The Beginning Of After

Summary: My name is Vanessa Swan, four years old. My Mommy was raped when she was thirteen, and that was how I was made. This is her story.

Chapter 13: Brand New

Disclaimer: No, Twilight's not mine.


I felt like it was my first day of school all over again.

All around me, people stared. Edward's hand firmly clasped my own, his stance both protective and proud. He glared at those who glared at me, especially those presumptuous girls who dressed like tramps. I smirked at them, feeling a little boastful for once.

There was something new in my strides today; I stood taller, walked faster and held my head high. I felt new – as if I had been reborn. I had never felt more alive than I did now, with Edward pulling me by his side. I noticed, in particular, that the boys had their eyes wide open in disbelief. I knew what they were thinking; how did Edward Cullen, master of the non-dating, finally found a girl?

Needless to say, I bit my lip against their heady stares and allowed him to tug me along towards Seth and Tanya, both leaning against his Prius. Their heads were close together, murmuring in intimate voices as I greeted them, "Morning!"

Oh, even my voice sounded different!

Seth's head snapped up, his grin widening. "Morning, Bella." He eyed Edward speculatively before nodding and reaching out his hand to pat him on the back, "And Edward. Glad to know you're finally settled."

My first friend in Forks smiled warmly at him before wrapping an arm around me. I laughed as he whispered, "You know who to tell when the going gets rough for the both of you. Just give me a call and I'll get my baseball bat ready." I leaned away, grimacing before pulling on his nose. "Thanks, but I think I can manage."

He winked and let go of me, looking at Edward. "Okay, I'm releasing your girl, sergeant. No need to give me The Eye." Edward's face was turning red at Seth's comment, and I chuckled before lightly smacking my friend on his bicep. "Stop harassing him, Seth. Or I won't let you have my pie."

His eyes widened, "Pie? You brought pie? Where is it? Give it to me, give it to me!"

"Oh my God babe, will you please tone it down a little? It's seven a.m. for Christ's sake. Let me act like a zombie for awhile more. Jeez, I have a baboon for a boyfriend." Tanya rolled her eyes endearingly before smiling at me, "Morning, Bella! I see you've got quite the entourage."

I blushed when she eyed Edward appreciatively in his attire. He grinned and tucked me onto his side, the old feeling of electricity humming quietly against my right arm where it pressed against his torso. Edward bent his head down to graze the top of his lips against my head. "I feel horrible."

"Why?" I looked up to meet his green embers, burning with amusement. "Everyone's staring at you. I don't like it. I feel like packing you up and bringing you back home."

I giggled. "Unfortunately, you are not allowed to do that. I still have English, you know."

"Ms. Swan, you don't know how much I know about you," he winked, his face morphing into such a heartwarming expression. I groaned quietly in my head. What could he possibly see in me? I didn't have the answer to that. Edward held too many surprises that I couldn't even anticipate.

"Stalker," I accused and he laughed, throwing his head back against the air. "You two are so cute," Tanya said from under Seth's arm. I turned to look at her confident smile.

In all honesty, I had not felt this light-hearted in a long time. It felt . . . odd – weird, would be the better term. Over the course of one weekend, my life had altered so completely, turning the world as I knew it upside down. I wouldn't change it for a thing, obviously, but it might take me sometime before I could get used to the jovial air that surrounded my family and friends . . . and Edward.

The bell rang, and since Edward had his first class in building two – the opposite direction of my first class – he had to trudge off first.

Edward wrapped his long arms around my all-too willing body, crushing me to his warm chest. I shivered when I felt the familiar burn where our bodies combined as one. He pulled away, reached into his book bag, and presented me with a gray colored beanie. I eyed him skeptically. "What is this for?"

"Whenever I'm cold, I wear this and I feel warm again. It's gonna snow today – freaky weather even for Forks, so I figured you might want this." Edward smiled gently and helped place it over my head. He was right on one point; it was cold, but I was not shivering because of it. Nonetheless, when he placed on my head, it covered my freezing ears.

He was right on another point; it was so wonderfully warm.

"Thank you," I kissed his cheek, "but we need to get to class." Edward sighed and squeezed my waist one last time. "See you later in lunch, Sunshine."

I jolted, hearing his nick-name for me, and waved at him before walking off to where Seth stood. He grinned, happy to see me happy, and we began to walk off to class together. "Tanya already went off, so it's just you and me, Bells," Seth laughed. I chuckled along with him as we walked to English together.

