WARNING: I think you've been warned enough. :-P
My tears had finally dried and now I lay on the soft leather couch just staring at the chair on the opposite side of the plane. It took everything I had to keep those tears at bay for as long as I could. When I arrived at Darren's, I probably looked like the creature from the black lagoon.
"Don't ask any questions please. I just need to know, were you genuine when you said you would do me a favor?" I asked barging into his house after he opened the door.
"Uh…yeah of course." He replied confused.
"Can I borrow your plane?"
"Yes. Are you in some kind of trouble?" he asked.
"I said not to ask any questions." I murmured. "Can you drive me to your plane?"
The only thing beside my appearance to perhaps tip Darren off was that I asked if he could take the Escalade and wouldn't mind if I lay down in the back. It was a chore and a half to get in and out of that car.
The plane was waiting when we arrived. I told Darren I needed to go to New York. You can analyze me all you want but the first safe place to pop into my head was Embry.
"Thank you, Darren. I'll never forget this." I hugged him close.
"No problem. You can always come to me; no matter what."
I nodded my head and walked up the stairs to the entrance of the plane. The pilot told me if I needed anything to intercom him but I told him not to worry. I looked down on the leather couch; it would be the only place I could stay. I lay down and all the tears came. Like they say before death, your life flashes before your eyes but this wasn't death and it wasn't my whole life that I was reliving; it was my time with Edward. The first moment I met him, the first time we kissed. All the feelings and emotions that I had ever felt were all in one big ball of a migraine. It didn't pass quickly either; it seemed to play out in real time.
How could he do this? I trusted him. Bella you're just as much to blame, you pushed and pushed. But did I deserve this? Did I still love him? Yes. I would always love him. I knew that this was not some teenage crush, I was meant to be with this man. He was my destiny. Then why was I running away?
I would never move on. I was broken and of no use to anyone else.
The plane touched down and it was nightfall, I didn't pay attention when the pilot alerted me of the time or weather. Now was the hard part. I needed to get to Embry's and there was no doubt that I had to sit somehow.
I walked out of JFK airport and hailed the first taxi van I saw. I gave the man the address and told him that I needed to lay down in the back because I wasn't feeling well. As I sat down slowly to lie down, I cringed and let out a soft yelp. My backside at least wasn't screaming in pain any longer but it still felt tender and hot to the touch. Thankfully the driver didn't notice.
An hour later we pulled up in front of Embry's house, it was two a.m. I gave the driver my credit card and a more than generous tip for his trouble. I called Embry on my cell phone and prayed he would answer, if he didn't I would be spending the night out in front of his high gate. It upstate New York at the end of September at two in the morning, I was really starting to feel the chill.
"Come on. Come on." I chanted.
"Bella." I heard Embry pick up in rush.
"I'm opening the gate, now." He interrupted.
The big gate started to open and I was momentarily frozen. How did he know? Darren must have called him.
I walked up the path to the house and Embry opened the door when I was about half way up.
"Are you okay? What happened?" he asked.
I looked up at him and I started to cry. He pulled me into a strong hug and took me into the house. I tried to gain composure; I didn't want to wake the girls up.
"I'm sorry, I'm just so tired…mentally, I'm exhausted." I tried to explain.
"It's okay B. Come on; I show you were you can sleep."
He brought me upstairs to one of his guest rooms.
"Embry, I didn't know where else to go."
"You made the right decision."
I don't know why I felt compelled to spill my guts but once I started I couldn't stop.
"I was learning how to ride a motorcycle. Rosalie was teaching me, I knew that if Edward found out he would be mad. We have shared this relationship where in the past if I did something wrong he would spank me or punish me in some way. Mentally I was okay with that even though it was weird but I guess a part of me knew he was doing it because he loved me and wanted good things for me. When he came home today and saw me riding his motorcycle, a rule he had been very firm on; I think he lost it. He had never done more than spank my butt but today…today he took off his belt and whipped me…" A fresh wave of tears came and I could see Embry's calm façade wane.
"I screamed for him to stop but he didn't listen. I finally tried to turn to stop him…he…I think he realized what he had done. Oh god. How did this happen. I love Edward; I don't know what to do."
I could see Embry shaking but like a switch had been turned off; he walked over to me and continued to hug me.
