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Emancipation Proclamation by kharizzmatik

Direct Link: http://kharizzmatik-ep.blogspot.com/

I didnt mark prologue as chapter one, so you have 79 chapters + prologue = 80


chapters, all posted + epilogue.

Table of contest:
Prologue: 5
Chapter 1: 9
Chapter 2: 20
Chapter 3: 32
Chapter 4: 42
Chapter 5: 52
Chapter 6: 62
Chapter 7: 71
Chapter 8: 85
Chapter 9: 94
Chapter 10: 110
Chapter 11: 123
Chapter 12: 139
Chapter 13: 150
Chapter 14: 164
Chapter 15: 175
Chapter 16: 189
Chapter 17: 200
Chapter 18: 208
Chapter 19: 223
Chapter 20: 239
Chapter 21: 260
Chapter 22: 281
Chapter 23: 296
Chapter 24: 316
Chapter 25: 345
Chapter 26: 371
Chapter 27: 399
Chapter 28: 422
Chapter 29: 449
Chapter 30: 487
Chapter 31: 514
Chapter 32: 546
Chapter 33: 575
Chapter 34: 607

Chapter 35: 635


Chapter 36: 681
Chapter 37: 714
Chapter 38: 745
Chapter 39: 775
Chapter 40: 812
Chapter 41: 841
Chapter 42: 871
Chapter 43: 904
Chapter 44: 938
Chapter 45: 972
Chapter 46: 1005
Chapter 47: 1056
Chapter 48: 1086
Chapter 49: 1123
Chapter 50: 1154
Chapter 51: 1182
Chapter 52: 1229
Chapter 53: 1261
Chapter 54: 1292
Chapter 55: 1325
Chapter 56: 1352
Chapter 57: 1376
Chapter 58: 1417
Chapter 59: 1443
Chapter 60: 1467
Chapter 61: 1491
Chapter 62: 1521
Chapter 63: 1550
Chapter 64: 1588
Chapter 65: 1628
Chapter 66: 1661
Chapter 67: 1685
Chapter 68: 1709
Chapter 69: 1735
Chapter 70: 1783
Chapter 71: 1825
Chapter 72: 1863

Chapter 73: 1901


Chapter 74: 1951
Chapter 75: 2003
Chapter 76: 2064
Chapter 77: 2112
Chapter 78: 2164
Chapter 79: 2212
Epilogue: 2279

Prologue
"This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must
consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it
not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it." Abraham Lincoln
Sixteen years ago today a girl lay on the damp ground, in the middle of a dark
small shabby barn that smelled faintly of hay and manure, and gave birth to a
premature baby girl. She was desperately frightened, for herself and her baby.
She endured the best she could, gritting her teeth and remaining silent despite
the severe pain, pushing through it and welcoming the baby into the world all
alone. She cut the umbilical cord with a pair of garden sheers and swaddled the
baby girl with rags she found, doing the best she could to keep her warm. She
knew it was too soon for her to be born, knew there was no way it had been 9
months already. The baby was tinyshe wasnt sure how much she weighed but
it couldnt have been much more than 5 pounds. Her cry was weak, her body
slightly blue, but she refused to give up on her daughter. She held that tiny baby
all through the night, rocking her and shushing her, trying to feed her but having
absolutely no clue how to get her to latch on to the breast.
The afterbirth frightened the girl, sending her into a panic attack. She had no clue
what was going on, horrified at the thought of having twins. She still hadnt
figured out what she was going to do with the one she had as it was, had no idea
how she was going to raise a child.
She was still a child herself, barely sixteen and utterly nave. As she held that
baby through the night, gazing down into her scrunched up face and stroking her
tiny hand wrapped around one of her fingers, she imagined a world beyond the
one she lived in. A world where her baby girl could flourish. Where she could go
to school and have friends, a world where she could fall in love and marry. A
world where her daughter could have her own house, her own career, her own
family. A world where her daughter had choices, freedoms.
Because the girl had none. She was a slave, at the mercy of the people who

owned her. She was kidnapped as a baby, both of her parents murdered. The
kidnappers knew they could get a pretty penny for her and auctioned her off to
the highest bidder, not caring what they wanted her for or what would come of
her.
Shed gotten lucky though, for the most part. She knew she couldve ended up in
a pedophile ring somewhere but she hadnt. She was purchased as a present, a
child for a woman who desperately wanted a daughter but couldnt bear her own
anymore. Shed already had a son, his birth traumatic and leaving her barren.
They couldnt legally adopt, as the husband had an extensive criminal record and
they wouldve never been approved. So they bought on the black market.
It didnt go over very well, the girls presence backfiring. Instead of filing the void
the lady had, she merely reminded her of her inability to ever have her own
daughter. She had been pushed aside, cast off. She carried their same last name
but she was no more family to them than the next person. As soon as she was
old enough to walk and talk, she was left to fend for herself and forced to help
take care of their needs.
The family was powerful. She wasnt entirely sure what they were involved in, but
she knew it wasnt good. They owned a few slaves, and over the years shed seen
more than one murdered at the familys hand when they tried to flee. There was
no escaping. Youd be found if you even attempted it, and youd be killed in front
of everyone to send a message to the others. They owned you.
She didnt see their son much, as he was off in boarding school throughout the
year and usually spent summers traveling with the family. She was always left
behind while they vacationed, but never was she left alone. There was always
someone watching her.
The fall the girl turned 15, the father fell ill. Their son came home to help his
mother while his father was out of commission, so-to-speak. He was eighteen at
the time and was volatile, but he wasnt too harsh to herhe didnt threaten her
or beat her as he did the others, and he wasnt demanding of her. He ignored her
for the most part, barely even noticing she was alive. But after a few months it all
shifted and he started sneaking into her room at night, laying with her and
touching her, hovering over her and pushing himself into her.

She wasnt educated but she knew the facts of life. When her period stopped
coming, she knew what that meant. She wasnt sure what to do, who to tell or
what to say. Shed finally grown brave enough to confess to her mistress that a
child was growing inside of her, when the son came home and announced to the
family that he was to be married to a local girl from a well-off family.
She knew then that she couldnt say anything. They were counting on the
merging of the families for their livelihood and the fact that she was pregnant
because of their son, despite the fact that she hadnt instigated their contact,
would be blamed solely on her. Theyd blame her for ruining their future, for
ruining their plans.
After awhile the father recovered and the son moved out, leaving her back to
being overlooked. She kept her pregnancy a secret, hiding it the best she could.
No one paid her much attention anyway--no one noticed.
So as she sat in that barn, rocking that tiny baby, she allowed herself to forget
the way she lived. She allowed herself to dream of a better world for her child.
She allowed herself to dream of her child having a future where she could shine.
She kept the baby hidden away for a few days, the baby surviving and
surprisingly thriving given the conditions. But she couldnt keep her a secret
forever.
The mistress faintly heard the baby crying one evening and walked out to the
barn, where shed been hiding out with her. The mistress was shocked to say the
least. The girl was so frightened, afraid they were going to sell the baby or even
worse, end the babys life. She'd seen slaves get pregnant over the years, seen
their pregnancies terminated and babies disappear. But the mistress surprised
her. Because as the mistress gazed into the babys face, she saw her sons
features shining back at her. She knew the baby was her blood.
She wouldnt accept the baby as family, refused to acknowledge it out loud, but
she allowed her to keep her. And for sixteen years the girl did the best she could,
been the best mother she couldve been. She couldnt escape the life she had
been sold into, but she held hope that someday her daughter would find
something better. And she did all she could to prepare her for a better life,
despite the fact that she knew very little about the outside world herself.

The baby grew into a beautiful child. The slaves doted on her but the family
ignored her for the most part. Occasionally theyd catch the mistress staring at
her, smiling when she didnt think anyone was watching. It gave the girl hope
that maybe her child would be freed. They didnt treat her like the others either,
didnt beat her or work her too hard. There was some kindness there, under the
surface. Compassion for the bastard child their son created.
The summer before that childs 12th birthday, however, everything changed. The
mistress and master of the house got into a car accident, dying upon impact.
Instead of being freed, as they all hoped, the son stepped in and took over. The
son had turned into a harsh man, his hostility growing as he aged. He had not an
ounce of kindness inside of him, no compassion what so ever.
He still had a soft spot for the girl he had impregnated, despite the fact that over
a decade had gone by since they last had contact. After he took over he started
sneaking into her room again at night and having his way with her. She never
fought back, knowing fighting his advances would mean death. He owned her and
she got off easier than most. All she truly had to endure was a few minutes of his
panting sweaty form hovering over her at nightthe others were beaten bloody.
The man wasnt stupid, he knew the child was his daughter and he didnt like it
one bit. For four years the girl was abused and tortured, and her mother
protected her the best she could while still protecting herself. She knew shed be
no help to her dead and had no choice but to sometimes sit back and allow her
daughter to endure it.
The wife eventually figured it out, realized that the child slave was her husbands
illegitimate daughter. The woman had been unable to carry a baby to term, all of
her pregnancies ending in miscarriage. She was infuriated and wanted the child
gone. She demanded her husband dispose of her.
That girl, who birthed that tiny baby alone in the barn, was my mother. And that
baby, who survived despite the odds stacked against her, was me. My name is
Isabella Swan, and today is my sixteenth birthday.
It would surprise people if they knew the world I was born into existed. Abraham
Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, outlawing ownership of

other human beings, but it didnt end there. People were still bought and sold,
bound to servitude, stripped of all rights and privileges. I was born in 1989, well
over a century after Lincoln abolished slavery. Slavery exists in every in corner of
America, the slave trade in and out of the cities and suburbia kept secret. With
enough money, you can buy anyone.
Its the year 2005 and today Im being sold.

Chapter 1 - Survival of the fittest


Sleep is good, death is better; but of course, the best thing would to
have never been born at all - Heinrich Heine
IPOV
Youve gotta get up soon sweetheart, my mothers voice said softly beside me.
I grumbled incoherently, keeping my eyes closed and turning over away from
her. She sighed, reaching out and stroking my brown hair softly. She was quiet
for a few moments and I could feel her hand trembling, her breathing shaky. She
was taking this hard.
Charles will be back soon, she whispered, barely audible but I flinched as his
name escaped her lips. You know what will happen if youre still in bed when he
returns.
Maybe its for the best. Maybe hell kill me and get it over with, I mumbled. My
mom sobbed loudly upon my words, losing the composure she was fighting hard
to keep. I sighed loudly and mumbled a quick apology, not wanting to upset her.
I pulled myself up into a sitting position and glanced over at her. She was sitting
on the floor beside the mattress we slept on. Our room was a sectioned off loft on
the top of a barnthe same barn Id been born inand was a few feet from the
house. The room itself was about 6.5 feet high and about 10 feet by 10 feet. It
was small, for sure, but there was a large window that took up nearly the entire
wall that made it appear to be more open.
My moms face was swollen, her cheeks streaked with tears and eyes bloodshot. I

had to look away quickly, unable to bear it.


Charles Swan, the man whose blood pumped in my veins and whose DNA I
shared, left two nights ago for a business trip to speak to a 'potential buyer'. He
went away often for that reason, as he not only sold real estate as a front but he
ran a significant identity theft and forgery ring, but I wasnt fooled. I knew what
he was off selling right nowMe. Id overheard him and his wife discussing me a
week ago. She told him she wanted me gone and I suspect she was insinuating
he murder me, but he instead decided Id be sold. He told her he could get a
good bit of money for me and said he had someone in mind that was looking. He
was due to return this morning.
I was frightened, there was no doubt about it. I had no idea what the future held,
where Id be sent to and what situation Id be put into. Id also never been away
from my mother and that was what scared me the most.
I dont have a lot of life experience. I can count the number of times Id been off
of the Swan family property in my entire life on my fingers. Ive never had a
chance to socialize and can probably name every person Ive ever met off the top
of my head. Ive only ever met one person my age and that was a slave Charles
bought last year. She had been here for a little over a week when she tried to
escape. He caught her a mile down the road and dragged her back, pulling her
into the house by her hair. He beat her to death right in front of me and left her
lying on the floor for hours. I was forced to clean up the blood and bits of flesh
embedded into the wooden floor after he finally removed her body. It was
gruesome and made me vomitId gotten a pretty bad beating for that.
And besides Charles and his father, Id never actually spoken to another man
before. I didnt remember much of Charless father, he was rarely around, and
Charles had always been cold toward me. All of the slaves here were female, and
when visitors came we were kept locked away. Men frightened me--they were
foreign, unknown. I'd gotten plenty of glimpses of other men, the ones paid to
stand guard around the perimeter of the property, but I'd never had any
interaction with them. The only ones who interacted with the guards were the
one's who were stupid enough to try to flee. They weren't always out there and
you couldn't always see them when they were, but you always knew there was a
chance that you were being watched by someone in the shadows. It was like they
were taunting us, letting us know that technically slipping away undetected was

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possible, you just never knew when. It was gambling with your life and very few
were willing to take that risk. The ones who did always failed.
Im up, I muttered eventually. I climbed up from the mattress and walked over
to the dresser, grabbing whatever was on top. All of my clothes were old and
tattered, hand-me-downs that were my mothers when she grew up.
I put on a white shirt that was covered in stains and slipped on a pair of jeans.
They were worn and faded, holes worn into both knees and the bottoms frayed. I
didnt have any shoes, hadnt had any in years. My feet were rough, the skin
thickened and tough from going barefoot. It didnt bother me anymore, I could
step on a nail and it probably wouldnt even register.
My mom walked up behind me with a comb and started running it through my
hair, trying to get the knots out. It was fruitless It desperately needed a good
washing. She gave up after a minute, grabbing a rubber band and pulling it back.
I heard the sound of a car coming up the driveway and my heart started racing. I
was frozen in spot, frightened. My mom dashed to the widow, glancing out. Her
eyes were wide, her expression panicked. She knew just as well as I did that my
time was running shortshe knew where Charles had gone.
The car came to a stop in front of the house, the engine cutting off. I heard a car
door slam shut and listened intently, waiting to hear any sign of someone being
with him.
Hes alone, my mom said, sounding pleased. I exhaled loudly, realizing I had
been holding my breath. She turned and smiled lightly at me, her expression
relieved. She walked to me quickly, pulling me into a hug and squeezing tightly.
Maybe he changed his mind.
I laughed bitterly. Yeah, right.
She sighed, pulling out of the hug and grabbing my hand. Dont give up hope
Isabella, she said sternly.
I nodded, more to appease her than anything. She didnt need to know that Id
given up hope a long time ago when I realized that an entire world existed

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beyond oursa world I knew very little of.


We started for the door, wanting to get over to the house to greet Charles before
he decided to come looking for us, when the sound of gravel crunching and the
light purr of an engine registered with our ears, indicating a car was coming up
the driveway. My head snapped toward my mom quickly, fear and panic written
all over my face. Her expression matched mine.
Isabella!!! Charles yelled from the house. Get your ass in here now!
I was shaking lightly, more scared now than ever before. My mom tried to smile,
obviously wanting to comfort me, but it came off looking like a grimace.
Come on, she said softly, leading me out of the room and down the stairs. We
headed into the back of the house and Charles was standing in the foyer, gazing
out the front door. He heard us coming and glanced in our direction.
Did I call for you Renee? he asked, his tone sharp. My mom froze in spot,
glancing between Charles and I quickly.
I just thought she started.
You arent here to think. Get your ass upstairs to my room, well deal with you
later.
My mom nodded and tried to let go of my hand, but I clutched onto it tightly. She
sighed, using her other hand to pry my fingers away. Itll be okay sunshine,
dont worry. Just listen to Charles and be on your best behavior.
I nodded and she leaned over to kiss my cheek lightly before retreating up the
stairs. Charles shot me a pointed look and I walked the last few steps into the
foyer. I stared down at the ground, shaking with fear and chewing on my bottom
lip trying to keep my composure.
The front door opened and I heard a man speaking instantly. His voice was
smooth and slightly soft, the exact opposite of Charless. I glanced up in their
direction and nearly gasped at the sight of him. He was fairly tall, with bright
blonde hair that was slicked back and sparkling blue eyes. He was wearing an

12

expensive looking suit and was talking into a cell phone. He was staring right at
me and raised his eyebrows questioningly when he saw me looking at him. I felt
fear shoot through me, afraid of what his reaction meant, unsure if hed be upset
that I had looked at him. Charles tended to punish us if he caught us staring at
him. I blushed, embarrassed, and stared back down at the floor.
The man continued to talk on his phonehe was talking about some shipment
coming in somewhere. He hadnt spoken to either Charles or I, not even really
acknowledging us. After a few minutes I peeked back up and saw Charles
standing across the room, looking almost as nervous as me. My brow furrowed in
confusion, as Id never seen him like that before. Charles was always in control,
never off his game. But now now he looked rattled. He kept glancing over at the
blonde haired man nervously, his eyes darting down toward the floor.
Even more fear rocked me as I realized that Charles was afraid of the man. It
was written all over his face.
The blonde haired man finally told whomever he was speaking to that he had to
go and snapped his phone shut.
All was completely silent then, the only sound I could hear was the blood
pumping through my body furiously. I stood frozen in spot, afraid to move.
She looks horrible, the man said after a moment, his voice oozing disgust. My
eyes widened, his words hurting. Id had pretty much every insult imaginable
thrown at me from Charles and his wife and I usually shrugged it off, but
something about this virtual stranger cracked my tough exterior.
I know shes not the greatest looking girl Charles started, but the blonde
haired man cut him off.
I didnt say she was ugly, he said sharply. Charles stopped speaking abruptly.
But she does look horrible. Youve got money, you cant afford to dish out a few
bucks on a decent outfit or a pair of shoes for the child? Christ, look how tore up
her feet are!
I, uh well Charles mumbled. I peeked up at saw the blonde haired man
staring at me. My eyes met his and a slight smile crept onto his lips.

13

I looked back down after a second, eye contact with him being slightly
uncomfortable. I wasnt used to it, the scrutiny of his gaze causing me to fidget.
How much? he asked after a moment.
Well I was hoping to get one for her, Charles said. The blonde haired man
laughed.
One, eh? Whens the last time the girl had a good scrubbing?
750? Charles asked, his voice hopeful. I mean, shes still a virgin.
The blonde haired man was quiet. I didnt dare look up but I could feel his gaze,
could sense him staring at me. My heart was racing wildly at the mention of my
virginity, fear rocking me. The only knowledge of sex I had is what the women
around here mentioned. Id seen Charles have sex with my mother before, have
heard them more times than I could count, and I remember clearly her crying
afterwards, completely disgusted. Sex in my eyes was nothing but a repulsive
form of punishment.
I glanced up again eventually, the silence wearing me down. My eyes met his
again and he raised his eyebrows questioningly, so I looked away quickly,
chewing on my lip nervously.
She cant even keep eye contact with me. Theres no way thatll fly at my
house, he said, finally breaking the silence.
Girl, Charles said sharply. My head shot up and I looked at the blonde haired
man, making sure to make eye contact. The last thing I wanted to do was
infuriate Charles, as a beating would make this day worse than it already was.
Sorry Master Charles, I said softly. The blonde-haired man smiled after a
moment, cocking his head to the side and eyeing me up. He finally nodded.
Shes got potential. Ill give you 500.
Charles frowned. With her age and virginity, I could get a lot more for her from

14

the auction. My eyes widened at the mention of the auction. I knew from the
others that girls who were bought and sold at the action were typically turned
into sex slaves and prostitutes, whereas people occasionally got lucky in private
sales.
The blonde haired man smiled. Possibly, but she isnt worth that much for what I
want her for. Its evident shes not used to being around people, you said she
cant even read or write.
I finally broke eye contact at his mention of reading and writing, glancing back
down at the ground. Charles didnt know, but I had learned the basics of both
over the years. The other slaves taught me what they knew, which wasnt much,
and the rest I picked up on my own over time. Charless wife had a habit of
watching TV with the closed captioning on, which helped a lot. Id been blessed
with an amazing memory and it had all come pretty naturally to me. It was kept
a secret though, because an educated slave was typically viewed as a more
dangerous slave.
Shes a damn good worker, can cook and clean with the best of them. Charles
mumbled. Obedient. Worth every penny of 750.
I can tell. Did you chip her?
No, never had a reason to. Shes been here since the day she was born, never
showed any indication of thinking about leaving.
My brow furrowed in confusion. Chipped?
650, and thats my final offer. Ill have to have her chipped and its evident you
have nothing for the child, so Im going to have to shell out the money to get her
set up properly.
Charles was quiet for a moment. Youve got a deal, he finally said.
I glanced up again and the blonde haired man smiled. Ill be back tomorrow with
the cash. Clean her up a bit for me, Im not taking her anywhere with me looking
like that.

15

Charles nodded, reaching his hand out to shake the blonde haired guys. He
snapped open his cell phone and dialed a number, heading for the door. He
paused in the doorway, turning back to look at me briefly.
Whats your name, child?
Isabella, I said softly, barely audible.
Excuse me? he said, raising his eyebrows expectantly. He hadnt been able to
hear me.
My names Isabella, sir.
He smiled and nodded. Well, happy birthday Isabella.
Thank you, sir, I said, slight taken back. Hed been the first one to wish me a
happy birthday, my own mother not mentioning the fact that I turned sixteen
today. But birthdays werent typically acknowledged for the most part, as there
was nothing to celebrate. The older the slaves got, the less useful they were. At a
certain point, they were deemed so useless that they were eradicated. My mother
had always tried to shield me from that, not wanting me to know that slaves
faced their own form of genocide.
He nodded and headed out to his car. I stood frozen in spot, not daring to move
until Charles excused me. Charles stood at the door and watched as the car
started up and the blonde haired man pulled out of the driveway. He sighed
loudly and turned toward me. I glanced up at him and saw his expression was
ruthless, his glare menacing.
He walked toward me quickly, closing the distance between us. I braced myself,
unsure of what he was going to do, when his hand shot out and slapped me hard
right across the face. My head jerked sideways and I brought my hand up to my
cheek, stinging pain shooting through me. I tasted the bitter saltiness
immediately, realizing Id be chewing on my lip and pierced the skin with my
teeth from the force of his hit. My eyes welled up with tears and I tried to look
away and fight them back, not wanting him to see me cry. I sucked on my lip,
nearly gagging on the disgusting blood taste but not wanting him to see it. The
sight of blood tended to urge him on, like it taunted him to draw even more. He

16

grasped me by my chin roughly and pulled my face toward him, forcing me to


look at him.
That man is powerful, important. Dont you embarrass me girl, you hear me? he
yelled, his face a mere few inches from mine. I could smell the stench of alcohol
on his breath, feel the slight spray of saliva from his words.
Yes, Master Charles, I whispered, losing the fight and tears running down my
cheek. He sighed, exasperatedly, and pushed me backwards. I stumbled but
thankfully was able to stay upright.
Go to the kitchen and help with lunch while I go deal with your mother, he said.
I nodded.
Yes, sir. I headed for the kitchen, where a slave named Clara already had lunch
started. She glanced up at me when I entered and smiled sadly.
You okay? she asked softly. I nodded but didnt say anything. The side of my
face was throbbing, tears still running down my face.
I grabbed a spoon and went to the stove, stirring pasta that Clara already had
boiling. I closed my eyes and sighed when I heard the familiar sound of thumping
start from upstairs. Charless room was directly above the kitchen and we could
hear the headboard of the bed hitting against the wall when he had his way with
her. That was his way of punishing my mom; he usually never raised a hand to
her, he degraded her in different ways.
They came down eventually, Charles heading to his office and my mom joining us
in the kitchen. I could see the streaks on her face from where she had been
crying, but she smiled at me trying to pretend nothing was wrong.
After we finished making lunch, my mom and I headed outside to the garden. We
were only allowed to eat when invited to and that normally only happened once a
day, usually at night. I got down on my hands and knees and started pulling
weeds. We lived in Phoenix, Arizona, which happened to be one of the hottest
and driest places in the country, so it didnt take long before I was sweating
profusely and my skin was turning pink from sun exposure.

17

Charless wife returned home and she headed into the house. Shed been staying
gone a lot lately, which was quite a catch-22. It helped me, as she tended to
single me out to torture purely for amusement, but my mom suffered more when
Charless wife was gone. My mom said they used to appear to love each other,
but their marriage had turned into one of convenience for the most part. I surely
wasnt an expert on relationships, but I do know that whatever type of bond they
shared now wasnt something Id ever want to be a part of myself. It was
unstable--they were always fighting and screaming and angry at each other. I
imagined that couldnt be love.
I wasnt exactly knowledgeable about love though, either, so what did I know. I
guess what I felt for my mom was a form of love and I liked to believe she loved
me, but our situation didnt exactly condone really deep connections. You had to
detach yourself somewhat from everyone else to survive in this life. You never
knew when someone close to you was going to be hurt right in front of you, or
when their time would be up and theyd be killed. There was nothing you could do
to stop it, as intervening would only land you the same fate as them. You had to
look out for yourself first and foremost, no matter how much you wanted to care
for others. I wasnt sure Id ever actually felt what love was really like and knew
romantic love was completely out of the question. I had no desire to experience it
anyway, no desire to allow myself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability was the quickest
way to land yourself six feet under.
My mom tried to stand up for me, shield me from the bad as much as possible. I
felt like a burden to her, often wondered if it wouldve been better had I never
been born. I never said those things out loud, knowing shed disagree and tell me
how precious I was and how much I meant to her. A part of me wondered if
maybe me being sent away was for the best. I had no idea what I was getting
myself into, and maybe I was being sent off to certain death, but at least my
mother wouldnt have to carry the weight of my existence on her shoulders
anymore.
After a few minutes, Charless wife came back outside and waltzed out to the
garden, glaring down at me. I heard you were sold to the Cullen family today,
she said, her voice sounding smug. I glanced up at her and saw a sinister smile
playing on her lips. Theres no way youre good enough for them.
She laughed to herself, amused, and turned to walk back away. My heart was

18

pounding frantically and I glanced over at my mom, who was absent-mindedly


pulling weeds and appeared to be shocked.
Do you know who they are? I asked after a few minutes. My mom sighed,
stopping what she was doing and sitting up on her knees.
I heard the name often growing up. Powerful family. Organized crime. They
arent the type you cross, if you know what I mean.
I nodded, realizing now why Charles had been so nervous in the blonde haired
mans presence. He had seemed nice enough but there had been a confidence
about him that was intimidating.
Youll be okay, my mom said finally, going back to work. Youre strong, always
were. Youll survive it. Honestly, anything has to be better than this place.
We worked in silence after that, both of us lost in thought. The back door to the
house opened eventually, Charles and his wife walking out. Renee, bring Isabella
into the house and get her cleaned up real good.
My mom stood up and held her hand out to me. I took it and she hauled me up
off the ground. We started toward the house slowly. I kept my head down, trying
to avoid eye contact as we walked past Charles and his wife. Before we cleared
them, however, Charless wife kicked her leg out, tripping me. I went flying,
closing my eyes and throwing my hands out to brace myself for impact with the
ground. I landed on my hands and knees, pain shooting through my limbs. I
hauled myself up and saw that my hands were scuffed and littered with gravel. I
glanced down and saw that my knees also had been scraped, a streak of blood
running down my right leg and staining my pants.
You got dirt on my shoes, slave, Charless wife sneered, narrowing her eyes at
me.
Sorry, Mistress, I said softly.
Charless wife snickered but Charles groaned. Clean her cuts out good while
youre at it, he said to my mom.

19

We headed up stairs to the bathroom reserved for the servants. My mom started
filling the tub up with water while I stripped my clothes off. I slipped inside the
tub, hissing as the steaming hot water made contact with my sensitive skin. The
water caused my palms and knees to sting.
I dipped my head back and she grabbed the shampoo, pouring some into her
hand and lathering it up in my head. I closed my eyes and sighed contently,
feeling her fingers massaging my scalp. I knew this was one of the last few
moments Id get with my mom and I was savoring every second of it. I had no
idea where I was going or what Id be doing, but I did know what I was leaving
behind and that fact hurt.

Chapter 2 - Change is inevitable


"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes
on. -- Robert Frost
IPOV
I hauled the large window open and sat on the windowsill, gazing out. I had on a
pair of plain black Capris that my mom had managed to scrounge up and a pink
tank top that Charles had gotten from his wifes closet, much to her dismay. He
also purchased a pair of black flip-flops last night, not wanting me to be barefoot
today. His wife hadnt been very happy about that, despite the fact that hed only
apparently paid a dollar for them. I could hear them arguing over in the house
half the night over it.
Everyone else was outside working but I was forbidden from leaving the room in
the barn, Charles not wanting me to get dirty. I was sweating, the humidity
intolerable, and my mom said I had a slight bruise on my face from Charles
hitting me yesterday. I hadnt seen it myself, as I didnt exactly have access to a
mirror, so I wasnt sure how bad it actually was. My mom tended to downplay
those sorts of things. I also could feel the sunburn on my cheeks from working
outside so much yesterday, and my palms and knees were scuffed up but besides
that I was fairly well put together. My hair was clean, the knots all out, and it
hung loosely down my back.
I was gazing down at my mom, who was working in the garden. She looked

20

exhausted, had been up all night with me sobbing and holding me tightly. It was
our last night together and she didnt want to waste a single moment of it.
I heard the car approaching and Renees head shot up as she froze. She glanced
between up at me, looking panicked. I turned my head to look at the car, it was
black with dark tinted windows, expensive looking. I watched as the blonde
haired man stepped out of the drivers seat, closing the door behind him. He was
on his cell phone again and paused, looking up at me in the window. Charles
walked outside and greeted him but he ignored Charles, focusing his attention on
me. He turned away after a moment, smiling.
They went inside the house and I sighed, running my fingers through my hair,
nervously trying to make sure I was decent. They were in Charless office, their
laughter ringing through the house and filtering out the open windows. My heart
was pounding frantically and I felt slightly sick, light-headed and queasy. I hadnt
eaten in awhile, Charles refusing to feed any of us last night because hed caught
Clara sneaking a bite of food while cooking dinner. Shed only swiped a bit of
sauce off of a spoon, claiming to ensure it was done properly and tasted good,
but Charles didnt care. Tasting anything without permission, regardless of how
insignificant, was stealing in his eyes. He called us all out into the yard at
dinnertime and tied her to the railing of the porch, forcing us to watched as he
whipped her with a piece of cord. It was brutal, hearing her screams and
watching her cry, being unable to do anything to help her.
Charles hollered for me from the house eventually and I stood up, taking a deep
breath. I glanced around the room Id shared with my mother my entire life,
taking it all in one last time before heading out. I walked across the yard slowly,
making sure not to fall as I was clumsy by nature and the last thing I needed was
to embarrass myself already. When I reached the house I stepped inside and
glanced up, making sure to make eye contact with the blonde-haired man. His
smile fell immediately upon seeing me, and he groaned loudly.
What the hell happened to her face? he asked, his voice sharp and angry. My
eyes widened, as did Charless.
Shes clumsy, she fell, Charles muttered quickly. The blonde-haired man
sighed, shaking his head.

21

Do you have any makeup? Your wife has to have foundation or something to
cover up the bruise.
Uh, Im not sure how my wife will feel about that, I mean her makeup cost a
fortune, was special ordered and mixed, Charles said.
Well I cant take her in public with a fucking handprint on her face, Charles, the
man spat. Charles recoiled from his hostility and nodded.
Yeah, okay, hold on. Charles retreated from the room quickly, heading past me
up the stairs toward his room. I heard his wifes voice after a moment, yelling
she definitely wasnt happy about it. Charles yelled back at her and they started
fighting loudly. I was used to their fighting by now and it surely wasnt anything
new that I was the source of conflict.
The man walked forward to me. He reached his hand out toward my face and I
flinched instinctively. Im not going hit you, child, he said softly. He ran his
fingers lightly along the bruise, surveying my face. His touch was soft and
surprised meno one besides my mother had ever touched me so gently. Youll
be alright, it should cover up nicely.
A loud crashing sound came from upstairs, following by more screaming, and I
jumped. The blonde-haired man groaned loudly. Such ingrates, he muttered,
more to himself than anything. But what do you expect from a man who would
sell his own flesh-and-blood.
I glanced at him with surprise and he smiled lightly. Yeah, Im not stupid. I know
youre his.
A door slammed upstairs, echoing through the house and vibrating the walls. We
both flinched from the sound and he dropped his hand. Charles came downstairs
scowling, holding a small bottle of liquid foundation in his hand. He paused in
front of me, glancing between the bottle and me, unsure of what to do. I knew
nothing of makeup and neither did he. The blonde-haired man cursed under his
breath, snatching the bottle harshly from Charless hand and opening it. He
tipped it and pored a bit out onto his finger, bringing it up and rubbing it into my
cheek.

22

When he was satisfied with how I looked, he closed up the bottle and slipped it in
his pants pocket. Charles looked at him incredulously and the man smirked.
Thank your wife for the makeup for me, will you? And be thankful I dont take
more than that. Everyone knows theres consequences to delivering damaged
goods, what were you thinking laying a hand on her after you had just sold her?
Did you get a kick out of getting a last few licks in? Did you at least leave the
childs virginity intact?
I glanced up and involuntarily smiled at Charless stunned expression. The man
caught me and I stopped instantly, afraid of coming off as smug or defiant, but
he didnt react. Charles wouldve beaten me to a pulp if he ever caught me
reacting that way.
Yes, shes still pure, Im absolutely positive shes never whored around. Id never
touch her in that way and Im the only male shes been around.
The man froze, eyeing Charles skeptically. Ever? he asked, slightly hesitant with
disbelief. Charles nodded.
Besides my father when she was a small child and now you, shes never spoken
to or even been in the same room with another man.
The man pinched the bride of his nose, groaning. No wonder shes so
apprehensive. He chuckled after a moment before laughing loudly. Oh, this is
going to be fun. Real fun.
Things grew quiet, Charles looking slightly scared and the man seemingly slightly
frustrated but borderline amused about something. I was a bit shocked and
frightened by the mans reaction; he wasnt making much sense to me. What was
so funny about me not having experience with males? And the fact that his words
were dripping with sarcasm concerned me. Pleasure doing business with you,
Swan, he said after a moment.
You too Mr. Cullen, sir, Charles mumbled back. The man turned and glanced at
me, raising his eyebrows expectantly.
Is there anything youd like to take with you? I shook my head no as I didnt
have any personal possessions. Okay, I guess well go then.

23

He held his hand out to me and I furrowed my brow, confused, unsure of what he
wanted. He sighed loudly, snatching a hold of my hand and pulling me toward the
door. The man paused and pulled my hand up, looking at the fresh scrape on my
palm. He turned and glared at Charles briefly, shaking his head. His expression
was hostile, his eyes narrowed, and I felt my heart start racing. It was clear this
man could be terrifying when he wanted to be. I turned and gave one last glance
at Charles before being pulled outside.
He led me toward the car and without thinking I froze, stopping abruptly as my
gaze fell upon my mother standing in the garden. She was staring right at me,
her expression horrified. We both knew it was coming, we both knew I was
leaving and had come to grips with it in our own ways, but watching it happen
was something entirely different. Harder than I imagined it would ever be.
The man felt my resistance, refusal to take another step, and glanced around
with confusion trying to figure out why Id stopped. His eyes fell upon my mom
and he sighed. Is that your mother? he asked. I nodded and felt the tears
welling up in my eyes. He exhaled loudly, something between a huff and a sigh,
seeming frustrated but not entirely angry. You can have a moment to say
goodbye.
My head snapped in his direction, shocked. You mean it? I asked cautiously,
trying to keep my hope at bay. I didnt know this man, didnt know if it were
some type of trick to test me.
His expression mirrored his frustration. I wouldnt say it if I didnt mean it, he
said pointedly. He nodded in her direction. We have things to do, I dont have all
day. Go.
He dropped my hand and I glanced over at my mom. I started sprinting in her
direction, kicking off the flip-flops along the way. I leapt at her and she caught
me, both of us stumbling backwards. She hugged me tightly. My baby girl, she
sobbed.
The tears fell from my eyes and I squeezed her tightly. Ill miss you mom.
Ill miss you too. And dont you give up hope, Isabella. Promise me. Youre

24

destined for more. I nodded, unable to speak through my now heavy sobbing.
She pulled away after a moment, reaching out and brushing my tears away from
my cheeks.
I didnt ruin my makeup, did I? I asked her cautiously; afraid the hard work to
cover my bruise had been wiped away. She smiled and shook her head.
I glanced behind me, noticing the man glancing at his watch with an annoyed
expression on his face. My mom sighed. You need to get going, she said. I
nodded, leaning over and kissing her cheek quickly. I turned and started back
toward the car, picking up my shoes along the way and slipping them back on
while staring down at the ground. Walking away from her was the hardest thing
Id ever done. My mom was the only true constant in my life and I knew, walking
away from her, Id likely never see her again.
I reached the car and he opened the passenger door for me. I slipped inside and
grabbed the seat belt, putting it on. Id only ridden in a car a handful of times and
felt slightly out of place. He climbed into the drivers seat and buckled up, starting
the car up and pulling away. I stared out the side window crying quietly, trying to
fight back the tears but they continued to spill over. There was soft classical
music playing on the car stereo, thankfully loud enough to drown out my shaky
breathing.
Im not sure if youre aware, but my name is Dr. Carlisle Cullen, he said after a
moment, breaking the silence. I glanced at him quickly with confusion, slightly
caught off guard by the title. He smiled lightly. Yes, I assure you I am indeed a
real doctor.
I nodded once, acknowledging Id heard him. Sorry, sir, I didnt mean to seem
like I didnt believe you. I just thought I trailed off, stopping myself before I
said too much.
He smiled, seemingly slightly amused but there was a subtle seriousness in his
eyes. I thought Id learned how to read people pretty good over the years, a trick
you have to pick up to keep yourself out of the line of fire when you live the life I
do, but I was having a hard time grasping his moods. He wasnt reacting the way
I was used to people reacting, his expressions conflicting. I imagine thats not
the part of my life people would inform you of. No, nothing scandalous or exciting

25

about practicing medicine, right? he asked.


Right, I said softly, chewing on my bottom lip nervously, unsure if he was being
playful or if he were annoyed at the insinuation of his other lifestyle. I winced as
my teeth dug into the sore spot that had been busted open the day before.
So what do you know about my family?
I shrugged. Not much. Just that your family may have ties to organized crime,
I said hesitantly, unsure of how much I was allowed to know. Charles always
shielded us from his work, anytime someone questioned or hinted about his
illegal involvements hed punish them severely.
He nodded and thankfully didnt lash out or appear upset--he seemed to be
thinking about something. Do you know what it means to be tied to organized
crime? he asked after a moment.
Not exactly, I said. Is it like in the movie The Untouchables?
He looked at me with a look of disbelief before breaking out into hysterical
laughter, catching me off guard. He composed himself after a moment, wiping his
eyes, which had started watering.
I suppose you could say that. I wasnt aware you were a fan of such movies, he
said, glancing over at me.
My eyes widened, and I felt dread creeping up into me. We hadnt actually been
allowed to watch TV and I wasnt sure if he was aware of that. I just practically
confessed to having seen at least some of the movie The Untouchables, which
would indicate Id been disobedient.
Master Charles was a big fan of it sir, watched it often. It was just a movie so I
wasnt sure how off-base it was.
He smiled. Its fairly accurate, I suppose. It is a story based on my organization,
after all.
I nodded, outwardly remaining calm but that fact frightening me a bit. I hadnt

26

seen the entire thing, of course, but it was chocked full of dangerous men and
violence. He was quiet for a moment before sighing. Look, were going to get
this out into the open now. Im going to tell you what I feel you should know, and
if you have any questions youre free to ask them. Theres one thing youll learn
quickly in my house, and thats that were open people. We dont hide or keep
secrets inside the walls of the Cullen property, never have and were not going to
start now. Youll hear and see things that you probably shouldnt, but the fact
remains that you will. By the time we reach my house I want you to be well
aware of what is and is not expected of you. I anticipate a certain adjustment
period but I want things to go as smoothly as possible from the start.
I nodded in understanding. He paused for a moment and seemed to be thinking,
judging by his expression. First and foremost, I expect allegiance. Anything less
than complete loyalty and youll be deemed a traitor and face the consequences,
and in case youre unaware the punishment for treason in my world is death.
Youll see that I run my household differently from others and your life is going to
be nothing like it was with your father. You will have a certain amount of freedom
within my house and your life with us will grant you some sense of normalcy, but
dont let it fool you Isabella. I own you. If you defy me, or act out beyond what I
think is normal behavior, you will be punished. But I will not routinely beat you
just for the sake of doing it, as I think thats despicable. I am not a child abuser,
my own children can attest to that.
I was looking at him with a bit of surprise, his words sinking in. It was hard to
reconcile it all or understand exactly what it was he was telling me. Id only ever
lived one way, and had no idea what he meant by having certain freedoms or
normalcy. I had no idea what normal was.
He was looking at me expectantly, obviously wanting me to say something in
response. I was unsure of what to say or how to react so I blurted out the first
thing that came to my mind. You have children?
He nodded. I do. Three teenage boys. Two eighteen year olds and a seventeen
year old.
Twins? I asked curiously. He shook his head.
The eldest was adopted when he was almost a year old. The other two were

27

born back-to-back. We basically went from childless to having three boys within
one year. I felt a dread creep through me at the prospect of being in close
proximity with three boys close to my age. I was barely comfortable enough
around Dr. Cullen to even speakhow was I going to deal with three males my
own age? I had no idea what to expect with them, how to act around them.
He noticed my worried expression and smiled lightly. Yes, I know. Youve never
been around men, much less teenage boys. Youre in for quite a shock. He
laughed to himself, shaking his head. Dont worry though, my sons know what is
expected of them and will act appropriate enough. They can be rambunctious at
times but I like to think theyre decent boys for the most part. Theyll never raise
a hand to you, as theyve been raised to respect women. Theyll also never force
themselves upon you for the same reason. You may find them to be a bit
flirtatious but I assure you, theyre relatively harmless. You may actually grow to
enjoy their company.
I nodded, unsure as to whether or not that could ever be a possibility but not
disagreeing with him. I didnt know him well enough to know if he was lying but I
was quite relieved to hear that there apparently werent any plans of abusing me.
So what is expected of me? I asked cautiously.
He sighed. Quite a few years back I relocated my family to Washington from
Chicago, for safety purposes. Im still very much involved in the business in
Chicago; Im a Consigliere, or advisor of sorts within the organization. My familys
been held in high regard within the order for a very long time and its ingrained in
me, but I maintain another life in Washington where I indeed do practice
medicine. Im able to handle a lot of my other affairs from afar, but it takes a lot
of time out of my life and I often have no choice but to travel to Chicago and take
care of things in person.
He glanced at me, I assume to gauge whether or not I was keeping up and how I
was taking the information. I had no idea what it all had to do with me but I
nodded in acknowledgment so he knew I was listening.
Because of my work, I have very little time for other things. My household still
needs ran and maintained, and thats where you come in. Id usually go for
someone older, but my boys are grown now and can take care of themselves for

28

the most part so they dont need anyone to look after them. I figured it might
work out better now if I brought someone closer to their own age into the
household.
So basically cooking and cleaning? I asked. He nodded.
For the most part, yes. I dont expect you to wait on us hand-and-foot, though.
The boys are free to keep their rooms as they want. The most youll have to do
for them is likely laundry, as Im quite sure none of them know or even care to
know how to operate a washer or dryer. If they do request you to do something
in their bedroom, than you are expected to do so, but its not often thatll
happen. The older two are good at pulling their own weight and the youngest is a
bit finicky with his stuff, so Im not sure hell ever invite you inside his bedroom
much less ask you to touch his belongings. And unless they invite you in their
rooms, you arent to enter them under any circumstances, do you understand?
Yes, sir, I said softly.
Basically, as long as the main parts of the house are kept up with and we have
clean clothes to wear there wont be any problems. As far as cooking goes, youre
responsible for dinner being ready around 7pm every night. Breakfast and lunch
were typically either not home or we fend for ourselves, but if one of us asks that
you make us something of course you should do so.
I nodded. It seemed relatively easy so far, I didnt quite grasp why hed need to
stoop so low as to purchase a slave.
And your wife, sir? Where is she? I asked, noticing he hadnt mentioned his
boys mother. His expression shifted, as he visibly grew upset. He didnt respond
or even turn to me and acknowledge what Id said, instead glaring straight ahead
at the road. I could tell I hit a nerve by bringing up a sensitive subject.
I gazed out the side window, thinking. I was trying to come to grips with
everything, trying to understand what my purpose was.
Do you have another question, Isabella? Dr. Cullen asked after awhile, seeing
the slightly confused look on my face. I looked over at him and saw he was
watching me expectantly.

29

I guess Im just curious why you bought me, sir.


He smiled lightly. Why you in particular, or why did I buy someone period?
Both, I guess. I mean I do wonder why me but I just dont see why you had to
buy a slave. Couldnt you just hire a cook and maid? At least you wouldnt be
breaking the law that way.
He laughed loudly, startling me. Dear, nothing about my life is legal, which is
exactly why legal help is impossible. Have you already forgotten the part where I
said there were no secrets inside our property? I cant simply hire someone and
hope they dont see anything, or if they do they keep their mouth shut. No, I
need to know my secrets are safe.
That makes sense, I guess, I said.
He smiled and drove in silence for a while. As for why you, he said eventually.
Well maybe Ill explain that to you another day.
After being in the car for about 20 minutes he pulled into a parking lot of a large
building and shut the car off. I glanced over and saw a green, blue, and white
sign. I couldnt read the entire thing but I made out the part that declared it was
a Medical Center.
Dr. Cullen turned to me, his expression serious. I expect you to be on your best
behavior inside of here. Ill try to make this as comfortable as possible for you, as
I know youve likely never been to a hospital or had an exam before, but until
you get chipped I cant let you out of my sight. Do you understand?
Chipped? I asked hesitantly, not at all understanding what he was talking
about.
He pinched the bridge of his nose and appeared frustrated. Its a small
microchip, do you know what one of those is? I shook my head no cautiously.
GPS? he asked, raising his eyebrows. I shook my head no again. Its hard to
explain, youll just have to see for yourself, he said with a shrug.

30

He stepped out of the car quickly and I unbuckled my seatbelt. He walked around
and opened the passenger door, holding his hand out to me again. I took it this
time, timidly. He helped me out of the car and closed the door, turning and
leading me toward the building. He let go of my hand as we walked inside and he
walked slowly down the wide brightly lit hallway, making sure I was beside him
the entire time. He stopped at a door at the end of the hallway and knocked.
A dark skinned man opened the door quickly, smiling widely as his eyes fell upon
Dr. Cullen, showing off a large gap between his front teeth. He moved to the
side, waving his hand to motion us inside. Dr. Cullen stepped past him and I
followed. The other man closed the door behind us, locking it. My heart started
racing at the sound of the lock clicking.
Just in time, he said in a thick Middle Eastern accent. So, this is her, he said,
turning to me. His eyes roamed up and down my body slowly, making me
uncomfortable. I wrapped my arms around my chest, feeling slightly exposed.
Yes, Dr. Cullen said simply.
The man walked across the room and opened up a drawer, rifling through it. He
pulled out a small box and a white packet containing a syringe. He opened the
box and pulled something out so small that I couldnt really see it, but it sat on
the tip of his finger. He glanced up at me and smiled. Come and sit, he said,
motioning toward a chair beside him. I looked at Dr. Cullen and he nodded, so I
took the few steps forward and sat down nervously.
The man opened the syringe and smiled down at me. Lean your head forward
toward your knees, he said. I did as he said and felt his hand grab the hemline
of my shirt and pull it up to expose my back. My heart started racing fast and I
panicked, jumping up quickly. The man grabbed a hold of my shoulder, gripping
me tightly and threw me back down into the chair. He grabbed the back of my
head and forced it down roughly. I cried out and Dr. Cullen groaned.
Be careful with her, Ishmel, he said. The man let go of my head immediately.
Dr Cullen stood in front of me and brought his hand out, laying it gently on the
back of my headnot enough to force me down, but enough pressure to keep me
in my position. My shirt was pulled back up again, exposing my back. I felt
something cold being rubbed between my shoulders and then a sharp sticking

31

pain. I cried out again and Dr. Cullen sighed. He moved his hand, stroking my
hair lightly.
After a second the pain subsided and my shirt was pulled back down. Dr. Cullen
let go of me and took a few steps back. I sat upright in the chair but didnt dare
get up. I gazed down at the floor and could feel a tear stream down my cheek.
Dr. Cullen thanked the man and he left the room, shutting the door behind him.
Dr. Cullen was quiet and stood in place. After a moment I couldnt take it
anymore and glanced up. He was staring at me intently.
Are you okay? he asked. I nodded hesitantly. I was going to have a full exam
done today but I can already tell that wouldnt go over very well. So I guess it
can wait a few days, Ill just have to do it myself when we get home.

