Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement was intended.
My betas … ole how I owe them everything. They are my friends … my advisors … essentially my family here in the fandom. Both have made my life just a little bit more. So, thanks to dannibags and piesmom for correcting my grammar, finding my errors, and making me laugh. Love ya girls!
Bella is stuck in a situation she no longer has the will to stay in, but doesn't know how she is going to escape the life she now finds herself in.
Warnings: Domestic Violence, but it doesn't go into detail, just hinting around that it happened.
The time has come to leave the hellhole I have currently found myself in. I shove everything I want to take with me into the backpack Rose gave me. I will never come back to him or this shithole again. Now, all I to do is complete my transformation and wait for the word from Rose to move, and then all this would be long behind me.
Peaking out the bedroom door, I notice he is still asleep on the couch. He has no clue to what I have been planning for years on end, but tonight is the night I would make it official. My escape from hell will be the best thing I ever do for myself, and this is the only thing I am sure of, at the moment.
The box of blonde hair dye taunts me from the counter. I don't want to do it, but it's extremely necessary in order to get away from this situation. I will no longer be the person I see standing before me. I could be someone else, someone new, and someone free of 'him'. I gaze at my long brown hair, working up the courage to proceed forward. I love my hair and hate to see it go, but I need to change my look, just in case he ever comes to look for me. Grabbing the scissors, I pick up long strands of my hair and cut, throwing the pieces into the sink. In a matter of minutes, my long hair is gone, and my hair is now cut into a short, pixie looking style that frames my face. Now, step one is complete. I read the instructions to the hair dye, pull on the gloves, and rub in the solution. Waiting for the color to process, I decide to check my bag one more time, making sure I have everything I need. Now, I wait for word from Rose. I recheck the website using my new disposable phone Rose said to get. This way no one could trace where I am or what I will be doing. I need to make sure one more time the money is still on my prepaid credit card. Otherwise, I would have nothing to use during my travels. I don't want anything holding me back from getting away from 'him'.
After washing the dye from my hair and wrapping a towel around my blonde hair, I grab the trash bag and load all the evidence of what I have done here tonight. I don't want to leave 'him' with any clues, and plan to take every little bit of evidence with me when I leave. Anxiety and worry have already plagued my mind with doubts and concern that he will try to look for me, once he finds out I have gone. Of course, with his lack of resources, I doubt he will follow me, but I want to cover my tracks, just in case. I have misjudged 'him' once before, and paid the price dearly for my mistake of thinking he wouldn't know. I will never underestimate 'him' again after the last time I tried to leave.
Checking the cell phone again doesn't help to calm my nerves as I wait patiently for Rose's text message. I stuff the thing back into the back pocket of my jeans. Rose's suppose to text when she has the car in position and ready for me to take. I feel for the keys in my front pocket once again, making sure I have everything to get safely out of Forks, Washington and away from the nightmare I have been living for ten long years.
I towel my hair dry, not wanting to wake 'him' from his nap. It's the same thing every night for the past ten years. He comes home from work to rough me up a little, then he grabs a beer, and sits in front of the TV, where he bitches and cusses the entire time about how I am a 'no good wife'. At which point, it leads to him roughing me up once again, before he passes out on the couch. He wakes in the morning to do it all over again the next day. But, not tomorrow; tomorrow, I will be thousands of miles away and out of his hair for good.
The phone vibrates in my pocket, and I quickly pull it out to read the text from Rose.
Cars in the parking lot of the Pantry. There is an envelope in the glove box for you, and a backpack in the trunk with the other stuff I thought you would need. Take care of yourself, and I will miss you. xoxo Rose
This is it. I take a deep breath, and it's time. I gather my things quickly and look out the bedroom door one more time before I make my move. I focus hard on his breathing and the sounds he is making in his sleep. When I am confident he is still out for the count, I steel my nerves and take another deep breath. I try not to think about the things that happened the night he caught me trying to leave. I later confided in Rose, and with her help, we figured out a way to get me out.
Reaching down, I grab my shoes and hold them in my hands. I won't put them on until I am out in the street. The backpack is heavy as I creep through the house. It really doesn't have that much in it, in the grand scheme of things, but it feels like it weighs a ton, making it hard for my body to move.
