"Tell me more about this Bella Swan."
"There's nothing to tell." I growled.
"I don't believe that's true. You wouldn't have mentioned her if there was nothing to tell, Edward." Dr. Harper wasn't going to let this go. Of course that's what I paid her for. She gave me the stare, like she had done many times throughout our…history together.
Caroline Harper, the most expensive and revered psychiatrist in all of Los Angeles, which is saying something seeing how this town was filled with crazy celebrities and their drug, image, and mental health problems. Dr. Harper hated when I called people crazy. She said that term was not recognized by the Mental Health Association and it would be wise of me to do the same. She was one of the few people who I allowed to stand up to me because I respected her.
I sighed still unable to answer her question.
"Edward, my time is valuable as I am fully aware yours is as well. If you don't want to answer the question, then go and come back when you can." Dr. Caroline Harper always so matter of fact.
"It's your job to help me." I reminded her.
"I can't help you if you aren't willing to work with me. Besides, you are no longer under court order to see me so if you refuse to talk with me then I will move on to someone who knows they need my help." She stated.
"Really? Which crazy coke addict former child star is waiting to jump on this couch next?" I rolled my eyes.
"You can leave now, Mr. Cullen. I think we're done here. Maybe I can refer you to another doctor. It seems that I am unable to help you."
Great, she referred to me as Mr. Cullen which translates to do as I say or I'm cutting you off. Not the first time she brought out the Mr. Cullen and she knew I knew what she meant by it.
"Fine, what do you want to know?" I barked. "Bella, was just a girl. She's from my past and she doesn't matter anymore so I don't see the reason to waste my breath talking about her."
I pinched the bridge of my nose hoping to relieve my incredible mounting headache. She knew I was lying. No one showed that much passion or emotion when talking about a person they didn't care about.
"Why don't you start with telling me how you met her?" Dr. Harper looked down at her pad and started to write a short scribble.
"Your doctor visits should really come with a vending machine of alcohol." I remarked.
"Noted." She dismissed.
I paused for a long moment thinking about the first time I met Isabella Swan.
"We met in high school. I was a transfer student and if you can believe it; I was wildly unpopular."
It was my first day at Forks High. My father had just transferred from a hospital in Seattle to the small by comparison hospital in Port Angeles. He wanted me to grow up out of the city and so he sacrificed his career for my mother and I. Not that he was hurt by the pay decrease he took since his parents left him a rather tidy sum. If my father wasn't such an honorable and good man I might have hated him for it that first day I stepped foot on the Forks High campus.
The school was tiny compared to the one I attended in Seattle. In Seattle I was free to get lost in the crowd but with Forks High total student body still unable to even come close to just the freshman class at my old school it was hard for me to blend in.
"Who's this freak?"
A couple of guys already had me on their radar by second period. I didn't answer them and I tried to ignore them but it was getting increasing harder every minute.
"Hey freak, we're talking to you."
One of them shoved me from behind and I managed to put my hands out in front of me to stop my face from colliding with the lockers.
"What do you want?" I asked angered.
"Man, don't get all violent. We're just the Forks High School welcoming committee and want to make your acquaintance. I'm Mike and that's Tyler."
"Edward. Can I go now?" I hissed.
Mike gave the gesture that I was free to be on my way but just as I passed him he pushed all the books out of my hands and it all went flying to the large puddle of water below me. The guys laughed as they left me to deal with the mess. I was angry and embarrassingly enough I was fighting back tears.
By lunch time it seemed like I had met the entire student body and even though this environment was vastly different from my last school the stereotypes had found their way to Forks. The hot and they know it vain girls whose giggling was nails to a chalkboard. The jocks that I already had the fortunate run in with. Some brainy kids, who were still too cool to even acknowledge me. With this crowd it was sure hard to find a place to sit and eat my lunch in peace.
I decided to sit outside the cafeteria. The windows looking in could give me the perfect view to observe this species in their natural habitat. It surprised me that the jocks didn't take to messing with the nerds. The nerds were left alone.
I finally came to the conclusion that this school was operating on a pack mentality. They wouldn't bother you unless you were alone and the way I came to this conclusion was seeing a young girl with brown wavy hair who sat all by herself in the lunch room with a book in one hand and apple in the other.
I hadn't even noticed her until I saw the hot and they know it girls get up and start surrounding her like prey circling around their next meal. One girl took the book right out of the brown hair girl's hands and tossed it aside. I could see the girls taunt her and laugh at her. I don't know why but I wanted to trade places with her. She didn't deserve this.