Chapter 3 - Home Sweet Home


You come into the world with nothing, and the purpose of your life is to
make something out of nothing -- Henry Louis Mencken
IPOV

Dr. Cullen drove in silence. He hadnt said much of anything at all since leaving
the medical center. I wasnt sure if this was his usual demeanor or if Id upset
him when I panicked. He hadnt explained exactly what theyd done to me but I
had a pretty good idea that Id been chipped, whatever that meant. That made
me nervous, the talk of microchips and GPS. It couldn't be good, that I was sure
of.
His phone rang and he picked it up, glancing at the screen. He sighed
exaggeratedly, seeming frustrated, and flipped it open. Dr. Snow, what do I owe
the honor? he said in an oddly chipper voice that didn't match his expression. I
could hear a male voice respond on the line but couldnt make out what was
being said.
What?! Where is he?!

32

Dr. Cullen huffed after a moment, thanking the doctor and hanging up. He
pushed a few buttons on his phone and put it back up to his ear, listening to it
ring.
A voice picked up followed by a beep and Dr. Cullen groaned. Edward Anthony
you have exactly 20 minutes to call me back or the car is gone, he said sharply.
He snapped his phone closed and sighed.
Dr. Cullen was quiet again, an uncomfortable silence lingering in the car. After a
moment my stomach growled loudly and I blushed, embarrassed.
Dr. Cullen glanced at the time. Did you miss breakfast this morning? he asked.
Charles doesnt allow breakfast, sir.
I glanced over and caught him rolling his eyes. Its no wonder you all were so
skinny. Whens the last time you ate?
The night before last, I said. Dr. Cullens head snapped in my direction and he
looked at me incredulously.
Christ, you need a cheeseburger, he muttered. I smiled lightly.
He drove for another minute or so before slamming on the brakes and swinging a
quick right into a parking lot. I glanced up and saw the golden arch and my eyes
widened. I wasnt completely ignorant to the outside world. Just because I didnt
personally experience things didnt mean I didnt know about their existence. I
occasionally got my hands on newspapers and magazines and skimmed through
them when no one was around, since they didnt know I could read. I watched
my fair share of television over the years also. I never got to sit down and
indulge, but I could sneak peeks when no one was paying me any attention and
Id listen to it from another room when Charles or his wife were watching. So just
because I was technically a slave from the day I was born, hidden from the
outside word, didnt mean I wasnt aware of what McDonalds was.
Have you ever had fast food? he asked as he pulled up to the drive-thru. I
shook my head no and he sighed. What do you want?

33

Uh, whatever you want to get, I said, slightly stunned that he was not only
buying me something to eat but that he was asking me what I wanted. That was
definitely a first.
Just pick out what you want, he said, shrugging. I glanced over at the menu,
slightly overwhelmed.
Chicken Nuggets, I guess? He nodded, ordering a McNugget combo with a coke.
He paid for it with a silver credit card and handed me the bag of food.
You can eat in the car, he said. I smiled and thanked him but he waved me off
like it was no big deal. I was taken back by it all. To him it seemed like nothing
special but it meant a lot to me. Such a simple gesture but Id never had
someone be so nice to me.
I ate slowly in silence, savoring every bite despite the fact that I was famished. I
enjoyed the bubbliness of the soda also, having never had it before. Charles
always forbid us from anything but water and the occasional glass of milk or fruit
juice if he deemed it necessary.
Dr. Cullens phone rang eventually and he picked it up. He shook his head and
flipped it open. That was 27 minutes, Edward.
There was silence as Dr. Cullen listened to the person on the phone. He stopped
at a red light and reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes.
Its only been two weeks, son. Two weeks back in Forks and you cant stay out
of trouble. Maybe public high school isnt for you, maybe you should go back to
Grand River Academy.
I nearly laughed out loud as I heard the person on the phone scream NO but I
kept my composure, not wanting to seem like I was eavesdropping. I gathered
that Edward was one of Dr. Cullens sons.
The light changed and Dr. Cullen still had his eyes closed. Sir, the lights green,
I said hesitantly, unsure how he was going to take me interrupting. His eyes
popped open and he glanced at me, smilingly lightly while hitting the gas.
Yes, thats her, he said, glancing over to me briefly. But quit changing the

34

subject. Ill be home in a few hours and well discuss it then.


Dr. Cullen shut his phone and shook his head. Have I mentioned that my
youngest son has a knack for getting into trouble? He looks exactly like his
mother but I swear hes a clone of me at his age. Hes already following directly
in my footsteps.
And hes the finicky one? I asked.
Dr. Cullen smiled. Isabella, do you even know what finicky means?
I smiled sheepishly, blushing from embarrassment. No, sir.
He laughed. Picky. Particular. Fussy. Big ol pain in my ass.
I laughed loudly, stopping myself abruptly and covering my mouth with my hand.
I looked at him with wide eyes. Sorry, I mumbled.
He smiled. No need to apologize. Laughings good, you should do it more often.
I nodded, smiling. We finished the drive in silence, neither of us saying another
word until he pulled into the airport. I was slightly afraid of flying, having never
even considered the option of me ever getting on an airplane, but I kept quiet.
Dr. Cullen reached into the backseat and grabbed a bag. He pulled an orange pill
bottle out and opened it, pulling out a tiny white pill and handing it to me. I
looked at him questioningly.
Its Ativan, for anxiety. Itll ward off a panic attack.
I nodded and took the pill from him cautiously. There was a voice inside of me
screaming not to trust him, as anyone who purchased another human being as if
they were a possession shouldnt ever be trusted. But there was a part of me that
was slightly comforted by Dr. Cullen, as irrational as that may have been. Even
though he was hard to read and often seemed annoyed and frustrated by me, he
had been surprisingly kind overall. He was staring at me expectantly so I popped
it in my mouth, swallowing it.

35

I followed Dr. Cullen inside the airport, staying close by his side at all times as he
returned the rental car and started checking us in for a flight to Seattle. I
followed him through security, following his cues as I was completely out of my
element. My fear was surging and I was shaking lightly, having never been
around so many people before. It was nerve racking.
Dr. Cullen pulled out an ID card, handing it to me. I glanced down at it and saw it
had my picture on it. All of it was right except for my birthday, which was off by
two years.
We took a seat, having another few minutes until the plane boarded. I was gazing
down at the ID card, a little confused, and Dr. Cullen glanced over at me.
Happy 18th birthday, he said. I looked at him and cocked an eyebrow. He
smiled. I cant have a minor working in my home, child labor laws and all that.
Merely for precaution. I nodded, a little surprised hed go so far. I was used to
being hidden, no one ever knowing I existed.
I felt the drug kicking in after a moment, a light relaxing feeling overcoming me.
I was immensely grateful, my fear dissipating.
A lady came over the intercom, announcing our plane was boarding. Dr. Cullen
purchased first class seats, refusing to fly coach himself and refusing to let me
out of his sight. I panicked a bit at take off and when we hit a bit of turbulence at
the beginning, but it wasnt as bad as I expected. I drifted off to sleep halfway
through the flight, utterly exhausted from not having slept the night before.
The flight itself was only about 3 hours long. We landed close to 5pm and Dr.
Cullen nudged me awake. I followed him off the plane and out of the airport, into
a parking lot. He led me to a Black Mercedes with dark tinted windows, unlocking
the passenger door and ushering me inside.
He drove to the waterfront and we boarded a ferry around 5:30. I was excited
but tried to contain itId never been on the water before and it was utterly
beautiful. The trip on the ferry took about an hour, and we slipped back in the car
to head back on the road.
It seemed like wed been driving forever when Dr. Cullen finally slowed and pulled

36

off the main road, onto an overgrown path. It appeared to be in the middle of
nowhere, no other houses nearby. It was dark now and I glanced at the clock on
the dash. 9:20 pm.
The weather here was shocking. I was used to the hot dry air in Phoenix but the
air here was cool and damp. Everything in Phoenix was open and brown;
everything here was green and shrouded with overgrowth.
He drove down the narrow path for a few minutes, nothing around us but trees,
before coming to a clearing. My eyes widened and I gasped as the house came
into sight.
It was massive. I always thought Charles had a big house but this one was over
twice the size of his. The house itself appeared to have been here for a long time
but was in amazing condition. It was white, three stories high with a large porch
wrapping around the first floor. The clearing the house stood on had a few large
trees scattered around, I imagine shading the house during the daylight.
Dr. Cullen led me to the front door and opened it, motioning for me to step
inside. I did so timidly, feeling completely out of place. The house was graceful,
classicI felt like me just being here degraded it.
I stepped into a large room, large enough that it couldve originally been several
rooms, and glanced around. Everything was different shades of white, making it
seem open and airy. The entire back wall was glass and I could see out into the
backyard, faintly making out the trees in the dark.
I glanced beside me, to the left, and saw a platform with a piano sitting on it.
Behind the piano was a door that led to the kitchen, from what I could tell. There
was a living area ahead to the left, I could see the couch. To the right was a
massive staircase with some rooms behind it, but I couldnt tell what they were.
Dr. Cullen closed and locked the front door and pressed a few buttons on a
massive keypad on the wall. He walked past me and entered what I believed to
be the kitchen and I heard some cabinets banging around. I wasnt sure what I
was supposed to do, if I was supposed to follow him. He hadnt said anything,
though, so I stayed in place, staring down at the ground.

37

I heard movement after a moment, someone coming down the stairs. I peeked
up and my eyes widened as I saw the massive form. He had short dark hair,
slightly curly. He had bigger muscles than Id ever seen on a person before and
was at least 6 foot tall. He looked young, his facial features still slightly soft, but
his body was intimidating. My eyes shot back down at the floor, my heart racing.
He paused at the bottom step and I could sense him watching me.
Hey, son, Dr. Cullens voice rang out. I looked over and saw him standing in the
doorway from the kitchen, looking at the boy who had just walked down the
stairs. He was holding a sandwich and I got nervous, unsure if I shouldve done
that for him.
I couldve made you something to eat, sir, I said softly, my voice cracking from
anxiety.
Nonsense, child, Im perfectly capable of throwing together a sandwich, he said
with a smile. I nodded and turned my head to look back down at the ground. He
sighed and walked over to me, stopping in front of me. He reached his hand out
and gripped my chin, pulling my head up to look at him. Relax, he said softly,
giving me a small smile. I returned the smile but it did nothing to calm my
nerves.
I heard someone else coming down the stairs and Dr. Cullen let go of me, moving
away from in front of me. I glanced over and saw a tall boy with slightly tanned
skin and curly blonde hair.
Isabella, this is my middle son, Jasper, Dr. Cullen said, motioning toward the
blonde.
Hello Isabella, Jasper said politely, smiling.
Hello, Jasper, sir, I said.
And this is my oldest son Emmett, Dr. Cullen said, motioning toward the large
dark haired boy. I glanced over at him and he smiled, nodding.
Hi, he said. I smiled.

38

Hello, sir.
He laughed loudly, startling me. Oh, no that wont do. I cant be much older than
you. Sir is completely unnecessary.
Sorry, I said softly, smiling lightly.
Dr. Cullen laughed, amused at something. I looked over and saw him shaking his
head. He cleared his throat after a moment. Wheres Edward? he asked.
Emmett rolled his eyes. In his room.
Is he alone? Dr. Cullen asked, his voice hesitant as if he really didnt want to
know the answer to the question. Emmett shrugged.
Dr. Cullen shook his head. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed a
number. Get your ass into my office within the next five minutes, he said
quickly before hanging up. He smiled at me. You must be hungry, Isabella. Why
dont you go into the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich. After you eat Jasper
can show you to your room. Ill have some clothes purchased for you tomorrow,
but Ill try to scrounge something up for you to sleep in tonight.
I nodded and hesitated, but turned to walk away. I paused as I stepped inside
the massive kitchen, taking it all in. The countertops were marble, most
everything dark and metalthe exact opposite of the rest of the house.
Someone brushed past me and I flinched away from the unexpected contact. I
glanced up to see Emmett looking at me questioningly, obviously skeptical of my
reaction. Jasper walked in behind him and smiled lightly at me.
Hungry? he asked, raising his eyebrows. I nodded and he opened the fridge
door, glancing around. Emmett grabbed a loaf of bread from the counter top and
undid the twisty tie while Jasper pulled out some ham and slices of cheese.
Uh, I can do that, I said, breaking my stance and heading toward them.
Jaspers hand shot out toward me and I froze abruptly, instinctively recoiling
backwards, bracing for him to hit me. He furrowed his brow and my eyes widened
when I realized hed only raised his hand to wave me off.

39

I wasnt going to hit you, he said incredulously.


Sorry, Im just used to it. I said, my voice soft. He sighed.
I can imagine, he muttered. He grabbed some bread Emmett held out to him
and made a sandwich quickly. He pulled off a paper towel and handed it to me
along with the sandwich.
I took it hesitantly. Thank you, sir.
Youre welcome. I stood there and ate my sandwich quietly. Emmett made
himself one and left, heading back upstairs. Jasper put everything away and
cleaned up, turning to face me when he was done.
He was silent, his expression curious. His gaze was making me nervous and my
hands started to shake. He sighed after a moment and turned around, facing
away from me.
Jasper, sir? I said when I finished my sandwich. Wheres the trash can?
He smiled and opened up a cabinet beside him, where the trash can sat. I walked
forward and threw my paper towel away.
Come on, Ill give you the tour, he said. He pointed out the dining room
adjacent to the kitchen. We walked back out into the big room and I followed him
toward the living area, where he pointed out the TV and stereo system and
gaming systems and computers. I smiled politely, not really understanding why
he was bothering but it was nice of him anyway. He pointed out the bathroom
and laundry room under the staircase, and another room, which he indicated was
locked constantly and only Dr. Cullen entered.
We started walking for the stairs and Jasper hesitated. Piano, which you might
want to stay away from. If Edward catches you touching it hed probably break
your fingers.
His voice was serious and I felt a small surge of fear at his words. I had yet to
meet Edward, but I gathered he was the most troublesome of the Cullen kids and

40

from what others said hed likely be the least friendly.


We headed up the wide staircase to the second floor and into a paneled hallway.
He pointed out him and Emmetts rooms at the front and then toward the back he
pointed out Dr. Cullens room and his office.
We turned to head for the stairs again when a voice suddenly shouted a string of
profanities from the vicinity of Dr. Cullens office. I froze, my eyes wide with
surprise. Jasper laughed, shaking his head.
That would be Edward. He takes some getting used to.
Jasper led me to the third floor, coming out into another long paneled hallway.
The front was an immense room that Jasper stated was the library. We walked to
the back and Jasper paused.
This is Edwards room, he said, pointing to the one on the right. And this will be
yours, he said, pointing to the one on the left. Each room has its own
bathroom.
I nodded, thanking him softly. He smiled and opened up the bedroom door,
waving me inside. I stepped in cautiously and Jasper flicked on the light. My eyes
widened in surprise at the enormity of the room. It was fully furnished, a massive
bed with a mahogany headboard and tan comforter on it was sitting in the back
of the room with a matching mahogany dresser and vanity with a large mirror.
The room had plush white carpeting, the walls a soft tan color. There was a tan
leather couch near the front of the room with a small mahogany table in front of
it. I glanced around and my eyes fell upon the flat screen TV that hung on the
wall. I gaped at it for a moment, blinking rapidly and shaking my head.
Are you sure Im supposed to sleep in here? I mean, there has to be a mistake.
He laughed lightly. No, no mistake. Definitely your room. Make yourself
comfortable, Ill see about your clothes to sleep in.
Jasper turned and walked out, shutting the door behind him. I stayed frozen in
spot, glancing around, taking everything in. To say I was stunned would be an
understatement. I was completely taken back, out of my element.

41

After a few minutes of complete silence, a door slammed across the hall, startling
me. I jumped and yelped, grabbing my chest as my heart started racing. Soft
knocks came on my door and it was pushed open slowly. I turned around to see
Dr. Cullen in the doorway. He smiled and held out some clothes.
Theyll be big on you but its the best we can come up with right now.
Thank you, I said, taking the clothes from him. He nodded and turned to walk
away but hesitated.
This is your home now too, Isabella. I hope that youll grow to be comfortable
here. Just remember everything Ive told you and you shouldnt have any
problems. But if any should arise, dont hesitate to come to me with them.
Okay?
Okay, I said softly.

Chapter 4 - A whole new World


"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until
they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born." -Anais Nin
IPOV
I started hyperventilating the moment Dr. Cullen closed the door to my bedroom,
leaving me on my own for the rest of the evening. My knees were wobbly and I
walked slowly over to the tan couch, collapsing on it. I felt so foolish, falling apart
as I was, but I couldnt help it. I wasnt frightened per say, wasnt panicking from
fear. I was just utterly overwhelmed and confused, unsure of the turn my life was
taking. Everything was happening so fast, nothing making sense. I wasnt used to
change, everything was so new to me I didnt know how to take it all.
After I calmed down enough to function, I stood up and stripped my clothes off
quickly. I picked up the clothes Dr. Cullen had brought me and unfolded them. I
pulled on the pair of red and black flannel pants, rolling them up at the waist a

42

few times to make them fit slightly better. They still swallowed my small frame,
dragging the ground. I grabbed the shirt and eyed it hesitantly. It said Forks High
School on the front with a picture of a football. On the back were the letters C-UL-L-E-N, which looked to me to likely be their last name, along with the number
21. I slipped it on, it falling nearly to my knees.
I walked over to the door leading to my bathroom and pushed it open. I turned
on the light and gasped. The bathroom was massive, white tile and a huge
garden tub in the corner. There was also a shower with frosted glass doors and a
large sink with a big mirror above it. It was stunning, to say the least.
I found towels and washcloths in a cabinet near the toilet and grabbed one of
each. The towel was fluffy and soft, smelling faintly like flowers from the
detergent used on it. I walked over to the sink and washed my face, getting all of
the makeup off that Dr. Cullen had put on me that had yet to wear off. I dried it
off and glanced up in the mirror, frowning. Dr. Cullen was right--you could clearly
make out the faint handprint shape in the bruise. It wasnt as bad as I originally
suspected though, Id had a lot worse. Ever since Charless wife figured out my
paternity she took a liking to marking up my face. Id been beaten so hard before
that my entire face was swollen and I was barely able to see out of either of my
eyes. My nose had been broken once during a beating but I was never given
medical attention for it. Charles never got us medical attention for anything; he
always said if something happened to one of us that wouldnt heal on its own
hed do us a favor and put us out of our misery. My nose had a bump to it and
was slightly crooked now, but it wasnt too horrible. Id been relatively lucky
when it came to permanent damage; besides the slight disfigured nose all I had
were scars. Id watched other women lose teeth and break serious bones that
never reformed properly, slightly disabling them. One girl was blinded in one eye
from a kick to the face. This bruise--this was nothing. It would fade and with it,
the memory. Bruises were easily forgotten.
I turned off the light and walked back into the bedroom. I walked over to the
door to turn off the light and paused. I could faintly hear music coming from
across the hall. I couldnt make out what it was but it sounded slightly like soft
rock. It wasnt as if Id be able to recognize an artist or song name awayId
never been exposed to much music besides what Charles or his wife occasionally
played or what I heard coming from the television in passing. Whatever it was
sounded soothing though, mellow.

43

I turned the light off and walked over to the bed, pulling the comforter down and
climbing in. The mattress was so soft it nearly swallowed my form in it. The
sheets were silky and smooth, the comforter soft and fluffy. I wrapped myself up
in the comforter tightly, sighing contently as my head sunk into the pillow. I
couldnt remember ever being so comfortable before, feeling so safe.
It was startling. Despite my utter exhaustion I couldnt seem to fall asleep,
couldnt shut my mind off. I was trying to come to terms with everything, trying
to sort things out.
I wasnt fooling myself--I knew what I was. Despite the comfortable bed and the
spacious bedroom, I was still nothing but a slave. My life was in their hands for
them to do with me what they wanted. Just because they seemed more humane
than what Id grown used to, didnt mean things couldnt shift quickly. I wouldnt
be complacent, wouldnt let my guard down. I knew my place in the world, you
could dress it up all you wanted but it didnt change the basic facts. I was
property, someone owned me.
Id witnessed Dr. Cullens temper at Charless house, had seen how afraid of Dr.
Cullen Charles had been. I imagine there had to have been some sort of history
there, but nothing Id be aware of. Dr. Cullen seemed to be relatively calm and
easy-going on the surface but I wouldnt fool myself into thinking he couldnt be
aggressive. Id secretly seen The Untouchables more than onceI knew for a
fact men like him were indeed dangerous. There was something boiling under the
surface of that calm front, something volatile, and it wasnt something I ever
wanted unleashed upon me. Charles had been easy to anger, hed flip out quickly
and take his aggression out on you but it was always bearable. I had a feeling Dr.
Cullen was the type of man who rarely snapped, but when he did you didnt walk
away from it.
His sons surprised me. Emmett was intimidating; there was no doubt about it.
Being in a room with him I felt insignificant because of his size. It instinctively
ignited fear. He seemed nice though, with a happy and carefree nature. His looks
and personality were definitely at odds with each otherit would take me awhile
to get over the natural aversion to him. There was something about Jasper that
was slightly calming, relaxing. He was sweet and had a politeness about him.
Hed stunned me by treating me as if I were an equal. Hed even made me a

44

sandwich. He served me--the servant. It was baffling. I had to wonder at first if


he knew what I was, but Dr. Cullen had assured me there were no secrets in his
house.
I had yet to meet the youngest, Edward, and if I were being honest Id have to
say I was apprehensive about it. I was a bit worried about how he was going to
act, how hed treat me. The impression Id gotten so far was that he was slightly
uptight about things and possibly a troublemaker. He surely had a foul mouth and
wasnt afraid to speak his mind to his dad so I wasnt sure thered be any reason
for him to not lash out at me. Dr. Cullen said he was a lot like him, though, so
that gave me a bit of hope. Dr. Cullen wasnt outright mean, at least.
I tossed and turned all night, drifting off to sleep eventually but waking abruptly a
short time later, looking around confused by my surroundings. When Id realize
where I was Id drift off to sleep again, only for the pattern to continue. At one
point I glanced over to the clock and saw that it was a few minutes past 5am.
Charles always demanded that we get up at 5am to start our day and if he found
out we didnt get up in time hed punish us. We got away with sleeping in when
he was gonethose were always our favorite days, when we could sleep until
noon and no one would say anything. The people who watched us when Charles
was out never said a word to him about it.
I was kicking myself for not asking Dr. Cullen what time I was expected to get up
in the mornings. I lay there for a few minutes, glaring at the alarm clock, before
sighing and getting up. There was no way Id be able to fall asleep now.
I made my bed quickly and walked across the room, quietly opening my door.
The floor was dark and quiet, the music Id heard earlier gone. I pulled my door
shut and quietly made my way down the hall, wrapping my arms around my
chest. I was nervous and anxious, a bit unsure of what to do. I couldnt just lie
around though--I had to do something.
I walked down the steps slowly and cautiously in the dark, silently praying I
didnt trip and tumble. The last thing I needed was to fall down a flight of stairs
and wake up the entire house. The second floor was dark also but I could faintly
hear the sound of water running in one of the rooms. I continued down the stairs
carefully, pausing when I got to the foyer.

45

The bottom floor was dark, except for a subtle glow coming from the kitchen. I
walked slowly toward it and heard the sound of stuff shifting, a cabinet closing. I
walked past the piano and looked up when I reached the doorway to the kitchen,
stopping abruptly, my eyes widening at the sight in front of me.
Someone was standing in the kitchen, pouring a glass of orange juice. I didnt
recognize him but knew immediately it had to be Edward. The moment my eyes
landed on him something sparked inside of me, something baffling and
unexpected. I was stunned and frozen in place, unable to think or act.
The kitchen was dark but I could clearly see him in the glow of the refrigerator.
He was tall and lean, but his body was well formed. He didnt have a shirt on and
his back was turned to me. I could see a fairly large tattoo on the center of his
upper back, it was circular and looked to be like a symbol of some sort with an
animal and a hand and some clovers. The word Cullen was written in it, which
pretty much confirmed to me that the word was indeed their last name. I could
make out the well-defined muscles in his back and arms, and his slightly broad
shoulders. I could see the beginning of a tattoo on his upper left arm but couldnt
make out what it was. His skin was pale and almost glowed in the lighting. His
hair was a bronze-tinted color and was an utter mess, sticking up in every
direction imaginable. He turned slightly, so his side was to me, and I could easily
see his stomach was toned. His green flannel pants were lying low on his hips,
exposing his prominent hipbones and the top of a pair of black boxers. I saw the
side view of his face and his features were sharp and angular. His messy hair fell
forward, stray pieces falling slightly into his eyes.
He was absolutely nothing like I expect. I expected him to be harsh looking,
intimidating. The person standing in front of me was mesmerizing. Id never been
attracted to someone before, never thought I would be, but the boy standing in
front of me sparked a small part of me I didnt know existed. The part that was
still, after everything, an average 16-year old girl who knew gorgeous when she
saw it.
It was utterly ridiculous and stupid, and I tried to push it away as fast as it came.
He was a spoiled rich kid and I was his slave, brought in to take care of the
chores for him. It was ridiculous to crush on him or be attracted to him, nothing
could or would ever come of it. I felt dirty just looking at him, feeling those
butterflies at the sight of him. The feelings I had were disgusting, repulsive.

46

I exhaled sharply, my chest hurting. I hadnt realized Id been holding my breath.


Edward heard it and jumped, startled. His head snapped in my direction, his eyes
wide with surprise. He accidentally dropped his drink, the glass hitting the floor
and orange juice flying everywhere.
Fuck! he yelled, jumping backwards but unable to miss the spray of orange
juice that splashed his pants. My eyes widened in shock as he froze in spot,
staring down at his now soaked pants legs with disbelief. His gaze lifted slowly up
to me and he cocked an eyebrow, his face shifting through numerous different
emotions. Disbelief. Shock. Confusion.
I had been frozen in spot, gaping at him, but the moment his face clouded with
anger my system was shocked back into rhythm. I sprinted forward, grabbing the
roll of paper towels. I practically threw myself at his feet at the same time he
grabbed a towel from the counter and bent down to wipe himself off. We collided,
our heads smacking into each other with enough force to knock him backwards.
Shit! he yelled.
An intense sharp pain shot through my head, my eyes immediately welling up
with tears as I winced. I clutched my forehead and glanced up to see Edward
sitting on his behind, rubbing his forehead. His face was scrunched up and his
eyes were narrowed at me. I noticed a small bandage on the side of his forehead,
near his left eye. My eyes widened in shock as I realized Id smacked into him
where hed already been injured.
Must you fucking sneak up on people? Christ, youre worse than a goddamn cat!
Do I need to buy you a bell?! he spat, still rubbing his head. Fear shot through
me, and my hands started shaking.
I am so sorry sir, I said, my voice trembling. I let go of my head and reached
forward, grabbing the towel he had dropped and started cleaning up the orange
juice from the floor. My vision was blurred with tears and I silent cursed myself
as I felt one slip down my cheek. This was bad, very bad. My first morning here
and I already injured someone and made a mess.
I yelped with shock and fright when his hand grabbed a hold of my wrist tightly,
stilling my movements. It was like a jolt of electricity shot through me and I

47

gasped. I glanced up at him wide-eyed, my body trembling with fear. His eyes
were narrowed and his gaze was intense as he studied my face.
Whats wrong with you? he asked, his voice low. I hesitated a moment, unsure
of what to say. I had no idea what he wanted to hear but I had to do something,
say something, to try to fix this.
It was an accident sir, I assure you nothing like it will ever happen again. Please
dont punish me, I said softly, the tone of my voice pleading for him to
understand. He cocked at eyebrow at me and didnt let go of my wrists, just
stared at me. It was unnerving and I looked away, glaring at the ground, trying
to prepare myself for whatever was to come next.
Why the hell would I punish you? he asked after a moment, his voice laced with
confusion. I glanced up, surprised by his tone, and saw that his expression was
also one of bewilderment.
Uh, well, I I stammered. I tried to get my thoughts in order but the intensity
of his stare had me flustered, embarrassed. I opened my mouth to speak again
when the overhead light flicked on suddenly, causing both of us to wince and
close our eyes.
Damnit, Edward, let the girl go, Dr. Cullens voice said, startling me. My head
shot up and I opened my eyes to see him standing over us, a scowl on his face.
Edward glared up at his father and then glanced at me, his eyes eventually falling
to my wrist that he was still clutching tightly. He let go immediately, pulling his
hand away and standing up.
Sorry, he muttered, running a hand through his hair.
What happened? Dr. Cullen asked sharply, motioning toward the mess on the
floor.
It wont happen again, sir, Im sorry, I said, as Edward simultaneously
muttered, I spilled it, she scared me.
I glanced up at him with confusion and Dr. Cullen groaned. Go get ready for
school, Edward, he said.

48

But Edward started, but Dr. Cullens hand shot up quickly to silence him. The
movement startled me and I flinched, which earned me looks from the both of
them.
Non me ne frega un cazzo,* Dr. Cullen said, the words spoken with an accent in
a language Id never heard before. He shook his head with frustration. Just go, I
dont have time for you this morning.
Fine, what the fuck ever, he said angrily, shooting me a quickly glance as he
brushed past me storming out the door.
I started cleaning the spilled juice up again and Dr. Cullen sighed. He squatted
down and grabbed the roll of paper towels, pulling a few off and laying them on
part of the spill to soak it up. His cologne filtered to my nose as he neared me,
the scent an intoxicating mixture of woods and musk and fruit that had a calming
effect about it. He smelled nothing like Charles, who usually smelled nauseatingly
like a mixture of sweat and pine trees.
What did I tell you, dolore nel culo, he said. I glanced at him and saw a light
smile on his lips as he shook his head. He saw my questioning look and laughed.
Its Italian, means pain in the ass.
Do you all speak Italian sir? I asked.
He nodded. Yes, were all fluent. It was the language of choice for the most part
in Chicago. My organization is Italian and we have some Italian heritage. We
dont speak it often anymore so dont worry. Usually it only comes spilling out
when one of us is frustrated. Edwards probably the exception though, as hes
quite fond of some of the more colorful Italian words. He rolled his eyes but I
could see the twinkle in them as he spoke of Edward. It was evident he was fond
of his son, regardless of whether or not he was troublesome. Speaking of
Edward, hes not usually so hostile, hes just a bit pissed off at me right now.
I nodded, unsure of why he was telling me so much and surprised he seemed to
be making excuses for his sons behavior. No one had ever tried to explain their
behavior to me; masters were allowed to act how they wanted toward us,
regardless of why.

49

I can get this sir, I said suddenly, afraid hed get some of the juice on his suit.
It was quite fancy and I could tell it mustve cost a fortune.
I know you can Isabella, he said firmly, but didnt get up. He grabbed some
more paper towels and started wiping at the floor. Why are you up so early
anyway? I figured youd sleep half the day at least to recover from yesterdays
excitement.
I didnt know what time I was supposed to get up every day, I said, slightly
confused. So I just got up the usual time Master Charles always made us get
up.
Dr. Cullen sighed, standing up and throwing the paper towels in the trashcan.
You get up whenever you get up. I wont blame you if you sleep in occasionally
as long as you do what youre supposed to do. The boys leave for school around
7:30, if they need anything from you and youre still asleep, theyll wake you.
Okay, I said softly. I stood up and glanced around, holding the juice-soaked
towel. Dr. Cullen smiled.
Theres a hamper in the laundry room for you to throw that in. Make sure you
mop this floor after the boys leave for school and make sure the rest of the house
is in order. There isnt much food in the house but help yourself to whatever. Ill
bring something home for dinner tonight so you dont have to worry about
cooking until tomorrow. Today you really should just acquaint yourself with the
house and get comfortable, okay?
I smiled and nodded. Yes, sir.
I walked out of the kitchen and into the laundry room, tossing the towel into a
wicker hamper sitting in the corner. I walked back out and saw Emmett and
Jasper start coming down the stairs. I turned from them to walk back in the
kitchen and heard some racket. I turned back around and saw Edward flying
down the steps, grabbing a hold of Emmett and jumping on his back. Emmett
tried to wrestle him away, shouting, but Edward just laughed and clung to him. I
stopped abruptly, the sound of Edwards laugh causing a smile to involuntarily
curve my mouth. It was so light and carefree, melodic. They were all laughing

50

nowit was such a happy sight, one Id never seen before.


They reached the bottom of the steps and Edward let go of Emmett, jumping
away as Emmett tried to punch him. Edward chuckled and ran his hand through
his damp hair, which was still sticking up every which way but it was clear hed
just washed it, as it was a shade darker from the wetness, almost brown. He
glanced up in my direction, his piercing green eyes meeting mine. A lop-sided
grin overcame his face as he eyed me. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks as I
blushed deeply, looking away instantly. My heart started racing and I felt tingling
shoot through me as he walked past me, his arm brushing up against me. He
hesitated briefly, his steps faltering as our skin connected. I glanced up at him
and saw he was looking at me with surprise. His expression faded nearly instantly
though and he walked down the hallway toward the living area. I heard a TV
come on quickly.
Ah, good youre up, Dr. Cullen said. I turned and took a few steps into the
kitchen, pausing in the doorway. I wasnt sure what I was supposed to do, if I
were even supposed to be here or if it was considered eavesdropping. Do you
think Alice or Rosalie would be willing to stop by a store for me after school today
and grab a few things for Isabella? Id do it myself after work but I dont know
anything about what girls wear and would feel a bit perverted buying underwear
and bras for a teenage girl.
The boys laughed but I just ducked my head, slightly embarrassed.
You know Alice wont pass up a chance to shop, especially on someone elses
dime, Jasper said, laughing. I glanced up and saw Dr. Cullen nodding.
Go ahead and give her your amex, tell her to drop the stuff off as soon as she
can. Isabella, what size pants do you wear?
I hesitated, trying to remember. Fours, sir, I said, fairly confidant that was
right.
Shoes? he asked.
I just stared at him, not entirely sure as the only shoes Id worn in years is the
flip flops I just got the day before. I shrugged slowly, eyeing him cautiously.

51

Its okay. Tell Alice to get pants in fours and tops in small. Ill guess around an 8
in shoes, if its wrong and they dont fit well return them. And please tell her to
be practical, because I imagine Isabella wont be too content wandering around
the house in miniskirts and halter tops. My eyes widened in surprise, fear at
even the thought of that running through me.
Emmett laughed. I dunno dad, mini skirts might be nice, he said as he glanced
at me, winking. I blushed and my gaze fell to the floor immediately. He was being
playful, I knew that, but it was slightly uncomfortable. I wasnt used to such
attention. They all laughed but Dr. Cullen thankfully didnt let the subject linger.
Behave boy, or Ill tell Rosalie, Dr. Cullen said. Jasper laughed and pushed his
brother playfully. Anyway, I need one of you to take Isabella to the grocery store
after school also, shell do the cooking so she does the shopping.
My head shot up and I looked at Dr. Cullen with shock. He wanted me to go
grocery shopping?! Id never been in a store in my life.
Ill do it, a voice said behind me. I jumped, startled, and swung around to see
Edward standing there. He was grinning; his eyebrows raised as he looked at his
father.
Dr. Cullen sighed. You dont have practice today? he asked. Edward walked by
me into the kitchen, opening a cabinet and pulling out a bowl.
Nope, we have Wednesdays off, he said with a shrug. The guys are doing
weight training after school but I had no plans of joining them anyway.
Alright, get her after school, Dr. Cullen said to Edward. Edward nodded,
shooting me a quick glance. He had a mischievous smirk on his face that sent a
shiver down my spine.
I wasnt sure what to think of Edward Cullen, but one thing was for sure. He was
definitely going to complicate my life.
A/N: *non me ne frega un cazzo = I don't give a damn.

52

Chapter 5 - A trouble with trouble


Temper gets you in trouble. Pride keeps you there. -- Unknown
EPOV
Fuck you, you pathetic son of a bitch!! I screamed, kicking my legs frantically,
trying to break away from the arms wrapped around me. I felt the warm trickle
streaming down the side of my face, a slight throb coming from my eyebrow
area. I was going to murder that prick.
Someone grabbed a hold of him, lugging him off the ground. He shook them off
and spit onto the grass, blood running down from the side of his mouth. I busted
his mouth good, hes lucky I didnt knock his fucking teeth out.
Youre such an asshole, he spat. I thrust myself forward; trying to get to him
but they were holding me back with too much force.
ENOUGH! Couch Clapp bellowed, coming in between us. Everyone on the
ground, on your backs now!
A chorus of groans rung out, numerous dirty looks being shot in my direction.
Someone shoved me roughly and I swung around quickly, shoving them back. I
didnt start the shit, they didnt need to be blaming me.
I said on the ground, Cullen! Coach Clapp yelled.
I rolled my eyes, frustrated, and laid back on the ground. He blew his whistle and
we raised our legs a few inches in the air, holding the position. Id take hundreds
of push-ups and running miles over these ridiculous leg raises any daythis shit
hurt.
10 minutes--hold it! Everyone groaned again, a few loud curses ringing out.
You guys can thank Cullen and Newton for it.
One of these days I was going to seriously beat the shit out of Mike Newton. He
was such a cocky prick; someone needed to deflate that ego of his. Ive been

53

back in Forks for two weeks now and Ive done everything I could to stay out of
trouble, but it seems like theres some conspiracy out there to fuck with my life.
Last year I spent the first semester at Forks High School. I was only a sophomore
but gained recognition by making the varsity football team as starting
Quarterback. I was always popular, considering Im rich and good looking, and
the Cullen name alone tends to bring a certain amount of respect in even a town
this small. But it seems like since making varsity quarterback its tripled. The girls
are all over me and because of that pussies like Mike Newton envy me.
It went to my head a bit last year--I cant deny that. I got myself into a situation
that damn near landed me in a juvenile detention center. I got lucky and Dad
pulled some strings to get me out of it. He wasnt exactly forgiving though,
considering his reputation had taken a hit with some of his patients, and shipped
me off to a private boarding school across the country for the rest of the school
year. An all-male boarding school, I should add. That shit was torture, didnt get
a single piece of ass the entire time I was there. He even paid for me to stay
there the whole summer. Man, did that piss me off. My brothers got to go to
Hawaii and lounge on the beach with a bunch of bikini-clad bitches and Im stuck
in a small ass dorm room with some virginal geek who wacked off to fucking
comic book characters. The moment I got on that plane back to Forks I swore I
was going to keep myself straight and not let shit get to my head.
But its a lot harder said than done. Because the girls are all over me still and the
little shits like Newton are still jealous and trying to goad me. And I dont take
well to disrespect.
Alright, girls, Coach Clapp said, blowing his whistle to signal 10 minutes was up.
There was a collective sigh and thump as we all dropped our legs. We climbed to
our feet and I stretched my back, as it was hurting from lying on the hard
ground.
Newton, Cullen, suicides. On the line now. The rest of you can go.
I cursed, irritated. My legs were already sore as wed been out here for hours. It
was a Tuesday and we didnt have school today because of some teacher
workshop bullshit, but Coach Clapp insisted on practice bright and early this
morning anyway.

54

I glared at Newton as I walked to the line. Hed been taunting me the past few
days, pissed off because he was trying to get with Jessica Stanley and she wasnt
paying him a bit of attention because she was hung up on my dick. I didnt care
for the girl, in fact she was entirely too sleazy for my tastes, but she was
constantly offering herself up to me, practically begging to blow me, and what
teenage guy wouldnt jump on that? She wasnt that great of a lay honestly, the
head was mediocre at best, but Im not exactly going to be picky. A nut is a nut.
Coach Clapp blew his whistle and we started running suicides. Newton was the
kicker and slow as shit so I blew him out of the water. His legs gave out on the
middle of a run and he fell to the ground. Coach Clapp blew his whistle,
exasperated, and I stopped abruptly. I felt the bile rising up immediately and
tried to hold it back but it was fruitless. I bent over and tried to take deep
breaths but ended up vomiting.
I dont want to ever see you two fighting on my football field again, you hear
me? Hug and make up and get over this crap, Coach Clapp said. I looked at him
incredulously but he looked to be serious.
I groaned and walked over to Newton, giving him a half-assed one-armed hug
that turned into a punch to the back, nearly knocking the wind out of him.
Frocio, I said coldly, pushing off of him and making him stumble. He shot me a
mean look, narrowing his eyes, but I just chuckled. Id been calling him that shit
for years and hed yet to figure out I was calling him gay.
Both of you go to the hospital and get those pretty faces of yours look at, youre
both going to need stitches, Coach Clapp said.
I nodded and headed out to the parking lot, hopping into my Volvo. I loved my
car, had finally talked dad into buying it for me when I got back. It was a C70
hardtop convertible. I drove over to the hospital and got rushed through,
bypassing having to wait since my dad was practically the only person to keep
this shitty hospital afloat. I got a few stitches on my forehead but it wasnt too
bad, Ive had worse. I was walking out of the hospital and passed Newton, who
was just now being seen, and he deliberately bumped into me. I turned around
and shoved him, sending him stumbling. Security came, hearing the altercation,
but stopped abruptly when they realized it was me.

55

I barely even made it out to the parking lot before my cell phone was ringing with
my dad calling. I groaned and silenced it, not in the mood to try to explain. I
knew someone from the hospital would call him to fucking gossip.
I drove home and made a sandwich, heading up to my bedroom. I turned on
some TV and ate, just enjoying being able to sit down and rest my legs. My
phone rang again and I picked it up, seeing it was Jessica Stanley. I hesitated
with my finger over the button, contemplating answering to see if I could talk her
into driving out here and sucking me off, but decided to ignore it. I wasnt in the
mood to deal with her babbling, talking to me like I gave a shit about her life. I
wasnt her boyfriend, I couldnt care less about chatting or hearing the ridiculous
gossip the bitches at Forks High spread.
I called my voice mail and listened to dads message. I glanced at the clock when
I heard him threaten to take the Volvo back if I didnt return his call in 20
minutes and groaned. It had nearly been a half hour.
I called him back right away, trying to be all nice and shit and kept my
composure until he threatened to pull me out of Forks and send me back to the
boarding school.
I was pacing around the room frantically, trying to explain to dad how that was a
ridiculous notion, when the faint female voice filtered through. It was sweet and
sounded so young and innocent but seductive at the same time. I asked if that
was the female hed gone to pick up and he said it was but abruptly ended the
conversation, not wanting to discuss it then.
I wasnt stupid or nave. My brothers and I are well aware of our fathers lifestyle;
weve known about it our entire life. They never kept it from us or lied about it
but at the same time they didnt exactly glorify it either. He always tried not to
involve us but it was inevitable sometimes, as we knew we lived differently. It
doesnt matter how much you try to guard your family from the violence, being in
the mob has a way of placing everyone you know in danger.
I knew he had his hands in the drug trade and the sale of illegal weapons. I knew
he had blood on his hands--that hed helped arrange assassinations and
kidnappings and even carried some out himself. Hed been involved in extortion

56

and money laundering, had offshore accounts overloaded with money to avoid
paying taxes. I dont know if theres a single law my father hasnt broken. He was
a cheat and a thief and a murderer, there was no way to sugar coat that. People
respected him and feared him, not only because of the last name but because of
the way he carried himself. He was calm and collect--the silent but deadly type.
And I knew exactly why hed gone to Phoenix. I knew about the slave trade that
still existed in America. It wasnt the first time my father had paid money for
ownership over another human being. Wed had two since we moved to
Washington when I was 8. The first one was an older lady with gray hair we
called Nona, he brought her in to take care of the house and help us out since we
were still so young. She lasted damn near a decade with us, passed away of a
heart attack a few months ago. She was a nice lady, never had any complaints
about her. She was quite grandmotherly. We grew fond of her and I liked to think
the feeling was mutual, despite the fact that she lacked free will. People tended
to resent you when you took their freedoms away, but she didnt seem too put off
about it. Dad had her body cremated and we scattered her ashes out by the river,
as she used to love going out there. After Nona died he went and brought a
woman named Janet in. Janet was in her early 40s, a petite woman with blonde
curly hair. I hated her from the day I met her, she always gave me snide looks
that made me want to beat the shit out of her. Id never touch her, of course
my mom raised me better than that. But it didnt mean I didnt desperately wish I
could. She didnt last very long, despite the fact that I suspect dad was getting
his rocks off with her. He eventually caught her in rooms she shouldnt be in,
touching things she shouldnt have been touching. He was a laid back person,
didnt have many rules, but the ones he did you had to follow. He didnt have a
high tolerance for blatant disregard of his orders. If Carlisle Cullen told you to
jump, you better fucking jump.
My brother Emmett and I accepted our dads life, embraced it almost. We knew
our place. Emmett had no desire to join it himself, but he didnt frown upon it. I,
myself, had a feeling I was heading that way. I knew the members of the
organization in Chicago looked at me like I was a mafia prince, a potential upand-comer. They said I had the disposition for it, whatever that meant, and
hoped Id find my way there when I got a bit older. I accepted that as a
possibility, almost took pride in it. Jasper, on the other hand, wasnt as happy
about it all. He avoided most conversations about that aspect of the Cullen life.
Hated the guns and drugs we were exposed to, hated the violence. Emmett and I

57

had tough skin but Jasper was sensitive. Out of all of us, hes the most like mom.
I look exactly like her, but Jasper has her soul. Mom knew dads life and
overlooked it because she loved him so much. But she, too, was sensitive. She
never condoned slavery or servitude, just as Jasper doesnt. Hes completely
disgusted by it. Its shitty, I agree, but I could see the logic in it. If you want
loyalty and silence, sometimes you have to buy it.
And I knew Jasper was going to be more upset than ever now, because that
sweet innocent voice on the phone belonged to a girl, not a woman. Dad never
said anything so we just automatically assumed hed bring home some older lady
like previously, but it was clear he wasnt. She was young.
I spent the day locked in my room, not in the mood to socialize knowing that I
was going to get my ass railed on when dad got home. I took a nap and fiddled
around with my guitar. I eventually did call Jessica Stanley and listened to her
bullshit for a few minutes but hung up when she said she didnt have a ride to my
place. There was no way I was going to go pick her up.
Eventually dad got home. I dont know if he was too damn lazy to walk up the
stairs to my room or if he thought maybe I had company but he called my cell
phone and told me to get down to his office. He railed on me, just as I suspected
he would, and threatened sending me off to school and taking my car again. He
didnt really give a shit about me busting Newton in the mouth but he wasnt too
happy about me acting up in his place of work. He grounded me for the upcoming
weekend, which really pissed me off since we had a home game on Friday night
and that meant one hell of an after party. I had been thoroughly looking forward
to some shots of Patron, a few hits from the bong, and a nice hard fucking.
I spent the rest of the night in my room. I couldnt sleep because I was so pissed
off and eventually gave up and hauled my ass downstairs. I was standing in the
kitchen, pouring some orange juice, when a noise startled me. It was like
someone gasping for air, and the house was so quiet it damn near echoed
through the place. I turned in the direction of the noise and was completely
stunned by the sight in front of me that I dropped my fucking drink.
I was shocked and confused at first before the anger set in. I was standing in
front of a girl, soaked with fucking orange juice, and all I could do was gape at
her. Could I be any more fucking stupid?

58

I could barely make her out across the room because it was so dark, but her eyes
were clear as day. They were wide and expressive; she looked like a deer caught
in some headlights. I finally snapped out of it and made a move to clean up the
orange juice but evidently the girl was trained to do that shit, because she
practically bumrushed me to clean it up herself. I head butted her and winced, as
it hurt like hell. And in true Edward Cullen fashion, my natural response to the
pain is to lash out.
Evidently I scared her because she refused to make eye contact with me and she
was trembling. I reached out and grabbed her wrist to stop her from fucking
cleaning up, as she was being ridiculous and sketchy and I didnt like it. It felt like
she shocked me when I grabbed her, like a small jolt of static electricity coursed
through me. She finally looked up at me and when her eyes met mine I was
completely stunned.
Her cheeks were red and chapped from the sun, a big ass bruise on the side of
her face that looked like it came from someones hand. Her eyes were full of fear,
a tear running down her cheek. She was troubled and frightened, that much was
clear. Shed had it rough. And she was young, oh so fucking young. She couldnt
have been any older than me, as her face was still rounded slightly from youth.
There was still that innocence in her face, despite the abuse and wariness that
was evident.
But that wasnt the most stunning part. What nearly took my breath away was
that underneath it all she was beautiful. Ive had my fair share of hot girls, sexy
and erotic in their tight ass clothes. And the girl in front of me wasnt like them at
all. She didnt look like a runway model, didnt ooze sex appeal. She was just
beautiful.
I asked her what her problem was, and it was a stupid fucking question because I
was obviously part of it. But I just wanted to know her story, how the hell
someone like her could end up in the situation she was in.
And then she practically begged me not to punish her. She looked at me, fucking
afraid that I was going to beat her because of my mistake. I looked at her
incredulously, wondering what in the hell this girl had experienced to be so afraid
of me. She couldnt even keep eye contact with me for Christ sakes.

