Eclipse: 6. Switzerland – "I cringed, waiting for the torrent, but it didn't come. He just continued to glare, possibly too angry to speak." The abusive elements of Bella and Edward's relationship are disgustingly romanticized throughout the series. How can we strip away the rose-coloured glasses and sparkly vampire exterior and see what really lies beneath? Answer: Make 'em all human!
This is kind of began as a what-if scenario in my head, as in "What if Bella really was a smart but shy girl with low self-esteem? And what if Edward's behavior in the books was taken to its logical conclusion, but he was merely human rather than a Meyerpire?" Yeah, that's all you really need to know going into this. The most basic human elements of all four books are also covered, more or less, and are slightly out of sequence in this All-Human AU. It also rather conveniently doubles as a PSA, as this is the real shit that actually happens to real people.
Warning: Contains strong language, underage drinking, implied stalking, dubcon, domestic violence, and assorted creepy behavior. All the greatest hits, and then some, in no particular order. If you aren't comfortable with that or are easily triggered, please for the love of all that is holy skip this one. (I've tried to tone it down as best I can, but still... abuse is just ugly. And I really don't want to give any fellow abuse survivors any unpleasant flashbacks.)
My name is Isabella Marie Swan. (You were expecting Ishmael?)
When things all started, I was a junior at Forks High School in Forks, Washington. Forks is a tiny town that gets a lot of rain. I hate rain, mostly because I hate getting wet in it. But I like the trees, they're so green and tall and wild and lush. Its almost like landing on one of those alphanumerically named planets on Stargate. Kinda awesome, actually. Even with all the rain.
I live here with my dad, Charlie Swan. He's the chief of police. See, I moved here because I missed him and wanted to spend more time with him. Besides, my mom had gotten remarried to a minor league baseball player, and she's the type of person that doesn't like to be pinned down.
I know she was only staying with me in Phoenix for my sake, so that I wouldn't have a gypsy's life and could have a fairly consistent academic career. But I could see how unhappy it made her to stay with me, instead of traveling the country with her new husband, so I moved in with my dad.
Frankly, my dad's a much more stable character. Don't get me wrong; I love my mom to pieces, but she's better at being a buddy than a mother. She's not at all like my dad, who's as reliable as the Rock of Gibraltar. Some would call that boring, but not me. I am my father's daughter; I find comfort in routine. Besides, my mom is adventurous enough for the both of us.
If you're reading this, you're probably wondering what I look like. Well, I'm pale as a ghost, my eyes and hair are shit-brown in color, and I'm skinny as a rail. I've always wanted to be curvy like J. Lo, but that'll never happen. My metabolism's far too high to gain any weight, and I have to eat about five thousand calories a day just to maintain.
The only people who actually want a faster metabolism seem to be the ones who've never had to deal with one full-time (you know what they say about wishing for things...). Trust me, it sucks; I need to weigh myself all the time because, if I don't get all those calories every day – heavy on the protein, mind you – I'm in danger of falling underweight. And I can't exercise, because my body burns the calories off far too fast as it is, so my arms've got the strength of cooked spaghetti and the definition of Mr. Potato Head.
Don't stare like that; you'll break something in your brain. I have a legitimate medical condition, and I've got the card and paperwork to prove it. Just because you've never heard of it before doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
Sorry if I sound defensive. I've just had to deal with endless teasing all my life, on top of dealing with the reality of it. And of course, there's the well-meaning folks who tell me that I need to eat more because I could use a little meat on my bones. Thanks, guys, like I'm not insecure enough as it is.
That being said, I love food. I particularly have a soft spot in my heart for Italian. Probably because my maternal grandma (her name was Chiara, but I called her Nonna) was Italian and she made the bestantipasto. Nonna's mother's name was Isabella, too, so... yeah. I'm kinda proud to be Italian... even if it's only a quarter of my blood. I learned how to cook from Nonna, and her recipes have totally saved my life in helping me keep what little weight I have on.
I friggin' miss her, man. I wish she was still around, so we could have our "girl talks" in Italiano, again. I sometimes picture her, smiling down on me from Upstairs. I hope she's proud of me. I sometimes sprinkle Italian words into conversations, just for the hell of it. I guess it's my way of keeping her memory alive, and staying connected to that part of my heritage. (It's also an easy way to get around the school's no-swearing policy. Nonna could get pretty creative with the cussing.)
Oh, wanna know something else that's cool? My paternal grandma was Native American, part of the Quileute people in the area, so I'm actually biracial. (You wouldn't know it, though, because my skin is super-glue white.) My dad's mom died before I was born, though. So, I didn't really get to know her. I wish I could've, though; I bet she was an awesome person.
