Disclaimer: The central element in this story is incredibly different, incredibly demented, incredibly twisted. It's also set in the future. I hope you'll give it a go, I really enjoyed writing something totally off the wall and opposite of anything I've ever written before. Also, Edward has a dirty mouth so please forgive his "fucking" vocabulary : )
It'd been a year since the infection hit. I hadn't seen a live human in over six months and I was running low on food. I was barricaded in my underground bunker, built by my grandfather back during the World War IV when he was convinced the Rebels from overseas were going to nuke our asses.
He'd stored it with enough food to last a while and even put in an air filtration system so the air didn't run stale. It wasn't fresh by any means, but it was enough to keep me alive. I hadn't seen the sunlight in six weeks. I only went up when absolutely necessary and it was barely necessary. Grandpa had thought of almost everything, but a guy can only eat so many Hungry Man dinners. He didn't really think that one through too much.
I popped one of them in the microwave, the turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, and flipped on my television. It was the same as it was yesterday. The same it'd been two weeks ago, three months ago. Breaking News scrolled across the bottom of my screen, updating people on where the virus had spread. The date on the top of the screen read seven months ago yesterday. It hadn't changed since then. The anchor still sat at his desk, hunched over and sprawled across the table. The flesh was almost completely gone from his bones, torn and eaten away as he rotted in front of the camera.
I remember the day he died very clearly. I was sitting here eating a can of beans, my feet propped up on the La-Z-Boy as I recovered from a hard day of video games and running on the treadmill. I could see right away that he didn't look well. His skin was glistening from the sweat that was running down his face and he was shaking so terribly that he had to hide his hands under the desk.
He was in the middle of announcing the latest death tolls, which equaled millions in total, when he trailed off mid-sentence. His eyes rolled up in the back of his head as his hands went to his throat like some invisible force was choking him. Then he fell forward, dead as a fucking doornail, without evening finishing his report.
I flipped on the TV every day to the same picture, hoping someday that it would change. Someone would be there, talking, telling me that it was safe now. That the virus that killed my entire family had been contained. And everyday I was met with disappointment and a rotted corpse.
I glanced at my guns lined up against the wall, wondering if I should chance an outing today to get some fresh kill. The virus was lucky enough, or unlucky enough depending on your species, to only affect humans. The city had become overrun with animals of all kinds; rabbits, squirrels, deer…a few bears and mountain lions. I was a guy. I needed some meat every once in awhile that didn't come from a freezer.
I got up and opened my closet, the one that had my moon man suit in it. That's what I called it when I was little and Grandpa first showed it to me. It looked like all the things I'd seen in history books about when we first went to space. Full body suit, its own oxygen tank. It didn't really make hunting very easy, but there was no way I was risking contamination until I'd gotten the confirmation that the virus was gone. I wasn't croaking like Anchorman on my TV. No fucking way.
It took me nearly a half hour to get the suit on. I grabbed one of my guns off the wall, made sure I had enough ammo, and started towards the elevator. It opened and I stepped inside, pressing the little red "up" arrow as soon as I ready. The fan whizzed to life when the door closed, sucking all the oxygen from the elevator to prevent the spread of the virus.
I tapped my fingers anxiously against the barrel of the gun as I waited for the elevator to lift me the fifty feet up to ground level. Justin Bieber was playing in the background. Grandpa had a canny sense of humor. Bieber and the Apocalypse seemed to fit well for him. I couldn't say I disagreed, but if I had to hear this kid one more time I would tear out my oxygen line myself.
The door finally flew open and I squinted into the sunlight. I was in what used to be my backyard. My old swing set was still there, rusted and covered with overgrown grass. My old car was sitting in the driveway, gas tank completely empty. I glanced over at the small plot of land where I'd buried my parents and said a silent prayer before heading off towards the street.
I kept my eye trained for any straggling sick ones. I had this recurring nightmare where they somehow rip through my suit. I try to hold my breath until I can make it back to the elevator, but I never do. I take one big breath and I know it's over. I'm dead. Then I wake up and I'm back below ground, safe as ever. It doesn't mean I don't shit my pants every time I make a trip above ground.
I spotted some movement out of the corner of my eye and crouched down behind an abandoned car in the road. I peeked around the bumper and smiled when I spotted a large buck stepping out from behind one of the houses.
"Gotcha, fucker," I whispered, raising my gun and pulling the safety off. I held my arm steady as I set my aim and slowly squeezed my finger around the trigger. A moment before it fired, something hit me hard on the back of my head, one of the only soft parts on my helmet. The gun fell from my hands as I reached up to assess the damage.
"Ouch," I mumbled. Another blow hit. And my world went black.
I heard voices, but couldn't place them. I was still shrouded in darkness. My body felt weightless, almost like I was being carried. I could tell that my suit was off and if I was fully conscious I was fairly sure I'd be freaking out. I was infected. I was dead.
"Let's get him to the infirmary and get him checked out," someone said. I tried to open my eyes, but they were so heavy. I felt myself being placed onto a cold, hard table. And the light. Even with my eyes closed that light was so fucking bright I could hardly stand it.
"Seems to be in good physical shape," another voice said. "I'll run blood work and do a physical before we match him up."
Match me up? What the hell is this place?
I growled as a needle punctured my skin. They whispered to each other at my reaction and I felt some type of restraint secure my wrists and ankles down. They knew I was waking up.
I fought hard again to open my eyes, shivering as a cool draft of air rushed over my body. I was naked. I was fucking naked.
My eyes finally shot open. They were instantly blinded by the light, the intense bright light shining right above my head. I blinked a few times, trying to find my bearings. Everything was too much. Too much white. Too much glare. Too sanitary.
There were a couple of people standing beside whatever I was strapped to, wearing white lab coats and holding clipboards. They glanced my way, but looked away disinterested.
"Hey," I said, my throat scratchy. "Hey!" I tried to scream. Another needle poked my skin. I looked down at the source of the pain and found another lab coat drawing out viles and viles of my blood.
My skin was pale in the glaring light, completely bare all the way down to my feet.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" I asked. I fought to sit up, only to find I was strapped down tightly to the table. "Who are you people?"
"Subject seems disoriented and volatile," one of the lab coats said. "Give him a small dose of the suppressant until we can get his lab work back."
They snapped a quick picture of me and stuck another needle in my arm. The cool sensation rushed through my veins, instantly weighing my entire body down. I was awake, but couldn't move. Couldn't speak. I was completely paralyzed.
On the other side of the room, there was a large computer screen. They uploaded my picture to some type of program. It sat inside a large square along with my stats. Case 4598. 6'1". 190 pounds. Caucasian. Seattle, Washington.
The empty square next to my face starting blinking, scanning through thousands of other pictures that didn't pause long enough for me to see any details. I sighed and looked back up at the ceiling, counting the tiles on it until they spoke again.
"Blood work is excellent," one of them said. "Sperm count is incredibly high." Sperm count? What the hell did they do to me while I was out? "And we found a suitable match. Case 2301."
"Let's get him dressed," another said.
They came over and released my restraints. I tried to punch their fucking lights out, kick them, do something. But my limbs were still concrete, just the very slightest tingling feeling starting to come back.
I cleared my throat as a woman with leather gloves brought over a generic looking outfit. White tee. White lounge pants. White fucking slippers. White. She started dressing me and I would have felt really awkward if I wasn't so pissed off. I didn't know what was going on or who these people where.
The feeling was almost completely back in my limbs by the time she was finished, but I didn't dare hit her and make a run for it. I'd never hit a girl. Even a freaky one who was obsessed with white clothing and had extremely cold hands.
I eyed the few men guarding the door. Those fuckers on the other hand, I'd beat the shit out of.
"This way please, 4598." One of the lab coats waved at me, expecting me to follow him. I swung my legs over the table and stood up. My legs were a little wobbly, so I clung to the table until I was steady.