My journey in the next few minutes will be one I have never been able to successfully do in the past. As I approach the living room, I slow down my movements, and creep slowly and quietly passed the sleeping bear, working my way over to the front door. I greased the hinges yesterday to make sure it wouldn't squeak and wake him from his slumber. Gently pulling on the door, it opens, and I push the screen door open too, praying nothing will wake 'him', as I make my escape.
His mumbling in his sleep causes me to stop, holding completely still, trying to focus on his breathing again. Both doors are wide open, waiting for 'him' to catch me leaving again. If he does, tonight will surely be my last night on earth. I hear the rustling of his clothes against the materials of the couch and panicked. But I don't move, and I hold my breath, knowing they will be rushed. I focus really hard. Once again, when I don't hear his curses or footsteps on the floor, just on the other side of the wall, I breathe a sigh of relief. When the loud snore starts again, I know I have passed the first hurdle in getting out. Quickly, but quietly, I make my way out the door, holding the doors until they close, and walk into the night.
Four blocks, that's all I would have to do right now. Make it four blocks to the awaiting silver Volvo. I couldn't walk slowly, and when the Volvo came into view, I ran the last little bit. I was breathing hard when I finally came to the driver side door of the silver car, looking over my shoulder before pushing the remote to unlock the doors. I want to get in as quickly as humanly possible. I don't want anyone to be able to jump in with me. I'm paranoid that something is going to go wrong, and he will be standing behind me. When you've lived with someone who abuses you, at the drop of a hat, and for no reason other than their need to control the situation, it makes everything you do much more amplified. You think they are behind every corner, ready to jump out or sneak up on you, scaring ever loving shit out of you, especially when somewhere in your mind, you think you are behaving wrong. The beatings you get make you even more paranoid of the next one coming your way.
Once in the car, I quickly lock the doors and insert the key in the ignition. I shift the car into gear and pull out of the parking lot. I want as far away from Forks as possible before I look at anything Rose has packed in the car. I speed through town, knowing the local Chief of Police is somewhere sitting in his office tonight. Forks, Washington is so small that there isn't any point for him to be out patrolling the roads at three in the morning. Hell, there isn't a soul out at this time of night. So the roads are clear tonight.
Charlie, my father, is the Chief of Police in the shitty little town of Forks. When my parents split when I was a child, Renee Dwyer, my mother, was deemed unable to take care of me by the courts of Clallam County, and Charlie was reward custody of me. I lived a hard life with Charlie, and when I first met 'him', I thought he would take me away from the abuse I suffered at the hands of Charlie Swan. But it seems I had inadvertently picked someone just like Charlie, and despite the hospital visits, the broken ribs, busted up face, and me telling him about my husband, Charlie would never do a damn thing about it. Hell, he once told me that if I was a better wife, I wouldn't find myself in the hospital and that I should do as I was told by my husband. No wonder my mother left, and another reason for me to get the hell out.
I felt like I could relax and not be so uptight when the lights and signs of Port Angeles showed in my headlights. I could breathe a sigh of relief. I turned the radio on, hoping the music would fill my head as I drove through the night. If he woke up now and found me gone, I would already have these miles ahead of 'him'.
Looking around the car a little, I noticed Rose put change in the cup holder for the tolls roads I will have to get through to be free of Washington. My plans were to divert myself passed the ferry and shoot through Tacoma instead of Seattle. My final stop would be in Spokane, where my plans would be to get on a Grey Hound heading west.
My first stop is for gas. The car doesn't need it, but I won't let it run out. I pull into the first convenience store I see. After paying for the gas with my prepaid card and getting a couple of things, I head back to the car to see what Rose has left me. Rose had gotten me some new clothes in my size. It's just a couple of outfits, but it is the thought that counts. This is what I didn't want her to do, but there isn't anything I can do about it now. One day I plan to make it up to her. She has already done more for me than she should have to. I quickly stuff the items from the trunk in the backpack lying beside them; I close the trunk and walk back to the front of the car. Once the gas is done, I hop back in the car and pull it to the side. But I don't leave the lights of the convenience store, and I leave the car running, just in case.
Digging deep into the bag from the trunk, I find multiple pairs of blue-green contact lens, which is something we discussed, and plays into changing my appearance, covering my browns. I worried Rose, thinking it wouldn't work, but when I tried them on, my eyes were blue-green, just like the box had proclaimed. We bought as many as we could. I plan to order again once I get settled in my new place, but I don't know where that will be. I sit a box of contacts beside me, and the next time I come in contact with others, I will put them in. I open the glove compartment and pull out the envelope Rose talked about in her text; I place in my bags and pull out into the night.