"How was the football meet?" I asked him, moving aside as a freshman boy barreled in between us. Seth scoffed, pulling on his varsity jacket. "It was freaking horrible, I tell ya. Worst meet ever. Garrett was being an emotional mess all over again, Coach couldn't stop barking at us to get off our asses and work-out like the other teams do, and, well, let's just say I'd rather have been to the wedding than there."

Wincing in sympathy, I said, "It couldn't have been that bad, could it?"

"Please. Between facing the drama here in Forks and the hell over there in Cali, I'd pick Forks anytime. Besides, from what I heard, the wedding was pretty intense wasn't it, Bella?" Seth grinned cockily at me, eyebrow raised as we entered our classroom. I blushed and looked down, sliding my bag over my table top.

"Shut it, Seth." I gritted my teeth.

He sang, "Shutting!"

My classes were flowing slowly this morning. English seemed longer than it should be but I persevered. I wanted to see Edward, my hand itching to be in his once again, but I knew I had my responsibilities. So instead of dwelling on my newfound relationship, I focused instead on the words my teachers lectured us with, listening to them talk about old English stories, formulas and finding the unknown coefficient of X.

Yes, I was not fond of Trig, but I still needed it if I wanted to graduate in a year's time.

Seth continued his dreary description of California all throughout our periods. He was worried for the new season, saying it would be tough for them to even dream of defeating the La Push wolves down in the reservation. FHS Spartans were not as strong as they said they were, most of the boys using the title as jocks just for the privileges that came along with it.

He was also worried about Garrett. I worried about him too.

I had yet to see him throughout the morning. Normally, we would have bumped into him in the corridors before my Spanish class started. We would catch up briefly before going off in different directions for our classes. Thankfully, Senora Goff was lenient and allowed students to be ten minutes late at most.

Lately, my friend had been distant. I wondered if it had anything to do with his unrequited love for Kate Denali, Tanya's other sister who got onto her nerves for joining the clan of Mallory's tramps.

Yes, I had a new hatred for Lauren Mallory as well. Ever since the wedding, I wanted nothing but to tear her eyes out for even going near my daughter. She was so vile that no matter how hard I'd tried to not dislike her, I could no longer help it. My actions were going to resemble Tanya's at some point – I had already taken to calling her by her last name.

I was a lucky girl that I didn't have to share any other classes – apart from Gym – with her.

In Spanish, Seth laughed at my disability to sit still. Only in twenty more minutes would I be able to see Edward once again, and although I knew I was supposed to be listening to Senora Goff's lectures, I could not help but allow my mind to wander. What was Edward doing now? Was he thinking of me?

Fidgeting, I tugged on the beanie that I borrowed from him. Beyond the dreary window panes of the classroom, I could see the snowflakes slowly falling down to the Earth. Vanessa would have loved this – it would be her second time experiencing snow since early January. I could imagine her begging Sue to take her outside, eagerly putting on her parka and struggling with her mittens. Ness would have –

"Isabella?" Senora Goff's voice broke through my thoughts. My attention snapped back to the teacher, who stood patiently in front of the class, her eyes amused with my lack of focus. I blushed, "Sí, Senora?"

"Lo que es otro significado para el mantenimiento en español?" she asked, folding her arms across her chest. I could hear Seth's snickers and I pinched the top of his thigh underneath the desk we shared. I bit my lip, thinking. "Continuidad, señora?"

Senora Goff smiled indulgently before tapping her fingers against her arms. "Así, no se debe continuar con esta falta de atención de lo contrario corre el riesgo de fracaso." I blushed once more and apologized profusely to her deaf ears, subtly watching as Seth tried to control his snickering.

Once the bell rang, I shoved my papers and lecture pad into the blinder I had gotten for myself. I ignored Seth's outreaching hand towards me and hobbled over to the door, my face still flushed with fury. I could hear Seth scrambling after me, but I did not wait for him; I was seething with rage. He knew I hated being laughed at – I had had enough of that in Jacksonville, where I was the laughing stock of many.

"Whoa, hold on there, Tiger. Why so angry?" A cool, velvety voice said as I crashed into a warm body. Familiar arms encircled my waist as I buried my face into Edward's chest, breathing in his boyish scent in an effort to banish my foul mood. "I think I can answer that," Seth's repentant voice chuckled nervously from behind me.