I was getting up from my bench outside and stupidly preparing myself to try to intervene but just as I got to the trash can to throw my food away, Mike and Tyler showed up with a couple more of their jock friends.
"Did you have a nice lunch, Eddie?" Mike asked.
"Here, let me take that tray for you." Tyler took the tray out of my hand and tossed the contents into the trash.
"Tyler, he obviously wasn't done eating that." Mike jokingly hit Tyler in the arm.
"Oh bro. I'm sorry. Here let us help you get that out."
The guys surrounded me and picked me up, turning me over they dumped me into the garbage can; my glasses breaking in half from the force of my face landing on the garbage. The guys laughed and I could hear the slaps of their hands as they high-fived one another for a job well done.
When I could no longer hear them I pushed myself up and the trashcan fell over causing me to land on the ground. I squeezed my fists as I was now pissed more than ever. My clothes were a mess. I had the day's lunch special nestled into my hair. I picked myself up and started to brush myself off. I located the pieces of my glasses and I could feel a gash on the bridge of my nose from where my glasses broke and cut into my skin.
"Mr. Cullen. You better pick up this mess. I won't allow you to trash our school." The principal was shouting at me.
He refused to see my state of dress and passed judgment. Hating my life even more I started to pick up the trash with my bare hands and clean up my "mess."
"You're bleeding all over the place. Best go and see the nurse. I don't want a repeat of this behavior." He said shaking a finger at me.
I took off for the nurse hoping I could lay low until school was finished. The school nurse was actually nice to me and fussed all over me like she gave a damn. I sat on a bed while she ran off to get more supplies. I closed my eyes hoping for a moment of silence.
The door opened a few moments later and I couldn't believe who it was. It was that girl with the long wavy brown hair. She almost looked worse than I did.
"So what are you in for?" She asked.
"Uh…I was just thinking the same thing." I replied.
"Oh Bella, back again? I swear you must use up ninety percent of my supplies. What will it be?" The nurse asked her.
"The usual. Knee bandage and maybe I could use your sling for the afternoon. I think I tweaked my arm wrong this time. It's sore."
She hopped on up to the bed beside me. What the hell is wrong with this girl? The usual? Was she some kind of hypochondriac? The nurse went off in search of the sling leaving me with this Bella girl.
"So, what happened to you?" she asked.
"I…fell down. Broke my glasses." I lied. I was too embarrassed to give her the truth. "What happened to you?"
"Same." She replied and I knew immediately she was lying as well. "So…was your falling down due to the Forks High welcoming committee?"
I furrowed my brow.
"I know all about it. I've been here for over a year and I am still being welcomed." She sighed.
"Bunch of assholes." I growled.
"Yeah…well that's life." She replied.
The nurse came back in and helped Bella into the sling before helping out with my gash. After she asked me to stay put as she would write me a note to discharge me from P.E. that day. I was all too happy to wait. Physical education was certainly not something I excelled at.
She bandaged Bella all up and then went to her office to write out our notes.
"You have P.E. next too?" I asked shyly.
"Unfortunately." She huffed.
"So where did you transfer from?" I asked trying to keep the conversation light.
"Uh…well Oregon by way of Arizona. You?"
"Not much of a change." She guessed.
I laughed. "Uh…major change. This town is so…small."
"Here you two are. Now be mindful of where you walk in the future. I know it can get slippery out there. Try not to run." The nurse all cheery handed us our slips.
We went out the door and it looked like it was just starting to rain.
"Well, good luck…" Bella started searching for my name.
"Edward. Edward Masen." I replied.
"Edward Masen. Good luck with your welcoming committee." She waved.
"Hey, Bella." I called after her. "I know this is going to sound weird but I have been thinking that maybe you could help me out on a social experiment."
"Are you asking me out?" she cringed.
"What? No. I noticed something today in the cafeteria and I want to put my theory to the test." I sped up my talking.
"O…kay…" she looked to me like I was crazy.
"Sit with me at lunch tomorrow?" I asked.
"Why? I mean why would you want to sit with me?"
"Because my theory is that if we ban together our welcoming committees will leave us be."
"Masen. You are one weird cookie." She shook her head and rolled her eyes.
"Just try it." I said.
"All right but if we both end up in a trash can together; I'm blaming you."
