Disclaimer: Not my characters.
A/N: So happy to read your thoughts on the previous chapter. One of you screamed so loud at seeing my update, you were quite sure all your neighbors heard your scream. LOL. I hope this is a quick update. It's not the tallest chapter, but it's the rest of the previous one.
Chapter 12 - True colors
This time I looked away, watching the trees beside the car.
What a nice place to go to.
I opened the door and quickly got out.
Edward put the first crack in my barrier, simply by saying that the problem perhaps laid down in the fact that I didn't know what to say.
My barrier was supposed to be unbreakable, and if it wasn't, I would avoid anything that was toxic for my barrier, because I didn't want to cry. I needed a plan, not tears.
I needed a very good plan.
"Come on!" Edward called out, getting out of the car as well.
I quickly stepped into the darkness, but soon Edward had jogged his way to me and blocked my pathway - yet again.
When he saw me, however, his face turned compassionate. His hand reached my face but I flinched away. For a moment he seemed frustrated, but eventually he shook his head.
"What exactly are you going to do? Please enlighten me with that."
I scowled at him, and the way his tone was. He was talking to me as if I was a child, not much older then six.
"You don't want to get lost in some forest. It's pitch black in there."
I knew he was right, of course, but I couldn't be near him.
So I said, "I can't stay. With you."
His eyes challenged me to tell him, so instead I dropped mine. "Because I'm not sure how much longer I can try to not cry."
"What's the worst thing that can happen?" he said, taking a step closer to me. "That I might comfort you?"
My eyes stayed on the ground, but I knew that he stayed where he was, because I could see his shoes.
"That's not what you did last time."
"What? What did-" He cut himself abruptly, and I looked up at him. He looked a little guilty. "I'm sorry, but I can't remember whatever it was I did the last time."
My God. This boy was absolutely horrible.
"Do you need a reminder?" I asked, watching him blankly.
I wasn't sure yet what I felt. Was it anger, or sadness? I wasn't feeling it yet.
But I was feeling something. It didn't feel nice though.
"I'll take whatever you're sharing," Edward said carefully.
"Good," I replied, not looking at him anymore and starting to unbutton my belt and button of my jeans. I turned around, and dropped my jeans.
Then I knew what I felt. It was a feeling that said it was unfair that I felt horrible over an act which Edward couldn't even remember, even though he had inflicted it upon me.
"You can touch it, I don't mind. Maybe that way you'll remember even better."
He kept quiet.
On the back of my left leg I had a scar. It was deep, ugly and a few inches tall. If people got a look at it, they'd asked me if I'd burned myself. I had to admit that the scar looked like a horrible burning wound, but it was not.
I ducked and pulled up my jeans, feeling even more horrible. His quiet response hurt, but I didn't know why. But then, when I turned around to look at him, he didn't fail at responding.
"I pushed you, but you fell on glass. It cut open the back of your leg, right through your pantyhose. You needed twenty-one stitches to mash up the teared skin together, my dad told me that night. He also told me you cut open the palm of your left hand, getting a few stitches there too."
I looked at my left hand and noticed a scar beneath my thumb. I had forgotten about the one.
"I don't remember you crying. I remember you screaming. You seemed more in shock. Maybe you cried after I threatened you if you decided to tell on me and after I ran back inside the school building. Maybe you cried, but by that time I must've turned my back already."
My eyes stayed on the palm of my hand, but my ears listened carefully along.
"In fact, you barely ever cried."
I dropped my hand and looked at him. My mind was blank all of a sudden.
"Don't do that," I said with a slight shake of my head, my voice carrying a tremor.
He'd always been very clever, as he was now. Maybe he was right, but it didn't take away so many other things he did manage to make me feel or do.
If Edward understood me completely, I didn't know, but he did look away.
"Maybe you and I need to clear some things up. We can do it here, we can do it in my car, we can do it where ever the fuck you want to do it, but we will do it. We have to do it. I believe if we don't do it, that you and I will never-"
For a second I burst out in laughter, but quickly covered my mouth and tried to smooth my face back to blank.