59

Of course, as if the situation isnt messed up enough, dad walks in on us, sitting
on the floor in a puddle of orange juice with me physically restraining the girl. I
honestly hadnt even realized I still had a hold of her. He got all snippy with me,
cursing at me in Italian. He told me to leave, obviously still not happy with me.
I went upstairs and stripped out of my clothes, hopping in the shower. I washed
the stickiness off my legs from where the juice soaked through and washed my
hair, not bothering with much else. My dick was hard and I wrapped my hand
around it, stroking a few times, but couldnt seem to get into it. I kept thinking
about the fucking girl downstairs and how she was left to clean up my mess and
how wrong that was, which was completely ridiculous because thats the whole
reason she was here.
I gave up on getting off, resigned to the fact that Id probably have to grab one of
the girls at school and sneak off to get it taken care of. I shut the water off and
climbed out, drying off. I grabbed a pair of silk boxers and some faded jeans and
slipped them on. I threw on a white t-shirt and grabbed one of my long sleeved
button up shirts, pulling it on and rolling the sleeves up.
I didnt bother with my hair because it was uselessthe shit had a mind of its
own. I ran my hands through it a few times but that was the extent of it. The
girls seemed to love it though, so what the hell.
I headed down the stairs and spotted my brothers. I didnt see those fuckers at
all yesterday. We all used to be really close, but when I went away to boarding
school things seemed to shift. They got steady girlfriends and settled down, and I
came back pretty much the same person I left as. I like Alice and Rose, Ive
known them both since we moved here in elementary school and theyre cool
girls, but Im not exactly used to my brothers being so attached. I left and we
were friends, all of us just chilling out together, and I came back to being the
fucking fifth wheel. Its cool though, Im happy for them all, but that doesnt
mean I want to be around that shit constantly. Im not one for all that loveydovey cuddling bullshit. Ive not looking to drown in love, am perfectly content
swimming in lust.
I flew down the steps quickly and leapt up onto Emmetts backI owed that
shithead from body slamming me a few days ago. I almost knocked him down the

60

steps as he wasnt braced for me and he tried to throw me off. I jumped off when
we hit the bottom and he tried to punch me but I evaded him, laughing. I turned
to say something to him, to taunt him a bit because Emmetts fun when you get
him going, and my eyes fell upon the girl.
She was watching us and smiling. I couldnt help but smile at the sight of her, the
look of pure wonder on her face. She blushed when I smiled and dropped her
eyes immediately, unable to keep eye contact again. I was seriously going to
have to change that, as that shit wasnt going to fly around here.
I walked past her, my arm brushing up against hers. The hairs on my arm
bristled as tingling shot through me. It startled me a bit and I hesitated,
confused. It was odd, the same feeling that shot through me when I grabbed her
wrist. I was like nothing Id ever felt before, like her skin held an electric current
that entered my system whenever I came in contact with her. She glanced up at
me, a look of confusion on her face and I felt like a fucking idiot just standing
there staring at her so I turned and headed for the TV.
I turned on the weather channel, which was pointless considering its a rare day
when it doesnt rain at some point, but I couldnt focus on the TV. I headed back
toward the kitchen and heard them laughing, Dad threatening to tell Rose
something. I paused behind the girl, as she was standing right in the doorway
and staring at the ground. I heard Dad say something about taking Isabella to
the grocery store and I didnt even give it a second thought, the words came out
of my mouth before they even truly registered with my brain.
Ill do it, I said.
She swung around, startled, and glanced at me. I walked past her and grabbed a
bowl to get some cereal. I assured dad that I didnt have practice, thank fucking
God considering my legs were still sore, and he agreed. I was slightly surprised,
considering I was technically grounded and I wasnt exactly his most favorite
person right now.
I glanced at her and noticed she had a look of shock on her face. Her name was
echoing through my mind: It was the first time Id heard it, never even thought
before as to what the hell her name was. But it was fitting. Isabella. Bella.
Beautiful.

61

And that she was. I had no idea what it was about this girl that had me so
captivated, but she was definitely going to fucking complicate my life.

Chapter 6 - Predictable
Human identity is the most fragile thing that we have, and it's often only
found in moments of truth. -- Alan Rudolph
EPOV
I was slouched down on the couch with my feet kicked up on the coffee table,
munching on a bowl of Lucky Charms. I only really liked the marshmallows, as I
found the brown pieces to be entirely too bland, but it was the only thing we had
in the house to eat for breakfast and I was starving. I knew Emmett was silently
cursing me, I could see the glares he was casting me from across the room, since
I used up the last of the milk and he had to eat his cereal dry. You snooze you
lose, fucker. I beat him to it.
Jasper walked in the room and plopped down on the couch beside me, shifting
my cushion and nearly spilling my cereal. I glared at him and cocked an eyebrow
but he just shrugged me off. Emmett huffed and got up, storming out of the room
and into the kitchen. I heard the cabinet door slam as he threw his Lucky Charms
away, giving up on it, and the racket as he threw his bowl in the sink. I chuckled,
taking another bite of my cereal.
Shes too young, Jasper said quietly after a moment. I didnt look at him, didnt
need to ask who he was talking about because I already knew. I knew Isabellas
age was really going to bother Jasper and I hated to admit it, even to myself, but
it was slightly bothersome to me also.
How old is she, anyway, I asked nonchalantly, knowing if anyone knew it would
be him. Jasper frowned.
He bought her the day she turned sixteen, he said, his voice full of discontent. I
sighed, nodding. I knew she was younger than me.
Emmett came back in the room with a sandwich and we laughed at him. I
finished eating and took my bowl back to the kitchen, sitting it in the sink, and

62

glanced at my watch.
I headed for the stairs and walked up them quickly. I threw open my bedroom
door and glanced around, looking for my book bag. My room was a fucking mess
and in dire need of cleaning but I havent had the energy to do. I finally located it
in the corner and grabbed my books off my desk. I gave one last glance around,
making sure I had everything, and started for the door.
The door across the hall opened unexpectedly and Isabella stepped out. Her eyes
widened as she glanced at me, an expression of shock on her face. Her eyes
scanned around me, obviously taking in the small glimpses of my bedroom that
she could see. I almost felt embarrassed but I pushed that shit aside quickly.
I know, its a fucking mess, I said, chuckling. She blushed and averted her eyes
away, looking down at the floor again.
Sorry, sir, she said softly. I didnt mean to look.
I groaned. You dont have to apologize. The door was open, it would be sort of
impossible not to look.
She glanced up and smiled lightly, nodding once. I stared into her eyes for a
moment and she surprised me when she didnt drop her gaze. It was oddly
intense and a tad bit uncomfortable, neither of us speaking or moving, but I
couldnt seem to look away.
My phone rang suddenly, startling me. I jumped and cursed, reaching into my
pocket and pulling it out. I glanced at the screen and groaned. I looked up and
my brow furrowed when I noticed Isabella was gone.
I turned back to the phone and answered it hesitantly. What do you want
Jessica? I asked with a sigh. I slung my book bag over my shoulder and shut my
bedroom door, heading for the stairs.
Good morning to you, too, Edward, she said.
Yeah, good morning, I mumbled. What do you want?

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She sighed exaggeratedly and I rolled my eyes. Can you give me a ride to
school? she asked, her voice slightly whiney. I cringed.
Sorry babe, no can do, I said quickly. I gotta go, Ill see you later.
I hung up and slipped the phone back in my pocket, knowing she would be pissed
but frankly not giving a shit. She knew better than to call me for a ride, did I look
like a taxi service?
I hit the bottom of the stairs and paused. I took a few steps toward the living
area and saw my brothers still sitting on the couch. You fuckers want a ride? I
asked.
Jasper glanced at me and then looked at his watch. His eyes went wide. Crap,
when did it get so late?
I shrugged. They both stood up and we headed toward the door. They bickered
over who got to ride shotgun, Jasper finally conceding when Emmett put him in a
headlock. I climbed in the drivers seat and started the car up while my brothers
got in.
I plugged my IPod in the dock and classical music started up right away. Emmett
groaned, reaching for the stereo.
Must you always listen to this pussy shit? he asked in frustration. I reached out
and smacked his hand, hard, and he shot me a dirty look but proceeded to
change the song anyway. He settled on some hip-hop, a Lil Kim song.
Mozart was a fucking genius, I said. Emmett rolled his eyes.
Yeah well so is Lil Kim, he muttered. Jasper and I both laughed.
I had to stop for gas on the way to school and made Jasper get out and pump it,
because I hated pumping gas. I pulled into my usual spot the parking lot at
school and opened my door, while a car swung into the spot beside me suddenly,
nearly clipping my door. I jumped out with irritation and saw that it was Lauren
Mallorys hideous little Honda. It was black and would be a decent car if she
hadnt plastered pink glittery decals all over the windows and hung those Mardi

64

Gras beads and a hot pink lei from the rearview mirror. That bitch had never
been to Hawaii and sure as shit never went to Mardi Gras, so it was completely
ridiculous. I guess she thought they were cool or whatever, but it just made her
look like a faker to me. I noticed Jessica was in the passenger seat and groaned.
Hey Edward, Lauren said all flirtatious-like when she climbed out, making a
point to lick her lips as she spoke. Lauren had always been just as loose as
Jessica but at least she understood her place and didnt try to sugarcoat what it is
we had. She knew it was just sex. Wed only been together a few times before
and hadnt had much interaction since I got back. She, too, had apparently
decided to try her hand at being faithful and committed to one person.
Lauren, I said in greeting, smirking. Jessica hopped out of the passenger seat
and smiled at me.
You look good today, Jessica said.
Dont I look good every day? I asked, cocking an eyebrow at her. She giggled
and nodded.
Tyler Crowley walked up and wrapped his arm around Laurens waist, nodding at
me in acknowledgement. I nodded back. He was a nice guy, maybe a little too
much into Lauren but I couldnt fault him, she was a decent lay after all. I was
surprised when I found out they were dating, as I clearly remembered the days of
football last year, sitting in the locker room and him laughing as a bunch of us
shared tales of escapades in the sack with Lauren.
I took a few steps forward, closing the distance between Jessica and I. You know
what would look really good this morning? I asked softly, turning on the charm.
What? she asked, all breathy-like, already hot and bothered.
Bocchino, I said, brushing my finger across her lips. She always melted when I
spoke Italian to her, not giving a shit what I was saying. Just asking for a fucking
blowjob like I just did sounded romantic to her. That mouth on me. She parted
her lips and brought my pointer finger into her mouth, sucking on it. I groaned
and went to speak, but was cut off abruptly but a loud smack and a sharp pain
shooting through the back of my head. I pulled my hand away from Jessica and

65

clutched the back of my head, swinging around.


What the fuck?! I yelled.
Youre such a whore, Rosalies cold voice said, her eyes narrowed at me. I
smiled lightly, still rubbing the back of my head. I shouldve known it was her,
Rosalie was the only one with the balls to do such a thing.
Morning, Rose, I said. Emmett walked up laughing, draping his arm around
Roses shoulder. Jasper and Alice came up behind them, smiling and holding
hands.
Why are you still here? Rose asked while raising an eyebrow, her voice sharp
and bitter. She was gazing over my shoulder, where Jessica still stood.
Ill see you later, Edward, Jessica muttered, walking away. I rolled my eyes at
Rose but couldnt help but smirk. It was quite amusing how afraid of Rosalie Hale
all the girls were. Alice was the only female friend she had, as Alice was the only
one with enough guts to ever stand up to her.
You just scared away my morning head, I said, leaning in the car and grabbing
my book bag. I locked and shut the door and turned back to them.
There are plenty of other females around here who are more than willing, I dont
know why youre constantly messing around with Stanley. Shes nasty.
I shrugged. Shes the easiest to coax into a janitors closet.
My brothers laughed, but Rose didnt find it as humorous. I swear, youre never
going to get a decent girl with that attitude, she said, shaking her head.
Before I had a chance to speak up and reiterate the fact that I had no desire to
settle down with anyone, Alice chimed in. We should leave Edward alone. If he
wants to waste his time on someone like Jessica Stanley, than thats his
business.
I looked at her, slightly surprised, as she was usually the first to bring up my lack
of commitment. She smiled lightly, shrugging at my questioning look. I returned

66

her smile, not understanding the sudden shift in her attitude but appreciating it,
none-the-less.
Whatever, Rose grumbled, annoyed.
Dad got back last night, Emmett said suddenly, shooting me a quick glance as
he tried to divert the attention off of me. I appreciated it. It seemed like an
everyday thing now, one of them getting on me about my so-called promiscuity.
So what if I enjoyed getting off?
Really? Rose asked nonchalantly, not even pretending to care.
Yeah, that reminds me, Jasper said. Alice what are you doing after school?
She shrugged. I dont know, why?
Dad wants to know if youll go to the store and pick up some clothes and stuff
for the new girl he brought home, Jasper said, already reaching into his pocket
to pull out his wallet. He knew theres no way shed say no. We each had our own
therapeutic devices, mine being music. Shopping was Alices. It calmed her,
helped her think, which never made any sense to me as malls stressed me the
fuck out. But whatever, that was Alice--quirky.
Alices eyes widened. Of course! she said enthusiastically, holding her hand out
and taking the credit card from him.
So he got a new one? Rose asked quietly. Rose and Alice were the only people
outside of the family that were clued in on the true nature of the people brought
into our home. Everyone else figured they were just live-in housekeepers or
whatever that we hired, but Rose and Alice knew they werent there voluntarily.
They were like family to us anyway, we trusted them.
We all nodded and she laughed. Hes not going to start fucking this one too, is
he?
Emmett and I laughedthey also suspected Dad had something sexual going on
with the last lady. Jasper didnt find it very funny, though.

67

Considering shes younger than us, Id surely hope not, he said dryly. We all
shut up instantly and Rose turned to gape at him.
How old is she? she asked incredulously.
Jasper laughed bitterly. Barely sixteen.
Alice was looking up at her boyfriend, frowning, obviously in tune to how he felt
about that. They were complete opposites in how they looked and acted, but at
the same time they were a lot alike in thought. Rose narrowed her eyes slightly,
scowling.
He brought a teenage girl in with a house full of teenage boys? How fucking
stupid is he? she asked, obviously fuming.
I rolled my eyes and Emmett sighed. Dont be ridiculous, Rose, its not that big
of a deal. She raised her eyebrows at him.
Not a big deal? A teenage girl living in the same house as Mr. Ill-FuckWhatever's-Most-Convenient? she said, motioning toward me. I groaned,
shaking my head.
Give me a fucking break, Rose. Youve known me since elementary school; you
should know me better than that.
The bell rang and Rose stormed off immediately. Emmett sighed, frowning. I
shook my head and gave him a sympathetic smile. Rose could be a handful. I had
a feeling she was actually upset about the idea of a young female living in the
house with her boyfriend. Rose was drop dead gorgeous and knew it, but she
could be jealous as shit sometimes.
Emmett chased after her and I ran my fingers through my hair, turning to head
into the building. I heard Jasper whisper Isabellas name to Alice and considered
lingering around to hear what he had to say, but decided against it. I wanted to
get to first period and see if maybe I could still talk Jessica into sneaking off with
me.
But of course, that didnt fly. I slid into the desk next to Jessica and leaned over,

68

whispering about skipping. But she just stared straight ahead, a ridiculous pout
on her face, all pissed off that Id let Rose talk to her the way she did. As if I had
any fucking control over Rosalie Hale.
The first few class periods dragged by slowly. School always came easily to me, I
wasnt exactly a whiz kid or anything but Id been blessed with dads amazing
memory. If I werent such a slack ass when it came to homework and
assignments Id be at the top of the class. I still had a decent GPA, around a 4.0,
but with my AP classes it could be a lot higher.
Lunch rolled around and I moseyed into the cafeteria, plopping down in the small
plastic chair at our usual table in the corner. Ive sat in the same chair everyday
since I was a freshman, no one else daring to sit in it. Most people around here
feared us because of the gossip and rumors that went around about my familys
ties to the Mob. Cullens have been linked to organized crime since the days of Al
Capone and prohibition and a lot of the kids shrugged it off as coincidence, seeing
how my dad came off as being just the hometown doctor, but they didnt fuck
with us anyway just in case. There were still those select few, like Mike Newton,
who were too stupid to get it in their heads to watch themselves around us. And
that irked me to no end If there was anything I hated, it was disrespect.
But thats what got me into trouble last year, and I had no intention of letting it
lead me down that path again. I was doing my best to ignore the people like
Newton, but it was a lot easier said than done. I wanted nothing more than to
walk across the cafeteria and yank him out of his chair and beat him to a pulp in
front of everyone, to show all of them that you dont cross me. No one had
commented on the bandage on my head today from the stitches and I was
grateful for that, as if someone did it would likely set me off and Id end up going
after revenge without even thinking.
Alice and Jasper walked in the cafeteria, holding hands as usual. Jasper leaned
down and kissed her softly and it was slightly awkward looking because of how
tall he was compared to her, but that was them and they didnt give a shit.
Jasper headed over to the lunch line to grab some food for Alice, as he usually
did, and Alice walked over toward the table where I was sitting.
My brothers used to be spontaneous and rash, but apparently I missed a lot when
I was gone for those months because I came home to the most predictable

69

fuckers on the planet. I can guarantee Jasper will eat a slice of cheese pizza and
Alice will have a salad and theyll share a fucking coke, because its exactly what
theyve done every day for two weeks. Rose and Emmett arent much better
and they wonder why I have no plans on getting a girlfriend. That shit has to be
boring.
Hey Edward, Alice said, sitting down across from me and smiling.
Hey short stuff, I almost didnt see you there, I said with a smirk. She narrowed
her eyes playfully and stuck out her tongue. I was always picking on the fact that
she was vertically challenged, as she barely stood 5 feet tall if even that.
You see if I ever stand up for you again, she mumbled. I laughed.
Yeah Im kinda surprised you did. I mean shit Alice, youre usually worse than
the rest of them with wanting me to settle down.
Alice smiled. Yeah, I realized theres no point in trying to talk to you about it,
youre too hard headed. Youll figure it out soon enough on your own, she said.
I rolled my eyes. Dont hold your breath, Alice, I mumbled. Jasper walked up
and sat the tray in front of Alice. Cheese Pizza, Salad, and a fucking cokewhat
did I tell you?
What shouldnt she hold her breath for? he asked, plopping down in the chair
beside Alice. Emmett and Rose walked up with their food, sitting down beside me.
I told Edward hed decide to settle down with a girl soon enough, Alice said,
taking a bite of her salad. My brothers glanced at her and mumbled something
under their breath.
I pity the girl whos stupid enough to actually date him, Rose said, laughing. I
turned and glared at her.
Why? I asked defensively, as I surely wasnt that bad. Im rich, Ive got clout.
Im smart, talented, Ive got a sense of humor, and Im fucking hott. Any bitch
would be lucky to be with me.

70

They all rolled their eyes and Rose groaned. Thats exactly why. Youre a spoiled
conceited prick.
I laughed bitterly, rocking my chair back on its hind legs. So says the vainest
bitch alive.
Rose narrowed her eyes at me and stood up quickly, her chair being pushed back
roughly, the metal legs scraping against the floor and causing us all to wince. She
turned and stormed out of the room, banging the door loudly and drawing the
attention of everyone in the cafeteria. Emmett glared at me and stood up,
grabbing his and Roses tray and tossing the food in the trash. He followed her
out without saying a word.
What did I tell youpredictable. Rose throws a tantrum and storms off when
someone says or does something she doesnt like, and Emmett follows her like a
puppy.
Jasper sat quietly, gnawing on his pizza in silence. Alice sighed, dropping her
fork. You shouldnt doubt me. And just so you know, it doesnt matter how good
looking or funny or talented you are, no girl with even an ounce of self-respect
likes being called the b word by a guy. So maybe if you toned that down, youd
get a decent girl to take an interest in the charming parts of you. Because you
can be charming Edward, and you are a good catch, but youre wasting it all on
the hoochies around this place.
She stood up and grabbed her salad, walking over and tossing it in the trash.
Jasper got up quickly. He shook his head sadly at me. If mom could see you
now, he muttered, walking away.
I sighed, running my hand through my hair. Dad always said my greatest talent
was pissing people off.

Chapter 7 - Things Aren't Always What They Seem


I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm
not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. -- Robert
McCloskey

71

IPOV
The moment I heard the door click shut and the car outside start up, I breathed
an audible sigh of relief.
It had been a long morning already, and quite strange to say the least. After
Edward had offered to take me grocery shopping and Dr. Cullen was satisfied that
things were settled on that front, he got ready to leave for the hospital. On the
way out he asked me to change the sheets on his bed, as he apparently wanted
them changed every Wednesday, and informed me that the makeup hed taken
from Charless house was in his bathroom. He told me to do my best to cover up
the bruise before I went into public with Edward since this was a small town. He
didnt want anyone getting the wrong idea, as the people here apparently liked to
gossip and would jump to conclusions.
After Dr. Cullen left, the boys started scrounging up something to eat for
breakfast. Dr. Cullen had said breakfast was an every man for themselves type
deal and I didnt have to cook unless it was requested of me, but I felt bad just
standing there watching them. They didnt actually have anything for me to cook,
though, so I couldnt exactly offer my services. I was feeling inadequate and out
of place so Id gone upstairs to my room and decided to take a shower. He hadnt
said anything about baths or showers, but I presumed from his outrage at my
appearance at Charless house that he preferred me to be clean constantly. I was
so used to having every tiny detail of my life controlled upfront that I was having
a hard time dealing with trying to figure things out for myself. I knew I shouldve
gotten clarification but I was so afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing that I
couldnt seem to form any questions. In my world, nothing should ever be
assumed and I knew that, I just couldnt seem to get my brain to work properly
while in their presence.
There was shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom already, along with some
bar soap. They were all tiny sample sizes but they worked well enough.
I climbed out, feeling fresher than Id felt in a long time. I was used to breaking
into a sweat the moment I stepped out of the water in Phoenix because of the
heat and humidity and our living conditions, never truly staying fresh. The air in
the Cullen house was regulated and seemed to hover somewhere between
comfortable and slightly too cool.

72

I glanced around, noticing there werent any combs or brushes around. I ran my
fingers through my hair to get the knots out, not bothering with it otherwise. The
mirrors were all fogged up from the steam from the hot shower I took and I was
actually quite grateful for it, as I had no desire to see myself. I knew I had scars
all over my body from punishments over the years and avoided looking at them
at all costs. They made me feel disgusting, unworthy.
I didnt have any new clothes so I slipped on my black capris from the day
before. I didnt want to wear the pink tank top, as it was slightly uncomfortable,
so I pulled the football shirt back on. I hoped they didnt mind.
I opened the door, deciding to head down to Dr. Cullens room to find the
makeup, and froze abruptly when I noticed the door across from me was wide
open. Edward was standing right inside the room and seemed to be frozen in spot
also. I glanced around, slightly shocked as Id never seen a room so utterly
disorganized and chaotic before. He let out a slightly nervous sounding laugh and
rattled something off about his bedroom being a mess and I realized hed caught
me gaping at it. I looked away quickly and apologized, remembering clearly that
the boys rooms were off limits. He told me not to apologize and made it out to
be no big deal, which surprised me considering both Jasper and Dr. Cullen had
alluded to the fact that Edward was kind of particular when it came to his
possessions.
I glanced up, smiling lightly that he was being so understanding. Our eyes met
and I stared into his, in something of a trance. Something about his eyes was
hypnotic, the emerald green was intense and smoldering and I couldnt seem to
tear my gaze away. They were so expressive and it was as if they were calling
out to me, beckoning me. My pulse started racing and it was slightly
uncomfortable, as eye contact usually was for me, but no matter how much I
tried I couldnt break the connection. He wasnt moving or speaking and I was
panicking internally at that fact, as I couldnt really gauge his mood or disposition
and that was slightly distressing. Dr. Cullen had said Edward was a lot like him
and I was starting to see it, as they both were mysterious and I couldnt really
read them.
Edwards phone rang and we both jumped. He cursed and looked away finally,
reaching into his pocket. I exhaled sharply, realizing I hadnt been breathing, and
once I took a deep breath my head started to clear and I took the opportunity to

73

escape the situation. It had me slightly freaked out, as Id never experienced


something like it before. It was like I was under some type of spell and didnt
have control over myself.
I practically ran down the stairs, heading straight for what Jasper had told me
was Dr. Cullens room. I slipped inside quickly, shutting the door quietly. I leaned
back against the door and took a few deep breaths to calm myself.
I stood there quietly, straining my ears to listen for sounds in the house. I heard
Edward coming down the stairs, talking to someone. He bypassed the second
floor and I could hear his voice filter upstairs as he hit the bottom floor, but
couldnt make out any words. I opened Dr. Cullens bedroom and walked quietly
to the top of the stairs, listening. I saw all three boys heading for the front door,
none of them glancing up in my direction. I stood there, watching and listening as
they disappeared out the front, the door clicking behind them as the car started
up and pulled away from the house.
It was then that I breathed the sigh of relief but my contentment didnt last
long.
It was quiet, almost too quiet. I was used to noise constantly, as there were
always people nearby when I was in Phoenix. The silence was deafening.
Id never been left on my own like this before. Even though I was technically
alone I suspected I was still being watched somehow, possibly because of
whatever it was they did to me at the medical center. Chipped, as Dr. Cullen had
called it. It all made me nervous and I suddenly was hyperaware of everything.
I stood there for a moment, contemplating what to do, before slowly making my
way downstairs. Dr. Cullen had told me to acquaint myself with the house so I
assumed that was as good of a place to start as any.
I spent about an hour going through the house and opening cabinets and
drawers, getting an idea of where everything was. I located all of the cleaning
supplies in a closet in the laundry room. On the second floor I found another
closet, which was full of sheets and blankets and pillowcases. I stayed out of the
boys bedrooms and didnt go into the room on the first floor that Jasper had told
me to stay away from. I also made sure to bypass the piano completely, not

74

wanting any fingers broken.


After that I scrubbed the kitchen floor, as it was slightly sticky from the orange
juice that had been spilt. I washed the dishes from the boys breakfast, drying
them and putting them away. They had a dishwasher but frankly I had no idea
how to use one, as Charles made us wash everything by hand, so I decided it was
just easier to wash them myself instead of risking breaking an appliance. I wiped
down all of the counters lastly.
The rest of the downstairs was fairly clean. I dusted the electronics in the living
area and grabbed the clear bottle with Window Cleaner USE ONLY THIS
written on it in black letters, cleaning the large windows that covered nearly the
entire back wall. I had to use a chair to reach the top of them and nearly fell out
of it, but thankfully was able to catch myself.
I went into the bathroom and scrubbed the toilet and sink. I used Windex on the
mirror and then mopped the white tile floor.
After that was done, I headed for the second floor. I went into Dr. Cullens room
and stripped his bed. I went into the hallway and opened the linen closet, pulling
out a black and white sheet set and a comforter that looked to be similar to the
ones Id removed. I made the bed the way Charles had liked it done, not knowing
how Dr. Cullen preferred it. But Charles had been very peculiar about how his bed
was made so it was at least something Id perfected over the years.
I took the dirty linens downstairs to the laundry room. Their washer and dryer
were similar to Charless so I knew how to operate them. I threw them in the
oversized washer and started it up.
I grabbed some supplies and headed back upstairs. I went into Dr. Cullens
bathroom and scrubbed out his bathtub and shower, which had a bit of grime in it
and looked as if it hadnt been cleaned in awhile. I scrubbed the toilet and sink
next, making them sparkle as much as possible. I used Windex on his bathroom
mirror, sweeping and mopping the floor lastly.
I went back into his bedroom and dusted off and polished his wooden furniture. I
used the cleaner on his windows lastly before heading back out.

75

I went up to the third floor and went into the library, gasping at the enormity of
it. There had to have been hundreds of books, shelf upon shelf of them. There
was a desk and some chairs sitting around, as well as a small table. I dusted the
room as best as I could.
I returned the supplies back downstairs and grabbed the Dyson vacuum. I
plugged it in and started it up, vacuuming the carpeted areas of the living room
and dining area. After that was done I lugged it up the stairs, breaking into a
sweat for the first time since arriving at the Cullen house as it weighed at least 20
pounds and my body was frail. I vacuumed the hallway and Dr. Cullens bedroom,
before lugging it up to the third floor and vacuuming the hallway. I vacuumed the
library last, before hauling the Dyson back down to the first floor and returning it
to the closet in the laundry room.
The washer had finished so I took the linens out and put them in the dryer,
starting it up. I grabbed the mop and went out to the foyer, mopping the wooden
floor. I considered moving the piano bench and mopping under the piano but
eventually decided it would be best to not even go near it.
After the floor was dry, I headed back into the laundry room and returned all of
the supplies, straightening the room up. The dryer buzzed and I pulled the fresh
warm linens out, inhaling the slightly flowery clean smell. I folded them up and
walked back to the second floor, placing them in the linen closet.
I walked back into Dr. Cullens room, glancing at his clock. It was a few minutes
past 3 pm. I wasnt sure what time Edward would return home from school, but I
was starting to panic knowing it wouldnt be too much longer. After the odd
encounter this morning, I was slightly apprehensive about being in his presence
again.
I grabbed the bottle of makeup from Dr. Cullens bathroom counter and headed
up toward my room. I considered taking another shower, knowing I was slightly
sweaty from working, but figured it was just a waste of time considering I didnt
have any clean clothes to put on. I walked in my bathroom and glared at my
reflection in the mirror, frowning. The bruise was somewhat fading to a greenish
color around the edges and looked slightly disgusting against my flushed cheeks.
I washed my face, to cool my skin off, and dried it. I opened the bottle of
foundation and poured some on my finger. I rubbed it over the bruise, trying my

76

best to blend it in but it looked slightly splotchy to me, as I had no idea what I
was doing.
I finally gave up with a groan, deciding it was good enough, and closed the bottle
up. I washed my hands slid on my black flip-flops before heading downstairs. It
was around 3:30 now and my nerves were increasing with each passing moment.
I walked into the kitchen and pulled out a glass, pouring some water into it from
the tap. I gulped it down, slightly parched. I felt slightly more comfortable in the
house after spending all day here but I hadnt been comfortable enough to help
myself to anything in the kitchen.
I washed the glass out and was putting it away when I heard the crunch of gravel
outside as a car pulled up. I pushed the curtain aside slightly and glanced out the
window. The car was sleek and silver with dark tinted windows and shiny silver
rims. It looked to be either brand new or else very well taken care of.
The drivers side door opened and Edward stepped out. My eyes widened and my
breath hitched at the sight of him. The sun was shining brightly, causing his hair
to look slightly more golden than it was. He had pale skin that practically glowed
as it reflected the sunlight, and he was wearing a pair of black sunglasses. Even
the small white bandage on the corner of his forehead seemed to add character.
He paused before closing his door, running his fingers through his hair and
making it even more chaotic than it had been.
I let go of the curtain and stepped aside when he looked up at the house, not
wanting him to think I was watching him or anything. I heard the front door open
and close softly. There was a slightly loud thump that echoed through the silent
house and then a loud sigh.
I stood frozen in spot, staring down at the ground as I heard footsteps. My heart
was racing as they grew closer to me. The footsteps stopped abruptly and I
glanced up to see him standing in the doorway. His eyebrow was raised and he
was staring at me questioningly.
I glanced back down at the ground, trying to avoid eye contact so not to have a
repeat of this morning. He was quiet for a moment before clearing his throat.

77

You like my shirt? he asked. I glanced up at him quickly, noticing his expression
hadnt shifted from the questioning look. I looked down at the shirt, realizing that
he was the evidently the Cullen who wore the number 21 and played football at
Forks High School.
Im sorry sir, I have nothing else to wear right now. I assure you Ill return it to
you as soon as possibly in the same condition it was lent to me, I rattled off
quickly.
I looked up at him and he smiled. No need to apologize, he said with a shrug.
Keep it as long as you want, it looks good on you.
My eyes widened and I looked away from him quickly. I silently cursed when I felt
the blood rush to my cheeks. I have no idea what he meant by that but the words
made me nervous.
Forget I just said that, he muttered, sighing. I glanced up and saw he was
pinching the bridge of his nose, looking frustrated. I smiled involuntarilyhe was
definitely exactly like his father in mannerisms. He glanced over at me and I
dropped my smile quickly, diverting my eyes away again. Come on, lets go get
this shit over with.
He sighed and turned, walking away. I followed behind him quietly and heard him
mumbling to himself. I couldnt make out most of it, but my heart dropped when
I heard so fucking stupid. Was he talking about me? Did he really think I was
stupid?
He hit the front door and pulled it open, turning around. He jumped, startled,
when he noticed I was right behind him. Fuck, girl! he yelled loudly, grabbing
his chest. You need to learn how to make some damn noise so people know
youre there. That sneaking around shit isnt going to fly.
Sorry sir, I mumbled quickly, feeling the tears welling up in my eyes. I didnt
mean to surprise you, I was just taught to be as silent as possible at all times.
Yeah, well, you need trained differently or youre going to give me a fucking
heart attack, he said. I nodded, unsure of what to say, and he groaned, shaking
his head. He turned and walked out the door and I followed him out, pausing on

78

the porch. I heard him mutter so fucking stupid again as he closed and locked
up the house.
He practically ran off the porch, shaking his head and muttering stuff I couldnt
make out. He headed straight around the car for the drivers side but paused
abruptly, groaning once again. He turned around and walked to the passenger
door, opening it and motioning for me to get inside. I thanked him softly,
climbing into the car. He didnt respond but nodded once in acknowledgment. He
shut the door and headed for the drivers side.
The inside of the car was flawless and made me nervous. It was all black leather,
the scent of it fairly strong. There wasnt any dirt anywhere in it that I could see,
everything still shiny and polished. I wasnt exactly surprised, however,
considering he was supposedly finicky.
He slid into the drivers seat and started the car up. I put my seatbelt on and
glanced over at him, noticing he was frowning and his posture was slightly tense.
He put the car in gear and started driving right away, not bothering with his seat
belt. I gripped the seat tightly as he accelerated quickly, sending gravel and dirt
flying. He barely slowed as he whipped down the driveway and out onto the road,
his tires squealing.
I was frightened--I wont deny it. He was quite nonchalant at driving, fiddling
with his radio the entire time and scanning through songs instead of paying
attention to the road. He didnt speak at all, didnt even glance in my direction. It
was like I wasnt even in the car with him.
He drove for a few minutes before entering the town limits. He finally stopped
when he got to a store, parking toward the back of the parking lot. He took up a
few spots, parking the car at an angle and ignoring the painted lines. It was
slightly confusing.
He turned the engine off and sighed, pulling the key out. He stepped out and shut
his door quickly. I hesitated briefly. Before I could reach for the door handle,
however, he was at my side and opening my door.
I climbed out and he shut the door behind me. He paused, glancing at me briefly
for the first time since we got into his car, before turning and heading for the

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store. I followed behind him, trying to make some noise so not to upset him
further with my silence but it wasnt as easy as I thought it would be.
We reached the building and the door slid open automatically on its own. We
walked inside and he headed toward a row of carts.
He paused and turned to look at me expectantly. I froze, slightly panicked. His
brow furrowed as he took in my expression and he hesitated, before grabbing a
cart and pulling it out.
Have you ever grocery shopped on your own? he asked quietly after a second,
glancing at me from the corner of his eye. I shook my head.
No. Ive never actually been inside a store before.
He froze, his head snapping in my direction quickly. He stared at me
incredulously. Never? he asked.
I shook my head. Never. I wasnt allowed to, I said quietly. He sighed and
shook his head, seemingly frustrated.
Well, I cant say Ive ever actually grocery shopped either, he said with a shrug.
I looked at him with surprise and he smiled lightly.
Really? I asked, smiling back.
He nodded, chuckling softly. Yeah, really. I mean, Ive ran into a store and
bought something specific I was sent for, but Ive never actually gone food
shopping on my own. Thankfully, its not my responsibility, he said.
My smile fell. Grocery shopping, according to Dr. Cullen, would be up to me to
handle. I wasnt exactly sure how that was going to work out, but I knew that
Edward was here, having to do my work for me, and that wasnt right.
Sorry, I said softly, glaring at the ground. He sighed.
Dont apologize, I volunteered. Well figure this shit out together.

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He paused when we hit the produce section, glancing around. He had a slightly
confused look on his face. He turned to me and cocked an eyebrow after a
second. I have another confession, he whispered, leaning slightly toward me.
Whats that? I asked with my brow furrowed.
I cant say Ive ever actually cooked either, so I have no idea what half this shit
is or what its for, he said, picking up a stalk of Brussels sprouts and eyeing it
skeptically. I couldnt help the giggle that escaped me at the sight of his
expression. He turned his head and smiled at me. Seriously, though, what the
fuck is this? he asked, holding it up.
Brussels sprouts, I said. He looked shocked and glanced at the stalk he was
holding.
Definitely not buying them, he muttered, practically throwing it back down. I
laughed, a little louder than I expected to, and brought my hand up to cover my
mouth. He chuckled. Youve got a nice laugh, he said after a moment. I glanced
at him and smiled.
Thank you, I said softly. He nodded, but otherwise didnt respond. We stood
there, staring at each other for a moment before he cleared his throat and
averted his eyes, running his hand through his hair again.
Lets get this over with, he mumbled.
I nodded, feeling slightly uncomfortable. There was a tension there now, I didnt
quite understand it but I could feel it. What do you generally eat, so I know what
types of things to cook?
He laughed dryly. Emmett will eat anything. Hell, hed probably eat Brussels
sprouts. Jasper and dad arent very hard to please, theyll at least give anything
you make a try.
And you? I asked, noticing he hadnt mentioned himself. He sighed and
shrugged. Finicky, I muttered to myself, enjoying the new word Dr. Cullen had
taught me, realizing that Edward wasnt just particular about his possessions. He
was all around picky.

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He looked at me incredulously. What did you just call me? he asked.


My eyes widened when it dawned on me that Id just said it to his face. He was
looking at me expectantly, obviously not going to let me get away with avoiding
it. I sighed. Finicky, I said softly.
He shook his head. My dad taught you that shit, didnt he? Hes been telling me
for years that I was a finicky fucker.
I smiled lightly, relieved that he wasnt upset. Less than 48 hours ago if Id have
muttered the word finicky to my owner, even if he hadnt know what it meant, I
wouldve been punished severely.
Yes, your dad did mention it, I said. I truly meant no disrespect.
He nodded. I know. But whatever, lets shop. We look like idiots just standing
here beside these fucking sprouts, he mumbled. I smiled and nodded.
Edward grabbed little green bags and I started tossing fruits and vegetables that
I thought would be useful in them. We started going down the aisles next and I
grabbed what I recognized as having used before. Luckily Id spent so much time
in the kitchen at Charless house that I recognized the packaging and didnt have
to deal with the fact that I was supposedly illiterate. Clara had taught me how to
cook so it was quite ingrained in me.
Edward assured me that I should get everything that caught my eye and not
worry about how much I spent or how packed full the cart was. He said he had no
desire to return to a grocery store again for a while and I returned the sentiment.
I grabbed all of the essentials for meals and Edward grabbed their favorite
convenience foods, like cereals, and junk food, like chips and ice cream and soda.
I was clueless when it came to those things.
We headed to the front with an overflowing cart and Edward started tossing the
stuff up on the conveyer belt. I noticed the girl working was staring at Edward,
her eyes wide and a big smile on her face. It was so odd, she stared at him as if
he was an idol or something, and she wasnt even trying to hide the fact that she
was gaping at him. Edward seemed to not notice her, though.

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As soon as the manager spotted Edward he came over to us. Mr. Cullen, nice to
see you, he said, reaching his hand out toward Edward. Edward nodded and took
his hand, shaking it nonchalantly.
The manager started bagging our groceries and placing them in our cart. I stood
back and watched it all with amazement, the cashier and manager both gaping at
Edward and him seemingly oblivious to it all. The manager seemed to want to
impress Edward, as Edwards presence seemed to make him slightly nervous and
maybe a bit afraid and was watching him to make sure he wasnt upset. It was so
odd, and I had to wonder if maybe the people in town knew about the other
aspect of their life, or at least suspected it. I also had to wonder if Edward was
just unobservant, or if he was just so used to the treatment that he didnt bat an
eyelash about it anymore. It wasnt normal though, that much I was sure of. I
had a feeling the teenage girl behind the register was staring at him for reasons
different than the manager, though. I had a sneaking suspicious that she had a
crush.
I was so fascinated by the workers that Edward seemed to fade into the
background, until his hand abruptly shot in my direction. I flinched instinctively
and he froze, narrowing his eyes at me. He reached past me slowly and grabbed
a candy bar off of the rack beside me. He threw it up on the conveyor belt
without taking his eyes off of me.
I looked away, unsure of why he was looking at me the way he was. I couldnt
figure out if he were upset or not. I could still feel his gaze on me and it was
making me nervous.
Your total is $247.63, the girl at the register said after a moment. My eyes
widened in surprise at the cost and I glanced up at Edward, but it didnt seem to
faze him. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet, opening it
and pulling out a silver card. He finally turned and looked away from me, swiping
his card quickly. The girl handed him a slip of paper after a second and I glanced
over, watching as he signed his name on it. His writing was quite stunning and I
realized exactly how juvenile my own writing was. I imagine my script looked
something like a little kids would look.
He handed it back to her, looking at her for the first time and she smiled brightly

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at him. He smirked at her, his grin lop-sided and charming. My heart started
racing at the sight of it and judging by the girls face, hers did too. I tried to push
my heart fluttering aside, mentally screaming at myself that I was being
ridiculous. It was dangerous. I was softening, getting vulnerable simply because
he was attractive, and that was going to get me killed if I kept it up. Less than 24
hours and he was already unraveling me.
The girl pulled off his receipt and grabbed an extra piece of paper, jotting
something down on it. She handed them both to Edward and he nodded at her
before turning away. We headed out of the store and the girl narrowed her eyes
at me, glancing down at my shirt. I realized I was wearing Edwards clothes in
public and she mustve known that, because her expression was jealous and
hostile. I sighed and averted my eyes from her, staring at the ground as we left.
We got to the car and Edward started it up. He pressed a button and the top of
the car started moving, startling me. I watched in awe as it folded down,
disappearing as it turned into a convertible. Edward saw my stunned expression
and chuckled. He started grabbing bags and tossing them in the back. I quickly
started helping him, and when we were through I slipped into the passenger seat
while Edward returned the cart.
He returned after a moment and climbed in, starting to drive away immediately.
He pulled out his candy bar, a yellow triangular box with big red letters on the
side, opening it carefully and pulling back the foil. He broke off two triangles off
nonchalantly and held it out to me.
My eyes widened and I gaped at him. When I didnt take it after a second he
glanced over at me, cocking an eyebrow at me questioningly.
Dont like chocolate? he asked.
Uh Ive, uh, never had it, I mumbled.
He looked at me with shock. Christ, girl, take it, he said, thrusting the piece of
chocolate in my face. I laughed lightly and took it, nibbling on it. I smiled widely
at the rich taste with the tiny crunchy bits and what tasted like honey, and
moaned at how amazing it was. I was slightly embarrassed at my reaction and
blushed deeply immediately. Edward merely laughed, nodding.

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Yeah, I know fucking amazing.

Chapter 8 - First time for everything


"Character is that sum total of moments we can't explain." -- George
Saunders
EPOV
My day had gone to hell quite fast, and as much as I wanted to blame my
brothers or their girlfriends for it, the fact was that it was entirely my own fault.
I tried to ignore Jaspers words as he left the cafeteria. It was such a simple
statement, but so fucking loaded it was ridiculous. I was actually quite shocked
he had the nerve to say such a thing to my face, as they all knew how
temperamental I was and how the mention of her affected me.
If mom could see you now
I knew shed be disappointed, probably pretty disgusted actually. Shed always
tried to make sure the life Dad led didnt get to our heads and that we were
raised to be gentlemen and above all respect women, and I knew I was failing at
all of that. I could be an ass, I cant deny that, and I was hot-headed and rude. I
was the complete opposite when I was younger, so gullible and sweet and
desperate for love and affection. I remember once, I couldnt have been any older
than six or so, Emmett learned the word bitch from one of his friends and
thought it would be funny to come home and teach it to little gullible Edward. I
was so desperate for him to like me and accept me that I wouldve done anything
he asked me to. I was a scrawny little shit and Emmett was always so big that he
was like my protector. So when he asked me to walk into the kitchen, where
mom was, and say the word bitch I was quick to jump to it.
Of course, it fucking made her cry and I felt like shit afterwards, not
understanding because Emmett didnt even tell me what the damn word meant.
If she knew I used that word regularly now to describe the collective female
population, shed be thoroughly disappointed.
But you know, she wasnt here and hadnt been for a long time. She was a gentle

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person, sensitive and compassionate. She hadnt been cut out for dads life, didnt
approve but she loved him so she overlooked it. She was desperate for us boys to
be different, for us not to adopt the lifestyle. She had highest hopes for me, the
youngest and most like her when I was little. She coddled me, maybe too much-she always used to talk about her sweet little Edward and how great he would be
someday.
Yeah, if she could see me now shed probably wish I had never been born. Ive
grown up to be the exact thing she was so desperate to avoid for her kids. I had
the mob mentality, the no one matters but me attitude. That sweet
compassionate boy that was desperate for love and affection died a long fucking
time ago. I pushed people away and pissed them off and used them and frankly
didnt care. But no one truly understands what it is Ive gone through, what Ive
seen and had to live knowing. If they had the same images and sounds
embedded in their brain as I did, maybe they wouldnt be so quick to judge or
condemn me.
So I got up from the table in the cafeteria and walked out, going through the rest
of the school day trying to forget about her again but I couldnt. It kept weighing
on my mind and that was pissing me off. In gym class last period Jessica even
changed her mind and agreed to sneak off with me but I couldnt keep it up
because I couldnt focus.
Emmett went to Roses after school and Jasper had some club meeting so I drove
home by myself. I was starting to regret offering to take Isabella to the grocery
store because of the mood I was in. Something about her put me on edge and I
couldnt seem to think straight around her. I was already distracted today
because of Jasper and the last thing I needed to do was say something stupid to
her. She was already sketchy enough as it was.
I pulled up at the house and climbed out, hesitating. I saw the curtain flutter in
the kitchen and realized shed seen me. I headed into the house, throwing my
book bag on the floor and walking into the kitchen. I stopped in the doorway and
looked at her. She was standing against the counter, not moving and staring at
the ground. She looked scared as shit and I stared at her for a moment, realizing
she was wearing one of my football shirts. I remembered dad coming in my room
last night and grabbing something from my dresser but I was too pissed off at the
time to give it much thought. I realized now that hed been getting her something

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to wear. It was big but it seemed to fit her somehow, like she belonged in the
shirt or something. It was an odd feeling but it kind of felt right, like she was
supposed to have it.
She wasnt even looking at me and it was uncomfortable, so I nervously spat
something off about her wearing my shirt. She, of course, apologized and said
something about returning it to me but I really didnt give a shit about the shirt. I
told her to keep it since it looked good on her.
The moment she looked away and her face turned red, I realized exactly what Id
said. It sounded like I was fucking hitting on her. She was uncomfortable enough
already; you could see it plain as day in her posture and expression that she felt
out of place. The last thing she needed was my asshole self acting all hormonal.
I was frustrated and told her to forget it, which is as close to an apology as I can
conjure up. I glanced over and saw that she was smiling but the moment I looked
at her, her expression went blank again and she looked away.
I told her to come on so we could get the grocery shopping over with before I
said or did anything else stupid. I was railing on myself for being such a damn
idiot and didnt even hear her behind me, so she succeeded in scaring me again
when I turned around. And of course, exactly like the first time, I lashed out at
her about it before I could even realize what I was doing. She apologized, saying
she was told to always be quiet, and to make matters even worse I yelled that
she needed to be trained differently. Trained like a fucking dog. How much
more of a jackass could I be, really?
I was so pissed off and busy bitching myself out that I almost forgot my
manners, almost didnt even open the door for her. I didnt understand it; Id
never treated any of the other women like this. It wasnt their fault they were
here and I always tried to make it as easy as possible on them.
I was distracted the entire drive and tried not to look at her. Something about her
got me flustered and I needed to figure it out and fix it, because we seriously
couldnt continue on with the tension or Id snap.
We got to the grocery store and I parked the car sideways so no one could park
anywhere near me. It probably pissed people off, me making up half a dozen

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fucking parking spots, but no one ever said shit to me about it. We walked inside
and Isabella looked as if she were about to have a nervous breakdown. She
confessed that shed never been inside of a store before and I was shocked. Who
the fuck had never been inside a store before? I tried to take away some of her
panic and lighten the mood a bit. I frankly didnt know what I was doing, never
had to buy shit to make meals because Im not trusted in the food department
since I practically like nothing. I actually got her to laugh and was stunned at how
young and carefree she looked and sounded at that moment. I complimented her
on her laugh and she smiled. It was a kind of sweet moment and we stared at
each other for a bit until it got weird and I had to look away before I did
something stupid. She was getting under my skin and that was making me
uncomfortable.
I knew nothing about the girl besides the fact that she was 16 and her name was
Isabella. Shed barely even spoken to me besides to apologize for things she
shouldnt have to apologize for. For all I knew she could be dumb as a doorknob
and lack any amount of personality. The two people Dad brought home prior to
her had both been uneducated, completely illiterate and I ventured to guess she
likely was also, which was pretty fucking sad.
I was shocked when she muttered that I was finicky. My dad was the only one I
knew of that used that word, so I knew immediately where shed gotten it from. I
was curious what all Dad had said to her about me, how much she knew, but the
middle of the store wasnt the time or place to ask about it. I ventured to guess
she didnt know too much, since she had been brave enough to call me such a
word to my face.
We went through the store fairly quickly. I noticed she barely even looked at the
packages she threw in the cart. I handled the non-meal stuff to make it easier on
her until she got an idea of our eating habits and preferences.
After we were finished shopping, we went up to the register and I put everything
up to be scanned. The manager came over to greet me, which wasnt anything
unusual. People tended to cater to me, for one reason or another. Some did it
because my dad was the beloved doctor who pretty much saved the hospital, or
because they had an idea of what the family business really was. Others did it
because they were sports lovers and the varsity quarterback was always looked
at like a God.

