Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. I am in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise, I just use their creations to have my wicked way with them. No copyright infringement is intended.
This story would be nothing without my amazing beta-team, Jadsmama and Ladysharkey1.
Retribution: 1. requital according to merits or deserts, especially for evil. 2. something given or inflicted in such requital. 3. Theology . the distribution of rewards and punishments in a future life.
The doorman gave me his usual courtesy smile as I made my way through the flashy lobby of the even flashier building Tanya's parents had put their baby girl in when she arrived in New York; seventeen years old and with no one but her fucking housekeeper to keep her company and make sure she stayed out of trouble.
Carmen and Eleazar Denali were all about paying other people to take care of their little pride and joy while they were living it up in Aspen, Cannes, or some other jet-set hideout. They hardly ever came to New York, unless it was for some highly publicized charity event or to cash in on their daughter's promising operatic career.
I remembered Tanya had told me once during our first year together at Julliard, that for the first five years she thought her fucking nanny was actually her mother. That was, until she called the poor woman 'mommy' during some public function and her parents had the poor woman fired.
It was a wonder she had turned out the way she did: grounded and relatively sane.
It almost made me appreciate my own fucked up parental units. I mean, my childhood had been beyond fucked up with my dad always being elsewhere and my mom hovering all over me like a satellite–well, at least until she killed herself–but at least I'd been able to escape the particular horror of some fucking Julie Andrews wannabe running around the house all day.
The sounds of Trent Reznor, announcing that he wanted to fuck me like an animal–something I'd have no objection to had he been some stunning blonde–greeted me as soon as she opened the damn door.
Fuck. Tanya's home.
Just what I need.
If you didn't know her, you would have suspected that beneath the stuck up, polished, well-mannered exterior of my best-fucking-friend in this world lurked a half-savage tomboy who could drink like a fish, swear like a sailor, and preferred listening to the Nine Inch Nails and Rammstein to Beethoven and the whole classical gang in her free time; although her choice in music, according to Tanya herself, had more to do with protecting her precious instrument than anything else. Classical music made her want to sing, which would only tire her voice or damage it, whereas NIN just made her want to dance and/or fuck and, though her fondness of their music probably put quite a strain on her pussy, it would be nowhere near as damaging to her career as turning up at rehearsals with a hoarseness to her voice.
After all, when it came to sex, Tanya made people scream, she hardly ever did the screaming. It was probably all her mother's doing–her real one, not some nanny–telling her it was beneath her to show any kind of emotion, let alone pleasure. Not that I spent an awful lot of time thinking about my best friend's sex life because…jeez, she was like my little sister or some shit.
"Edward? Is that you?" Tanya's clear soprano voice sounded over the orgasmic crooning.
For a moment I seriously considered sneaking off to my room to delay the inevitable. That was, until her fucking majesty appeared in the doorway, her eyes tightening to tiny slits as she read my intentions like a book. "You run away and I'll kick your sorry ass to the streets," she warned before turning on her heels and stalking back into the living room, knowing I would follow her like the loyal, dependent, lapdog I was.
Not that I didn't deserve her wrath, though. Hell, out of all the people who'd yelled at me today, Tanya was the only one who actually did deserve it. "I'm sorry Tanya," I sighed, my shoulders hunching as the cocky behavior that had been my armor and only defense against the world deflated like a fucking soufflé gone wrong. Great! Another lecture. Just what I need.
"You don't get to say that yet!" Tanya snapped, her perfectly manicured fingernails almost piercing skin as she pricked them into my chest. "Where the hell have you been? I was worried sick!"
"Jail," I sighed, covering my eyes as I sagged down onto one of the leather sofas.
She arched one of her perfectly sculpted eyebrows. "Again?"
"Yes," I sighed, feeling my frustration creep back up on me as my hands balled into fists, dying to lash out at something. "Again."
She huffed, shaking her head in apparent displeasure. "Possession?"
"Amongst other things." I tried to shrug it off, like I had been doing all day, but the problem was that the more I did, the more I realized that it was impossible. I'd really gone and done it now. I'd fucked up. Completely.
"Other things?" Tanya barked, oblivious to my inner self-hate. She caught herself right at the brink of an angry burst out, taking a few deep breaths to control herself and, most importantly, protect her voice before she went on in that really subdued low voice I'd come to really fucking fear over the years. "Edward, what the fuck? What did you do?"
