Dusty Prologue

Isabella B.

Dusty, dirty from the chain. Lips of your kisses are sticking like tape. Woke you at sunrise, cold as a grave. I'll cut you some flowers, don't be afraid.

Don't be afraid.




"When did you get back?" I run my fingers through my mother's willow tree, keeping my voice low and my head down as I walk through its branches.

"Today," he says, following me. "I came here first. I haven't been by my home yet."

I smile to myself, sickly satisfied with his confession. I take a chance and look, glimpsing over my bare shoulder. Edward walks behind me, following my lead. His eyes are tired and his skin is unwell. Edward's hair is dirty, but his clothes are brand new.

Those are sometimes the perks of a sinner who has money: they look disgustingly beautiful.

The velvet green leaves tickle my arms, sending chills up and down my skin. Edward sighs and groans behind me, unimpressed with my built wall.

"Bella, I said I was sorry."

I said I was sorryit's silly how this has become a statement I hear on almost a daily basis.

"I mean, it's not like you're my fucking girlfriend."

I turn around and Edward is closer than I anticipated. He's so close, almost touching me, looking down with sad eyes and a regretful posture. He has a cigarette set on his ear, and I know there are more disgraceful addictions in his pockets. He runs a hand through his disarray of brown and red hair, sticking the other in the pocket of his black jeans.

"You're right. I'm your victim," I spit. "Just when I begin to think that I'm going to be okay, you want me one more time."

"I'll always want you, baby," he whispers, coming to me, brushing his nose along my jaw. He takes my hand and presses my palm against the pulse point in his neck. "Do you feel that? Do you feel how fast it beats? You make my fucking heart flutter, princess."

His sweet words and apologetic demeanor force me to surrender before I've even given a decent fight, sending my defensive walls crumbling. I don't have enough confidence to stand up to him for long. I always give in.

We've driven head first into this calamity of fucked-up, and I don't ever see us rising to the surface. He sucks me dry and fills me up with phony terms and broken assurances. Edward has me tied to him, mentally and physically, and nothing I do will ever change that.

He removes my hand from his neck. He kisses my knuckles and flashes his crooked smirk. I manage to keep myself from smiling back, even if my heart is exploding in my chest.

"You're high," I whisper, feeling the heartache in my stomach.

"I am." He smiles.

I move away from him, extending my hand to tickle the willow. "Were you with her?"

"With who, Bliss?" he asks guardedly.

I laugh out loud. And not because this is funny, but because this is pathetic. "Don't call me that," I say spitefully.

Isabella Bliss.

I pass through the tree branches, sensing him behind me; Edward is studying my every move and detail, trying to find his way in. I can smell him: cigarettes mixed with Double Mint gum—a scent I know too well. I used to smell it on my skin, in my hair, and on my clothes. I used to savor it. But that was before.

I close my eyes, imagining for a moment that my heart isn't broken, and that he loves me just as much as I love him. I convince myself behind shut eyes that Edward doesn't choose drugs over me, continuously. I play myself a fool by believing that one day, it will only be him and me.

"Do I have to give names? Is there ever just one who, Edward?" I cry, brushing tears away as soon as they fall.

His silence slaughters.

"All this wanting is regret," I whisper, mostly to myself. Edward wraps his arms around me and it's hard to breathe … it's hard to speak. "All of this indecision, it's cutting what little we have left."

"What exactly do you want to hear? Who exactly do you want me to be?" His whispers of forever and outcome brush along my ear. His lips linger across my cheek. "When you turn eighteen, everything will be different, Bella."

I nod. Excuses.

"You look so fucking pretty in this dress. Let me take it off and love you," he begs, declares, and promises. Love is laced thickly through his tone, electricity flowing through his touch. "Let me be with you."

His hand, my hand, fits so easy.

I know he loves me. I never doubt his love. I doubt his intentions and respect. I distrust his motives and allegiance.


I smother in his imperceptible, dictating love.

He's loves traitor.

"My parents are home," I say, turning around to face him.

Edward kisses my lips lightly, running his hand up the back of my white halter dress, pulling the hair at the nape of my neck. "What did you do while I was gone?" he asks, tension rolling in waves though his body.

I laugh sorrowfully. "You mean, who was I with when you took off for a month?"

Edward groans in my ear, pulling my hair a little harder. "You better not have let anyone touch you. I swear to God, I'll fucking kill."

I whimper in result of the thrilling pain. I grip onto his arm and dig my nails into his skin. "No one. I would never do that to you." With my hand underneath his chin, I hold Edward by his face, forcing him to look at me. As a result, I'm forced to look into his dilated eyes. This isn't the boy I grew up loving, this is a man who brings me along for his ride.

"Because I love you. Because I love you, nobody else will ever touch me. Even though you are constantly touched," I say viciously.

He closes his eyes, shaking his head with a small smirk. "I wasn't with anyone, baby. I just wanted to get away. But I need to be with you." His eyes open and I miss his blue. His grip on my hair loosens, and he holds me close until there is nothing between us but my dress and his shirt. Edward whispers into my ear, "Come over tonight. Come over and let me show you."

With an easy breath, I answer, "Okay." And it doesn't feel a thing like falling.