"Come on, I'll help you. Lie down on your stomach."
Embry walked off to the bathroom and I settled myself down on the bed. He came back with a medium-sized wet towel.
"I'm not trying to do anything sexual okay but I need to lower your sweats."
I nodded and I could feel him pull down my bottoms. He quickly placed the cold towels on my backside and sighed out in relief.
"It's going to be a couple of days before you're back to normal. Try and take a cool bath tomorrow morning." Embry advised.
"You seem to know a lot about this." I said sadly.
There was a moment of silence. "Yea…I do."
I knew what he was thinking about; Embry often rapped about his early home life and how his father used to beat him. I was being interviewed a couple of years after this and I was asked who knew me best? The correct answer was Edward but at the time I immediately answered Embry Call. For years I was given shit for that answer by the media. My husband should know me best but he didn't. Even he knew that I trusted Embry more than anyone else and he wasn't upset by my answer because he knew it was right.
Before Embry left he told me to sleep as long as I like and that he wasn't planning on telling the girls I was here until after school. He closed the door behind him and I was left with the cold towel still resting on my behind. I closed my eyes and willed myself to sleep.
If I find you not following my rules then I promise not only will you never touch a motorcycle again but I will ensure that every single time you even sit down for the a week after, you will remember this moment.
I remember. The problem is; will I ever forget?
The next morning, I first awoke to sounds of Savannah and Gracie getting ready for school. When they left, I fell back to sleep again. The second time I woke up, I stiffly got out of bed, the towel fell from me and I walked over to my sweatpants and pulled them on. I briefly looked out the window and gasped. I could have sworn I saw Edward at the end of the drive. Did he know I was here? Yes. I was sure of it. But he wasn't there; it must have been my eyes playing tricks.
I turned back around and went toward the bathroom. The bathroom was beautiful and peaceful, just what I needed. Embry was right the cool bath was exactly what the doctor ordered. I was floating around when I heard Embry enter the bedroom.
"Hey B, I'm just going to put some extra clothes on the end of the bed for you; sorry about the size, it's just some stuff of mine. The girls had an extra toothbrush; feel free to use whatever you want. I'm sure the girls have a lot of stuff you could use. I know you didn't arrive with anything. Sorry for the limited selection." Embry called out.
"Thank you, Embry. Don't worry; I don't think I want to leave the house anyway. I'll be downstairs soon." I replied.
"Take your time."
I sunk back under the water. Peace.
"Derrick, it's so good to see you." I greeted when I arrived down in the kitchen. I gave him a hug.
"You too, this is certainly a surprise." He replied. "Would you like some oatmeal or cereal?"
"Sure. Just show me where and I'll get it."
Derrick showed me to the cupboard.
"Derrick has been nice enough to help me out with Savannah and Gracie." Embry notified.
"That's great, thank you for that."
"It's no problem, it's what family does." He answered.
"Hey, um would you mind coming down to the studio? I have my album nearly done." Embry said.
"Yes, of course." I was gitty, this was a dream. To be able and hear new music before anyone else; I couldn't wait. "Let's go."
I picked up my bowl and started to lead the way. Embry laughed and followed after me.
It was apparent that rehab was the best decision Embry ever made. When I first met him, he was having trouble dealing with writer's block and the pieces I had heard were average at best. The music he was able to create now was something completely different from his former albums; he had truly grown as an artist. I think he was finally at peace.
"What song did you want to be your first single?" I asked.
"Well I already submitted it to the label; they want to release it in November and they set the album to come out around Christmas."
"Okay, so which song did you choose?" I asked again.
"I don't want to play it for you yet; I want you to hear it with the rest of the public in November."
"What?" I frowned. "What's the point in being friends with you if I'm not given the goods?"
"B, just trust me. You can wait until November; I already played you all the other tracks. Isn't that good enough?"
I pouted, "I guess."
"So, I wanted to talk to you about that piece you sat down and wrote that one time. I want to incorporate it into my final track." Embry said.
"Okay, what about it?" I asked.
"I want you to do a clean record of your first lyrics and write an intro to the track. Let me play you what I got." Embry walked over to the board and the music started playing. His rap was intense and melancholy. It was all about how you see someone else's life and you wish you could changes places; in the song he gets his wish and switches places to find out the other person has it as bad as he does. I knew exactly how he felt.