"Where am I?" I asked again, hoping I could keep this civilized. Although I was pretty sure they went past civilized when they molested me in my sleep…or whatever they did to get my sperm count.
"This way." He smiled a nauseating smile and gestured towards the doorway.
I clenched my fists and sighed as I started towards it. I glanced at the two men at the door again as I got closer and raised my fist, ready to swing and run. One caught it in mid-air, stopping it before it could even think about making contact. I cringed under his grasp, feeling my bones warp at the pressure.
"That is not advisable, 4598." The lab coat shook his head, scolding me like I was a small child. "Release him, please."
The guard let go of my hand and I winced as I pulled it towards my chest. There goes that escape route.
The guards flanked me as I followed the lab coat down a long, narrow hallway. There were several doors on each side, all heavy metal with a small window about eye level.
"Suite 17. Here we are." The lab coat smiled again and came to stop in front of one of the doors. He produced a key from his pocket and slid it into the lock. It beeped a couple of times before I heard the lock slip open. He reached out and pulled the door open. The guards grabbed hold of my arms and threw me, not so gently, into the room before sealing the door shut behind me.
I immediately shot back up and started banging against the door so hard that my fists started bleeding.
"Let me out! Let me out of here! I'll fucking kill you for this, do you hear me?" I screamed.
"That won't do you any good," a small, delicate voice said from behind me. I spun around and fell back against the door.
There was a woman sitting on a large bed on the other side of the room. It was all white of course, just like the walls and everything else here.
"Where are we?" I asked.
"I don't know," she said, smiling apologetically.
"How long have you been in here?"
She shook her head, unable to come up with an answer. "Enough for two other stags to run their course."
"Stags?" I cocked my head to the side.
"I'm Bella." She stood up and walked towards me, extending her hand. "Or 2301."
"Edward." I shook her hand. If I were in any other situation, I'd be flirting my ass off with this girl. I hadn't seen a woman in a long time before today and she was already a thousand notches higher than that chick in the lab.
Her attire was similar to mine, white lounge pants hugging her hips and a tight white tank around her top half. Her long, brown hair hung down to the middle of her back and even though she didn't have a stitch of make-up on, she was breathtaking. But her lips. Her fucking lips. I could only imagine them wrapped around…Edward, stop. Being locked up had quite an effect on me. One glimpse of a beautiful girl and I was already fantasizing about her. When all you had is your hand and an old porn mag, it didn't take much to ignite your senses.
"You said something about…stags? What's a stag?" I asked, cocking my eyebrow.
"You are." She sat back down on the bed. "I suppose they haven't told you much yet, huh?" She shook her head. "I've heard it all already. Once you've been around here for awhile, you just kind of know how it works."
"How what works?"
"This place. You and me." She blushed. "My first stag was a guy named Eric. He was a little shorter than you, a lot less aggressive and angry."
"What happened to him?"
"They just came in one day and took him away. It was his third match."
"I don't understand." I sat down on the bed beside her.
"You get…rejected after three failed matches."
"Taken care of." Her lip trembled and I realized exactly what she was saying. They killed him.
"They assume you aren't fertile or there's something wrong with you."
I shot up from the bed. "Wait a fucking minute, what are you saying?"
"They want a new generation, Edward. To start over in a healthy, sterile place."
"You mean I'm supposed to get you pregnant?" I pointed to her. "We're supposed to…" I nodded towards the bed.
"Yes. We're meant to mate."
"And what if we don't…I mean don't take this the wrong way, you're a beautiful girl this is just really fucked up. They can't just throw us together and expect us to mate like animals."
"My second stag wouldn't touch me. He refused." She shrugged. "I woke up one morning and he was gone."
"This is just…" I collapsed back down and buried my head in my hands. "Unreal." I looked up, rubbing my hands over my face. My legs bounced up and down, anxious.
"Are you alright?" She lightly touched my arm.
"No. I'm not alright." I shook my head. "And I really have to piss."
"Oh!" She hopped up. "Bathroom here." She pulled aside a white curtain that I never would have known was there. It blended in completely with the walls.
I nodded in thanks and made my way over to it. It was pretty simple, like that surprised me. A shower, toilet and sink, and a small cabinet. That was it.
Bella let the curtain fall closed behind me and I went to the toilet to relieve myself. When I was finished, I washed my hands and peeked inside the cabinet. Essential hygiene products. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant. Couldn't have us smelling like a fucking rat's nest, right? I rolled my eyes and cursed as I made my way back out to the room.
"So what does everyone do around here except have sex?" It sounded like the perfect place right? I couldn't even wrap my mind around it enough to see the bright side.
"We get let out for one hour each day to exercise and gain social interaction with the others." She nodded.
The door flew open. A guard and another man stepped in, a smile on his face. "Hello! Welcome, welcome," he said, clapping his hands together. "I hope you find your new accommodations inviting. My name is Aro. I will be your advisor."
"Aro?" I said. "I find my new accommodations to be shit. I'm not a fucking animal that you can just cage up so I demand that you let both of us out of here!" I gestured back towards Bella.
"She's lovely isn't she?" He smiled at Bella, completely ignoring my request. "I'm sure you'll find her more than suitable." He paced around the room. "I always like to check in on our new acquisitions." He tapped his chin. "Meals are served three times a day, only the best and nutritious of course. The physician will visit once every other week to examine you to make sure you're in top shape." He looked me up and down. "I can see that you take your physical fitness seriously so I'll see to it that we get some simple equipment in here for you in case the daily hour isn't sufficient."
"I'm not doing this," I said, through clenched teeth.
"You will. In time." He kinked his eyebrow and started towards the door. "Copulation won't be necessary this first evening, but we do require at least three sessions per week. Please let us know if we can make your stay more enjoyable. There's a call button, just there." He pointed to a small button by the door before stepping out. "Have a good evening."
Almost on cue, the door opened once more and a cart of food was brought in for us. The woman who pushed it in didn't even look at us. She just left it in the middle of the room and got out.
"Dinner," Bella mumbled.
I couldn't lie. I was hungry. I sat down on the bed as Bella produced two smaller trays for us to eat from. She brought me over my plate and sat down next to me.
"Thank you." I took a deep breath and nearly fainted when I saw the juicy steak in front of me. I hadn't had a decent steak since before the virus hit.
Bella's meal was very modest. A lot of vegetables and lean meat. She seemed to enjoy it just the same.
"So how old are you?" I asked.
"Nineteen…I think. What's the date?"
I assumed I'd only been out of my bunker for the day. "September 12th."
A small smile hit her lips. "My birthday is tomorrow."
I couldn't smile. I didn't mean to be cruel, but I couldn't even see how she could find an ounce of happiness in this place. And it pissed me off that this beautiful, seemingly kind girl was caged up in here and had to spend her birthday like this. Being used like a tool. Not a human being. Not a woman.
Bella and I didn't speak for the rest of the meal. When we were both finished, she took my plate and set it on the cart before pushing it towards the door.
"You don't have to do that, you know? Clean up after me," I said.
"It's okay." She shrugged. "It makes me feel like I'm doing something. Like I have some sort of…control."
I nodded, understanding what she meant. "Well thank you. I'm going to take a shower." I got up and started towards the bathroom.
Pulled the curtain shut and started the shower before stripping out of my clothes. I moaned as soon as I stepped inside. This water pressure was fucking amazing.
I leaned forward and rested my forearms on the tile as the warm water beat down on me. I had no idea how I got to this point. To this place. Well, I know. Literally. I was an idiot and got conked on the head. But how did people get to this point? I mean we were still people right? Not animals in some breeding experiment.
I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I was getting out of here. And if I could manage it, I was getting her out too. I was getting us out.
I got out of the shower when my head started to hurt from all of the thinking. I wrapped a towel around my waist and started out of the bathroom. I froze in the doorway, seeing Bella standing across the room.
