Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight
Speeches were made, caps were thrown, and it was over. I didn't bother throwing mine, just took it off and walked toward where I knew Edward and Alice were sitting. Edward was smiling tensely, obviously trying to ignore the situation we were in.
Alice was bouncing lightly in her heels, waving widely to make sure that I knew where they were. Despite my awful day, I smiled a little bit. Alice's happiness and enthusiasm was contagious. When I reached them, she pulled me tightly into her arms without warning. She was rather strong for someone so small and boney.
"Bella, I'm so proud of you! You were amazing up there! You looked gorgeous!" Her pat on the back was a little painful, but I didn't mind. At least someone was hugging me tightly. Someone was excited that I had graduated and was happy to see me. I allowed myself to feel comforted, squeezing her tightly. She stroked my hair and let me hold on for as long as I wanted, even though we were strangers.
She kissed my cheek as I pulled away. "Let's take pictures!"
She had me stand up on the stage, hold my diploma holder in front of me, had me standing next to Edward. She even had someone take a picture of all three of us. "You did wonderfully, Bella." She said she looked through the pictures on her camera. "Now, let me take you out to dinner! Anywhere you want to go!"
I nodded, "Thank you, Alice."
We headed to the car, Alice telling her graduation tales animatedly.
"You looked wonderful up there, Bella. I'm so proud of you." Edward said into my ear quietly as he opened the car door for me. He kissed my forehead.
I did my best to smile for him and ducked into the car.
We decided to drive into the city so that we could go to an Olive Garden. We were seated as soon as we walked in, Edward making sure that we ended up somewhere private so that we could chat while we ate.
"I love this place!" Alice exclaimed, "If you're having trouble finding something to order, try to make your own pizza. I do it every time I come."
I nodded, thinking about the last time Edward and I had been out to eat Italian. Things had changed so much since then. Edward didn't seem as much the rich entitled boy, and I was no longer only willing to communicate with Edward through arguing. If something was bothering me, I talked to him about it. He did the same for me.
When the waiter came around taking our orders and giving us our salad plates and a large bowl, Alice dived in immediately. She made up a plate for me, for Edward, then for herself, giving us each a breadstick.
"You have to be careful here. There's so many carbs! I usually throw that all out the window when I'm out like this though." I nodded sympathetically. It must've been hard to keep a great figure when she was so short, although I wasn't much taller than her and I ate whatever the hell I wanted.
Alice and Edward ate their salads in silence, Alice talking only once, to tell us she was going to go use the restroom. I inclined my head politely, and then looked back down at my food, playing with it.
Well I sat there, I thought about why Renee hadn't shown up to graduation, panicked that there was an emergency. I checked my phone a thousand times to check and see if anyone had called or texted. After a while, I thought about the possibility that there was no emergency and my stomach sunk to my toes.
Suddenly, my salad plate was pushed aside and my entrée was placed in front of me. I looked down at the pizza, and laughed at the smiley face that was made from the pepperoni. It was ridiculous, but when I looked up, Edward and Alice were laughing too.
"All me!" said Alice, gesturing to herself.
I nodded, "I love it. Thank you."
"Of course, Bella. Chin up. Things will get better." She leaned over and placed her hand on top of mine. Underneath the table, Edwards' leg tangled around mine. I peeked under the table and watched as his toes began tracing little circles up my calf. Smiling, I took off my heel, and stroked his ankle. Skin on skin. Alice squeezed my hand and then pulled away to tell the waiter that she wanted Parmesan on her pizza.
Finally, I looked up and made eye contact with Edward. There was something so…comforting in his eyes. Something about the striking green and calm way he met my gaze that tampered down the fear, panic and disappointment in my stomach and made my heart beat faster. Underneath the table, his leg tangled with mine.
"I love you," I mouthed to him.
His smile was small, "I love you."
And that was how Edward and I dropped the bomb for the first time. In an Olive Garden on a day of abandonment with a smiley face pizza sitting in front of me and a plate of tortellini in front of him.
