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The characters and events in this story are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. No part of this fiction may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the author's prior approval.
With or Without You.
"Bella, can you come downstairs for a minute?" I looked up from the book I had been reading all day when I heard my mother's voice float up the large staircase in our home.
Knowing that talks with my mother were never a positive experience, I took my time going to her. I had never spent so much time placing a bookmark in a book, or smoothly closing it so that the pages aligned properly. I inched my way over to my massive bookshelf and read each author's name, which were in alphabetical order, one at a time. Once I found the spot for Austen, I carefully moved them so that there would be the exact amount of space. She called out for me again and I knew that it had to be something she deemed important and that if I didn't get a move on, she would throw even bigger of a hissy than she had planned.
I slipped my blue, fuzzy slippers on and turned the light out before finally easing my way out the door, and into the long hallway. When I placed my hand on the cool railing, I was suddenly happy that I had put my slippers on. I knew that if the walls were as chilled as they were, that our marble flooring and staircase that covered a majority of the house were probably goose-bump-inducing. Shivering at the thought, I carefully made my way to the dining-room.
As I had expected, I found my mother seated at the large, dark-wood table we owned. Her face was, for once in her life, stern as she looked over some form of paperwork in front of her. I could hear my father's gruff voice in the other room, talking to someone in his chief-voice. I began to wonder if the two things were connected. My father rarely had anyone in our home. My mother barely took the time to sit me down and set the rules. I pulled out a chair for myself and watched as she slowly looked up from her work.
"Ah, Bella." She breathed, covering her papers with a manila folder and shoving it away. She and my father were very private these days. They were never necessarily open, but I had noticed the constant hushed voices.
Maybe they were divorcing, was my initial train of thought. Then I would see them around each other, when they thought I wasn't looking, and I knew that a divorce was not an option. They may have been quiet about things, but they were doing things.
I waited in my usual silence as she scanned my face for the unknown. I knew again that something was off, as my mother hardly took the time to consider the emotions and reactions of the people around her. Under her scrutiny, I had the urge to sit up straighter. And then under that urge, the rebellious side of my brain was ushering me to slouch just that much more. I opted to straighten my posture as I knew that it would make her nicer to me in the end.
"Now, Bella." She tried to begin again, but the raising of my fathers voice stopped her every time. It didn't sound like he was yelling – he just sounded dead serious and concerned. She cleared her throat and sighed. "There's really no easy way to tell you what I'm about to tell you."
I merely nodded. Things were never easy for the drama queen that was my mother. I crossed my arms, trying to come off as serious. I wasn't really afraid of what she was about to tell me, but the way that she held back was a bit unnerving. My mother was not one to hide her thoughts. She was very outspoken, and very inconsiderate. I raised my eyebrows, encouraging her to continue.
"You know how your father's job has required him to begin going on trips to train for better ways to handle a situation? And how I, as ambassador, must follow him?" She asked me and I prepared myself to find out that we were moving. That I was going to have to switch over to homeschooling. I was not preparing myself for what my mother was actually going to tell me.
I nodded, urging her to continue.
"We have decided that it would be in your best interest if you stayed home..." Her words were slow and slightly scary as they rolled out of her mouth.
I felt my brow come together at this revelation. They were going to just leave me in that monstrosity of a home alone? My blood had run eerily cold at the thought of spending my nights completely alone there. As much as I would have loved the freedom, I knew that the house was creepy at night.
"Not alone." She seemed to have caught my drift as she watched me for a reaction. I wasn't sure what she was waiting for, but I knew better than to freak out before she was done. I bit my lip, nervous about what she meant by not alone. My grandparents were dead and my older sister lived in Forks. None of them could have stayed with me. She continued after a beat of silence. "We...well, we hired a body-guard of sorts. It's one of your father's best, and younger men. So, you know, he'll be on edge and ready to go at all times."
I thought that I had almost felt my jaw hit the table. A body-guard? In my mind, those were not the words I heard. I heard the words baby sitter. Male nanny. Guardian. Which, no matter which you chose, would imply that I was an irresponsible child who needed to be accompanied by an adult. My parents couldn't just be neglecting, but rather they couldn't trust me too? I felt my entire body grow warm with what I knew appeared as a blush. I was in no way embarrassed.
I was infuriated with them.
