Author's Note: Welcome, everyone! I've decided to go ahead and write the entire story Reason For Living from Edward's point of view. I'm not done yet, but I'm through 16 chapters, which should give me enough of a lead to post regularly.

This chapter was already included as the last RFL outtake.

Thanks again to moosals for pre-reading. Stephenie Meyer owns all characters.

Also special thanks to edwardisaputz for pre-reading from the male perspective!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fuck me.

With every fucking tree we pass, I get closer to the 6-by-8-foot cell that will become my home for the next 25 years. Sure, my fucking lawyer says he's going to push for a new trial, but that's no guarantee that this fucking nightmare will be over anytime soon.

Spending the last four weeks at the Washington Corrections Center was bad enough. I was put through medical examinations, psychological testing, you name it, like a fucking lab rat. Their assessments came out Minimum security since I'm not a fucking psycho, but they've assigned me to Medium security anyway, thanks to my second-degree murder conviction.

I can't believe the nerve of that bitch. I can't believe a fucking reverend's daughter placed her hand on the Bible, swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — and then lied through her teeth about the fact that we knew each other. Intimately.

I know we meant nothing to each other, but Jesus Christ — she got off every time! What the hell kind of problem did she have with me?

And of course, the jury believed her over me. Big fucking surprise there.

I'm staring out at the trees when suddenly someone on the bus curses loudly. My head bumps the window as the bus swerves across the other lane and off into the gravel on the left side of the road. The driver must overcorrect, because suddenly we're careening to the right and off the road again. I'm jerked back and forth in my seat as the front of the bus slams into a huge tree.

"All right, everyone stay calm," the guard sitting behind the driver says, standing up and pointing his gun at the seven convicts on the bus. The driver hops out, walking around to the front of the bus, but then I lose sight of him. He comes back a minute or so later.

"I smell fuel; I think we need to get them off the bus. I'll radio for help," the driver says.

The guard in the back of the bus starts walking up the aisle, stopping beside each of the seven prisoners to unlock the side of our cuffs that's shackled around the metal armrest of the seat and hook it over our other hand instead. One by one, he passes us off to the guard from up front.

When he finally reaches me, I stare down at the gun sticking out of the holster on his hip as he fiddles with my cuffs. The other six guys are all off the bus already, being watched by just the one lone guard with a gun.

Without a second's thought as to whether or not this is a good idea, I grab for the gun with my right hand, hitting him as hard as I can in the nose with my left elbow. I turn and run down the steps, past the gawking men and off into the woods.

"Hey!" the guard outside screams. I hear a couple of gunshots and then a searing pain shoots through my left side.

Fuck! I've been shot!

I'm afraid if I stop, he'll continue shooting, so instead I keep running through the trees, as fast as I can. Fuck, I've never been a runner, and right now I wish I was in better shape.

I run for several minutes, not even pausing to look behind me. I jump over a fallen tree, then absolutely have to stop and rest for a moment, bending over with my hands on my thighs as I breathe in and out deeply.

And then I smell it — smoke, like there's a fireplace going somewhere nearby.

I thought we were in the middle of fucking nowhere, but maybe there's a house out here? I breathe in again as deeply as I can, trying to figure out where the smoke is coming from, then take off again in that direction.

A couple of minutes later, I see it, a small house up ahead through the trees. It's not dark outside yet, but the lights are already on inside and smoke is billowing out of the chimney.

I increase my speed, running toward what I hope is my salvation. When I reach it, I immediately start pounding on the door, hoping I'm not greeted by someone with a shotgun. As I stand there catching my breath, I can hear the sound of voices coming closer.

Fuck! I pound on the door again; I've got to get inside before they make it over here. The lights are on, so I know someone is home.

"Just a second," a female voice calls from inside. Thank God — there shouldn't be any kind of confrontation if there's only a woman here.

I wait impatiently, trying to ignore the intense pain in my side. When the door flies open, I rush into the house. I barely even notice the woman standing next to the still-open door.

"Close the fucking door," I yell. She closes the door and turns around, getting into some sort of staring contest with me. She's small, maybe average height for a female, but too thin — or at least her clothes look too big for her. With her long brown hair and no make-up, she looks a hell of a lot like Angela did on the witness stand. My stomach twists as I wonder if this is God punishing me.

I snap myself out of it, realizing either someone from the prison or the local police has got to be closing in on me. With the lights on inside the house, they'll easily be able to spot me through the windows. I move to close the window blinds, hearing her finally make some kind of noise.