"Get ready for tonight, Bella! We're gonna party!" Alice yelled through her window, pointing at Edward and me dramatically as she pulled out of the school parking lot. Edward chuckled and pointed to the bike, gesturing for me to get on first.
We were seated and I was holding tight to him when I realized that we were going home. We were going home and I was going to have to see Renee and Phil. To deal with what had happened today.
I squeezed Edward to stop him from starting the bike, "I don't want to go home."
He turned as much as he could so he could see me, expression curious, "Where do you want to go?"
Shaking my head, I shrugged. I had nowhere else to go.
"Let's go home, baby. We'll only be there for a little while." His voice was calming and comforting. Edward was always so ready to help me face my problems, even if I didn't want to. He pushed me to be a better person, to accept my life, to move on from unhealthy relationships, and to embrace things that made me happy.
I trusted him to make the right call.
"Let's go home," I whispered, holding on tight to him so he could start the bike and get it going.
The car was in the driveway when we got there. It confirmed to me that there wasn't an emergency and made me feel even worse about the situation. I took a deep breath and blew it out of my mouth carefully.
Edward held my hand all the way in the house and up the stairs before he let go. He wasn't letting go as a cowardly act. He let go because we had to wait until I was eighteen to let them know. They couldn't use our relationship as retaliation for anything. The only people that could know were the ones that we trusted the most.
Renee and Phil were on the couch watching television. When we came into view, Phil turned it off but didn't say anything.
"You didn't come," I said looking Renee in the eyes, not betraying myself by showing how hurt and disappointed I was.
She looked back at me evenly, "I don't feel well. Phil stayed to take care of me."
For some reason, that was my blowing point. I couldn't stay there, in that house, until I was eighteen. I couldn't stay another minute. Anger filled me so full I almost screamed, while tears filled my eyes.
"I'm leaving," I said coldly. Renee recoiled in surprise before she composed herself.
"I see. And when will you be back?" Her question was desperate and I knew that it had slipped through her lips without her permission.
"Not for a while, if I can help it," I said. She seemed confused, like she hadn't been expecting this outcome and that just made me angrier.
Edwards warm hand was suddenly on my back. I don't know how he knew that I was about to lose it, that I wanted to drop to my knees and scream under the weight of the emotion that was overtaking, that my head was killing me, that my ears were ringing, that my heart felt as if it was splintering, but he did. And his strong, stable hand braced against my back provided me with the strength that I needed to get the hell away from Renee and Phil before I broke down.
"If Bella is leaving, I think it'd be best I moved out as well. I'll give you next months' rent to smooth things over, and you can keep the deposit as well as the last months' rent." He knew that they weren't stupid; he knew that they would connect the dots. He didn't care. Renee's mouth seemed to drop open, while Phil looked a little sick, like he had known about us, but figured that we would lie about our relationship for forever.
Renee's eyes seemed to zero in on Edwards arm that stood out between us. She knew his hand was on me, and it made her breathe out heavily, "You….You care for her, don't you?" The words weren't as surprised as they were malicious.
Edward pulled me into his side, "I do."
She stood up, charging toward us, a mother bear that no longer had any right to protect her cub.
"Are you fucking my daughter? You know that's illegal, right?" She started poking him hard in the chest. I pushed her arm away from him roughly, hard enough that she had to stumble to catch herself. Phil stood up and steadied her, giving me a warning look that clearly told me to try something like that again.
Edward pushed me behind his back, "I would never, ever disrespect Bella that way. We're together because we care for each other, not because I have rock hard abs, and because she has mile long legs. We are together for reasons other than lust. We are adults, and sex is something that will come in the relationship. After she's eighteen, stable, happy, and the fuck away from a poisonous mother like you."
Renee seemed to grow a few feet after Edward said those words. Her face reddened and she leaned forward, "I have done everything I could for Bella. I worked double shifts, triple shifts. I went on zero sleep so that I could take her to school. I raised her." Her voice was quiet, but rough.
