Summary: Bella is running. From her abusive husband, from her delusional father, from the life she never wanted. Enter Dr. Jasper Whitlock, and his six year old daughter. Rated M for many reasons. AU, AH, OOC. Bella/Jasper.
Warnings: Dark tale, with plenty of violence. Rated M for abuse (sexual, emotional, mental, and physical), lemons, rape, dark subjects, mature material, swearing/language, and violence. May or may not be considered graphic.
Struggling Against the Darkness
Prologue: Hunter's Prey
Have you ever listened to the sound of flesh hitting flesh? Have you ever marveled at the clear, loud clapping sound it made as hard hand came in contact with soft cheek? Pain flares through your very core. Raw nerves ignite, like a fire in your skin, spreading, connecting, telling the next skin cell so they can pass on the pain.
I have. Experienced that, I mean. I used to think I deserved it. I know better now. I learned. I was taught. I let him take my world from me. I let him control me with mean words and hard slaps and evil looks and cold smiles. I let him order me around, command me when the need was raised, show how much he really cared when he was in a bad mood. I allowed him to rid me of my one joy, my only happiness. I knew better. It was not my fault.
It wasn't my fault. It wasn't. I had to repeat my mantra, again and again, until I knew I could truly believe it. It was hard. It was next to impossible. Whoever said nothing was impossible never tried slamming a revolving door. You can't, you know. It just goes on forever and ever and ever. You push it forward, expecting the loud clap, but it never comes. The panels keep going, spinning, spinning, around and around until it makes you dizzy...
I open my eyes. Bright light burns them, making the shutters close. I try again. Don't look at the window this time. Stupid girl. Stupid Izzy. He called me that. Stupid. Idiot. Dumb. Mean words that make little girls at the playground cry and tell their mommies. But I'm not at the playground. And this time, my mommy isn't around to save me. I wince when I try to move. Another bruise. How will he apologize for this one? "I'm sorry, Izzy. I was having a bad day. I got a little frustrated. You know how I am." Lies. Liar, liar, pants on fire, hanging from a telephone wire.
I wasn't kept prisoner, no. Someone would know if I was. I have family. My father, Charlie. I'm supposed to visit every Sunday afternoon, for the football games. Cowboys versus Dolphins, this week. I used to watch with him when I was a child. Used to. I'm no longer that small, helpless little girl. Now I'm a medium-sized, average, 118 pound, helpless woman.
At first, I took the excuses. It was my fault. I should have tried harder. Done better. Attempted to appease him. Dinner wasn't ready in time. I should have gotten it done faster, sooner. The house wasn't cleaned. My fault. Stupid Bella. I should have made sure it was done by the time he got home. Could have cleaned up a little quicker. I angered him on purpose. My fault. My mistake. I deserved it.
I counted minutes. Left for work at 8: 33. Got there at exactly 9:15. Called every hour, to make sure I was home. Where I was supposed to be. I was too fragile to work. Too precious. Imagine if something happened, he would say. Imagine what he would do without me. I would nod. Okay, I'd say right back. I won't go to work. You can work. I'll stay here. Take care of the house. Keep things tidy. In order. I know how you like things neat.
And he would kiss me. Tell me how lucky he was. How lucky to find someone as perfect as me. How lucky I was, to find someone as loving, nurturing as him. I'd agree. I'd nod. Yes, I was lucky, I'd say with such conviction, it'd have me believing. I'd never find another man like him.
He'd frown. Eyes would turn from dark dark brown to dark dark black. He'd turn out the light. Bedtime, he'd say with a weird tone in his voice. "Don't want to be tired, do you?" His favorite line. And I'd laugh and shake my head no, and curl up next to him, his arm slung over me, and whisper goodnight, and he'd be snoring. And I would smile to myself, and close my eyes, and drift off.
Like I said, I counted. He would leave for exactly three hours. He'd come home for lunch. Food was supposed to be ready, on the table. Grilled cheese, sometimes a ham sandwich. He would eat, and I would stand by, waiting to clean up his mess. He'd get up, finished 30 minutes later, and hand me the plate and I would walk over to the sink. Run the water, run it over the plate, wash, rinse, stick it in the dishwasher.