"Please don't hurt me," the woman says timidly, barely audible.

"I'm not here to hurt you," I reply, trying to reassure her. "I need you to help me get these handcuffs off and find me some less conspicuous clothes, then I'll be out of your hair." I need to get the fuck out of town — fast.

The woman just stares at me like I spoke in fucking Chinese or something. "I promise," I add.

"Do you have the key for the handcuffs?" she finally asks.

"If I did, I wouldn't need your help," I reply, rolling my eyes. Is she for real?

"Um, am I supposed to know how to remove them without a key?"

"No," I snort, looking her up and down, "I guess not. You look like a good girl — not the type who likes to get kinky in the bedroom with a pair of handcuffs." Shame.

Her face turns bright red as she slowly starts walking toward the kitchen, keeping one eye on me at all times. It's really starting to piss me off the way she acts like I'm some psycho killer. Not that I really blame her, but still — it's pissing me off.

"Um, my dad might have like a hacksaw or wire cutters or something, from when he used to come down here fishing," she says.

"Stop looking at me like that."

She stops abruptly. "Like—like what?" she stutters.

"Like I'm gonna hurt you. I've never hurt a woman. As long as you don't try anything, I won't lay a finger on you."

"O—ok," she replies, but she doesn't sound convinced. I follow her to the kitchen, staring at her ass as she bends over, digging around in one of the cabinets. Hey, she's the first woman I've seen in the last month who's even close to attractive.

"You escaped from Stafford Creek?" the woman asks while she searches through the box. I finally drag my eyes away from her ass so I can close the blinds on the kitchen window.

"Not quite," I tell her, distracted by my task.

"I'm not guilty," I add, hoping that'll convince her not to be afraid of me. "I was tried and convicted for something I didn't do."

"Wouldn't anyone say that?"

"Probably, but I'm not lying to you."

"Ok," she replies, holding up a small hacksaw.

"That?" I scoff. "You might be able to cut through the chain with that, but you'll never be able to cut through the cuffs."

"It's a start, isn't it? At least your hands will be separated."

"Fine. Whatever," I reply as I take a seat on one of the kitchen chairs. Something tickles my leg and I look down, noticing a furry orange cat sniffing at my leg and shoe.

Just as she places her hand on the back of another chair to pull it out, there's a knock at the front door. Both of us freeze in place, just staring at one another.

"Is anyone home?" a muffled voice calls through the door. "It's the police."

"Fuck," I whisper, staring up at her. This is it — I can't really stop her from turning me in. I'm not a killer; I won't shoot her if she tries anything. Even if I just try to keep her here in the kitchen, she can always scream.

She stares back at me and I notice for the first time how dull her deep brown eyes are. She looks sad, almost haunted.

Suddenly she's urging me to stand up. "Go hide in the bathroom," she whispers, pointing out the room. "I'll get rid of them."

She'll what?! She wants to help me?

I walk toward the bathroom, but then stop, looking back at her. "How do I know you're not gonna turn me in?" Just because she looks innocent doesn't mean I can trust her — I learned that the hard way.

"You don't, I guess," she shrugs. "But I won't. I—I believe you."

I'm still afraid it might be a trick, but what choice do I have? I step into the bathroom, hiding behind the door. I think about closing it, but I want to hear what's going on.

"Good evening, officers," I hear her say. "I'm sorry it took me so long to get to the door; I was in the bathroom. Is there something I can help you with?"

"Ma'am, a bus carrying new inmates to Stafford Creek ran off the road about a mile from here. One of the men escaped. Have you seen or heard anything unusual this afternoon?"

"No, I—I haven't," she lies. "Should I be concerned?"

"Yes, Ma'am," the officer replies. "This man should be considered armed and dangerous. Lock your doors and windows, and if you see anything suspicious, call 9-1-1 immediately." Armed and dangerous — I want to deck the guy for telling her that. What if she changes her mind about my innocence and turns on me?

"Of—of course. Thank you for letting me know."

"Have a good evening, Ma'am."

"I hope you catch him," she calls. I wait in the bathroom until I'm satisfied the cop is gone, then step back out into the living room to see her standing in front of the closed door, her head down.

She turns around, jumping slightly when she sees me standing there. She stares up at me, a strange look on her face, and I wonder for the first time what she's thinking.

"I hope you catch him," I parrot.

She shrugs. "It sounded like something I should say?"

I grimace, shaking my head at her poor acting ability, then hold up my hands — we've still got unfinished business. "The handcuffs?"

