The Death Of Edward Cullen
Bella Swan parked her ancient red truck in the far side of Forks High School carpark and looked around carefully. Just because she couldn't see Edward Cullen didn't mean for one minute he wasn't out there, preparing yet another way to humiliate her as she alighted and attempted to make it to the safety of the school building. There seemed to be nobody in the immediate area and she could see Jasper and Emmett both pulling in to park. Emmett drove a massive 4x4 Jeep, Jasper a sexy red convertible. Both screamed 'money' but neither boy acted like that made them any better than the other students here who mainly came from ordinary families with ordinary incomes, and thus meant their cars were second-hand, older models, bought for safety first and style and looks second.
Edward Cullen's Aston Martin v12 Vanquish was nowhere to be seen, and he was always arrogant enough to park in full view, not bothered it gave away his presence here. Because if she somehow avoided him in the carpark, he always got her later.
The remains of the science lab he had set on fire were in her view and she shook her head at the outrage that little display of arson had caused. He would probably be suspended, even though everyone knew his father Carlisle had offered to cough up the money for rebuilding to take place. Thank God he had chosen midnight to light it up, and not during the day when it was full of students.
Bella held on to the belief Edward was not irredeemable, he could have killed them all yet he chose to set about his destructive path at night instead. Shocking as it had been, he hadn't wanted to hurt anyone. He was the chief suspect in many similar crimes around town, but her father had never found sufficient evidence to prove his guilt, and on the plus side, he had torched that damned bar that barely concealed it's true dual purpose as brothel and drug dealing network. The town was a better place for it's loss.
The Science lab had been his only provable crime, because it had been witnessed by two students who were making out in the school grounds for want of a better place to express their lust and desire for one another.
The torching of one of the teacher's cars had been a close call. The Principal had known who did it, but was unable to prove it but he suspended Edward none the less.
Oh those sweet weeks of freedom for them all while Edward was under house arrest. She had actually cried the day his sentence ended and he was back.
She wasn't the only student Edward enjoyed making life a misery for, but she apparently reacted in the most satisfactory manner for him, so while some of the others got the occasional day free from his torture, there was never any respite for Bella.
She waved madly and both the enormous Emmett and the slimmer, tall but fit Jasper walked towards her. Jasper help out a hand and took her bookbag and Emmett practically lifted her down from the truck.
"Bella Swan's personal body guards reporting for duty," Jasper grinned, taking the hand not held by Emmett.
Even though Bella felt like a three year old being assisted into kindergarten, having these two boys on her side was such a relief she really didn't care how anyone reacted. The rumours she was partaking in threesomes with them both was laughable, neither boy saw her 'that' way, they were all friends. Friends from kindergarten in fact.
Life at Forks had never been perfect. Bella's Mom had absconded with a travelling sportstar when she was seven years old and that's around the time the Cullen's took in a new foster son.
Everybody had clapped in approval, look at the two boys they already had. Emmett McCarty, so big for his age but what a lovely polite boy and that Jasper, so handsome, so musical, even at seven.
It seemed everything the Cullen's touched turned to gold.
The hospital had been about to be closed when Dr Carlisle Cullen moved into town and took over, a last ditch chance to save it, and he had turned it into the amazing facility it was now. An example to small towns around the country. Efficient, well staffed, fully equipped, some folk chose to come here to Forks just to be able to use the facility themselves rather than the rather run down but larger hospitals in Port Angeles, and people even travelled from Seattle if they had fair warning they were to be hospitalized and could stand the three hour drive.
Then there was the 'interior decorating' business started up by an ambitious but overly optimistic Renee Swan, that had long closed down. Esme Cullen took it over and revitalized it and now it was probably the most profitable thriving business in town, employing a dozen staff.
Considering the second most successful business was Newton's Outfitters that sold hiking and camping gear, and they had a steady flow of tourists to keep them going, it was quite remarkable that Esme was doing so well.
Barely a house in Forks had remained untouched by her in some way. She happily did single rooms if that was all the house owner could afford and there was not one sitting room left now that hadn't received the Esme Cullen touch to bring it up to date and give it style and class, often making it clash madly with the untouched rooms of the house, but no housewife in Forks wanted anything more than the Esme treatment.
