alright, so things start to get a little... violent. I just want to warn you that there is domestic abuse and rape involved in this chapter. it is italicized seeing as how it is a memory. its a bit more graphic than what i usually write. if you dont want to read it, you can just skip it it.
anyway, i hope you enjoy the chapter
The Homeless Guy In The Penthouse Upstairs
The next morning I came up to Edward's apartment with coffee and doughnuts from the Treat Box in hand. Alice was right. I was being hypocritical. She didn't have to be such a bitch about it though. She crossed a line. Edward wasn't the only person that I needed to have a little chat with. I had to talk to her as well.
I fiddled with the key that Edward had given me. After the things that I had said to him, it didn't feel right to just let myself in anymore. It was like I had taken us two steps backward in our relationship, and honestly I think I had. That was tough to admit. Whenever I thought of my future, ever since I had met him, Edward had become a central part of it. It felt like he was it for me, and I hoped that he felt the same. As long as I didn't fuck everything up last night like I felt like I had.
I dropped the keys back in my bag and knocked three times on the door. I waited a moment and it didn't sound like anyone was coming. I felt awkward standing out in the hallway, but I couldn't bring myself to use the key. I knocked again and adjusted the lids on the cups in my hand. I heard a shuffling and the sound of locks clicking.
When the door opened Edward looked shocked. But he wasn't the only one feeling that. There was a fat blue and purple bruise swelling up along the left side of his jaw. "Edward, oh my god what happened?" I asked pushing past him inside and putting breakfast down on the table. He still stood at the door, his eyes on the floor. I pulled an icepack out of his freezer before I walked up to him, drawing him away and towards the couch. He sat down but kept his eyes averted. "Edward, look at me."
It took him a moment but eventually his eyes met mine. They were clouded and hazed over, like he was stuck in deep thought. I put the ice up to his jaw and he covered his hand in mine, holding it there before pulling it away. "What are you doing here?" his voice was rough and hoarse, and empty.
I flinched internally. Usually whenever he talked to me, he had so much life in his voice, but now... what happened last night after I left? This couldn't just be the product of what I had said. Words cant give you a bruised jaw. Only people could do that. "I wanted to talk to you- about what I said last night. But I want to know what happened to your jaw first. Who did this to you?"
Hi jaw clenched and his hands tightened into fists before they relaxed at his sides again. "What did you want to say about last night?" he asked, deflecting my question about who had done this to him.
"If we talk first, do you promise to tell me who did this to you?" he didn't say anything. He just continued to stare at me with those blank eyes. I took a deep breath and moved from the floor where I was crouched in front of him to sitting beside him on the couch. I grabbed his hand and squeezed it tightly, but he didn't do the same. "I wanted to apologize. I was angry, at both of us I guess."
"I was mad at myself because I felt selfish. I wanted to know everything about you, I felt like we had reached a point in our relationship, after you know, and I wanted you to just spontaneously open up to me and then we could work through everything together. I was a hypocrite because I haven't been completely forthcoming about myself either." I said and I felt tears prick at the corners of my eyes. I was such a bitch sometimes. I expected everything from him and nothing from myself. It wasn't fair to Edward.
He nodded. "I know. And I never pushed you on it, so why push me?"
I looked at him shocked. When did I ever push him about anything? If there was any pushing happening, it was happening right now. I could feel him pushing me away. "When did I ever ask you about what happened? Other than when we first met, but I don't think that counts."
Edward shook his head. "I can see it, every time something happens that makes me withdraw, you get this look on your face. You start reaching out for me, like I'm some pitiful puppy."
"But I never say anything, I never let myself get too far. Of course I try to reach out for you. I love you, Edward. I hate seeing you in pain. I want to know what happened to you that made you afraid of something or someone. It's natural." I said, my voice turning hard. Did he always feel this way? Why didn't he say anything before?
"Whenever we watch a movie and a girl gets beat by a guy or she's raped or even if it's mental damage, your breath catches. I can hear it. You get this look of terror on your face, and something flashes across your face. You clam up and grab me tighter." he said, his features softening. "And then you look at me, and before you catch me looking at you I look away. When you think I hadn't noticed your panic you start to relax again.
"I didn't say anything. I didn't try to reach out and comfort you, because I could tell you didn't want me to. Just like I didn't want you to. We both have our demons, that at this point we need to work through by ourselves."
I knew what he was saying. He didn't want me to know, he wanted to work past his fears on his own. He wasn't going to tell me anything. I would be lucky if I got those brief glimpses into his past life, just like I had been getting for the past few months. I felt anger flare in the pit of my stomach, but I worked to not let it affect me physically. The more I thought about it, the more sadness and loneliness quelled the angry fire and there was a sinking in my stomach, like ash falling through a grate. "But I... I want to tell you what happened."