"Right, come on," she replies, motioning me back toward the kitchen. I sit heavily on the chair, still exhausted from my apparently mile-long run, and hold my hands out to her.

"Um, could you maybe not be pointing the gun at me as I'm trying to do this?" Is she fucking kidding? "I won't pick it up and use it against you," she continues. "If I wanted to do something like that, I would've told the cop where you were."

"Fine," I sigh, setting the gun on the table carefully. "Do you know how to handle that if you did pick it up?" I ask, nodding toward the gun.

"Um, yeah, I do. My dad is Chief of Police up in Forks." Fuck! Her dad's not only a cop but the fucking Chief of Police? Double fuck! I'm sure he'd be none too happy about his daughter lying to the police for me.

I hold out my hands again — I want these fucking things off. She begins sliding the hacksaw back and forth over the chain separating the two cuffs. She doesn't look strong enough to cut through it, but I don't really have another option here.

I have more of a chance to study the woman while she works on the chain. Despite her dull eyes, she's not unattractive — she might even be pretty if she didn't look so sad. Hell, even if she wasn't attractive, she's still a female with a decent enough body. After a month in lock-up, I could really go for a fuck if she's up for it.

"Fucking finally," I sigh when miraculously, the chain snaps. I stretch my arms out in front of me, trying to get the feeling back in them. "We're not done yet though."

"Oh my God," she gasps suddenly, looking down at me, "Have you been shot?"

"Yeah, a fucking guard got me as I was running off. It's not bad." To be honest, I'd almost forgotten I'd been shot, more worried about my ass getting caught and carted off to prison.

"Not bad," she repeats. "It's a gunshot wound. Let me look at it."

"Are you a doctor?"

"Not exactly," she replies.

"A nurse?"

She shakes her head. "I'm a veterinarian."

This timid little thing is a veterinarian? I just can't picture her trying to examine some huge dog — it'd probably knock her over.

"So you know how to treat a gunshot wound?" I snort.

"Well, not really," she admits. "I did once. A kid was playing with his dad's gun and accidentally shot the family dog. Just let me see it," she huffs.

"I think you just want to see me half-naked," I reply with a wink, wishing I could see her naked.

I start unbuttoning my orange jumpsuit, noticing the way her eyes widen and her face turns pink as I shrug it off my shoulders. She looks like she's never seen a fucking tattoo before. Or a half-naked man — but she looks too old to be a virgin.

When I am naked to the waist, she begins prodding at my side before running off to the bathroom. She comes back with a wet washcloth and wipes the blood away.

"Turn for me," she directs quietly, before she examines the entrance wound in my back. Her poking around hurts like hell, but I like the feel of her soft hands on my skin.

"Well, the good news," she begins, "Is that you don't have a piece of metal inside you. The bullet went right though."

"So I'm fine," I reply with a shrug. Thank God — I really wasn't looking forward to having her try to take out the bullet.

"Not so fast," she cautions, "Who knows what the bullet may have hit. You could have internal bleeding, or it could've damaged some of your internal organs."

"If it hit anything important, I wouldn't have been able to run a mile over here. Just put a bandage on it and I'll be fine."

She sighs, then heads to the bathroom again, returning with a first aid kit. I look down when something tickles my leg, noticing her cat has taken up residence by my foot again. I lean down and wink at him.

She pulls a large band-aid from her first aid kit, covering the hole in my back, then tapes a bandage over the wound in my stomach.

"You can put your clothes back on now," she says when she's finished.

"I'm good like this," I argue. "It's warm in here with that fire burning in the fireplace." Seriously, it's the middle of fucking September — why does she need the fireplace already? Not that I'm not grateful, since it led me right to her.

"Do you have a cigarette?" I ask, totally jonesing for a smoke. I've only been able to bum a couple in the last month.

"What? No, I don't smoke."

"Of course you don't," I mumble. "I shouldn't be surprised."

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asks, her eyes narrowed.

"Nothing, Good Girl." Just my luck to end up with a cop's daughter Pollyanna.

"Look," she begins, "I really have no idea how to open handcuffs without a key. I have internet on my computer. Why don't you Google it or something while I make dinner?"

"Yeah, all right," I agree, standing and picking up the gun. I walk over to her desk in the living room, sitting down on her leather office chair and setting the gun on the desk. I pull out the keyboard tray, bring up the internet and Google "how to remove handcuffs without a key."