It was the most requested birthday wish that Esme come back again and redo another room, usually the main bedroom was second on the list.
Women proudly showed off their showcase sitting rooms and if they also had their bedroom done, they knew they were the envy of the less fortunate who were still scrimping and saving for their turn. A generous discount for staff members houses meant she never had to look for a replacement if a staff member quit, she had applicants to fill that job coming unbidden to her, waving their resumes, begging for an interview.
And then she had those two foster sons who had come from such bad places and it was as if she had some magic wand, and she tapped them with it and made them happy and contented and all was right with their worlds again. They forgot their earlier lives as if they had never existed, and became the epitome of well raised little gentlemen seemingly overnight.
So, the news a third boy was joining the family was greeted with nothing but cheer and optimism. Nobody had a single doubt Esme would tame this wild child, despite his truly horrendous start in life.
They were wrong.
Edward Cullen had been too abused, too traumatised, for any good to be able to bring about any change his little tortured soul, and soon most parents were on the receiving end of apologies from the good doctor and his wife.
They were baffled about how to help the little boy who screamed through the nights and struck out at anyone and everyone by day.
Counselling helped, mainly for those hurt by him, and it soon became habit for adults and children alike to simply avoid contact with the monster in their midst.
As he grew and aged and reached puberty, Esme found herself praying to a God she had never considered existed before Edward came along.
Please lessen his anger, please help my son find peace and fit in. Please do not let him hurt anyone else. Please God. I know you sent him to us for a purpose and I accept you move in mysterious ways but this is beyond the pale. Carlisle is getting to the point where he is considering giving up and banishing the boy back to a Youth Center and if that happens, you know he will never get another chance. Nobody will fall for his pretty looks and emerald eyes now at this age. Please tell us how to tame him. Amen.
God appeared to be busy and not take her calls, and Edward continued his reign of terror.
It was nothing for Bella to find her truck egged, or decorated with toilet paper, or insults painted along the sides, so she was always mentally preparing herself as she walked into the car park of an afternoon. Today had been an amazing day. Edward Cullen had not appeared at school, and thus peace had reigned for once. And it was her father's birthday so maybe God smiled upon her and gave her this respite from terror for this one single day. She would have time to bake a cake for him instead of scrubbing the latest muck from her vehicle.
She had no doubt tomorrow he would be back, and maybe double his efforts but for today, her clothes were clean and not besmirched with the school dinner tossed over them, or chocolate pudding placed on her chair so it appeared she had suffered an unfortunate accident. No chicken feathers were clinging to her long brown hair, no graffiti on her desk outing her as the world's biggest whore or lesbian, and no soda spilled into her backpack to leak out and puddle on the ground to appear she had wet herself.
Today had been an excellent day.
Emmett and Jasper inspected the truck for booby traps and gave her a high five.
"He must have skipped school, he was up and dressed as usual when we left. Maybe he's going to find playing truant more amusing than hassling you from now on," Emmett said hopefully.
He was often sorely tempted to just give up and beat his foster brother to a bloody pulp but Carlisle had expressly forbidden any of that type of behaviour and due to his size, Emmett himself had never been the recipient of Edward's anger and self loathing.
Mind you, if he ever came across Edward Masen Snr or Mrs Elizabeth Masen, he would not hesitate to beat those two to death.
Whatever they had inflicted on their only child in the seven years they had him in their house had ruined both his life and the lives of everyone he touched.
Emmett had actually considered himself somewhat hard done by, with his own bio's unable to grow up and be responsible for his well being and put his needs ahead of their own need for drug taking. But now he knew even back then, he didn't have it so bad.
He had always been given food of a kind, even if bio Mom did consider a diet of Coke and Cheetos adequate nutrition, and they left him home alone more often than not, in a crib at first until he grew large enough to climb out, then locked in his bedroom until he broke the window. He was found wandering the main highway semi naked in the snow one night when he was barely four and had been taken away from them, and still he knew he had the better start.
Nobody had ever raised a fist to him, or tied him to a bed for days on end. Nobody had stubbed their cigarettes on his body, or left him black and blue from head to toe when he had misbehaved.