Leaning away from Edward's embrace, I glared distastefully at him. Seth smashed his lips together, his hazel eyes lighting with amusement and quiet indignation. "What happened in Spanish?" Edward inquired, keeping one arm around my waist while he looked back and forth between me and Seth. He looked so confused that my rigid stance softened.

Really, Bella, you are becoming odd.

"Bella over here wasn't paying attention in class. Senora Goff called on her, sort of gave her a scolding, and then she blushed and still hasn't gotten over it." Seth scratched the back of his neck. I snorted, "Excuse me? You left out the part where you laughed at me – laughed! You know how I despise being laughed at! Look at me; I am such the court jester! One simple flick of my hand and I have all of you on the floor dying of laughter!" I ranted, pointing one accusing finger at him.

Both Seth and Edward froze, staring at me with unreadable expressions on their faces. I stood there with my chest heaving, aware that I had stomped my foot throughout my entire accusation. Suddenly, they fell over with laughter, Edward letting go of me as he held on for dear life on the locker beside him. Seth bent over, his face tearing with the exertion of laughing.

I would never understand boys. I growled, "Stop laughing at me! It isn't remotely funny!"

"Hell . . . hell yeah it . . . it is!" Seth struggled to say the words. I looked over at Edward who was trying futilely to recover. I honestly tried to find a way to be mad at him – he too, was laughing at me – but I could not bring myself to do so when he leaned against that locker and looked so carefree and simply Edward.

Perhaps I was a little biased. After all, I did harbor a crush on him for months before we began our relationship.

But still, I did not like being the subject of their guffaws. I sighed and made my way over to the cafeteria, effectively leaving them behind as I searched for Tanya. She sat in our usual table, alone, as she played with her food. I noticed that her face looked dejected – misery at its most finest. I bit my lip and hurried over.

"Hi," I greeted, settling down beside her. I did not bother to buy any food. "What's wrong?"

Tanya looked up, her brown eyes clearly sad. "Nothing . . . I just got lonely, I guess."

"Really," I cocked an eyebrow, placing a hand on top of hers, "what's wrong, Tanya?"

She sighed before leaning back and closing her eyes. "Lauren got to me. Again."

I swear I did not growl at the mere mention of her name. But, seeing as Tanya referred to her as 'Lauren' instead of her last name basis, I knew something was wrong. I waited awhile before asking, "What do you mean by 'again?'"

Tanya played moved her hand from mine as she played with the strands on her shirt. Eventually, she sighed and stated, "Remember what I said about how she and I used to be friends? Well, let's just say she sort of used that against me today. And that's a low blow for me. Replacing me so fast, T? She'd said. You and I both know she'll never be half as good of a friend as I was. Note the keyword there – was."

Biting my lip, I watched as Edward and Seth made their way into the cafeteria. Edward's eyebrows mashed into a line as he eyed the empty table. His green orbs glinted slightly as he spoke to Seth, who nodded at whatever he had said. Together, they trudged off to join the queue. I smiled at them timidly, staring at the way Seth noticed Tanya's forlorn expression as well as my comforting arm around her.

He moved a step closer, but I shot him a look. Tanya's hand clenched against her shirt. "Please don't make him come here. I don't want him to see me like this," she whispered passionately, effectively hiding her face with her hands. Seth looked more determined to get to his girlfriend but I gestured for him to stop. Confused, his steps faltered before he reluctantly went back to where Edward stood.

Edward ran his right hand through his hair, clearly muddled by our silent conversation. He would get used to it, I presumed, if he was going to stay with me for the long run. I realized that Tanya was waiting for my response, so I spoke, "What else did she say? Why did the two of you stop being friends?"

"It was right after summer, sophomore year. Lauren and I used to be the best of best friends. We met in kindergarten, and ever since then, we were sort of like sisters. Until she decided she had a crush on Seth, who'd just transferred here from the reservation after Leah was . . . you know. I didn't know how he looked like or anything; I was too busy with school to notice the new addition.

"I was waiting for Kate in the Lodge back then. And then . . . well, I literally stopped in my tracks when I saw Seth, holding Jake's hand, as the both of them strolled into the diner. He couldn't wipe the smile off his face, and neither could Jacob. I was seriously floored – I couldn't even think. Seth is a pretty hot piece of arm candy, after all." Tanya laughed in misery, her shoulders sagging with the sarcasm. "And then he caught me looking at him, and the rest is history. He invited me out on a date and I spilled to him about Lauren's crush on him, that what we were doing was inappropriate, and that I shouldn't be involved with my best friend's crush.

