Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Twilight characters, just borrowing them for a while.
This is an All Human story and is rated M, mainly for lemons and it's slash, people, so if this isn't your thing, don't read it.
For all of you Edward lovers, this is my first story which includes him as a main character, so I hope you enjoy. For those of you who really aren't keen, I hope you at least dislike him a little less after this ;o)
Thank you to Meghan for helping me come up with the title :o)
HEALING A DAMAGED SOUL
"I can't see you any more. There's someone else. I met someone else."
Those words haunted me for weeks. I tried everything to forget her - drowning my sorrows; riding my motorcycle with the throttle pinned, the wind feeling like it would tear my head from my neck and the bars shaking with the threat of a tank-slapper; even picking up strangers in bars, something I had never done and never even considered before. Much to my shame I could barely even remember their names; a willowy blonde, a voluptuous redhead, a brunette with freckles, a guy I met in Forks when I was drunk. He really liked me and it freaked me the hell out, but I took his number with me when I left in the morning anyway. Still I didn't forget.
I had only been with her six months since just before my twenty-first birthday and she was my first love, the first one I gave myself to – I was a ridiculously late starter – and I thought I would be with her forever. Then she threw it all back in my face and told me she wanted someone else. Edward Cullen.
I didn't know much about him. I had seen him in school when we were all younger and he looked like a freak to me – pale and interesting, I think they call it. He was pale, as if he'd never seen the sun and his hair looked like it had been cut by a blind person right before he got dragged through a hedge backwards. He wore narrow-rimmed wire glasses most of the time which gave him a bookish appearance. He lived in a huge house in the woods outside of Forks and was one of Doctor Carlisle and Esme Cullen's three boys. I knew the middle one slightly as he was close to my age. Jasper had been on the football team with me briefly until the other guys took exception to the fact that he was gay and proud of it. The eldest, Emmett, had finished school several years before, but from what I'd heard he seemed like an ok guy. He often hung out with Sam Uley, either on the Reservation or in Forks and I knew Sam had been over to the Cullens' house plenty of times to work out with Emmett in their private gym. It was only Edward that I hated without even knowing him, because he had her.
I couldn't imagine what Bella saw in him. A more awkward individual I had never seen; geeky, uncomfortable in his own skin and certainly the exact opposite of what Bella usually liked. Her thing was tall, dark, muscular and sexy – not that I thought I was this last, but she apparently had at least for a while. I certainly couldn't describe Edward as sexy and if his body was remotely attractive, he kept it well hidden under button-down shirts and slacks, usually with a Gucci or Armani label or something similar.
Then it hit me. It wasn't that she liked his looks in particular or whatever he might do for her in the sack – she liked his money. He oozed money from every pore – the whole family did – and Bella was nothing if not materialistic. She wanted what he could give her, something that a mechanic like me never could.
I had run into him just once after they got together and I couldn't resist needling him. He was in a grocery store in Forks although God alone knew why - didn't the Cullens have servants for that type of thing? However, he was standing in front of the wine shelves, apparently picking something from the most expensive reds available.
"Hey, Cullen, if that's for Bella she's not gonna like it, she prefers white." I had told myself to just go about my business and ignore him, but I couldn't help it.
Edward turned slightly towards me and actually smirked as he looked me up and down. "I know."
I wanted to punch the smug look off of his face and I growled audibly.
"You're jealous," he added mildly.
"No, I'm sorry for you," I grunted.
"Sorry for me? How can that be? I'm the one who has Bella." He turned back to the wine shelves and shuffled slightly left towards the white wine. I snorted.
"I'm aware of that, Cullen, but there's a pattern forming. She left some guy to be with me and now she's done the same thing again. I have no doubt she'll crush you like a bug pretty soon."
"Perhaps she just hadn't found the right man up to now."
"And maybe she just hadn't found one with a large enough bank account," I hissed in his ear, leaning close enough to make him jump and sidestep. His smug expression dissolved into a slightly uncomfortable one and he bit his lip before answering.
"That's nothing to do with it."
"We'll see, won't we?"