"You also missed school plays, ignored her well-being, handed her from one baby sitter to another, had relationship after relationship and then married a minor league baseball player for his money. When the money ran out, you became malicious. You practically begged me to move in, showed me a picture of Bella as if you were offering her on a platter. Don't lie and say you didn't. It would insult my intelligence." I didn't have to stand up for myself. Edward managed to do it. The words surprised me and I clutched the back of his t shirt as everything came together.
"Edward, do you think you could run Bella to school?"
"You two are sure spending a lot of time together. Do you like him?"
"He's kind of cute, Bella. Don't you think?"
"Bella…he didn't…try to make you do something you didn't want to do?"
Renee wasn't oblivious. She put him in the room next to mine because if we had sex, she could black mail him and get money from him. She knew he came from money and she allowed us to flirt and kiss and touch and become something behind her back because Edward was her meal ticket. She didn't count on us caring for each other.
I peeked around Edwards arm and really looked at her. She was deflated, looking down at the floor.
"Look at me," I demanded. I needed to see her eyes; I needed her to face me instead of running away for once.
She looked up, her eyes glassy, "Bella…I-"
I shook my head, "Don't. We're done."
She opened her mouth again, but I walked around Edward, getting close to her so that I could look her directly in the eyes.
"We. Are. Done." I turned around and grabbed Edwards hand as I walked down the stairs.
No looking back.
"We need to go," I said, walking to my room.
"We need…boxes. I need some fucking boxes!" My breathing was fast as I started tossing things on my bed; my books, my make-up, my hair straightener. Edward watched from the doorway.
I knew I was being ridiculous, I knew I was falling apart. My arms were shaking and my eyes were so blurry I could no longer see where things were landing. On my bed, near the bed. I couldn't help it. I needed out before I let my heart break.
"Bella. Stop. Come here." He opened his arms.
"I don't have time. I don't have time. I need to get out of here." I opened my dresser drawers and began throwing my clothes, unplugging my dock.
"Belle. Baby. Come here." He finally came into the room to stop me, putting his hand on my shoulder. Pushing my hair back from my face, he kissed my forehead.
"Why would she do this?" I asked him softly, pushing myself into his body hard, fisting his shirt in my hands.
He shrugged, "Desperation to take care of you, to take care of herself and Phil. To take care of her baby."
I cried against him for a minute, and then forced myself to stop, "I can't do this here Edward. I need to get out of here."
He pulled away so he could lean down and started kissing all over my face, "I'm so sorry, Belle. I'm so fucking sorry. I didn't want you to ever know that someone who loves you so much is capable of things like this. I'm so fucking sorry, baby girl." He kissed down my neck, pecking my lips, my cheeks, my eyes. He was frantic, hungry for my forgiveness.
"Edward…it's okay, I kn-"
"Bella, if I could speak to you for a minute?" Phil was standing in the doorway. He looked…resigned.
I nodded, pulling away so Edward and I were no longer entangled.
"Edward, will you go dig up stuff to put all of our things in?" I asked him.
"Of course, Belle. Call me if you need me…I won't be far." He aimed his last sentence at Phil. Phil nodded at him.
Phil went to sit on my bed, and then decided against it when he noticed all my items strewn across it. Instead he sat down on the floor. He patted the spot across from him.
"Bella, before you say anything, I want you to know that I'm down here because I didn't know. We interviewed so many people before your mom decided on Edward. I thought she was being picky. I didn't think she was looking for money. I thought she was proud." He paused and shook his head, scoffing at himself, "I was an idiot. I wanted to be there today, Bella. I'm sorry that I didn't come. Your mother…Well, there's no excuse that I didn't show. I'm sorry. If…If you're happy with Edward, I'll ward your mom off. Go and ride off into the sunset." He smiled half-heartedly at me and stood.
He was almost out the door when I finally fired the question that was burning the tip of my tongue, "Are you going to leave her?"
He turned back to me, "Of course not. She's my wife, she carries my child. I love her." And then he was gone. I stayed on the floor staring at the empty space until Edward came back in, carrying suitcases.