Why did my parents have to be so inconsiderate? What was so hard about including me in on their decision? Did they honestly just view my silence as incompetence and as a disability, causing me to be a poor decision maker? I had always been the most responsible out of the group. Even though my parents were major figures in the police system in Seattle, Washington. They still felt the need to treat me as if I were some handicapped child, someone who didn't know their left from their right.
I was outright offended.
My mom sighed, sitting back and taking her reading glasses off. She knew that I was going to be mad. She didn't care about the part of me that was hurting. All she was afraid of was me throwing a tantrum. What else was new? I gasped again, trying to get the words that I knew would never show out. She pursed her lips, waiting quietly.
"I know you're upset, but it's best. You need to continue school here. We can't put our jobs on hold this far in. You know I love you and that I'm only thinking in your best interest!" She continued after I dropped my head down, and into my arms. I couldn't even look at her by that point.
"Are you finished?" I felt the air from the opening door behind me brush up my back as I kept my head down. I wasn't going to give in. I knew that my silent protest did nothing to them, but that was all I could give. So, that was what I had resorted to.
"I guess...she's unhappy," Renee, my mother, had spoken. Her voice was cold now, and I knew that she was done playing mommy. On that note, I decided that I was done playing daughter. She didn't know that I had ever referred to her as mother anyway. I hadn't thought of her as 'mom' since I was seven anyway.
She lost those priviliges when she decided to spend more time at work than with me.
They hadn't bothered with a nanny back then.
"I figured as much," my dad spoke, his voice gruff as he walked in.
I listened as the sound of his boots clomped their way to where my mother was seated. Trailing not far behind him was another pair of softer footsteps. They were much more fluid, and tamed. I tucked my head at a different angle so that I could see below the table. I recognized a pair of Doc Martins across from me. They were black, and the same style as my dad's police shoes. My father couldn't be bothered by designer names though. This man knew what money he had on his hands though. I could see as much in his ironed-with-a-crease pants. I moved my face to where I couldn't see anything again.
I didn't want to waste my time observing someone who was going to be running, screaming in a weeks time anyway. They always did.
"Isabella, pick your head up and look at us." My mother's voice was sharp now, as she was getting more and more irritated.
"Bella, this is Edward Cullen. Edward, this is our daughter Isabella." My father spoke as I lifted my head up. I felt my felt my face grow warm when I caught the eyes that had been locked on me.
When my mother told me that he was young, I never would have imagined him being young and gorgeous. But this man was both. He couldn't have been more than a few years older than me and the little bit of maturity seemed to show. He was tall, but not a giant. His body was muscled, but had a sort of leanness to it. That was just the little bit of him that I could see under the police uniform that I had seen my father in every day of my life.
My dad just didn't pull it off like this Edward Cullen did.
On top of that, literally, was a beautiful head of red-brown hair. In the lighting of our kitchen, it seemed almost a copper color. I looked at his perfectly sculpted jaw, in a more square shape than not. He reminded me of a man straight off of the red carpet. Though it wasn't his hair, or his build that really sucked me in. Just like any other fairytale, it was his emerald green eyes. They were perfect.
I felt my face flush with heat when I realized I had been staring. He was staring right back, but I knew that he was probably just confused as to why the homely disabled girl was creeping on him. That thought only brought the blush on again and I found myself looking down at the table.
"It's lovely to meet you, Miss Swan." Edward spoke, his voice as warm as earlier. At least I knew that he wasn't terrified of me yet.
"She doesn't talk, as I told you," my father grumbled and I looked at him, slightly embarrassed. Why did they have to make me sound stupid, on top of everything else?
"Anyway, we figured you two may want to get to know each other. We're leaving at two in the morning." My mother added and I stood, knocking my chair to the floor. It was an accident, but I somehow made it look as if I were doing it out of pure rage.
"You didn't tell her we had to go?" Dad asked and Renee sighed, scratching her head.
"I hadn't gotten to it yet!" Renee's voice was whiny and I didn't fight the urge to stomp my foot. They both stopped yelling and turned to look at me, where I was tearing up on the spot.
"What?" Dad asked and I looked pleadingly at him, just wanting them to understand. I didn't want to live there alone. I didn't want to live there with Edward Cullen. I just wanted to be like everybody else.