It was my turn to be smug and I walked away, leaving him with the wine. I grabbed the few items I had gone into the store to buy and left quickly, heading back to my truck. The minute I was outside I was kicking myself. Edward hadn't done anything to deserve that. Yes, he had Bella, but it was her choice - he didn't drag her away from me kicking and screaming and it wasn't like me to have a go at someone that way. It was a kind of dog in the manger feeling, I realised. I knew I'd had a lucky escape from her, but it didn't mean I wanted to see her swanning around with someone else and his attitude had gotten up my nose.
I drove home, annoyed with myself for dwelling on it all again. I had been pretty miserable with Bella, so why the fuck had it bothered me so much when she ditched me? All my friends had said I changed when I was with her and I knew they were right - I barely saw them during those few months for one thing. She wouldn't let me.
"Fuck!" I snarled aloud as I stepped harder on the gas. I let a woman tell me what to do - countless times. Well, it wasn't quite like that. She was clever and manipulative; she would say and do things that made you feel like your actions were hurting her and then of course you would do anything you could to make her feel better, which was exactly what she intended.
"Don't you love me any more, Jacob? Would you rather be with your friends than me? I know they don't like me, I'm scared they'll turn you against me."
Words like those were usually accompanied by big brown eyes filling with tears and lips trembling. I had let myself be coerced and manipulated for far too long, thinking she was a delicate little flower who yearned so much for my company that she couldn't bear it if I spent time with anyone else. I had virtually abandoned Embry and Quil and Seth when I was with her and I was just lucky they were as tolerant as they were and saw right through her, because they were still there waiting for me when I was free again. Despite that, I had felt it necessary to grovel to them for the way I had rapidly slipped away from them during those months.
I wondered if she was doing the same thing to Edward Cullen. He looked like the type of sucker that would give in to pretty much anything and I would have been willing to bet his credit card was taking a hammering lately. That was one thing Bella hadn't been able to do with me. I had bought her some earrings once - a hundred bucks they cost me; everything I had in the bank at that time - and she actually sneered when she thanked me for them. I never saw her wear them.
"Shit, Jacob, forget the bitch!" I ordered myself. Why the hell would I feel jealous of Edward for this? My life was my own again; I didn't have to worry about every little detail that might piss her off and I was over the initial hurt of being finished with. I guess I kept going over and over it in my head because part of me couldn't believe I had put up with as much as I had. If someone had told me a year ago that I would have let a woman treat me like that, I would have laughed in their face. I certainly hadn't told my friends about the way things had been; I was too ashamed of myself.
It had all happened so fast and I felt as if I were being swept along by a whirlwind. I didn't even remember us discussing me moving into Bella's house. Had she asked me to? Had I suggested it? Whichever it was, somehow I was doing it and I was excited and eager and scared. She was so much older than me. What if she got tired of me? She might find someone her own age, someone more confident. What would happen to me then? I'd have to crawl home with my tail between my legs and face the taunts of Jasper and Emmett and the over the top sympathy of Mom and Dad. I would just have to do my utmost to make sure that didn't happen. Bella was difficult to please, but I knew a big part of it was the fact that she longed to see more of me and every time I left her to go home, she would look so sad and cling to me until the last possible second.
I finished packing my clothes into the two large cases and set them aside by the door before grabbing a box for my CD collection and books. I looked at the folders of sheet music on one of the shelves and decided there was no point taking them. Bella didn't have a piano and she hated that type of music anyway - said it was old-fashioned and boring.
"Edward! Hurry up!"
That was her - Bella. She was waiting downstairs and I had been hearing her heels clicking up and down the hallway while she waited for me to get my things together. The rest of the family were out working and Mom was shopping. All of them had said goodbye to me before they went, although it wasn't really goodbye - I was going to be living less than five miles away and we'd see each other all the time.
"Almost done, sweetheart, I won't be long!" I called out quickly. I was holding her up and I knew I was going to hear about it later.
I finished packing everything and finally added two photographs to the last box - one of me with my brothers, Emmett and Jasper, taken several years ago and the other of my parents. I doubted Bella would want them on display in her house, but I would keep them somewhere, perhaps on a shelf with my books.