He would leave again. Three more hours. I was supposed to have dinner on the table and the house tidied up. On Saturdays, I cleaned. I scrubbed and mopped and washed and rinsed. I painted over peeling paint spots, fixed leaking faucets and flickering lights, changed the filter in the heater. This was my contribution. He pays for the house. The least I could do was keep it working and in shape.
4:05. His car would pull up in the driveway. 4:12. He'd get out and walk up to the door, get out his key. 4:13. The door would open, and he'd walk in, gaze scrutinizing, looking for his dinner, looking at the wiped down mirror and the vacuumed living room and the gleaming kitchen floor. We'd eat together. He'd use the bathroom after he was done with his dinner, checking to make sure the tub was clean and the toilet was scrubbed down and the mirror over the sink was shiny enough to see his reflection.
One day, I forgot to clean the mirror. Fading white streaks littered the reflective surface. Dark dark black eyes. His hand jutted out and smacked me. Smooth hard skin snapped against my soft flesh. Hot ears sprang forth. I ran away from him, in shock and horror that he would dare hit me. He ran after me. I locked myself in the bathroom. He crooned for me to let him in. I was sobbing too hard. He demanded I let him in. I shook my head, even though he couldn't see.
I heard a click. The lock opened. He pushed the door and found me, sitting in the tub, crying over a little slap. He frowned. Eyes still dark dark black. His mouth was set in a hard line. "Stop crying, Iz. You know I don't like to see you upset." I stop, just like that. Stifle my next sob and watch as the last tear falls down my cheek. He reaches over, picks me up and carries me to the bed, and I let him. I let him touch the still tender skin and 'tsk, tsk' over how sorry he was I was hurt.
"I'm sorry. I'm under some pressure at work. You know I would never be upset with you, Izzy." And like a fool, I believe him. I smile and tells him it wasn't his fault, it was mine, mine, I should have cleaned that mirror, I'll just get it done tomorrow. He smiles, like I've said something good, and I beam, pleased that he's happy with me again. Pleased that he apologized. I never even noticed how he let me take the blame, like I was the best scapegoat on the planet.
Months passed. My fault. My fault. My fault.
Something made suspicion rise in me. I dropped a glass in front of him. On purpose. He swore as I picked up the pieces. "Damn it, Izzy. Can't you ever do anything right?" My heart drops at his words, and I'm crying again, leaking salty tears as his mouth presses into a thin hard line. I push the glass into a dustbin, and then toss the reflective shards into the trash. He gets up, strides over, and hits me. I drop from the force, but there he is, pulling me back up again.
I want to scream. Pain radiates through me, waving at my nerves, touching them, saying hi. I open my mouth. "Shut up," he hisses, and I comply, because I'm used to it. Complying. Being ordered around like an adorable puppy.
That was the second time. It only got worst after that.
He got rougher. Meaner. Harder. He would throw me on the floor and warn me. "Don't do anything stupid, Isabella." And I would nod, and get up, and apologize for angering him. He would smile, say I made a mistake and it was all right, and leave for work or go out to the den and watch TV. And I'd be left to sit, and wonder what happened.
He showed me a little more of himself everyday, until I got the full picture.
We were sitting in the house. I was curled up against his chest, awkwardly, because his chest was rock hard and so rough. An arm was wrapped across my chest, his way of pulling me closer to him. And he opened up the cable box DVR and, to his disappointment, his favorite show Judge Judy was not there. The episode that had played today had been recorded over, opted out for a movie I'd been watching, Bad Boys II. He turned to me, and black eyes was back, and I felt my heart hammer in fear and my breathing hit that uneven peak.
"You know, Isabella. I thought you'd learned your lesson by now, but I can see not." He spoke with such disappointment in his voice, such sadness. He didn't spit out angry words at me, and strangely, those felt easier to wrap my head around than these calm words said. He unbuckled his belt and used one hand to grab my wrist, holding on as I tugged away, pulling at it uselessly.