My plans were to stay in Spokane tonight. I will be ditching the car in Spokane. Rose doesn't care what happens to the car because she bought it as salvage and had it titled in a fake name. So, I could drive it off a bridge and she wouldn't care. I do hate seeing all her hard work for the past five years going down the drain. But I couldn't use it the whole way, and I don't have enough money to pay for gas during the entire trip. It's bad enough that I don't know if I would even be able to find a place to stay when I get where I am going. I still having a hard time on where I should go. Rose and I had plans for me to get to Spokane. The rest is up to me and easier for her to say that she doesn't know where I am. I figure my next step will be decided by the price of tickets and the remaining money I have in my pocket.
After three hours on the road, I pull into Tacoma. I once again put more gas in the car. I wouldn't let it's gas hand get down to low. I don't want to be stranded on the road in the middle of the morning. And with the roads becoming busier as the world finally wakes from its slumber, I thought about 'him,' and if he had woken up and notice me gone yet. I don't want to think about 'him' or what he is doing now.
The more distance I can put between us, the better off I will be. Looking into the mirror, I slip a pair of the contacts into my eyes. I hate them instantly, but know it is necessary to disguise myself. I'm still not far enough away from 'him'. I step out of the car, hoping to use the restroom, grab a cup of coffee, and something to snack on before I pull out again. I know it will be another two hours before I stop again and want to use my time wisely.
My day progressed the same way as my night. I stop every two hours; use the bathroom and grab something to drink or snack on. It's the first time in years that I'm free and able to do what I want with my time.
Pulling into Spokane, Washington at eleven o'clock, I'm completely exhausted and want to try to rest, but I also want to hop on the first bus out of this state. I want to be far, far away from Washington.
I parked the car in a twenty-four hour supermarket parking lot. I figure it will take awhile for people to realize it's been there longer then it should. I walk the couple of blocks to the bus station; I don't know exactly which direction I want to go yet. South? East? I kind of want to sit down and cry, but I made it this far I couldn't stop now.
Looking around, watching people walk by as they make their way to the buses. I analyze each and every one, making sure they aren't 'him'. I know there isn't any way he could have arrived before me, but I have lived my life with 'him' always over my shoulder. It's hard to break from these thoughts. So I slowly calm myself down and start to relax. I stretch as I try to work out the kinks in my legs, back, and neck. I have spent seven hours in a car and have been up since the crack of dawn yesterday with 'him'. I have to be up every morning to make sure he has breakfast before he leaves for work. I can't go back to bed either because he will call every hour to make sure I am up and working around the house. And if he comes home and I don't have everything he expects me to have done, I would receive a beating for being a useless piece of shit to 'him'. He always has a high expectation of women, but I'm not the kind of woman he wanted. It's the stereotypical mentality; women waiting on their men, hand and foot, women are to be seen and not heard, and that equation would have applied to any children as well. It's crazy thinking, but the way it is living with 'him'.
I don't want to think about the babies we would have had, but lost during my marriage to 'him', but I couldn't help it. The doctor said after the fourth miscarriage that I will probably never be able to conceive again. A lone tear slid down my face, remembering the four … four babies I lost, but God knows what he is doing when he hadn't allowed me to carry them. I quickly thanked God, once again, for looking out for me during the time I spent with 'him', but also asked God to give me the strength to endure getting away from 'him' too.
Walking over to the schedule of buses and locations they were travelling, I know it has to be far, far away from Washington. I look at all the buses departing within the next half hour and quickly make my choice. I paid for the ticket to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I had about thirty-five minutes before the bus would pull out of the station, so I walked back to the car and gathering the two backpacks, and the change that wasn't used in my travels. I lock the car and check my pockets once again to make sure I have everything that I need. I walked straight towards the bus I will be riding and handed the driver my ticket.
It doesn't take me long to find a seat and any one would do at this point in my travels. I don't care if I'm on the end or the inside. But I hope I don't have to share my seat with someone else along this ride. I sit back in my seat, pulling my things into my lap, waiting on the bus to fill up with passengers. Before long, the driver shuts the doors. Within minutes, the bus is pulling out of the station. I know I've gotten lucky when no one is seated beside me. The majority of the people on the bus either sat at the very back or in the front; apparently picking the middle is a good thing.