I took one last look around the room I had slept in my whole life until then. It seemed strange that I was leaving it - leaving the house and my family - and I chewed my lip uncertainly for a moment. It felt as if I was leaving part of myself behind.
I cast my mind back to my childhood and found myself smiling as I remembered Jasper and me, only a year between us, constantly bossed around by Emmett who was six years older than Jasper. Right from his early teens, Emmett had been a keen athlete, playing football and hockey in school and then concentrating more on building up his muscles. He was huge now and spent hours in our gym downstairs, virtually every day. Since the age of about sixteen he'd had a constant stream of girls chasing after him and had probably dated half of Forks at one time or another. Then a year ago he met Rosalie Hale, the daughter of one of our father's friends, and he changed completely. He was in love and he doted on Rosalie. She scared the shit out of Jasper and me and had Emmett wrapped around her little finger, but he was as happy as I'd ever seen him.
Jasper, on the other hand, was gay. He announced it over dinner one Sunday when he was fourteen, as bold as brass, looking at the rest of us one at a time almost defiantly as if daring us to say anything derogatory. Emmett just laughed and said he would grow out of it. Mom said of course she loved him and would support whatever choice he decided was best for him. Dad huffed and sighed and told him to take his time and not rush through decisions as important as that; he was too young to know what he wanted. I had said nothing. If anything I was a bit shocked that one of my brothers was one of them, but then again it wouldn't have surprised me if he had just been doing it for effect; Jasper loved attention, no matter whether it was good or bad.
There was a Native boy in some of my classes at school - Seth Clearwater - who everyone knew was gay. He kept it to himself but someone had found out and he got a lot of shit for it. I had seen him heading for the bus stop after school in tears a few times after groups of boys had yelled out insults such as 'fag' to him. I had no doubt the same thing was in store for Jasper and I wished he would quit trying to shock everybody and just be normal. He talked to me about it later and explained it wasn't like you made a choice - it was who he was and he guessed he was born that way - but I still didn't get how he could like boys. I did stop thinking he was making it up though.
My thoughts skipped forward a few years to my seventeenth birthday, by which time Jasper had probably dated five or six different boys and the rest of the family had just gotten used to it. Jasper had even dated Seth for about six weeks one summer although it never really worked between them. They were chalk and cheese and Jasper confessed he only liked Seth because he was 'hot'.
My parents had decided to throw a party for me and I had been dreading it. The complete opposite of Jasper, I hated anything that drew attention to me and they knew that, but they were convinced all I needed was a little encouragement to come out of my shell and lose the shyness and a party with a couple dozen kids from school that I barely knew was a great way to go about it. What was worse, was that Mom and Dad went away overnight leaving Emmett in charge of us. At twenty-four he was responsible as far as our parents were concerned, but with them gone he saw it as a great opportunity to invite two muscle-bound friends and several scantily clad girls to the party, although they abandoned us early on and spent the rest of their evening in the gym.
Jasper's current boyfriend was also invited. He was a tall, lanky guy named Steven who couldn't keep his hands off of Jasper, even in front of me and I couldn't stand him. I often caught him looking at me funny and it gave me the creeps. I had told Jasper about it once and he just laughed and told me to get over myself.
"Jeez, Edward, he's not doing any harm looking. He thinks you're cute, that's all. Don't be such a pussy."
I had done my best to enjoy the party, fixing a fake smile to my face, trying to talk to people - girls - that I only knew by sight and failing miserably at it. I had nothing to say - fact. Girls seemed like a completely different race to me, all of them confident and chatty and giggly and much as I wanted one of them to take a liking to me and maybe give me a kiss on my birthday, I didn't hold out much hope.
I had eventually slipped away from the crowd of dancers in the lounge, pulsing away to one of Jasper's awful trance CD's, and made my way up to my room. No one would miss me, I thought. The birthday boy was the least noticeable person in the house.
"Hey, little Eddie, what are you doing up here?"
Damnit. Steven was on the landing, having apparently just come out of the bathroom. I knew Jasper was downstairs because I'd passed him helping himself to a bottle of Dad's rum right before I made my escape.
"I'm going to get something from my room," I said, sidling past him.
"Hey, not so fast." Hands gripped my shoulders and turned me around and I found myself trapped, my back to the wall, his body in front of me and his hands on the wall either side of my head.