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I reached past Isabella to grab a Toblerone bar, because I was such a glutton
when it came to them, and she flinched away from me. I looked at her with
shock, surprised shed think Id hit for no reason, especially in the middle of a
damn store. She looked ashamed afterwards for her reaction, which was just
baffling. I couldnt even begin to imagine what shed been through to be so
sketchy. I turned to pay and noticed the girl at the register was smiling at me all
flirty-like. I knew who she was, she was cute and I heard around that she was
still a virgin. She wouldve been fun to talk into bed, and the sex wouldve been
nice since she was so petite and would be tight, but it wouldnt have been worth
the potential consequences. Her dad was a cop and the last thing I needed was a
guy with a badge and a gun holding a vendetta against me for deflowering and
breaking his little girls heart. My dad would kick my ass for that. But I turned on
the charm anyway, just because I could. She slipped me her phone number with
the receipt and I put it in my pocket, making a mental note to throw it away
later.
I put the top down on the car, which seemed to awe Isabella. Her expressions
were quite endearing and I couldnt help but laugh. After we got the groceries in
the car and I returned the cart, I hopped in the car and pulled out my candy bar.
I realized Id been an ass and didnt buy her one so I broke off a piece and
handed it to her. She looked at me like I were crazy and I wondered immediately
if Id fucked up again somehow. But then she told me shed never had chocolate
and that just stunned me. Who the hell hasnt had chocolate before? She took it
hesitantly and took a bite and the expression on her face was completely
stunning. She looked captivated and completely content, all over a bite of a
candy bar.
And then she moaned. She fucking moaned. And it wasnt a soft dainty moan, it
was one of those guttural fuck-me-silly moans. It went straight to my cock and I
hardened instantly. I laughed and said something about the chocolate being
good, trying to ignore the bulge in my pants. Where had it been earlier in the day
when I needed it?
The ride home was quiet. I put on some Debussy and hummed along to it.
Isabella had her head leaned back and her eyes closed, the wind blowing in her
face. I kept glancing over at her, as it was quite a sight. She had a smile on her
lipssomething about her being happy made me smile. I had a feeling she had

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more demons haunting her than me.


I pulled up in front of the house and groaned when I spotted the little red
convertible parked out front, indicating Emmett was home and had Rose with
him. Isabellas eyes popped open and widened at the sight of the car, panic
evident on her face. I sighed and ran my hand through my hair.
Its just Emmetts girlfriend. She can be a bitch though, so just ignore her.
She nodded but the panic didnt leave. I climbed out and walked over to her side,
opening her door for her. I started grabbing bags, as did she, and we took them
into the house and dropped them on the kitchen floor. I went back out and
grabbed the last of the bags, putting the hardtop back on in case it rained. I
brought the bags in and sat them down, sighing.
There was no sign of either Emmett or Rose downstairs so I figured they were up
in Emmetts room. Do you think you can handle putting this shit away on your
own? I asked. Isabella glanced at me and nodded, turning her head away from
me quickly. I sighed again, running my hand through my hair. It was a nervous
habit I couldnt seem to break. All right. Just put all the plastic bags together
and put them inside of one of the bags and sit them beside the trashcan. My dad
likes to recycle and shit.
She nodded with her back still turned to me. I hesitated before turning and
heading for the stairs. I started up the steps slowly, listening. I could hear voices
coming from Emmetts room and wanted to make sure they werent fucking
before I went barging in.
I heard Jasper laugh from inside when I approached the door. I knocked twice
loudly and threw the door open immediately. They yelled and jumped, startled,
and I started laughing. Emmett started coughing instantly, a big huff of smoke
coming out of him. The room was hazy and the stench of marijuana was strong. I
inhaled deeply, taking in the earthy smell and some of the smoke lingering in the
air.
You fuckers really should learn to lock a door, I said, still laughing. I closed the
door behind me and clicked the lock. Emmett held out the blunt to me as soon as
I approached and I took it.

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Rose rolled her eyes. Whos going to walk in on us?


You never know, I said with a shrug, bringing the blunt to my lips and taking a
long hit of it. I loved the smell of marijuana and the taste of the strawberry
rolling paper. I held it in my lungs and handed the blunt to Jasper.
Howd grocery shopping go? Emmett asked. I glanced over at him and saw he
was smirking. His eyes were glassy and redhe was high as hell.
I survived, I said, finally exhaling. I coughed lightly because of the burning
sensation in my lungs and felt the warmth rushing through me already, my body
relaxing. The cashier gave me her phone number. I reached into my pocket and
pulled out the small slip of paper, tossing it on Emmetts bed beside him.
Emmett laughed and Rose rolled her eyes, reaching over and taking the blunt
from Jasper. Whoever she is, shes gotta be better than Stanley, she said.
I shook my head. Shes that new cops kid. I have no plans of going to jail over a
piece of ass. I plopped down beside Jasper, sighing. So what are you guys
doing? Other than killing brain cells?
Rose smirked, passing the blunt back to Emmett. We were taking bets.
My eyebrows raised and I smiled. They were always betting on ridiculous shit. I
swear my brothers had a gambling addiction. So, what are we betting on?
Who makes Isabella cry first, Jasper said, shaking his head. I rolled my eyes.
And who bet what? I asked as Emmett handed me the blunt. I took a hit and
Rose smiled.
Emmett said it would be Carlisle, she said. My eyes widened slightly in surprise.
I automatically figured everyone would finger me.
Why Dad?" I asked, bringing the blunt up to my lips and taking a long drag,
holding it in as I handed it back to Jasper.

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Dad can be scary, man. You know that. Im used to him and he still sometimes
gives those looks that make me want to run the hell away from him and hide. I
figure shell fuck something up before long and hell snap at her.
I nodded, as it was plausible. And who did Jasper say? I asked, exhaling the
smoke from my lungs slowly.
I said Emmett because of his size. You shouldve seen the look on her face when
dad introduced her to Emmett, she was scared, Jasper said. I looked over at him
and he was frowning.
And you Rose? I asked. She smirked, reaching over and taking the blunt from
Jasper.
You, of course, she said, taking a hit.
I nodded, figuring as much. So how much is on the line?
Rose handed the blunt to Emmett. We each put $200 up, she said with a shrug.
I nodded again.
I ran my fingers through my hair and stood up. I got slightly dizzy and blinked a
few times to clear my vision. I grabbed the blunt from Emmett and smirked.
Well, Id say both of you fuckers owe Rose $200, because the bitch has already
won, I said, taking a hit. Their heads snapped in my direction as they all gaped
at me.
When did you make her cry? Jasper asked, his brow furrowed. He looked mad
even though he went in on the bet, he still didnt like the idea of anyone winning
it, because winning would mean that someone upset the defenseless girl
downstairs.
The first time I spoke to her, early this morning. She scared the shit out of me
and I yelled at her, I said with a shrug. I didnt mean to but you know me, I
react.
I took a long hit, holding it in, and handed the blunt to Jasper. I turned and

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headed for the door, unlocking it and leaving the room quickly before any of them
could comment on what Id said.
I went down the stairs and hit the foyer the same time Isabella was coming out
of the kitchen. She froze when she saw me and I exhaled finally, the smoke
leaving my lungs. I coughed and Isabellas eyes narrowed slightly at me.
You get it all? I asked, wanting to make sure shed gotten all of the groceries
put up. I never gave a shit before, Im probably the least helpful person in the
house, but there was a part of me that felt slightly protective over the girl and
wanted to ensure that she stayed out of trouble. I knew Emmett was rightI may
have made her cry first, but it wasnt that far of a stretch to imagine shed fuck
up before long and incur dads wrath.
Yes sir, she said softly, gazing at me.
We stood there silently, staring at each other. I felt the urge to say something to
her but I had no idea what to say or do, so I just stood there and stared.
She finally averted her eyes after a few moments, looking down at the ground.
She walked past me and headed up the stairs quickly, not giving me another
glance.
I looked at my watched and sighed. It was 5:30. I walked over and grabbed my
book bag, which was still lying beside the door, and headed up the stairs to my
room. I grabbed my European History book out and plopped down on the leather
couch in my room, flipping through the pages until I found the section on the
Medici Family during the Renaissance in Italy. I tried to read some, knowing I had
an essay due in a few days, but I couldnt focus. After reading the same
paragraph about a dozen times and still not really retaining it, I threw the book
down in frustration. I lay back on the couch, closing my eyes.
When I opened my eyes, the room was slightly darker and the sun was setting. I
sat up quickly, blinking rapidly and glancing at my watch, knowing Id fallen
asleep. It was a few minutes before 7pm.
I stood up and stretched my back out, running my fingers through my hair. I
headed out of the room and down the stairs slowly. I heard the TV on in the living

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room when I hit the bottom floor and headed in that direction.
Jasper was sitting on the couch, watching Jeopardy. Emmett was across the
room, sitting in a chair, talking on his cell phone. I plopped down on the edge of
the couch and sighed, glancing at the TV.
Jasper was rattling off answers to every question, most of them wrong but he
didnt care. He loved this fucking show. I sat back and watched with amusement,
chuckling at him when he got frustrated.
My eyes widened when a picture of a Brussels Sprout stalk popped up on the
screen and Alex Trebek said, Each of the plants seen here yields dozens of these
veggies. Jaspers brow furrowed and he mumbled peas, which made no sense.
Its fucking Brussels sprouts, I said. Jaspers head snapped in my direction and
he narrowed his eyes when the guy on TV confirmed it was indeed Brussels
sprouts.
The front door opened, diverting the attention off of me. Emmett jumped up
immediately and ran for the front door as Dad walked into the house, snatching
some bags from him. Dad laughed and shook his head. Emmett took the bags to
the table as dad headed into the living room. He glanced around the area briefly,
sighing, before his eyes fell upon where Jasper and I sat on the couch.
Will one of you go upstairs and ask Isabella if shes hungry?

Chapter 9 - Learning to grow in rows


"A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for
learning how to grow in rows." -- Doug Larson
IPOV
I lay across my bed, staring up at the ceiling lost in thought. Everything was still
so new and so strange to me. Today had been odd and I was starting to grasp
what Dr. Cullen had explained to me about life in his house, how it would give me
a sense of normalcy and certain freedoms. Id been left to my own devices pretty
much the entire day, allowed to work and do things at my own pace at whatever

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time I wanted to. It was so strange, after spending the last sixteen years having
everything mapped out for me. I felt out of sorts, conflicted at the way they
treated me. I didnt feel like a slave in their presencethey made me almost feel
welcome here. And as nice as it was not to be treated harshly every minute of the
day, I wasnt sure exactly how I liked it all. It was too new, too foreign. Ive
never experienced change before and it was completely overwhelming.
On top of that, there was Edward. He had a temper and yelled and used foul
language a lot, and more than once already its been directed at me. But even in
the midst of it he wasnt entirely mean. He spoke to everyone else the same way
he spoke to me, and almost treated me like an equal.
The ride home from the grocery store had been bizarre. I laid my head back
against the seat and closed my eyes, the warm wind blowing against my face. I
could still taste the sweetness from the chocolate on my lips. My lungs were
breathing in a mixture of Edwards cologne, which was intoxicating and clouded
my senses, and the scent of the greenery outside that lingered in the air. There
was classical music playing on the radioI didnt know what it was, but the
melody was beautiful and haunting. And as if that werent enough, Edward was
humming along to it, entirely in tune. The sounds coming from him were soft and
sweet, and it sent tingles down my spine. I had been so content and happy at
that moment, hearing and feeling and smelling and tasting things that were so
new to me.
It all came crashing down when we reached the house and I opened my eyes.
Reality came back in full force, and the entirety of it was even harder after
forgetting it all for a moment. I panicked and looked at Edward. I felt a surge of
longing and desire, my entire self begging for that feeling back that Id just lost.
That frightened me, I didnt like it one bit. I always wished to experience the
outside world, if only for a moment, but now that I had I wished it never had
happened. Because for the first time since I was young, I felt hope. I felt
happiness. And I couldnt allow that, because when it all came to an end, as it
inevitably would, it would destroy me. I couldnt let my guard down--I needed to
be strong.
And I blamed Edward for breaking me so much already. I dont know what kind of
hold he had over me to make me so easily forget my place in the world, but I

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didnt like it. He was dangerous, likely the most dangerous person Id ever met.
Others could beat me and punish me all day long, and theyd leave me battered
and bruised but theyd never break me. Edward, with just a smile, already had
my walls crumbling.
I needed to stay away from him; I couldnt let him bring me down. I needed to
remember who I was, why I was here, because forgetting would be my downfall.
I was thankful when he left me on my own to put away the groceries. Id gotten a
good idea of where everything went so it wasnt that difficult. As soon as I was
finished I glanced around to make sure everything was in place before rushing
out, intending to go hide away in my bedroom. But, of course, the way my luck
was I didnt escape unnoticed.
Edward was standing at the bottom of the steps. Immediately upon seeing him
those feelings stirred inside of me. I didnt understand it, it didnt make sense. I
didnt even know the boy, not really. Everything I knew of him was bad and I
shouldnt think fondly of him. He was an overall difficult person, a complete
complication, but just the sight of him made everything seem so simple. I stared
at him for a moment, and he exhaled some smoke, which surprised me as he was
too young for such a bad habit, and then he spoke to me. I forced myself to
respond, pushing aside the conflicting feelings inside of me. He made me almost
feel safe and I wasnt safe. Least of all with him.
I rushed out of there and locked myself in my room. I heard Edward come
upstairs and into his room, and then some time later leave again. Even when he
was out of my line of sight I still had a hard time pushing him from my mind. I
longed to know him, to hear his voice and feel those feelings he stirred inside of
me. But I couldnt let myself. I had to stay away from him.
So I lay across my bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to sort it all through. I
couldnt be too hard avoiding Edward. Id hear him when he came and went from
his room, of course, but I didnt necessarily have to have personal contact with
him. He was gone all day and I could get all of my work done then and just hide
out when he was home. It would probably make the rest of them happy also, not
having to see me and remember I existed. As long as they were fed and
everything clean, they didnt actually have to see me, right?

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There was a soft knock on my door, startling me. I hadnt heard anyone come up
the stairs. I felt panic shoot through me as I lifted myself up off the bed. I walked
over slowly and grabbed the doorknob, taking a deep breath before pulling it
open.
Jasper stood in the hallway and smiled lightly at me. I returned the smile out of
politeness, although deep inside I was freaking out a bit, wondering what he
wanted. A master coming calling was never really a good thing. Being ignored, in
my world, was ideal.
Do you want to come down and eat with us? he asked. My eyes widened in
surprise when I realized he was here to invite me to dinner. I glanced behind me
at the clock and saw that it was nearly 7:30. Dr. Cullen had told me that dinner
was around 7 every night, so I assumed that meant he was home from work with
the food.
I started to panic then. I always had to greet Charles when he arrived homedid
they expect the same here? Jasper mustve seen the fear on my face because he
sighed loudly, frowning.
You dont have to, you know, he said softly. Its okay if you dont want to come
down.
I looked at him questioningly and he smiled again. I nodded.
Thank you, sir, I said, feeling a slight bit of relief. He seemed sincere. Please
tell Dr. Cullen I said thank you for offering, also, I added, hoping hed pass the
message on and Dr. Cullen would be as understanding. Even if he werent,
though, I could take the punishment. Physical punishment wouldnt be so bad
right now, might even help me remember my place. I was famished but I couldnt
face Edward, not yet, not until I got a grip on myself. Jasper nodded.
I will. He hesitated but turned to leave after a second. I shut the door softly and
went back over, lying on my bed.
About an hour later I heard footsteps coming up the stairs and braced myself.
There was another knock on my door, this one slightly louder. I pulled myself up
and walked over, pulling the door open.

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My eyes widened in shock at the sight in front of me. It was a teenage girl, with
short black hair spiked out to the side. She was tiny, smaller than me, and was
dressed up in fancy clothes with makeup and jewelry on. She smiled a wide
happy smile at me.
Hey Isabella!! she said, her voice loud and chipper. I just gaped at her in shock,
utterly confused.
Uh hello, I said.
She laughed. My names Alice. Ive been friends with the Cullens since we were
young. Jaspers my boyfriend.
I nodded, remembering hearing about her. She was the one Dr. Cullen sent to
shop for clothes for me.
Its a pleasure to meet you, Alice, I said softly. I wasnt sure how to greet her.
Her smile grew. Youre so polite! she said. I watched with shock as she walked
past me and into my bedroom, glancing around. I went to close the door when I
heard more footsteps on the stairs. I looked out and saw Jasper and Edward
coming up the stairs, carrying a bunch of bags. I stepped aside as they walked in
the room, dropping them on the floor. My eyes widened as I saw how many of
them there were. They couldnt all be for me.
Thank you boys, Alice said. They both grumbled a welcome and walked out.
Edward went across the hall to his room and Jasper headed back down the stairs.
I shut my door and turned to face Alice. She was eyeing me suspiciously. Did
you go out in public wearing that today? she asked, motioning toward my
clothes.
Yes, maam, I said softly. She looked at me with confusion and started
laughing.
Please, never ever call me maam again, she said. Alice will do perfectly fine.
And I bet you were the envy of the girls in town, wearing Edwards football shirt.

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I smiled. We only saw one girl, but I doubt she had cause to envy someone like
me.
Alice shook her head. The girls in this town are nutts over that boy. You wearing
his clothes is cause enough for their jealousy to spike. Plus, they have no idea
who you are. All theyll ever know is you work for the Cullen family and live in
their mansion. Rose and I are the only people who know the truth, she said.
I nodded, glaring down at the ground. I wasnt sure how to feel about people not
knowing what I was, but at the same time I didnt know how to feel about the girl
in front of me knowing.
Anyway, she said after a moment. I got everything youll need for now. Youre
a pretty girl, I can tell just looking at you that everything will fit and look great.
Thank you, Alice.
She smiled. Youre welcome, she said. She turned and headed for the door,
pulling it open. She paused and turned to face me. We stood there for a moment,
in silence, before she rushed forward quickly and wrapped her arms around me.
My eyes widened in surprise as she squeezed me tightly.
You looked like you could use a hug, she said as she pulled away, smiling. And
dont worry Isabella, everything will be fine. Were going to be great friends.
She turned and walked out of the room without another word, heading for the
stairs. I closed the door and sighed. Friends?!
I walked over and plopped down on the couch in my room, and started pulling
stuff out of bags. I gaped at the clothes with disbelief, as I was stunned at the
massive amounts of them. There were dozens of shirts, at least ten pairs of
jeans, a few other types of pants, along with some shorts and capris. There were
even a couple skirts and dresses, which completely baffled me, as I had no idea
what Id need them for. There were countless undergarments, a few of which Id
never imagine wearing, as the fabric on them was barely existent. There were a
couple pairs of shoes also, some casual and others dressy. There were also about
a dozen different pajama sets, and a bag full of fruity smelling toiletries, like
shampoo and deodorant and body wash and even some perfume.

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I didnt bother pulling tags off; I just started hanging them in the closet as they
were. I put everything else in the dresser, and pushed the empty bags aside.
After everything was put up, I grabbed the bag of toiletries and a set of pajamas
and headed for the bathroom. I stripped and hopped in the shower. The shampoo
and body wash smelled strongly of strawberries and was completely heavenly. I
stayed under the spray of water for a long time before finally shutting it off and
stepping out.
I threw on the pajamas, which were a pair of hot pink and black striped pants
and a matching black tank top. I glanced around, noticing I still didnt have a
brush, but thankfully Alice had bought some ponytail holders so I just threw it
back.
I stepped out and headed for the bed when a soft knock rang out on my door. I
sighed, closing my eyes. I was exhausted and really just wanted to get some
sleep. I walked hesitantly over to the door and opened it. Dr. Cullen was standing
in the hallway and smiled lightly when he saw me.
May I come in? he asked. My eyes widened in surprise at his question. It was
his house, why was he asking me if he could enter a room?
Of course, I said, stepping aside. He walked inside and looked around.
So the clothes fit? he asked, raising an eyebrow and glancing at what I was
wearing. I nodded.
I havent tried them all on but it appears so, sir, I said. He nodded.
Yeah, Alice is usually spot on with those things. Shes a like a daughter to me.
Youll like her.
I smiled lightly. She seemed nice.
He smiled. Yeah, she is. Her best friend, Rosalie, is like a daughter to me also.
She isnt quite as cheerful, though.

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I nodded. Ive heard, I mumbled, remembering what Edward had said about
her in the car.
He smiled and raised an eyebrow at me questioningly. Really? Who was it that
warned you of Rosalie?
Edward, sir. He said she was a, I hesitated, remembering hed called her a
bad name. I didnt know if I should repeat such a thing to Dr. Cullen, didnt want
cause any trouble.
He saw my expression and laughed. Im going to venture a guess and say
Edward called her a bitch, correct? I smiled and nodded. He shook his head, still
laughing. That sounds like Edward. Speaking of which, did everything go well
today? I know Edward can come off as a bit abrasive.
Edward was nice, very helpful, I said. Dr. Cullen looked surprised.
Wow, thats not something I hear very often, he said, chuckling. Anyway I
came up here to compliment you on the job you did today. One day here and the
house looks better than it has in a long time. I seriously cant remember the last
time the windows werent grimy. And in case youre wondering, all of the
windows in the house are bulletproof, which is why they require the special
cleaner.
I nodded in understanding. Thank you for the compliment sir, it was my
pleasure.
He sighed. I very highly doubt that. You dont have to lie to me to please me,
you can speak freely as long as you arent disrespectful about it.
Id never disrespect you, sir, I said quickly.
Never say never, Isabella. Disrespect comes in many forms and sometimes we
do it without even realizing it.
I looked at him with confusion, as his words were slightly cryptic. He smiled
lightly and shook his head. We dont have to get into that right now, as its
getting late. Have a good night, Isabella.

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Good night to you also sir, I said. Dr. Cullen headed for the door, pausing and
turning his head to glance at me.
One more thing. You dont have to eat with us if you dont feel comfortable doing
so, but I do have to request that you please make sure you eat at some point.
The last thing I need is you collapsing from starvation. I put your dinner in the
fridge for you.
Yes, sir, I said. He nodded and walked out, descending the stairs quickly. I
stood there for a few moments, conflicted, before heading out and slipping
downstairs. There were muffled sounds coming from all of the bedrooms, where I
assumed the boys were. I went straight into the kitchen and opened the fridge,
noticing the Styrofoam container.
I pulled it out and opened it up. It was Japanese food from what I could tell. Id
never eaten it before myself, but I had experience cooking it. I popped the
container in the microwave and grabbed a glass from the cabinet, pouring some
water into it from the tap. When the food was warm I grabbed it and headed to
the dining area. I put my food and glass on the table and sat down. I ate quietly
and kept the light off, not wanting to draw any attention to myself.
After I finished eating, I threw the container away and washed my glass out and
put it away. I cleaned the kitchen area up a bit, from where the Cullens had ate
dinner, and then headed upstairs. I slipped into my bedroom quietly and headed
into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I was a bit apprehensive about the
toothpaste Alice had bought, as Id never actually used commercial toothpaste
before. Charles refused to purchase it for us but my mom always managed to
throw together enough salt and baking soda to make a mixture that would suffice
so my teeth were always kept clean. The taste of the toothpaste was strong and
nearly made me gag.
I slipped into bed after that and quickly drifted off to sleep. I slept deeply, waking
up only when the sound of a door slamming vibrated through my room. I sat up
abruptly, confused, and glanced at the clock. It was almost 8am.
I jumped up and practically sprinted down the steps, getting a quick glimpse of
the back of Edward as he ran out the front door. I made my way down to the

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foyer and glanced out the front window. Edward jumped into his car quickly and
started it up, spinning tires as he flew out of the driveway. He was in a rush, and
I assumed he was likely running late for school as he was leaving 30 minutes
later than he had the day before.
I went upstairs and got dressed, throwing on a pair of light colored jeans and a
blue V-neck shirt. They fit perfectly and I smiled to myself, thankful for the odd
girl who bought me so many clothes. I spent the day cleaning again, scouring
every room I was allowed to enter. Everything was still practically spotless from
the day before, but I cleaned it again anyway. I needed something to keep me
busy.
At around 3:30 I heard a car approaching outside. I walked into the kitchen and
spotted the large red jeep pulling up. It had been parked beside the house the
entire time Id been here but I got slightly nervous, not knowing who it belonged
to as the windows were dark.
I stood there, silent and frozen in place, and after a minute the front door
opened. I heard both Jasper and Emmetts voices immediately. They walked past
the kitchen, glancing in the room. Jasper smiled at me while Emmett nodded in
greeting as they headed for the living area. I heard the TV turn on.
I didnt know what to do. I considered fleeing up to my room because I felt stupid
just standing there, but that felt disobedient for some reason. I was antsy and
needed something to occupy my time, because when I wasnt busy my mind was
wandering. That wasnt good, because my thoughts kept drifting to Edward. After
a moment I sighed and walked out of the kitchen. I walked into the living area
and paused, chewing on my bottom lip. They both glanced up at me questioningly
and it made me nervous.
Can I do something for you guys? I asked.
Were cool, you can relax, Emmett said shrugging. I sighed.
Please? There has to be something, anything I can do, I practically implored.
Jaspers brow furrowed and Emmett laughed.
Shit, you dont have to beg, Emmett said. I mean, I could always eat a

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sandwich.
I smiled, relieved to have something to do. It was utterly ridiculous. Youd think I
would appreciate and savor having so much down time but it was maddening to
me. What kind of sandwich would you like?
He looked at me with shock, evidently surprised that I was actually going to do it.
Hell, I dont know. Just peanut butter and jelly will do, he said. I nodded,
turning and heading for the kitchen quickly. I grabbed the stuff and made a
peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich, placing it on a plate and grabbing a
paper towel. I walked back into the living room and held it out to him.
He took it and smiled. I returned his smile as he took a bite. Would you like
something to drink? I asked. He nodded.
Yeah a coke if you dont mind, he said. I nodded.
Of course not, I said. I went and grabbed a coke from the fridge, taking it back
to him. I headed back into the kitchen and washed the knife I used and wiped
down the counter. I heard a loud sigh behind me and turned around to see Jasper
staring at me, frowning.
Do you need something sir? I asked. He sighed again.
Youre going to spoil him, he said, nodding behind him in the direction of the
living area. You really dont have to do all that, we can take care of ourselves.
I know, I didnt mean to imply you couldnt, sir, I said. I just prefer to stay
busy. Im used to constantly having things to do and dont know what to do with
myself without work. It makes me uneasy.
I bit my lip nervously again, shocked that Id just rattled that off, but something
about Jasper made me comfortable enough to express myself. He smiled sadly.
Im sure Ive got some laundry, he said, shrugging. I smiled lightly. Come on,
lets go get it.
I followed Jasper out of the kitchen and upstairs. He opened his bedroom door

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and went inside, and I stopped in the doorway. He turned and glanced at me
questioningly. Dr. Cullen told me never to enter your rooms unless you
otherwise tell me to, I said.
He laughed. Feel free to come in my room anytime you want. Ive learned to
lock my door when Im busy because Edward has a habit of barging in, so if its
open youre free to enter. That rules really only in place because of Edward and
its really only for your own sake, because I promise you dont want to ever enter
his room unless he asks you to.
I nodded and took a few steps forward. I reached for the handle of Jasper's
hamper and his arm shot out to stop me. I recoiled backwards instinctively once
again, and he froze in spot.
Sorry, I said quickly, apologizing for how I just acted. He sighed.
Its okay. Id ask why you react that way but Im not so sure I want to know.
You do know Im not going to hit you, right?
Yes, sir, I said. He smiled and grabbed the hamper, ushering me out of the
room. We went downstairs to the laundry room and I sorted his clothes out,
starting a load. He thanked me and I waved him off, slightly uncomfortable that
he was showing so much gratitude. Id been thanked more times in the past day
than ever before.
After Jaspers clothes were washing I headed upstairs to my room. I cleaned up
my room a bit before heading back down. I washed Emmetts plate and put
Jaspers clothes in the dryer, starting his second load.
I started searching the cabinets then, knowing I had to cook dinner but having no
clue as to what to make. I sighed and headed into the living room.
Jasper and Emmett glanced up at me when I entered. Any suggestions on
dinner? I asked. Emmett laughed and Jasper smiled, shaking his head.
Ill eat anything, Emmett said. Jasper nodded, rolling his eyes.
Just make something easy that youre good at, Jasper suggested. I nodded,

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turning back for the kitchen. They hadnt been much help at all.
I pulled a pack of chicken from the freezer, throwing it in the microwave and
defrosting it. The dryer buzzed and I folded up Jasper's clothes, putting his
second load in.
I cooked Fettuccini Alfredo with chicken and mushrooms. I threw together a salad
and made homemade breadsticks to top it off. The food finished at about 6:45
and I kept it warming as I went to fold up the rest of Jaspers clothes.
The front door opened when I was in the laundry room and I looked out to see
Dr. Cullen walk in. He paused inside the doorway and smiled. It smells terrific in
here! he exclaimed. I smiled.
Thank you, sir. Its ready, just sitting on the stove warming.
He smiled. Great. Go ahead and sit it all on the table, Edward will be home from
football practice in a few minutes and well eat.
I nodded, my smile falling at the mention of Edward. I was still apprehensive
about being near him again. Dr. Cullen noticed my expression and sighed.
You can go to your bedroom if you prefer. Just make yourself a plate to save for
later.
I nodded. Thank you, sir. I walked past him and set the table, placing the food
in the center so they could serve themselves. After that was finished I grabbed
Jaspers hamper and headed toward the stairs with it. I made it to the second
floor when the front door swung open.
The smooth velvety voice hit me instantly and I froze in spot, closing my eyes.
Scopata, whats thats smell?!
I smiled involuntarily before resuming walking. I hesitated outside of Jaspers
room before pushing the door open and walking inside. Hed told me I could enter
and I was taking his word on him that it wasnt a trick. I hung up his clothes in
the closet and put the rest of his clothes away in his dresser, returning the

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hamper to the spot wed gotten it from. After that was finished, I went up to my
room and shut myself inside.
I stayed there until after I heard Edward come upstairs and go into his room. It
was ridiculous and maybe immature, but it felt like the best thing to do given the
situation. I needed to keep my distance from him. I snuck downstairs after
everyone was asleep and ate my dinner in the silent dark dining room, and did up
the dishes before returning back to my room.
The next morning I stayed in my room until after the boys left for school. I
cleaned the house again, although it was already nearly spotless. Dr. Cullen had
left me a note in his room, asking me to do the laundry he had set aside. Most of
Dr. Cullens clothes were dry-cleaned, so it was a fairly easy task but I was
grateful for the busy work. Jasper and Emmett returned home from school
around 3:30 again, and the routine from the day before continued except I made
both boys sandwiches this time and Emmett fetched his laundry for me.
Dr. Cullen returned home early, shortly after 5. I was in the kitchen, glancing
through the cabinets, trying to decide what to make for dinner. He walked into
the kitchen and smiled.
I completely forgot to tell you. You get the night off from cooking, he said.
I looked at him with surprise. Okay, I said, closing the cabinet and turning from
it.
Edward has a game so the boys wont be home. I have a flight to catch tonight
and will be gone for the weekend on business.
I nodded. Are you sure you dont want me to make you something to eat before
you leave? I asked. He smiled.
Im positive. You just relax for the night, make some popcorn and watch a movie
or something.
I looked at him with shock, taken back by his suggestion, but just nodded. He
reached his hand out to me and I flinched away, but it didnt stop him from
grasping my shoulder. He squeezed lightly and smiled. I have to go pack and

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head out. You have a good weekend, Isabella.


You too, sir. Thank you, I said. He nodded and turned to exit the room.
I hesitated briefly before heading up to my bedroom. I drew a bubble bath and
stripped, climbing into it. I mustve fallen asleep, because my eyes popped open
suddenly and a chill shot through me from the freezing cold water. I shivered and
climbed out, noticing my body was completely pruned up. I dried off and threw
on some clothes before heading downstairs.
It was getting dark out already, the sun setting. I glanced at the clock, shocked
that it was already 8pm. The house was dark and quiet. I went into the kitchen
and made myself a quick sandwich, eating it before heading back upstairs. I
grabbed the remote off of one of the mahogany tables in my room and attempted
to turn the TV on, but I couldnt get it past a blue screen. I gave up after a few
minutes, resigned to the fact that Id have to ask someone how to operate it.
I wandered the house for a few minutes, hesitating and contemplating. I ended
up in the library and found some plain white paper and pencils in a desk. I
grabbed some and went back to my bedroom, lying down on my bed and
doodling. I may be uneducated but that didnt mean I lacked all talent. I was
good at drawing, even with very little practice. It came natural to me. It was one
of the things that kept me sane at Charless. Id sneak paper and pencils, but
afterwards would have to destroy all evidence of my drawing to stay out of
trouble. I usually folded them up and stuck them in my pocket, burning them to
ash the first chance I got.
I sketched out a picture of my mothers face, feeling slightly homesick. It was
utterly ridiculous, to long to be back in the place I was so badly brutalized, but I
really missed my mom. I had no pictures of her and was desperately afraid I was
going to forget what she looked like, that her memory was going to start fading. I
missed her company already, missed having someone to talk to, someone who
could understand and sympathize. They treat me nicely here, but Id never felt so
alone in my life. It was depressing.
Some time later I heard footsteps on the stairs. I froze as they paused outside
my door. My heart started racing, the silence deafening. I was waiting for them to
move again or knock or something. Knowing they were just standing there was

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making me anxious. I felt like an eternity, but eventually I heard their footsteps
again and the door across the hall open and close. Music came on almost
immediately. I glanced at the clock. It was almost 11:30pm.
I eventually drifted off to sleep. I woke up the next morning and slowly made my
way downstairs for something to drink, nearly running straight into Jasper as he
came out of the kitchen. I asked him if I could do anything for him and he
informed me that hed be in and out all weekend and that Emmett was gone to
his girlfriends for the day. Edward was apparently grounded for some reason,
according to Jasper, so unless he needed something I pretty much was on my
own. I smiled and thanked him, but inside I was devastated at the thought of
having nothing to do.
Before Jasper left to go to his girlfriends, he came up to my room to show me
how to work the TV. He didnt look at me like I was an idiot or treat me as if I
were stupid, which I was grateful for. Jasper truly was a nice person, as far as I
could tell. I tried to follow his instructions but ended up messing it up all over
again and we both laughed, but he didnt do it in a mocking way. I appreciated it.
While he was helping me I heard the door across the hall slam loudly, so hard it
vibrated my walls. Jasper sighed and shook his head but otherwise didnt
comment.
I stayed in my room pretty much all day, flipping through channels and glued to
the TV with amazement. I didnt see Edward at all, but I could hear him and was
hyper-aware of his proximity to me.
At around 11:30 that evening, my stomach growled. I hadnt eaten anything all
day so I pulled myself up from the bed and headed downstairs quietly. I heard
the TV on when I hit the foyer and saw the soft glow from the living area. I took
a few steps in that direction and spotted Jasper sitting on the couch. He looked
up at me and smiled.
Have a seat, he said, patting the cushion beside him. I looked at him with
disbelief, a little stunned that he was inviting me to join him.
Let me grab something to eat first, I said hesitantly. Would you like
something?

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He nodded. As long as youre making yourself a sandwich, you can make me one
too.
I smiled and headed into the kitchen, throwing together two ham and cheese
sandwiches quickly. I put them on plates and grabbed paper towels, heading back
into the living area. I sat down on the couch beside Jasper and we ate, watching
TV. He was watching some comedy program and before long we were both
laughing. The front door opened eventually as Emmett arrived home from his
girlfriends house. He headed straight for the kitchen and a few minutes later
emerged with a bowl of cereal. He smiled at me and sat down in a chair across
the room.
Leave it to Jasper to get her to finally fucking hang out and laugh, Emmett said
after a few minutes. I blushed and they both laughed. It was quite relaxed and I
felt welcome, it was startling.
After a while the velvety voice registered with my ears and I froze mid-laugh. I
glanced up and saw Edward standing a few feet away from us. I hadnt even
heard him approaching. I tensed up immediately, suddenly self-conscious and
hyper-aware of everything again. He sat down on the arm of the couch beside
Jasper and was laughing, joking around with his brothers. They were talking
about his football game, which hed apparently won. I sat there for a few minutes
before it got to be too much for me. I stood up and said a quick good night,
leaving the room without giving any of them any time to really register what I
was doing and respond.
Scopata = Fuck

Chapter 10 - Boys will be boys


Boys will be boys. And even that wouldn't matter if only we could
prevent girls from being girls. -- Anne Frank
EPOV
She was avoiding me, I was certain of it now. When she declined eating dinner
with us that first night, I chalked it up to her needing to adjust to life here. She
continued to decline dinner with us and I figured maybe she just needed to get

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comfortable being around us, that maybe she was just shy when it came to
eating. It was stupid but I knew some girls were like that, all self-conscious and
afraid to eat in front of guys. Whatever, I figured she was just like them and
preferred to eat alone. Hell, I even though maybe it was just the simple fact that
we were males that made her stick to herself.
But then I caught her eating in front of my brothers. I heard her laughing with
them; saw her hanging out with them. She even seemed slightly more relaxed
around my father, who paid over half a million dollars to own her for Christ sakes.
But she refused to even look at me or be in the same room as me. I couldnt
figure it out, was I that fucking bad? I knew I had a foul mouth and could be rash
but Id gone out of my way to be nice to her, could she not see that? What was
her problem with me?
If I entered the room she was in, shed leave. Shed practically sprint away before
I could even fucking say hello. She hid out in her room, out of sight most of the
time when I was home. It didnt make any fucking sense. I mean, had I said
something or done something? Shed been fucking fine at the grocery store,
seemed so relaxed and almost happy. Shed smiled at me and even fucking
laughed. But it seemed like every since we got home, shes been playing some
backward twisted game of hide and seek, where she hid and hoped like hell I
didnt try to seek her out.
The day of my football game, which was almost two weeks ago now, Id come
home slightly depressed. I was stoked that wed won but the fact that everyone
was out partying, getting drunk and high and getting laid while I was grounded to
the house had me down. And I knew damn well dad would be checking the
security cameras to make sure my ass came home as punishment for the hospital
incident. I knew Isabella was in her room and I contemplated knocking on her
door, just wanting some damn company so I didnt lose my mind, but decided
against it. I didnt want to invade her space or anything. Her room was hers. It
was the only thing she could truly call her space and I would be a jackass to
breech that and practically force her to invite me to hang out. Because I knew if I
asked, she wouldnt tell me no. Thats how she was trained, that much was clear.
Whether or not she wanted my company, shed endure it because shed feel like
she had to. And I didnt want her to have to do that shit. I figured shed open up
and hang out whenever she was ready to.

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But then the next fucking afternoon I hear her and Jasper in her room, laughing.
He was in her space and she was fucking happy about it. It was irrational of me
but I felt this odd surge of anger about it. I shouldve been glad that the poor girl
seemed happy about something, as she obviously has had a hard life, but I
couldnt be. I was pissed about it, pissed because it wasnt me. And that was
ridiculous but I couldnt help it.
And then she avoids me all day and Im bored stiff. I take a long nap because
theres nothing else to do, and when I wake up and head downstairs I find her
laughing and hanging out with my brothers. The moment she sees me she gets
all uncomfortable and leaves.
The past two weeks havent been much better. She evades me, has barely
spoken five words to me and I doubt even looked me in the eye at all. It was
starting to piss me off, because I was starting to feel tense in my own house. I
was trying to wait it out, hoping if I used a little patience shed relax, but it
wasnt working. I finally hit my breaking point when Jasper just fucking knocked
on my door after leaving Isabellas room and asked me for my laundry so Isabella
could do it tomorrow. My brother was playing the role of messenger. She was
using a fucking middleman to avoid interacting with me at all.
I needed to know why, and we needed to fix whatever it was, because we
couldnt keep this shit up. Usually Id be happy not to have to deal with people,
but something about this girl got under my skin. I couldnt just let it go.
I lay on my bed for a while, unable to sleep. The entire situation was fucking with
my mind and had been since the moment I laid eyes on her in the kitchen. I was
in a bad mood and everyone could tell. I knew my teammates were pissed,
because I was taking my aggression out on them during practice. What I really
wanted was to just hit someone, anyone, just draw some fucking blood. But I
couldnt, because my car likely wouldnt survive another round of punishment so
close to the last one.
And it wasnt helping matters that I hadnt gotten off in over two weeks, unless
you count that aggressive jack off session in the shower the other day that was
more about releasing some frustration than getting pleasure. It wasnt from lack
of trying, though. I was having performance issues and that was pissing me off
further.

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I hauled myself up in bed and glanced at the clock. It was only a little after 9pm.
I got up and sighed, running my fingers through my hair in frustration. I walked
over and opened my door, stepping out into the hallway. I listened intently and
faintly heard the TV on in Isabellas room. I hesitated, contemplating if this was a
good idea or not, but finally said to hell with it. I wasnt going to get any sleep
until I got this shit sorted out, so I lifted my hand and knocked.
I didnt hear any movement inside the room after a moment, so I knocked again,
this time slightly louder. When there was no movement again, I started getting
aggravated. Was she seriously going to sit in there and avoid me, hope I went
away?
I knocked one more time, pausing. When there wasnt any movement again I
said fuck it and turned the knob.
I actually expected the door to be locked, so I was surprised when the knob
turned smoothly and the door opened. I pushed it open slowly and peeked inside,
freezing instantly.
Isabella was lying sideways across her bed, on her stomach. She had on a pair of
black shorts, which were entirely too short, and a black tank top. It was startling
how much skin she was showing, as Id never seen so much of her before, and I
groaned softly to myself in frustration as my dick hardened. Now it wanted to
cooperate with me.
She was sleeping. Her eyes were closed and I could see the rise and fall of her
body as she breathed. There was a small smile on her lips and I wondered
immediately what she could be dreaming of to make her look so content. I tried
to push that thought away quickly, as it was fucking ridiculous for me to give a
shit about what someone was dreaming. The girl wouldnt even come near me,
why did I care?
The black clothes made her skin appear paler than it was. She looked so fragile,
like a porcelain doll almost. I hesitated, sighing, before closing the door softly
behind me. I took a few quiet steps toward her, pausing beside her bed.
The marks on her skin that she came here with were finally gone, but I could

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clearly see her pale skin was covered in small scars. There were so many of them
that it was obvious shed been beaten routinely for God knows how long.
I noticed she was lying slightly on top of a white piece of paper. My brow
furrowed in confusion, wondering what it could be. I already felt horrible enough,
being in her space like this without her permission, but my curiosity was peeked.
I reached down and grabbed a hold of it, slowly pulling on it. She shifted her
body, rolling over onto her back when she felt the movement of the paper. I
froze, wide-eyed, waiting for her to open up her eyes and catch me. Last thing I
fucking needed was to be caught standing in her room staring at her. Not only
would it scare her, but also Dad would have my ass for it.
She stayed asleep though and I inhaled deeply at the sight of her. Her shirt was
so low cut that I could see the tops of her breasts and bra. I diverted my eyes
quickly, feeling like a fucking pervert, and my gaze fell to her stomach. Her shirt
was pulled up some, exposing her belly button. I felt the hard-on in my pants
growing even more and groaned.
I looked away from her quickly and grabbed the paper beside her. I picked it up
and turned it over, my eyes widening.
It was a drawing. Not some fucking doodle or stick figure shit that Id create,
either. It was good. I stared at it in shock, completely stunned that she was so
fucking talented. I mean, who knew the girl who couldnt write her name was an
artist? It was a picture of a woman; Id guess her to be maybe middle aged. I
recognized some of her features as also belonging to Isabella, as thats how good
the drawing was, and realized that it must be her mother.
And I instantly felt bad. Im mad at her and was on the verge of cursing her out
for making me feel uncomfortable, when the girl locks herself in her room to draw
pictures of her mom. She was still a kid and thrust into this house with a bunch of
people she doesnt know, obviously missing her mother. Me, of all people, knows
what it feels like to wallow in the sadness of losing a mom. Was that the fucking
problem, that I hadnt been sympathetic?
I sighed and lay the picture back down beside her. I glanced down at her face
and noticed her smile had grown. I smiled involuntarily at the sight of her looking
so happy, feeling like a jackass for being so selfish and getting upset that Jasper

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made her laugh. What the hell had gotten into me?
I reached out and brushed a few strands of wayward hair from her face, freezing
afterwards. I hadnt realized what I was doing. I sighed and turned, needing to
get the hell out of the room before I did something stupid to wake her up.
I headed for the door, shaking my head at my stupidity, when her innocent
breathy voice hit my ears.
Edward, she said softly. I froze mid-step, my dick hardening even more at the
sound of my name coming from her lips. It was the first time Id ever heard her
say it and it sent the blood rushing through me, a strange fucking tingling
sensation in my chest. I cursed under my breath at the fact that she fucking
caught me in her room, and turned around slowly.
My brow furrowed in confusion when I saw her eyes were still closed. Her chest
was rising and falling steadily, the smile still on her lips. A strong stunning feeling
shot through me when I realized she was still asleep. She talked in her sleep, and
said my name.
Was she dreaming about me?
I stared at her wide-eyed for a moment, confusion and shock ricocheting through
me. Another strong sensation boiled up and I blinked a few times, rapidly. I felt
happy, hopeful. What the fuck was I hoping for?
I tried to push that aside quickly, squelch it before I had to seriously consider
what the hell it meant. I turned and bolted out of her room quickly, as quietly as
I could.
I lay down in bed, tossing and turning. I couldnt fall asleep because I couldnt
shut my brain off, couldnt stop wondering what he sparked her to say my name
in her sleep. She hadnt seemed upset, she actually looked really fucking happy,
which didnt make any sense at all considering she wouldnt even come near me.
I mean, was she happy that she was pissing me off, was she enjoying fucking
with me?
The hard-on in my pants was throbbing and uncomfortable so after a few minutes

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of shifting around, trying to ignore it, I sighed, resigned. I pulled my pants down
slightly and pulled it out, stroking it slowly. It didnt take long before the tension
built and I could feel my release coming. I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes
as the pleasure rocked through me and I exploded, hard. I couldnt stop the loud
grunt that escaped my throat and felt my body relax immensely. I slowed my
movements and sighed, finally stopping. I had it all over the fucking hand and
stomach so I climbed out of bed and headed into the bathroom, washing the
sticky substance off. My eyes were heavy now with exhaustion and I flopped back
into bed, passing out almost immediately. It was exactly what I fucking needed.
I woke up the next morning earlier than usual, feeling well-rested. I climbed out
of bed and sighed as thoughts of Isabella came to me. I definitely needed to get
the girl out of my system.
I hopped in the shower and washed up, throwing some clothes on afterwards. My
stitches had come out but there was still a slight scar over my eye, which if I had
to be honest made me look a bit like a bad ass. I had a few scars, most of which
had crazy stories behind them, but I wasnt happy that this one had come from
Mike Newton.
I gathered up my dirty clothes and threw them in my hamper, opening my
bedroom door. I hesitated but sat the hamper outside of Isabellas door. If she
needed to go through Jasper for now to deal with me, than Id deal with it. But it
wouldnt last long, she was going to speak to me. I was determined. I felt a bit
freaked out that she was about to wash my underwear but there was really no
way around it, because I surely wouldnt be washing them myself considering I
didnt know the first thing about doing laundry.
I headed downstairs and grabbed a bowl of cereal, flopping down on the couch. I
turned on MTV and watched a few music videos to pass the time. My brothers
joined me after a few minutes and we sat around chatting and eating breakfast.
After a while a car horn sounded out front and Emmett hopped up, telling us it
was Rose and hed see us later. I glanced at my watch and saw he was leaving
early, which told me they were planning to get their rocks off somewhere before
school. Rose had a car fetish, enjoyed screwing in the car.
Una scopata veloce, I muttered to Jasper, telling him Rose and Emmett were

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going to have a quickie. Jasper laughed, shaking his head, and Emmett turned his
head to glare at me, sticking up his middle finger. I just smirkedhe just
confirmed it.
Jasper and I sat around and watched TV quietly for a few minutes before he
sighed. Alice wants me to invite Isabella to the football game tomorrow night,
he said. I glanced over at him and raised my eyebrows, slightly surprised. I knew
she wasnt used to being around teenagers so I didnt know how shed take to
coming to a stadium packed full of them.
Are you going to? I asked.
He sighed again. I was going to, but I wanted to make sure you were okay with
it first.
My brow furrowed in confusion. Why wouldnt I be? I asked.
He shrugged. I dunno, youre the one that plays and I didnt want to throw you
off your game by bringing her.
I shook my head. Why would her being there throw me off my game? I asked
with confusion. He sighed.
I dunno, really, but its clear the two of you dont get along. Being within twenty
feet of each other makes both of you tense up. I mean, hell, shes been stressing
over doing your laundry for a few days now because she knew you needed it
done but she was too damn afraid to even ask you. I finally got tired of the shit
and did it myself.
I sighed. She couldve fucking asked me, I wouldnt have snapped at her. I dont
know what her deal is but I havent done anything to her. I thought we got along
fine at the grocery store but ever since then shes avoided me like Im diseased
or something. Its wearing on my nerves.
He shook his head. I dont think you realize how abrasive you can come off as.
You dont even have to say a word, just your stance and the way you look at
people can be intimidating. Youre a lot like dad in that way. Tale il padre, tale il
figlio, he mutteredLike father, like son.