She turned and walked onward and for the first time that day I was looking forward to school tomorrow. I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't interested in Bella. The moment I met her there was something about her that pulled me to her. She was the reason I was going to survive this last year and a half of my high school education.
The next day we sat together and my plan seemed to be working as we sat awkwardly at the last table on the left. No one said anything to either of us all lunch period and after a while of waiting we managed a conversation.
She told me briefly about her father who was a sheriff. It sounded like her mom wasn't in the picture at all. Her eyes would light up when she started talking about her favorite books. Bella and I were opposites. I loved math and science and she loved English and languages. However we both detested sports.
Eventually we became friends and would start to hang out with one another all the time. We were practically inseparable. In fact the stronger our friendship, the easier it was to block out all the negativity.
"Ooooo Bella's gotta boyfriend." Lauren taunted.
"Ooooo Lauren's an immature asshole." Bella sang back.
I couldn't believe her but I was proud at how she stood up for herself.
I started laughing at Lauren's face.
"What are you laughing at, four eyes?" Lauren snapped at me.
"Wow, four eyes. So original. I'm sure whatever community college you manage to get in will be lucky to have you, Lauren." I retorted.
The moment Lauren retreated with her pack of sheep; Bella and I gave each other a high-five.
"So…are you still planning on coming over for the campout?" Bella asked unsure of herself.
It had been something that we had planned for weeks. Bella's dad Charlie liked me and actually was cool with us spending the night in Bella's massive tree house out back. We planned on cooking our hotdogs on an open fire using wire hangers and then roast marshmallows. We had hoped that tonight's forecast would hold up so we could try to pick out the constellations overhead.
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, Swan." I smiled.
I tossed up a grape and it landed perfectly in my mouth. Bella narrowed her eyes at me. She hated that I could do that. Every time she tried, it would always miss and hit her in the eye.
I spent a lot of time over at the Swan house. Bella asked a couple of times if she could come to my house but I hadn't told her about my families money so I made up a lie about not wanting to take her there since my parents always fought and I gave off the impression that I was embarrassed by that, which was the exact opposite. My parents never fought in fact they usually could be caught acting all lovey dovey with one another. I was afraid that once Bella knew I came from money she would see me differently.
Bella came from a broken home. Her mother walked out on her when she was just seven years old. Her dad worked hard to provide for them and money was always tight around their house. This was one of the things that the girls of Forks High picked on her for. Bella never had new clothes or the latest trends. She always brought lunch which was minimal and I had started supplying her with more food the closer we became.
By the end of our junior year we were closer than close. We relied on one another like we relied on the earth to provide us with oxygen. I might be over dramatizing that a bit but that's how I felt. We had the perfect summer together. We would go hiking; well we tried to hike but soon realized that Bella's coördination was rather poor and she would inevitably hurt herself. We had movie marathons. Lake days. We did everything.
"Dr. Harper, she was the only person who ever got away with sassing me. Well, other than you…and my PA." I grumbled looking back to the good doc.
"Tad jealous to hear that." Dr. Harper smiled out of the corner of her mouth. "She sounds like an incredible young lady."
"She was. She was my soul mate." I gazed back out the window that overlooked the downtown Los Angeles.
"Are you sure about that?" she asked.
"I will never love another person the way I love Isabella Swan." I lashed out. I hated when people doubted my word. I was a powerful person. With the installation of our new division and our fourth quarter numbers coming in it was safe to say that I had more money than some small countries. No one should doubt me.
"So what happened? If she is your soul mate then where is she?" Dr. Harper asked.
Just thinking about the answer made me ill. What I wouldn't do to go back and change things.
"Edward. Why are you not with Bella if she is your soul mate?"
"I wasn't good enough for her." I answered honestly.
It was well into our senior year and everything was more perfect than we could ever ask for. Don't get me wrong; we still were teased and taunted and yes even physically had an altercation or two but it didn't seem to matter as much because we had our friendship.
"So what does that make this; like the fifteenth school you've been accepted to?" Bella waved around my admission letter to Dartmouth.
"Something like that." I teased. "You did apply, right?"
"Uh…yeah. I'm sure my rejection letter will come any day now." She replied.
"Stop it, Swan. You're going to get in and then we will be rid of this damn town." I huffed. It always angered me when she would put herself down.
"Edward, I'm not going to Dartmouth." She looked at me seriously.