Edward shut his eyes in frustration, even though I did notice a ghost of a smile near the edges of his mouth. Well, it was his fault, because he phrased himself so badly, sounding dirty.
"You're horrible." His voice carried humor, even though my abrupt laughter ended his serious session of talking.
"Old news, you've already called me that," I said, my voice all of a sudden gone dead again. I scowled at myself. Where were this mood swings coming from? At first I was laughing at innuendo's, and next I feel nothing again.
"I'm so glad you left my party," I heard Edward's voice say, coming from above me.
They had pushed me behind the school building, with nobody there to help me.
"It was so much better afterwards," Tanya said with a stupid giggle.
"I'm sorry, I have to get back inside," I muttered, looking down, but all of their feet came closer to me.
Emmett stood behind Rosalie, seeming indifferent, but Rosalie did not. She was enjoying this show.
"We don't even like you!" she said. "Why did you come? You should have never come. You ruined Edward's piano ever!"
My eyes watered, but Rosalie raised an eyebrow as if she was ready for my tears and mock them.
So I swallowed hard, and told myself that there couldn't be any tears.
Lauren took a few closer steps, coming to an halt when she stood next to Tanya. They looked at each other and giggled, but Lauren pointed at me.
"You're just horrible! A loser. You're always ugly, and you're always gonna be ugly. And so disappointing. Did your dad get angry with you? Look, she's gonna cry!"
I scowled angrily. "I'm not!"
"Shut up!" Rosalie called. "What's wrong with you. Don't even talk. We hate you. You don't have friends, because you're a freak."
My eyes went downcast, and I think I understood their anger. Everybody thought I did this horrible thing - ruining that beautiful piano, except for Lauren and Tanya, who knew better. But why did they call me all these names? Why did these kids have to be so mean, always and forever?
"Where's your stupid mom, Bella?" Edward snapped. "Did she leave you?"
I looked up in shock, not believing his words.
"I get her. I would do the same. I wouldn't want to be near you either. She hated you and then she dumped you here. I bet your dad hates you. Nobody likes a loser. Everybody's just gonna leave you anyway. Nobody wants a loser."
My body began shaking from the disbelief, anger, hurt and fear. I wanted them to stop talking to me like this. I never did no wrong.
Mommy and daddy loved me. They did.
"So tell me, Bella, what did your dad do last Saturday after you two got home?"
Truth was, daddy was very angry with me. He said that he was disappointing in me. And by then I got too scared to tell him that I lied. So I made him believe the lie, because I was too scared to tell him that the lie was a lie. He would have probably told me not to lie.
And I knew it made no sense anymore.
"He didn't talk to me a lot," I muttered.
They laughed real hard as if it was funny.
"Yeah, I wouldn't want that either. Your voice is ugly." Edward spit on the ground, watching me angrily. "I know just the perfect place for you, smelly belly. You're just a piece of horrible trash that everybody wants to get rid off."
Edward's face blanched and even though his eyes were on me, I knew he was starting to remember. It was one of the most embarrassing things they'd ever done to me. At home, I cried for hours and pretended I wasn't hungry, just so I wouldn't have to spend time with Charlie. I needed my time to cry my eyes out, because I'd felt very hurt after that.
Their bullying was pretty creative.
Slowly, his eyes shifted a little, and I could tell he was in a confused haze.
"I still remember that day," he said quietly. "I was very angry."
"I won't ever forget that day," I muttered with my eyes on the wet grass.
How could I, if at night I kept being reminded of their verbal abuse. My nightmares kept showing up at inappropriate times.
"And I wasn't guilty."
I glanced at Edward, but noticed soon that he wasn't looking at me. He had his head aside, watching the darkness deeper in the forest. His face resembled the one I saw when I looked in the mirror. As if somebody was continuously punching him in the stomach. As if something was stabbing him in his sides as sharp as knives. As if he was being hurt.
The voice in my head sounded sarcastic.
"There are a few thing you need to know," he said, straightening up. "And a few thing I need to know from you."
"It doesn't matter."
"How can it not?"