"The next day after our first date, Lauren found out, and she confronted me in front of the entire cafeteria. It was embarrassing, really, but that was the last time I let her step all over me again. From then on, we became virtual enemies. She wasn't my best friend anymore, and neither was I hers. Do you want to know the reason why Kate hates me so much?"

Her eyes were sad as she watched me nod my head slowly. "It's because Lauren does – she chose her over me. In Kate's eyes, I'll always be the one who was in the wrong, even though I am her sister. But it turns out that love ever really goes beyond blood."

I hugged Tanya closer to me, feeling hot dews of tears drip onto my neck as she leaned onto my body for support. It tickled me, goose-bumps aligning my arms as I held her closer. Tanya had always seemed like the headstrong, tenacious girl that I sometimes feared but ultimately looked up to. Seeing her breakdown like this was . . . wrong.

And that was how Seth and Edward found us – my arms locked tightly around my best friend's body while she wept quietly. I twisted in her arms, knowing that she needed her boyfriend more than she needed me. I released her, Seth picking up her almost-limp body and murmuring words into her ears. She only nodded and together, they walked off into the hallways.

"Should I know what's going on?" Edward asked, handing me a Snickers bar. I shook my head sadly at him. As much as I adored Edward – loved him, even – this was not my story to tell. I stared into his green eyes, wondering about his story, as I wracked through my brain for words. Eventually, it was my stomach that pulled me out of my trance.

Edward laughed, listening to my stomach grumble, and I relaxed at the sound of his voice. I pulled open the wrapper of the chocolate bar he'd given me and began to eat. "By the end of this month," I commented through the bites of chocolates and nuts, "I think I will need to see the dentist."

He laughed again and shook his head, "What for? You already have perfect teeth."

Through my blush, I said, "That's exactly my point; my perfect teeth will be ruined by the goods you give me."

"Goods?" Edward questioned. "You call these little pieces of heaven goods? Are you out of your mind? They're practically angels on a stick!"

"Now you're the one that's demented!" I retorted, "Angels on a stick – who says that?"

"I do," he grinned triumphantly, sitting back on his chair and looking so gloriously smug. I felt indignation rise before my defiant response got interrupted by a chirpy voice, "Do you guys mind if we sit here?" I turned, surprised to see Alice and Emmett Cullen as well as their significant others standing behind me.

Before I could help myself, my mouth opened to ask, "Do you people refer to Snickers as 'angels on a stick?'"

And because I realized that I had word vomited only a few seconds later, I slapped my hand against my mouth. My eyes widened as I shrank back, ready to accept their belligerent lashings. However, they surprised me by looking at each other before bursting into fits of giggles and grunts. I cocked my head to the side – what was wrong with them?

Their laughter drifted along the entire area of the cafeteria. I sensed rather than saw people's stares, feeling their burning gazes centre on us. It was unsettling; I could not help but feel the immediate tightening of my shoulders as they withdrew inwardly towards my body. I ducked my head down and fidgeted with Edward's beanie, feeling so uncomfortable. The memories were brutal in their sudden revival.

"Oh look! There goes the Ugly Duckling!" A boy laughed, joking along with his friends. I ignored their teasing, fervently taking out books from my locker. Another voice, this time more feminine, called my name. Unthinkingly, I turned to face the anonymous girl's direction, but was met with a heavy splash of something wet and sticky.

People stared, snickering, as I spat white paint onto the floor.

"Bella, what's wrong?" Edward asked. I noticed how his long fingers were rubbing onto the tops of my arms, his body hovering along mine as he watched my face as it twisted with distress. I shook my head and swallowed the bile that attempted to rise. Without thinking, I wrapped my arms around his neck. I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort as I leaned onto his frame. It was truly undeniable – no matter what I warned myself of, Edward would always be my solace.

"Please take me away. Anywhere, just not here," I whispered. I felt him nod against my head as his arms went around my waist, lifting me slightly so that he could partially drag me away from the suffocating cafeteria. I heard the pitter-patter of feet as his friends followed after us, the most prominent one being his sister, Alice, as I peeked at her shyly.

We stood in the hallway, unintentionally bumping into Tanya and Seth. "Whoa, first Tanya, then you," Seth groaned, exasperated as he and Tanya hurried to envelop me with their presence. "Sorry," I apologized to him, "I just could not stand their stares. It was . . . horrible."