"Where do you want to go, baby girl?" He smiled, leaning down to help me stand up.
"Let's go see my Dad."
"I do know this. It's the things we run from that hurt us the most." ― Norma Johnston
It didn't take us long to pack. We left our beds, our dressers. Edward left his TV, and his couch. I brought my clothes and my things. I put my envelope with the college money into my purse and threw it over my shoulder. Edward had a lot less to pack then I did. He only filled up three suitcases.
We got out of the house without Renee or Phil bothering us. Alice picked us up in a car so big she looked like a doll in the front seat. Edward hefted all of our things into it, got his motorcycle onto a little trailer that was hooked up to the back, and then pushed me up into it, copping a feel on my ass.
"Classy," I quipped when he climbed in next to me. He smiled, wrapping his arm around my shoulders.
"Are we ready to get out of here?" Alice turned to me, smiling.
I nodded, but as we pulled out of the driveway, my stomach tightened. I turned, watching the house, catching Renee watching the car out of the living room window, her hand over her mouth.
Tears came to my eyes. Leaving wasn't something that I wanted to do, but it was something that I had to do. I wanted to be away from the environment that Renee had put me in. The only way to do that was to leave her and Phil.
I looked at the balcony where Edward and I had sat together, where we had our first kiss, where we had shared our first bowl of rice krispies. The house was where we hid, where we were just us. It was sad to watch it disappear through the rear window of the car.
Edward put his hand under my chin and gently turned it toward him.
"Don't look back, baby. It's bad luck." He pressed a gentle kiss to my mouth. Some tears escaped and I lay my head against Edwards' shoulder, looking up at Alice in the front seat. Her eyes were on mine in the rearview mirror, but she didn't say anything about it.
"Hey! None of that!" She took her eyes off the road to turn to us and made a kissing face. "Now, where to?"
It was getting dark outside.
"Mom and Dads? Tomorrow we can head to Forks?" Edward asked me.
"You want me to meet your parents? Like this?" I looked down at the skirt I still had on, the tennis shoes and the hoodie.
He smiled, "Exactly like that. They'll love you."
"I don't know, Edward…"I trailed off.
"Alice, take us to Mom and Dad's so that Bella can be reassured that they won't hate her." Edward called up to Alice. I pinched his arm in retaliation.
"Cool, I have to give Emmett his Hummer back anyway." Alice made a right so we could get on the freeway.
The ride there was quiet while I processed what was happening. I was still so angry with Renee, and I couldn't see how Phil would stay with her. She was conniving, and didn't deny that she married him for his money. Was he so lonely that he would stay with her just because there was someone who wanted him? Or because she was having his child? After all that Renee had done, Phil could probably win full custody.
"Why do you think he's going to stay?" I asked quietly in Edwards' ear. He turned his head to look at me, considering for a moment before he answered.
"Because he loves her, Belle. Love is a strange emotion; it makes us do strange things. I would never leave you." He kissed my cheek and let me go back to my thinking. I came to the conclusion that Edward as right. Phil loved Renee like I loved Edward. If Edward was mean or cruel, I wouldn't leave him. Not because he wanted me. Because I wanted him.
The house we pulled up to was glorious. It wasn't just a normal house that you saw driving down the street. It was more like a manor. White and glorious, surrounded by trees and flowers, it looked like a refuge. Somewhere I could go that wasn't home.
"Ready?" I turned to Edward.
He nodded, "Of course."
Alice got out while we sat there.
"You aren't afraid?" I felt bad for just asking this now, but it had just occurred to me that this would be the first time Edward had seen his parents in months.
"Never," He winked, opening the door and hoping out. He helped me out too, shutting the door and tugging me toward the front door.
"Should we get our bags?"
He shook his head, "Nah. Emmett will get them."
I shrugged, and let him pull me to the porch.
"Moms' gonna freak," Alice said smiling, and then pushed the door open.
"Mom, where are you?" She yelled out as we entered the foyer.