His eyebrows rose and he turned to face me full on. One look at the bruise and I struggled to keep from staring and fought my gaze back up to his eyes. He stared at me, waiting. I took a deep breath and told him what happened. It was the first time I had actually told the story. Everyone else who knew about it had been there with me the whole time.
July 13, 2009
I pushed the hair out of my face and checked the time on my phone. Seriously? It had been twenty minutes and this line still hadn't moved. I was convinced that the girl at the check out counter was some kind of prostitute. You cant wear a supermarket vest and have your boobs out that much. It was impossible.
I felt something cold and metal bump into the back of my legs and my ass and I turned around angrily, ready to take on whoever had bumped into me. But when I saw the guy who had done it, my mood shifted from anger to lust in seconds. He was tall and lean with short blond hair. His skin was golden tan, like he lived on the beach. His eyes were bright blue, and glittered when he smiled. How did I know? Because he was smiling as he apologized for hitting me with his shopping cart.
"I really am sorry, I couldn't get to something in my cart, and I guess I moved it without meaning to," his voice was husky, and well, sexy.
I smiled at him, "Don't worry about it." I reached my hand out. "I'm Bella, Bella Swan."
He grinned and took my hand in his. It was soft yet rough, just like a mans hands should be. "James, James Langdon."
"Nice to meet you James," I said and looked in his cart. It was full of cooking and cleaning essentials and microwavable food. On the top of everything was a box of magnums. I felt my stomach drop a little. Guys didn't usually just buy condoms unless they had a reason to, like a girlfriend. At least the guys that I knew didn't anyway. "Interesting stuff you have in your cart."
James rubbed the back of his neck and smiled, embarrassed. "Yeah I just moved here from Miami. My job got transferred up here."
That explained his killer tan. "Very cool. What kind of work do you do?"
"I'm in advertising. I come up with ideas for billboards for companies."
"That's awesome, I kind of have the same job." I said. I only worked with one company but I still made ideas for billboards.
"Oh yeah?" he said, leaning up against his cart. "What is it that you do, Bella?" My heart stopped for a second as I registered that he said my name. It sounded so much prettier when he said it.
His eyebrows shot up and he looked me up and down. No I really didn't dress like someone who worked in the fashion industry. I was wearing a pair of jeans that I had back in high school and a black tank top. Nothing special. "I wouldn't have pegged you as a fashion girl."
I giggled, "Neither would I have when I graduated high school. Or college for that matter, but you know, money is money." I shrugged.
He laughed and nodded. "Truth." when he looked back at me, he had this concentrated look on his face, "Can I have your number? I want to see you again."
Cue touchdown dance, "Uh, yeah sure."
July 14, 2009
James threw me up against the door, slamming it shut behind us. His lips were everywhere; mine, my neck, my shoulder. He pulled one of my legs up around his hip and I wrapped them around him, pushing his arousal against me and I moaned. He pulled away and spoke into my neck, "So, this is my place," he said panting before returning to what he was doing.
I looked around a little, I couldn't really focus on anything. There were boxes piled everywhere, and nothing really had a place. "It's nice," I breathed. He laughed and kissed me hard on the mouth. "It has a bed," I said suggestively and he growled in response, carrying me over to the futon bed that doubled as a couch.
He settled us down, me sitting on top of him, my hips rocking against mine as we kissed feverishly."I think I could get used to this," he said.
October 21, 2009
I twisted open the handle to James' apartment and grinned when he came around the corner, showing me his lovely his face which was contorted in hurt. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"You were supposed to be here a half hour ago." I looked at the clock on my phone, he was right. We were supposed to have dinner at eight, and it was nearly eight forty five.
"Yeah, sorry about that. I guess I just lost track of time," I said and he closed his eyes.
"You were with him again weren't you?" he asked and I knew just who he was talking about.
"His name is Jake, and he's one of my best friends, who also happens to be gay. You know this, why are you freaking out?" lately James had become more and more over protective. I knew the reason why, he found out that his mother had been cheating on his father for years with one of the teachers at the high school he attended. When his mother told him, he was devastated.
"You know I don't like you hanging out with him." he said, ice trickling into his voice.
I nodded. "I know and I'm sorry, but its not like I can just stop hanging out with him because you don't like him. I don't like Laurent and you still hang out with him all the time."
"That's different," he said taking a step toward me.
I wouldn't back down though. "Oh yeah? How so?"
"It just is."
I shook my head. "That's the best that you've got?" I grabbed my purse off the counter and moved towards the door, but he bounded forward, grabbing my upper arm. His fingers reached all the way around it and were touching. I winced from the pressure. "James, let go, that hurts!"
"Now you know how I feel." he snapped. "Maybe you should start thinking of others, instead of just yourself, selfish bitch."