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I sighed and nodded. There wasnt really anything I could do about that, it was
just the way I was. It wasnt as if I tried to be that way, it was done
subconsciously. I glanced at my watch and saw it was 7:30 and got up. Come
on, fucker, lets get to school and get this day over with, I mumbled.
Jasper had his own car but wasnt fond of driving, so he always caught a ride with
someone. We climbed into the Volvo and I flipped through my Ipod, finding my
classical music play list. I listened to pretty much every type of music but I
needed something to calm my nerves today. I hadnt been playing the piano
much lately as Ive been in somewhat of a standstill musically and have entirely
too busy to try to concentrate on it.
We arrived at school and Alice met us at the car. Jasper leaned down and kissed
her quickly as soon as he saw her. She smiled and turned to face me, raising her
eyebrows. Why the long face? she asked.
I shrugged. Jasper shook his head. Him and Isabella arent getting along very
well, he said. I rolled my eyes.
Its not that we arent getting along, its just that she fucking runs from me
whenever I come near her.
Alice shook her head. Isabellas a sweet girl, if youd relax shed come around.
I rolled my eyes again. Alice youve spoken to her once, her first day there.
Shes locked herself in her room whenever youve come by since then. You arent
exactly an expert on the subject, I muttered. Isabella had successfully evaded
Alice also, but I had a feeling it had more to do with the fact that Alice had only
been to the house when Rose was there. Everyone liked Alice, but everyone
avoided Rose.
Alice smiled. You always doubt me, Edward. Regardless of everything, shes still
just an average teenage girl. Were not that complicated to figure out if you pay
attention.
I laughed. If you say so, short stuff. Yall bitches are confusing.

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She rolled her eyes. What did I say about the b word, Edward? Geez, are you
ever going to learn?
I shrugged and smirked, turning and walked away from her. My smile fell the
moment my back was turned. I was tense again and aggravated. I walked by
Lauren, who smiled seductively at me. I hesitated before stopping and cocking an
eyebrow at her. She was wearing a short skirt and a tight ass black shirt that
showed entirely too much cleavage. I felt the stir in my pants and smirked.
You wanna? I asked, not having to elaborate. I hadnt fucked around with
Lauren for a while, trying to respect the whole Tyler thing, but I needed a release
and I hadnt been able to keep it up with Jessica. She smiled and shrugged.
Come on, I said, winking at her. I turned and headed back toward the car,
glancing behind me to see her following like I knew she would.
I hopped into the drivers seat and spotted Alice and Jasper staring at me, both
frowning. I avoided them, though, not wanting to deal with it. Lauren climbed
into the passenger seat. I started the car up and swung it in reverse, flying out of
the parking lot.
You wanna just do it in the car? she asked. I looked at her incredulously.
Hell no, were not defiling the leather seats. This baby is a no fucking zone.
She smiled. Your house then?
I tensed up immediately. My house? Thats usually where I took girls when we
skipped but Isabella was there now. Could I seriously take a girl back there right
now, knowing she was there? No, were not going the whole way there, I said.
As soon as I hit an unpopulated area, I pulled over and drove slowly into the
woods. As soon as we were out of view from the road I stopped the car. Here?
she asked, furrowing her brow. I rolled my eyes.
Oh dont be picky, you want this shit as bad as me. Where doesnt matter as
much as what, I said. I reached over and opened the glove compartment, pulling
out a condom. I got out of the car and she shrugged, climbing out. I walked
around to the front of the car and she joined me. She leaned up to kiss me and I

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turned my head so her lips grazed my cheek. She knew better than that shit, I
didnt kiss on the mouth. It was too intimate. I havent kissed on the lips since I
was a kid.
You wait, one day youll kiss me, she said. I smirked and shook my head,
unbuttoning and unzipping my pants while pulling my dick out. I tore the condom
wrapper with my teeth and slipped it on, almost an expert at the shit by now. I
turned her around quickly so she was facing away from me and pushed her down
on the hood of the car. I pulled her skirt up and pushed her thong down and
thrust inside of her without delay. She cried out and I groaned at the sensation.
Dont hold your breath waiting for that kiss, I whispered, leaning down with my
lips right beside her ear. She shiver and I smirked. I always knew how to get her
going.
I pounded into her, taking no mercy on her. Lauren was kinky and liked it rough,
which was good for me because thats exactly what I needed. I didnt do well with
the whole taking it slow thing. I needed in and out, not at all giving a shit about
foreplay. Making love was for people in love and that surely wasnt me.
I felt her body tensing up, her cries growing louder. I leaned forward and sunk
my teeth into her shoulder blade and she screamed, exploding into orgasm. I
licked the spot Id bitten and blew on it softly the moment her orgasm subsided
and her body exploded again instantly, her knees buckling as she screamed my
name. I grabbed her hips to hold her up and felt my own release coming. I
gritted my teeth and grunted as I came.
I pulled out of her immediately, pulling the condom off and throwing it on the
ground. Lauren laid her head on the hood of my car, peeking around to watch
me. Thats littering, she said, pointing at the condom on the ground. I shook
my head, shrugging.
Thats indecent exposure, I said, reaching over and slapping her still exposed
ass. She yelped and stood up, giggling while she pulled her skirt back down. I
zipped and buttoned my pants back up and glanced at my watch. Come on, well
make it in time for second period.
She pouted at the mention of going back to school but didnt say anything. We

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got into the car and drove back to Forks High. I parked and we climbed out just
as the bell for the end of first period sounded.
I walked up behind Lauren and ran my hand up her thigh, grazing it across her
soaked thong. Thanks babe, I said softly, whispering in her ear. She shivered
again and I chuckled, pulling my hand away and heading toward the building. I
passed Alice and smiled at her, but she just rolled her eyes. I laughed.
The rest of the day passed uneventfully. The guys were relieved at football
practice that I seemed more relaxed. Tyler was cold toward me but I blew him
off, not letting it bother me. I imagine he mustve found out about my morning
escapade with Lauren and was upset about it. I didnt know what it was he
thought they had, but evidently she wasnt on the same page as him if shed run
off with me so quickly. He couldnt blame me for that shit, that was his and hers
problem to sort out.
I drove home after practice and went into the house in just enough time to see
Isabella heading up the stairs. I sighed and shook my head.
I washed my hands and headed into the dining area, where dinner was waiting. I
flopped down and dad did the blessing. I always found it ironic that he insisted on
saying a prayer every night at dinner. I mean, hell, I dont think asking God to
bless us or our food was worth the breath it took to say the words, considering he
murdered without remorse, but whatever.
Dinner was fantastic, as always. Isabella was an amazing cook. Two weeks and
shed yet to make anything I didnt like, and I was picky as hell. Dad and my
brothers were pleased also, which was saying a lot considering I dont think there
was ever a time when one of the other ladies cooked that one of us didnt have to
make a sandwich afterwards because we couldnt choke down dinner.
Halfway through the meal dad cleared him throat. That was nice of you to invite
Isabella to the football game Friday, Jasper, he said. Jasper nodded.
I figured she could use some time away from here. She hasnt actually stepped
foot outside the house since she went to the grocery store, he said.
Dad froze, his fork midway to his mouth. I looked at Jasper incredulously. She

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hasnt gone outside at all?! I asked.


Jasper shook his head. She wasnt aware that she was allowed to. No one
exactly explained that to her. She didnt even know she was allowed to watch the
TV in her bedroom until Dad told her to watch a movie.
I shook my head and Dad groaned. I shouldve known, considering where she
came from, he muttered to himself.
Where did she come from? I asked out of curiosity. Dad shook his head.
Not my story to share, thats up to Isabella to tell you, he said. I laughed dryly,
as if shed tell me when she wouldnt even fucking look at me, and turned to
Jasper. He shrugged, the expression on his face making it obvious he had no idea
of the answer.
Ill talk to her. Ive been planning to take her for some exams anyway, and Id
rather get it all done before she goes out socializing at Forks High, Dad said after
a moment.
So shes going to the game? I asked.
Jasper nodded. She said yes, he said.
I was silent for a moment. Did she say yes because she wants to, or did she say
yes because she doesnt think shes allowed to say no? I asked. I glanced around
the table and saw that none of them knew the answer to that. I sighed. Thats
what I thought.
After dinner I headed up to my bedroom and paused in the hallway. My hamper
was sitting in front of my door, full of clean folded clothes. Isabella was standing
beside it, staring down at the ground and chewing on her bottom lip. She looked
scared as shit and I felt a jolt of sadness rip through me. She didnt need to be so
fucking nervous around me.
I sighed and started toward her. Her head shot up and she made eye contact with
me for the first time in nearly two weeks. I, uh she started. I paused, waiting
patiently for her to finish. I, uh, was going to put them away, but uh Im not

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allowed, and uh, I didnt know what youd want, so uh


I groaned and she stopped talking immediately, looking at the ground again. You
want to put my laundry away, I said, more of a statement than a question. She
was standing here, forced to talk to me, because she didnt want to appear to be
neglecting her work, but it was clear she wasnt exactly comfortable doing so. I
knew she wouldve been happy to sneak in and put it away and sneak back out
undetected, but because Id snapped at the other women for entering my room
dad enforces the dont enter without permission rule so she couldnt.
Yes, sir, she mumbled. I nodded, staring at her for a moment, conflicted. I
could very easily alleviate her discomfort and tell her I can do it myself, which I
completely could. I wasnt that damn incompetent. Or I could tell her to go ahead
and do it. It would require her going in my room, which a disaster but she knew
that already. I didnt let people in my room often, as I wasnt entirely comfortable
having people around my belongings. I was odd like that; I guess I was finicky
when it came to my shit but whatever. Wed both be slightly uncomfortable but
she couldnt exactly evade me in my own fucking room. The only time girls were
invited inside was when I was getting some, and afterwards Id let them linger for
a bit so I didnt look like a total asshole, but the moment they started looking or
touching stuff they got kicked out.
I felt bad for her discomfort but when it came down to it, I was selfish. I wanted
what I wanted, and right now that was for her to acknowledge me.
Fine, I said. She looked up at me and furrowed her brow, shocked at my
response. I guess she thought Id relieve her of the duty. I cocked an eyebrow at
her.
Okay, she mumbled.
I pushed open my door and stepped aside, waving her in. Well, come on in.

Chapter 11 - Understanding
No man understands a deep book until he has seen and lived at least part
of its contents -- Ezra Pound

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IPOV
It wasnt working.
The past two weeks Ive been avoiding Edward. Ive barely looked at him or
spoken to him. I kept my distance and tried not to linger in his presence. I was
hoping that staying away from him would somehow make this uncomfortable
tension between us disappear, make these strange feelings I had whenever he
was close by stop.
But like I said, it wasnt working. The sensations were only growing, my
attraction to him only increasing. It was ridiculous and I didnt like it one bit, but
I couldnt stop it.
I didnt understand it at all, didnt understand my reaction to him. I didnt get
why my chest felt like it would burst when he spoke, why my skin got the prickly
sensation when he came near me, why I felt dizzy when I heard his laugh. I
didnt understand why I involuntarily smiled when someone mentioned him, why
I was constantly aware of where he was, why my heart started pounding so hard
when I heard his car pulling up in front of the house. It didnt make sense that he
was always on my mind, and that thoughts of him made tingling shoot through
me, causing parts of me awaken that had always been dormant, giving me
feelings and desires Id never felt before. He made me nervous and anxious,
made me feel like a million butterflies were fluttering inside of me, and it didnt
make sense because Id only felt so queasy before out of fear. And I didnt fear
him, he didnt frighten me. The only thing that frightened me were the feelings he
inspired inside of me, because I had no idea what they all meant.
I barely even knew him. In fact, Id made a point to not get to know him. But
none of it worked or made a difference, because the feelings came anyway. I
couldnt even escape them in my sleep, as he started creeping into my dreams. I
constantly saw his face, heard his laughter and voice.
I didnt know what to do anymore. I evaded him so much I didnt even know how
to stop. He had to have known by now, had to have figured it out. I wasnt
exactly sneaky about it and I knew Jasper was aware of the fact that I avoided
his brother, so I realized Edward had to have noticed. But I had no way of
explaining it, no way to make him understand why.

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The worst part was that I had no one to talk to about it, no one to help me
understand or to give me advice. The past two weeks Ive gotten to know the
other Cullen boys as well as to be expected, and Dr. Cullen had been rightId
grown to actually enjoy Jasper and Emmetts company. Jasper especially, as he
was quite understanding and sympathetic. He never asked me questions or
pushed me for explanations on why I did the things I did or said the things I said.
He was just simply accepting and I appreciated it. I could easily tell why him and
that girl Alice dated, as they seemed to have personalities that complimented
each other.
Speaking of Alice, shed been to the house a few times over the weeks but I
avoided her. I liked her, but I didnt know how to act around her. Shed hugged
me and said wed be friends and that was just so strange to me, unexpected. She
hadnt been here without coming with Emmetts girlfriend Rosalie, and I was
doing whatever I could to stay away from her. Both Edward and Dr. Cullen had
pretty much informed me that she wasnt nice and I didnt need a confrontation. I
was afraid of her and had yet to even speak to her.
Last night Jasper had come into my room to drop off a package that Alice had
given him for me. It wasnt the first time, as shed sent packages with him a few
times over the past two weeks. He said they were things she forgot to get, such a
lotions and a robe and a brush. I was grateful for it all but it was so
overwhelming. It didnt feel like it was worth it for them to be spending so much
money on me. He came inside and sat down on my couch and had asked me if Id
done Edwards laundry yet. Id mentioned in passing that I needed to see if
Edward needed laundry done, as Id done everyone elses at least twice already
and had yet to wash a single article of clothing from Edward. I told him no, I
hadnt asked him yet and Jasper nodded. He sat quietly for a few moments
before he sighed and asked me if Edward had done anything to me.
The question had caught me off guard and I assured Jasper that Edward hadnt
harmed me in any manner, but he didnt seem to buy it. When he left I heard him
knock on Edwards door and that scared me a bit.
I fell asleep last night, clutching the drawing of my mom I had done. I really
wished she were around, that I could talk to her. Shed be able to help me
understand the feelings I were having, even if shed never experienced them

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herself. My mom always had a way of making me feel better, even if she didnt
have a solution to my problems. I dreamt of Edward again and woke up with that
prickly feeling dancing across my skin.
When I got up and opened my door, I froze in spot. Edwards laundry was sitting
in the hallway. I realized thats why Jasper had gone to Edwards room last night
and felt horrible instantly. They were entirely too nice to me here and I was just
waiting for it all to come crashing down, and me neglecting the small amount of
work I did have was a sure way to create that downfall. It was completely wrong
for Jasper to have to intervene for me to do my work; I couldnt let that happen
anymore. I couldnt let my childish feelings cloud my better judgment. I needed
to stay on my game.
I spent the day cleaning as usual and did Edwards laundry, taking extra care
with it because I knew he was picky about things. I took it upstairs and sat it in
the hallway outside of his bedroom, unsure of what to do with it. I always put
everyone elses laundry away, as theyd all given me permission to enter their
room for that reason, but the subject had never been addressed with Edward and
there was no way I was just going to walk in.
The day went by fast. Dr. Cullen arrived home and I was putting the food on the
table when Jasper walked in the room.
Isabella? he said. I glanced up at him and smiled.
Yes, Jasper? I asked. Jasper had made me swear not to call him sir anymore.
Do you want to go to Edwards football game with us tomorrow night? he
asked.
I stopped what I was doing and looked at him with disbelief. He was inviting me
to go out with them somewhere socially? I stared at him for a moment before
glancing over at Dr. Cullen. He was watching me with interest and smiled,
nodding. I wasnt sure if that meant I was allowed to say yes if I wanted to, or if
he was telling me I was supposed to say yes, but regardless I knew I couldnt say
no. It wouldnt be right.
Yes, I said softly. Jasper smiled and nodded. I finished putting the food out,

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suddenly completely nervous, and headed for the stairs quickly. I heard Edwards
car pull up outside and the front door open. I could sense his gaze on me as I hit
the second floor but I didnt dare turn around and look.
I waited in my room until I heard Edward start up the stairs from the second
floor. I took a deep breath to prepare myself and stepped out into the hallway. I
had to at least offer to finish his laundry, since I hadnt been brave enough to ask
for it to begin with.
I looked up when he reached the floor and our eyes met. It was the first time Id
looked into them in nearly two weeks and they were just as stunning as I
remembered them being. He paused in front of me and I started stammering, my
words not really making much sense because I was so nervous. It was the first
time Id addressed him in a while. He figured out what I wanted and I expected
him to wave me off, but he didnt. I was shocked when he instead opened up the
door to his room and motioned for me to go inside.
I felt sick, the butterflies twirling around inside of me. I took a few steps into his
room, pausing right inside the door. Edward grabbed his hamper and pulled it
inside, sitting it right beside the door. He was standing right behind me, so close
that my skin was tingling. I could smell him and it was intoxicating, completely
clouding my thoughts. I inhaled sharply when I heard the click of the door behind
us, shutting us in the room together.
I tried to push the nervousness aside, ignore the fact that his proximity and smell
was making me light-headed, as I was determined to get this done quickly. I
swung around to face the hamper and my vision hazed over from the abrupt
movement. I nearly lost my balance but Edward grabbed a hold of me quickly,
keeping me upright. Electricity shot through me at his touch and I gasped. I
instinctively tried to pull from his touch, flinching at the unexpected contact, and
Edward let go of me.
Are you okay? he asked, his eyebrows raised. He looked genuinely concerned
for me, and it made me feel even worse about the entire situation. It wasnt his
fault I was having such ridiculous and immature feelings and it was wrong of me
to take it out on him.
Yes, sir, I said softly, taking a deep breath. I turned from him and walked over

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to his hamper, starting to pull out his clothes. He had a lot of them, as he hadnt
had laundry done in quite a while.
Edward brushed past me and walked over to a desk sitting across the room. He
pulled the chair out and sat down in it, slouching down. Edward had horrible
posture. I tried to keep from looking at him but I could sense his eyes on me. It
was making me even more nervous and my hands were shaking. I didnt want to
mess up or do anything to upset him.
It was quiet for a moment before he sighed. Can I ask you something? he
asked.
I hesitated. Of course, sir, I said after a moment.
He didnt say anything at first, just sat watching me. It finally got to be too much
and I stopped what I was doing, glancing in his direction. He smirked when I
looked at him but didnt speak.
Did you have a question, sir? I asked.
He nodded. I actually have a few. You dont mind, do you?
I shook my head. You can ask me anything, sir. I regretted the words the
minute I spoke them, dreading him asking me something embarrassing. I turned
from him and started hanging more clothes up, waiting for him to start his
questions.
Whats your full name? he asked.
Isabella Marie Swan, I said, slightly surprised by his question.
Where were you born?
I sighed. Phoenix, Arizona.
I bet its not easy adjusting to the dreary weather here when you come from
such a hot dry place.

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I smiled lightly. Yes, it takes some getting used to. I glanced over and saw him
nod.
Did you live there your whole life?
I nodded. Up until two weeks ago, yes.
Do you miss it? I froze, slightly stunned by his question. I didnt know how to
answer it. Am I supposed to say no because saying yes would be rude? Would he
be offended if I said yes? Could I really say I missed Phoenix, without explaining
everything to him so hed understand it was nothing against them or nothing
positive about Charles, but that it was about my feelings? The truth, he said,
reading my expression.
Depends on what you mean by it, I said hesitantly. I glanced over to gauge his
reaction and saw him eyeing me with interest.
Explain it to me, he said. I closed my eyes and sighed.
I dont miss my owners, I said. No one else had asked me to talk about this and
I didnt feel very comfortable, hashing it out for the first time with the one person
who I tensed up around as it was.
They beat you, he said, his tone telling me it was a statement and not a
question. I looked over and saw he was frowning and looked angry. I nodded.
Yes, sir, thats correct.
So how can you miss any of it, then? You obviously didnt have a good life there
if you were abused.
I sighed, unsure of how to explain it to him. There are different degrees of
good, I said hesitantly. I may have had it rough there because I was physically
abused, but what I did have was a support system, people who endured what I
endured and understood the life I had. In that sense, I did have a good life in
Phoenix.
I glanced over at him and saw his eyes were narrowed slightly. He didnt look

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mad at what Id said, more like he was contemplating something.


And what about life here? Is it a different degree of good?
I nodded. Of course. I have food to eat and clothes to wear and my masters
treat me humanely. The people in my world strive for this type of life, one where
you dont have to live in constant fear of paying for other peoples mistakes with
your life.
And in Phoenix you did? Fear that youd be killed for no reason? he asked. I
glanced at him and saw he looked genuinely interested.
Theres always a reason, sir. Just not always one that you created. It was odd
how easy it was, saying these things to him. The nervousness was still there, my
heart was still racing, but I wasnt entirely uncomfortable. Talking to him came
more naturally than I thought it would, and I felt ridiculous for my recent
behavior. Id only made things worse.
Thats why you asked me not to punish you when I spilled my orange juice.
Youre used to being blamed for everything, even if you it wasnt your fault.
I nodded. That was my fault, though, sir. I frightened you and I shouldnt have.
He scoffed. You cant blame yourself for that. I was being a pussy.
So I wasnt the only one acting like a cat in that situation? I said instantly, not
even giving myself time to think about what I was saying. He had yelled at me
and told me I needed a bell because I was worse than a cat.
He laughed loudly. Figlio di a femmina, did you just crack a joke? I smiled at
the sound of his laughter. It was so carefree and melodic. I had no idea what the
first part of his sentence meant, but a part of me acknowledged the fact that I
probably didnt want to know.
Can I ask you another serious question? he asked after a moment.
Of course.

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Do you fear for your life here? he asked, his voice low and demanding. I
glanced up and saw his expression matched his tone. It was almost frightening
how he shifted from laughing to looking strict so quickly.
I hesitated, but decided to tell the truth. Id yet to lie to him and I didnt want to
start now. I always fear for my life, it would be stupid of me not to. Just because
you wont punish me for someone elses mistakes doesnt mean I wont someday
pay for my own. No one is perfect, Im bound to do or say something wrong at
some point, and Im well aware of the potential consequences. My life doesnt
belong to me, it never has. Right now it belongs to you and your family and its
yours to take away as you see fit.
He didnt respond and I didnt look at him. I continued putting away his clothes in
silence, unsure of his feelings about what Id said. He cleared his throat after a
moment and I tensed up slightly out of instinct.
Whats your favorite color? he asked suddenly.
Green, I said immediately, not even thinking about it. I felt the blush creep up
into my cheeks and turned my head so he couldnt see it. I know it came out
because it was the color of his eyes and I didnt want to have to explain that.
I finished his clothes quickly and sat the hamper aside. I regained my composure
and the blush left so I turned back to him. He was staring at me intensely, his
expression unreadable.
Do you need anything else? I asked.
He nodded. I stood there and stared at him for a moment, waiting for him to
elaborate but he didnt.
What do you need? I asked finally, unable to take the tension building in the
room.
I need to know why you hate me.
My eyes widened and I blinked a few times, confused. He thought I hated him?
What do you mean?

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He sighed, running his hand through his hair. It was sticking up all over the place
and he was just making it worse. I mean, you fucking run from me, you wont
look at me or talk to me. The only reason youre doing it now is because you
dont think you have any other choice because you have to put my laundry away.
I mean, fuck, I could do that shit myself but the only way I can get you to stay in
the same goddamn room with me is to give you work to do. You have no problem
hanging out with my brothers so why the fucking problem with me? Am I that
fucking horrible?
I just stared at him in shock as he rambled it all out in frustration. I was slightly
stunned and couldnt get my lips to move to form words.
And Christ, now Im sitting here yelling at you again and cursing, like thats
going to fucking fix anything, he muttered, shaking his head. Is that whats
wrong? Is it my temper? Do I scare you? I shook my head hesitantly. He
groaned. Then what?
I sighed. I dont hate you. I just I started, unsure of how to explain it.
Just what? he asked.
I just dont understand you, I said softly. He sighed and opened his mouth to
respond but was cut off by his phone ringing. He groaned loudly and picked it up,
glancing at it. He looked up at me and sighed.
Have a good night, sir, I said, turning and heading for the door.
Isabella, he called out, his phone still ringing. I turned my head to look at him.
He was frowning. I think youll find that were a lot more alike than you think, if
you give us the chance to even get to know each other.
He turned his back to me and answered his phone with a low whats up. I
opened up the door and headed out quickly, shutting it softly behind me.
I went into my room and shut the door, heading straight for the bathroom. I took
a long hot shower to relax myself. The conversation with Edward felt kind of
surreal and I was trying to sort it all out in my head.

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After my shower I threw on a pair of the pajama short sets that Alice got me.
They were quickly becoming my favorite things. I lay down in bed but couldnt
seem to shut my brain off, so I grabbed paper and pencil and started drawing.
I drew Edward. His face was etched in my memory, every last detail of it. The
exact shape of his jaw, the curve of his lips, the arch of his eyebrows, the angle
of his nose. I remembered every single detail of his eyes, every fleck of gold
inside of them, the way the emerald green sparkled. His chaotic hair, the way it
sometimes dipped into his eyes. He had some light freckles on his nose and the
top of his cheeks from the sun, and a small scar on the right side of his bottom lip
that were all barely visible unless you really looked.
After it was finished, I held it up and looked at it. It was decent, but something
was off about it. Maybe it was the fact that there was no color to his eyes, or
maybe he just had the type of gorgeousness that couldnt be translated onto
paper. Whatever it was, it didnt feel right and it frustrated me. I balled the
drawing up quickly and tossed it across the room toward the trashcan. My aim
sucked and it landed on the floor near the door, but I just groaned and said the
heck with it. I lay there for a while longer before drifting off to sleep. I found I
was comforted by sleeping with the light on, I didnt feel as alone.
I woke up in the morning and climbed out of bed. I threw on a pair of jeans and a
pink t-shirt before heading downstairs. I froze halfway down the stairs when I
heard the TV playing in the living area. It was after 8am and everyone shouldve
been gone by now.
I quietly made my way to the foyer, walking slowly toward the living area. Dr.
Cullen was sitting on the couch with his feet propped up on the table in front of
him, a laptop on his lap. He was dressed slightly more casual than usual but it
was still dressy to my standards. He was wearing a pair of reading glasses, which
sort of startled me, as I hadnt ever seen them before. He glanced up at me and
smiled as I approached.
Good morning, he said warmly. Dr. Cullen and I didnt have much interaction,
as he was always very busy, but the times we did we got along.
Good morning to you too, Master Cullen, I mumbled, slightly confused by why

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he was home. In two weeks hed never had a day where he just stayed home.
He smiled. Calling me master is completely unnecessary. I know in your eyes
that is technically what I am but Id rather you not address me that way. It
makes me feel as if you place me on the same level as your father and I like to
think of myself as a better man than that.
I nodded. Sorry, sir.
No need to apologize. You can just call me Carlisle, or if youre uncomfortable
with that Dr. Cullen will work.
Okay, I said, slightly shocked hed request me to call him by his first name.
And you are a better man than my father, sir, I added quickly, not wanting him
to think I thought badly of him. Hed been kind to me.
He smiled. Thank you. Only the truly egotistically would enjoy being called
Master by an innocent 16-year old girl. And I have to include my son Edward in
that, but for other reasons. Hed probably enjoy it immensely in the typical
teenage boy way. Theyre quite hormonal at his age, he said playfully. I smiled,
nodding.
Can I get something for you, sir? I asked. He shook his head.
I was actually waiting for you to get up, as we have plans. Ive been putting it
off but we need to get your exams done today.
My eyes widened in fear. I hadnt forgotten him telling me back in Phoenix that
Id be having exams done, but I was slightly apprehensive about what it meant.
Part of me had hoped hed changed his mind.
Dont worry, it wont be unbearable and they wont take very long, he said. I
nodded, sighing. Dr. Cullen closed his laptop and sat it beside him on the couch.
He stood up and stretched his back. He headed for the door and I followed him.
He motioned for me to go outside while he hit some buttons on the keypad and
walked out, locking the door behind him. He opened the door to his black car for
me and I slipped into the passenger seat. He climbed in and started the car up.

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He drove in silence. The ride felt like it took forever but in actuality it was only
slightly over an hour. He pulled up in front of a large building and I could read the
word Clinic on the side of it. He parked the car and turned to me, smiling softly.
This is the town of Port Angeles. I have a friend here who is well aware of the
situation and who will use the utmost discretion. I could easily do all of this
myself, but I imagine youd feel more comfortable if I didnt.
What will they be doing? I asked hesitantly. He sighed.
A basic physical to begin with, some blood work to make sure youre healthy.
Hell also be doing a pap smear, do you know what one of those is?
I shook my head. No, sir. He sighed again, pinching the bridge of his nose. I
suddenly got scared, knowing it couldnt be good if he were frustrated about it.
Hes going to swab between your legs and run some tests, which is why youd be
uncomfortable with me doing it. Im going to be putting you on birth control so
its necessary.
Birth control?! I nearly yelled, my hands flying up to cover my mouth instantly,
shocked at my own behavior. He didnt get mad at my outburst, thankfully.
Im not insinuating anything, Isabella. Your virginity is yours to do with as you
wish, no one will ever take that freedom from you. I believe rape and sexual
assault is the most vicious crime there is and dont condone it at all, and if
anyone ever takes advantage of you in that way rest assured theyll face
consequences. I mean that. But I dont take chances and one thing I cant risk is
an unplanned unwanted pregnancy. Its always better safe than sorry, so I need
to be ensured that if you do end up engaging in sexual activity with anyone it
wont result in a child being born. Do you understand?
I stared at him with shock. Okay, I said, stunned and not knowing how else to
respond. He nodded and opened his door, stepping out. He walked over to my
side and opened my door, ushering me out. I followed him inside the building, my
body slightly trembling, as I was nervous and afraid.
We headed straight back to a room with a brown cushioned table in it. A moment

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later an older man with gray hair walked in, closing the door behind him. He
greeted Dr. Cullen warmly and smiled at me.
Im surprised to see you again so soon, Carlisle. Im assuming it didnt work out
last time? he asked, immediately opening a drawer and pulling stuff out. Dr.
Cullen laughed bitterly.
Not at all, it was an utter disaster. Im quite positive Ive found a winner this
time thought, he said, glancing at me with a smile. I realized immediately that
they were talking about another slave, apparently whomever hed had before me.
I instantly wondered what happened to her but pushed the thought aside quickly,
knowing I honestly didnt want to know the answer.
The man nodded. Good. We can go ahead and get started. Ill draw the blood
first and personally run it down to the lab. While there you can take her vitals and
statistics and get her ready for the pap.
Dr. Cullen nodded, turning to me. Have a seat, he said, patting the large brown
cushioned table. I climbed up on it nervously, my legs not reaching the ground.
The other man approached me and grabbed my arm, tying something around my
arm. He handed me a rubber ball and told me to squeeze. I obliged and winced
as he stuck a needle in my arm without much warning.
I sat there still for a few minutes while he filled up a few vials with blood. He
undid the tie and released the needle from my arm, placing a band-aid over it. He
left the room with the blood without saying anything.
Dr. Cullen wheeled a little machine over and wrapped something around my arm.
He pressed a button on the machine and the thing around my arm started to
inflate until it was tight and slight uncomfortable. It finally released and the
machine beeped. He placed something on my finger and held it there for a
moment until the machine beeped again. He finally grabbed a thermometer and
told me to stick it under my tongue. I held it there for a moment until the
machine beeped again and he took it back.
He motioned for me to stand up and I did. I followed him across the room and
stepped onto a scale. He moved the dial until he located my weight and he
sighed.

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Youre skinny, you should eat more, he mumbled. I smiled at his tone. He
whipped up a metal ruler quickly, so quick it startled me and I flinched. He
slowed his movements on purpose after that, which made me feel bad.
After that was done he had me step off and sighed. Youre going to have to take
off all of your clothes. Theres a towel over there you can wrap around yourself. I
wont leave the room but I assure you I wont look. I stared at him, fear
coursing through me and he sighed. Just do it so we can get it over with. Its
going to happen, whether youre cooperative or not, and Id rather it be on good
terms and not from me having to physically force you.
I nodded hesitantly. Dr. Cullen walked over to the window and looked out. I
grabbed the towel and stripped off my clothes, holding it around me. I climbed up
on the brown table, trembling from fear. The door opened after a moment and I
yelped, startled. Dr. Cullen turned around and glanced at me quickly before
turning to the other doctor.
Are we ready? he asked Dr. Cullen. Dr. Cullen nodded.
Isabella, lay back and scoot your bottom to the end of the table. Place your feet
in the stir-ups, or the foot rests, whatever you want to call them. And try to
relax, he said coolly. I obliged, despite my fear, not wanting to upset Dr. Cullen.
He turned around and was facing away from me again. Youre going to feel
something cold down there and then feel some pressure. Itll be uncomfortable
and may be slightly painful, but itll be over quickly. Do you understand?
Yes sir, I said softly, closing my eyes. I felt coldness instantly and winced, softly
crying out from the slight pain and something penetrated me. It was definitely
uncomfortable and I started to feel sick. I squeezed my eyes tightly and felt a
tear slip through, falling down my nose.
All done, the man said, and I felt the pressure dissipate instantly. I kept my
eyes closed and jumped when I felt hands on my breasts. Im just checking for
abnormalities, he said. I didnt respond, just tensed up until I felt his hands
leave me. She appears perfect as far as I can tell. I know you likely dont care
but shed definitely never had any type of sexual contact.

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I felt a hand on my head and opened my eyes. My vision was blurry from tears
but I could see Dr. Cullen beside me. He was stroking my hair softly, looking at
the man. Good. I want the depo provera shot, and if you can bring me a cotton
swap.
The other man nodded. DNA sample? he asked. Dr. Cullen nodded.
The man left the room immediately and Dr. Cullen sighed. You can get dressed,
he said. He walked across the room and glanced out the window. I stood up,
holding onto the table as my legs were shaky, and grabbed my clothes. I dressed
quickly and quietly.
The man returned after a few minutes with a needle and a cotton swab. Dr.
Cullen turned around and grabbed the swab. Unbutton your pants for a
moment, the man said. I obliged and he pulled them down slightly in the back.
He stuck the needle into my rear end and I yelped. The pain only lasted a second
before he pulled my pants back up. Im all done.
I nodded and redid my pants. I was uncomfortable and overwhelmed and felt
tears running down my cheeks. Dr. Cullen asked me to open my mouth and I
obliged, not wanting to upset him. I knew what DNA was for the most part but
had no idea why he wanted a sample. He scraped the swap along my cheek and
smiled, sealing it in a clear plastic bag. Can you run it for me? he asked the
man.
Of course, he said. Dr. Cullen handed it to him and shook the mans hand
before he departed.
No more poking and prodding, Dr. Cullen said, smiling at me. He reached his
hand out and I recoiled backward, causing him to groan with irritation. It didnt
stop him, however. His hand came up and brushed along my cheeks, wiping my
tears away. Are you hungry? Shall we go grab some lunch?
Figlio di a femmina = son of a bitch

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Chapter 12 - The problem with peoples


The problem with people is that they're only human. -- Bill Watterson
IPOV
Dr. Cullen drove across town and pulled into another parking lot. I looked up and
saw the building had a red, white and black sign but didnt know the word written
on it. Dr. Cullen glanced over at me so I looked away from it, not wanting to be
caught trying to sound it out.
He got out and ushered me out of the car. I followed him inside the store and
realized the moment we walked in the door that it was a phone place, as there
were cell phones everywhere. A man greeted Dr. Cullen by name, welcoming him
back to the Verizon store, which I realized is what the sign had said.
I stood back while Dr. Cullen spoke to the man about a phone hed apparently
ordered and asked that they have ready for him. The man walked away for a
moment, and I stood there quietly while Dr. Cullen pulled his own phone out and
started fiddling with buttons. A few minutes later the man returned with a
package. Dr. Cullen pulled out a silver credit card and walked to the counter to
pay. After he was finished he said goodbye and we headed out.
I climbed back into the car and Dr. Cullen drove for a few minutes, pulling up in
front of what looked like a restaurant but I couldnt read the sign. He grabbed the
package from the store wed just left, getting out, and walked around to my side,
opening my door and ushering me out. We headed inside and were seated
instantly. The waitress handed me a menu and I just stared at the picture on the
front of it, knowing Dr. Cullen was going to just have to order for me.
He ordered two cokes and reached into his package and pulled out a light blue
phone. He flipped it open and started pressing buttons. I just sat back quietly,
not wanting to disturb him. The lady returned with our drinks and Dr. Cullen
ordered two plates of Fettucini Alfredo with Chicken. After the waitress left he
looked up at me and smiled. Thats okay, isnt it?
I nodded. Yes, sir, thats fine.
He nodded, turning his attention back to the phone. A few moments later he

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snapped it closed and pushed it across the table toward me. I looked at him with
surprise and he smiled. Its yours. I cant have you going away from the house
without having a way to get in touch with any of us, and I dont like you being at
the house all day alone without a way to contact me in case something happens,
since we dont exactly have a house phone.
I nodded and took the phone, picking it up hesitantly. I eyed it cautiously. Thank
you, I said.
He nodded. A few ground rules we need to cover. I have my number and the
boys numbers programmed in it. You are free to get Rosalie or Alices numbers if
you choose. You can use the phone as much or often as you want to speak to any
of them. You are allowed to make friends, both male and female, but youre
going to need prior approval on them before you can develop any sort of
friendship. The boys will steer you away from those you shouldnt associate with.
I must apologize for not making a few things clearer; Jasper pointed out to me
last night that you were unaware you were allowed outside of the house. As long
as the work is all done, which youre more than capable of obviously, you are free
to roam the property. Previously the women have been fond of walking out into
the woods, down by the river. Its quite beautiful down there. You arent
obligated to do any work outside, as we have landscapers, but if you choose so
you can plant flowers or a garden or whatever. I dunno if you like that stuff, but I
just wanted to give you that option. You will also be going into public, eventually
alone once you get accustomed to life here, and I need you to always be aware of
how you speak and what you say. Anyone you speak to is NOT to know that you
arent in my home willingly. Do you understand?
Yes, sir.
Remember when I had you chipped in Phoenix? he asked. I nodded. I
shouldve explained it better then, but its a tiny object that was injected under
your skin. I can track your movements and keep tabs on you if I choose to do so.
I can locate you anywhere I want in the world with just a touch of a button.
Because of that, its impossible for you to truly escape and hide from me. I dont
suspect youd do such a thing but its for precaution. Since I have a way of
always finding you, youre allowed out on your own because Im assured youll
return. I dont fear you going to the police because youre entirely too smart for
that, I can tell. Youre well aware the only thing involving police will do is sign

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your death warrant.


I nodded. The lady returned with our food and Dr. Cullen stopped speaking. We
ate in silence.
After lunch we went back out to the car and Dr. Cullen drove us back to his
house. I did a bit of cleaning while he sat on the couch with his laptop. About the
same time Jasper and Emmett walked in, Dr. Cullens phone rang. He answered it
and groaned loudly, hanging up and cursing. I looked over and saw he looked
very upset.
I have something I need to handle in Chicago, he said. I need to go call the
hospital and pack.
The boys nodded and didnt really comment on it, which made me realize surprise
trips to Chicago werent rare. Dr. Cullen got up and headed for the stairs, cursing
under his breath about incompetent people. I sat down in the living area with the
boys and Dr. Cullen returned with a bag after a few minutes.
You boys watch out for Isabella tonight, alright? They nodded and Dr. Cullen
walked out, his car starting up quickly. I sighed.
I headed upstairs and stripped, hopping into the shower. I washed my hair and
cleaned myself up, feeling a bit dirty after my exams. I got out and dried off,
throwing on my robe. I walked over and turned my TV on, lying across my bed.
I mustve drifted off to sleep, because I sat up abruptly some time later,
confused, and heard someone pounding on my door. I glanced over and saw that
it was almost 7pm.
I stood up and walked to the door, hesitantly opening it. My eyes widened in
surprise when I saw Alice. She smiled at me.
About time you answer, she said. She brushed past me and stepped inside my
room, heading for my closet immediately. She shifted through the clothes, pulling
out a few things Id yet to wear because I found no reason to. She tossed them
on my bed and walked over to the dresser, pulling out some undergarments. Put
these on and meet me in the bathroom, she said. She headed into the bathroom

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and closed the door.


I knew better than to argue or disagree. I put the skimpy underwear on and the
matching bra. I pulled on the skintight dark blue jeans and the white tank top. I
pulled the tan sweater on over top of it and headed for the bathroom. Alice
smiled when I opened the door and nodded.
Great! she hopped up on the counter beside the sink and motioned for me to
stand between her legs. I obliged and she grabbed the brush, starting to fiddle
with my hair. She pulled some clips out of her pocket and pulled the top of it up,
letting the rest of it flow down my back. After she was pleased with it she pulled
out some makeup and started applying it to my face. I was slightly nervous but I
tried to keep calm. I barely knew Alice but I had no choice but to trust her, given
the circumstances. She finished quickly and nodded. You really are a beautiful
girl, she said.
I smiled. Thank you, I said softly. I didnt feel like a beautiful girl but it was nice
to hear anyway, as I didnt often receive compliments on my looks.
You dont have to thank me, she said, shrugging. I stepped away and she
hopped off the counter, heading into the bedroom. I glanced up at myself in the
mirror and froze. It was obviously me but I looked different. The makeup wasnt
heavy and the hair wasnt fancy, but the combination of them definitely made me
feel almost pretty.
I walked into the bedroom and Alice grabbed a belt, wrapping it around my waist.
She tossed me a pair of socks and I slipped them on while she dug out a pair of
tan fuzzy foots that went up to mid-calf.
After I was completely dressed she smiled and nodded. Youre going to blow
them away, she said. My eyes widened in surprise, unsure of what she meant.
She laughed at my expression. The only problem is you dont have pierced ears.
Well have to fix that soon. But here, she said, pulling a necklace out of her
pocket. She slipped it around my neck and smiled.
I fingered the necklace, eyeing it cautiously. There was a heart pendant on it that
had some sparkly stones, which I thoroughly hoped werent real diamonds.

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Uh, thank you Alice, I murmured. She smiled.


Youre welcome. Im just glad youre coming. Rosalie will be there and I know
they told you she can be mean, but the key to her is to be snarky. Shes a
strange one. In order to get in her good graces, youll have to learn to talk back.
I looked at her with disbelief. She expected me to talk back to someone? That
went against everything I knew. She saw my expression and nodded. Youll see,
itll be easier than you think.
Alice grabbed my hand and led me out of the room. I hesitated and grabbed the
cell phone Dr. Cullen had given me, slipping it in my back pocket. I followed
behind her, taking a few deep breaths to calm myself. We made it to the foyer
and saw Jasper standing there, waiting on us. He smiled at me and leaned over,
kissing Alice on the lips. I looked away immediately, not wanting to feel like I was
barging in on or spying their intimate moment.
You look great, Isabella, Jasper said. I glanced at him and saw he was smiling
at me. I returned his smile.
Thank you, Jasper.
He nodded and opened the front door, motioning for me to exit. I did and Alice
followed behind me, followed by Jasper who punched buttons on the keypad and
locked up. We headed for a small yellow car and I climbed in the back. Jasper
climbed in the passenger seat and Alice got in to drive.
I tried to control my breathing so I didnt hyperventilate, but I was beyond
nervous. Alice approached the high school and my eyes widened in surprise at
the massive amount of cars. It seemed like everyone in town was there. Alice
parked and we climbed out. My knees were wobbly and Alice linked her arm with
mine, holding onto me. Jasper smiled sadly at me.
Itll be okay, he said. I walked with them toward the stadium. Alice didnt let go
of me at all, constantly holding onto my arm. Jasper went to the gate and
purchased three tickets and we walked inside. There were people everywhere and
I was immensely grateful for the comfort of Alices grip on me, as I didnt feel
quite so out of place and alone. We followed Jasper to the bleachers and I stared

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at my feet as we walked up them, not wanting to trip and send both Alice and I
tumbling down the steps. Jasper found a row halfway up, off to the side, ad the
three of us sat down.
I glanced around at the crowd. There were people of all ages present, from the
elderly to young children, but mostly it was teenagers. Some of the females were
dressed startlingly raunchy with a ton of skin exposed. It was fairly chilly out so I
didnt understand why theyd be wearing such small clothes. They had to be
freezing.
Friday night football games are always big events around here, Alice said softly.
I turned to her and smiled slightly, nodding to let her know Id heard her.
An announcer came on and a band came out and started playing. Cheerleaders
ran out and started chanting something I could barely hear because the crowd
started yelling, everyone but us jumping up and making noise. Alice smiled and
clapped a bit and Jasper leaned back, lounging on the bleachers nonchalantly.
The football team ran out and I threw my hand up to cover my ears as the
screams got louder. Alice shot me a sympathetic look and leaned her head over
to rest of my shoulder. It was odd but slightly comforting in a way. She just met
me but she was being so nice and acting as if wed known each other for years.
I dropped my hands after a moment, the crowd calming down some and people
sitting back down. I heard a familiar laughter and my head snapped in the
direction it came from, my eyes falling upon Emmett. He was walking up the
steps of the bleachers toward us, his arm draped around a stunning girl with long
blonde hair. I knew immediately it was Rosalie. She looked like she belonged on
the front of a magazine and I felt fear course through me as her gaze fell on me.
She narrowed her eyes slightly, one of her eyebrows arched a bit. She was
definitely intimidating. Emmett greeted Jasper and Alice, and smiled at me.
Hey Isabella, he said politely. I smiled.
Hello Emmett, I said softly, my voice trembling slightly but hoping they couldnt
sense it.
This is my girlfriend Rosalie, he said, nodding his head at the blonde. I nodded.

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Its a pleasure to finally meet you Rosalie, I said, trying my best to let my fear
go undetected. She just stared at me for a moment, her gaze so intense I almost
started squirming.
Yeah, she said simply, turning away from me and sitting down on the bleachers
in front of us. She patted the bleacher beside her and Emmett sat down
immediately, appearing oddly obedient toward her. It was a little shocking, as I
figured Emmett to be a leader and not a follower. The simple fact that he was so
quick to obey her made me even more frightened.
I diverted my attention to the field in front of us. I knew next to nothing about
football and had no idea what was happening. I watched for a few minutes, my
eyes instinctively scanning the people looking for the number 21. He wasnt
standing along the side so I imagined he had to have been playing.
I glanced up at the players on the field but the way they were standing I couldnt
really make out numbers at the moment. I watched as a player was bumrushed
by another guy and knocked backward onto his back roughly. I winced as both
Emmett and Jasper cursed. Rosalie snorted and Alice sighed. Ouch, I mumbled,
knowing it had to have hurt.
Hes fine, Edwards a tough little shit, Emmett said. My brow furrowed.
That was Edward? I asked with disbelief, glancing around at them. They all
nodded. My attention went back to the field and I saw him get up from the
ground, shaking his hands and flexing his fingers. He was shaking his head,
appearing mad. He turned so his back was toward us and I could clearly see the
21 and faintly make out his last name scrawled above it.
Yeah hes the quarterback, Jasper said. I nodded, hesitantly, having no idea
what it meant to be a quarterback. Emmett turned his head to look at me and
smiled.
You dont know shit about football, do you? I can see it on your face.
I smiled. No. I mean, Ive heard of it but have no clue what it is or what the
point is or what theyre even doing.