I click on a couple of the sites that come up in the search, trying to absorb all of the information. It looks like we need bobby pins — thank God my savior is a woman with long hair. She's got to have bobby pins around here somewhere.

I'm startled when her cat jumps up on my lap then onto the desk. He —she? — stands right in front of the monitor, just looking at me. "You're a better door than you are a window, ya know?" I push on the cat's back and finally he curls up into a ball, keeping his eyes on me. I grab the gun, setting it on my lap, so he doesn't accidentally shoot me with it.

"Find anything?" she asks, stepping out of the kitchen.

"Yeah, we need bobby pins," I tell her. "That's what all the articles say. There are even demonstration videos on YouTube."

She scrunches her nose. "Um, I don't think I have any bobby pins. I usually just pull my hair back in a ponytail. I'll go check in the bathroom though."

While she's looking, I reach up and pet the guard kitty gently, trying to earn his trust. "Hey," I whisper to him, "Tell your mama I'm cool, yeah? Maybe I can get laid tonight. We men need to stick together." Of course, if the cat's female, she'll probably tell her owner to stay the hell away from me.

"Sorry, I definitely don't have any," she reports when she comes back a minute or so later. "I can get some tomorrow though."

"Tomorrow?" I really need to get the fuck out of town ASAP. Maybe after a good fuck though — or at least a blowjob.

"Yeah, it's my shopping day. I'll pick some up at Walmart, along with some clothes for you like you wanted, then you can be on your way."

"Why can't you just go get them now?" I ask with a frown. "Isn't Walmart usually open 24 hours?"

"Walmart is three miles away."

"So what?"

"I don't drive," she replies. "A… a friend, I guess, will drive me to the store tomorrow, like she always does on Friday mornings."

"What the hell kind of American adult doesn't know how to drive?"

"I didn't say I don't know how. I said I don't drive." What the fuck? "Um, the water is probably boiling," she adds quickly, rushing back to the kitchen before I can ask more.

There's not much more I can do on the internet, so I stand up, clutching at my aching side. I follow her into the kitchen to see what she's making for dinner. "What are we having?" I ask.

"Um, just spaghetti." She gives the sauce a stir before turning around. "Sorry it's not more exciting. I really need to do some grocery shopping tomorrow."

"It's fine," I shrug. "Better than prison food." But then I see the empty jar of spaghetti sauce on the counter. Seriously, sauce from a fucking jar? I grit my teeth; I'll have to grin and bear it if I want to have any chance of getting laid tonight.

"Have—have you been in jail for a while?" she asks.

"I was out on bail most of the time before my trial. I've been at the Washington Corrections Center up in Shelton for about a month though." A very long month without female companionship.

"The cop said the bus transferring inmates to Stafford Creek ran off the road?"

"Yeah," I nod. "Swerved to avoid hitting a deer or something. Ran off the road and into a tree. In the chaos, I elbowed one of the guards in the face and grabbed his gun, then took off."

She stares at me, mouth agape.

"Don't look at me like that. I can't spend the next 25 years of my life in prison for something I didn't do." Though it wasn't my brightest idea to try to escape from almost-prison with no plan for what the hell I was going to do next.

"Ok, fine," she replies, holding up her hands in surrender. "What would you like to drink?"

"A beer," I answer. Thank fuck, I really need one.

"I, um, don't have any alcohol." I suppress a groan as she starts digging through her fridge. Nice view of her ass again though. She has a nice ass and my mind can't help picturing what it would look like naked as I'm pounding into her. "I can offer you Pepsi or water, or… well, about two sips of orange juice."

"The pop is fine," I answer. Maybe she can buy some beer at Walmart tomorrow, too. I nearly laugh when the old Adam Ant song "Goody Two Shoes" starts running through my head. Don't drink, don't smoke… what do you do?

She pours each of us a glass then turns back to our meal, stirring the spaghetti and sauce. I enjoy watching her from behind — her hair is long enough to pull while I'm fucking her. Oh yeah. Now if only I can charm her out of her pants.

When the timer goes off, she quickly prepares two plates and carries them to the table. For sauce from a jar, it's edible enough, especially given what I've been served for the last month. We eat in silence for several minutes before my curiosity wins out.

"So why don't you drive?"

"None of your business," she replies.

"Have you tried?"

"Recently? No. I tried earlier this summer."

"And what happened?"

"Can we not talk about this?" she replies, standing up to rinse off her plate.

"Fine," I sigh in defeat. "Could you put the fire out?"