They did not care.
"If you don't have the nerve to tell us what's wrong, then we can't do anything for you, Isabella." Renee barked and I pursed my lips, not knowing how to do it. I wanted to. I wanted to tell her up and down what was wrong with everything they had done tonight.
I was just weak, old Isabella Swan. What else was new?
Without another beat, I turned and stomped on over to the staircase. Each step was loud, and echoed in the silence. I didn't bother looking at all of their pathetic faces before I ran up the steps as fast as I could without tripping myself. It was successful for me to make it to my room without tripping once. Especially with the amount of tears that had impaired my vision. The silence ended downstairs as soon as my feet hit the top floor.
"See! What did I tell you? She was going to flip no matter what."
"Until the child can throw a proper fit, I'm afraid that I'm just going to have to treat her improperly as well. She isn't two anymore. This pouting...or whatever it is...needs to stop!" Renee hissed, acting as if I were deaf too.
"Maybe there's something wrong with her! You don't know what she's thinking. God, Renee. You can be so insensitive!" Dad yelled at her and I cringed. Only he didn't know that I was probably smarter than the two of them combined and the only thing considerably wrong with me was the fact that I was their daughter!
"Maybe she's just quiet." The smooth voice of Edward interrupted, several volumes lower than my neurotic parents.
"Oh, yeah, because quiet teenage girls just stop talking all together." Renee laughed, sounding angered with Edward now. I wanted to go down and punch her in the face for being so wrong.
"Something could have happened to her that caused her to shut down. You really know nothing about this. She's your daughter, but you're not a mind-reader. Otherwise you probably could have resolved this already." Edward continued and I heard a heal clap with the marble floor. My mother had stomped like I had.
I shook my head and walked away. I knew better than to listen to one of their fights. After getting to my room, I shed my robe and slippers once again. Only instead of collecting my books again, I went to shut out the lights and go to sleep. I knew that the quicker I went to sleep, the quicker I would be out of my own shoes and lost in some dream land.
When I opened my eyes it was about two in the morning. I listened as my mom and dad made their way down the stairs, not stopping by my room. I got comfortable, waiting for them to come back up and say goodbye to me. I waited, and waited, but the thought of them being just that upset with me never once occurred to me. That was, until the sound of our front door closing echoed through the house.
They had left while I was asleep, but didn't bother to drop in and tell me that they loved me. I curled back up into the ball that I was in and squeezed my eyes shut. I knew that I was beginning to grow upset again, and that if I didn't calm down, I was going to cry. The thoughts came all too late, as I had curled myself around a pillow and begun full on sobbing already. I hated how weak I had felt during that moment, but I hated my parents even more.
They were the ones who told me to stop talking so much when I was six. They said that I was annoying and that I needed to shut my trap. So, I did exactly as they had asked. Only what was meant to go on a few days, seemed to last forever. Before I knew it, I didn't know how to tell them things anymore. I didn't know how to talk to anyone. And on top of that problem, my parents blamed it on something being wrong with me.
They thought I was mentally challenged, when the truth was that they had literally driven me crazy.
My door cracked open, pulling me from my thoughts. My heart skipped a beat when I remembered that they were gone and that it had to be Edward. He padded in, and sat down on the bed beside me. I hid my face, not wanting him to see the train-wreck that I could really be. He reached over and began rubbing my back anyway. His perfect hand soothing me in a way that I had been missing for so long.
"Shh," he whispered, the hum of his voice practically a lullaby compared to my incessant sobbing. "Don't cry, Bella."
I shook my head and found myself curling closer to him. The next thing I knew, he wrapped his arms around me and rocked me, humming a tune that I hadn't recognized. I slowly began to stop crying so hard, and found it a bit easier to breathe. Edward just rubbed my upper arms and sang to me, not stopping for anything.
I wanted to thank him, but again my throat was too thick to even consider it. Instead, I decided to give him a chance to go to bed, and calmed down more. I rested my head against his chest, taking in my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and closed my eyes. Before I knew it, I had drifted off into his lullaby, and succumbed to what was a much needed sleep.
And I dreamed of nothing but comfort.
A/N: I don't know what to think of this, but it's my summer project. If you really want me to continue, you should go right on ahead and click on that new-and-improved Review button!
I would love you forever...