Mannaggia! I forgot, I've got homework to do. Fuck.
So, you want to know about my first day at Forks High School.
It had sucked of course, being the new kid in the middle of junior year. By that point, everybody knows everybody, so you're kinda the odd man out. And, in a small town like this, all the kids have known each other for years. So, you're basically screwed in terms of getting to know people and fitting in.
What I didn't expect was a half-dozen kids initially latching onto me, mostly because I'm the police chief's daughter. Probably wanted my help getting them out of parking tickets or something; no dice, guys. Homegirl don't play that game.
One girl who's really, totally genuine is Angela Weber, and she's now my best friend, my sister from another mister. She's the quiet type; she wears thick wire-rimmed glasses because she's nearsighted, she's very smart and is normally very shy. But I'm not so good with people either, at least at first; so, us outcasts gotta stick together, right?
Anyway, Angie introduced herself during a group assignment in History class. Everybody had grouped up in their respective cliques that have existed forever to work on a presentation for the next couple of weeks as a major part of their grade. Everyone had a group but me and Angie, so the teacher basically threw the two of us together. Which is sort of how shy people get to know other shy people – Fate, or some other outside influence, shoves us in the same boat together, and we learn to sink or swim as a team after some awkward initial overtures.
Needless to say, going over to each other's houses after school every day to work on our History project together gave me and Angie a chance to bond over our mutual love of classic rock bands, opera and musical theater, sci-fi television shows, and lampooning bad movies. Since then, we've been pretty much inseparable.
We sat at our own table at lunch; the far corner table that nobody goes near, closest to the double doors and furthest from the food line, that's basically the social Siberia to the rest of our grade. We ate, did our homework, chatted comfortably without interruptions from the rest of the kids in the cafeteria. It was pretty nice, not eating alone at lunchtime. A luxury I didn't have back in Phoenix.
But that first day? Hella awkward.
The other class of note, on my first day, was Biology. The only available seat was next to Edward Cullen. Edward, if you don't know, was arguably the hottest boy in school, the star pitcher on the baseball team and captain of the soccer team. His brother Emmett was a senior on the football team, and Ed's twin sister Alice was on the volleyball team.
A family of jocks, basically. Rich jocks, as their dad's a doctor and mom's a lawyer who've been happily married for a million years. I felt hopelessly inadequate next to him, being strictly lower-middle class, a child of divorce and without an athletic bone in my body.
Incidentally: It's rather ironic that Mrs. Cullen's job involves representing victims of medical malpractice. You'd think marrying a doctor would be a conflict of interest, but... guess not. It's probably how they met; a coworker left a pair of forceps in somebody, or something like that, and the ambulance chasers were called in to help clean up the mess.
But basically, because Mom and Dad Cullen were always at work or were always running out the door without having any time to spare for their offspring, the Cullen kids practically raised themselves. And I guess Dr. and Mrs. Cullen felt guilty about that, and bought them a lot of expensive crap to try to make up for the time they didn't spend with their kids.
As a mom myself now, I'm beginning to understand how they must've felt. You can never make up for the time you lost, the time you frittered away on making more money and all the brief temporal pleasures in life, or being focused on less important crap; not when it comes to your kids. After all, nobody's young forever, and once the moment's gone, it's... just gone. No going back. And no amount of money in the world can buy you real, honest-to-goodness love. Not from your spouse, not from your kids, and not from your friends.
I'm not judging Dr. and Mrs. Cullen. Honest. They're good people who made some poor decisions; and who hasn't been in that particular boat? "Let he who is without sin..." and all that.
But basically, Edward grew up surrounded by riches and yet still being so poor and hungry for love. Despite my more humble upbringing, I've always been much richer than he ever was in ways I didn't realize. I didn't understand then, but I... I guess I kinda pity him now.
Doesn't excuse the things he did, though. But I'll get to that. Right now, we're talking about my first day in Biology, sitting next to this hot guy who apparently has the world at his feet.
He spent nearly the entire period staring at me. It felt strange, to be the object of attention. Strange and uncomfortable. I remember thinking that he seemed really... intense (boy, I had no idea how true that was!). I thought maybe I smelled funny to him or something and tried, as subtly as possible, to give myself a B.O. check. Seems rather silly now, especially as there was nothing wrong with the way I smelled. After that, I just kinda sunk down in my seat and tried to avoid looking at him until the bell rang.