"Yes. You are. It's the plan. It's what we've talked about the past couple months. I asked you what school you wanted to go to this summer. I never even thought of applying to Dartmouth but you had your heart set on it so I applied and this was the plan."
"You're being stupid. You're not basing this life altering decision on me. Go to the school you want to go to. I'm going to community college and I will still be here when you come home for summers and breaks. God, Edward." She yelled and then threw her pencil across the bedroom hitting the wall with a light thud.
"Now who's being stupid? I'm not going to go off while you waste your potential in some lame ass community college. You're better than that. You're going to get in, dammit." I shouted back.
"It doesn't fucking matter how smart I am, Edward. I know I can get into Dartmouth because I already got my acceptance letter and I can't afford to go." She hollered while opening her desk drawer and throwing her acceptance letter at me. "So I apologize if I sit here and waste my potential in some lame ass community college but that's life. So go to fucking Dartmouth or Harvard or wherever your little pocketbook desires and leave us penniless peons alone."
It was the first time we ever fought. She jumped up from her bed and stormed out of the bedroom all the way down the stairs and out the door before I could even react. Part of me was instantly upset at her. Did she know about my family's money? Did she just throw that in my face? No she couldn't have. I was extremely careful.
Then I felt guilty that I was sitting here worrying about something so trivial while Bella was out probably in the woods behind her house crying about her lost chances for higher education. I felt like such a douche. Here I was parading my letters of acceptance around to all these glorious Ivy League schools and she had finally achieved her dream school acceptance letter and she would never be able to afford it.
"Bella." I called out for her when my foot hit the pavement as I exited her house.
I jogged off to the woods trying to search for her, finding her sitting on a massive tree log with tears running down her face.
"Leave me alone." She whispered.
"No." I said determined. "What happened? I thought you were going to apply for scholarships."
"It wouldn't do a damn bit of good." She tried to blink her tears away. "It's fine. Whatever. I don't need a Dartmouth degree to teach English."
"It's your dream." I replied.
"Dreams are just that, dreams. I live in reality and the reality of the situation is that people like me aren't meant for anything greater than this." She held up her hands displaying the area surrounding us.
"That's horse shit." I spit. "Bella, you are smarter than that. It doesn't always take money to become something great. You're just using that as an excuse."
"Yeah well this is my decision. As my friend I expect you to honor it." She paused while I quietly fumed crossing my arms over my chest as my mind worked a mile a minute to figure out how I could get her to Dartmouth. "So…what school will be blessed with Edward Masen's presence?" She asked hopping off her log and slightly wavering.
"I don't know. I had believed so much in the plan that now I just don't know." I responded while helping to steady her. That had always been my unspoken job; making sure to help Bella keep her balance.
"Hey, you're my best friend and I will kick your ass if you don't go Ivy League. I believe that you were meant for greatness and I hate being wrong so you better hop to it." She gave me a watery smile trying to hold it in.
I loved her.
I stared out the window still not wanting Dr. Harper to see my misty eyes.
"God, how I loved her." I stopped fearful if I broke down now I might never stop crying.
I was Edward Cullen. I don't do tears. I never even found them acceptable from any past girlfriends. The moment one of them started with the waterworks I would instantly get rid of her. I didn't want weak people around me.
"And then what happened?" Dr. Harper asked quietly.
I didn't answer.
"Have you ever thought of trying to find her?" Dr. Harper changed direction. "With your resources; I'm sure it wouldn't be difficult.
"She's getting married. She's engaged to some guy she met at community college. They've been engaged for a long time. Some guy named Jacob." I spit. Just thinking about it made me want to destroy something.
"Can we stop? I need to stop." I insisted.
"Sure. When you're ready please make an appointment with Heather." She stood up from her chair and started to walk me out just before she arrived at her door she turned to me. "Edward, I'm really proud of you. You are making great progress and I believe that if you allow yourself to work through this then maybe you can find peace."
I nodded thinking on her words. As I exited I continued to think the elevator ride down the twenty stories building and then even more so as I entered my car.
"Where to sir?" Seth asked.
"Home. We're done here." I answered short.
I was done with Dr. Caroline Harper. I could no longer see that woman. My time with her had runs its course. I didn't want to think about Bella. I didn't want to sit in a room and pour my guts out on the girl I love. She was in my past and if she was truly the key to me finding peace; I guess I will never find peace.
AN: Updates on Tuesday's. Thank you for taking the time to read and review. Please note that there will be future lemons as well as discussions of physical abuse.