"Because it is a horrible mess, and I'll never get out."
Edward immediately shook his head. "That's not true. Don't think like that."
For years they'd been bullying me. And when I went to Phoenix, I made friends, but they were always in my head. I always double checked all my thoughts, my clothes, my shoes, my jewelry, my hairstyle, my perfume, my make-up, the color of my nail polish, but mostly my character. Wasn't your character supposed to be that one part people looked at when they started to know you? If those guys and girls bullied me, wasn't it because something was wrong with my character?
And then there's my parents. They made an abnormal decision, and I hated them for it.
When I thought of Renée and Charlie, I felt betrayal in its biggest form. And my hate kept feeding on that betrayal. If I ever wanted to make up with them again, I'd have to remove the hate, but first of all, I wasn't sure if I wanted to make up with them, and second, I didn't want to get rid of the hate.
Because it was so easy to hate.
"It doesn't matter," I repeated. "Because what they've done is even worse then what you and your buddies did."
I glared at the ground.
How could they have pushed me into such a corner, which was sticky, dark and lonely. Would I ever get out? Would the darkness ever go away? Could I ever stop feeling so alone, without doubting myself, my looks, my words and my opinions? Would I ever learn to trust again?
Where am I going to sleep tonight?
"Fuck." The word was foreign to my lips, but maybe someday they'd get used to it, if I kept saying it on a daily basis.
Edward steered his head. "What's the matter?"
I had to tell somebody that I left home and didn't ever want to go back. I couldn't keep it inside me forever and the biggest problem was that the sun was setting and I had no place to sleep.
"I didn't get lost on my way to the supermarket," I said tiredly. "And I didn't just go to your place to ram your car. The truth..."
Edward gave a slight nod and watched me straight ahead. He was a smart boy and he knew that what I was about to tell him was something which few people knew. In fact, he was about to get an award for the first place for about to know what happened between me and Charlie.
"Well, the truth..." I said, my voice slowly fading down.
And then something shocking happened. Edward said, "You don't have to tell me anything out of force. If you want, tell me what you need." He shrugged. "I'll see if I can help you with that."
A wrecking ball came in contact with my barrier. My muscled tensed up and my breathing got more shallow. Something happened, something crucial.
I'm being offered help.
"I don't know," I said, biting my lip. How could he help me? "Nobody can fix this."
Edward gave a sympathetic smile, even if he didn't know what I was talking about. After a deep breath, I talked loud, like he said before. I was opting option two right here and now in front of him. I made myself vulnerable, and I couldn't think straight to know if it was or wasn't a wise choice.
But if I thought about it, Edward must still know somehow that, maybe not Renée, but at least Charlie knew about the bullying, because Charlie did say that he talked about it with Carlisle and Esme. So Edward probably already knew.
"Charlie said that he knew all along about... well, everything."
Luckily, Edward caught on and understood what I meant by everything, but he said, "Sometimes parents make bad decisions, it doesn't make them bad people. And before, when you said that what they did is worse then what me and my friends back then did is something which you've got wrong. What I did and said was the worst."
I brought my upper lip up in disgust, wondering how he could even decide for me what was worse.
"The reason why you don't see it that way," he said after a look at my face, "is because what you feel now with Charlie is recent and fresh. I'm trying to say is that what I did was worse, in anybody's eyes, if they knew the full story. I don't think you know the full story yet and I can tell you if you ask me to. And if you can stand here and talk with me, me, then I know that you can also talk to Charlie. That is the only comfort I can give you now."
So I didn't know the full story to Charlie's betrayal? What did Edward know? I knew what I felt and it was real and there wasn't much which Edward could say to make this better.
I was quite sure actually that whatever he had to say would make things worse.
"Let's please get in my car and drive to some place I always go to. Let's talk about anything, I don't care. We can talk about bullshit or I could give you my version of the story. Perhaps give you a different perspective."
"Why? Why should I? What do you care?"
"Because it might give you some answers to questions you never thought of asking yourself. And the reason I care is because shouldn't throw good people out of your life."
I looked away angrily. What was that supposed to mean?