"I didn't do anything!" I growled. "It was that fucker Jacob Black! He did this to me. He set me up!"
"And you let it happen!" Tanya hissed, again needing a few seconds to remain in control. "I knew the minute Garrett introduced you to that mangy mutt, that he would be trouble. I warned you, Edward. I told you not to let that guy into your life!"
"Then I guess you must be ecstatic now," I sneered. "You get to say 'I told you so'! You get to watch your best friend go down in the greatest fuckup in recent history and you get to smile and know you were right. I should really introduce you to my dad, by the way. I think the two of you would get along so well. Who knows, with any luck I may even get to call you mommy in a couple of years!"
"Fuck you!" she yelled. "Do you think I like watching you ruin your life?" Her eyes blazed with fire, especially when she realized what she'd just done; the anger at the possible damage her outburst had done to her voice bringing an extra layer to the deep shit I was already in.
I shrugged. "Don't you?"
"Grow up!" she stated, calm again and seemingly in control. "For heaven's sake, Edward, stop acting like a fucking fifteen year old and start taking responsibility for once in your life! There are people all around dying to help the moment you finally realize you need it!"
"I don't…" I started; only to be interrupted almost the second I tried to speak.
"You're stuck in your anger," she continued, "and you have been for five years now. You need to move on before that becomes your undoing."
"Don't you think I'm trying?" I yelled, fisting my hands into my hair. "Do you really think I like being stuck in fucking limbo? Mooching off my friend and twiddling my thumbs while you all go out and make a fucking success?"
She wasn't impressed by my little outburst, though. Not that I even expected it. "If this is you trying," she sneered, with an annoying little snort tacked on, just for kicks, "then I'd like to see you do nothing."
She held up her hand when I tried to speak again, which was something I was really starting to get fucking sick of. Who the hell did she think she was? My mother? "You need to face your demons, Edward. Not run away from them, or try to drown them out with drugs and alcohol because this…" she waved her hand over at me, her eyes holding a look of regret that stung like a fucking dagger, "…this is turning you into the worst kind of selfish, arrogant, asshole possible."
I hung my head, knowing that there was much truth in what she said. "I'm sorry, T," I mumbled. "Can I say it now without you biting my head off?"
"You can," she nodded curtly. "And I applaud you for getting that sentence out of your mouth without a single profanity." She let out a deep breath as she took a seat next to me.
There was sadness in the way that she sat, turned towards me with her head resting on her arm. "I love you like a brother, Edward," she spoke softly, "which is why it kills me to see you self-destruct."
"I know," I whispered, guiltily brushing a strand of strawberry hair out of her face.
We sat like that for quite some time, the silence between us laden with comfort as I played with her hair and she watched me. There was nothing sexual or even remotely sensual in our actions, though I knew others would probably interpret it as such. It was just the ease and comfort that settled in when two friends had been living together for four years and–during those times–shared more than a few breakdowns between them.
Tanya had been my best friend ever since I'd met her during the auditioning process at Julliard. Even back then she had emitted an air of certainty and confidence that had made her stand out like the fucking diva she was. It was a fascinating thing to behold, this tall Amazon of a woman standing proudly amidst a mass of shaky, nervous teens. She'd looked so much older than the rest of them even though in reality she was one of the youngest applicants in the bunch; so much wiser too.
From the moment her lips had curled into a sarcastic little smirk as her eyes zoned in on me, I knew we were going to be friends, especially when the first five words to me were a blatant insult.
She'd called me 'pretty boy'. If it were any other person–man or woman–I would have decked them, but from her I found, much to my own amazement, I could take it, especially when her insult was followed up by her telling me how relieved she was to find someone else around the place who wasn't either pissing their pants or throwing up from nervousness.
That would have been me since, of course, I'd been an arrogant little fucker even then.
"So, do you want to tell me what happened now?" Tanya finally asked, pulling me back into the present. "How bad is it?'
"You don't really want to know," I smirked, though I proceeded to tell her everything anyway.
"Shit," Tanya gasped, grabbing my hand and gently squeezing it as I finished telling her how I ended up getting arrested with Jake's stash. "What was he carrying?"
"Not much, thank God," I answered. "But there was enough coke and weed to have me booked for dealing."