She was bent over, only in her white underwear. She pulled a t-shirt out of her bottom drawer and pulled it over her head, covering her bare back as she spun around towards me.
"Oh," she gasped. "Hi." Her hands clasped tightly together in front of her.
"Hi." Don't stare at her tits. Don't stare at her tits….I'm staring at her tits.
"How was your shower?" She asked.
"Fine." I nodded.
"I was just going to head to sleep. I'm a little tired today." She smiled nervously and glanced towards the bed.
"Of course." I smiled and grabbed a new pair of white sweatpants from my drawers. I returned to the bathroom to get dressed.
I pulled the towel away from my body and hung it up beside the shower. After I slipped on my sweatpants, I ran my fingers through my damp hair and stumbled towards the bed. I didn't ever imagine myself being comfortable in this place, but that bed looked like fucking heaven. Especially with that angel sleeping in it now.
I assumed it was okay for me to sleep in the bed with her; otherwise I would have gladly slept on the floor. She was curled up on one side, totally twisted around herself and the only pillow she had. Her dark hair was sprawled across the white sheets, curling and twisting in waves.
I sighed and pulled back the blanket to my side before I lowered myself onto the bed. I laid down, took a deep breath and shut off the light.
The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that I had a massive boner. The second was that somehow I'd wrapped my arms around Bella's waist during the night. The third and last was that I kind of fucking enjoyed it.
I opened my eyes and peeked over her shoulder to find her still asleep. I softly and gently pulled my arms away from her. She immediately shivered, so I pulled the blanket up around her and swung my legs over the side of the bed.
I stretched as I stood and went to piss. After I splashed some water on my face, I tried to find something to do. I found myself wanting to work out just to pass the time so I started doing cycles of push ups and crunches while I waited for her to get up. I wasn't sure what we would do then, but at least I'd have someone to talk to. This room was enough to drive a man crazy.
I kept my eyes on the bed each time I sat up, grimacing in wonderful pain as my stomach muscles tensed. Up. Down. Up. Down.
I stopped when I saw Bella sitting up in the bed, her eyes focused on me.
"Mornin'," I said, hopping up.
"Good morning." She smiled. "Did you sleep well?"
"I did." I wiped the sweat from my forehead. "I didn't wake you did I?"
"No." She glanced at the clock. "I haven't slept that long in ages. I almost missed breakfast."
"Breakfast?" Right on cue my stomach growled and I only hoped that it would be as good as dinner was last night.
Bella retreated to the bathroom for a few minutes. While she was gone, the same person from last night brought in a tray for breakfast. It was filled with pancakes, eggs and toast. There was also an assortment of bagels and cereal. I grabbed one of each and sat down to eat. Bella joined me shortly after and sat on the bed.
"Happy Birthday, by the way," I said.
"Thank you," she said with a smile. "So…" She nibbled on a bagel. "When do you wanna?" She nodded to the bed.
"Oh," I mumbled. I looked down at my food and took a big bite to allow me time to think. We were supposed to have sex. Should we do it early or late? Will I even be able to get it up? It felt strange to plan to have sex. Not that I would ever need much incentive to have sex with Bella, but knowing that people were watching us made me feel like I was in some type of fucked up snow globe. It wasn't right.
"Later," I said, focusing on my food. I glanced up at her for the slightest moment and saw her nod her head.
They came and collected our plates once we were done and I was already aching to get out of this room. I felt like Bella's eyes were always on me, wondering, questioning when we were going to get at it. I get that she was scared. She'd seen crazy things that I knew nothing about. She was the one who had to get pregnant and start a whole new generation. Once they were done with me, they'd probably throw me back out on the streets, left for dead.
Lunch came eventually, just a modest sandwich and a glass of milk. Bella started growing more and more anxious as the afternoon passed. At exactly three o'clock the doors swung open, but no one came inside. Bella smiled and started towards the open door like she owned the place.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
"It's social hour." She nodded towards the door. "Come on."
I shrugged and followed her out, keeping me eye out for guards. They stood in a uniform line as each door opened and two by two, each couple stepped out. We were herded down the long hallway like cows to slaughter. People. We were people. I sighed anxiously and looked around. Bella surprised me when she grabbed my hand and offered me a reassuring squeeze.
"This way," she said softly. Every now and then, people's eyes would flitter my way, like they knew I was the new guy. To me, they were just a sea of pale faces with two dark holes. They'd lost their humanity.
We eventually came to a large room. It almost reminded me of my high school cafeteria. There were rows and rows of tables. Some had games, cards and other activities on top. There were two doors on the other end of the room, each with a sign on top. Pool and Gym.
Bella pulled me to a small table where two other couples were sitting.
"Hi guys. This is Edward." She smiled and looked at me.
"Edward. I'm Emmett." One of the men shook my hand. "This is Rosie." Rosie didn't look up from her lap, even at the mention of her own name.
"This is Jasper and Alice." Bella motioned to the other couple and I noticed she was pregnant.
"Congratulations," I said sarcastically. I didn't mean to come as an asshole, but was this really a blessing. Maybe for them. Jasper doesn't get thrown out or taken care of.
"Thank you." Alice grinned and put her hand over her stomach. "It's our second."
"Where's your first?" I asked.
"We see her once a month." Alice's smile faltered a little. "She lives in one of the other buildings with a nanny."
"That's where the infertile women go," Bella whispered.
"That sounds fucking awful. They can't even see their own kid?" I asked her.
Bella cleared her throat and turned her attention back to the group. Emmett and I talked a little bit about where we were from. He lived in California until they picked him up. Him and Rosie hadn't been too lucky with conceiving. Apparently she's had two miscarriages. They've tested both of them and they seemed perfectly healthy.
"My time's running out," he mumbled. "I can't imagine they'll keep me around for more than a couple of months. It's my third match." He lowered his voice. "Poor Rosie's been through enough. Even though they take all the women to the infirmary for their first trimester, she just can't carry to term. I don't want to do that to her again, but I don't know what else to do. I'm trapped."
The way he looked at her made me think that he actually cared for her. I wondered if couples often fell in love here, if they were together for long enough. I'm sure having a child together gave you some type of connection. And being cooped up in that room together for 23 hours a day was bound to make you either love or hate someone.
The hour passed by way too quickly. I liked Emmett. Jasper was a little quiet, but he seemed like a good guy. They didn't seem so affected by this situation as I was. Maybe I'd get used to it, as crazy as it seemed.
We were led back to our rooms and shortly after dinner arrived. Afterward, I took a shower and came out to find Bella listening to some music on a small radio.
"So what happens to the men when the women get pregnant?" I asked, wondering about Alice and Jasper's situation.
"They get a small break so they don't get worn out. The women are monitored in the infirmary for the first trimester just to make sure they get the best care and are looked after. When they're cleared, the men are released to another woman."
"He's a stag for another woman now. But he gets to see Alice at social hour. Once Alice gives birth they'll be housed together again because they were a suitable match. They're a little more lenient once you prove you're a good product." She stood up and bit down on her lip. "So…" She looked at me expectantly and a lump rose up in my throat. "Should we?"
"Um…" I stuttered.
"I know you're nervous, but it's okay. I promise." She pulled her shirt over her head like it was nothing and instantly unclasped her bra. My fists clenched at my side as her bare breasts popped out. She leaned over and quickly pulled her pants down.
She cocked her eyebrow and sauntered over to me as I stood frozen. "Edward?"
"Y…yes." I cleared my throat and turned my eyes to hers. "Yes?"
"Are you ready?"
In my head I imagined the lights dimming as some Barry White came on the radio. Neither happened. It was still as white and bright as before.
I nodded slightly even though I wasn't even close to being ready for this. She reached forward and pulled on the waistband of my pants, slowly undoing the tie. As they loosened, they slinked down to my hips. Bella laid herself down on the bed and spread her legs, almost like she was used to this. She was used to this. This was just like nothing to her. Sex was a job. A way to survive. Not something that was pleasurable or filled with passion or lust. It was just sex.