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Emmett laughed loudly and I looked over to see Jasper and Alice both fighting
back laughter. I blushed and dropped my head, embarrassed.
Aw, dont be embarrassed, Emmett said. He then proceeded to rattle off the
basics of the game, most of which made absolutely no sense to me but I listened
and tried to understand anyway. After he was finished I sort of got the point, I
gathered that they were trying to get past the other team and get the ball over
the line at the end, and were trying to stop the other team from doing the same.
I didnt understand the whole point system but I gathered that it was Edwards
job to get the ball to where the ball was supposed to be.
And everyone here likes football, even the girls? I didnt realize a game like this
was so popular, I said, glancing around at the stands.
Rosalie snorted again and I got a bit nervous, embarrassed that I was sounding
like an idiot. She shook her head.
Honey, most of these females here couldnt care less about football. The only
balls they care about are the ones in Edwards pants. Everyone laughed and I
looked at her with surprise. She didnt bother to turn around and look at me, but
from where I was sitting I could see a small smile on her lips.
So theyre here because of Edward? I asked, wanting clarification.
A lot of them, yes. Hes a bit of an, uh donnaiolo, Jasper said. Emmett
laughed.
Whats that mean? I asked, furrowing my brow in confusion.
It means hes a womanizer, Emmett said. I nodded and Rosalie snorted once
again.
Hes a whore, thats what he is. Cant keep his dick in his pants, she said.
They all laughed and I sat in silence, my attention going back to the field. Edward
was walking off of it and pulled his helmet off. I felt my breath hitch at the sight
of him. He was sweaty, that was easy to tell. His hair was a mess and his face

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was glowing with wetness. Someone threw him a towel and he wiped his eyes
before grabbing a water bottle. An older guy with a headset on smacked him in
the back and said something to him and Edward nodded. He then took the water
bottle and squirted some in his mouth before squirting it on his head to cool
himself down.
Was that why he gave me those feelings? Because that was just how he was, he
made all girls feel that way?
Some girls a few rows down screamed his name and his head whipped in their
direction. They waved at him and he smiled, nodding in greeting. His gaze
lingered around their area for a moment before his eyes drifted up toward us.
Emmett stuck his middle finger up and Edward made some sort of hand gesture
that made Emmett laugh. Edward laughedI couldnt hear it but I could see it
and his eyes wandered over toward me. He brought his hand up to wave slightly.
He was a good distance from us but I could still see the sparkle of green in his
eyes and they were clearly fixated directly on me. I was slightly stunned at the
acknowledgement, but I waved and smiled. He smiled his charming crooked grin
and I blushed, looking away immediately. I mentally scolded myself for the
reaction and glanced back over to see him still looking at me, smiling with an
eyebrow cocked. He shook his head and chuckled, turning around and putting his
helmet back on before taking the field again.
I glanced around and saw the girls a few rows down that had yelled at Edward
were glaring at me and whispering to each other. I looked away from them,
uncomfortable with the attention that obviously wasnt positive, and my eyes met
a pair of crystal blue ones.
Rosalie was staring at me, her expression curious. Her gaze was uncomfortable;
it felt like she was looking through me with its intensity. I suddenly got
hyperaware of my surroundings, a surge of irrational fear coursing through me as
I wondered if she knew. Could she tell how Edward made me feel? Did she think I
was disgusting or stupid or childish because of it? I looked away immediately,
glancing down at the ground.
After awhile the players left the field and the band started to play. Rosalie and
Emmett stood up, saying they were going to leave awhile and mumbled a
goodbye. Jasper stood up and stretched, smiling at Alice and I.

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Im going to go grab a soda, you ladies want anything? he asked. I froze up,
unsure of what to say, and Alice smiled at him. It was clear by the looks they
exchanged that they were very fond of each other. It made me realize that Id
been right, Charles and his wife didnt love each other. The two people in front of
me loved each other, it was written all over both of their faces.
Get us some cokes, Alice said. Jasper nodded and he started walking away. She
turned her head to face me after he was gone and smiled brightly.
I think you made some friends, she said, nodding her head toward the girls a
few rows down from us. I glanced over and saw they were still glaring at me. I
sighed.
Yay, lucky me, I said dryly. Alice laughed.
Youve got a great personality. Its no wonder all three boys are so taken with
you.
I glanced over at her. I dont know about that, I said. Jasper and Emmett may
be fond of me, but Edward not so much.
She sighed. Edwards always been hot and cold with people, but I assure you he
likes you. If he didnt, it would be like you didnt exist. Edwards complicated, can
be a bit self-centered. If you didnt matter, he wouldnt even notice you or
acknowledge you, and the simple fact that he just waved to you tells me Im
right.
I nodded but didnt speak. Alice obviously knew Edward better than I did so I
should trust her opinion on the matter, but there was that part of me that had a
hard time believing Edward felt anything but irritation toward me. Jasper
returned eventually with our sodas and we watched the second half of the game,
chatting and laughing. It was niceI was growing quite fond of Alices company.
The game ended and everyone was screaming and cheering, because evidently
theyd won. Alice linked her arm with mine again and we followed Jasper out of
the stadium to her car. Jasper said he was hungry, so Alice drove across town to
a small pizza place. We went inside, sitting down, and they ordered a plain

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cheese pizza.
We ate the pizza and chatted. Jaspers phone rang when we were winding down
and he answered it, talking to whomever it was for a moment before hanging up.
Emmett wants us to stop by the party, he said. Both Jasper and Alice looked at
me, their expressions questioning.
Okay, I said hesitantly, unsure of what they wanted. I was entirely at their
mercy, if they said we were going to a party than I had no choice but to go to a
party. I had no idea of what a party consisted of exactly, but I figured it couldnt
be too bad.
Alice squealed and I couldnt help but laugh at her reaction. We finished up and
headed out to the car, Alice driving toward the other part of town. My eyes
widened in surprise at the amount of cars parked along the street when we
arrived. I could hear the music playing from the house, loud thumping rap music,
and could see numerous people outside on the front lawn. Alice linked her arm
with mine again, smiling as she led me toward the house.
I was nervous, very nervous. Despite Alice constantly being with me, all of the
people and looks were scaring me a bit. We mingled around and Alice introduced
me to a few people, but I didnt remember anyones name because I was too
panicked at everything to focus. We were walking through the crowd and I caught
glimpse of chaotic bronze hair from the corner of my eye. My head snapped in its
direction and I saw Edward sitting in a chair at the kitchen table with a bunch of
other people. A strange surge of emotion whipped through me as I saw there was
a girl sitting on his lap. She had strawberry blonde hair and looked like a model,
her appearance totally complimenting his. They looked sort of like two peas in a
pod, two gorgeous people in the midst of a bunch of average folks. It was as if
they just belonged. I felt my chest tighten and started losing my breath.
Someone called Alices name and Alice yelled back at them. Edwards head
snapped in the direction of Alices voice, his eyes falling on me. He narrowed his
eyes slightly and a surge of fear shot through me. Was he fuming that I was
here? He looked mad, very mad. I started hyperventilating and he jumped up
quickly, nearly knocking the girl to the floor. She shouted and stared at him,
obviously startled, but he ignored her.

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Hey, a male voice said beside me, startlingly close. I jumped and turned my
head to see some guy with spiky blonde hair and blue eyes. He smiled at me so I
smiled in return to be polite. His close proximity was a bit alarming and my fear
started increasing, my body shaking.
I glanced over and watched as Edward walked straight over to us, narrowing his
eyes at Alice. Alice glanced over at me and smiled sadly.
Ill take you home, Alice said to me. I nodded and opened my mouth to thank
her, but Edward butted in abruptly.
No, Im taking her home. His voice had a hard edge to it that sent a chill up my
spine.
He definitely wasnt happy.

CHapter 13 - Bearing Fangs


"Aggressive, tough and defiant may describe me, but that leaves the
impression I'm mean and I'm not. People expect me to have fangs." -Joan Jett
EPOV
Isabella Marie Swan was going to be the death of me.
She was a complex individual--that much was clear now. As she stood in my
bedroom and answered my ridiculously nosey questions, it started painting a
picture for me of exactly how deep she was.
She wasnt like most other people our age. Life had given her experiences that
most others could not and never would comprehend. She may not be educated
but she sure as shit was smart. Shed been taught lessons that bitches like
Jessica Stanley and Lauren Mallory would never learn. She had learned the art of
survival in a dangerous world, and she learned it through blood, sweat, and tears.
The simple fact that she had the guts to stand in front of me and speak the ugly
truth had earned her a lot of fucking respect in my eyes.

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It was startling exactly how much we had in common when it boiled down to it.
Our worlds may be different but they were both hazardous, and neither one of us
had a choice in the matter. We were born into them, forced to adapt to the
danger. She may not see it, but I know exactly what its like to fear having to pay
for other peoples mistakes. I know what its like to live knowing your life could
be ended because of shit that had nothing to do with you.
She may technically only be a 16-year-old child to the eyes of others, but she
was a fucking strong woman in my book. When it boiled down to it, shed be
willing to withstand any amount of physical pain to make the emotional torment
go away. Shed take a fucking brutal whipping over the agony of being alone.
Shed endure any amount of torture if it meant having her mother back.
And I knew exactly what that felt like. And I knew what happened when that
emotional torment won, when it wasnt beaten down and overcome, because I
see the fucking product of it every day when I look in a mirror.
I understood her. Sitting there in my bedroom, staring at the small frail girl
beaten down by life, I fucking understood her. We may live in separate worlds,
but we endured the same mental torture. And I wanted to help her and be there
for her, and it was frightening but I didnt want her to be broken.
She stood there and said she avoided me because she didnt understand me, not
seeing that we were a lot alike. No one had ever fucking understood me before
and I wanted her to. I needed her to.
I couldnt sleep after Isabella left. I tossed and turned half the night, finally giving
up and climbing out of bed.
It was after midnight and the house was completely quiet. I slipped downstairs
and got something to drink, heading back up to my room. I hesitated in the
hallway between our rooms, listening intently. There was light filtering out from
under Isabellas door but I couldnt hear any sounds inside. I contemplated for a
moment before bringing my hand up to lightly knock, in case she was awake.
When there wasnt any noise I turned the knob and slowly pushed the door open.
She was asleep in her bed, laying on top of the covers and curled in the fetal

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position. It was like she was hugging herself, trying to hold herself together. I
took a few steps into the room and kicked something. I looked down and saw it
was a crumbled up piece of paper. I bent down and picked it up, hesitating a bit
before uncrinkling it. I felt like I was invading her privacy, and I guess I was, but
I couldnt seem to help it. I was captivated by her.
I opened the paper up and my eyes widened in shock. It was a drawing of me, in
perfect fucking detail. It was almost eerie how accurate it was. She even drew my
ridiculous freckles and that scar on the right side of my bottom lip that I got
when I was a little kid. Jesus, most people who have known me for years didnt
notice that shit, and this girl pinpointed them after barely even looking at me.
My heart was pounding and I felt the swell in my chest and I groaned softly,
wishing the shit would stop. Two weeks and she was already breaking me down. I
couldnt go catching feelings for her because it was too dangerous, but I couldnt
stop them. Something told me it was too damn late to go back.
I walked over and sat down gently on the edge of her bed. I stared at the picture
for a bit, lost in thought. Why had she drawn me? Was she feeling the same shit I
was feeling? If she did, was she as goddamned confused and scared about it as
me? I guess the more important question was why the hell shed balled it up and
tossed it aside. Maybe she did hate me; maybe she just drew the shit for the
purpose of destroying it since she couldnt actually do anything to hurt me in real
life. Maybe it was therapeutic, like some voodoo shit.
The bed shifted a bit and I froze, glancing up at her. She moved around a bit, her
eyes staying closed the entire time. She was a restless sleeper.
She moaned a bit in her sleep and I smiled, once again trying to ignore the
stirring in my pants. I was entirely too fucking hormonal, I needed to get that in
check. I watched as her lips parted and she mumbled a bit, the sounds jumbled.
Please, she said eventually, her voice soft and breathy. I sighed, closing my
eyes. I wish I knew what she was thinking, what she dreamed of.
Edward. The word came rolling from her lips after a moment, barely a whisper.
I opened my eyes and looked at her. She had a small smile on her lips and I
smiled in reaction to it, that fucking swell in my chest again.

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La mia bella ragazza, I whispered, reaching out and stroking her cheek softly.
My Beautiful Girl. She moaned, instinctively leaning into my touch.
I got up after a moment, hesitating before crinkling the paper back up and
tossing it on the floor. I really wanted to take it and keep it, but I knew there was
a chance shed notice it was missing and likely figure me out.
I went into my room and flopped down on my bed. I drifted off to sleep and woke
up abruptly to the sound of my alarm clock blaring. I groaned and slapped at it
until it shut up. I was exhausted.
I hopped in the shower and threw on a pair of jeans and a wife beater. I pulled
on my football jersey and spritzed myself with some cologne. I pulled on a pair of
white air force one Nikes and headed down the stairs.
I was running late, Jasper and Emmett already gone. I saw Dad was sitting in the
living room on his laptop and walked in, plopping down beside him. He glanced at
his watch and then glanced at me, knowing I was going to fucking be late for
school, but he didnt say anything.
Carlisle Cullen, taking a day off. Its gonna snow, I said. He laughed, shaking
his head.
I dont know if Id call it a day off considering it might be just as stressful as a
day at the hospital is, he said.
I cocked an eyebrow at him. Its going to be that bad? I asked.
He shrugged. Maybe. I dont anticipate her acting up about it, but Im putting
her on birth control and Im not so sure how shes going to react to that exam.
Shes still a virgin and probably going to freak out about being touched.
I nodded but didnt speak. I was slightly surprised that she was pure. Id tried not
to think about her history in sex, knowing girls that live her life are likely raped
repeatedly. I felt a sense of relief about it, that at least she hadnt ever had to
endure being brutalized in that fashion.

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Dad glanced at his watch after a few minutes. The bell just rung at Forks High
School, he said, peaking over at me. I rolled my eyes.
Alright, Im going, I muttered, standing up. I grabbed my book bag and headed
for the door.
Have a good day, he said.
Yeah, you too. Good luck, I said, heading out. I hopped in the Volvo and started
it up, speeding away. I had to check in when I got to school, since I needed a
pass to go into first period halfway through. The school day went by fairly fast,
and afterwards I went with the guys to get something to eat before we had to
report for football.
We arrived back at the school and dressed out in our uniforms, doing our
stretches and warm ups. When the game started I made myself focus. It started
out fine, but not even halfway through the first quarter Tyler Crowley got slack on
his guard position and let some fucking defensive tackle through the line. I got
sacked before I could react and got thrown backwards to the ground hard. That
shit hurt, pain ricocheting through me. I got up from the ground and was fucking
pissed. When I left the field Coach Clapp told me to let it go, that he hadnt done
it on purpose. Whatever.
I heard my name being called and glanced over to the bleachers at the two girls.
They were sophomores, innocent girls. I hadnt been with either of them but they
were always giggling and shit around me so I made a point to always flirt with
them. I plastered the smile on my face, playing the part.
I looked around and spotted Emmett, who gave me the finger. I put my hand
under my chin and flicked it, popping it off. We used to see the guys in the
organization back in Chicago do that shit all the time, apparently preferring it to
say fuck you instead of the finger. I laughed at him and glanced beside him, my
eyes falling on Isabella. I was stunned by how she looked, as it was evident Alice
had butted it and made her up. She looked beautiful. She was looking at me so I
waved my hand. She looked to be stunned by my acknowledgement but she
smiled and waved. I smiled, glad that she didnt ignore methat was a slight
improvement, at least. She blushed and looked away and her expression was just
too fucking cute. She could come off as being so innocent and shy. She glanced

154

back over at me and I cocked an eyebrow at her and she smiled sheepishly in
response. I laughed and shook my head. Yeah, definitely going to be the death of
me.
The rest of the game went by fast. Tyler didnt fuck up anymore, especially after I
grabbed a hold of him in the locker room at halftime, and we won easily. I was on
a high afterwards, euphoric from winning, and was looking forward to some hard
liquor to celebrate.
I got out of my uniform and showered, throwing my jeans and wifebeater on. I
drove over to the party, which was at some seniors house, and plopped my ass
down at the table. A few of my teammates joined me and we poured a shot.
The moment I sat down my adrenaline from playing finally started slowing down
and the pain started seeping through. My back was fucking killing me, my
muscles sore from getting sacked so bad. I threw back a shot of Patrone quickly.
Tanya came waltzing over, swinging her hips and trying to look all sexy. She sat
down on my lap and I cocked an eyebrow at her but she just smiled all
seductively. Tanya was fun, wed been together before but she was the type of
girl who expected something in return usually and I wasnt one for giving.
I told one of the guys to pour me another shot, hoping the alcohol would kill the
pain in my shoulders and back. I picked up the shotglass and was about to bring
it to my lips when I heard Alices voice from across the room. My head snapped in
her direction and I saw she had Isabella with her, clutching onto her. Isabella was
looking at me, her expression startling. It was hard to read, she looked maybe
hurt or sad or upset, but what was clear was that she wasnt comfortable. I could
see the fear in her eyes, could see her trembling slightly from where I sat.
I got pissed. What the fuck were they thinking, making her go through this? It
was clear she wasnt ready for it, why in the hell would she be? I stood up, nearly
throwing Tanya to the ground. I forgot the bitch was even on me. I watched as
Mike Newton walked up to Isabella and said something to her. She jumped and
looked at him, the fear plain as day but she plastered a smile on her face because
of course she couldnt ever fucking be rude. Christ, first time out and they drag
her to a party with a bunch of loud obnoxious drunk guys looking to get fucked. I
could see the guys looking at her like she was fresh meat and that pissed me off,

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disgusted me. She was too fucking good for that, too fucking good for these
pricks.
I walked over to them and glared at Alice. She knew I was pissed, immediately
saying shed take Isabella home. Alice knew me well, wasnt afraid of me but she
knew when I got pissed I could sometimes lose control. Theyd all learned that
last year. But it was already too late for her to fix it, because my mood had
already shifted and I couldnt just forget the look on Isabellas face and go back
to having fun.
No, Im taking her home, I said coldly. Alice looked like she wanted to argue so
I cocked an eyebrow at her, practically daring her to. She sighed and let go of
Isabellas arm, mumbling a goodbye and an apology to her. Isabella seemed
shocked about the whole thing, just staring at us looking completely afraid.
I grabbed a hold of her wrist and she recoiled away from my touch. I shoved into
Newton, who looked like he was amused about the situation, and gave him a look
that pointedly said dont you fucking dare. I was mad and I knew I was causing
a scene but I couldnt help it. I dragged Isabella out of the house, and thankful
she didnt try to stop me or resist at all. When we were away from all of the
people I finally let go of her wrist, but she continued to follow me silently. I
unlocked and opened the passenger door to the Volvo, not saying a word and
barely looking at her as she slipped by me and inside. I shut the door pretty
forcefully, pissed that she was put through this. I got into the drivers side and
started the car up, flying away from the curb immediately. I cranked the stereo
up, hoping the music would distract me and maybe calm me since music usually
had that effect on me. I drove through town and groaned, slamming on the
brakes when I hit the red light. The only car on the fucking road and the only
goddamn light in this ridiculous town and its red.
I glanced over at Isabella. Her face was glowing under the moonlight and I could
see her cheeks were streaked with tears, mascara running from her eyes. I
groaned and reached over to brush it away, wishing she wouldnt cry and a little
confused as to why she was. Are you okay, are you hurt? I asked.
Isabella yelped and flinched away from me, turning to stare at me with fear. My
brow furrowed and realization dawned that she was fucking afraid of me. My
reaction had fucking scared her worse than the party did.

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My anger surged and I slammed my hands against the steering wheel, cursing
because I was pissed. I was so stupid, could I ever not mess up around this girl?
The light turned green and I slammed the gas.
Christ, I didnt mean to scare you. Ive got a temper but I didnt mean to take it
out on you, I said after a moment. She didnt respond, just sat staring out the
window. She was still crying quietly and that made my heart hurt. What was it
about this girl?
I drove straight home, pulling up in front of the house and parking. She opened
the door and got out before I could make it over to her side and open her door.
She headed toward the house and I ran after her. I took out my keys and opened
the front door, walking inside to disengage the alarm. Isabella followed me inside,
pausing in the foyer. Im sorry you had to leave your party. Im sorry if your
night is ruined because of me, she said softly. I sighed.
Its not your fault. And my night isnt ruined. I wasnt in the mood for that shit
tonight anyway, I said.
She glanced over at me surprised. But your girlfriend, sir she started. My
brow furrowed in confusion before I realized she was talking about Tanya, whod
shed seen sitting on my lap. I laughed, probably a little too loudly because she
jumped with surprise.
I have no girlfriend, Isabella. That girl means nothing to me, I couldnt care less
about her, I said.
She stared at me for a moment before nodding and glancing down at the ground.
I sighed. Look, lets watch a movie or something, I suggested.
Okay, she said at once, still staring at the ground. I groaned, reaching over and
cupping her chin and pulling her head up so shed look at me.
Is that an Okay, I really want to watch a movie with you Edward or is it an
okay Ill do whatever the fuck you say because I think I have to? I asked. She
just stared at me, and I smiled lightly. You can disagree with me, you know. You

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can argue and tell me no if you want. Im not going to punish you or hit you or
none of that bullshit. You can yell at me if thatll make you feel better. I mean, Ill
probably yell back because thats just what I do but Im not going to get physical
with you. So feel free to tell me to fuck off if you want me to fuck off, but dont
just say okay because I dont know what the fuck you mean by it.
Okay, she said, looking stunned. I groaned, shaking my head. We were getting
no fucking where.
Look, Im going to go in the living room and put on a movie and sit my ass down
on the couch and watch it. Whether or not you join me is entirely up to you, I
said. She nodded so I turned and headed for the living room, sighing. This was
entirely too fucking complicated.
I turned on a light and opened up a cabinet, glancing through the DVDs. I pulled
out Ladder 49 as I hadnt watched it yet and Emmett kept fucking raving about it.
I put it in and turned the light back off, flopping down on the couch with the
remote. I kicked my shoes off and threw my feet on top of the coffee table,
slouching down while I started the movie.
She didnt follow. It was all completely silent except for the sound of the movie so
I couldnt gauge what the fuck she was doing, wondered if maybe she was still
just standing there. But she was stealthy so even if she were moving around I
probably wouldnt hear the shit. Shed make a good fucking assassin with how
quiet she was, thats for sure.
After about 10 minutes I heard a noise in the kitchen, the sound of a cabinet
closing. A few moments later I saw movement from the corner of my eye and
glanced up, my eyes widening. Isabella stopped in front of me, holding out a
glass. She wasnt looking at me, looked to be purposely avoiding my gaze. I took
the glass from her and she sat down on the couch beside me, putting a bit of
distance between us. She had a glass of water and took a sip, sitting it down on a
coaster on the table.
I glanced at my glass and brought it up to my lips, taking a sip. I was shocked
the moment the liquid hit my taste buds--it was cherry coke. And not just the
imitation cherry coke you buy in a bottle or can, it was real fucking cherry juice
mixed in with the coke. I held the glass up in the light and saw the cherries on

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the bottom of it.


I was stunned. My mom used to make it for me nearly every fucking day after
school when I was a kid. I mean, I knew shed figure out I liked cherry coke since
I bought a 12-pack of it at the grocery store. But for her to go out of her way and
actually make it for real when she couldve just grabbed me a can from the
fridge? That caught me off guard. I was used to being catered to but for her to do
something so fucking thoughtful stunned me.
Thank you, I said after a moment.
Youre welcome, she said softly. I glanced over at her and saw she was
watching the movie intently, her feet pulled up beside her on the couch and her
head slightly cocked to the side. Shed gotten changed, which I gather is why
shed taken so long, and was wearing a pair of black yoga pants and a light blue
tank top. Shed pulled her hair up into a ponytail and looked really casual, but she
pulled it off well. She still looked good.
Have you seen this yet? I asked after a moment. She turned her head to look at
me questioningly, like it was a stupid question. I chuckled, realizing it probably
was. I didnt know, really. I mean, youve spent some time with my brothers so I
dont know what you watched with them.
We watch Jeopardy, she said. I laughed.
Jasper loves that shit. He sucks at it though, the dumbass. Sometimes I wonder
if his brain works properly.
Hes better than me, she said, shrugging. Her words were casual but I felt bad
immediately, as I practically just implied she was stupid in an around-the-ass
way.
I didnt mean I started, sighing. I ran my hand through my hair nervously.
She turned her head to face me and smiled sadly.
I know, its understandable. Im not exactly educated, she said. There was a
hint of sadness and longing in her voice and I wondered if she wished she could
learn. The first lady we had, Nona, had no desire to learn anything. She had

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come to grips with her life and didnt strive above it anymore after we acquired
her. The second bitch didnt last long enough for me to even learn her last name,
much less anything else about her. Isabella was still young, she was perfectly
capable of learning.
I thought about bringing it up to her, but before I could my phone started
ringing. I grabbed it off the table where Id laid it and glanced at the screenit
was Jessica Stanley.
I silenced it and sat it beside me, turning my attention back to the movie. It
beeped with a message but I ignored it. Less than five minutes later it started to
ring again. I sighed and glanced at it, once again silencing it. Tanya that time.
It rang the third time, Jessica again, and I turned the ringer off. Isabella kept
looking over at me, looking as if she felt bad. I tossed the phone back down on
the table and stood up, groaning at the pain in my back and shoulders. Isabella
jumped up quickly, so quick it startled me and I furrowed my brow at her.
Did you need something? she asked. I rolled my eyes.
Sit back down and relax, watch the movie. Ill be back in a second, I mumbled.
She sat down hesitantly and I walked out, heading for the steps instantly. I
walked up them quickly to my bedroom, throwing the door open. I walked over to
my desk, pulling my keys out and unlocking the bottom drawer. I smiled widely
my secret stash.
I glanced through the bottles of liquor, pulling out a bottle of Grey Goose vodka. I
considered grabbing a bowl and some weed but thought better of it, not knowing
how she felt about that shit. I didnt want to be doing it in front of her and end up
offending her. I locked the cabinet up and headed back downstairs.
I went back into the living room and sat back down beside Isabella, sitting
slightly closer to her than I had been. I glanced over and saw she was watching
me curiously. Everythings better with a bit of liquor, I said shrugging. She
smiled lightly. I opened the bottle and poured a bit into my drink, hesitating
before bringing the bottle to my lips and tipping it back. I grimaced a bit at the
bite it had to it and I imagine the expression on my face had to have been ugly

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because Isabella burst into laughter. I chuckled and handed the bottle out to her,
cocking an eyebrow. Her eyes widened and she stared at me with shock.
Uh she started. I smiled and shook my head.
Just a sip, it wont kill you. She started chewing on her bottom lip and looked
nervous, but gingerly reached her hand out to take the bottle. She took a deep
breath, glaring at the bottle, before bringing it to her lips and tipping it back. She
took a small swig and a shiver ripped through her, a look of disgust on her face.
She pulled the bottle away instantly and started coughing. I chuckled and
grabbed the bottle from her, tipping it back and taking another drink of it. It
burned a bit going down but not too bad. I sat the bottle down on the table and
stretched my back out, bringing my hand up to rub the back of my neck.
Are you okay? Isabella asked. I glanced over and saw she was watching me
with a curious look on her face. I sighed.
Yeah, just a little sore from that hit I took. Ill probably have to go to the
chiropractor or a masseuse or some shit tomorrow, I mumbled. She smiled.
I could give you a massage, she said nonchalantly, shrugging. I cocked an
eyebrow at her, a little taken back by her offer.
You dont have to do that, I said. She smiled again.
I know, but I thought Id offer. I stared at her for a moment, unsure of what to
say. Do I agree like a fucking prick and have the girl massage me? I mean I
didnt even know if she knew what the hell she was doing and it probably
wouldnt help my soreness any, but a part of me was screaming to just feel her
touch. Yeah, average fucking hormonal teenager.
Okay, I said after a moment, shrugging. She smiled and shifted her position so
her back was up against the back of the couch. She made room between her legs
and patted the cushion. I laughed lightly, a bit in disbelief, standing up and
grabbing my drink. I sat down gently between her legs. I started regretting it
immediately as I felt my dick harden. Her legs were pressed up against mine, her
chest damn near touching my back. I could feel the heat coming off of her, and
the fact that I was between the girls thighs didnt escape me. I mean, it wasnt

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sexual at all, Id fucked plenty of girls and been between more thighs than Id be
able to remember at the moment, but the way we were was intimate, almost too
fucking intimate. My heart started racing as I waited to feel her touch. She
hesitated and I had to wonder if she was having the same types of thoughts, if
being so close did things to her as they did to me.
After a moment I felt my shirt shift and her hands run up underneath it on my
back. Tingling shot down my spine at her touch, that electric feeling coursing
through me. I groaned softly and closed my eyesthe shit felt good. She ran her
hands up and down my back a few times lightly and it almost fucking tickled, and
started doing things to my body. Id never been fucking touched like that before.
It was gentle and almost loving and that scared the shit out of me, and I wanted
her to change her mind and push me away because of it, but a bigger part of me
wished shed never stop. I was so conflicted it was ridiculous.
I reached down and grabbed my shirt, pulling it off quickly when I realized it
would be a lot fucking easier for her if I didnt have it on. She tensed up almost
immediately and her breath hitched as she stilled her hands on my shoulder
blades, making me wonder if that was a mistake. I didnt want to make her
uncomfortable. I contemplated getting up and telling her to forget about it but
before I could she spoke.
This would be better with some lotion or something, she said. I chuckled and
stood up, her hands drifting down my back softly. I walked over to the bathroom,
flicking on the light and glancing around. I opened the cabinet and found some
baby oil. I eyed it cautiously, wondering what the fuck it was doing in the
downstairs guest bathroom, but saw that it was still sealed so I picked it up. I
wouldnt touch an open bottle of babyoil in my house with a ten-foot pole,
knowing someone probably used it at some point to wack off.
Will this work? I asked, walking back into the living room and holding the bottle
up. Isabellas head snapped in my direction when she heard my voice. I smirked,
not missing the fact that her eyes lingered on my chest for a moment before
looking at my face.
Yeah, thats perfect, she said, her eyes once again drifting down to my chest. I
cleared my throat and her attention snapped back to my face. I cocked an
eyebrow at her and smiled. She blushed a beautiful shade of red and looked

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away, which made me laugh.


I handed her the bottle and sat back down between her legs. She opened it and
squirted some onto her hand before laying the bottle down beside her. She
brought her hands to my back and pressed firmly, running them up my back to
my shoulders. I was shocked at how firm her touch was now. I groaned as she
started determinedly massaging my shoulder blades and up toward the back of
my neck. Her hands were running up and down my back repeatedly and I felt my
muscles loosening under her touch. She kept at it for a while and I closed my
eyes, unable to stop myself from moaning like a little bitch. It felt fucking
fantastic, she definitely knew exactly what she was doing.
Her touch softened after awhile and I groaned, not wanting her to stop. Her
hands were tenderly roaming my back and I felt her tracing along the lines of the
tattoo between my shoulder blades. Her left hand roamed downward and traced
along the scar that ran along my side. That shit tickled and I shivered slightly.
She ran one of her hands up my spine and my neck. I tilted my head back and
her fingers filtered through the hair on the back of my head. I groaned as another
shiver shot through me, her touch no longer about loosening muscles but now
almost fucking sensual. She stilled her movements and I thought for sure she
was going to pull away, but she didnt. After a few seconds her hands started
roaming again, her fingers lacing through my messy hair, her short nails gently
scraping my scalp.
I started breathing heavy and was getting really worked up and I knew I needed
to stop. We needed to stop. It was so fucking wrong, but God it felt so right. I
was almost quivering at how right it felt, how desperate I was for her touch.
I thought I heard something and opened my eyes. I saw the foyer light up
slightly, indicating headlights outside. I reached my hand behind me and grabbed
a hold of Isabellas hands, stopping her.
Someones here, I said. She tensed up immediately. I let go of her hands and
stood up. She jumped up from the couch, brushing past me and heading for the
stairs. I watched incredulously as she fucking sprinted up them and out of sight. I
shook my head and grabbed my shirt, putting it on.
I plopped back down on the couch as the front door opened. I heard Alices

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laughter immediately and rolled my eyes. I picked up my cherry coke, which was
fucking watered down now but I didnt give a shit, and downed the entire thing. I
grabbed a cherry and popped it in my mouth, chewing on it as I grabbed my
phone.
Alice and Jasper walked in and paused, obviously wondering what the fuck I was
doing sitting in the damn dark with nothing but a blue screen on the TV, as the
movie had gone off. I didnt bother to look up at them and started scrolling
through my phone. In the past hour Id gotten 8 calls and over a dozen text
messages from bitches.
Is Isabella okay? Jasper asked after a moment. I nodded, not bothering to look
at him.
I didnt think shed freak out, Alice said softly, sitting down beside me. I cast
her a quick glance, laughing dryly.
Ill be damned, and here I thought Mary Alice Brandon was all-fucking-knowing.
La mia bella ragazza = My beautiful Girl

Chapter 14 - Thunderbolt
"Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be
the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees." -- Victor Hugo
IPOV
Hey Isabella!!
I jumped at the sound of the loud unexpected voice and dropped the glass I was
holding. It crashed to the floor, shattering upon impact and sending little chunks
of glass flying. My eyes widened, the noise loud and sounding like it echoed
through the entire downstairs. I glanced over at Alice, who had a look of shock on
her face. I hadnt even realized she was here, thought I was alone.

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Im so sorry, I didnt mean to scare you, she said apologetically. I waved her off
and squatted down, starting to pick up the pieces of glass from the floor. She
nearly sprinted at me, wanting to help, but she only succeeded in startling me
even more. I flinched away from her and jabbed my finger on a sharp piece of
glass, yelping. I grabbed my hand and saw the trickle of red flowing from the cut.
I felt dizzy immediately as the rusty stench of blood hit me, the sight of it making
me queasy. I closed my eyes and sat back on my butt, trying to take a few deep
breaths through my mouth to calm myself and avoid the smell.
I have having a bad day a very bad day. Id woken up before the sun rose this
morning, every ounce of my body aching. The moment I opened my eyes my
stomach started churning and I jumped up, sprinting to the bathroom. I spent
most of the morning and afternoon there, throwing up what I wanted to estimate
could possibly amount to my body weight. Dr. Cullen had come to check on me at
one point in the afternoon, as he was worried since I hadnt emerged from my
room all day, and found me passed out on the floor in front of the toilet. He went
into doctor mode immediately, checking my pulse and respirations and
temperature and chalked it up to a stomach bug. He told me to relax and sleep,
not to strain myself or stress out and let my body strengthen, but it was a lot
easier said than done.
I stayed in my room as long as I could. My stomach had started to settle but I
was slightly panicked at the thought of being in bed all day. Since I learned to
walk and talk, not a single day had gone by that I didnt do some type of work.
So once I was pretty sure I could make it downstairs on my own two feet, I
climbed out of bed and headed for the stairs.
I was a complete and utter mess. I was sweaty and my clothes were wrinkled,
my hair disheveled. I couldnt have smelled that great either, likely a combination
of vomit and sweat. I looked as bad as I feltcompletely sickly.
I held onto the banister and started down the stairs, only to make it to the
second floor and come face-to-face with Edward. He had his arm draped over a
girls shoulder. His eyes widened when he saw me, his expression staggering. He
looked almost guilty or ashamed. I averted my eyes, unable to look at him.
It was a little over a week ago that hed dragged me from the party after his

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football game, bringing me home. Hed stunned me that night and ever since
then Ive felt like everything was in a whirlwind, my thoughts and feelings all
scrambled and nothing made sense. I truly felt like the ridiculously pathetic child
I always thought I was.
His behavior had taken me by surprise. Hed pretty much demanded I speak my
mind to him and as hard as that concept was to me, a part of me desired to be
able to speak freely. Id made him a real cherry coke, wanting to do something to
show him my gratitude. I figured hed like it, since I knew he drank the stuff in
the can. Id learned to master the art of cherry cokes over the past few years, as
my mistress in Phoenix drank them and demanded they be perfect. Perfect
proportion of cherry juice in the coke, perfect number of cherries. Any slight
imperfection literally translated to a kick to some body part that I prefer not to be
kicked. She was fond of kicking people behind the knees, as that always caused
them to crash to the ground. Edward seemed to appreciate the fact that I made
him one, even if he did pour alcohol in it.
He had seemed tense. I kept seeing him stretch his back and roll his shoulders
and bring his hand up to knead his neck. I got curious after awhile and asked him
if he were okay, and he confessed that his muscles were sore from that hit I saw
him take. I guess he wasnt as tough as Emmett thought he was.
The art of massage is something you pick up when you live the life I do. Long
hours and days full of grueling work wreak havoc on your body, so its essential
you learn how to loosen up and soothe muscles to alleviate some of the pain and
pressure. I offered to give him a massage, simply trying to be friendly, not even
considering what was going to happen when I actually touched him.
The moment he sat between my legs those feelings started stirring inside of me
again. My hands on his skin were almost electric. His back was smooth--his
muscles firm and sculpted. Hed gotten up to get something for me to use to
massage him, and my eyes fell upon his naked chest. Id been so entranced that
first morning because of the orange juice spilling that I hadnt actually gotten that
great of a look at his chest. It was stunning and I couldnt seem to tear my eyes
away.
The massage started out innocent enough and I felt him loosening up, but the
stupid ridiculous child inside of me started acting up and trying to take over. I

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practically caressed his back with my hand, running my fingers lightly over his
tattoo. I was curious about them and wanted to ask him what all of his tattoos
meant, as he had three that I knew of, but I couldnt seem to form words. He
also had a very prominent scar on his side, whatever caused it had to have hurt
and I hated the thought of him ever hurting. The feel of Edwards skin, the smell
of him and the sounds he was making had clouded me completely. I could barely
think straight. I ran my hand up his spine and he threw his head back, my fingers
finding their way into his hair. His hair was surprisingly very soft and the feel of it
captivated me.
Edward had started breathing heavier and moaned, and the sound of it did crazy
things to me. I felt my body tingling, my own breathing labored. I started having
irrational thoughts about his hands on me when he grabbed a hold of me,
stopping me from touching him. He told me someone was home and I
immediately panicked, everything clearing. I was so embarrassed for getting out
of control, so much that I was afraid to look at Edward. I was afraid of what he
was thinking or feeling, afraid he was disgusted that Id touched him, afraid he
could sense the feelings Id had. So the moment he stood up I ran and locked
myself in my room.
The past week had flown by. I did my work and stayed out of the way. Alice
stopped by once and came up to my room to apologize for the incident at the
party, but I told her it was no big deal. I just hadnt been prepared for it, didnt
know exactly what I was walking into. I assured her it wouldnt stop me from
venturing out of the house. And it hasnt, as I spent a good bit of the past week
outside in the yard. I hadnt even realized the Cullens had a pool on their
property, thats how unobservant Id really been.
I saw Edward a few times and caught him staring at me, his expression always
curious. I couldnt tell what he was thinking and that was driving me crazy. We
hadnt been alone all week, someone always nearby. I still dreamed of him nearly
every night, waking up longing to see him and hear his voice. It was all so crazy,
his very existence causing my heart to swell with an unknown emotion, one I was
too afraid to confront or name.
Even standing there on the steps, looking at him with his arm around a petite girl
with brown curly hair, my heart swelled. And looking at the girl, another emotion
boiled to the surface, an emotion that was even more dangerous than the other

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onejealousy.
I practically ran away from them, almost falling down the steps because I was so
light headed. I went into the kitchen, washing up a few dishes and putting them
away, and that was when Alice had startled me.
I opened my eyes, feeling like I was okay again, and instantly saw Alices face.
She was frowning, her eyes glassy. It looked like she was fighting back tears and
that surprised me. I glanced around quickly; frightened that maybe she had hurt
herself. That was the last thing I needed, for her to cut herself on glass that I
broke. Id successfully avoided punishment the past few weeks, hadnt had to
experience Dr. Cullens anger, but I knew injuring a girl he thought of as a
daughter would do just that.
Are you okay, Alice? I asked frantically. Her brow furrowed and she nodded.
Im fine, are you okay? she asked. I just stared at her for a moment. Of course
I wasnt okay. I was so alone and troubled it was ridiculous. I was confused and
hurt and just so emotionally spent that I didnt know which way was up anymore.
Im okay, I whispered after a moment, looking away from her. I couldnt tell her
those things, I couldnt tell anyone.
My eyes fell upon the small puddle of blood on the floor and I groaned. I felt the
bile rising up immediately and I jumped up, shoving past Alice. I grabbed the
trashcan in just enough time to start vomiting again. I felt Alice rubbing my back
and shushing me. After the vomiting subsided I let go of the trashcan, my vision
blurred with tears; they were streaming down my cheeks and sobs were escaping
my throat.
I took a few deep breaths, trying to calm myself down. I turned around and
started picking up the glass, throwing it in the trashcan. I was feeling sick again
already and needed to get it cleaned up before anyone else saw it.
Go upstairs and lie down, Ill finish cleaning this up for you and come up in a
second, Alice said. I looked over at her questioningly and she nodded. I felt bad,
didnt want her to have to clean up after me, but I desperately needed to lie back
down before I got sick again. I mumbled a thank you and pulled myself up,

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gripping the counter to stabilize myself. Once I felt steady enough, I started for
the stairs.
I started breathing heavily as I headed up the second flight of stairs to the 3rd
floor. I had to pause when I reached the top, needing to catch my breath. My
vision was blurred slightly, my head pounding. My entire body ached and was
tingling.
I headed for my room and paused abruptly in the middle of the hallway as I
heard a girl crying out. I took a few steps forward hesitantly and felt devastation
rock through me as familiar sounds reached my ears. Groaning and moaning and
panting and grunting. I could hear a faint thumping sound that instantly made me
think of my mother, and those sounds I listened to as Charles had his way with
her.
Edward was having sex with that girl.
I heard the female cry out again, this time yelling Edwards name. I lost my
breath, an ach burning my chest. My eyes welled up with tears and everything
grew hazy. My knees went wobbly and I heard footsteps behind me on the stairs.
My legs gave out and I collapsed, my head slamming into the wall and my body
hitting the floor with a loud thump. I faintly heard Alice scream Jaspers name
before everything blacked out.
Isabella? Wake up bella ragazza, open your eyes for me. I heard the familiar
velvety voice filter through, so close it felt like it was right beside my ear.
Smack her or something, isnt that what youre supposed to do? a female voice
said, sounding farther away and slightly panicky. It was a voice Id heard before
but wasnt one I knew very well. It confused me, the words not making sense.
Im not fucking hitting her, no one is, the velvety voice spat instantly, the tone
aggressive and sent a chill down my spine.
I pried my eyes open, everything hazy but I could make out the set of green eyes
hovering right in front of me. I blinked a few times in confusion, trying to clear
my vision.

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Maledicalo, dont you ever do that again!! Do you hear me?! he yelled. My eyes
widened in shock at his anger, everything coming into focus. He was very visibly
upset and looking pointedly at me.
What did I do? Im so sorry, I said, my brow furrowing in confusion. I had no
idea what was going on but whatever it was, I had somehow messed up. I felt my
vision blurring over again, this time from tears. His features softened and he
groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose.
You passed out. I didnt mean to yell, but you scared the shit out of me, he
said.
Oh, I said, unsure of how to respond. I fainted? I tried to think back and my
eyes widened in shock as I remembered being in the hallway and hearing the
sounds coming from Edwards room. Oh God! I yelled when it came back to me.
Edward looked startled by my outburst. Relax, he said, his tone soft now.
Jaspers calling Dad to come home from work and check you out. You hit your
head pretty hard.
I glanced around and saw I was in my bedroom; Edward was sitting beside me on
the edge of my bed. I noticed he didnt have a shirt on and had to look away
from him quickly before it clouded my thoughts. I tried to pull myself up but
Edward grabbed a hold of me, trying to make me stay lying down. I propped
myself up on my elbows and glanced past him. Alice and the curly haired girl
were standing in the doorway, both looking at Edward and I. A small smile came
on Alices lips when I looked at her but I couldnt conjure a smile up in return. I
glanced over at the other girl and felt a surge of sadness when I saw she was
wearing nothing but an oversized T-shirt that was obviously not hers. I realized it
had to have been Edwards.
I sighed, dropping back down onto my back. I shook my head and glared up at
the ceiling. I could feel Edwards gaze on me and felt the bed shift after a second.
I looked over at him and watched him turn his head to glance at the door.
Go put your fucking clothes back on Jessica, he said, the harsh tone back to his
voice. I didnt look up but I heard a door slam across the hall after a moment.

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Im going to go see how Jasper made out, Alice said, bolting out the door. I
heard her footsteps heading down the stairs almost immediately. I sighed,
knowing Edward and I were alone, and closed my eyes. I was slightly
embarrassed, having heard him and the girl and having obviously interrupted it.
It made me feel sick to think of them having sex and I tried to ignore it, not
wanting to deal with why.
I felt him brush his hand across my forehead after a moment. His fingertips were
cool and sent sparks across my feverish skin. La mia bella ragazza, he
murmured softly as he stroked the skin on my face, so soft I barely heard it. His
words sounded sweet and I felt comforted although the meaning of them was
unknown to me.
I opened my eyes and saw him gazing down at me intensely. Whats that
mean? I asked.
Whats what mean? he asked, smiling lightly.
Uh la mia bella ragazza, I said, although my pronunciation made it sound like
lemon-ah bella re-gezzi.
Edward stared at me for a moment, looking slightly caught off guard by my
question. Its not important, he said finally, shrugging. If I dont say it in
English, you probably dont want to know, he added.
I nodded, remembering Dr. Cullen had said Edward enjoyed saying colorful things
in Italian. We sat there in silence for a few moments. Edward was stroking my
cheek softly with the back of his hand and staring into my eyes. It was a bit
uncomfortable but I couldnt break from his gaze. His eyes were so full of
emotion, so compassionate.
A door slammed across the hall and Edward groaned, rolling his eyes. He pulled
his hand away from me and stood up, jogging out of the room quickly. I pulled
myself up and saw him standing in the hallway with the curly haired girl. She
looked mad and Edward was talking to her. I couldnt make out his words as they
were whispers but his lips were moving furiously. She finally huffed loudly and
turned from him, stomping away. Edward walked back in the room, shaking his
head and sighing. He sat down on the edge of the bed again and looked at me.

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I didnt mean to interrupt, I said, feeling like I needed to apologize. I felt bad. I
had no idea who the girl was but if Edward had been having sex with her she
obviously was something to him. And please tell her Im sorry.
His brow furrowed. Sorry for what?
For interrupting you guys, you know what you were doing. I said, slightly
embarrassed and unable to actually say it out loud. I felt my cheeks reddening.
Edwards eyes grew wide as he obviously figured out what I was talking about.
Jesus Christ, he muttered, shaking his head. He looked embarrassed, which
surprised me. You shouldnt have heard that shit.
My eyes widened, afraid he thought I was eavesdropping. Im sorry, I wasnt
trying to, I promise. I was just walking down the hall and I heard the noises.
He groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose. Dont apologize, you shouldnt be
apologizing, I should be.
I looked at him with surprise why would he apologize? Hed done nothing
wrong. Before I could say anything he started ranting off in Italian, so fast and
jumbled and passionate it startled me.
Damn it, slow down Edward, Jaspers voice said from the doorway. I looked up
and saw him standing there with Alice, watching his brother with surprise.
Edward stopped speaking immediately, looking over at them. His expression was
almost horrified. Colpo di fulmine? Jasper said after a moment, his brow
furrowing as he eyed Edward.
Edward groaned, standing up. Just fucking ignore me, I dont know what Im
saying, he said forcefully. He walked past them and out of the room without
saying another word. Alice sighed and walked forward, sitting down the spot
Edward had just been sitting.
I dont know whats gotten into him, Im sorry. Its a good thing you dont speak
Italian because he probably wouldve just freaked you out, Jasper said, shaking
his head. I smiled lightly.

