Disclaimer: I still don't own Twilight or its characters. That honour goes to Stephanie Meyer.

Chapter Four

Beep beep beep. 'Shut up, shut up, shut up!' Bella rolled over and groaned out loud as she hit the alarm button on her clock. It was the exact same action she had performed on the many mornings that had passed before. The sky was grey and it was raining, just like the many mornings that had passed before. Only this time everything was different. This time every move Bella made hurt like hell.

She sat up slowly, swinging her legs off the messy bed and sat gingerly on the edge, one arm wrapped protectively around her middle. She glanced out her window, it was pouring with rain and the grey, overcast skies matched her mood perfectly. 'Just like yesterday but now everything is different. How did things change so much in just twenty four hours? I know I wanted my life to change but this was SO not what I had in mind.' Bella slowly got up and groaned, feeling slightly nauseous. She was extra careful not to trip over anything as she went into the bathroom. She tentatively removed the hastily applied bandages she had put on the night before and decided to have a long, hot shower. She ran the shower, waiting for the hot water to come through. As she stepped inside she sucked her breath in sharply and held on to the shower rail. The hot water was causing all her cuts and bruises to sting. 'Oh Jesus, that hurts. Damn it.' As the stinging sensation gradually began to wear off, Bella began to relax in the now soothing shower, the tension seeping out of her sore body. 'What the hell happened last night? Mike was a monster. I've never seen him like that before. Yes, he's been acting weird but…Has he really picked up on my feelings towards Alice? He can't have, I don't even know what they are myself! And he threatened her! I can't risk him hurting Alice; I'll just have to keep quiet. Maybe he won't do it again. I have to believe he won't. But I can't let him get away with this.' Bella was brought out of her musings by the sound of Charlie yelling up the stairs.

"Bella, get outta the shower. The hot water is almost gone and you're gonna be late for school."

Bella looked at her hands, she had lost track of time and had started to prune. "Sorry Dad," she yelled back. She turned the water off and grabbed her large, fluffy towel and dried off gently, avoiding the more tender areas of her body. For the first time, Bella was able to check out properly what Mike had done to her the night before. She stared at herself in the mirror and gasped.

She checked out her face first. After that stinging first slap she had received, she was relieved to find that it hadn't left a bruise on her cheek, just a very faint pink mark. But that was only visible because she was looking for it. No-one would ever see it. Bella hated make-up and never wore it, ever, so for her to suddenly show up at school caked in the stuff would have been very hard for her to explain. The rest of her body however was a different story.Her ribs, her stomach, her arms and legs were an impressive patchwork of violent red and purple bruises. On top of the bruises, Mike's ring had created numerous cuts that kept cracking open and bleeding. 'Oh my god,' Bella was almost ashamed of what had happened. 'How could I let him do this to me? What's the matter with me?'

Bella sighed as she grabbed her Dad's medical kit from the bathroom cupboard and gently put new bandages on the cuts and strapped her ribs, trying to gain some relief from the pain. She made a mental note to replace everything; the last thing she wanted was to have to explain to Charlie why all the dressings were gone. She headed back into her bedroom and grabbed a turtleneck sweater from her closet. She had never been so relieved to live in Forks, the coldest, rainiest place on earth. She could cover everything up and not look at all out of place. She checked out her reflection in the mirror. 'You can't see anything. No-one will suspect a thing. Thank god.' Bella sat on her bed, finishing her morning routine and getting her breath back. Her ribs were really taking everything out of her.

Twenty minutes later Bella was finished and sat in the kitchen, forcing down a bowl of cereal so Charlie didn't suspect anything. 'God, if he only knew what Mike did. He'd kill him.' Bella didn't want her Dad to get into trouble, so in her mind keeping quiet was a good thing. She was hyper aware of the throbbing all over her body. 'I need to take pain killers.' "Dad, do we have any Tylenol or something?" she asked.

"Sure, in the corner cupboard. What do you want it for? Are you okay?" Charlie put down his paper and looked at his daughter inquisitively.

'Shit, come up with something. Put him off. I got it!' "Just women pains Dad, got the decorators in." Bella knew that would shut him up pretty fast and it did. He turned away, blushing and clearing his throat.