"I see I'm going to have to be the one to teach you. I didn't want it to come to this. But it has," And as he talked, his pants fell to the beige carpet floor and he stepped out of them without hesitation. His hand was big enough to grab both of mine, and he did so as he unbuttoned her jeans. His cock was straining through the black-and-red boxers I'd bought him for his 22nd birthday.
And I gasp, eyes wide, as I realize what he's about to do. "No. Jacob," my voice is thick and I feel weak as I think about all the blood. My mind is jumbled mess of 'who is this' and 'why did I marry him'.
"Don't. Please." My panties, dark blue satin that he got me for our anniversary, are slid off. I start to struggle, and feel a bone-crushing grip tighten on my arms. "Enough, Isabella. You will learn." His voice is emotionless, almost bored, and I wince, crying out as he forcefully thrusts inside me, hurting me, pulling out, pushing in, fucking me rough and hard.
He moans, and I cry, and he goes faster. I couldn't believe he was getting off on this. He moans and keeps going, and his voice is deep as he speaks. "Mmm, you like that, don't you Izzy. Being fucked nice and rough? You wanted me to do this for a while now, haven't you?" And I shake my head no, because I can't speak, because the pain is too much, as he rocks back and forth inside me, filling me, hurting me, and everything goes black.
I wake up, and everything is normal. I'm sitting on the couch, curled against Jacob's chest, watching an episode of Judge Judy. His arm is across my chest, holding me there, like it always is. Instead of my blue jeans and green t-shirt, I was dressed in blue boy shorts and a white tank top. Like I always was at 8:45. Everything was normal.
But it's not normal. He raped me. If he can do it once, he can do it twice. I'd heard about rape victims. They were traumatized by the events and the website I went on for more information recommended I talk to a professional therapist. I didn't need to. I wasn't traumatized. I was the same as I'd always been.
A month later, I found out I was pregnant. I envisioned a baby girl. My daughter. Our daughter. I told him the same day. He was ecstatic, an ear-splitting grin on his face. He wanted to name her Sarah, after his mother. I wanted to name her after Renee, my own mother, but he had never liked her, so it was out of the question. I started having fantasies. We would be a family. A real family. He would stop hitting me. He would never hit our daughter. Never. Never. Never, never, ever. I wanted to believe. Oh, how I wanted, how I wished, how I ached to believe.
He came home drunk one night. Two weeks after I'd told him. I was sitting on the couch, watching Judge Judy because it was the only thing I was in the mood for watching. I listened as the pretty blond chick told the judge how her boyfriend had sabotaged her job interviews. If she couldn't work, she had no money. And no money meant she would have to go crawling back to him. She refused to. I was listening to the brunette dude when the front door slammed.
Jake was home. I got up to greet him and walked right into his fist. Literally. I fell backwards and hit my head on the floor. Vision rushing in and out. Blood. I could smell it. Salty metal. I felt his hands grope me, heard him giggle as he slip my pants, and panties, off of my pale legs. Heard the clink of his belt as his pants dropped. Felt pain, pain as he pushed in without a thought.
He thrusts in, out, in, out, pain, pain, pain. I can't get away from it, it's everywhere and I want it to go away, far far away. But it won't. It burns me like molten lava and I can only watch as the man I loved shoved into me harder and I smell more salty metal, and it engulfs me like a smothering blanket.
He's done. He climbs off of me and drunkenly puts his pants back on. His mouth contorts into a cold sneer, and he kicks my belly. Hard. My baby. I clutch a hand to over it and roll over, into a ball, the fetal position. And then he smiles like he's done the best thing in the world and walks over to the couch, and collapses. I could hear his snoring.
The doctor confirms what I need to know. A miscarriage. I lost my baby. Jacob was sad. Told me I couldn't do anything right.
Things got worst. I could only be around people Jacob deemed it was okay to be around. He didn't want other guys looking at me or even remotely in the same room. He would blame me when they looked, say I flirted with them, tempted them with my body. He would growl and snarl as he backhanded me. Pushed me. Pull me into his constricting arms and tighten their grip.