My eyes widened. Never once had he said something so rude and degrading to me before. He had never once laid a hand on me like this. It was something so new, I had no idea what to do, but I couldn't stop myself. My mouth and my brain weren't connected anymore. "Let go of me, you hypocritical prick! You don't get to tell me what to do, and who I get to hang out with. This isn't the fucking nineteenth century. Women have rights too, you know." I spat.
James dropped his hold on my arm and I thought that I had one the argument, but just when I was least expecting it, the back of his hand came down across my cheek. The shock of it all had me staggering back against the wall. My hand rested upon the spot where he had hit me. I stood there for a moment, not sure what to do. I waited for him to get down on his knees, groveling about how it was an accident, that he would never do it again. But that never happened. His eyes never softened, they stayed hard as ice and I backed away, reaching for the door. I didn't give him a chance to say anything or reach for me. I ran for the elevator.
October 22, 2009
The flowers and cards kept pouring in. My voicemail was filled with messages rom James, telling me what a huge mistake he made. He sounded so sincere. He had never done anything like this before. He was under a lot of stress at work, and with his parents divorce he was bound to snap eventually. I had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Things would never be like that again.
September 3, 2010
I pulled the sleeves of my my dress down over my arms, covering up the bruises that spotted my arms. "What are you wearing?" James asked, coming up behind me.
I didn't turn around, I could see him standing a few feet away from me in the mirror. "I'm going to work."
"At 8 at night, wearing that?" he asked gesturing to the white long sleeved tunic dress I was wearing.
I nodded. "Alice made it specially for me and asked me to wear it tonight."
"No, you are not going out dressed like that."
"You can come with me, she gave me an extra ticket for you." I said turning around and handing to him.
"You're just now telling me this? What if I had already made plans? You weren't even going to mention it to me until now, when I asked you about it?"
I shook my head. "No it's not that, I just didn't think that you would be interested in something like this, but I need to go, its my job. You can come with me, and then you wont have to worry about me." his hands bunched into fists at his sides.
"I'm so sick of coming in second to your job. If you love it so much why even bother being with me?" he asked, hurt lacing his tone.
"I love you James, you know that," I said, reaching up cupping his face in my hands, kissing him softly and then pulling away. His eyes shut and I thought he had relaxed until he shoved me away, throwing me into the wall where my back hit the towel rack, pain rocked through me, dropping me to the floor. Tears pooled in my eyes.
"No, you don't love me." he reached down and pulled me up, shaking me. "You've never loved me. You women, you're all conniving whores. Throwing your cat around at every guy that walks in your direction." he pushed me into the wall again, throwing one of his fists at my face. I didn't have time to react as it slammed down on my face.
I felt the blood on my lip. "James, baby, please stop. I love you. I really, truly love you, you have to believe me." I reached up for him, but he smacked my hand away from him.
He shook his head, his hands tugging at his blond hair. "Show me, show me you love me."
I looked at him confused. What was it he wanted me to do? He roared and picked me up, pushing me towards the counter. "James, what are you-?" he pushed up the hem of my dress, pushing my panties off to the side. Fear coursed through my veins, he wouldn't, would he? A sob wracked through my body, "James, please stop!" he didn't listen. He thrust himself inside me, dry. I screamed at the unwanted intrusion and the pain. It was unbearable. I felt like I was being ripped in half. He knotted one hand in my hair, pulling roughly, so hard I could feel some of it being torn out. The other was wrapped tightly around my neck, choking my screams. I couldn't breathe. But it wasn't just the physical aspect of it, it was mental as well. I felt myself being taken over and consumed. He was making me his, and there was no way I could stop it. I wasn't going to be able to get away from him now. I was claimed, who would want me after this?
I was staring at the wall in front of us now. I couldn't look at him. Telling him, reliving it, brought me back to that place, the place in my head where I was before I let my friends and family back in and help me get to where I was now. I was that scared little girl who was so afraid of what others would think of her when they found out. The girl who was afraid that even by looking at her, people would know what happened. They would think of her as a porcelain glass doll and she would never be treated the same. But I was the one who had been treating myself that way. Alice and Rose broke me. Alice got me to come out of that scared layer of myself and Rose had helped me work through what had happened. She told me about what had happened to her, how much longer she had dealt with it because she didn't have a family, like I did, to help her back then.
"I called Alice while he was in the shower the next morning. The cops showed up twenty minutes later. They tested me with a rape kit, to see if I was telling the truth. As if the bruises weren't enough. He was sentenced to ten years in prison. That was two years ago."
yeah... well? what do you think? this isnt really following my layout for the story, its kind of just happening.
let me know what you were thinking through this chapter, i would love to know!
p.s. its my birthday on thursday! it would be a lovely present for you to review!