I held my breath and slowly crawled onto the bed and over her body. She climbed back and slipped under the covers, waiting for me. I sighed and pulled my shirt over my head before kicking my pants off. I slid under the blanket with her, both of us completely naked.
I couldn't believe I actually had a hard on. I don't even think my dick was too excited about it, but you can't fight biology. It subconsciously knew it was getting some action right now. Even if it was fucked up action, it was something.
Was I supposed to kiss her? Was this just supposed to be quick to get it over with? I had no fucking clue.
I reached down between us and lined myself up with her. I glanced up at her for approval and she nodded. I pushed myself inside her, cursing and steadying myself over her.
She ran her fingers through my hair, grasping a little too tight.
"Did I hurt you?" I asked.
"I'm fine. Please continue." Her eyes were a little wet, but she didn't cry.
I forced my hips to move, thrusting against hers like some type of robot. It was mechanical. It was dull. It was completely bullshit.
I could barely force myself to finish and I could tell Bella definitely hadn't.
"Sorry," I said, pulling out and rolling onto my back. I rubbed my hands over my face and shook my head. "Shit. I'm sorry."
She took a few deep breaths and pulled the blanket up to her neck before rolling over away from me.
I sighed. She tried to hide it, but I saw her wipe a tear from her cheek. "Goodnight, Bella."
I felt like an asshole. And I still felt like one the next morning. I hadn't slept at all. I was completely exhausted but unable to close my eyes. I sat up, leaning against the headboard watching her sleep.
I kept myself occupied for the rest of the day, avoiding having to talk about what happened last night. I sat beside her at social hour, but didn't utter a single word. I just couldn't. Not after what I did to her.
When she snuck off to take a shower that night, I faked being exhausted and went to bed early. I didn't have to fake it too much. I had a lot to make up for from the night before.
I slept through breakfast, almost until lunch the next day. Bella wouldn't speak or even look at me, only confirming my suspicions. Something went terribly wrong the other night. She hated it. She hated me.
"Did I do something wrong?" She whispered. "I mean…if I'm not…what you need to…" She trailed off.
"What? What are you saying?" I asked.
"If I'm not pretty enough or skinny enough or…something. It's okay." She shook her head.
"Bella, don't be ridiculous. You're beautiful just the way you are."
The door swung open, signaling the beginning of social hour. We both sighed.
I followed Bella to her usual spot with the group, but I nodded a polite hello and passed by them to head for the pool. I needed to do something. Something to clear my head.
I changed into the swim trunks that were provided and was thankful that I was the only one here. I held my breath and dove into the pool.
I wasn't a professional swimmer by any means, but I was fairly good in high school. Placed in some state competitions. There was something relaxing about it. Stroke. Breathe. Kick. Stroke. Breathe. Kick. Back and forth.
I popped up when an annoying bell sounded, signaling a five-minute warning for the end of social hour. I swam to the side and pulled myself out of the water. There was a pile of folded towels waiting by the door, so I dried myself off and changed back into my clothes. I wasn't sure where I was supposed to put my wet trunks so I just hung them on the back of one of the chairs and left.
When I rejoined the group, everyone was already starting towards the door. I searched the crowd for Bella, but it was almost like finding a needle in a haystack. Everyone looked the same.
I finally spotted her as she turned her head around towards the back. She must be looking for me. She turned forward again so she must not have seen me.
I weaved my way through the crowds until I found her and took her hand in mine. Her head snapped around and a small smile spread across her lips.
"Hi," she murmured.
"Hi." I leaned down and kissed her cheek. I couldn't explain why, but I liked this girl. "I'm sorry I left. I needed some time."
"It's okay." She bit her lip and turned forward as we made our way back to our room.
I took a shower to get all of the chlorine off me and when I came out, dinner was waiting.
"Are you hungry?" Bella asked.
"Starving." That sandwich at lunch wasn't enough.
I sat down beside her and started digging in.
"So. Where were you when the infection hit?" I asked, trying to fill the silence. I guess that was a pretty heavy topic for small talk, but it just came out.
"Spending spring break with my boyfriend." She shook her head. "He was one of the first to die. They came in and grabbed me just in time. Saved my life."
"And then brought you to this place." I sighed. "Saved your life just to cage you up."
"What about you?"
"Mowing the lawn in my Grandpa's back yard. I remember looking through the back window and seeing the breaking news about some horrific sickness that was spreading across the globe. It was too fast. Too strong. Resistant to any medicine known to man." I ran my fingers through my hair. "I noticed that the yards and streets were unusually quiet and that's when I knew it was too late. It was already there."
I finished scarfing down my food and laid back on the bed when they finally came to take it away. Bella did the same and placed her hands over her stomach.
"So what happened to your family?" She asked, turning her head towards me.
"My parents were vacationing up in the mountains when it happened. I tried to call them, but all of the lines were busy. And when I found my grandfather, it was already too late for him. He told me with one of his last breaths to go to the bunker and wait. He wanted me to live more than anything else."
"Yeah. It's where I've been this whole time. Underground. Clean and safe."
"I wish we'd had that. I don't even know where my parents are or if… I just don't know."
"I'm sure they're fine." I nodded.
She smiled and inched closer to me. I held my breath when her hand reached over and tugged at the tie on my sweatpants.
"I'm a little tired tonight," I said, trying to make excuses. What kind of guy makes excuses to avoid sex? What is wrong with me?
"Oh," she sighed. "Okay. We still have two more times this week." She nodded.
"Yeah. Okay." I smiled and scooted up to lay my head on the pillow. Bella turned out the light and crept into the bathroom. I forced myself to go to sleep before she came out.
The next two days passed by much like the first two. I avoided her advances as much as possible and I could see it was hurting her feelings. I didn't mean it that way and I wanted to tell her that, but I didn't even know how to explain this to her. I couldn't do this. I couldn't just…mate with her.
After social hour, one of the guards surprised me and pulled me aside before Bella and I stepped into our room. She looked back at me, a terrified look on her face. The guard told her that she was to stay in the room. She reluctantly complied, barely letting go of my hand as I was led away. I had a fairly good idea of what this was about. They were watching me. Knew I'd become hesitant. Knew I was avoiding it.
The guard took me to an office. I sat down in the chair and was met with Aro's smiling face.
"Hello 4598," he said. I didn't respond. "I see you are falling into your life here very easily…except for one thing."
"Because it's bullshit." I crossed my arms.
Aro cleared his throat and came to stand in front of me. He leaned down, forcing his face within inches of mine. "This is your warning, 4598. Whether you think it's bullshit or not you'll do as you're told or we'll have no problem finding a new product. Understood?"
I clenched my teeth in response.
"Guard. Take him away, please. Have a good evening, 4598." Aro waved as the guard led me out.
He took me back to the room and opened the door.
"Thank you," I said sarcastically. Just as I was about to walk in, I felt a hard shove from behind me. I fell forward into a table, smacking my face against it.
"Mother fucker!" I screamed, reaching for my face. I winced as I ran my fingers over my brow. I heard the door slam behind me as Bella rushed over to me.
"Edward!" She cried. "Are you okay?" She took my face in her hands. "You're bleeding."
"That was a cheap shot," I mumbled. "Why don't you hit me when I can fight back, asshole!" I screamed back at the door.
"Let's clean this up." She pulled me up and had me sit on the bed. She went into the bathroom and came back with a small, white box that I figured must be a first aid kit. She rummaged around inside and pulled out some ointment. "I don't want it to get infected."
I sat silently still as she wiped the cut and dabbed some of the ointment on a small spot just above my eyebrow. I couldn't help but stare at her as she worked. She was so close. And I didn't know if it was because I was angry or if it was from the adrenaline or just something else all together, but I was insanely attracted to her right now.
I licked my lips and forced my eyes down, away from her chest that was right in front of me.
"What was that about?" She asked.