"Yeah, I figured that. Come over here and let Seth do all the loving." He joked, beckoning me with his fingers. I laughed; his distraction obviously helping to unravel my irrational mood swing. Then his eyes looked over my shoulder, watching with a steady gaze at the newcomers. I bit my lip and turned to see the reaction of Alice and the others, vehemently worrying over the fact that Seth sometimes held a grudge against them.

But they surprised me yet again. Emmet Cullen smiled winningly at Seth, his dimpled cheeks amplifying his brawny but elder brother-like demeanor. Rosalie and Jasper Hale looked almost lazy, their smiles laid-back and somewhat resigned. And Alice Cullen . . . well, she stared at him haughtily, her hands placed upon her hips as it jutted out on her right.

"Yes, Seth? See something you don't like? Get over your high horse and know that Bella has other friends who care for her too. So shut up and accept us, because we're here to stay." And with that, Seth was completely bowled over. I giggled at his expression, "Well that's fine with me. But if you're here for Mallory –"

"Jesus Christ, that girl's a total whore. I've given up trying to be her friend already. Plus, she's always flirting with my boyfriend! With our boyfriends," she grabbed Rosalie Hale's hand passionately, "and it's really annoying. It's more fun hanging out with you guys than it is with her when all she does is complain about how ugly everyone makes her look like in the cheerleading team, or how imperfect her hair is and what do I need to do, to like, make my boobs bigger so that Edward Cullen will finally notice them and take me out on a date before we, like, have some seriously hot sex?"

I gaped at her rant. Edward's arms tightened around my body as he groaned aloud, his head falling into the crook of my neck. His chin, unshaved for a day, scratched against my collar. I squirmed, the sparks between us flickering into a small fire, as I bit hard against my lip. "God, it feels good to let it all out!" Alice breathed, smiling widely.

"Amen to that," Emmett raised his fist. She bumped hers along his, and I watched, fascinated, as they began to socialize with Tanya and Seth. I caught Tanya's eyes burning bright with the idea of newfound companions, and I was glad that my friends and Edward's were getting along really well.

Seth and Emmett –with the inclusion of Jasper and occasionally Edward – seemed to be the main core of jokers. While Alice was frighteningly more passionate than Tanya was, I realized that Rosalie's tenacity rivaled my best friend's as well. There were many similarities, yet they all differed greatly from each other.

In Florida, I would have never encountered this type of familial bonding within a group of young adults. I would have never thought that I would be included into this increasingly intimate group of . . . friends.

As the bell signifying that lunch had ended rang, I heard another gravelly, familiar voice call my name. I turned around and saw Garrett's stunned expression. His eyes slithered between Seth and Tanya, the Hales and the Cullens, before finally resting on Edward's grip around my hand.

His face paled before it shifted into a vicious mask of disgust and resentment. I felt my eyes widen, my feet taking a step towards him even though my mind screamed not to. He was still my friend – one of the people who knew me first. I wanted to know what was wrong.

But then he hissed, "You're with Cullen now?" I flinched back from his gruff voice, bitter with undiluted fury and pure hatred. His eyes blazed, his fists clenched, and I wanted so much to hide away from him. But I stood rooted there, much like the night the Monster stole my soul, and allowed myself to be vulnerable to his incoming insults.

Edward tugged on my hand, intending to pull me away from the growing menace that was Garrett. Limbs stiff with the being frozen, I allowed him to pull and drag me away. Seth gave Garrett a glare as he moved to stand behind me, covering my vision of him. Everyone could sense the change in the air – something horrible was coming, and we all knew it.

Tanya and others said their goodbyes, with Alice Cullen promising to come right by my locker after school so check on me. The others said the same thing, and I was touched by their compassion. However, I did not immediately trust them on their word. It was terrible of me to think that way, but these characteristics were engraved onto me for so long it was hard to crack the stone that held them.

In Biology, I took careful notes of the lesson Mr. Banner conducted, my mind numb from the confrontation that had taken place earlier. I did not allow myself to dwell on Garrett's fear inducing face, his eyes – similar to those of the Monster as he took my innocence – as they burned with such malice.

Even in the room of warmth and familiarity, I shuddered. Edward's hand reached for mine, sensing my unease, and I smiled timidly at him. From across the lab, I could see Seth squirming in his seat. I knew how protective he was of me, because of how similar my past was with his sister.