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Thats not the first time hes spoken Italian to me. Hes never said so much
before, though. It kinda made me dizzy just listening to him.
Alice smiled. I didnt understand it either, she said. I know a bit of Italian I
picked up over the years but not good enough to make all that out.
Jasper sighed. Im sure you got the basics, he said softly, looking at Alice. I
didnt miss the fact that she nodded slightly in confirmation. Anyway, Dad said
to drink this slowly. Hell be home soon.
Jasper held out a bottle of water. I sat up and took it from him, opening it. I felt
my vision haze over a bit from dizziness and took a few sips. They were quiet as I
drank the water but kept exchanging glances at each other that worried me a bit.
I heard footsteps on the stairs and glanced up to see Dr. Cullen stop in the
doorway. Anyone know what Edwards problem is? He nearly ran that damn
Volvo straight into my Mercedes flying down the driveway.
Who knows, Jasper said quickly, glancing over at Alice. She smiled lightly and
nodded once. I narrowed my eyes slightly, suspicious. They were keeping a
secret and I didnt understand why.
Dr. Cullen sighed and walked forward. Alice stood up and he took her spot on the
bed. I heard you gave the kids quite a scare, passing out on them. Are you
feeling any better?
I nodded. A bit. He smiled and grabbed my wrist to take my pulse. I flinched
away from his touch as usual but it didnt stop him. He pulled out a tiny flashlight
and shined it in my eyes.
You should be fine, just a bit dehydrated. Drink a bunch of fluids and get some
sleep. Unless youre going to the bathroom, I dont want to see you out of this
bed until tomorrow morning, do you hear me?
I nodded. He smiled lightly, standing up. He glanced at his watch and told Jasper
to bring me up some bottles of water and departed quickly. Jasper left the room
and Alice sat back down beside me.

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Is there something going on? I asked softly, curious. She turned and smiled at
me, shrugging.
No, she said. I could tell by her expression that she was lying, but Id never
dare call her on it. I simply nodded and lay back down, sighing. Jasper returned
after a moment with four bottles of water and sat them beside the bed. He gave
me a small smile and grabbed Alice hand. She giggled as he pulled her off the
bed. They both wished me sweet dreams and left the room quickly, shutting the
door behind them.
I was exhausted and sleep took me instantly. I slept on and off for hours, all
through the night, only waking up for long enough to drink some water or go to
the bathroom.
I woke up the next morning, feeling groggy but my stomach wasnt queasy
anymore. I pulled myself out of bed and took a long hot shower to freshen myself
up. I brushed my hair and pulled it back, and pulled on a pair of jeans and a tank
top. It was Monday and the house was deserted. The boys were at school and Dr.
Cullen was at the hospital I assumed. I wasnt exactly sure where Dr. Cullen went
and why he stayed gone so long. He was never home.
I cleaned the house, which was dirtier than Id seen it lately since I was sick
yesterday and didnt have the chance to do anything. After the house was decent
I plopped down on the couch in the living area. I was bored and feeling lonely,
wishing I wasnt alone. I was growing used to the Cullen boys and craving their
company. And Alice I enjoyed Alices presence immensely.
It was almost like I had friends. Real friends.
La Mia Bella Ragazza = My Beautiful Girl
Bella Ragazza = Beautiful Girl
Maledicalo = Damnit
colpo di fulmine = literally means 'a thunderbolt'.... but is an expression Italian's
use to describe the feeling of being struck by love so intense that it's like being
struck by lightening... like "love at first sight".

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Chapter 15 - Love is like war


Love is like war; easy to begin but very hard to stop -- Henry Louis
Mencken
EPOV
Im going to take a shower. Whenever Alice gets here tell her to come up,
Jasper said, standing up from the couch beside me. I threw my hand up with
some half assed peace sign so he knew I heard him. I was on my laptop,
downloading some songs off of I-Tunes to load on my IPod.
Less than a minute after Jasper disappeared up the stairs a round of knocks came
from the front door. I didnt bother getting up to answer it, I knew it was Alice.
Almost immediately after knocking the front door open and she waltzed in. I
could sense her presence and glanced up, cocking an eyebrow at her. She was
soaked from the rain, as it was fucking pouring outside today, and she was
staring at me with a frown on her face.
Jasper said Isabellas sick, she said.
Yeah, I muttered, looking back at my screen. Some stomach bug or some
shit. Dad had said he found her on her bathroom floor, puking her guts out, and
that shed be spending the day in her room. He told us to leave her alone and not
ask her for anything. I didnt intend to anyway, I could fend for myself well
enough, but Id been a bit disappointed that it meant I wouldnt see her all day.
Jaspers in the shower, he said to go up there, I said after a moment, glancing
back up at her. She sighed and nodded, turning and heading for the stairs. I
turned my attention back to the screen and my laptop dinged. I sighed, rolling
my eyes when I saw it was an instant message from JStanley4387. I mean, fuck
me, couldnt she be more creative with that shit?
Jstanley4387: Wut u doin?
You in about 10 minutes if you get your ass over here I typed. I went back to
ITunes and after a moment it dinged again.
Jstanley4387: hehehe

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I rolled my eyes. No one ever said she was a fucking intellectual, thats for sure.
Jstanley4387: U rly wnt me 2 cum?
I groaned, shaking my head. I hated text speak, cant these fuckers type out
their words or is that too much goddamn work for their feeble minds to
remember fucking vowels?
I have every intention of making you cum so hurry up I typed. I signed off and
grabbed my IPod, plugging it in to load it. I got up after a few minutes, walking
to the kitchen to grab something to drink. I was tense, my body needing some
kind of damn release. Id been swamped with schoolwork, had a shitload of tests
this week, and football practice was kicking my ass so Ive had little time for
pleasure seeking. It didnt help that Ive had a continual hard-on for a week, ever
since that night on the couch when Isabella massaged my back. No amount of
jacking off has killed it and it was driving me crazy.
I heard the gravel crunching and glanced up out the window. I saw the little beat
up red Toyota Corolla and smirked. I met Jessica at the front door, motioning for
her to come inside. She had pulled her little piece of shit car right to the
goddamn front door and still used a fucking umbrella to get inside. Jesus, even
Alice didnt let a little rain bother her. I didnt understand itI was about to fuck
up her hair and get her all soaked with sweat any damn way.
I cant lieI felt like shit bringing her to the house with Isabella here. But it was
pouring so we sure as shit couldnt do it outside. No one was fucking in my car
and there was no way I was ever climbing in that deathtrap of hers, so it was
really my only option at the moment. I figured Isabella would never know, since
she was held up in her room, sick. Id just have to make Jessica keep her fucking
noises down.
I didnt even want to think about why it bothered me to be fucking a girl with
Isabella in the same house. I never gave a shit before. It didnt even faze me for
my own father to hear me banging the hell out of a girl.
Jessica was being all giggly and touchy feely and it was annoying from the getgo, but I tried to ignore it. I draped my arm over her shoulder and we headed for

176

the stairs, ascending them quickly. We hit the second floor and I froze as my
eyes landed on Isabella. She looked fucking horrible, paler than Id ever seen a
person look before. She was sweating and trembling slightly. It hurt to see her
looking so rough and then I felt fucking ashamed that I was standing there with
Jessica, like shed caught me fucking cheating or something. Christ, what has
gotten into me? There was no reason for that shit--I wasnt doing anything
wrong.
She practically ran past us and Jessica snickered. I rolled my eyes and pulled her
along up the stairs. As soon as we got in my bedroom Jessica went straight for
my neck and started kissing and licking.
Dont you fucking mark me, I said, walking her backwards toward the bed. Her
knees hit the edge of the bed and she plopped her ass down on it. I pulled my
shirt off, tossing it on the bottom of the bed. Jessica started unbuttoning her shirt
and pushed it off. She pulled her pants down and kicked them off, lying back on
her elbows to watch me in her bra and panties. I undid my belt and unbuttoned
and unzipped my pants. I pushed them down along with my boxers, my dick
springing free. Jessica moaned at the sight of it and I smirked. I knew I was
blessed in both length and girth, and I tended to stretch girls out when they took
me in. Virgins had a hard time handling me, with how tight they were and how
big I was. I hadnt taken many, I think I popped three cherries that I knew of,
and I likely made their first times a hell of a lot more painful than it shouldve
beennot only because of my size, but because I didnt take it easy on them.
They wanted to fuck me, so fuck me they did. They knew what they were getting
into.
I kicked my pants and boxers off and walked toward the edge of the bed. I
reached out and grabbed Jessicas arm, pulling her up. I took one hand and
grabbed my dick, the other hand I put on the back of Jessicas head. I pushed her
forward and she parted her lips, taking me in her mouth. She stopped about
halfway down and I didnt push her any further, knowing she couldnt handle
anymore of it. I wasnt that much of an asshole to intentionally gag her.
She started moving her head and sucking me, getting me as hard as possible. I
reached down and unclasped her bra, pulling it off. I reached around pinched her
nipple, making her jump and yelp. She grazed me with her teeth and I hissed,
throwing my head back. I reached over and opened the drawer in the stand

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beside my bed, pulling out a condom. I opened it and pulled away from Jessica,
rolling it on. She scooted up in the bed and I climbed over her, pulling her
underwear down and off. She spread her legs and I lined myself up, thrusting
inside of her and filling her completely in one movement.
She yelled out and I groaned. Keep your voice down, I said, not wanting people
to hear her. Jessica looked at me incredulously as I usually didnt give a shit but I
just wasnt comfortable with Isabella hearing. I tried to tell myself it was because
she was sick and it would be rude as hell to keep her awake if she came back
upstairs and tried to sleep, ignoring that other part of me that just didnt want
her to fucking know what I was doing.
I grabbed her legs and placed her calves on my shoulders, pounding into her. She
was trying to keep quiet but she couldnt help the noises, as I wasnt taking it
easy on her. I felt the tension in me building already, my release coming quick.
I reached a hand down and pinched Jessica clit, knowing that shit would send her
into orgasm. She screamed my name and her pussy started contracting and
convulsing as she orgasmed. My release was so fucking close and I thrusted
harder preparing for it. I felt that familiar tingling coming, knowing it would be
soon, when a loud ass bang ricocheted through my room from the hallway. It
sounded like someone had hit the wall beside my door with something hard. I
slowed my movements, startled and instantly pissed as the distraction made the
tingle disappear. I thrusted once, hard, hoping it would come back again when I
heard Alice scream for Jasper, a shrill panicked scream. It scared the hell out of
me, as Alice wasnt one to get worked up and freak out. Something was really
wrong.
I pulled out immediately, pulling the condom off and throwing it on the floor. I
grabbed a pair of flannel pants and pulled them on, running to the door. Jessica
yelled behind me but I didnt give a shit about her right now. I swung the door
open and my eyes widened as I saw Isabella lying on the ground, out cold, with
Alice squatting beside her. Alice looked up at me, the panic in the face leaving a
bit as she saw me. Isabella wasnt moving, her eyes closed, and if it werent for
the fall and rise of her chest Id swear she was fucking dead.
The feelings that shot through me nearly took my breath away. The fear and
despair I felt was intense. Standing there, looking at her limp pale body on the

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floor, I was fucking devastated.


And then I knew it. Id put up walls and avoided feelings, didnt give a shit about
anyone but myself and my family by default, and this girl comes waltzing into my
life and in one fucking month wipes all that away. She tears my walls down and
obliterates my hard exterior, finds a way under my skin and into my fucking
heart. And she does it all without even trying, without even wanting to.
I fell for her. Ive fucking fallen for her. In that one split second as I glanced
down at her on the floor in distress, I realized it. The reason I cant stop thinking
about her, the reason I sneak into her room at night to watch her sleep. The
reason I wonder what shes thinking and what she dreams of. The reason I look
for her every time I enter a room, the reason I listen so closely to the sounds
coming from her room. The reason her goddamn laugh makes me smile, the
reason the sight of her makes my chest swell.
I care about her. No, scratch that. I fucking love her. I havent allowed myself to
love anyone since I lost my mother, telling myself the pain of losing someone
wasnt worth it, especially when you live the life we live. I push people away and
piss them off because its easier that way. No one gets through to me, I always
keep everyone at an arms length. But she got in.
I pushed all those thoughts away, trying to forget them because I couldnt be
dealing with that, and picked her up off the floor. I was a little startled by how
light she was. Did the girl even fucking eat?
Jasper came up and saw what was going on, running downstairs to get his cell
phone to call Dad at the hospital. Alice opened her bedroom door and I went
inside, laying Isabella down on her bed. Jessica came out of my bedroom but I
didnt pay her any attention, I couldnt care less about her right now. Not while
Isabella was hurt. No one fucking mattered at that moment except for her.
Isabella? Wake up bella ragazza, open your eyes for me, I said quickly. I didnt
even think about what I was saying. I knew Alice was in the room and she knew
enough Italian to understand that Id just called Bella beautiful girl, but the
words just came flowing out. Id taken a liking to referring to her in my head.
God, how had I not figured out I loved her sooner?!

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Smack her or something, isnt that what youre supposed to do? Jessica asked
from the doorway. I felt a surge of anger and snapped, yelling that no one was
fucking hitting her. Isabellas eyes opened and she blinked at me. I felt relief
instantly, the feelings inside of me still so intense and overwhelming that I
snapped at her, yelling at her for fainting, as if it was her fault or she could help
it. She thought she was in trouble and her eyes welled up with tears, making me
feel like an asshole for how I reacted. I tried to calm down and explain it to her,
telling her she passed out and it scared me.
She tried to sit up, despite my insistence she didnt. She looked over at the
doorway and her expression shifted, confusing me. She had seemed slightly
relaxed like she was okay, but she looked almost devastated now. I was confused
and slowly turned around, looking where she had been looking. My eyes fell on
Jessica and I realized she was wearing nothing but my fucking shirt. I snapped at
her, pissed off probably more at myself than anyone, and told her to get dressed.
Alice rushed out of the door right after Jessica did.
Isabella had her eyes closed. I stared at her for a moment and couldnt help but
fucking smile. God, she was beautiful. La mia bella ragazza, I murmured,
caressing her face. I knew she didnt know what it fucking meant and I was glad
for that, but I couldnt seem to stop saying it. She opened her eyes and asked me
what it meant and I told her it didnt matter, that she didnt want to know.
Because it was true--she didnt. If she knew Id just called her my beautiful girl
it would probably freak her out or frighten her. We stared at each other for a
moment and I searched her face for any sign that maybe she felt what I felt;
maybe she was just as baffled and twisted as I was. But she just stared at me
like she was in a daze and I couldnt read her expression.
Jessica slammed the door to my room and I got up, irritated. I stopped her in the
hallway and she got all pissy with me, acted like she was jealous of the attention
I gave Isabella. She called her a fucking servant and I snapped. Jessica didnt
know the whole slavery bullshit but she still looked down at her because she was
apparently hired help and that pissed me off. I kept my voice low but my words
were sharp. I probably hurt her feeling and Ill likely never get into her pants
again but I didnt care. She wasnt worth it anyway and I felt protective over
Isabella. I wouldnt let her fucking disrespect her.

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I went back to Isabella and she apologized to me and told me to apologize to


Jessica for her. I was confused at first but then she started to clarify and it struck
me. Shed heard us. She heard Jessicas moans and screams and was apologizing
for interrupting our fucking. We were both embarrassed and I felt like an ass. I
was so overwhelmed about everything and the fact that she knew I was just
screwing the brains out of that sleazy tramp sent me over the edge.
I started rattling off in Italian, mostly incoherent nonsense. I was railing about
how fucking stupid I was and how messed up the entire situation was. I was
ranting on about my feelings and how ridiculous it was and how nothing made
sense. I was so in a zone that I hadnt heard my brother approach.
He told me to slow down and I looked up at him, fucking horrified and hoping like
hell he hadnt made out what Id said. I thought maybe Id gotten lucky for once,
but then he looked at me with confusion.
Colpo di fulmine? he asked. I felt dread course through my system. He fucking
knew. Hed heard enough to figure it out.
Colpo di fulmine. When you meet someone and it hits you like a goddamn
lightening bolt--Love at first sight.
I told him to ignore me, I hadnt meant whatever he heard, and sprinted out of
there. I needed to think, I needed to clear my head. I went into my room, and
grabbed a shirt and slid on my shoes, descending the stairs. I went outside and
hopped in the Volvo, starting it up and throwing it in gear, flying away from the
house. I nearly hit Dads car coming up the driveway but didnt bother to stop. I
had to get away.
I drove to Port Angeles and stopped at a liquor store. I bought a fifth of vodka
with my fake ID, the cheap shit because their credit machine was down and I was
low on cash. I didnt care though; the cheap shit would work fine. I rented a hotel
room also using my fake ID and locked myself in it, getting fucking plastered.
I eventually passed out and woke up around 11 the next morning. I was hung
over like hell and missed school but I wasnt worried about that. As long as I
sobered up and felt better in time for football practice Id be fine.

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I checked out and walked out to the car, wincing at the fucking bright sun. I
threw on my sunglasses, knowing my eyes had to be bloodshot. I drove home
doing the speed limit for the first time in my life, not wanting to get pulled over
because it was highly likely there was still alcohol coursing in my veins. Im sure
dad wouldnt be too pleased to have to come post bail in the middle of a Monday
afternoon because his seventeen year old son was driving under the influence.
Yeah, Im not so sure the cops would be pleased with the concealed .45
Automatic Colt Pistol under my seat, loaded with hallow-point bullets either. Im
not even sure Dad knew I had that shitafter the shit I did last year, I dont
know how hed feel about me with another fucking gun right now. But he knew it
was always better safe than sorry, so I dont think hed kick my ass for it at least.
Dad loved guns, treated them like they had fucking feelings or something.
Fucking with a gun and not treating it properly was disrespect in his eyes. Last
time I touched his personal gun he nearly had a fucking panic attack.
I checked my phone on the drive home. Id left it in the car, not even bothering
with it last night. I saw Jasper called and dialed my voicemail, listening to his
message. He said he hadnt told anyone what he heard me say and for me not to
sweat it, that it wasnt his business to be saying anything regardless of if it were
true or not. I appreciated that, my brother Jasper was a stand up guy and Im
glad that if anyone heard that shit that it was him. Emmett wouldve told the
entire world, thinking it was funny. And dad well, Id venture to guess if dad
even got the hint that I had romantic feelings toward the girl wed both be in
danger. Hed probably beat the shit out of me for being so damn stupid and I
didnt even want to imagine what hed do to her. Probably make her disappear.
Nothing against Isabella, Im sure, but Im his fucking prince and the one thats
likely to follow in his footsteps. I have no fucking clue about how the organization
would take to a fucking Mafioso prince falling in love with his slave. It would
probably be an embarrassment for Dad. I dont know, honestly, but theres no
fucking way Im approaching the subject with him.
Theres no way I could avoid her, because that was just going to raise more
suspicion. And I knew damn well avoiding her wouldnt make my feelings go
away. Id be her friendwe could do that. We could be friends. Id keep my
feelings and compulsions under control and no one would know any better, I
could put on a fucking show if I had to, if her life depended on it. And it probably
did. I couldnt get her killed or sent away because my hormonal irrational self

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couldnt control my impulses.


I pulled up in front of the house and climbed out of the car. I made my way into
the house and stopped in the foyer. I heard the TV on in the living room and
walked in that direction. I paused and smiled when I saw Isabella was sitting on
the couch with the remote in her hand, her head slumped over. She was asleep.
I stealthily took the remote from her hand, turning the TV off. I noticed she had
goosebumps on her arms and walked up to the second floor, grabbing a blanket
from the closet. I came back downstairs and carefully covered her up, not
wanting her to be cold.
I walked into the kitchen and grabbed something to drink, heading up to my
room. I hopped in the shower and cleaned up, throwing on some boxers and a
pair of jeans. I grabbed a shirt from the closet and headed back downstairs.
I grabbed some crackers from the kitchen, needing to put something in my
stomach to try to settle it. I spilled some fucking water on the floor when I was
trying to take some aspirin so I wiped it up with a towel. I walked to the laundry
room and tossed the towel in the hamper, turning and heading back toward the
kitchen when I heard the sweet innocent voice.
Edward.
I paused and smiled, guessing she was talking in her sleep again. Id snuck into
her room every night the past week and like clockwork, she said my name in her
sleep. I was starting to wonder if maybe she had some sixth sense and could tell
I was nearby and thats why she mumbled it.
I turned toward her, needing to see that small smile playing on her lips that
usually accompanied my name, and froze. My eyes widened when they met the
chocolate brown orbs. She was awake and staring right at me.
Hey, I said. She smiled.
Hi, she said softly.
I ran my hand through my hair, contemplating what to do. I really wanted to go

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sit down with her but I knew I needed to take my ass to school and at least make
it to last period. I had gym last period with Coach Clapp and considering hes my
football coach hell fucking know I was playing hooky and likely try to kill me on
the field with suicides as punishment.
She was looking at me expectedly, obviously wondering why the hell I was just
standing there. I sighed, resigned, and walked over to her. I grabbed the remote
and moved the blanket out of the way, sitting down beside her. Her eyes were
imploring me and it was a fucking invitation I couldnt decline.
Youre looking better today, I said, turning the TV on. I started scanning
through channels, trying to find something decent on in the middle of the
afternoon.
I feel better, she said. I nodded and settled on some random ass rerun of
Americas Funniest Home Videos. I sat back on the couch, slouching down some.
Arent you supposed to be in school? she asked after a moment. I glanced over
at her.
Evidently, I said shrugging. But Im not exactly known for doing what Im
supposed to do.
She smiled. Rebel, she said.
I smirked. I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed things were. I expected
some odd tension, especially after all the bullshit that had gone down between us
thus far, but she seemed more relaxed now than ever before.
She was quiet for a bit so I glanced over at her, my brow furrowing when I
realized she was staring at my chest. I glanced down, realizing I still had yet to
put my shirt on, and saw that she was eyeing the tattoo on my chest.
Time heals all wounds, I said. Her eyes shot to mine and her brow furrowed.
What? she asked.
I sighed. The tattoo on my chest. Il tempo guarisce tutti i mali. It means Time

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Heals All Wounds.


Oh, she said softly. I didnt mean to stare. I was just curious about them.
I smiled lightly. Its fine. Jasper, Emmett, and I all actually have it; we went and
got it together. The tattoo on my back is the Cullen family crest.
She nodded. And the one on your arm?
I sighed. Its a design of the claddagh, stands for love, friendship and loyalty.
Its an Irish symbol, which is why its in the clover. My mom always wore a
claddagh ring, dad gave it to her.
I got slightly uncomfortable mentioning mom. She looked at me with surprise and
I realized no one had probably ever mentioned mom to her and she was likely
curious about why she wasnt here. I wasnt ready to have that conversation,
though, so I changed the subject off of her quickly.
Theres another tattoo on my wrist, Fiducia Nessuno.
Her eyes widened in surprise. Theres a tattoo on your wrist? she asked.
I smiled and nodded. I keep it covered with my watch usually, which is why
youve never noticed it. I reached over and unclasped my watch, pulling it off. I
turned my arm over, holding my wrist out to her. Scrawled across the veins in
small script were the words.
She reached her hand over and lightly grazed her fingertips across the ink. I felt
the tingling shooting up my arm from her touch and closed my eyes briefly.
Whats it say? she asked softly, still gazing at it.
I sighed, pulling my arm away from her and putting the watch back on. Fiducia
Nessuno. Trust No One.
I glanced over and saw her smile, nodding. I figured out of all of them, shed
understand that one most. I imagine shed didnt allow herself to truly trust
anyone either.

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Did they hurt? she asked after a few minutes. I smiled.


Somewhat. The one on my wrist did the worst. But Ive felt worse pain. She
nodded again. Can I ask you something? I asked after a moment.
She glanced over at me and nodded. Of course, she said softly.
Why dont you eat dinner with us? I asked, curious. She looked surprised by my
question and started chewing on her bottom lip. The truth. Whatever the answer
is I can take it.
She sighed. I was afraid to face you, she said softly after a minute. I nodded,
slightly surprised she listened to me and fucking told the truth, but not exactly
surprised about the answer. I had a feeling it was because of her avoidance of
me.
So why dont you eat with us now? You arent exactly avoiding me anymore. Not
that Im aware of anyway.
She shrugged. I guess it doesnt really feel right. Someone like me shouldnt
sleep in the same house as someone like you, much less sit at the same dinner
table.
I looked at her incredulously. Christ, girl, someone really did a fucking job on
you. Whoever you were with before you came here mustve been a real fucking
dickhead.
She smiled but it didnt reach her eyes. Her eyes were full of sadness, despair.
Im not so sure he can be entirely blamed for how he treated us, considering
children are a product of their environment. After all, we only know what we are
taught. Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing,
Master Edward.
My eyes widened and I stared at her with shock. She sounded like Yoda from Star
Wars, spewing fucking wisdom all calm and disconnected. There was absolutely
no life to her words, no emotion in her voice. She sounded like a goddamn robot,
making excuses for how she was treated. She called me Master for Christ sakes!

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And did she just fucking quote Albert Schweitzer?!


I was stunned. There was definitely more to the girl than what met the eye.
Are you sure youve never gone to school? I asked quickly. Her eyes widened as
she looked at me.
Im sure. Why? she asked, her expression looking scared and lightly guilty, like
she was hiding something.
Youre smart. You just quoted Albert Schweitzer for Christ sakes. How did you
know that?
She blinked a few times, looking frightened and confused. I dont know, maybe
from Master Charles. Im not entirely sure where I heard it from.
I cocked an eyebrow, staring at her for a moment. She looked almost guilty and I
had a sneaking suspicious she was fucking keeping something from me and I
didnt like it.
Have you been with that Charles guy your entire life? I asked, curious.
She hesitated. I guess you could say that. He didnt actually become my master
until his parents died when I was 12.
Were they just as bad as him? I asked. She half shrugged and half shook her
head. She didnt look comfortable talking about this but I really wanted to know
her history, really needed to know. It felt like she was hiding things and that got
under my skin.
They were indifferent mostly. The beatings didnt start until after they died and
grew worse a few months ago when the masters wife found out that she
started, trailing off quickly. She bit her bottom lip nervously.
Found out what? I asked.
She hesitated. When she found out my parentage, sir.

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My brow furrowed. Your parentage? I asked, confused.


She nodded. The mistress despised me when she discovered Master Charles
fathered me.
My eyes widened in surprise, shock coursing through me. Her fucking father did
this to her?
Your master was your dad? I asked incredulously, half yelling. She looked
ashamed and looked away from me, nodding.
My mother was his familys slave and he used her for pleasure purposes. He
didnt intend for me to be created, the only reason I was born is because my
mother kept me a secret.
I sighed loudly, pinching the bridge of my nose. Her own fucking flesh and blood
did this to her. That was despicable.
Thats just fucking wrong. Your own family? Thats immoral, unethical. They
couldve treated you better. Fuck, they shouldve treated you better.
She shrugged. I suppose they thought they were being fair by allowing me to
live. I wouldve likely been murdered upon discovery if it werent for the fact that
I looked enough like Charles for his mother to connect the dots and realize I was
kin. Maybe that was them being ethical.
I was quiet for a moment, sighing. A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the
compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring
anything that lives, I said, pulling out another Albert Schweitzer quote I knew. I
peeked over at her and saw a small smile grace her lips as she absorbed my
words.
Yeah, she definitely knew more than she was letting on.

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Chapter 16 - Punishment
Punishment - The justice that the guilty deal out to those that are
caught. -- Elbert Hubbard
IPOV
I sighed and rolled over, glancing at the alarm clock. The numbers were a harsh
bright yellow that hurt my eyes even with the light on. I saw it was a few minutes
past 6:00 am and groaned. I was parched, my throat dry from thirst, and Id
been restless the entire night and unable to really sleep for some reason. I felt
slightly anxious and I couldnt really pinpoint whysomething just felt off.
I sighed and sat up, throwing my comforter off of me. I climbed out of bed and
walked over to the closet, glancing around. I wasnt comfortable yet walking
around the house in my short pajama shorts, as I felt slight indecent in them. Id
never worn such little clothes before in Phoenix, even with the intense heat there.
Charless wife wouldve freaked if us slaves werent completely covered. I slid the
shorts off, leaving them lying on the floor, and slipped on a pair of black yoga
pants.
I opened my door quietly, listening. It was silent, no sounds coming from
Edwards room. I didnt exactly expect to hear any though, with how early it was.
He wouldnt be up for at least another 30 minutes if my estimates were right. I
headed out and down the stairs, hearing water running on the second floor
indicating someone was up and getting ready for the day. It sounded like it was
coming from Dr. Cullens room. I made sure to keep quiet, not wanting to wake
anyone still sleeping. I made it down to the first floor and froze abruptly, my eyes
widening when I reached the foyer.
It was completely silent and dark, except for the faint glow of a light coming from
the kitchen. It filtered out into the foyer somewhat, slightly illuminating the
platform the piano sat on. I could faintly make out Edwards form in the glow of
light. He was sitting in the center of the piano bench, slumped forward slightly
with his head down. I couldnt see his face from where I stood but based on his
position I assumed he was staring down at the piano keys.
I was slightly shocked. Jasper had insinuated that Edward was quite protective
over his piano, but it was the first time Id ever seen him sit at it. Id never heard

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him play it but I assumed he knew how, considering he owned one. People just
didnt buy pianos for looks, did they?
I was torn on what to do. His body language told me that there was something
wrong, and I felt like I was intruding on a moment and seeing something I wasnt
supposed to be seeing. Something sacred--something personal and almost
intimate. Plus, I assumed he hadnt heard me come down the steps, since he
hadnt turned or acknowledged me, and I didnt want to scare him. Edward didnt
react well to being startled, Id definitely learned from experience. So I was
frozen in spot, torn.
I heard him exhale loudly, his breath shaky. He ran his hands up over his head,
lacing them through his hair. He gripped his messy bronze locks tightly, dropping
his head even further down. His body started trembling and I felt pain rip through
my chest as a soft sob escaped him. I was startled and shocked, confused and
distraught. Edward was crying.
I took a step backward immediately, as quiet as possible, and turned around. It
was definitely a personal moment, one Id seen entirely too much of as it was. It
was rude of me to spy or watch him without his consent. I grabbed the banister
and started up the steps, practically holding my breath and treading lightly
because I didnt want to be noticed. I exhaled, breathing a sigh of relief when I
reached the second floor. I definitely didnt want to invade his privacy or impose.
I headed back up to my room and sat down on my bed, confused. I couldnt stop
thinking about him, devastated that he was downstairs obviously in pain over
something. I still didnt know exactly what it was that I felt for Edward, exactly
what these feelings were that flowed through me. Id never felt them before and I
suspected, based on the pounding of my heart and the prickly sensation on my
skin, that they were romantic feelings. That truly frightened me, as I never
thought they were feelings Id ever have to deal with, and I knew there was no
way Id ever be in the position to act upon them. And even if I could I wasnt sure
Id ever want to, as he had gotten to me too much as it was. I had a soft spot for
him, hed managed to get inside and stir me up, and that made me vulnerable.
What I did know, however, was that seeing Edward in pain also pained me. I
didnt want him to hurt, ever. I wanted him to smile and be happy because his
happiness meant happiness for me. Did that mean I loved him? Was that what

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those feelings were? Was I in love with Edward Cullen? Was I that pathetic to
have fallen in love with him, the ridiculous young slave in love with her master?
Was I really that crazy?
I heard footsteps on the stairs after a moment and the sound of Edwards door
opening and closing. I got up and quietly walked out, heading back downstairs. I
walked into the kitchen and grabbed a glass, pouring myself some water. I was
drinking it when I heard footsteps approaching from down the steps. I glanced
up, slightly nervous as seeing Edward this morning only increased that odd
feeling I already had, and I saw Emmett walk past the kitchen toward the living
room. He didnt look at me, kept his eyes locked straight ahead.
I sighed, washing my glass out and putting it where it went. A few moments later
I heard more footsteps and walked to the doorway, spotting Jasper. He smiled
lightly at me but his expression was somber, the smile obviously forced for the
sake of politeness. I followed Jasper into the living room and he plopped down
beside Emmett. Their expressions matched, as they both looked depressed.
Something was definitely wrong, that much was clear now. It wasnt just Edward,
it was all of them. It was as if a black cloud hung over the Cullen residence,
bringing down everyone inside of it. I felt like there was something I was missing,
some piece of the puzzle I was unaware of. There was an uncomfortable silence
and tension lingering around, something I hadnt ever felt around Jasper. I felt
bad, not liking seeing them upset. The fact that their depression affected me was
slightly startling alsohad I grown to care for the other Cullen boys also?
Are you guys hungry? I could make some French Toast or something, I offered.
I was up early and had nothing else to do at this hour, so I didnt mind cooking
breakfast at all. Id yet to actually cook them anything but dinner thus far. Jasper
glanced over at me and smiled, this one just as forced as the last.
Sure, he said softly. Emmett didnt speak but glanced at me and nodded.
I smiled. Okay, I said, turning and heading for the kitchen. I cracked a bunch of
eggs and grabbed some bread, milk, vanilla and powdered sugar and started
whipping up French Toast. I heard footsteps behind me after awhile and turned
around to see Edward walk in. He had taken a shower, his hair a shade darker
than usual and slightly damp still. He opened the fridge and grabbed the orange

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juice, brushing past me to get a glass.


Smells good, he said softly, his voice sullen. There was no spark to his words,
none of that passion I was used to. Edward was usually always animated when he
spoke.
Are you hungry? I can make you some, I said, trying to make my voice sound
slightly chipper, despite the fact that they were scaring me a bit. I didnt
understand what was going on.
You dont have to do that, Bella, he said, his voice still soft but a slight hint of
that spark back when he called me Bella. Hed started calling me it a few days
ago, the day he skipped school and we hung out on the couch chatting. He told
me my name was Italian and I guess he just shortened it, as Bella was
apparently an Italian word. I didnt know what it meant and didnt ask because it
sounded sweet and I was afraid hed tell me it was something vulgar. I noticed he
didnt call me it in front of his family, so I guessed it likely wasnt as endearing as
I wished. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss, I suppose.
I know, I want to, I said. He glanced at me and I noticed his eyes were
bloodshot, dark circles under them. He looked utterly exhausted and I had the
fight the urge to reach my hand out and try to smooth away the bags under his
eyes.
Okay, he said, smiling lightly. His eyes lingered on me for a moment before he
took his juice and headed for the living room.
After the French Toast was done, I sat it on the table along with a bottle of maple
syrup and some fruit. I wasnt sure how the guys liked their breakfast food but I
made smiley faces with a bit of whipped cream and used a cherry for a nose,
hoping maybe it would at least make them smile. The boys sat down and started
eating quietly, none of them really speaking.
I headed into the kitchen and started cleaning up. Dr. Cullen walked in after a
few minutes, dressed slightly casual.
Breakfast duty? he asked, his voice a bit dull. I smiled and nodded.

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Are you hungry, sir? I can make something for you.


He shook his head. I appreciate it but I dont have much of an appetite. Ill be
home today; I have some stuff to do here. Ill be spending most of the time in my
room down here on the first floor beside the laundry room. Try not to bother me
unless its an emergency. If you do need me, use the cell phone I gave you and
call my cell phone. Okay?
I nodded. Yes, sir. Dr. Cullen said nothing else and I noticed his expression
matched that of his sons. He seemed a bit on edge, his eyes full of sadness.
He walked out of the kitchen and to the room across the hall. He pulled out a key
and unlocked it, stepping inside and closing the door behind him. I heard the lock
click back in place immediately. I had no idea what was in that room but
whatever it was, I was pretty sure it wasnt anything good for it to be locked up
so tight. I saw very little around the house that would give anyone any hint that
they were involved in organized crime, so I imagined all of the evidence mustve
been behind that locked door.
The boys walked into the kitchen, putting their plates in the sink. They all
murmured thank yous, exiting the kitchen quickly. They each headed upstairs to
get their stuff for school. I watched them come down after awhile, heading out
the front door for school. Edward hesitated in the foyer, obviously contemplating
something, before taking a few steps into the kitchen toward me.
Make sure you get your necessary work done but try to hide out today and stay
out of the way, he said, his voice still soft but there was a slight edge to his
words. He sounded serious, like he was subtly warning me. My brow furrowed,
the words cryptic and slightly alarming.
Okay, I said, nodding. He stared at me for a moment and looked as if he was
going to say something else, but eventually just sighed and shook his head.
Ill see you around 3:30, he mumbled, turning and heading for the door quickly.
I sighed, a bit baffled. I finished cleaning up the kitchen and went into the
laundry room to get Dr. Cullens clean clothes so I could put them away. It was
Wednesday so his sheets needed washed and changed, but otherwise there

193

wasnt much work to get done. I had Edwards words lingering in my mind and
decided Id finish the work in Dr. Cullens room and then hide out a bit, just in
case. If Edward told me to, he had to have had a good reason.
I lugged the hamper upstairs into Dr. Cullens room, sitting it beside his door. I
felt slightly weird being in his room with him home, as Id never done it before,
and it made me feel like I was sort of invading his space. I stripped his bed
quickly, taking the dirty sheets down and throwing them in the washer. I went
back up and grabbed some linen from the closet, making his bed back up.
I walked over and grabbed the hamper, pulling it toward the dresser. I pulled
open his top drawer and froze.
Lying across the top of his clothes was a gun. It was silver and very shinyso
shiny you could see your reflection in it. Id seen guns before from a distance,
mainly in the waistband of people who visited the Swans, but had never been so
close to one. Charles preferred using his hands for violence and not weapons. I
knew he kept one in the house in Phoenix but it was locked in a box in the top of
his closet. I knew Dr. Cullen had them, being as he was involved in organized
crime, but in my time here Id yet to see one until now.
I hesitated, unsure of what to do. After a moment I reached down, picking it up
cautiously, intending to move it out of my way so I could put his clothes away. It
was a lot heavier than I expected it to be, which surprised me. I tried to hold it so
I didnt put any fingerprints on the shiny parts, not wanting to smudge it, as it
was obvious well taken care of. I stared at it in my hand for a second, slightly
stunned and in a daze about the whole thing. It looked almost like a prop youd
seen in a movie, really old-fashioned looking.
I heard the sound of a click nearby and my head snapped in that direction, my
eyes widening immediately. Dr. Cullen stood just inside the room and had closed
the door behind him, shutting us both in. I felt intense fear rip through me at his
expression. His face was almost a calm blank mask but his eyes were practically
glowing with rage.
I dropped the gun immediately, frightened. It made a slight thump as it landed
back in the drawer. The fire in Dr. Cullens eyes sparked even more at the sound
of the gun dropping. I closed the drawer quickly, still looking at him, unsure of

194

what to do. He wasnt moving, just merely standing in place staring at me. After
a moment he reached behind him, so deliberate it felt like he was moving in slow
motion, and grabbed the deadbolt lock on his door. He turned it smoothly, the
loud click nearly echoing through the silent room as he locked the door. My heart
started racing fast, my body trembling from fright. Id made a grave mistake, I
definitely knew it then, and from the look on Dr. Cullens face I was in big
trouble.
Id never seen him look this way, the intensity of his eyes, the way they darkened
a bit and became harshnot at all like the sparkling crystal blue eyes I was used
to. They were like an ocean now, dark and clouded and swirling. There was an
edge behind them now, a spark of evil. Staring at him, I finally saw the Carlisle
Cullen that had caused Charles to tense up from fright. This man was dangerous,
deadly.
He took a step forward and instinctively I stepped backward. His expression was
still blank, almost calm, but those eyes sparked even more at my recoiling away.
Id never been more afraid of someone in my life as I was at that moment, seeing
that rage. I didnt know the man in front of me at all.
He took a few more steps and I backed up against the wall. I was trapped, there
was nowhere for me to go. To get to the door Id have to go right past him, and
even if I managed to escape his grasp initially there was no way Id be able to
unlock the door and make it out of the room without him catching me. Plus, even
trying to flee was pointless. Running would only make it worse, as Id inevitably
be caught. There was no escaping him--I knew that.
Dr. Cullen stopped in front of the dresser. He opened the top drawer and pulled
out the gun. He eyed it for a moment, I guess surveying it to make sure I hadnt
damaged it. I silently prayed to myself that I really hadnt smudged it and that it
hadnt been harmed when I dropped it in the drawer. I knew nothing about how
to treat guns and was just hoping they were as durable as they looked.
Guns are beautiful things, real works of art. So powerful, so forceful, he said
after a moment, reaching back in the drawer. He pulled out a gold colored bullet
and held it up. It truly is amazing how much destruction and devastation
something so small can cause. His voice was even and calm. It was like he was
detached, no emotion at all. That frightened me even more, my legs trembling as

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I stood against the wall. It was clear he wasnt happy by the look in his eyes and
that meant he was holding back, bottling it in. He was like a ticking time bomb.
Do you like guns, Isabella? he asked, glancing over at me. He had his eyebrows
raised expectedly, the fire still in his eyes.
No, sir, I stammered, my voice shaky.
He nodded, turning back to the dresser. He returned the bullet where he got it
from and shut the drawer. He stared down at the top of the dresser for a moment
in complete silence, holding the gun in his hand with it pointed at the floor. My
heart was racing wildly with fear.
This is a Smith & Wesson 627 Revolver. .357 magnum, 8 shots. Hollow-point
bullets of course, to ensure maximum damage. Ive got plenty of guns, from
assault rifles to AK-47s to your run of the mill glocks and pistols. But this
revolver this is my favorite, he said, facing me and holding it up sideways in
front of us. He was staring at the gun, his eyes still burning.
He paused for a moment before his eyes shifted up to meet mine. My eyes
widened with fright as he moved his hand and pointed the gun directly at me. He
walked forward, closing the distance between us, and placed the muzzle of the
gun right in the center of my throat. He pressed hard and I gasped, the force of it
blocking my windpipe and making it difficult to breath. I was shaking and only
able to take in shallow breaths of air and he just stood there, eyebrows raised
and staring into my eyes intensely. There was no compassion in him, none of that
understanding Id come to know. It had been replaced by a viciousness that
scared me. My vision blurred over with tears and I felt some slipping down my
cheek. I was terrified and trembling, unable to move or speak or really breathe.
Gurgling sounds and gasps and the beginning of muffled sobs were escaping my
throat, all blocked slightly by the gun pressed firmly into my windpipe.
Just a flick of a finger on the trigger can blow a hole through your neck,
obliterating your trachea and larynx. Youd die without a doubt, if youre lucky it
would even be quick and painless, but there are no guarantees. Most likely youd
be unable to speak or breath, but be perfectly capable of feeling until you
eventually suffocated to death. But you never know with a 357 point-blank range
to the neck. The bullet may rip through you with enough force to possibly even

196

severe your head. Literally, blow your fucking head off.


He let up the force of my gun against my neck a bit, allowing me to take a deep
breath finally. He gazed at me for second before pressing the gun hard again,
harder than the first time. He completely blocked off all air and my chest felt like
it was about to explode. My eyes widened even more as I struggled to breathe at
all.
So shall we see what happens when a .357 hallow point bullet rips through ones
neck at point-blank range, Isabella? he asked. I tried to shake my head and
make noise but it was difficult with how hard he was pressing. The tears were
flowing freely down my face, my eyes burning.
A small wicked smirk came onto his lips, sending fear ripping through me. Yeah,
I think we will, he said. I tried to cry out and tensed up. I braced myself for the
blow, for the pain. I knew it was the end, I knew it was too late for me. He was
going to kill meI was about to die. I just hoped I wouldnt feel it, that it would
be quick. I wasnt ready to die, I didnt want to die, but there was nothing I could
do to stop him.
From the corner of my eye I saw his finger move the trigger slightly, pulling it
toward him. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly, waiting for the imminent explosion
and jumped when there was a loud click. The pressure against my neck
dissipated immediately and I collapsed to the ground, unable to stand on my own
two feet. I was shaking and cried out, frightened and confused.
Look at me, he said, his tone still flat and detached. I obliged, glancing up at
him. Youre lucky the gun wasnt loaded. You are never to touch a mans gun
without his permission, do you understand? I nodded frantically, still trying to
catch my breath as I was hyperventilating. If I catch you touching my gun again,
I will personally rip each and every one of your fingers off with a pair of pliers so
you never touch anything ever again. Now get up and go to your room and clean
yourself up and Ill be there when Im done with my work for your punishment.
He turned and walked out of the room, still clutching the gun. I sat there for a
moment, stunned and frightened. That wasnt my punishment?! I was scared,
unsure of what I was facing. I pulled myself up on shaky legs and slowly made
my way down the hall and up the stairs to the third floor. I got to my room and

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got embarrassed and frightened when I realized Id lost control of my bladder and
peed in my pants a bit from fright and thats what Dr. Cullen meant by cleaning
myself up. I changed quickly, pulling on the first thing I found which was the pair
of black pajama shorts Id pulled off earlier. I grabbed the first shirt I saw in my
closet, which turned out to be Edwards football shirt. Hed told me to keep it and
refused to take it for some reason the one time I attempted to return it. Maybe
my wearing it desecrated it or something.
I sat on the edge of my bed, unsure of what to do. I heard footsteps on the stairs
after awhile and glanced over at the clock. It was only 3pm, entirely too early for
it to be Edward, so I knew that meant it was judgment time.
My door opened and I glanced up to see Dr. Cullen walk in with the gun in his
waistband. He was holding some rope, a few bandanas, a roll of duct tape, and a
pair of handcuffs. My eyes widened and I started crying again, frightened and
having no idea what he was about to do to me.
Get over here by the footboard of the bed, he said. I stood up and cautiously
walked to where he had motioned. I stood by the right leg of the bed and he
came forward, squatting in front of me. He took the rope and tied my ankles
together, securing it tightly.
Kneel, he said flatly. I looked at him with fright and he raised his eyebrows at
me. His expression scared me beyond belief, his eyes imploring me to put up a
fight. I had a feeling this side of Dr. Cullen loved the violence, reveled in it and
thrived, and would love nothing more than to be able to use force and take his
aggression out on me.
I wouldnt do it though; I couldnt make this worse than it was. Hed get his way,
regardless of whether or not I cooperated. There was no winning for me.
I grabbed the footboard and got into a kneeling position the best I could, the
restraints on my ankles making it hard. He pushed me further down so my butt
was pressed against my calves, positioning me so my back was against the leg of
the bed and I was facing the door. He sat the handcuffs down and grabbed my
arm, placing a bandana in my hand. Ball this up into a fist, he said, his tone
firm and demanding. I obliged and he grabbed the roll of duct tape and started
taping my hand in the fist, covering it completely. It was uncomfortable and I

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couldnt move my fingers apart, but the bandana in my palm thankfully gave me
a tiny bit of room to flex. He repeated the process with the other hand, making it
impossible for me to use either one.
Hands behind your back, he said. I obliged, not wanting to fight. He snapped
the handcuff on one of my wrists, securing it tightly. He laced it on the inside of
the leg of the bed before securing it to my other wrist tightly, essentially
handcuffing me to the bed. He took the ends of the ropes on my ankles and tied
it to the leg of the bed.
I was sobbing loudly. Dr. Cullen stood up and took a step back, eyeing me. I
glanced up at him, frightened and uncomfortable. He seemed to be contemplating
something, and after a moment he grabbed the roll of duct tape. He pulled a
piece of duct tape off, ripping it with his teeth, and pressed it over my mouth
quickly to muffle my sounds.
Dont want your noises bothering Edward tonight while he tries to sleep. My
eyes widened even more. He planned to keep me like this all night?! He glanced
around and cursed under his breath. I forgot the blindfold, he muttered,
walking over and opening my closet. Fear shot through me and I tried to call out
to him, shaking my head frantically. I wasnt a big fan of the dark and
blindfolding me would be the ultimate torture I didnt even sleep in the dark
anymore.
He glanced over at me and sighed. Okay, I guess we can forgo the blindfold, he
said. He shut the closet and started heading for the door. I want you to spend
the night thinking about how lucky youve got it here. Maybe it will help you
remember your place and remind you that I dont condone disrespect. Ill be back
in the morning before work to free you. Dr. Cullen walked out and I stared at the
door as it latched shut, leaving me alone.
That odd feeling that Id woken up with was still lingering in the put of my
stomach. My biggest mistake was even climbing out of bed this morning.