"You're mine, Izzy. Mine. Forever." He would nuzzle my cheek and smile and I would smile back. My insides would churn and I'd hold back the bile that rose in my throat. I didn't want to be his. I didn't want to be his at all, much less forever.
Sunday football game. Me and Jacob at Charlie's house. Green Bay Packers against the Washington Redskins. Charlie was all dressed up, wearing the infamous red and gold jacket with the word 'Redskins' in shiny crimson lettering. "Bella, go bring me a beer, will ya." I look towards Jake. He hasn't let go of my waist. "I think I want one too," he says directly to me, and I nod as he lets go, pushing me forward. I walk in the kitchen, pull two beers from the fridge, and hand them to each.
"Thanks, Bells," Charlie remembers his manners before turning his attention back towards the game. Jacob smiles and I shiver. "Thanks Iz." He downs the bottle and I sit in uncomfortable silence, jumping when Charlie yells in victory at a touchdown by his favorite team. I have a throbbing headache, and I want to go home, but I'm afraid to. Afraid of what will happen when I walk through those doors. Afraid of what will happen in the privacy of my home. His home. He paid for the house. It was never truly part mine. It was his. All his.
I still have a bruised cheek. Charlie doesn't notice. He sees what he wants to see. He never questions my bruises, my scrapes and twisted ankles. He shakes his head and sighs. "Bella, you've got to be more careful." Never once does he ask. Is someone hitting you? Are you being abused? Do you need help? No. Bella should be more careful. Bella is such a klutz. Bella walks into doors and trips over things and falls down stairs and can't control her clumsiness. Her fault.
Everything is Bella's fault. Bella Bella Bella. Stupid Bella. Stupid Izzy. Dumb bitch. Damn it, Isabella. Can't you do anything right?
My father was delusional. He didn't listen hard enough to what was said, but rather how it was said. With a pleasant tone, you could say you were going to murder someone, and he wouldn't understand what you said. All he knew was it was a happy tone, and that meant it was something good, and he would congratulate you. He was blind, and deaf, and in a sense mute. He didn't say anything useful, so he might as well be unable to speak at all.
Help me. I want to cry out. Jacob controlled my every move. Where to go. When. Who to see. How I see them. It was a dictatorship, and I was stuck under his rule. I wanted freedom. I wanted my life back. I hated him. I wanted him gone. I imagined it, all the time. Striking him in the head with a metal bat, watching him fall, watching the blood seep from the wound. I would urn and open the door and run, run and run until my lungs burned and I was far far away from him and I was finally, finally free.
Funny, how the smallest thoughts turn into the wildest fantasies.
He is drunk. Slurring his words and grabbing at me rough and talking nonsense. His words chill me to the bone. He wants a daughter. A baby girl, he says with a goofy grin. One that looks like just like her mama. He would teach her properly, so she would be good, unlike me. I was bad. I wasn't a good wife. I was a bad wife and a dumb bitch and a stupid disgrace.
He hits me. The backhand sends me flying into the wall. I crumple at the floor and watch from there as he stumbles towards me. "Stupid bitch," he mutters. He pulls me up by my hair, twisting the strands around his fingers for a better grip. I have to use my own shaking legs to support me weight. Not easy. He pulls me close, and I can smell the alcohol on his breath.
"I love you, Izzy. So much." His whispered words send shivers through me. I can't breathe properly. He's holding me so tight. This was love? His form of love? No. I couldn't stay here. I'd tried to leave, once, before. I'd ran to my dad's, and then he'd found me. Betrayed by my own father. I didn't make that mistake again. I learned my lesson that same night.
He let me go, and I slumped to the floor, my body wracking with dry sobs. Jake didn't like to see my tears. He didn't like it when I cried, he once told me. I wasn't allowed to cry. He trips his way to the couch and passes out, snoring.
This was my chance. I grab his car keys and throw them under the fridge. I unlock the door and step outside, and run. I run until my lungs are on fire. I run until it hurts to breathe. I run until I come across an abandoned alley way.
And with no other choice, I give way to sleep.
So, just a prologue, kinda a sample of what's to come if anybody likes it. Anyways, I'd love to hear what you think. Bye.