Garrett's posture was clearly dangerous. I knew it. I could feel it. And I wondered why he felt that way. He never harbored any feelings towards me; that much I knew. He loved Kate Denali to the bone. He was in fact, crazy about her. But as Seth said, Garrett's emotions were a mess these days. Was seeing us enjoying new friends without him the breaking point for his questionable attitude?

But it was self-implied, Bella. Garrett placed all his troubles on his own shoulders. He may have been one of your closer friends before, but that does not mean you trust him.

Confusion was a cloud swirling around my mind, toying with my heart. How different the afternoon was from the morning. It was a contrast of two different outcomes. I wanted to know why he reacted that way. Garrett was hurting. I could see past his anger and feel his pain, hidden under a rock. But I needed to know the reason.

After Gym ended, I avoided Rosalie and Alice in the girl's changing room. Instead, I fled to the toilet, where I changed quickly. I made sure to check the corridor outside in case Edward stood waiting for me, and when I was sure he was not there, I went in search of Garrett.

It was stupid, mindless and completely idiotic of me, but he was my friend. I couldn't deny that I felt the terrifying charge in the air as I approached him, my heart beating loudly as I stumbled over to where he stood rigidly beside his car. His fists were still clenched and he had his back turned towards me.

This is a mistake, Bella! Turn around and run away, now! Don't risk yourself again! At the very least, you should've asked Edward or Seth or someone to accompany you! Who knows what Garrett might do to you?

He won't hurt me; I'm his friend, I reasoned with my conscience, my senses on overdrive as I slowly walked towards him. As if sensing my presence, Garrett whirled around, his eyes vicious and angry. I involuntarily took a step back.

Now you know why, the voice sighed in disappointment.

I began to back up several paces as Garrett stalked towards me. "I want to know why," he snarled, "why him? He's practically out of your league then! Tell me, Bella, how much?"

"Excuse me?" I asked, my voice trembling slightly. "How much is he paying to fuck you? Huh? How much is he fucking paying you?" I began to walk away faster, keeping my eyes on him all the while. Everything about him rang dangerous! I wanted to run, but I knew it would be fruitless. Garrett was an athlete. I was a clumsy nobody.

My throat prepared for the inevitable scream.

"Answer me, damn it!" he yelled. I flinched, "Please Garrett. Please . . . I have a daughter. She's only four. Please don't hurt me, please . . ." I whispered, my thoughts filling with Vanessa and her sweet face, her graceful actions and her playful hugs. Her large brown eyes as they stared adoringly to meet mine. Her small arms winding around my neck, a wet kiss placed upon the apple of my cheek.

I would never see her again if Garrett continued like this. He was murderously enraged.

He froze, hearing my plea, and for a second I thought he was going to let me go. But as I saw his expression morph into a fury harsher than before, I realized I'd chosen the wrong words to say. "You have a four year-old child at seventeen? You had a baby at thirteen? God, Bella, I never pegged you as a slut!"

Slut, slut, slut, slut, slut . . . the name rang around my mind, lashing out at memories that I'd kept hidden for so long now. My back hit against a concrete wall, and I realized that it was too late. I should have listened to the voice. I should have told Edward about my intentions of finding Garrett. I should have known better than to be the naïve girl I was, approaching a man who towered above me and was clearly unstable.

I didn't dare to close my eyes. My breaths were coming and going as he closed in on me, spitting, "Maybe it's the other way round, you whore. Maybe you're the one paying him to fuck you. Is that right? I bet it is. That's your secret, isn't it, slut? That you're secretly a prostitute behind that innocent façade of yours? Well fuck you! I fucking trusted you, bitch!"

"Garrett please –"

"Don't you dare say my name, you whore!" he roared. I heard murmurs as people gathered, watching the display. None of them helped. They just stood there, waiting for the next segment of the free show they were witnessing. It was all too familiar. I heard whispers and quiet murmurings beyond the frantic pounding of my heart.

Garrett sprang onto me, grabbing my arms and flinging me against the wall. I heard a loud thud as my head bounced off the concrete, my vision going into a blur. He did not relent, though, and began to pound me into the wall.

Before he could continue on with the third pound, someone tore him off me.

I watched through a hooded vision as Edward crouched, his back facing me, protective and snarling and so furious that I was reminded of the angel of death. Someone's arms pulled me away from him, and even though I made no noise as Garrett plunged me into the wall, I cried out, "Edward!"