The house was as gorgeous outside as it was on the outside. There was a sunken living room off foyer with perfect white and black décor, and a grand piano in the corner of the room.
"Yes, Alice! Give me a moment!" Her voice was kind.
"Mom!" Edward yelled, walking further into the house.
"Edward?" It was quiet, and then there was running footsteps. She was a blur before she was barreling into Edward. He staggered back and our hands were separated.
"I'm so sorry, Edward. I will never stand by your father when he's being foolish again." She hugged him tightly enough that her fingers were turning white.
"Mom…I forgive you. Mom, let me go." He chuckled a little bit as he set her down on the ground. She reached up to hold his face, and he wiped her tears away.
It was tender until she slapped him lightly in the face.
"You will never put me through that again," she nearly growled.
He nodded, "Don't give me a reason."
"I won't," She promised. And just like that it was over. He pulled away from her, and she wiped her remaining tears.
Edward came back over to me, wrapping his arms around me from behind.
"Bella," He said to her as a form of introduction.
She smiled gently at me before she looked up at Edward, "I hope you know what you're doing."
He said, "I do."
"Then I'm behind you one hundred percent," She said.
She came forward and shook my hand, "I'm Esme, Edwards' mother. Are you hungry, dear?"
Surprised, I shrugged then shook my head in an embarrassing, jerky movement. Esme laughed a little bit, and then touched her hand to my face tenderly.
"You've had it hard, haven't you dear?"
I pulled my face away from her hand, and the back of my head hit Edwards' chest. He exhaled heavily.
"You look like you need some feeding up. Come with me. Edward, go up to your Fathers' office so he can apologize, then we can all have a second dinner together," She said winking playfully.
Edward chuckled and kissed underneath my ear, "Are you okay alone with Mom and Alice?"
"Of course," I said even though I really didn't think I was.
He squeezed me once, and then walked up the stairs at the north end of the foyer. Next to the staircase, there was the kitchen door, and Alice led me through it.
"Break out the ice cream!" She yelled to Esme, walking over to the stools at the counter and banging her hands like a toddler.
Esme laughed and grabbed an entire tub and three spoons, sliding them across to Alice. I sat down next to her, picking up a spoon. Alice rubbed my back for a moment, brushing my hair away from my face, back over my shoulder.
"You should have seen Bella graduate today, Mom. She exuded confidence and poise." Alice smiled at me, taking a bite out of the tub with her spoon. I took a moment to observe Esme. She was truly beautiful. Exactly like her picture. I could see where Alice got her energy from though.
Esme smiled, "I would expect nothing less from such a lovely girl."
I looked down at my spoon. Not a lovely girl. You ruined your family. You fell for the bait and ruined your family. Home wrecker.
It was quiet after that with only Esme and Alice eating from the tub of cookies and crème.
"I can never get these three to stop chattering," Edwards voice surprised me and I jumped, looking over at him. He was eyeing all of us teasingly.
I stood up and went to him, not caring that I was being very public in my little display of affection. I wrapped my arms around him and buried my face into his neck, feeling overwhelmed. He smelled like home, and calmed me, eased me down.
He wrapped his arms around me tightly, "Hard day," He said to me. It wasn't a question.
I nodded into his neck.
"Mom… It's been a long day…I think Bella and I are going to go and turn in." He told her, squeezed me even tighter.
I didn't look up. Good job, Bella. They're so hospitable and you take it and shove it in their faces.
"Of course, Edward. I'm sorry, I didn't think. You two can have your old room. Breakfast with the family in the morning, okay?" Edward nodded and I pulled back from him so he could lead the way.
"Bella?" Esme said as we walked out.
I turned to her, smiling as best as I could, "Thank you for your hospitality."
She laughed and waved me off, "I just wanted to tell you that it's good to meet you."
"Likewise," I said, then followed Edward up the back steps.
Edwards' room was very much like his room at my house. There was a desk, a dresser, a couch, a TV and a bed. No knick knacks.
