know how to deal with this. Jake is still shaking her though I can see now that it's not going to so any good and James is freaking out, pacing back and forth and muttering under his breath about taking her to the hospital, but there's no point because it's too late, it'sfartoolate.
The next weeks pass in a blur. I don't know how I make it from one moment to the next. I keep taking the drugs, because even if this whole fucked up situation is a massive slap in the face telling me to sit up and take notice, I can't. I can't deal with it. It's too much.
All I can think about is that it could have been me. So easily. One little overdose and poof, gone forever.
I've always wanted the pain to stop, but I've never wanted to die.
And the funeral Alice's mother cries. I know this not because I was there - I was forbidden from attending. She saw me as the root, the cause, and none of us were allowed to attend. I yelled right back at her. Where was she? Where was she when we were drowning and needed saving? Where was she when her daughter was fighting her demons, and where was she when she died.
In large part, I agreed with her though. This was my fault. It was all of our faults. And that was something I was going to have to live with. But I can't even feel it because of the drug. Because of the magic brown liquid that fills my veins and takes away the hurt.
But then I realise that I need to feel it. My friend, who used to be my best friend, has just died and I can't even feel it because I can't even remember the last time we had a conversation. All my time is spent with James. Alice may have been on the periphery but I certainly didn't pay her any attention.
This is the last time I leave.
We aren't at the funeral, banned from the actual proceedings, but we are watching from afar. I look to my left and see a broken boy, too large for his age due to steroids, and too haggard due to a love lost.
I look to my right and see a boy who's got nothing. His face is beyond blank, and I'm suddenly disgusted. A wave of revulsion sweeps up through me faster than I can bend over to retch and retch and retch into the grass. Nothing is expelled though, because I haven't eaten anything in days, weeks even.
Heroin was all I needed. Heroin and James.
I can't live like this.
James has finally taken notice of me, doubled over and kneeling in the grass, and his hands are rubbing at my back, trying to sooth me but for once I don't want him touching me, I can't stand it.
I shrug him off. I tell him Ican'tdothisanymore. I tell him thisisenough. And then I run. I run as fast as my wasted legs will carry me, ignoring his yells, and I run and run and run until I'm gasping for breath and I'm retching and Ican'tbreathe.
I finally calm, so out of shape and weak, and I catch sight of myself in a shop window. It's been so long since I've really looked at myself, and I'm shocked at what I see. I've always had this image of myself in my head of who I am, but there's a stranger looking back at me. Her eyes are gaunt, and sunken into her skull. Her hair lies lifeless against her skull and her skin is taut against the bones of her face, stretched too thin. It's a sickly colour, and the epitome of unhealthy, but the worst thing is that she looks like she's lost everything.
And in a way, in every way, I have.
Suddenly paranoid, I take notice of my surroundings. I look at the street I came down and am relieved to see no-one following me. He didn't chase me. He assumes I'll be back. He's had enough of chasing, and my previous behaviour is enough to lead him to believe I'll be back.
But I won't.
This is the last time that I leave him. This is the last time I leave, because I will not be going back.
Enough. Enough now.
I look around me and notice that people are staring at me. It's the middle of winter and I'm only wearing a thin, ragged top and fishnet stockings. I'm not even wearing shoes, where are my shoes? I don't remember getting dressed this morning.
I don't remember how I got here, to this point in my life.
How did I get here?
I spy a phone booth, but I've got no money. Not to mention no one to call. I've severed all ties. Who could I call.
Unbidden, a name comes to mind. I haven't thought it in a while, but I know, or at least, I fervently hope that they'll still be there for me.
I won't know until I try. I walk up to the booth, every step filled with trepidation. I enter before I can change my mind and pick up the phone, dialing and then asking to place a collect call. They ask my name, and I hesitate, wondering if I should give a fake name to ensure the call goes through. And then I figure, what more could I possible lose, and give my real name.
After what seems like an age, the call picks up.
"Bella?" The voice that answers is warm an reassuring, even through the absolute shock that laces it.
"Emmett, I need your help."
It's time to start putting my life back together.
I'd love to hear whatever you have to say. Let me know.