He may be injured if he attacks Garrett! Stop him, Bella! I struggled with the strong arms, well-aware that someone – a girl – was yelling into my ear to 'knock it off.' I ignored her, focusing on Edward and his well-being only. My heart still pounded erratically in my chest, the need to bring Edward to safety so dominant that when I finally pushed the restraining arms away, I ran with such speed towards him.

What I did not anticipate was the fact that Garrett had been about to lunge at Edward.

The breath thrown out of me, I was slammed onto the asphalt with a force enough to hear a slight crack against my temple. My vision went black, and for awhile, the only thing I feared was not being able to see Edward safe and sound; I could feel Garrett's hands furiously searching for a place to vent his anger upon.

Distantly, apart from the ringing in my ears and the awful silence it represented, I heard a voice smooth as velvet yell my name, and Garrett's presence disappeared. No, I wanted to object, don't hurt him! Don't hurt Edward!

But I could barely lift my head.

I felt arms around me as I opened my eyes, panic settling when I could only see black. As the dark slowly molded into a blurred vision, I sighed in relief when the muting of voices turned into a louder atmosphere. I could hear shouting. I could feel familiar arms and hands as they fretted over my face and limp body.

And at the distant, I saw as Edward was pulled off from Garrett by Emmett and Jasper. He fought with them for a minute before his green emeralds steadied on me. And like a clichéd story, everything went away once again. Not a single bruise speckled his strong, masculine jaw. His clothes, albeit slightly stained with blood, seemed to be perfectly in place. His nostrils flared with madness, his green eyes wild and absolutely petrifying.

He was glorious.

And I was so wrong for him.

Indeed, how did a light-hearted start end with a brutal finish? My final thought as my eyes closed harbored along the lines of that sentiment. The heavy pressure in my head gave way, and I succumbed to the pain that only made its appearance in my head.

"I swear, Chief Swan, everything happened so suddenly . . . began to look for her when she didn't . . . fifteen minutes looking . . . saw her against the wall with him . . . crying . . . injured . . . I'm just so sorry, Chief Swan." Musical, silk-like voice whispered in misery from beside my head. They were broken words and sentences that I could not comprehend. I was awakening, though, but my eyes were still closed. The voice registered briefly in my mind as I tried to think through the black haze.

"Is that all? Are you sure nothing else happened?" My father's recognizable voice questioned.

"No, sir," his voice vowed deeply; strong and powerful, "that's everything."

Dad's voice this time was deeper and rougher like the grains of the earth as he whispered, "Thank you, son – for saving her."

"Sir, I didn't save her." The earlier voice said with silent fury and devastation, "I'm the one who got her here."

No! I protested in my mind. It was me! I was the one who made the stupid decision! I fought against the heavy bonds of my own mentality, trying hard to free myself, to tell Edward that it was not his fault. But lethargy was tightly secured around me. I could not find a hole in it; it was like a shield.

I could hear the accelerated beeping of a monitor near me as I tried so hard to snap away from the shield that stuck onto me like glue. I was pushing and tugging and pulling, using every last bit of my meager mental strength to break through. It was futile, but I kept on fighting until I heard both my father and Edward rushing out the door, shouting, "Doctor!"

A flurry of voices arrived next, and I could no longer hear neither of my dad nor Edward's voice. Someone injected a needle into my arm and I felt the slight pinch as it shot through my veins. In a matter of moments, the black cloud hovered once more, tightening its grip.

Finally submissive, I allowed myself to drift away.

A/N: Wow, I am completely blown away by the response I received from the last chapter! First, let me make a point clear: if you've ever found my writing too annoyingly eloquent, making Bella sound like a girl from the 1800s, then I'm sorry. I intended to write like that because I was imagining a girl who grew up with books like Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet, where the English language was nearly impossible to understand because of how eloquent is it. But now that she's getting better at being herself she's going to start speaking like a teen. I'm really sorry if I've turned off some of you for TBOA, but I'm glad I got the response I knew I was going to get.

And for those of you people who's interested - I've got a wattpad account going, with a story I'm currently working on. It's completely original, but I hope you guys will give it a try www . wattpad story / 1951927 - silent - wishes I'm new there, so please be patient with my social awkwardness. And while you're on wattpad, why not try one of my best friend's story? www . wattpad story / 2246571 - dear - diary

So what do you guys think of this new chapter? Was it bad or was it good? Hit the review button and tell me all about it - I've finally discovered how to respond to your reviews! Hooray!