"Aro wanted to talk to me about our situation," I said.
"And what's our situation?"
"Apparently I'm not up to code." I smiled to myself and watched her tiny feet bounce up and down against the floor. Fucking adorable.
"There's something wrong with you?" She asked, bending down so I was forced to look at her.
"There must be. I've been avoiding fucking you for the past two days."
"I've noticed." She bit down on her lip. I wanted to do that.
"I'm gonna go shower," I mumbled, never leaving her eyes. I was losing it. I had to get away from her.
"Edward, you can't run away from this." She shook her head.
"Watch me." I stood up and brushed past her into the bathroom. I felt her watch me as I left, actually glaring would be more like it. I was glad I didn't see it. I bet that shit was hot.
I turned on the shower and shrugged my clothes off. I wasn't surprised to see I was hard as hell. I wonder if she could see it through my sweatpants.
As soon as I stepped under the water, I reached down and started stroking myself to release the tension.
"Fuck," I mumbled to myself.
I jumped as the curtain opened and Bella stepped inside, completely naked. That wasn't going to help.
"What are you doing?" I asked, turning around.
"You can't just walk away. You can't keep avoiding this, don't you get it?" She shook her head, tears streaming down her face. "This is your life. This is my life."
"You deserve better than this," I whispered.
"Yeah I do. And so do you. But we don't have anything else. We have here and now and we have each other."
God, she looked amazing. I groaned, trying to avoid staring at her body. I was way too attracted to her for this to be anything less than complicated. And speaking of complicated, she didn't seem like the ditzy girls I used to date before everything happened. She seemed too real to me. Too easy to love. It made this even more dangerous than it already was. I saw how Jasper and Alice lived and I didn't want to live like that. Bella wasn't safe for me. I knew it from the moment I saw her.
"So, what are you going to do about it?" She took a step closer and ran her finger down my stomach.
"I can't just…" I shook my head. "It can't just be sex for me, okay?" Damn I sounded like a pussy. I couldn't just be that mechanical guy who mates with his female. It wasn't me.
She sniffled and pushed her body flush against mine as her hand reached my dick. She perked up on her tiptoes, lingering right in front of my face. "Make love to me."
"What?" I cocked my eyebrow.
"I want more." She bit her lip. "Make love to me."
She glanced down at my lips and it hit me that we hadn't even kissed the other night. I'd fucked her without one single kiss. I took a quick breath and leaned down, capturing her lips with mine.
I stiffened as her hand tightened around my dick before she started moving it up and down. I wrapped my arm around her waist and pushed her back against the shower wall.
I kissed her dampened skin, from her jaw to her neck and back again before returning to her lips.
She ran her free hand through my hair, tugging at the ends so hard that my head jolted back.
I felt more in that first kiss than I ever had in my entire life. I thought maybe I was caught up in the moment; it was just the energy around us, between us.
She fell to her knees. I groaned as I felt her lips wrap around my dick and pull me into her mouth. I leaned forward, resting against the wall as the water beat down on my back. My hips moved on their own accord, meeting her pace as she ran her tongue over my skin.
"Bella," I whispered. I reached down and tried to pull her up. I grabbed her hips and pulled her legs around my waist, aching to feel her warmth.
She smiled and reached down between us, lining us up perfectly before sinking down onto me. Her eyes closed as her head fell back against the wall.
I leaned down and took one of her nipples between my teeth, nipping and sucking her while she moved her hips up and down. I looked up and found her staring at me, her eyes dark and mischievous. Alive.
She lowered her head and kissed me again, running her tongue across my bottom lip before slipping between. She whimpered into my mouth, her jaw going slack as I pounded into her.
I felt like my whole body was going to combust. Just explode into a million pieces from how fucking good she felt.
I ran my hand down her waist and around the curve of her ass before gripping her thigh and pulling her closer to me. I pulled my lips away, wanting to see her eyes when she came undone.
I searched her eyes for some kind of spark. Pop. Fizzle. Bang. There it was. All of it.
Was she close? She nodded in silent confirmation and bit down on her lip as she fought a moan. Her nails suddenly dug into my shoulders as her body went rigid. Her brow furrowed as her lips pouted into a soft circle. She screamed and I grinned like a proud bastard that I'd done that to her. It was enough to send me, still smiling, over the edge with her.
Her legs slumped down to the floor, weak and tired. She kissed me again and reached around me to turn off the water. We both grabbed a towel and stepped out of the bathroom and into the living quarters. I fell back onto the bed and ran my fingers through my hair.
"That was…" I trailed off.
"Different," Bella mumbled, blushing. "Than the first time."
"Yeah." I looked over at her and smiled. Yes. It was definitely different.
We didn't have a problem reaching our stipulated goal each week anymore. In fact, we surpassed it. Aro was happy. I was fucking beaming despite our situation. And Bella seemed happy.
"What did you want to be when you were little?" Bella asked. We were laying in bed, almost completely exposed as I massaged her foot.
"A racecar driver," I said, fighting a smile. "My grandpa said that I used to whip around so quick in my mini Jeep that they had to put cones up in the road so I wouldn't get hit by a car."
Her head threw back in a loud, adorable laugh and I couldn't help but join her. I barely noticed as the door swung open for our breakfast.
"Thank you," Bella called. I turned my head and caught the woman staring at us with a curious eye before she left.
"What about you?" I asked, heading over to grab a piece of toast. "What did you want to be?"
"I don't remember ever wanting to be something special." Bella shrugged. "Is that strange?"
"No. I think it means you were just confident with yourself. You didn't need the dreams because you were happy with who you were."
I sat down beside her and kissed her cheek.
"Edward?" She said, looking down at her hands. "Do you think we'll ever get out of here?"
Her question surprised me, especially with the amusing morning we'd had.
"I fucking promise we'll get out of here," I whispered. I leaned over and kissed her.
We didn't get dressed until social hour that day. I dropped Bella off at the table, said hello to everyone, and started towards the pool.
"Edward, wait!" Bella called, running after me. "Can I come?"
"I already know you can." I smirked.
She laughed and slapped my shoulder. "I mean…can I come swimming with you?"
"Yeah. Of course." I took her hand and led her to the pool. We both changed into our swimsuits and I jumped right in. Bella stood tentatively standing at the edge, looking into the water with trepidation.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"I don't know how to swim."
"Really?" I kicked over to the edge and laid my hands over her feet. "Why'd you want to come swimming then?"
"I didn't. I just wanted to hang out with you." She sat down and stuck her legs in the water. "Can you teach me?"
"You want me to teach you how to swim?"
"If you want to."
"Alright. Let's get you floating."
Bella was right; she had no clue what she was doing once she got into the water. We started out in the shallow end, getting her used to floating and showing her different ways to kick and swim. She was hesitant as hell to move to the deeper water, but I told her I'd always be right there.
"I won't let you sink, sweetheart," I promised.
I swam out before her and waited. She slowly, but surely pushed off the pool floor. She kicked frantically for a few moments before realizing that she didn't have to work so hard. When she finally saw that she was doing it, she smiled.
"You did it," I said.
"I did it."
Bella joined me in the pool every time I went after that. Each time I saw her improve until she was easily floating by me effortlessly.
It wasn't until I was called into Aro's office that I even realized how much time had passed and how little we had left. And it scared the shit out of me.
"I see you two have taken a liking to one another, eh?" Aro said, pulling me into his office. My eyes widened when I saw the large expanse of just…fucking nature staring back at me from behind his desk. A window I'd never known there was completely open, showing a panoramic view of our surroundings. For the first time I realized where we were. On an island.
I sat down in the chair and tried to focus on what he was saying, but all I could see was water. Not too far off in the distance were the remnants of a city. The streets were lined up in parallels, going straight up the rolling hills.
I remembered my grandfather talking about his visit to a place called San Francisco. About how you could see the rows of streets from all the way out on Alcatraz, the abandoned island prison. I also heard an earful when they tore it down completely, something about destroying American history. The last I'd heard the island was completely deserted. Now I knew that wasn't true. I knew exactly where we were.