"What?" she asks, spinning around to face me.

"In the fireplace. Could you put it out? It's hot in here."

Her nose wrinkles — it's kinda cute. "It's not that hot." Suddenly she walks over to the table, laying the palm of her hand on my forehead.

"What are you doing?" I ask, trying to bat her hand away.

"You have a fever. It's probably from your wound. I told you that needed to be cleaned out."

"I'm fine."

"No, you're not. Let me try to look at it."

"You're a vet, not a doctor," I scoff. It hurts enough without her poking around.

"Well, unless you plan to turn yourself in, you're not going to get a doctor."

"Forget it," I grumble, standing up from the table. "I wish you had a fucking beer."

While she does the dishes, I head to the bathroom, happy to piss in a clean toilet for the first time in a month, then sit on her couch and pick up the remote control. My side is killing me, and it most certainly is hot in here, no matter what the vet says.

Sometime later, she joins me in the living room. I glance up at her, wondering what the hell she's been doing in the kitchen for so long.

"Ready to let me look at it yet?" she ask snarkily, nodding toward my side.

"No." I don't trust her not to do something to hurt me on purpose.

"What's your name?" she asks, sitting on the far end of the couch from me.

"Edward. You?"



"Do you know how many times I've heard that cheesy line in my life?" she snorts.

"Does it work?" I ask with a grin. Please say yes.

"No, it doesn't." Damn.

We sit and watch a movie, the cat curled up in her lap the whole time. I still think it's really fucking hot in here but I don't complain. My side still hurts, and I can see a little bit of blood starting to seep through the bandage.

When I need to piss again, I get up and walk back into the bathroom. I feel a little dizzy when I stand up, and as I stand over the toilet, the feeling only gets worse. I flush, then sit on the closed toilet lid with my head in my hands, trying to get the dizziness and nausea to pass. My head is pounding, and a couple drops of sweat fall from my forehead, making dark spots on the legs of the orange jumpsuit.

All of a sudden, I need to throw up. I stand, lifting the lid and seat just in time to lose my dinner. Fuck.

I continue to kneel on the floor for a few minutes, then stand up, flushing again. I try to rinse my mouth at the sink. I'm not feeling any better; it feels like I've got the fucking flu or something. Maybe I need to let the vet help me after all.

Slowly, I make my way out of the bathroom. I don't see Bella anywhere, but the light is on in the only room I haven't been in yet, so I head over that way to look for her. I find her standing in front of her bedroom closet, her shirt riding up while she reaches for something on the top shelf.

"I don't… feel so good," I tell her. She looks over at me and gasps, then quickly moves from the closet, reaching an arm around my waist to prop me up.

"Let's get you back to the couch."

I take one step and fall to my knees, too dizzy to continue.

"I… can't…" I tell her, looking up at her helplessly. Fuck. Fuck, fuck.

"All right, change of plans — can you get to the bed?"

Her bed doesn't look too far away, so I begin crawling on my hands and knees over there. Bella helps me get to my feet so I can sit on the edge.

By all rights, I should've died from my stab wounds 13 years ago, but I'm not ready to go yet, not for something so stupid as a gunshot that almost missed me. "Am I gonna die?" I ask as she helps me lie down.

"Not if I can help it. I wish you would've let me look at your wound more earlier," she scolds.

"Yeah, yeah… just like a woman to always have to be right."

She helps me get settled with my head on the pillow, then begins taking my shoes off. "You'd better not bleed on my bed," she warns before she starts undressing me. Goddamnit, I wish I could do something about the fact that I'm about to be naked in front of her.

"Trying to have your way with me?" I ask with one eye closed. Maybe she could do all the work; as soon as I don't feel like I need to puke, I mean.

"You wish. I'm trying to make you comfortable."

"Thank you," I tell her, reaching out to grab her hand. I really feel like shit. My life is in her hands right now… and just… fuck.

Nodding, she gives me a small smile. "I'll pick up some things tomorrow to try and fix you up, all right?"

"You won't turn me in?" I still don't understand what would possess her to help me.

"I told you I won't. I'll pick up whatever you need so you can leave. Just try to rest now. I'll be back with a cool washcloth for your forehead."

Rest, yeah that sounds good… I close my eyes, hoping I feel a hell of a lot better when I open them again.

A/N: I'll post twice a week, except this week when there will be three chapters posted. The next two are relatively short. Those who have read Reason For Living know why. ;)

For those who are new to Cheekyward, welcome again, and let me know what you think of him!