After class, he came up to me and apologized for his boorishness. He told me he couldn't help himself, because I looked so pretty. If I had had an ounce more self-confidence back then, I would've taken the comment less gravely – or disbelievingly, for that matter. I should've just smiled and thanked him for the compliment and let that be that. I mostly blushed in embarrassment, though, and my thoughts had whirled around in my brain as I tried to figure out what the heck he saw in me. Then we just parted ways for our other classes.
After school, I had to wait forever for him to get his Volvo out of the way so I could pull my beat up old pickup out of the school parking lot, and go home. But nothing of real interest happened for the rest of that day.
A few guys asked me to the junior prom over the week, but I declined, of course. Not a good dancer, here, so I'd probably end up stomping on a poor guy's feet repeatedly and having to take him to the hospital for a broken toe.
Edward skipped Biology class a few times, though, as far as I can remember.
I honestly didn't think he actually liked me much... until I walked into the class on the next Monday to find a single red rose and a Hallmark card placed on my half of the lab table. Edward wasn't in the room at that moment.
I looked around, wondering if it was either mislaid or a practical joke. Who'd want to give me a flower? And a rose, at that? Especially given that Valentine's Day had passed well before I'd come to the school, so even the romantic nature of that particular holiday couldn't be blamed for this unexpected gift.
But the card's envelope had my name on it, in Edward's neat cursive handwriting. I opened it, and saw that the card depicted a teddy bear with a speech balloon reading "I like you bear-y much." Cheesy, but cute.
Inside, in Edward's handwriting, read "Will you go out with me?"
I didn't answer the question that day. And over the course of the week, I got a rose on the table in Biology class every day. I finally capitulated after discussing the matter with Angie, who thought the gesture of giving me roses was so sweet and old-school romantic and that of course I should go out with him.
I said I'd think about it, but I eventually told Edward my answer was "yes."
He took me to Seattle over the weekend, so we could spend our first date together enjoying the sights and getting to know each other better. He took me to the museum, and the Space Needle. I asked him to take me to a bookstore, and he dropped me off there, saying he had to get something but he'd come right back for me.
When I left the bookstore, a group of college boys cornered me. I was literally right outside the bookstore when they surrounded me. Nothing actually happened, though, because Edward pulled up and pushed through the group of boys to get to me. He put an arm around me and told me he was sorry for leaving me alone. Then he pushed a path through the boys again, me in tow, escorting me to his vehicle.
I had been unnerved by the incident, however, and told Edward I wanted to go home.
"Don't be stupid, Bella. You're fine," Edward replied. "We'll go eat, and then I'll take you home."
That should've been my first warning of the shape of things to come. But I just wasn't tuning in. Instead of insisting he take me home, I relented.
He took me to a nice restaurant, and scored us a private booth. He also slipped the waitress a couple of twenties to serve us alcohol, despite both of us being underage. I was uncomfortable with that, but I didn't say anything.
As you can imagine, he got away with the bribe.
He kept insisting I eat, even though I wasn't really hungry and was very near my calorie quota for the day. When I weakly protested, he told me I was too uptight and needed to loosen up a little. He began to ply me with the wine he'd ordered illegally. I wish I could tell you I didn't drink enough to alter my self-control by a single iota, but that would be a lie.
I lost my virginity that night in the backseat of his car. I don't remember much, only that he was a little rough on me and the soreness I felt after the deed was done. That was definitely not the way I had wanted my V-card swiped, but the wine had gone right to my head (and given I'm all of a hundred pounds soaking wet and not much of a drinker, it doesn't take much to get me shit-faced). It's obviously not something that can be helped now, but it's one of several regrets I can't help but have.
I'm pretty sure I had the presence of mind to ask him where the condoms were, though. I just don't remember if he'd actually worn one, or if it was dumb luck that kept me from getting pregnant that night.
Given his aversion to prophylactics, I'd say dumb luck was somehow involved.
And yes, he did take me home after that. Such a gentleman.
At lunch the following week, he dragged me away from my seating arrangement with Angie to sit with him. I told him I wanted to sit with her, but Edward said to me that "one period away from her isn't gonna kill you, Bella."
I sat with him, his siblings and teammates. He introduced me to all and sundry as "my new girlfriend, Bella," which was something of an ego boost for me, I'll admit. It was a very weird experience being at the popular kids' table. One girl, a cheerleader named Jessica, kept watching me with a rather keen interest that made me a bit uncomfortable.
I only realized much later on that her expression as she looked upon me was actually a mixture of fear and pity.