"Uh… just take what you need. I'll pick some more up later."

"Thanks Dad." Bella washed the pills down with a cold glass of water, hoping they would at least take the edge off. She was just finishing her water and contemplating asking Charlie if she could stay home for the day when she heard Mike pull up outside the house and park his truck. 'No way. I didn't think he'd have the nerve to show up this morning.' She braced herself and turned away, staring into the sink as Mike let himself in the house.

"Good morning Chief." Mike said cheerfully.

"Morning Mike." Charlie grunted.

Mike looked at Bella and slowly went and stood behind her. He put his arm around her gently. "Good morning Bella. And how's my favourite girl today?" he asked quietly, kissing Bella on her cheek.

Bella was completely stunned. 'What the…? Is he schizo or something? How can he act like nothing happened last night?' She shrugged him off gently."I'm okay Mike," she replied warily. She glanced at Charlie; he was totally oblivious to her behaviour around her boyfriend.

"Great. Have you eaten? Are you ready to go?"

"Uh huh. Let me just grab my bag." Bella went into the lounge and grabbed her bag off the couch. She groaned silently as the bag rested on her back, setting off another round of throbbing. She was trying to move as normally as she possibly could as she and Mike left the house but it was taking an incredible amount of effort.

When she was sat, uncomfortably, in Mike's truck and they were almost at school she had to ask, the silence was driving her crazy. "Mike," she spoke gently, she didn't want to risk setting him off again. "Um, have you forgotten what happened yesterday?"

Mike didn't answer; he just kept his eyes focused on the road ahead. Bella noticed his tight grip on the steering wheel and gulped nervously.

"Mike, please answer me. You scared me last night. You beat the shit out of me over nothing. You practically accused me of cheating on you and now you're acting like it never happened. Why?"

"Bella please, don't speak of what happened. I apologised and promised it would never happen again. I feel awful about it."

"You should feel bad. And we have to talk about it. It can't happen again Mike, I mean it. Ever. You can't imagine things that aren't there, or accuse me of things I haven't even done. And you can't be mad at me for having friends away from our group. Alice is great, they all are. You can't threaten me or them just because you feel jealous."

"I KNOW!" Mike raised his voice slightly and sighed as he saw Bella wince.

"I'm sorry. Relax; I'm not going to hurt you. And you're right, I had no right to act the way I did. Please Bella, I saw red and I just lost it. I don't know where it came from but I won't do it again, I swear to god. I love you too much babe to hurt you."

"But you did hurt me Mike. You should see what I look like this morning. You're lucky Charlie didn't see, he would probably lock you up."

"You're not gonna tell him are you? Bella please, how many times can I say I'm sorry and it won't happen again? Look, I'll even get some help if that's what it will take for you to believe me. Just please don't tell anyone." He was pleading now.

Bella remained quiet, staring out the side window and watching the passing scenery. Mike was saying all the right things but this had now happened twice, the second time much worse than the first. 'Does he need help? Can I believe him?' Bella realised she had no choice but to give him the benefit of the doubt. He had after all threatened her friend and she would never forgive herself if he did something to the petite pixie. "Okay Mike, I won't say anything. But if you ever, EVER do this again, we're done. For good. And I will report you. Do you understand me?"

Mike just nodded his head and tried to hold Bella's hand but she wouldn't let him. The feeling of Mike now made her skin crawl, as though she literally had hundred's of spiders running all over her body. She shuddered. She couldn't quite believe she had let this incident go. Bella was disgusted with herself for not even breaking up with him. She had always been anti-violence and had always believed that she would walk away if anyone even dared to try and hit her. But now she had let someone hurt her twice and she despised herself for it. After everything she had been feeling the last few months, this was her opportunity to get away from Mike. It was not a perfect opportunity by any stretch of the imagination, but still a chance. But that one threat he had made bore a huge influence on any decision Bella could make from now on. 'Because I would hate to have to do this to your friend if she ever found out.' Bella shuddered. She could not, would not, risk anything happening to Alice. Even if that meant staying with Mike.