I smiled, thinking that I'd gained some type of valuable knowledge. And then Aro spoke.
"We're giving you another month. I know it isn't for a lack of trying my boy." He laughed, clearly amused by our gratuitous sex life. "But the truth of the matter is we're not seeing any results from it. It's time to move on, you see. Try you out with another female."
"Your current partner has reached her limit here. She'll either be transferred to the nursery or disposed of."
I gripped the arms of the chair, trying not to show my distress. I couldn't speak. I couldn't move. The only thing I could see was Bella. I wasn't sure what this meant, but I was fairly fucking sure I felt something more than indifference towards her. Right?
I didn't pay attention to the rest of Aro's speech and the next thing I knew I was being led back to the room.
I found Bella reading a book, laying on the bed. Her head perked up as I walked in, looking concerned.
"Is everything okay?" She asked.
The moment I saw her, I knew what it meant. I knew exactly what it meant. "I love you, Bella."
"What?" She mumbled, barely above a whisper.
"I love you."
A small smile played on her lips. "Good. Because I love you too."
"Good." I wrapped my arms around her, but my mind was elsewhere. The wheels were turning, trying to find a way, anyway to get us the hell out of here. There was no other choice. Our time was running out. Her time was running out.
As the next few weeks passed, I became more and more anxious. It was almost like I could just see an hourglass in my head with the sand slipping through too fast. Everything was too fast. I didn't have enough time. And then, just like that everything changed.
I woke to the sound of Bella throwing up in the bathroom. I hopped out of bed and ran in just in time to hold her hair back as she hurled again.
"Let me get you a glass of water," I said as she sat back and wiped at her mouth. I went to the sink and got her some water before sitting down beside her. "You okay?"
"Yeah. I think so."
"Food poisoning?" I asked.
She looked at me and shook her head. "We had the same thing."
"Do you think…" I started. Did she think she was pregnant? "Are you late?" I ran my fingers through my hair.
"I don't know. It's hard to keep track of the days in here." She tried to count back in her head, but it was useless. "I don't know." A tear slipped down her cheek. I could see the fear in her eyes. Our biggest dream and biggest fear might be staring us in the face. A baby meant survival, life. But it also meant we had to give it up. And I'll be damned if I was doing that.
I forced Bella to stay in bed the rest of the day. She slept a lot, holding her stomach like she was protecting it just in case. I sat at the desk, trying to go through all the plans and figures I'd done in my head.
The next morning, the guards rushed in before we'd even got out of bed. I put my body between them and Bella, trying to shield her.
"Can we help you, gentlemen?" I asked, my voice still thick with sleep. They didn't respond. One grabbed my violently by the arm and yanked me out of bed. Bella started screaming as they stole her away from the bed and started pulling her towards the door.
"What are you doing?" I screamed as they held me down. "Wait! What are you doing? Bring her back!" I kicked at them. "I'll kill you! I'll kill you if you hurt her, you hear me!"
When the hallway went silent, they let me go and quickly left the room. It was the first time I'd been alone in this room. Completely alone. And I'd never felt so isolated in my life.
I paced around the room for countless hours, pulling my hair out and screaming to no one. I knew they heard me. I knew they saw me. They didn't give a shit. I gave everything.
When I couldn't stand any longer, I collapsed onto the bed and stared at the door. It finally opened and my heart skipped a beat. It was disappointed to see it was just my food.
Our same attendant was there, glancing my way with a timid fear in her eyes.
"Where'd they take her?" I asked. "I know you know how things work around here. Where'd they take her?"
"You love her, don't you?" She whispered, barely loud enough for me to hear. She kept doing her work and I knew why. They were watching.
"She's in the infirmary."
"Is she pregnant?"
"I don't know. I'm sorry. I have to go." She quickly turned around and left.
I waited for hours. Hours and hours until I heard anything.
I was just about to fall asleep when I heard the door open softly. I shot up as it closed and found Bella staring back at me.
I sprinted across the room and gave her a once over. "Did they hurt you? Are you okay?" I kissed her forehead.
"I'm pregnant." She smiled.
"Really?" I asked. She nodded and wrapped her arms around me.
I never saw myself having kids, even back before the infection hit. I just didn't think it was in the cards for me. Maybe I didn't think I'd ever adore someone enough to want that. But I could see it now. Me and Bella. A little dark haired kid with her rosy cheeks and my stubborn attitude. When I closed my eyes, I didn't see us in this place. No white. Just colors. Bright colors. Grass. Flowers. Fresh air. Life.
"They're moving me to the infirmary soon, but they let me come back to tell you." She sniffled and held tightly onto my hands. "This is good right?"
"It's good." I kissed her again. "It's good." It gave me some more time. More time to get us out.
"How much do I get to see you?" I asked.
"You can come visit during social hour."
"It's just for a few months, until I make it to my second trimester." She let out a huge breath. "I can't believe I'm pregnant. I wish I could be excited. I wish…" Her face fell. "I always imagined raising my kids. Now I have to watch someone else do it, once a month."
The door swung open and a few nurses and guards came in to collect Bella's things. I leaned down in her ear as I watched them move around the room. "No you won't," I whispered.
Her eyes widened as they ushered her away. I let her go. Not happily, I might add, but I let her go. At least she was safe. I knew they'd take good care of her. They had to. This was what they'd wanted all along and now they had to protect it with everything they had.
I visited with Bella every other day. The others I spent alone at a table in the social room, going through everything I'd remembered about this place and the area around it. There had to be a way. There had to be. And I had an idea. A crazy, fucked up idea that would never work.
Once I was back in my room, I waited impatiently for dinner to arrive. As soon as the girl walked in, I ran over to her.
"Can I get you something?" She asked.
"A way out."
Her eyes grew big as she plated my meal. "I don't know what you mean," she said. She knew exactly what I meant.
"You know I love her. I can't let this happen to her. We have to be together. As a family. And I know you see this all the time, so I don't expect you to fucking understand…"
"I don't see this all the time," she whispered. "I've never seen anything like you two. Ever."
"Good. Then help me. Please."
She cleared her throat and silently left the room. I had no idea if I'd convinced her, no idea if she was going to help me. I knew enough about this place that I couldn't do it on my own. I needed a little push, just a little something to get us on the right track.
The next few days, she said nothing when she brought me my food. Then she unexpectedly turned her eyes to me and spoke in a hushed tone.
"The system will shut down in exactly one hour," she whispered, setting my plates down. I noticed there was one more than usual. "You will have exactly fifteen minutes before they realize it and get it back up again. The doors will be unlocked. The cameras off." She took a shaky breath. "There's a staircase by the social room. It's the quickest way to the infirmary. An acquisition boat is refueling at the dock, getting ready to take off for a scouting mission." She glanced up at me. "This is your only chance. Fail and they'll kill us all."
"I majored in computer science," she said softly. "And they killed my husband." She handed me a covered plate and I heard something metal clang against it. "I hope you get as many of those bastards as you can." She turned quickly and left.
I didn't dare look under the plate, knowing that the cameras were still on. I glanced at the clock and slowly ate my meal from the other plates. The minutes slowly ticked by. I finished my dinner and set my trays aside as the last few minutes passed. With ten seconds left before the shutdown, I got up from the bed and stood in the middle of the room, holding up my middle finger in a friendly gesture to whoever was watching. 5…4…3…2…1. Peace out, fuckers.
I whipped open the tray and found a semi-automatic gun sitting there waiting for me. I picked it up and checked it for bullets. It was fully loaded.
I took a few deep breaths and started towards the door. I cautiously pulled at the handle, partly expecting it to hold steady like it had before. It gave way and I was able to inch the door open. I peeked my head out and saw the back of one of the guards walking away from the room on his rounds.