Slipping down into my seat so no one could see me, I pulled out the manila envelope from my back pack. I open the clasps, pulling the contents out. The first thing in the envelope is a birth certificate for Alexandria Marie Jameson; this is the name that Rose and I agreed on. I'm no longer Isabella Randall; now I'm Alexandria Jameson. I don't know how Rose got me a birth certificate, and I won't ask, but the girl has jumped through hoops to get me out and away from 'him'.
The envelope contained the names and addresses of a few of Rose's people she could trust to help me find a place, if I want. But the majority of her relatives were located all over the south. I turned the paper over to see a note from Rose.
Maybe you should head to South Carolina. My twin, Jasper, lives down there. When I spoke to him on the phone this morning, he said he would do whatever he could to help you out. He even offered to come to Washington and shoot that sack of shit you called a husband, but he is holding off on that for now. His main concern is your health and well being.
Jasper has lots of contacts there and would be able to get you set up pretty quickly.
He also said something about his best friend in Charleston having a restaurant and is currently looking for a waitress. Maybe if you decide to go there, it would be the best, but that is your call, but think about it … no pressure.
I love you and stay safe ... text when you finally get to your destination in your new life. Once you've sent the message, trash the phone. I love you and will miss you like crazy girl!
Quickly stuffing the remains of the contents of money and different papers back in the folder, I reclined my seat back, letting the tears finally consume me. It was a mixture of sadness for leaving the one person who had my back and happiness of finally being away from 'him'. The man who had tortured me for the past ten years would no longer be a worry, and the man who had raised me would be rid of his trouble making daughter. It didn't take long for me to cry myself to sleep.
"Ma'am ..." I was afraid to open my eyes; my head still in fog "... Ma'am." Slowly, I open my eyes and look at the bus driver standing above me.
"I hate to wake you, but we are in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I need to get everyone off the bus and head to dinner before the next trip."
"I'm so sorry. I must have slept the entire way," I say, quickly gathering my things. I need to get off the bus and decide on my next destination. I can't believe I've slept for the entire ride. I mean, I know I was exhausted, but to miss every time the bus stopped. Why hadn't someone woken me? I slept for seventeen hours straight and no one even woke me. Shaking the fog from my brain and gathering my things, I start to leave the bus.
"Don't worry about it, ma'am. It happens more than you know," he says, walking towards the back of the bus and checking each seat.
"Thanks," I say before getting off the bus. I stretch and look around; it is habit to look for 'him'. I know I will always look for 'him' for a good long while.
I walk up to the counter and look at the buses pulling out from Sioux Falls within the next hour. I only have four hundred dollars left, and I know I have to make this work somehow because the next ticket I buy will be another two hundred dollars. I study the board.
"Nope," I say under my breath when I see New York flash up within my time limit. I don't have nearly enough money to head there, and I'm not about to try. Charleston, South Carolina flashed up on the board and stayed for a good ten minutes it seems. It's a sign, and I thought about Rose's letter. If her brother could help me, why wouldn't I go?
My first concern with Charleston is the connections back my life in Washington, but what choice do I really have? I have very little money and no work experience. Even if I had the work experience, I can't use those references. He'd done pretty good job of keeping me from doing anything in life and leaving me skill less. I couldn't have a job because that could lead to me finding someone else and leave 'him'. Hell, he hated Rose and didn't want me to talk to her either, but I would still sneak. When I told Rose this, she about had a fit, but promised she wouldn't make it any harder on me.
What if he talked to her? I mean, I know she wouldn't tell 'him' shit, but what if he beat her up like he had done me so many times in our marriage. I know Rose wouldn't be a punching bag like I was, but I still don't want her to get hurt. I don't need to worry about that now and have to make my mind up. Time is ticking on the ticket to Charleston.
Buying the ticket to Charleston felt good; at least I know my destination. I was starving and in desperate need of a shower, but I don't want to relax completely until I get myself settled. I could take care of the starving now though. There was a McDonald's across the street from the station. Walking over to the McDonald's quickly, I got something to eat before I boarded the bus. Knowing the bus to Charleston is leaving quicker than the others, I decided to eat on the bus. I could see the bus pulling from the curb. I had to run to catch it before it left completely. When the bus driver saw me in his mirror, he stopped and opened the door for me to board. Standing at the front of the bus, while it pulled out of the station, I look for a place to sit. This bus was a little fuller than the last one I had gotten off of, but I was able to find something quickly.