"Even though those answers can't change anything to this current situation or the past, they might be worth knowing. But that's up to you to decide, if you let me."
He held up his hand to his car, as if the ask me once again, silently, if I would join him to whatever place he was talking about.
I didn't answer him verbally, but I did turn to his car, which was an answer in itself.
He won. He always won.
We reached the car and he opened the door for me. Again he did that.
"Don't adjust yourself into someone you're not. Especially not for me." I pointed at a nearby pool of rain water and mud. "If you want to push me in it, go ahead and push me in it. Because I know you want to. The Edward I know wants to do that sort of thing. I'm not stronger then you. And I've never been. Pulling me there and pushing me in it will be easy for you. And I would never tell anybody, so go ahead and do what you really want."
I put my hand on the car door where his hand rested on and pushed the door closed.
"And then 'forget' I was here. Somebody might find me. Or not. Whatever."
What didn't go unnoticed by me, was Edward's slight stumble when I yanked the door to close. I thought he was only resting his hand on it, but apparently he had been pretty much holding a tight grip to it.
"You know I won't tell anyone. Because you'll give me a threat or two, maybe three."
"Stop," he pleaded. His eyes showed an exhaustion which seemed older then the one I felt.
"And I want you to stop pretending to be kind and caring and opening the door for me like a gentleman would. I don't want to be lied to anymore. So just show me your true colors."
He leaned forward slowly and took a grip on the door handle. When the door was open, he motioned his head to the passengers seat.
I looked from the seat to him, not understanding.
When I didn't move, he took my hand in his and watched me pointedly.
"Fine!" I snapped. "Alright! Okay!"
Yanking my hand out of his, I sat in the car and glared at him. He bent through his knees and looked at me for a second.
This position forced me to look down, because this way he was a head shorter.
"I'm a jerk, because it's the word I've been called the most often. I abuse the power I have on girls to effect them. This results into always getting what I want. In my family, I'm the one who fights the most with my parents and siblings, because they do not always give me what I want. I say what's on my mind without a filter. I have to be in a very serious mood to filter out at least curse or demeaning words. When I'm pissed, I make regrettable choices. The times I disappointed the ones that I love is uncountable. There are few things I find enjoyable. Boxing is one of them. Teaching you how to box is another, or perhaps I should say was."
I held more tightly onto my barrier. The wrecking ball had done some damage to it, but it was still intact and I'd be damned if it broke down.
Once it broke down, I'd cry. Maybe it'd be just a tear, maybe an entire flood.
He said that he enjoyed teaching me how to box. He and I both knew that I was anything but a boxer. I was too slow, too weak and too careful to be a boxing type.
But he did say that he enjoyed teaching me.
What is so enjoyable about that?
"If you see me smoking a cigarette, you can conclude I'm feeling either pissed or miserable. Rebecca Dwyer earned a place on my list of girls I'd like to fuck. I'm waiting for the moment when you'll ask me how the hell I found out you lied about your identity."
My breath came out harshly because of course I was wondering when and how he found out. But I kept denying he knew, which meant I ignored what he knew. In place, I had to shut my mouth and not ask him how he knew. If I asked him, I wouldn't be denying it anymore.
I remembered last week Monday.
His eyes travelled from my head, to my chest where he openly stared at my breasts, down to my stomach and legs and then slowly back up, until he reached my face.
I remembered how he'd asked me that question, which he made sounding like a statement.
"You have a boyfriend?"
And I remembered something more.
"What do you want from me?" Now I sounded plain desperate.
He shrugged a little, while staring at me intently. Again.
I glanced up at the stairs. That was the way I should be heading, so I stepped aside and began walking up again.
"I know what I want from you," he said. "But I'm not sharing."
With a scowl I turned my head and saw him step slowly up as well.
"What?" I asked with confusion in my voice.
He shook his head. "I won't tell. You're the kind of girl that would go running the moment things get scary."
And the moment he did tell me what he wanted from me. It was the day when he pushed me into a gap between the lockers.
"What are you doing?" I instantly asked.
"Trying to figure out what is scaring you."