"There are clothes in the closet. Change into one of my shirts and we can go to bed," He said to distract me from my exploration. I nodded and went into his closet. There was a series of button up shirts there, all color coded. Edwards work clothes. I picked out a random one and stripped out of my clothes to put it on. I left all my clothes in a pile in Edwards' closet, but knew he wouldn't care.
He was in his boxers sitting at the edge of the bed when I walked out. The only light from the room emanated from the lamp on his bed side table. I didn't go to him immediately. Instead I looked at him for a minute, and appreciated that he was glorious.
"What can I do, beautiful?" He asked, opening his arms wide.
I shrugged, straddling him, sitting back on his legs. "I'm angry. Not really sad anymore. Angry. I don't want to cry."
He tangled his hand in my hair, leaning forward to kiss my chin.
"Maybe you're in shock," He said, kissing at my neck now, sucking.
"Maybe. I'm just overwhelmed, Edward. I couldn't live like that anymore. I had to get out."
"I know. I know, baby. You did the right thing. But it's okay if you want to mourn this." He pulled away so I could see how sincere his eyes were.
"I don't want to right now," I whispered.
He nodded, and maneuvered us to lay back in bed together. He fell asleep pretty quickly, tired from the day, but I lay there for hours staring around the room, smelling the unfamiliar smells.
Finally, I decided to go down and get a glass of water. Carefully pulling myself away from Edward, I kissed his fingers and got out of the bed.
The house was dark and quiet so I tip toed the best I could down the stairs and to the kitchen. It was dark there too, and I didn't want to disturb anybody, so I searched for a glass as quietly as I could in the dark.
"Are you okay, Bella?" Esme's voice made me screech.
I jumped and turned toward her voice with my hand over my heart, hoping to slow it down. The light flicked on and there she was in the breakfast nook with a gallon of ice cream and a spoon.
I closed my eyes and leaned against the counter.
"Sorry to scare you dear. Can I get you anything?"
I shook my head, "I was just going to get water."
She nodded, pointing to a cupboard above the sink where the water glasses were. I filled one up and began to drink slowly.
"How old are you, sweetie?" Esme asked just as I was finishing.
"I'll be eighteen in two weeks," I shrugged. I hoped that she wouldn't judge Edward and me but knew that I would understand if she did. Sometimes it even sounded preposterous to me.
"I figured," She said.
Figuring that was my cue to leave, I started walking toward the stairs.
She stood up and I noticed that she was wearing a satin robe with little flowers on it. Esme Cullen still managed to look fashionable, attractive and put together in pajamas.
"Where's your Mom, sweetie?" She came to me and put her hand on my arm.
"She doesn't care," I breathed. It was the only thing I could think to say.
Her brows furrowed. "She doesn't care about your relationship with Edward? Not many people are as accepting as we are, dear. I find that rather difficult to believe."
I pulled my arm away from her hand.
"She doesn't care," I said, and then I turned and walked up the stairs.
Everything I had said was true. Renee didn't care if Edward and I were together. She cared if we had sex, yeah, so she could get money from it. But other than being a money source, Renee didn't give a shit what I did.
As I lay in bed against Edward, I thought about Renee. If she didn't have to care about me, then I didn't have to care about her.
It was finally over.
Authors Note: Okay, folks. This one was a DOOZY. What do you think of Renee's excuses? Of Edwards family? Of Edward? I know that he didn't really bitch Renee out as much as we all wanted him to, but it's not in his character. Personally, I cheered for him and walked around thinking 'Edward is awesome' after writing that scene. So hopefully you all liked him as much as I did. What did you all think of Bella's numb reaction to everything and their soon to be visit with Charlie?
The relationship came out and Renee's plan was revealed. What did you guys think? No one guessed it! People guessed that it was possibly Edwards plan to move in and seduce Bella. No one guessed that RENEE was trying to manipulate the situation. Surprised? Let me know!
Oh and what did you think of Phil's apology and determination to stay in the situation that he's in?
Tell me what you all thought of the quote! I'm liking this updating schedule. Are you?