He and Jasper had not been told specifics, just that Edward's behaviour was not of his own making, his start in life had simply been to horrific to leave him unscarred on his soul as well as his body.
Emmett's parents were more benign neglectors than physical aggressors.
Jasper had had things good by comparison. His Mom had dual reasons to surrender him. her mental health issues dogged her life from a young age and she didn't want her son to ever suffer as a result, or be at risk from her during a 'turn', when what was right and good became confused in her mind with what was wrong and bad.
Apart from that, she was just too poor to support him and had handed him over for his own good. She loved her son and had tried her best but was not willing to selfishly keep him with her if it meant he would never have enough blankets or warm clothes in winter, or school books, or food. She had put her boy first and given him to people who could provide those things as well as a stable and healthy mental environment. Jasper had only ever known love.
He'd come to the Cullen's family first, as an adorable two year old with no memory of his mother.
Esme had always told him about her, and how she was a nice lady who was just struggling with her health and finances, and that was why he had become their son instead.
Both boys quaked at what Edward must have endured, they both heard his screams at night.
They saw their father go upstairs to Edward's bedroom, after his wife had rushed ahead. They heard her attempts to calm the boy and Carlisle's bag was always called for and the screams would lessen and finally stop as the medication worked. Then the house would be silent except for Esme's sobs and Carlisle's word of frustration that years of love and care were achieving nothing, Edward was still suffering and so were they by default.
Would he ever stop striking out in his pain and rage? What would happen when he reached eighteen and they had no control whatsoever of him any more? Not that they really had any now, to be honest.
Carlisle really thought it would be best to give Edward up now, so someone better equipped to deal with him could help the boy, before he hit adulthood and became another statistic living in and out of jail and maybe mental institutions. God knows how anyone could help him , but his wife loved the copper haired devil, and he knew she would be heartbroken if they gave up.
He was truly between a rock and a hard place.
Jasper parked his car in the garage assigned to him when Carlisle had given him this, his very first car, and he locked the door and padlocked it for good measure, in case his foster brother ever decided to attack it if he became a little bored. Emmett did the same with his beloved jeep, and they made their way indoors. As always Esme was there waiting. Although she worked while they were at school, she strongly believed teenagers needed a mother in the house once they got home, and with a son like Edward, that was no surprise.
"Hello boys, where's your brother?" she asked, her voice a little anxious as always.
"Mom, he wasn't at school all day. Didn't he stay home?"
Esme immediately became much more concerned and her face betrayed her alarm.
"I have to call your father," she gasped and ran to the kitchen phone on the wall, dialling the first stored number.
"I have to speak to my husband, it's an emergency," she stated, tapping her foot impatiently on the floor.
Emmett drained milk from the container from the fridge and looked at Jasper. Clearly the peaceful day had been the calm before the storm and the storm had just been upgraded to a hurricane warning.
"Carlisle? No, tell me. I mean it, just say it out loud. No, I can't bear to wait until you get home. Tell me."
"No, God no. No, don't let it be true," she cried and Emmett rushed to catch her as she slumped.
Jasper took the phone receiver and put it to his ear.
"What's happened Dad?" he asked, fearing the worst. Had Edward been laying in wait for Bella Swan to get home? He hadn't...God no, surely he wouldn't...
Thoughts of her being attacked, maybe raped, maybe even dead flew through his mind. They should have gone home with her. They should have kept her safe.
"Jasper, did you hear what I said? Your brother was found in the wreck of his car under the bridge, he's not going to make it. It seems he has been there all day. He was just found by a fisherman going to his favorite spot after school ended. He's pretty much dead, it's just a matter of doing the tests and pronouncing him and removing his body from life support. I'm sorry, but you need to look after your mother until I can get home. I'm counting on you and Emmett to keep her safe. I'll be there within the hour. Thank you, son, I know you won't let her do anything reckless."
Grief and a sense of futility filled Jasper. It was always going to end badly. It was either this scenario or Edward ended up going that step too far that Jasper had actually expected to hear had finally happened. He had always seen only death or life in prison as his brothers future options.
Jasper hung up the phone and walked slowly into the sitting room where Emmett was placing a cold wet compress on their mother's forehead as she lay prostrate on the sofa.