I jerked my head away from his hand when I saw it was reaching my cheek. There was not one person around. I looked up at Edward, whom I could feel had now his hands on my shirt.
"I-I'm not..." I said, my voice quitting on its own. His eyes told me that he knew that I was afraid, so denying it was useless. "Please, let me go."
"Relax," he murmured.
My eyes fought to look better, to see a shadow, anything, that would mean a person was near.
Another part of me knew that his fingers were trailing the edge of my shirt, slowly dipping the edge up so that his fingers touched my skin.
"Edward," I choked.
It clicked together, just like that. He had always said that he wanted to find out what was scaring Rebecca - me, so much, but his actions showed something else as well. His actions had showed me what he wanted from Rebecca.
His aim for Rebecca Dwyer had been sex from day one.
"Rebecca was only a fantasy, but when I found out that it had been you I'd treated like that, instead of some Rebecca, I got pissed in ways I'd never been before. Because the way I imagined our reunion to be was different. In myself I was disappointed to think like a foolish boy believing in happily every after endings. The reality hit me hard. I was at conflict. I had to rethink all my comments when I was with you. The way I treated Rebecca was in ways that I would never treat you like. And that's got nothing to do with changing my personality and basically putting on a mask, just because it's you. I wanted to show you that there is another side to me. Maybe you'd think less badly of me. Maybe it'd be nice for you to know people can change. And many more reasons."
He had made up ways as to how our reunion would be. I couldn't believe it. He had thought of me, however little it may have been.
It meant something.
And it meant another loud crack on my barrier.
"It's needless to say that Tanya's an aggressive brute. She wanted to hurt you on purpose, but I thought my threat was enough to keep her on a distance from you. She committed cruelty act number one, and for the first time since a long time I got scared, because I saw you on the ground with your eyes closed, blood around your face, and I can only imagine what she must have done. I hate myself for not being there to stop her, but she out won me tactically by choosing to fight with you exactly at the moment when I had my battle with Emmett. For the first time in my life I called myself a jerk, for being naive into believing that Tanya wouldn't do just exactly that."
I had to hold the last pieces of my barrier together tightly.
Edward was very broad minded. And he was showing me that his intelligence was a lot more bigger then I originally thought.
Calling himself a jerk and naive wasn't what the Edward I knew would say. Calling Tanya an aggressive brute and her acts cruel was even more shocking to hear coming from his mouth.
"When I look ahead ten years from now, I see nothing. People think I'm joking when I say that I don't do girlfriends. I never joke about that one because a man is supposed to be able to get emotionally naked in front of his girl, but that shit is too intimate for me. My future could be great, because I know I have the potential to be something amazing."
He was absolutely right about his future. He could walk miles ahead of people, being a leader, a fighter and a winner. He wasn't arrogant when he said that, because even I knew it. Saying it made him realistic.
Just like that, I knew why he didn't do girlfriends. Many people, as I did once, simply thought because he didn't want to be attached to one person and live a free life, but the truth was one million times deeper. He couldn't make himself emotionally vulnerable.
Then what's he doing now?
"But what's the worth of a great future, if the past is fucked up and got never resolved?"
His words kept throwing stones on my barrier, and like a house of cards, gravity pulled it down and I couldn't fight it any longer.
It broke down and suddenly I was the one being exposed. I turned my head, staring at the roads.
A tear rolled down my cheek very slowly, as he said, "You wanted me to show you my true colors. There you have it."
There you have it.
His statement was quite true on two subjects.
The first being showing me his true colors.
The second was that his presence at last reduced me to tears, like I'd originally told him.
Was he talking about what he said to me or my tear?
"I'm at conflict again, because I've got so much more to tell you, but I also don't want to be the reason behind your pain. So I can take you back."
"Back where?" I muttered. "I've nowhere to go to."
"A few years ago I had that thought as well."
"What'd you do?"
"There's not a lot a person can do when they're alone. And I was alone, fighting a battle with myself. But I survived. You will too. I'll help you with it, okay? Objectively and effectively."
Then he'd leave me.