Before Bella knew it, they had arrived at Forks High and parked up in the parking lot. Remembering what Mike had done the day before, Bella waited for him to join her first so they could walk in together. She looked around for Alice but there was no sign of her. Bella knew she was there though, she could see the Cullen cars. Mike walked her all the way to the door of her first class and kissed her.

"See you at lunch babe."

Bella nodded and watched him leave, sighing with relief as he disappeared around the corner. She wiped her mouth on her shirt sleeve; the thought of any part of Mike on her was vile. She took a deep breath, opened the door and walked into her class. She looked straight at her desk in the back of the room, seeking out the one person she needed to see desperately. Her new best friend, Alice Cullen. Bella smiled at Alice and as she walked towards her seat her heart started to beat faster and faster. 'Woah, calm down Bella. It's just Alice.' She sat in her seat and smiled again. "Hey Alice, sorry I'm late."

"Good morning Bella. How are you on this miserable morning? And why are you late?"

Bella was about to answer when she noticed that Alice had an odd look on her face. She was staring at Bella intently, causing the girl to blush and shift uneasily in her seat. Bella looked down at herself; she had all her clothes on. She wasn't wearing her underwear on the outside. All was normal. "Alice? Is something wrong?"

"Bella are you alright? You have a mark on your face and you seemed to be moving awkwardly when you came in."

Bella froze. 'I checked my face, there's nothing there. Wait… there was a faint mark. No way in hell she can see that mark! Can she?' "I'm fine Alice, there's nothing on my face. I think I would know if there was." Bella answered, a little too quickly and also with a little hostility. She needed to cover herself; she couldn't risk Alice finding out what had happened. "Honestly Alice, I'm okay. I fell out of bed last night and I'm just a little sore. Just clumsy old me."

Alice said nothing but she seemed reluctant to accept Bella's explanation and continued to stare. Bella was starting to feel very uncomfortable under her gaze. 'Alice, please, please let this go. Don't push it.' Bella begged silently. Luckily Bella was saved from any more questions as the teacher arrived and the class started. She reached for her pen but only succeeded in knocking it on to the floor. 'Great. Even my pens aren't safe around me.' Bella bent down slowly to pick it up. 'Ow, ow, shit, ow, shit, ow!' Suddenly she felt some of her cuts crack open again as she stretched her side unintentionally. Bella felt the slight warmth of her blood trickling out of the cuts. She was thankful she had put on the extra thick dressing pads. They would absorb the blood and stop it from showing through her top. Bella got herself upright again and glanced at Alice, hoping she hadn't noticed anything. What she saw instead stunned her.

Alice had moved herself so she was sitting at the end of the desk, as far as she could possibly get from Bella. She was sitting stock still, almost like a statue. She had also appeared to stop breathing and she was gripping the desk with such ferocity there were dents being formed in it. But what really caught Bella's attention were the girl's eyes. Before, they had been a beautiful, captivating gold colour. Bella loved looking into them. But now they were as black as night. Alice looked… almost terrifying. Inhuman even. Bella reached out towards Alice's hand but before she could say anything Alice had grabbed her stuff and bolted from the classroom. 'What the… how did she do that?' Bella watched as the girl vanished with Olympic speed. She shrugged at the teacher who had looked at her with questioning eyes. "I guess she's not well or something."

The teacher nodded and continued to explain the assignment to the rest of the class who were staring at Bella curiously. Bella blushed as she turned her gaze away from the staring students and out of the window. She watched the rain falling down, the drops pattering on the window, the sound soothing her as her thoughts began to run wild.

'What the hell? Her eyes were black! How did she do that? I'm not insane, they definitely changed colour. What caused that? She was fine until… until I bent down and cracked my cuts. Okay, I'm on to something here, wait a second. She is always cold. She's fast and rock hard. She doesn't eat. Her eyes change colour. I'm sure she stopped breathing as well." Bella was starting to come up with a theory but she couldn't quite bring herself to believe the things she was thinking. She made the decision to leave it until she could get to her laptop and do some research. She was a little disturbed by the path her thoughts had taken, she couldn't possibly be thinking it. But any concern she had was completely over-ridden with thoughts of her friend. Bella was worried about her; she had looked so distressed before she had fled from the classroom.

'Okay Alice Cullen. What are you?'