"Fuck." Tanya closed her eyes and shook her head as she rubbed her temples, almost making it seem like she was trying to make it all go away.
I wished she could.
"The worst thing, though," I continued, "is that because I was so out of it, I didn't even realize the cops were trying to pull me away from the fucker I was teaching a lesson and… Well…" I scratched my head, knowing this wasn't going to go over so well, "I kind of lashed out at one of the cops."
"For Christ's sake, Edward, you fucking idiot!" she hissed, rearing up as if she was getting ready to slap me.
"I know," I growled. "One of my more stupid actions."
"Try the most stupid on a long list of dumbass things," she lectured. "What are you going to do now?" she asked, as I came to the end of my fucked up story.
"Find Jake and kick every fucking lie out of him," I shrugged. "He's the only one who can keep my ass out of prison."
"Which is exactly why you're not going anywhere near that asshole again," Tanya warned. "Let our lawyer deal with him while you focus on straightening out your act."
"We'll see about that," I grumbled, stretching my sore body as I stood up from the couch. "Right now all I want to do is take a shower and sleep."
I was already halfway out of the door when I heard her mumble something that made my shame and guilt quadruple. "By the way, that big audition that I had this morning went incredibly well. I think I might actually have a chance at landing Amneris, seeing as my competition seems to have developed a polyp on her vocal chords."
Fuck! I was such an asshole. How could I have forgotten that today was the day when Tanya went up against the gods of the Metropolitan Opera to land a job in their latest staging of Aida?
I let out a frustrated growl the moment my bedroom door closed behind me, my fists clenched as I fought the urge to break something, preferably myself. I did somehow manage to strip out of my clothing and stagger my way over to the bathroom, grabbing a fresh pair of boxers on my way.
The shower was divine, even if it would do nothing to make all of this go away. It did, however, wash away the sweat and grime, and maybe even a bit of the guilt that had managed to build up over the last twenty-four hours and made my aching muscles hum with pleasure.
I closed my eyes, my hand almost automatically reaching out for my cock to do some stress relieve but, as I tried to focus on the memories of epic past hookups, my mind kept going back to the events of the past day and the effects they would have on my future. Not a very stimulating place to be, and my cock apparently agreed.
"Fuck!" I finally growled, banging my fist against the tiles in frustration. What the hell was wrong with me? I was a twenty-five year old deadbeat mooching off of my best friend while I did my best to fuck my life up even further. And now I couldn't even get myself off, either. Can anyone spell loser?
Maybe Tanya had been right. Maybe it was time for me to grow up and face the reality of what had happened, but before I could do that, there was something else that needed to be dealt with first. Or rather: someone. Because as ready as I was to move on, I knew as long as I still had that damn trial hanging over me, I'd never get rid of the past. Besides, I was still no closer to figuring out what I wanted to fucking move on to.
My anger kept rising as snuck out of the apartment, taking the subway over to Norwood with people dodging the hell out of way as I fast paced it further on to Jake's place, catching a stroke of luck as I managed to make my way into his building just as some scared looking little old lady came out and scurried out of way, clutching her purse for dear life as she eyeballed my tats. I scoffed. It's not like every damn tattooed punk is a fucking purse-snatcher, lady! Some of us actually work for a living…or at least try to.
By the time I finally made it to Black's floor, I was so worked up I was basically bursting at the seams, my blood already singing with anger as I knocked; his sister getting out of dodge as soon as she saw me. And judging from the tone of her voice as she called for her brother to get his ass to the door, she knew exactly what was up.
"Hey man!" The way Jake fucking acted like nothing was wrong–like I hadn't just woken up in jail to face drug dealing charges, didn't do him any good as far as I was concerned, the words that left his mouth next only serving as icing on the cake. "Wassup?"
"What's up?" I roared back, clutching the door before he could try to close it on me. "What's fucking up? Last time you saw me I got arrested with your shit, Jake! You know what's up!"
The asshole had the audacity to actually look smug as he stood there, arms crossed in front of his chest and grinning at me like he fucking knew everything. "Prove it, Masen."
"Prove it?" I snarled. "What the fuck, Black? You know I didn't fucking do it! You stitched me up, asshole, and now I'm looking to go down for your fucked up mess!"