I stepped out and silently closed the door behind me, almost scared to breath. I sprinted down the hallway, careful to keep close to the wall and look ahead around each corner. I finally spotted the door to the social room and the door to the staircase beside it. It was usually locked, trust me I'd tried it.
I pushed it open and took the steps two at a time, listening closely for anyone following me. At the next landing I peeked into the hallway and found the door to the infirmary right across from me. I could see nurses bustling around inside and my Bella laying in a bed across the room. There were a few other ladies in beds around the room, but it was fairly empty. A part of me wished I could get all of them out, but I just couldn't. I had to get her out. Just her.
I whipped open the door and jumped across, slamming into the infirmary door and pushing it open.
The nurses all gasped as Bella looked at me, wide eyed.
"Edward, what are you doing?" She asked.
"I'm getting you out," I said.
"You can't be in here, right now," one of the nurses said.
"I don't want to hurt you lady, please." I held up the gun. "I know they're not you, okay? I know you're probably a decent person so I need you to just step away. Because I am taking her with me…one way or the other." I turned to Bella. "Let's go."
She quickly disconnected all of her machines and came to stand beside me. Thankfully, she hadn't popped yet. There was just the slightest definition in her belly, but not enough to make this difficult. It was close to impossible as it was, but I had to hold onto the impossible. It was better than nothing.
I grabbed Bella's hand and we pushed our way out of the infirmary.
"Do you know where the docks are, Bella?" I whispered. "We need to get to the docks."
"Uh…" She shook her head, trying to remember. "I think basement level, I don't know."
"Okay." I licked my lips as we started down the stairs. I didn't want to pull her too hard, so we went at her pace. First Level. Ground level. Basement Level. I pushed the door open and froze, almost running right into a guard.
"What is this?" He asked, reaching for his gun.
My gun was up in an instant and I pulled the trigger, hitting him square between the eyes. I was an excellent shot and while I didn't relish the thought of killing anyone, he was in my way.
"This way." I pulled Bella to the right, through the large room below. It almost looked like one of those old parking garages. There was a large opening at the other end and I thought I saw daylight. I thought I smelled fresh air. I hoped I wasn't hallucinating.
Just twenty more steps. Twelve more. Ten more. Seven more. I could see it. The light. The ocean. The abandoned city in the distance.
"Edward, I can't run anymore," Bella said, struggling to breathe.
"Just a few more, baby. You have to keep going. You have to!"
And then we stepped outside. Into fresh, clean air. I smelled the salt of the sea and felt the sun on my face. I had no time to enjoy it. We had to run.
I spotted a boat, the boat, down a flight of stairs. There were two guards standing on the deck, keeping an eye out.
"Bella, get behind me." I pushed her behind my body, just in case they shot back, and pretended I was out on another hunt. They were my prey. Like any deer or bear.
I steadied my hand on the railing, pointing the gun in their direction. I lined it up, knowing I had to be a quick one, two shot.
I said a quick prayer and pulled the trigger. Pop, pop. Holding my breath the entire time. I watched as the guards fell, one after the other.
"Come on." I grabbed Bella's hand again and started down the stairs. I held the gun in front of me just in case they were still alive as we boarded the boat. I checked both of the guards, pushing them off and into the water when I saw they were dead.
The boat was relatively small and I wondered if this was the one they'd brought me over on. They couldn't have fit too many people on it, especially unconscious people.
Bella and I quickly and carefully searched the ship to make sure no one else was aboard. Once we were satisfied, we went to the cabin. Bella sat down, trying to catch her breath as I started up the boat. I didn't know much about them, but I figured I knew enough to get us out of here.
As we pulled away from the dock, my breath grew rapid knowing that we were almost there. Almost. They could still get us, still pull us back. All I could see was the mainland and I knew that I had to get to it.
"Let's have a productive mission, team," a voice came over the radio and I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that they hadn't realized what had happened yet.
I grabbed the radio and held down the button. "Will do. Over and out." I held on tight to the steering wheel as we sped towards land. I had no idea where we were going to go after that, but it didn't matter. We had a chance out here. It was anywhere, but there.
After about ten minutes, I spotted a dock jutting out from the land and decided I would park it there. I didn't worry about the infection. I figured I'd take my chances out there rather than stay on the island.
I jumped as a loud siren sounded from the boat and I noticed it started to slow. I pushed the throttle forward and spun the wheel every which way, but we were definitely lurching to a stop. At this rate there was no way we'd make it to the dock. We'd be a floating target.
"Edward, what's happening?" Bella asked.
"I don't know." I hit the console. Then kicked it. Then beat the shit out of it.
"This was very unadvisable 4598," Aro's voice came over the radio. "We'll be sending a team to come and retrieve you. Please sit and wait for their arrival."
I spun around and looked back at the island. A small speedboat was starting towards us from the dock and I knew we didn't have much time. We had to get off this boat.
"We have to go." I reached out and grabbed her hand. "We have to go now, Bella."
"Where are we going? We're on a boat, Edward! There's nowhere to go!"
I heard the panic in her voice, but we didn't have another choice. If they took us back they'd kill me without another thought.
"We have to jump," I said, pulling her out onto the deck. I shivered looking down at the water. I knew it would hurt. I knew if she was in the cold too long, it could hurt the baby. But we had to try.
"I…" She shook her head. "I don't think I can…I'm not that good yet."
"You can, Bella. You can swim. We're nearly there." I nodded to the dock. It was less than fifty feet away. We were that close to freedom. And we couldn't give up now. "On three!"
"On three," Bella agreed, looking cautiously down into the water.
"One. Two. Three!" We both threw ourselves over the edge and plummeted towards the water. I held my breath a moment before we hit and nearly cried out when we shot into the cold water. I refused to let go of Bella's hand as we kicked towards the surface. I gasped for air as soon as my head popped up and I immediately started pulling her towards the shore the best I could. I hoped they didn't see us jump. Maybe it would give us a little more time while they searched the ship.
My wet clothes were heavy, pulling me down under the water. I kept fighting. I kept pushing for her and for our child. I had to.
It felt like we would never get there. I couldn't care less that Bella wasn't doing the perfect stroke; I just wanted her to stay afloat. We needed to stay afloat.
My limbs were starting to hurt from the cold. I reached out as far as I could with each stroke, trying to reach the ladder I saw in the distance. When my fingers finally brushed over the rusted metal, I almost fucking cried right there. We'd made it.
I pushed Bella in front of me so she could get out of the water first. I trailed behind her, hurrying up the ladder to the dock. I could tell she was tired. She wanted to rest. And damn it I wanted her to be able to, but we weren't safe yet. We had to hide ourselves. When they discovered we weren't on the ship, I had a feeling they'd start searching the shore.
We ran down the street, keeping an eye out for anyone who was already on land. I weaved through the buildings trying to find a good place for us to set up camp so Bella could rest. It was like a ghost town. No life. No movement. Just us.
I spotted a Sporting Goods store and thought we might be able to find some dry clothes, blankets and shelter.
Bella was completely silent, except for her deep breathing as she tried to relax.
"Edward, I can't walk anymore." She shook her head as we walked into the store.
"It's okay. We're staying here."
"Yeah." We ambled down the aisles. My first priority was getting out of these clothes and finding something dry. We hit an area of sweatpants, coats and winter gear. I imagined this store did fairly well with hikers that headed up into the mountains. It seemed pretty well stocked so I figured we could camp here for a couple of days while we get on our feet and come up with a plan.
I picked out some clothes for Bella and helped her out of her clingy clothes. She shivered and hugged her arms around her body as I pulled the sweatshirt over her head. She finished dressing herself while I pulled my clothes off and found some dry clothes for myself.
"Are you hungry?" I asked.
"Alright. Let's see." I rubbed my hands together and scanned the aisles. I doubted they were stocked like a grocery store, but they had to have something around here. I found a small aisle of non-perishables. I grabbed an armful and headed back to Bella.