"Wh-what do you want, Steven?" I stammered.
"Well, you might be a bit more friendly. It's your birthday, you're supposed to be enjoying yourself. How about I help you to enjoy it a bit more?"
He leaned closer and I froze and turned my head to the side. Shit, he was going to kiss me. I shivered and my heart began to bang frantically against my ribs as he gripped my chin suddenly and forced me to tilt my head back and look up at him.
"Don't," I whispered.
"Sshh, you might like it." His mouth covered mine and there was nothing I could do to avoid it. His hand continued to hold my head still and his tongue plunged between my lips, exploring and tasting while his lips crushed mine. His other hand slid between me and the wall, creeping down to my butt while he pressed himself against me, his very obvious erection digging into my stomach. It seemed to go on and on and I had no idea what to do with myself. My arms hung limply at my sides and I stopped breathing until he stepped away from me.
"You know, you'd enjoy it a lot more if you loosened up," Steven smirked, stroking a finger down my cheek.
I found my voice and the ability to move all of a sudden, thrusting both hands against his chest and shoving him away from me.
"Get away from me, you damned fag!" I yelled and darted into my room, slamming the door in his surprised face. I shot the bolt, leaned on the door for a moment and then slid down it until I was sitting on the ground, my arms wrapped around my knees.
I was shaking from head to foot and I could feel my face burning, my heart pounding. I didn't want my first kiss to be like that - with Jasper's creepy boyfriend. I'd had ideas of inviting some girl to prom - if I ever plucked up the courage - and kissing her gently, sweetly at midnight as we danced to a slow song, even though I knew it was stupid. That was the stuff that only happened in romantic movies. But anything would have been better than what actually happened. Why did my first kiss have to be with a boy?
I realised my fists were clenched and when I caught sight of myself in the long mirror on the wall opposite, my face was scarlet.
I liked it.
I was completely mortified by this realisation and I had stayed locked in my room until Emmett eventually finished his private party and threw everyone else out, Steven included. It was only when I heard silence downstairs that I dared open the door and then I came face to face with Jasper, his eyes flashing and mouth set in a thin line.
"What the hell is wrong with you, Edward? I don't give a shit if you're gay too, but at least have the decency to get your own man!"
"Wh-what? He kissed me!" I exclaimed.
"Yeah, but you weren't fighting it, were you? I saw you, practically melting in his arms! How do you think that made me feel, huh, Edward?"
"I don't know, but it made me feel sick!" I cried. "I didn't do anything! I'm not a fag! I hated it!"
Jasper's fist was snatched out of the air by Emmett's huge hand a second before it hit my face and he had given Jasper an earful about it. It turned out that he had seen what happened and hung around long enough to see my reaction, which Jasper hadn't. Jasper stormed off to his room in a temper and slammed the door so hard it shook in its frame.
"Don't worry, Edward, that piece of shit Steven won't come here again if he values his life," Emmett growled.
The whole episode hadn't exactly done much for my confidence. All it had served to do was convince me that boys liked the look of me and girls didn't and I only withdrew further into myself until I finished school. I then took a web designing course and started working from home building small websites for people or fixing problems they had with their computers. I had built myself a small site advertising my services and it was that which brought Bella to me, with a completely broken down laptop which I hadn't a hope of fixing. I did the best I could with the thing while she insisted on keeping me company for hours, but it was a lost cause and even though I knew that when I began, I didn't want to fail with my first real job, especially since she was gazing at me with the most beautiful big brown eyes I'd ever seen and kept touching my hand as she talked to me. She was older than me - quite a bit older - but she liked me. Even to a complete innocent like me that was obvious and I fell under her spell in an instant. I gave her my six month old MacBook to replace the laptop and charged her fifty bucks for my time. She left with my phone number and a promise to call me for a dinner date, which she did the next day.
"Edward! What on earth are you doing up there?"
I lurched out of my reverie and grabbed the two cases quickly, dragging them out of the room and down the stairs to where Bella waited. Three journeys up and down stairs later, everything was crammed into my Volvo and I was buckling my seat belt, as ready as I would ever be to start my new life.