At that, the fucker had the good grace to at least look guilty as he shifted nervously in the doorway, eyeballing the other doors on the floor as if he expected help, or fucking Batman or something, to magically rush forward and save his sorry ass. "Look man, I'm sorry you got busted with that shit and all, but it's just…I got this job interview tomorrow and I can't go in if my record's busted. They'll never hire me."
"So you screwed me over for some lousy job?" I roared, fighting the urge to go ahead and punch him now. Later.
"I need the money, Ed," he sneered back. "It's not like I have rich friends who can keep me in clothes and scotch like you do, or a rich daddy who can keep me out of trouble if shit goes wrong."
For a moment I blinked, stunned until my mind finally caught up with the weird math going on in Jake's head. "Wait…so you think I'm actually going to come out of this shit easily?"
"Come on, man!" Jake mocked. "Let's not kid ourselves into thinking the system treats us both the same." His eyes gleamed maliciously as he pointed his fucking finger, making me really want to break it and the hand it was connected to. "And for all your fucking yelling about your dad, we both know he'll get you out of his shit with nothing more than a slap on the wrist and maybe some dumbass sobriety course or something…unlike if it had been me."
"So you did this because you thought I had some fucking get-out-of-jail-free card?" I snarled, my hands already fists by my side. "What the fuck are you on, Jake? I'm looking at jail time here, for fuck's sake! And you fucking know it!"
He shrugged. "Not my problem, man?"
The next thing he knew he was clutching his nose, my hand stinging satisfactorily as I landed a good one right in the middle of his fucking face. "Instead of taking it like a goddamn man, you made this my problem, you fucking douche!"
"The cops will be so happy to know about this," he jeered, clutching his nose as a small stream of blood started to trickle through his fingers. I got him good. "You better hurry back home and enjoy a nice solitary shower, Cullen. It may be the last you're going to have in a while."
"Then I'd better make sure it's fucking worth it!" I snorted, making use of his confusion by landing an upper on his chin as my other fist dug into his gut, leaving him gasping on the floor. "By the way…those fancy lawyers my dad provided me with? They're going to make sure the right one goes down for this, you fucking dog."
And with that, I walked away, knowing I'd done as much damage as I wanted. Maybe a bit more but…well, the fucker had it coming! As I flew back down the stairs, the whole conversation played over and over again in my mind, making me even fucking angrier at that lousy mutt for setting me up. He thought my rich daddy would take care of it?
Apparently the guy had more sawdust in his brain that I thought he did because if there was any way you could just argue away a bag of weed big enough to dope up a small orphanage, no dealer in the state of New York would have a fucking record.
He knew what he was doing but he did it anyway, out of some sick sort of payback for me growing up with a golden spoon in my fucking mouth.
Well look where that got me?
Did he really think that if I would have been happy with my entitled little Upper East Side life, I would have hung out with the likes of him while mooching off my best friend in the hope of avoiding 'daddy dearest"?
He was one of the few people who knew what really happened–how much I hated my dad for what he'd done–and the fact that he went around and spat all of that back in my face made me want to head back up there and finish the job I'd started.
Finish it for good.
"Fucking punk!" I growled, banging my fists into random objects as I flew down the stairs again, my anger clouding my judgment as well as my vision or so it seemed, my consciousness only catching up with me when I was on the floor in the dirty fucking hallway with something hard poking me in the ribs and my limbs tangled with those of what appeared to be a girl.
A really freaky fucking female, staring at me like she thought I was just going to jump on her and rape her or something. Again, ladies, I may look like a fucking deviant but I'm not a fucking criminal.
Unless you'd asked the police, of course.
"Jesus Christ!" I took in a deep breath as I brushed myself off, about to say something when the scent of her–sweet, soft and so much like mom's it made me freak the fuck out–entered my nose, making me jump up like my fucking ass was on fire, my reaction primal as the weird girl kept staring at me as if I was the apparition instead of her.
"Get the fuck away from me!" My nostrils were flaring against the sudden flush of feelings I'd spent years trying to get under control, my legs already hightailing it out of there before any guilt would catch up with me. That's just great, Edward. So now you're not only looking at your second arrest in twenty-four hours but you also scared some poor little girl just because she smelled funny. Mom would be so proud of you.
I sighed, scratching my head as I debated going back to see if she was alright, though my legs kept going back in the direction of the subway station at a steady pace.
Why hadn't I just stuck to my resolve to no longer do this kind of shit?