It was hard writing an intro, I guess perfection had set in and I wouldn't accept anything less. Before when I wrote the first piece it was me just screwing around but now I had a job to do. I wrote a new intro which Embry was able to incorporate right away.
Some days I want to break down
Some days I want to cry
Change places with me
And deal with this life of mine.
I feel the distance growing
I feel you farther and farther away
I will reach out and try to catch you
Saving you just might save me to.
Life is hard in this skin of mine. Let's swap lives for a brief time.
Take my shoes; I'll walk in yours. You won't fight alone anymore.
Your troubles are heavy, I can feel the weight. Walk with me, I'll keep you straight.
It's the weight of the world all on me; It's the world that weighs down on me.
It was almost time for Embry to go and pick up the girls, I wanted to go with him and surprise them but I was still in sweats and wasn't fit to leave the house. Embry said I should call a local store and have them deliver some clothes; apparently they did it all the time since he rarely went shopping.
While he was gone I went and called a clothing store and ordered everything from a shirts to undies. I was thankful that I had kept my separate account from Edward so I could have my own money to support myself. But what about the money he gave your parents? I had no clue really how much he gave them and I definitely didn't have that kind of cash to pay Edward back. I hated feeling like I owed him. I did owe him.
I sighed and looked down at my phone. I hadn't turned it on because I was afraid to see the missed calls or texts. I placed it back in my purse unwilling to turn it on yet.
"I think you're surprise is in the kitchen, girls." I heard Embry tell Savannah and Gracie. I waited for them to turn the corner.
Both came flying at me and threw their arms around me. I didn't miss the "mom" out of Savannah's mouth.
"Hey, how was school?" I asked.
"We painted today."
Gracie pulled out her picture and showed it to me.
"Wow, that looks so pretty. Maybe we can put it on the refrigerator."
"Where's Edward?" Savannah asked.
My eyes went to Embry. "Well, he couldn't come. So… how about we make some cookies before I start dinner?" I asked quickly trying to change the subject.
I was able to make cookies with my girls while we talked about school and life. For a couple of hours I was able to forget about the man so far away. My backside didn't hurt as much today but it was still slightly tender so when I sat I tried to pick fluffy areas and made sure to sit down slowly.
I was able to read the girls a bedtime story and tuck them in with a kiss. If this really had been just a visit; this moment would have been perfect. I turned in for sleep right after but was plagued of nightmares. You would think my nightmares would have included Edward and a belt with that bench but they didn't. In every dream it was Edward leaving me in some form. Him flying away and never coming back. Edward dying and me visiting his grave. I woke up in sweat and tears. I needed to talk to him; didn't I? If nothing more just so I can "give" him a chance to explain or say his peace. But I couldn't allow that yet, I wasn't ready.
After another nice long bath, Embry announced that my clothes were here. I was excited for underwear the most. Embry had left the boxes in my room and I went through and placed them in the chest of drawers after picking out a sun dress.
The girls were already gone for school, I decided to watch TV and relax for the day but Embry had other ideas in mind.
"Hey, come with me." He didn't even wait for a reply. He just started to bounce down the stairs toward the basement.
I followed him into his music studio, maybe he wasn't happy with the track from yesterday and wanted to work on it some more.
"All right, Bella. Now it's your turn."
"My turn for what?" I gently sat down on the studio chair.
"I heard that you turned down Warner Music Group for that record deal? What the fuck? You have a gift and you just want to throw that away?" he asked.
"I want to do other things; beside I can still do both without putting out a record. I have helped Liberty Project write music and Justin Martin. And I can still do production. It's the best of both worlds." I defended.
"B, what are you afraid of? I know this is a fear thing. I can smell it."
I sat there staring at him. I hated how right he was. I didn't want to put out my own music because I was afraid of the possible negative critiques. Just like before when I was younger. Embry could tell there was a war going on in my mind.
"Why don't you just start with something that has already been playing in your head and we can go from there."
I sighed and turned around to leave.
"Come on B." Embry shouted after me.
"I'm getting my notebook." I snapped. "I don't have all this stuff just whirling about upstairs." I pointed to my head.
Embry smirked at me and I continued on.