"Tell me, what did he do now? I can see it's really bad. God, we should have gone home with her," Emmett stated, echoing Jasper's earlier thoughts
"No, it's not Bella. Edward's dead. He crashed his car on the way to school this morning. Went over the guard rail on the bridge. He would have been hard to spot if nobody witnessed it happen. Someone just found him. We should have called Mom or Dad when he didn't turn up."
"Dead?" repeated Emmett, sitting down in shock.
"Shit. Dead? I can't believe it. I guess it was the only solution. At least he's at peace now. If there's any part of his soul left to be redeemed. He's done some pretty bad things, Jasper."
"If you believe in God then you know all the things Edward did were forgivable. He never killed anyone, he never forced any girl against her will. His crimes were of a nature where forgiveness is still possible," Jasper assured him.
Carlisle herded his sons inside the hospital and half carried his wife, with Emmett on her other side.
Jasper glanced at his cell phone and stopped.
"Bella's here, I'll just wait to walk in with her. Despite everything, she wants to say Goodbye," he murmured.
He waited and a red faced, tearful Bella walked to his side and collapsed into his arms.
"Hey, Bella, at least it's all over now. You've had nine years of him taking his hate of the world out on you, there must be a small part of you that feels a little relief. You are only human."
"I never wanted it to end like this. I never wanted him to die," she wailed, and Jasper shook his head at her endless faith and tolerance of his brother. Edward had done nothing to deserve her sympathy and understanding. She had never heard him at night, she only knew the mask he showed at school yet she still lacked the capacity to hate him.
They all stood around the bed and Esme and Bella cried silently. Their Mom smoothed the unruly hair off Edward's face and kissed his forehead.
"We failed you, Edward. We tried to give you a better life but we just didn't know how. I'm so sorry, my son. Our lives will always be better for knowing you. Don't doubt that."
"He has a beautiful soul," Bella said.
All eyes turned to her in shock.
"Can't you see it? Can't you see the aura that surrounds him? For all the pain and hurt he suffered, his soul is still pure and so beautiful," she said in awe.
She stepped forward and took his hand in her own and kissed his long fingers with her full somewhat pouty lips.
"Be at peace, Edward. I was always waiting for the day you would decide to show us how wonderful you really were, deep inside, I guess today is that day. I wish I had gotten to know you better. I forgive you for everything, and hope you find the salvation you are looking for on the Other Side. I'm truly sorry you never found it here."
Carlisle put his arms around his wife and nodded briefly at the doctor standing beside the life support machine.
"Say your goodbyes, boys, it's time."
Jasper spoke too quietly for them to overhear and Emmett struggled to find the words to express the way he felt. So torn, so pulled in both directions. He hadn't known what Edward's future held, but it had to be bad, so maybe this way was better. But to die at seventeen. It just wasn't fair, he had yet to find his place in the world, to find happiness, to feel love, to kiss a girl and fall under her spell. Edward had been cheated.
The machine blipped, slowed and became a steady monotonous whine as all signs of life left the body on the bed.
"Come on, we should go," Carlisle said, walking Esme from the room. Bella stood there, holding the dead boy's hand.
"You can go, I'm just not ready yet," she said and Jasper watched as she leaned forward and kissed his late brother fully on the lips.
Emmett smiled, Edward had that at least. His first kiss. His last kiss.
"We'll wait," he said and sat down on a chair.
A shuddering movement ran down Edward's body and the machine started it's persistent bleeping again.
Carlisle was back inside in an instant.
"This isn't possible, the life support is turned off," he said in shock as the heartbeat returned, steady, stronger, filling the room with the loud pulse of the heart monitor.
Edward's eyes opened and green stared into brown.
"Who are you?" he asked softly, in a voice so unlike Edward's it caused them all to pause in wonder.
"I'm Isabella Swan. Most people call me Bella. I've waited a long time to meet you."
"I'm Edward. Edward ...Cullen? Who are all these people?" he asked her.
"These are your family. This is your father Carlisle and that's your Mom Esme and Emmett and Jasper are your brothers."
"What happened to me?"
"You were in a really bad accident. We thought we'd lost you."
"I gather from that kiss you are my girlfriend?" he asked.
"Sure. Welcome home, Edward."