That weekend, however, Edward decided he wanted to take me on a picnic. He took me to this little meadow clearing in the woods. It was a brief hike, and we had one of those little wicker picnic baskets and checkered blankets, the whole deal. He also brought along a six-pack of beer for himself and a twenty-ounce bottle of Coke for me.
I'd told Edward about my special dietary requirements some time before, so he'd stuffed as much food as he could in the basket.
We spent as much time making love in that meadow as we did eating there. I'd initially had misgivings about being intimate again so soon in our relationship, but I shoved them aside – he'd already taken my virginity, so what was the big deal?
The topic of protection did come up, and he said he hated condoms... but then I told him I was on the pill, and that seemed to make him happy. I had made sure to visit the local Planned Parenthood and get myself a prescription for birth control pills as soon as I could, especially after what happened on our first date. So this time, at least, I didn't have to worry so much about precautions.
It was actually quite wonderful, lying on that checkered blanket with nothing but bright blue sky above us, surrounded by flowers and the sound of birdsong carried on the gentle breeze. Spring had come to Forks, and the weather was finally warm and pleasant after several weeks of chilly weather. And we were together, alone, our lighter clothing scattered around us where we had haphazardly thrown them.
Dad would've had a fit if he knew.
Edward told me he wanted to take a picture of me like that, naked on the blanket. I was embarrassed and said no, but he rather charmingly wheedled me into it and promised no one else would see the pictures.
Edward also snuck into my house later that same night. I asked him if this was going to be a habit, and he said it already was. He said he didn't like the idea of me sleeping alone, without him beside me.
Dad had already gone to bed by then, and Edward slipped into bed with me. When he pulled my pajama pants off, I quietly told him that doing it there in the house with my father in the next room was a bad idea.
Edward told me it was no big deal, that part of the fun was in knowing we could get caught and to stop being such a baby. I relented, biting down on first my own finger and then a corner of my pillow to muffle the moans that settled in my throat. I didn't want Dad to wake up and check up on me during the night, only to find Edward hip-deep in me.
Edward managed to sneak out of my house before dawn, with my dad none the wiser. But he snuck into my room a lot, with much the same results every time – fucking me senseless in the place I'd spent the most memorable parts of my childhood, with my Dad snoring away in the next room.
I still don't know why I let Edward do that... or how we managed to get away with it for so long.
But we also spent a lot of time back at that meadow too, especially during the times when he knew he wouldn't be able to sneak into my room.
Edward didn't take me to his place until we'd been together for three months. Probably because his parents had such insane schedules, there was no way to be introduced to them properly any sooner.
Of course, I was nervous about meeting them officially. But Dr. and Mrs. Cullen were both very kindly sorts who seemed to be enthusiastic about having me be a part of their lives. Especially when Edward confidently declared to his family that he fully intended to marry me one day.
We hadn't been together for all that long, but that was such a boost for me. He loved me enough to seriously consider me as the future Mrs. Edward Cullen. What a rush!
Alice squealed in delight and started babbling about a Vera Wang wedding dress she'd seen on the internet that she just knew I'd look awesome in (which made my eyes glaze over, as I'm so not a fashionista), and Emmett had a goofy grin on his face.
I knew Emmett sorta liked me in "that way", even though he'd been in a serious relationship with his girlfriend Rose for over a year. He'd once claimed he would've been tempted to try his luck if Rose didn't already have him by the balls. Em had found my ability to cuss at length in Italian completely, hilariously awesome, and had convinced me to teach him some of the better – and more sacrilegious – obscenities.
Emmett, of course, remarked on Edward's declaration of commitment that if anybody could handle his brother, a feisty little Italian broad certainly could.
I joked in response that, given my mixed ethnic background, "if he doesn't behave himself, I could always get ragingly drunk, and say impure things about his parentage while I scalp 'im." Emmett nearly fell off his chair at that.
Edward has never taken my friendship with Emmett all that easily, tending to glower at his brother while Em and I converse in a rather spirited fashion. Of course, Emmett naturally tries to tease his brother out of what Emmett calls "Wardo's emo-bullshit mode" and I find myself often jumping on the bandwagon as Edward's constant need be taken oh-so-seriously can be rather draining.
Anybody who knows Emmett knows he's just a goofball, a big ol' teddy bear, and not to take him seriously when he jokes around because it's only in play. Clearly, his own brother missed the memo.
Edward scowled over dinner, even though the rest of the family were laughing and enjoying themselves. Several times, me and the other Cullens tried to cajole Edward out of his suddenly black mood.
He didn't lighten up until I followed him into his bedroom. There, he shoved me into his bed and kissed me forcefully. I spoke to him softly, in attempt to get him to calm down, but he'd have none of that.