The only spot available was a seat in the middle next to a girl with black, spiky hair. I sat down, not looking in her direction. I opened my bag of food and pulled out my burger and fries. Biting into my hamburger, I heard the growls coming from beside me. Looking at the young girl beside me, out of the corner of my eye, I could see her watching me.
"Would you like some?" I ask, motioning to my hamburger and fries.
"I couldn't impose," she says, biting her lip as her stomach once again alerted us of the fact that she is indeed hungry.
"Here," I say, breaking the burger in half. I spread the wrapper on my knees, pouring half of my fries into my lap. I handed the remaining fries over to her. It wasn't like I would be able to finish the whole thing myself.
"Do you have something to drink? Or do you have a cup or something?" I ask because if I sharing my food, I would also share my drink. I don't expect her to eat without drink too.
"No, I don't have anything," she says, looking down at her hands. Shit! I wish I had something to pour a little bit of drink in for her. I know Rose hadn't put any cups in the car and hadn't put anything like that in my backpack.
"I think they put an extra straw in my bag, do you want to share?" I ask. It is the craziest thing to do, I know, but I wouldn't let her sit there thirsty while I drank from my big thirty-two ounce drink. I wouldn't like myself very much if I had turned her down in any way.
"You don't have to do that for me," she says, still not looking at me.
"So, what is your name?" I ask, while unwrapping the extra straw and placing it in the drink.
"Alice," she says, smiling. Looking up into my eyes with piercing blue eyes; her eyes shocked me. The contrast of her eyes against her tan skin and black hair made them stand out even more.
"Alex," I say, holding out the drink for her to share.
"Thanks," she says, taking a sip of the Dr. Pepper.
We don't say anything else and ate. I don't usually like greasy fast food, but given the fact I have been living off of peanut butter crackers and coffee for the past day, it would have to do. I couldn't wait to get somewhere and prepare a meal more to my liking.
After we finished eating, I gather the trash, placing it in my backpack; I would have to remember to throw this out when I got to Charleston. The silence between Alice and I is rather comforting, and I watch as she pulls a book from her bag and begins to read. I wish I had thought well enough ahead to bring me something to read.
"Would you like a book or a magazine?" Alice asks, smiling at me.
"Sure, whatever you have will be wonderful," I say, smiling back at her. Alice has a small collection of books in her backpack, nothing excessive, but at least enough for the both of us. I quickly select something and get lost in the story I'm reading.
The bus stops every four hours for a break. It is going to take us at least twenty hours to get from Spokane to Charleston. We stop at the bus stations along the way to pick up and drop off passengers and the drivers change. When we stop for food, I've noticed that Alice never has the money to get anything to eat. Alice is smaller than me in every way shape and form. So when I get something to eat, so does she. I can't sit with her on the bus and eat and have her secretly watching me. So I get something to eat, use the restroom, and climb quickly back on board when the buses are ready.
I want to ask her what her situation is, but I am scared this question would bring her to ask the same of me. I'm not ready to tell her or anyone for that matter. Hell, I'm scared to even utter the words. If he ever come looking for me, I wouldn't want to cause others trouble with his ways. We were on the last leg of our trip when I felt Alice looking at me.
"Alex, I don't mean to be rude, but what happened to your face?" Alice asks.
"I fell down a couple of weeks ago." I shrug, hoping she would buy the lie.
"You're running from someone," Alice whispers, looking at me with concern in her eyes.
I can't say anything; I look into her eyes, begging her not to ask any more questions. I won't be able to tell her.
"You're not the only one running away from something or someone. My brother lives in Charleston. I am heading home to him because I made a mess of my life in California. He is the only one I know who could make me whole again and help me."
Was Alice running from an abusive spouse, boyfriend, or friend? Could I tell Alice about my life? What I had endured to get where I was? The remainder of the trip I watched Alice closely, but never said anything about my life or hers.
When the Charleston bus station comes into view at the end of a long ass trip, I am both relieved and worried. The next leg of my journey is not going to be an easy one, but one I have to travel to become Alexandria Jameson. I'm gathering up my things when Alice clears her throat. I look up at her.
"They won't hurt you here, Isabella," Alice says as she walks by me and off the bus. I stand completely still, wondering how in the hell she would know my real name. Had she looked through my things? Grabbing my things, I climbed off the bus and into the Carolina heat.
A/N: So, what do you think? I would love to know.