I noticed there was a camping exhibit set up and I figured we might as well use it. It was like they fucking knew we were coming. There was a small grill as well as a tent with sleeping bags resting on some fake grass.
I crossed my fingers and tried to light the grill. It took a few times, but it finally took and I started heating up some of the canned food. Bella looked on, her hand placed protectively over her stomach as she warmed back up. She scooted closer to the grill, looking for the heat and leaned over to smell the food.
When it was ready, I handed her a utensil and started on my own. We didn't talk much. I think we were both exhausted from our daring escape. I think part of me thought it wasn't going to work. And maybe I'd wake up tomorrow morning and I'd be right back in this place, the victim of an evil nightmare.
After we ate, Bella retreated into the tent and snuggled into a sleeping bag. I wanted to join her, but I couldn't sleep just yet. I was too anxious, almost expecting them to come barging in at any moment.
I sat there watching, listening as long as I could until darkness fell and I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
I finally snuck inside the tent and laid down next to her, pulling up the tent door completely so we couldn't be seen.
The sound of a footstep pierced through my deep sleep and I shot out of bed. It was completely dark out, void of any moonlight out on the street. I held my breath and listened, placing my hand over Bella's sleeping figure. I could feel my heart beating against my chest and I was almost scared it was going to give us away. It was so loud.
Another footstep. Then another. And voices. I didn't recognize them. A beam from a flashlight flew across the tent and I froze.
"Over here boys. I knew I smelled food," someone said. "There must be someone here."
The voices woke Bella and she slowly sat up, cowering into me while we waited to be found.
"Edward…" She whispered.
"I want you to promise me you'll run," I said softly. "No matter what happens, I want you to run."
The flashlight landed on the tent again and I knew that they could see the outline of our figures.
"Here!" A voice called. I clenched my fist, ready to put up a fight so Bella could have a chance. I closed my eyes as someone leaned down and started undoing the zipper. The moment I saw the dark shadow in front of me, I leaped onto it, forcing him to the ground.
"Run, Bella!" I screamed. "Run!"
I heard her scrambling behind me, but a large group stood in her way. We were blocked in.
"Whoa there, son. Calm down now. We're here to help," the man under me said. "My name is Carlisle. I'm a doctor."
"You're one of them!" I screamed.
"One of who?"
"The people who are trying to hurt us!"
"I can assure you, I'm not," he said, his voice the epitome of calm. "We have a small settlement just outside of town. A group of survivors, mostly doctors and nurses from my institute. We've been scouring the area for any other survivors."
I sat back on my legs, on the verge of actually believing him.
"We can help you," Carlisle said. "We've developed a vaccine to the infection. It is essential that you are evaluated and treated immediately."
"She's pregnant," I mumbled.
"Even more so then." Carlisle glanced towards Bella. "She'll need to deliver before we can give it to her, but we can keep her in a safe environment. I give you my word." There was a kindness in his eyes that I hadn't seen much of lately.
He didn't wait for me to answer. He just stood and held out his hand to help me up. I instantly went to Bella.
"We have a truck outside. We can take you to the settlement." Carlisle nodded. "Let's go, boys." He turned and started out, expecting us to follow. And we did.
There was a truck, just like he'd said, waiting outside. There were enough seats for all of us to cram in.
It was a short ride, out of the city and towards their settlement. I grew more and more relieved with each mile that we put between us and the island. More safe.
We came to a tall, elaborate fence that was patrolled extensively. A part of me was scared we were walking into another situation like the one we'd just left. But even in our short interactions, I trusted Carlisle. He almost reminded me of my father.
When we got inside, they instantly rushed us to their infirmary and had us checked out. Then they fed us, gave us some new quarters and made sure we were all settled.
"Why don't you get some real rest and we'll talk when you're up to it, huh?" Carlisle said. He nodded and closed the door to our room, leaving us alone.
I wanted to sleep for days. Just sleep. Real, pure sleep. Not plagued with worry or uncertainty. I almost did. We went to sleep and I didn't wake again until late the next day. And I was alone.
"Bella?" I called, reaching for her side of the bed. I hopped up and started towards the door. I peeked out into the hallway and heard Bella's laugh coming from down the hallway. It sounded like she was talking to another woman.
I followed her voice and found her sitting at a table with a young, beautiful woman.
"Hey, sleepyhead," she said. She patted the seat next to her.
"You must be Edward," the woman said. "I'm Esme, Carlisle's wife."
"Pleasure to meet you. Thank you all for taking us in. You saved our lives." I sat down and nodded in appreciation.
"The pleasure is all ours. Bella is an absolute delight." Esme smiled. She started talking to us about their story and how they ended up here. We learned a little about the community, who was here, how it worked. Every one pitched in, had their own role, their own job. It sounded like Heaven to me.
Carlisle interrupted us eventually and pulled me away into another room.
"I'd like to administer the vaccine, if you'd like," he said. I cocked my eyebrow. He laughed. "I've received it as well as everyone living here. No major side effects. You may feel sleepy for a few days. Although I can't imagine you sleeping much after that extended nap." He smiled again and started readying the needle. He raised my sleeve and dabbed my skin with some disinfectant before stabbing me with the needle. I winced as he pushed the medicine through and in an instant it was over.
"There," Carlisle said. "Perfect."
I rubbed my arm and pulled my sleeve back down.
"So where were you and Bella, before this?" He asked.
"I don't think you'd believe me if I told you, Doc."
Carlisle and I went to get a cup of coffee and I told him about everything that had happened to me. All the way from Gramps to jumping off the boat. He listened attentively with an overly concerned look on his face.
"We'd heard rumors of such place, but couldn't believe it existed. We didn't believe people would act in such an inhumane nature." He rubbed his forehead.
"It's fucked up."
"Indeed. We'll have to see what we can do for those poor people out there." He perked up. "Well, let's get Bella checked and see how her pregnancy is progressing. I'd be happy to assist in any way that I can. We have the necessary machinery and tools to have a perfectly safe pregnancy and delivery here."
"Not a problem."
Carlisle checked on Bella and said that the baby seemed perfectly healthy. We fell easily into our roles here as Bella progressed in her pregnancy. It almost seemed normal. We were together as often as a regular couple would have been. And we were happy.
Bella delivered on July 22nd during an intense heat wave. A baby girl. Bella was a natural mother. Kind. Patient. Nurturing. I had to learn a little. I was severely impatient. Easily frustrated. But that little girl had me wrapped around her finger. I spent countless nights sitting by her crib, watching her sleep just to make sure she wasn't going to disappear. Bella started making fun of me so I decided I should man up and let my daughter sleep without constant supervision.
We were married after the New Year by a captain of an old fishing vessel who we'd found floating in the bay clinging to a life preserver.
I went out with the group now, looking for survivors. Carlisle kept mum on his plans for the island until we were standing before it.
"It's time," he said.
"What are we doing?" I asked, hating that I even had to see that fucking place again.
"We're shutting it down. Getting them out." He smirked. "It's over…Today."
I couldn't help but smile as I looked out over the water. This crazy mating game was finally over. And they were going to lose everything.
"Well boys," Carlisle said. "Let's roll."
A/N: So...ready to storm the island with us? ; )
Thank you so much for sticking with this, I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Huge thank you to RoyalTwiGal and ImHereToReview for keeping me going with this. When I thought it was too off the wall, they basically told me to shut up and keep going. So thank you guys!
I also want to give a special shout out to my Cuppycakes, PAWsPeaches. This story would not exist without her. She tweeted a gif and on a whim I clicked on it and instant story idea. And I do mean instant. This whole thing formed in my head in a span of five seconds so I knew I had to go for it. So lots of love from Narnia.
ImHereToReview hinted at the idea of doing A/J and R/E stories and how they weave into this one so I may consider doing that in the future, but for right now this is a one shot.
Again, I hope you enjoyed it and I'd love to hear from you. Thanks!