I stood, flipping through the pages. "This is my problem; they already placed me in this pop category and I don't necessarily want to do just pop. I hate having to be stuck in a genre." I complained.
"You don't necessarily need to be." Embry started to say.
"Warner Music Group wants a pop album, I can guarantee it."
"This is what we will do; you are going to make two albums. One full of happy, cheesy American Top Forty music and the other will be your edgier stuff. This is where it gets complicated. You are going to present your awesome cheesy pop album to the executives but you are going to tell them that in order for them to acquire your album you want them to do a limited release of the second album. If that album sells then we're all winners if it doesn't then they still have the first to fall back on."
"That may work but then both albums will need to be flawless. Night and day on content but perfected."
"Then we better get started. It's a good thing that I have friends in high places." Embry said. "I invited over Levi Grimes; don't fuck this up."
Levi Grimes. Renowned music producer; mostly hip hop but he was talented and lately for shits and giggles started branching out to other music genres. If he was really going to help me and my album failed then it would be me who fucked up.
"Don't go getting all nervous." Embry noticed my face pale.
There was a knock on the door and Derrick brought our guest in.
Levi Grimes. He looked me over and walked toward us and placed his notebook down.
"All right, let's get started." Levi said.
Levi was really easy to work with; he wouldn't tell you something wasn't working he would just make you keep going over and over until it did finally work. I was so captivated by him and his method that I hadn't even realized that Embry had left to go and pick up the girls from school. I thought it was best to work on the pop album first but Levi said I should work on what inspires me first. When I was able to complete the songs that I was really proud and excited for it would push me to complete tracks that I may have only felt obligated to do.
Levi came back and helped me the rest of the week. I don't even know looking back if Edward truly grasped just how much Levi had done for him. It was because of this new focus that I was able to start to heal. Music was able to do more for me mentally than any other device. However when I did finally see Edward in person the first time; I still wasn't ready.
I had been at Embry's house for almost a week. I had decided to run to the grocery store and help Embry out since we were running low on things. The other solace I found was in baking. Every day the girls would come home and I would spend time with them; baking. Eventually, if I kept this up we would all need to go on some serious diets but for now I felt at peace in the kitchen.
I had finished my shopping and was loading up the car when I saw him. I froze for a second and involuntarily took a step back towards the rear of the car.
Edward held up his hands and walked slowly. "Bella, I'm not going to hurt you. Please. I just want to talk to you."
He looked like shit; he looked like the way I looked when I first arrived at Embry's maybe even worse. His hair was tussled and looked unwashed. He was unshaven but what shocked me the worst was his eyes. Both had bags and dark circles except for his right eye. His right eye looked puffy and purple like someone had punched him.
"Sweetheart, can I just.."
I cut him off, "Don't sweetheart me. Sweetheart is a term of endearment; it is meant to be said with love and affection. There was no love or affection with what you did to me."
Edward sagged and his face contorted into pain.
"Bella, please…I'm so sorry. I feel sick with what I did to you…please…"
"Go home Edward. I refuse to be a victim to your Tria Fata belief system." I was surprised at myself.
"Bella, this isn't Tria Fata; what I did to you was all me. I was the monster. I fucked up and now it lost me the only thing I ever loved. Please, I am begging you please just hear what I have to say. Give me a chance to make this up to you."
"Make this up to me? What? Do you think you can go off and buy me a pony or some fancy house and I will just forget all the promises you made to me and broke to me? You want to make this up to me, I need time. And while you leave me and family alone I want you to practice saying, Bella, I abused you. Because that's what you did; you abused me. You are no better than any other abusive asshole out there. And maybe just maybe I will someday come back to you and hear an apology but for right now, just stay the hell away from me."
I turned to walk to the driver side of the car.
"Bella." Edward called out to me. "I'm not leaving. I will stay here the rest of my life until you are ready."
I slammed my door shut and started the car. I couldn't look back; I couldn't look and see Edward.
I managed to make it all the way back to the house with slow tears to slightly obstruct my vision but the moment I turned off the car I could no longer hold back and I sobbed for the life that once had. Was it possible that just three weeks ago, all my dreams were coming true? I was engaged. My career was on track. I was finally surrounded by family and friends. All the things that I had wished, prayed and hoped for on a silver platter and poof just like that my whole world came crashing down.