We had some seriously rough sex in his own bed, with his family all accounted for in the house. I had to bite my lips shut to keep from crying out. The incident resulted in some rather interesting bruises on my thighs (from the force he put into his thrusts), my hips (where he'd clung too hard when he'd flipped me onto my stomach and rode me), my arms (he'd slammed them against the headboard to pin me when we were face-to-face) and my ass (which he'd slapped repeatedly).
I don't think he's ever really known his own strength. But the bruises were all in areas my clothes could hide, so his family didn't actually know I walked out of their house looking like I'd lost a round to Mike Tyson.
I often find myself wondering if his family really knew him at all.
But the scowl was gone from Edward's face after that particular sexcapade. He'd initially panicked when he saw how easily my pale skin had bruised and promised never to do that again, and finally relaxed when I told him it wasn't a big deal. We all have our moments, right?
Besides, if this was the best way for him to work off some negative energy and chill out, I didn't mind. Anything for my Edward.
We spent all summer hanging out at our meadow, and him sneaking into my room. Edward told me over and over how much he loved me, and that he was crazy about me.
Sometimes the sex was rougher than I would've liked, but I didn't complain because it was Edward.
Things changed in a big way when Dr. Cullen found out about some sort of problem with his extended family back in England. He packed up his wife, Edward and Alice (by this point, Emmett was in college on a football scholarship, so he didn't have to stir from his dorm) and they all left for the UK. Mrs. Cullen apparently wrote it off as an "extended vacation" for the family. Edward wouldn't tell me the details, but there's one really important thing I must convey to you.
This huge "my parents are making us all move across the Atlantic" bomb was dropped on my birthday, at the beginning of my senior year. Happy Eighteenth Birthday, Bella! Your boyfriend's probably not gonna see you again, ever.
After such an awesome spring and summer with the boy I thought was the love of my life, I totally hit rock bottom. I realize now how quickly I'd become dependent upon him, but I didn't know it then. I just knew I felt like I wanted to curl up and die.
Instead, I crossed paths with Jacob Black, a childhood friend of mine who lived on the Quileute reservation. Being I'm part Quileute, that probably means we're distant cousins or something.
For awhile though, you could probably say we were kissing cousins.
I hadn't heard from Edward in three weeks since his move to England. So, I tried my best to distract myself from the pain of losing him, half-certain that he'd forgotten all about me.
Jacob and I kinda had a thing going on after that point. It wasn't a thing like I had with Edward, but it was something.
Jake had a day job as a mechanic at an auto repair shop owned by his dad, Billy. Billy had diabetes, and had gotten too frail in his old age and with the advance of the disease to handle the repair work. Lucky for him, Billy'd been teaching Jake about axles and carburetors since Jake was still in diapers and Jake was, at 19, already an ace mechanic. Billy still technically owned the establishment, but it was Jake that did the work and day-to-day management.
So I'd hang out at the garage, and learn a few things here and there from Jake about the care and feeding of Chevy trucks (like my beloved old clanger) and how to replace a torn brake line on a Harley. And we might have done the horizontal mambo a few times in the bed of my truck. He was a muscular guy with a handsome physique and rough-hewn, but gentle, hands.
The polar opposite of Edward – who was lankier, taller and leaner than the bulkier Jacob.
It didn't really mean anything; it was just good sex between good buddies, a friends-with-benefits type of situation. That's what I told Jacob... and tried to tell myself.
Jake's a cool guy, and he was really fun just to hang around. I kinda miss him. I think I'll give him a call later.
But I wasn't ready for another relationship. Not after having my heart broken by Edward. Jake understood, but – poor guy! – tried to convince me that Edward really wasn't all that and wasn't worth my tears and angst. I wish I'd listened to him. I would've saved myself a lot of pain.
But I was still obsessed with Edward, and even a perfectly sweet First Nation mechanic with good hands couldn't distract me from that.
Author's Note: Yeah, not all that romantic when you think about it that way, is it?
I had initially planned this as a oneshot like the rest of my Twilight spitefics so far. But, in the actual act of writing, it quickly became a two-parter. This Bella had a lot to say about what she went through, and what it took both to get in and out of her situation. And really, I can't blame her for needing to talk about it. (I've been there, done that myself. Unfortunately.)
And yes, an added bonus is that I have completely stripped away the vampirism == sex metaphor, and replaced it with actual sexual intercourse.
Part 2 is coming up and, oh man, shit is about to get real, son. So join me same bat time, same bat channel!