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Chapter 17 - Despair and Hope


"Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope,
too, can be given to one only by other human beings." -- Elie Wiesel
IPOV
I let out a muffled sob after Dr. Cullen closed the door behind him. It had been
three pm when he came in, and considering he said hed be back before work I
estimated Id be here until at least six am. Fifteen hours. I was expected to sit
here for fifteen hours holding this position, which was uncomfortable and already
slightly hurting. I had no idea how I was going to survive this without cracking,
but I guessed that was the point. He wanted to break me. Id been too
complacent, forgetting who I really was.
Time went by torturously slow. I couldnt see the alarm clock from where I sat so
I had no way to truly gauge the time, but every second seemed to feel like an
eternity. The sun started setting after awhile, the room growing darker. Every
muscle in my body was aching from my position and I tried to shift around some
to alleviate the tension and pressure on me but it didnt help much. I had very
little wiggle room, which I imagine was the point. My knees were throbbing, both
my wrists from the handcuffs and my ankles from the binds burning. Even my
fingers were cramping up and locking, my feet falling asleep. I tried to shift my
weight off of them, but the position of the handcuffs and the rope tied to the leg
of the bed didnt give me enough room to move my body out of the way to do so.
My back was aching and throbbing.
Id been beaten almost beyond recognition before, bloodied and bruised, but the
torture of holding the position I was in, alone and now in the dark, was the worst
thing Id ever had to endure. I didnt want to believe Dr. Cullen would
intentionally be this cruel. The Dr. Cullen Id grown to know hadnt been that
blatantly malicious. Something happened to set them off, to set all of them off. I
had to believe that nothing I did made me deserve this harsh punishment. I
hadnt meant any harm or disrespect, but had this been what Dr. Cullen had
meant in my room that day when he said sometimes we disrespect people
without knowing were doing it? Was that what Id done? I only touched it so I
could move it and do my work, I truly hadnt meant to do anything wrong.
I heard footsteps come up the steps after what felt like an eternity. They paused

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outside my room and I grew frightened again, not knowing who it was. I was
desperately afraid of Dr. Cullen returning and deciding this wasnt enough. He
hadnt actually laid a single finger on me, hadnt struck me at all which surprised
me. I was afraid hed come back at some point and want to hit me to show his
strength, as thats always what Charles did. I once overheard Charles telling
someone on the phone that nothing puts a slave in their place quicker than a
blow to the face. But after a moment the footsteps continued on and I heard
Edwards door open and close.
The pain only grew from there, the sting and burn of my body intensifying. I
started crying again eventually, utterly exhausted but the aches keeping me from
falling asleep. It felt like someone had taken knives and stabbed me repeatedly in
the knees. My legs underneath me had fallen asleep, that painful sharp piercing
pain coursing through my calves. The exhaustion finally won out, however, and I
drifted into unconsciousness eventually.
Something startled me awake after awhile and I cried out, the pain in my body
nearly explosive the moment I opened my eyes. I understood now why hed duct
taped my mouth, as it muffled the sounds and without it I likely wouldve woken
up Edward and possibly the rest of them. I had no idea what time it was but it
was pitch black now. I heard noise across the room after a moment and my head
shot up, my eyes widening with fear when I realized I wasnt alone. I squinted a
bit, trying to adjust my eyes to the darkness and clear my vision from the tears. I
couldnt exactly wipe my eyes so they were burning and foggy. After a few
seconds I faintly made out a form standing across the room in the shadows. It
took a few steps forward and I tried to recoil backwards, frightened and having
absolutely no idea who it was, but I was trapped in position. They hesitated, I
assume realizing I was trying to get away from them. My vision adjusted finally
and my brow furrowed when I made out the chaotic hair and sad green eyes.
I stared at him for a moment and he stared right back, frowning. We both
seemed to be in a daze. He finally walked forward again after a moment and
crouched down in front of me. He reached his hand out and I flinched and cried
out. I wasnt usually afraid of Edward, he was volatile but usually only when you
startled him, so I didnt think he would hit me but after the shift in Dr. Cullen so
quickly I wasnt sure about any of them anymore. The fact that I drew back from
him didnt deter him, though. He brushed his hands across my cheeks, wiping
away my tears. His hand caressed my face for a moment, brushing across my

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forehead and softly touching cheeks, even running his fingertips down across my
nose. I watched him in surprise, his touch soft and almost loving and the look on
his face nearly matching his caress. He finally ran his fingertips slowly across the
duct covering my mouth.
Oh, la mia bella ragazza, he muttered. I needed to make sure that you were
okay. His words were soft but his voice was thick with emotion. I just stared at
him, more tears slipping down my cheek. He sighed.
Im so so so fucking sorry for this, he said. You dont deserve this, my God
how you dont deserve this. I tried to warn you but he managed to catch you at
the wrong place at the wrong time anyway. He knows better than to leave that
goddamn gun sitting around, especially knowing youd go in there. Any other day
he wouldve realized it was his fuck up and not yours, but today of all fucking
days for it to happen. Christ, he probably did that shit on purpose.
I didnt try to make any noise or give any kind of nod, as it didnt make sense to
me. Why would Dr. Cullen do this to me on purpose? I just stared at him
questioningly. He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. Its the anniversary
of, uh fuck. Why cant I even fucking say it? he spat, running his hands down
my face and groaning in frustration. Its the day our fucking lives were ruined in
Chicago, when we lost my mom. We all have a rough day but he tends to get
pissed at the world and can be pretty fucking irrational and brutal, which is why
he didnt go to work.
I nodded and dropped my gaze, finally understanding why theyd all been upset
that morning. He didnt specify, but I imagined he meant she died when he said
they lost her. None of them ever spoke of her and I remembered how Dr. Cullen
had grown upset on the drive back from Phoenix when I brought her up. I didnt
even know her name, had never seen any pictures of her. I guessed maybe they
were too painful to keep around, too hard to look at. Dr. Cullen said Edward
looked like his mother, so I imagined she had the bronze hair and stunning green
eyes. I bet she was beautifulhad to have been to create the creature in front of
me. I wondered what exactly happened to herwhatever it was couldnt have
been pleasant.
I wish I could untie you but hed fucking kill me. He told us not to come in here
but I couldnt sleep, I had to know you were all right. If he caught me it would

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only make the shit worse and I cant do that to you. Christ, look at you! He even
fucking duct taped your hands into fists so you couldnt try to slip out of the
handcuffs. This is wrong, really fucking wrong.
I stared at him with shock when I noticed his eyes were welling up with tears. I
didnt understand why he seemed to care so much, why he was being so
sympathetic. I simply nodded in response, obviously unable to speak. He sat
there for a few moments, just gazing at me. His expression was so full of
compassion and sadness, which was both comforting and startling.
He brought his hand up and wiped away more tears, reaching over and tucking
hair behind my ears. His fingers grazed over the duct tape on my lips once more
and he sighed.
Ill be back for you in the morning, okay? You stay strong tesoro mio, its almost
over. And I swear to you, Ill never fucking let anything like this happen again.
I nodded and he stood up, running his hands through his hair. He stared down at
me for a moment before turning and heading for the door.
My body was numbing slightly, obviously growing accustomed to the pain and
adapting. I barely felt my legs anymore, but my wrists were still burning
immensely. It took awhile but I drifted off to sleep again eventually.
Wake up for me please, Isabella. I heard Dr. Cullens voice and opened my eyes
quickly. His tone wasnt as callous as it had been the day before so I was slightly
relieved. He was squatting down in front of me, staring at me.
Good morning, he said. I nodded at him in response, not wanting him to think I
was being disrespectful, but it certainly didnt feel like a good morning to me. But
I was going to be as obedient as possible, as there was no way I could endure
this ever again. Dr. Cullen could tell me the sky was green and the grass was
purple and Id agree with him at this point.
He reached his hand out and pulled up the corner of the duct tape over my
mouth, gripping it. This will pull a bit, but Ill be quick with it, he said. He ripped
it off fast and I cried out as it stung. My eyes welled up with tears, as my lips
were throbbing and burning, chapped from the tape and being unable to moisten

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them.
Dr. Cullen moved so he was slightly behind me. He pulled a small pair of scissors
out and cut the duct tape from my hands, unraveling it and taking the bandanas
from my hands. I tried to flex my fingers and winced, crying out softly as it hurt
immensely. They were cramped up from being locked in position all night.
He unlocked the handcuffs, pulling them off of me. I brought my hands to the
front of me and went to rub my wrists, wincing again. They were cut up from the
handcuffs digging into my flesh and had dried blood caked around them. Dr.
Cullen undid my ankles quickly and stood up once I was freed.
Please take it easy today, okay? Ill bring something home for dinner, he said,
gazing down at me.
Yes, sir, I said quietly, speaking my first words since yesterday afternoon. My
voice was gritty, my throat sore from sobbing.
He nodded. He hesitated, looking as if he wanted to say something else. I
glanced up at him and met his eyes. They were full of compassion again,
sparkling crystal blue. I had to look away quickly, unable to take it. I didnt want
his compassion, not right now. He sighed finally, turning and leaving.
I stayed in position for a moment before shifting my legs around to straighten
them out. I cried out and felt the tears falling from my eyes, the pain shooting
through my muscles sharp.
I sat there for a bit, my head slumped forward slightly. I brought my arm up and
wiped my nose on the shirt. I remembered it was Edwards and felt horrible
afterwards, but my nose was running from me crying to much and there was no
way I could get up right now to get a tissue. I was just thankful I didnt have to
pee and hadnt had to all night. It seems Dr. Cullen had scared it all out of me
yesterday and I didnt have any opportunities to replenish my system. I was
parched, my body desperate for water. I was flexing my fingers and moving my
knees, trying to get the cramps out. My entire body felt like it was burning, my
muscles on fire. Every joint ached, and I had a crick in my neck from sleeping
slumped over. I was a complete and utter mess. I was mentally scolding myself
for putting on shorts yesterday, as it only made things worse. The exposed skin

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rubbing against the carpet really tore my legs up, especially since I had sweat
from sitting on top of them. The knees were the worse, having to take so much
pressure. They were rug burned and busted open.
After a few minutes there was a soft knock on my door and it was pushed open
slowly. I glanced up and saw Edward. He stood there for a moment, staring at me
with a sad look on his face. I didnt speak, just gazed at him. I honestly didnt
know what to say. I didnt know if I wanted to thank him for coming in to check
on me last night, as it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me,
or if I wanted to yell at him for it, as I felt slightly disgusted having him see me
that way. He left the doorway after a moment and walked over to me, crouching
down in front of me. He held a glass out to me, filled with water.
Here, drink this, he said softly. I took the water and tried to smile at his
generosity but couldnt manage it. Every move, even something as simple as a
smile, hurt. But I was immensely grateful for the water.
He held his hand out again and I saw a small yellow pill in his palm. I looked at
him questioningly and he smiled lightly. Its Dilaudid, strongest pain killer you
can get. The kids at school would eat this shit like candy if they could, it makes
you feel good. Itll take the pain away.
I nodded, taking the pill from his palm. I stuck it on my tongue and took a drink
of the water to wash it down. Thank you, I said, trying to clear my throat and
get rid of the scratchiness.
Youre welcome. Do you think you can stand, tesoro? he asked, standing up
himself and holding his hand out to me. I put one hand in his and gripped the
footboard of the bed with my other hand, trying to pull myself up. Edward helped
as much as he could, trying to be gentle. I got to my feet, thanks to him, but the
moment he let go of me my knees went out and couldnt hold my weight.
Edward grabbed a hold of me before I hit the ground and I cried out in pain. His
grip was firm and rough and I knew he didnt intend to hurt me, just reacted to
keep me from slamming into the ground. He quickly pulled me into his arms,
cradling me. He groaned and looked quite upset, which scared me a bit. I didnt
mean to fall; the last thing I wanted to do was make him mad when he was being
so nice to me.

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Im sorry, I said softly, a loud sob escaping my throat as I cracked once again
and tears started streaming down my face. He glanced at me and his face
softened some. He quickly walked out into the hallway, still holding me, and
pushed his bedroom door open. He carried me inside and laid me down across his
bed. I was confused and a bit shocked that hed taken me to his room but I just
laid there, as still as possible. He disappeared into his bathroom, returning a
minute later with his arms full of stuff. He dropped it on the bed beside me and
sat down gently. He had a washcloth in his hand.
I need to clean you up a bit, okay? I dont want any of this getting infected, he
said, his voice soft. I nodded, not knowing what to say. I was stunned and
overwhelmed. Edward reached over and washed my tear stained cheeks. The
cloth was cold and wet but felt good against my skin. He brushed the washcloth
across my mouth, being extra gentle, and I winced, as my lips were so sore. He
picked up my left arm and ran the washcloth across my wrist, washing off the
dried blood. I did my best to ignore the pain and tried to not look, as blood made
me queasy, instead keeping my attention focused on his face. He looked to be
concentrating deeply, his attention fixated on what he was doing. There was a
compassion in his eyes though, lingering with a deep sadness.
He washed my other wrist, gently laying my arm back down. He sat the
washcloth down and grabbed a towel, drying them. He picked up a little tube and
squirted a white creamy ointment out on his fingers, rubbing it into the cuts on
my wrists. After that he picked up a roll of gauze and wrapped up my wrists,
securing them with tape.
He glanced up at me briefly and smiled when he saw me looking at him. I gave
him a small smile and looked away, not wanting to be rude and stare. He reached
over and grabbed the washcloth, getting up and walking back into the bathroom.
I heard water run and he walked back out, having rinsed the washcloth. He
washed the scuffs on my knees and put ointment on them, forgoing bandages.
He then washed the rope burns on my ankles and applied the ointment to them,
wrapping them with gauze and taping them up.
He sighed, turning to me. He gave me another small smile and grabbed a clear
bottle of a bluish colored liquid. I watched him with curiosity as he poured some
out on a clean dry cloth. This is tape remover. I get taped up a lot in football; it

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deactivates the sticky stuff on your skin. I know that shit can be irritating.
I smiled lightly and nodded, so he knew I was listening. He rubbed my hands with
it and dried them off. Keep your mouth closed, Im sure it doesnt taste too
good, he whispered before bringing it up and rubbing it around my mouth. I
closed my eyes tightly, as the tape remover made my swollen lips burn even
more and smelled horrible. After he got the sticky stuff off he got up and grabbed
all the stuff, taking it and tossing it into the bathroom.
He came back out and walked to the other side of the bed, sitting down beside
me. He opened a drawer beside the bed and pulled out a large tub of Vaseline. I
looked at him questioningly, wondering why he kept it there, and he smirked at
my expression. Trust me, you dont want to know. But I havent used this one
yet so dont worry.
I smiled, having no clue why whether or not it had ever been used matter but
realizing with Edward sometimes it was definitely better not to know things. He
opened it and ran his pointer finger along the top, getting a bit on his finger. He
sat the tub down and turned to me. He reached his hand out and gently rubbed
his finger across my mouth. I closed my eyes and parted my lips, sighing
contently as it felt good and the chapped burning feeling dissipated instantly. He
stilled his movements, his finger still lingering on my bottom lip. I opened my
eyes and saw him staring at me intensely.
He blinked a few times, shaking his head, and pulled his hand away. He put the
lid back on the tub and returned it to his drawer. Are you feeling any better? he
asked. I nodded.
I think I can walk now, so I can go back to my room, I said softly. I wasnt so
sure if that were true, as my body still ached a bit but it wasnt as intense. I
ventured to guess it was the drug kicking in and not that I was actually healed at
all.
He glanced at me, an expression of hurt on his face that startled me. Is that
what you want? If youd rather be in your room I understand, he said.
I just dont want to impose, I know you dont usually allow people in here, I
said. He sighed.

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Youre not imposing, Bella. Shit, Im the one that chose to bring you in here
after all. Youre free to stay as long as you need.
His words surprised me. Okay, I said softly. Thank you.
He nodded and stood up. Im jumping in the shower, Ill be back in a few
minutes. Just relax, okay? I nodded and he turned and walked into the
bathroom, closing the door softly behind him.
I lay there in the silent bedroom, listening to the sound of water running in the
bathroom. The sound was soothing and I started to relax. The drug really started
kicking in eventually, every ounce of pain disappearing from my body like a
wave. I felt like I was floating in air, a tingly sensation coursing through me. I felt
good, almost happy, and that was startling given the situation. I shouldnt be
feeling this way, I shouldnt be able to smile or feel happiness. I was a slave who
apparently disrespected her master and just endured an entire night of
punishment. I should still be feeling that pain, be feeling that fear.
But I wasnt, not right now at least. I sighed contently after a moment and closed
my eyes. Edwards bed was comfortable, a lot more comfortable than mine and
that was saying a lot. I buried my head in his pillow and inhaled, chills ripping
down my spine.
It smelled just like him.

Chapter 18 - Secret Sorrows


Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often
times we call a man cold when he is only sad. -- Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow
EPOV
If I had to rank the worst days of my life, I think yesterday would definitely fall in
the top five. Actually, Im quite sure it would rank number two. The only day
worse than yesterday was the day my mother Elizabeth died, and Im quite sure
nothing would ever top the devastation of that horrific day. Its been 9 years now
since her death and we still grieved the fucking anniversary of it like it just

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happened. I was still fucking inconsolable, although no one knew it. No one knew
I cried over the shit, or that I couldnt sleep because of it. No one knew I had
fucking nightmares all the time. They didnt know that I sat at my piano and
stared at the keys when I was alone, and wished she were still fucking here to
play the piano with me. She sucked at it, I was eight and better than her, but she
played it any way, proud as hell that she could stumble her way through twinkle
twinkle, little star. No, no one knew I remembered that shit or thought about it,
because no one knew Edward Cullen had feelings. Everyone thought I was cold
and cruel, and hell maybe I was, but that didnt mean I did feel. I just didnt
show it to anyone, didnt let anyone see me like that.
Dad was always out of control when the anniversary rolled around. Hed be
angry, mostly at himself, and take the shit out on anyone who was around. You
blink wrong at him that day and hed fucking jack you up. The only time he ever
got close to beating the shit out of me was the 4th anniversary of her death,
when I was 12. I learned quickly to avoid him that daywe all did. He knew
better than to try to go to work, as hed probably take a fucking scalpel and stab
someone if he did. He opted to always stay home and isolate himself from society
for everyones safety.
The problem this year, however, is that he was fucking left in a house with a 16
year old girl who barely knew him, didnt understand his moods and triggers.
Nona had learned that shit quickly and got all her work done before he even
fucking got out of bed and hid away, and the second lady didnt last long enough
to have to go through it. But Isabellashe was young and nave. And my father
was pissed at the world and looking for someone to take his aggression out on.
Someone to blame for something, anything, to try to divert his attention off the
blame he felt for what happened that day in Chicago. The day none of us ever
fucking talk about. Jasper and Emmett are saddened by it, as they miss mom,
but they dont feel the same fucking turmoil dad and I feel. Dad feels the guilt for
being the cause, and I feel the pain for having been a victim in the shit and
witnessing it.
I, like Isabella, have paid for others mistakesnamely, my fathers mistakes. I
got the scars to prove itphysical and mental.
I was distraught yesterday like normal, but more on edge than usual because I
was worried. Worried about what was going to happen at the house when I was

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in school. What was going to set Dad off, if he was going to hurt her in any way.
There wasnt shit I could do about it, as I had a big fucking exam I couldnt skip
and I knew dad wouldnt write me a note so I could make it up. I tried to stay
home anyway, willing to fail my class to make sure he didnt lose control too
much, but he told me no, told me to take my ass to school and get an education.
So I went to school and fucking hoped and prayed all day that she listened to me.
That she hid out and stayed out of his path.
The moment we walked in the door from school, I knew she didnt. I knew he
fucking found a reason to take his rage out on her. He was standing in the living
room, gazing out the window into the back yard. He turned to face us and I saw
the blank calm faade and the fire in his eyes and that fucking Smith & Wesson
revolver in his waistband. The worst fear ever ripped through me at the sight of
the gun and my knees nearly buckled.
Please fucking tell me he didnt kill her, I thought.
Whatd she do? Emmett asked nonchalantly, plopping down on the couch. My
brothers knew it also. Jasper glanced at me and frowned. I shook my head,
fucking pissed and scared, wishing he wouldnt look at me because I knew he was
aware that I was in love with her. Hed keep my secret and take it to the grave
but I felt like when he looked at me he could read my every fucking thought and
see my feelings and that drove me crazy.
She had my gun, he said flatly. My eyes widened in surprise, as did Jaspers.
She had your gun? Whered she get it? Jasper asked incredulously, completely
shocked. I knew this shit was tearing Jasper up with his hatred of the violence.
But Jasper was passive, hed keep it to himself.
My dresser drawer, dad said shrugging.
I got pissed immediately. I knew she had to put his fucking laundry away this
morning and so did he. He knew better than to leave that shit lying around in a
drawer shed have to go into. I suspected immediately that he fucking did it
intentionally; he put it in her way, knowing shed probably fucking try to move it,
because we all knew Isabella well enough to know she wouldnt let anything stop
her from doing her work.

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What did you do to her? I asked, trying to keep my tone even and not let my
anger show but my voice was shaking anyway. Id never raised my voice or
gotten pissed about him punishing the other women and knew if I did about
Isabella hed get fucking suspicious of me. Jasper was always the one to get
upset about it; I just shrugged it off and said tough fucking luck usually.
I pressed it to her throat and pulled the trigger. It wasnt loaded but it scared
the piss out of her. I sent her up to her room and put her in isolation for the night
as punishment.
My eyes narrowed slightly. He never left his gun unloaded. The only time there
wasnt a bullet in that gun was when he fired off all 8 fucking rounds into
someone and was about to reload. I sighed with irritation, trying to keep my
composure but I was pissed and about ready to snap.
Why was your gun unloaded? I asked, my voice sharp. He turned and looked at
me, his face still blank.
Id just cleaned it, he said, shrugging. He was fucking lying, I could tell.
My eyes narrowed even more. You never fucking put that gun in your drawer
without bullets into it, you always reload it before putting it away, I snapped,
calling him out.
His eyebrows raised and I could see the fucking anger in his eyes. He wanted to
rail on me, I could see it. Yeah, he was pissed and was looking for a goddamn
fight. He didnt care who it was, hed even beat his own flesh and blood if it
meant alleviating some stress and not feeling all that weight and guilt he carries
on his shoulders.
Are you accusing me of something, son? he asked, trying to retain his calm but
his voice flared at the end when he called me son. I stared at him for a moment,
my eyes narrowed and my anger showing but I didnt care. I was pissed. I knew
what isolation meant to my father. He can call it whatever he wanted, but I knew
it meant he fucking had her chained up or bound in some way, using the same
techniques the organization used when they kidnapped people. I imagined
whatever hed done to Isabella was worse than anything hed done as true

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punishment in the past, as shed now be fucking paying for everyone elses
goddamn mistakes on top of everything. She was suffering right now in some
way as some goddamn twisted atonement for my mothers death.
Nothings going to fucking bring her back, I spat.
My brothers both stared at me with shock and my dads blank calm mask slipped,
his face twisting with rage. What did you just say? he yelled.
You fucking heard me. You can flex your fucking muscles and use your goddamn
power and intimidate an innocent girl and its not going to change anything. Shes
still fucking dead and you were powerless to stop it.
The moment the words left my lips he snapped. He grabbed that gun out of his
waistband with lightening speed, not even fucking giving it a second thought. He
raised it up and aimed it right at my head. Jasper and Emmett both yelled,
confused and scared shitless, screaming for dad to stop. But I just fucking stood
there, not even flinching.
You wont shoot me. I look too much like her, I said calmly. Dad didnt lower
the gun but his hand started shaking. He had a steady hand and amazing aim,
everyone always talked about how Carlisle Cullen had a perfect shot, but he was
fucking rattled. Looking at me was like looking at my mother. If he shot me, it
would be like fucking shooting her. And I knew damn well he would never do
that.
Get the fuck out of my face, he spat, finally lowering the gun and returning it to
his waist.
Gladly, I said. Jasper grabbed my arm, pulling me toward the stairs.
And stay out of her room. All of you, Dad yelled as he walked over and opened
the door to the room under the stairs. He went inside and slammed the door
behind him.
I followed Jasper up to the second floor. Damnit, Edward, what has gotten into
you? I dont like the shit either but to throw mom in his face like that today of all
days? Do you have a death wish? Jasper asked as he reached his room. I

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shrugged, sighing. We went into his room and smoked a major amount of weed
to try to calm me down. He didnt mention my feelings for Isabella but they were
a big goddamn pink elephant in the room for sure.
I went up the stairs to my room eventually, dreading it. I desperately wanted to
check in on her but knew dad was awake and the last fucking thing I needed was
to be caught blatantly disregarding his orders. So I went to my room and just lay
there for a few hours, tossing and turning and worrying. I literally worried myself
sick and ran to the bathroom at one point, throwing up everything in my system,
and I couldnt take the shit any more after that. I knew Dad wouldve been
sleeping so I crept across the hall and opened her door slowly.
I froze inside when I saw her, my heart fucking stalling and pain ripping through
me. She was tied to the bed, on her fucking knees, with duct tape over her
mouth. Christ, hed never been that brutal before. He was a doctor, he knew how
much damage he could cause making her kneel for a long time. He always let the
last lady sit on her ass with her legs stretched out, handcuffs on her ankles and
her hands behind her back handcuffed to the bed. That was fucking bad enough,
but this? This was goddamn torture.
Isabella was sleeping, her head slumped over and snoring lightly, as she was
trying to breath through a nose that was obviously stuffy from crying. I closed
the door behind me, trying to be quiet, but her head snapped up quickly, her
eyes scanning the darkness. She spotted me and her eyes sparked with fear.
I went to her, trying to console her and fucking apologize for what she was going
through. I couldnt believe I actually even said the word sorry, as I never
apologized for anything, but she had that effect on me. I wanted nothing more
than to rescue her, knowing it had to be painful as hell, but there was no way I
could. If she got out of those bindings at all, even if it were my doing, dad would
probably blow her brains out. And Christ, she cant go paying for my mistakes
too.
I called her sweet names, hoping they comforted her a bit even though she had
no clue what they meant. Girls usually liked it when I spoke Italian and Alice had
said she was an average teenage girl so I figured maybe it would help at least a
little. I had gotten into the habit of expressing that I cared about her to her face
in Italian. She didnt know what the hell I was saying and never inquired about it,

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but it alleviated some of the tension in me building up from fucking knowing I


finally cared about someone and not being able to do anything about it.
I told her to stay strong and swore to her that this would never happen again.
And I meant that. There was no fucking way I was letting her go through this shit
again. I may not be able to make her mine, but I could try to keep her safe at
least. I fucking loved the girl and thats not something Edward Cullen does. I may
only be seventeen but I wasnt what Id call young or nave. If push comes to
shove, I can fucking fight dirty if I had to in order to defend her. But I couldnt
carelessly place her life in risk and be the cause of her problems, I couldnt be the
aggressor. I went back to my room eventually, lingering around until I heard dad
finally come up to free her. When he left her room I met him in the hallway. I
glanced at her door then looked at him questioningly. He just stared at me for a
moment and had the audacity to look fucking guilty. I knew my father, I knew he
wouldnt apologize or ask for forgiveness, just as I never fucking did. And I was
glad for that because there was no fucking way Id ever say I forgave him or that
the shit was okay. He could live with the remorse and let it sink in and eat away
at him for a bit. Now that he got some sleep and was level-headed and not
wallowing in his guilt and grief he knew he fucked up.
Someone will need to watch after her today, he said. I nodded.
I will, I said as nonchalantly as I could. He looked surprised at my volunteering,
which I was fucking grateful for. Hed been so much of a wreck yesterday that he
hadnt gotten suspicious of my acting out. I couldnt let my emotions control me,
not now that he was thinking straight.
Ill call the school and get you excused from class and out of football practice.
Youd be the best to look out for her, as she has some wounds that need taken
care of and youre the son whose usually getting hurt so you know how to treat
that shit.
I smirked, not because I was in any way happy with him but because he was
telling the damn truth. I was the master at first aide by now.
I got her some water and grabbed a painkiller from my bathroom. I wont lie, I
have the shit for recreational purposes. Theyre the best of the best, make you
float and forget everything, and I knew she could fucking use one right about

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now.
I went into her room and had her take it. She couldnt stand on her own so I
picked her up, opting to carry her to my room as it would be easier to fix her up
there. I cleaned and bandaged her wounds, doing my best to get the adhesive
from her skin because I knew it could be aggravating. Her lips were chapped and
swollen and looked painful as hell, so I grabbed some Vaseline from my drawer.
She looked at it with surprise and I hoped like hell she didnt realize I bought the
shit for sexual purposes, so I told her not to even ask. I brushed some Vaseline
on her mouth and she closed her eyes, exhaling what was damn near a moan. My
dick stirred, hardening at the sound, and a flash of her making them fucking
noises and writhing underneath me in my bed flashed in my mind. I froze
instantly, trying to push those thoughts away as it was no fucking time to be
getting hormonal. She was damaged and hurting and I was getting fucking
turned on and that was just wrong. I got up after a moment, making an excuse
about taking a shower.
I finally calmed my erection down, thanks to some ice-cold bone chilling water. I
climbed out of the shower and dried off, running my hand through my hair. I
slipped on my boxer shorts and a pair of flannel pants and walked back into the
bedroom.
I walked slowly over to the bed, pausing beside it. Isabella had her eyes closed
and was snuggled in my bed, the comforter wrapped around her and her face
nuzzled in my pillow. She looked like she was asleep, looking so sweet and
downright cutea surge of desire coursed through me, but it wasnt sexual. I
wanted to fucking snuggle with her. I wanted her to nuzzle me and wrap herself
around me, not my blanket and pillow.
Christ, I muttered softly to myself, confused by my feelings. Id never been
interested in that lovey-dovey shit before.
Isabellas eyes popped open at the sound of my voice. She smiled brightly at me,
a slight twinkle in her eye Id never seen before. It nearly stunned me and I
smiled. She was definitely feeling the high from the drug.
Feel good, dont you? I asked playfully. Her smile grew a bit and she nodded. I
chuckled and sat down on the bed beside her, leaning back and propping myself

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up on my forearms.
Arent you going to be late for school? she asked. I shrugged.
Not going, I said. She looked surprised and I smiled. Sorry but youre stuck
with me for the day, hope you dont mind.
She smiled sweetly, snuggling the pillow even more. I dont mind, she said
softly. I nodded and grabbed the remote for my stereo, turning on some music.
It was quiet for a moment. I could feel her eyes on me and after a bit I couldnt
take it anymore. I turned to her, propping myself up on my elbow. Do you want
to talk about it? I asked.
She smiled lightly. Theres nothing to talk about. I survived, thats what I do. Im
a survivor. Ill keep on surviving until I dont survive anymore. I burst into
laughter and she giggled. Yeah, that sounded weird, not very smart. I think I
need a thesaurus.
I shook my head, laughing, before her words struck me. I glanced at her
curiously. I could tell already that the drug was having a euphoric open feeling
with her and wondered how much I could get her to say, how much shed confess
without the fear of getting into trouble. I knew she was keeping secrets and I
didnt blame her for it or anything, but I just didnt like not knowing things.
Ill buy you a thesaurus if you promise to use it, I said. She smiled.
Okay, I will, she said softly. I stared at her and saw something flicker across
her face, a recognition of sorts. Youll have to read it to me, she added quickly.
I narrowed my eyes slightly. You cant read it yourself? I asked.
She diverted her eyes from me. I thought Dr. Cullen told you. Im illiterate.
He may have mentioned it, but are you really? I asked. She hesitated and I
jumped in quickly before she could spout out a lie habitually. The truth.
No, she said hesitantly, her voice slightly shaky. She took her bottom lip in her

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mouth to chew on it, a nervous habit Id noticed of hers. She winced, as her lips
were so sore and swollen.
Howd you learn how to read? I asked, curious.
She sighed. Closed captioning, she mumbled. I started laughing and she looked
at me questioningly, obviously surprised at my reaction. Who the fuck learns how
to read from closed captioning?!
I didnt mean to laugh at you and shit, but that just struck me as funny.
She smiled lightly, not looking as nervous. I guess she had been waiting on me to
freak out on her or something but why the fuck would I be mad that she could
read?
Yeah, I guess it is a bit weird. It wasnt that easy to learn, I wasnt allowed to
watch television so I only got occasional glimpses. The rest of the slaves taught
me what they knew, but it wasnt much.
I nodded. Whyd you tell my dad you couldnt read? I mean, he really wouldnt
give a shit either way but he really doesnt like liars.
She frowned, sighing. I didnt, Charles did. Charles was still my owner at the
time and it wouldve mattered to him. I couldnt exactly speak out of turn and
disagree with Charles when he told Dr. Cullen I was illiterate, I wouldve been
slaughtered for being disobedient.
I dont understand why it mattered to the Charles guy as to whether or not you
could read, whats the big deal? Christ it would probably be beneficial, I couldnt
figure out how the fuck you can cook so well and be unable to read directions.
She was quiet for a moment. An educated slave is a dangerous slave. Educated
slaves have confidence. Theyre the ones who try to escape because they know
they have a decent chance at being able to survive in the outside world, being
able to read and write enough to function. The ignorant slaves are more
dependant on you for survival, theyre easier to keep under your thumb, Master
Edward.

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I stared at her, slightly stunned at her quick shift in tone. She sounded like a
fucking robot again, like she was brainwashed.
Okay, I said, not knowing what else to fucking say.
She laughed lightly, looking over at me again. She looked amused slightly, that
carefree expression back. Is that an Okay, I get your point Isabella, or is that
an okay, Im just going to agree with you because I dont know what else to
say, she said playfully.
I stared at her with shock, realizing she was picking on me, as Id done that shit
to her last time she said okay to me. No one ever picked on me that wasnt
related to me or fucking someone related to me, no one had the balls to do that.
I was too volatile, unpredictable, they were always afraid Id snap.
You did that all fucking wrong, I said, shaking my head playfully. You didnt
even curse once.
She laughed. I dont curse.
I cocked an eyebrow at her. Not at all? She shook her head no. Why not?
She shrugged. Once you get in the habit of it, its hard to filter it back out. Ive
seen too many people have teeth knocked out from saying unsavory things in the
presence of the master without even realizing they were saying them.
So not cursing has led to you being able to keep all of your teeth? I asked, the
thought of someone busting her in the mouth pissing me off. God, I was getting
too fucking possessive and protective over her, especially after what my father
just put her through. I felt the need to shield her, although it was clear she was
tough and could handle a lot more than most people. Bind Jessica Stanley to a
bed for half a fucking day until shes unable to move and bleeding and I
guarantee less than 2 hours after being let loose she wouldnt fucking be laughing
and joking.
No, pure luck has led me to keeping all my teeth. As many blows to the face I
took, Im amazed Im not more disfigured than I am, she said.

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I narrowed my eyes slightly. You arent disfigured at all, I said, probably a little
too fucking firmly because she looked confused by my tone. But she was beautiful
and shouldnt put herself down.
I have a crooked nose with a slight bump in it, she said matter-of-factly. I
squinted a bit, looking at her nose. I could see the bump but it wasnt prominent
or anything, it added character. It was a cute nose.
I groaned to myself, rolling my eyes. A cute nose? Really, Edward? When did you
turn into such a sentimental pussy?
Theres nothing wrong with your nose, I said. But howd you get this supposed
horrific bump that bothers you so much?
She stared at me for a moment. My mistress kicked me in the face wearing a
pair of stiletto heels, she said.
I cringed at that thought. Whyd she kick you?
Because I scuffed her stilettos apparently.
Howd you scuffed her stilettos? I knew it was wrong of me to pry so much but
she was being so fucking open and I was curious as to what shed been through.
I wanted to know everything there was to know about her.
I somehow scuffed them when she tripped me, she said flatly.
Whyd she trip you? I asked.
For fun? she said. Amusement? She did it often.
My brow furrowed, my anger growing. What the fuck is wrong with people? So
this bitch tripped you for a laugh, and then got pissed because she apparently
scuffed her shoe in the process, so she decided to kick you square in the fucking
nose for it?
She nodded. Are you sure you dont want to know what color the shoe was? I
mean, youve asked me everything else, why stop now?

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My eyes widened at her snarky attitude, as it was completely unexpected. She


mustve realized what she said by my expression because her eyes widened and
filled with fear, her hand coming up to cover her mouth. She thought she was in
trouble.
I blinked a few times and chuckled, still a bit stunned. I am so sorry she
started.
Dont be. I told you to speak your mind, I meant that shit. I just didnt expect
such sassiness. Youve got a fire in you. And if you want to tell me the color of
the shoe, by all means tell me. If youre sick of my questions, tell me to fuck off,
I said. I smiled at her, hoping shed understand that I wasnt mad about it. She
dropped her hand from her mouth and smiled lightly.
The shoe was red, and I honestly dont mind your questions. I cant believe I
just had an outburst like that, though.
I smirked. Its the drug, it tends to relax people when it takes away the pain,
wipes the filter between your brain and your mouth away. Its why youre being
so open and honest with me, why in the past half hour youve managed mock
me, get snarky with me, and confess to being able to read.
She just stared at me, I guess absorbing what I just said. It was pretty fucking
heavy all the information shes given away. So I guess when the drug wears off,
not only will I be in pain but Ill be embarrassed because of my behavior?
I shook my head. No reason to be embarrassed. I like the uninhibited you.
She smiled lightly. Well if youve got questions you better ask them now,
because I dont know when youll see uninhibited me again.
I nodded, staring at her for a moment. There was so much I wanted to ask, so
much I wanted to know but what I wanted to know most I could never ask. I
wanted to know if she felt that spark between us that I felt.
Whats the worst thing youve ever seen? I asked instead. Talking about
romantic feelings was entirely too dangerous to approach.

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She sighed. Most violent or most traumatic?


I shrugged. Is there a difference? I asked. She nodded. Tell me both then.
Most violent was when Charles beat a teenage girl to death in front of me and
then left her body in the house for hours, just lying there on the floor. After he
finally disposed of it I was forced to clean up the blood and brain matter that had
seeped into the wood floor.
I stared at her with shock, not knowing what the fuck I expected to hear but it
wasnt that. And that wasnt the most traumatic thing youve witnessed?
No. Death isnt that traumatizing when its something you see on a regular basis,
when its always lingering around the corner. You get used to it. That one was
horrifying because it was the only other person my age Id ever met before I
came here.
So what was the most traumatizing? I asked, completely fucking curious.
Seeing my mother being raped. I didnt understand it. I can understand and get
used to physical abuse, but having never experienced sexual abuse Im sensitive
to it, I guess a bit nave about the whole thing. I couldnt exactly have empathy
because I had no idea what she was going through, what he was doing to her
that she obviously didnt like, but that he seemed so happy about. I was only five
the first time I woke up and found him doing it to her, entirely too young to
realize what was going on. It was traumatic and Ill never forget it, as it was my
only glimpse into what sex is. My biggest fear is being raped.
I sat there quiet for a moment, just staring at her, completely blown away by
what she just told me. I was immediately immensely grateful for whatever
fucking pharmaceutical company cranked out those potent little yellow Dilaudid
pills that got her to be an open book for me. Thatll never happen to you here,
you know that, right? None of us will ever do that to you and if someone else
ever tries Ill fucking kill them, I said, my voice low and forceful. I meant the shit
too. Just the thought of someone taking her against her will made me feel
murderous.

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She glanced over at me and stared intensely for a moment, so intense it made
me feel like she was fucking seeing right through me. Yes, she said finally.
I nodded. Look, I mean I cant lie to you, Bella. I have sex, but I know you
already know that shit because you heard that day. Sex can be a beautiful thing
between two people who both want it. It feels good, can feel fucking fantastic
actually, the pleasure unlike anything else. But Id never be with a girl unless she
wanted to be with me, Id never force anyone. The girls I have sex with all want
it, I said, feeling like a prick, knowing sex was obviously a foreign and scary
concept to her since her knowledge of it was limited to rape.
Do you love those girls? she asked softly. I froze and glanced at her, completely
stunned at the question. Her expression was curious, her eyes all innocent and
imploring.
No, I said softly, feeling bad about the answer.
She nodded. Have you ever been in love? she asked.
I just stared at her for a minute, unsure of how to answer that. I sure as shit
couldnt say yes, I fucking love you even though that was the truth. But I didnt
like lying to her, since shed been so damn honest and open with me.
Maybe, I said finally. Im still trying to figure out exactly what love is.
Yeah, me too, she said softly. I cocked an eyebrow at her and she smiled
lightly. Its all so confusing.
I nodded, still staring at her. She stared back and it was fucking intense,
stunning. Could she really feel what I felt, was that what she meant? Was she
confused about her feelings for me? Could she love me?
She yawned after a moment and I chuckled. She had to be exhausted after the
night she had. Why dont you take a nap? I suggested. She smiled.
Do you want me to go back to my room? she asked. I shook my head.
No, you can just crash here, I said, dreading the idea of her leaving. She smiled

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and nodded. I looked away from her, not wanting to look like Im staring or
something although thats exactly what I wanted to do. I sat there for a few
minutes, leaning back and staring up at the ceiling, listening to the music playing.
Edward? she said softly eventually. I glanced over and saw her eyes open
slightly, indicating she was still awake.
Yeah?
Whats the worst thing youve ever seen? she asked softly, her words almost
slurred from exhaustion. I glanced back at the ceiling, contemplating whether or
not to answer and how much to say. It was a story Id never told anyone. My
family knew the technical parts obviously but Id never talked about being there
and what it was I went through and witnessed.
Could I tell her that shit? Tell her exactly how much we had in common when it
came to inner demons?
I glanced back at her after a moment and smiled lightly when I realized she was
out cold, probably fell asleep as soon as the words left her lips. She looked so
fucking perfect asleep in my bed, everything about it just feeling right.
I wouldve told her the story, I realized. I wouldve fucking said or done anything
she asked of me.

Chapter 19 - Unlearning
"The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to
unlearn." -- Gloria Steinem
IPOV
I groaned loudly, probably too loud as the sound seemed to echo throughout the
room and cause my head to pound even harder. My entire body ached; muscles I
hadnt been aware of were throbbing. I had no idea something as insignificant as
a pinky toe could hurt so much.
I opened my eyes, squinting, immediately confused by my surroundings. I tried

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to lift my head a bit to get a better look at everything but it did nothing but send
sharp pains through my neck and head. I squeezed my eyes shut and dropped
my head back onto the pillow.
I took a deep breath and nearly gasped as the intoxicating scent filtered through
my nose and lingered in my lungs. It smelled like sunshine and honey and oddly
lilacs but had a musky edge to it. It was heavenly and consumed every cell in my
body. And it was entirely Edwardthe essence of him.
I realized immediately that I was in his room, in his bed, smelling the pillow that
he laid his head on each and every night. I was wrapped up in his blanket, the
same blanket he snuggled with every night. And despite the pain and the aches,
my lips managed to curve upward at that thought.
I recalled him bringing me in here and I remembered us talking but exactly what
we talked about I didnt really know. It was all sort of foggy and I realized it had
to have been the drug he gave me clouding things. I hoped I hadnt said or done
anything embarrassing while I was out of it, and surely hoped I hadnt said
anything to get myself in any more trouble. The aches in my body that ran deep,
entirely to the bone, told me that I couldnt endure another punishment right
now.
I lay there for a moment, scouring my brain for information as to what we
couldve talked about or what Id possibly said. My eyes widened as I recalled
telling him I could read and a surge of fear shot through me. I didnt remember
him being mad, he actually laughed at me if I recall correctly. He wasnt going to
tell on me, was he? I still wasnt sure what to make of him. Dr. Cullen had said
loyalty was essential in his house and there were no secrets did that mean
Edward would tell Dr. Cullen? I remembered talking about Phoenix some, exactly
what I said I wasnt sure of. I got a flash of memory of him talking about sex and
how he had it, and him saying something about how hed never do that to me.
My heart started pounding fasthow had that come up? Oh God, I didnt tell him
I had feelings for him, did I? I thought.
I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to recall details of the conversation, when I felt
the bed shift slightly beside me. I peeked my eyes opened and saw Edward
sitting beside me, gazing down at me. His expression was soft, compassionate,
and that seemed to alleviate my fears almost immediately. I obviously hadnt said

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or done anything too wrong for him to look at me that way.


Have a good nap? he asked. I nodded and grimaced a bit because of the pain
shooting through my neck. You hurting?
A bit, I said softly. He smiled lightly.
I can get you another pain killer, he offered, starting to stand up.
No! I nearly yelled, stopping him. He froze in place and turned, cocking an
eyebrow at me, confused about my outburst. I, uh Id rather not.
Okay, he said, chuckling. At least let me get you some Tylenol or something.
I smiled. Okay. He got up and walked to the bathroom. I pulled myself up in a
sitting position, rolling my shoulders and trying to stretch my back to loosen up
the muscles. He returned after a minute with a bottle of Tylenol and a white tub
of something. He sat back down on the bed and opened the pill bottle, handing
me two. He reached over to the stand beside his bed and grabbed a half full
bottle of water.
I promise I dont have any diseases, but if you dont like the idea of drinking
after me Ill go downstairs and get you your own.
I smiled lightly, taking it from him. Ive already drank after you once before,
after your football game.
He looked confused for a moment before smirking, obviously remembering Id
take a sip of the bottle of alcohol hed offered me. He leaned back on his
forearms, watching me. I started to a blush, slightly embarrassed at the attention
of his gaze. I opened the water and took a sip, popping the pills in my mouth.
Speaking of that day, Im pretty sure I owe you one for that massage, and Im
prepared to pay up, he said, holding up the white tub. I looked at him with
shock and froze mid-drink. I gasped and water went down my windpipe. I started
coughing and sprayed water on myself and his blanket, choking. He stared at me
with shock at first before reaching over and starting to beat me in the back.
Christ, Bella, are you okay? he asked. I coughed a few more times, trying to

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catch my breath, my eyes watering.


Yes, I spat out. Fine. I reached up and wiped my eyes. He sighed, running his
hand through his hair.
Its just icy hot, itll soothe your muscles. Im not going to like, molest you or
anything, he muttered.
I looked at him with surprise. Oh, I know I mean, I didnt think you would ever
touch me like that you know, I mumbled. Just was surprised, thats all.
He glanced at me for a moment, nodding. Good, he said softly. Anyway, yeah
lay on your stomach. He gave me a small smile and I returned it.
I sat the water down and rolled over onto my stomach. I closed my eyes and
tensed up slightly, waiting for his touch.
He seemed to hesitate but I could feel the bed shifting around a bit as he moved.
I jumped slightly, a bit startled, when I felt his hands on my ankles. He paused, I
assume to give me time to adjust to his touch, before he started gently rubbing
my calves. He was rubbing some type of cream into them and it smelled horrific,
like a really strong nose-burning mint. It was really cold to start with but it made
my skin feel so warm and tingly, completely soothing. I sighed contently as the
soreness seemed to dissipate a bit.
He moved up to my thighs, rubbing the Icy Hot onto them. His movements were
slow and gentle; the feel of his hands on me sending sparks through my body.
His hands moved upward, stopping right at the ends of my shorts.
He seemed to hesitate a bit before his hands went under my shirt. He rubbed it
into the small of my back and sides. His touch tickled and I had to bite my lip to
hold back laughter, but I couldnt stop from squirming a bit. He paused with his
hands on my sides before moving them up, grazing over the clasp of my bra. He
started rubbing my upper back and shoulders, slipping his hands carefully
underneath my bra straps to rub in the ointment.
He removed his hands after a moment, sighing. Sit up for me, he said softly.

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I opened my eyes and pushed myself up in a sitting position, turning to face him.
He smiled at me and took some cream from the tub. He reached his hands out
and placed them slightly above my knees, rubbing the front of my thighs slowly. I
squirmed a bit again as his hands moved upwards along my inner thighs. He was
staring down at my legs, seemingly in a daze. His touch sent sparks through my
body, awakening every inch of me. He removed his hands from my thighs after a
moment, a light sigh escaping his lips as he peeked up at me. He smiled lightly
and took my arms, rubbing the ointment into them. He finally took a dab on his
hand and reached around, rubbing it into the back of my neck.
There, all done. Feel better? he asked softly, putting the top back on the tub
and glancing around. He shrugged after a second and just tossed the icy hot onto
the floor beside the bed, into a pile of what I assumed was dirty clothes.
Yes, thank you, I said, laughing lightly and shaking my head while looking at
the tub on the floor. I glanced around the area, noticing random crap lying
everywhere. The floor was littered with clothes and books and papers and pens
and pencils. It wasnt exactly dirty or unhygienic, as there was no real dirt or food
or trash. It was just utterly chaotic with his belongings scattered around. The
only thing put in its place was his music collection. He had an entire wall full of
shelves of music along with his massive stereo system. It was all organized and I
realized his music meant a lot to him.
Youre welcome. And yes, I know, its still a fucking mess, he said, glancing
around his room when he noticed my wandering eye. I smiled sheepishly, feeling
slightly bad for looking at his stuff.
I can clean it up for you, I offered.
He looked at me with disbelief. Im not going to make you clean my room, he
said, rolling his eyes.
I know, just thought Id offer. Youve been so generous to me that Id love to do
something in return. Plus, it would give me something to do, I said, shrugging.
He stared at me for a moment with an eyebrow raised. He seemed to be thinking,
I assume contemplating my offer. I really didnt mind doing it for him. Maybe
someday, he said eventually, shrugging and turning his head to scan the

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disorganized room. But definitely not today. You are in no position to be tackling
a fucking disaster like this right now.
I smiled. Okay, someday then.
He glanced over at me after a moment, gazing intently. We were both quiet for a
while and the silence started getting a bit uncomfortable. I was trying to think of
something to say to take away the tension building up, to lighten the mood again,
but I couldnt seem to get my brain to function properly in his presence. His
green eyes were watching me and I couldnt seem to focus on anything but them.
How well can you read? he blurted out after a moment, cocking an eyebrow at
me.
My eyes widened, his random question startling me. Uh I mean, not that
great, I stammered. I can recognize common words and can sound out a lot of
other words but it sometimes takes me awhile to figure it out.
He nodded. Can you write?
Uh, barely. I mean, I guess I know the basics but Im not very good at it.
He nodded again and everything grew silent. I had no idea what he was asking
me for, what it meant, but Id be lying if I said it didnt scare me a little bit. The
past few days Id grown comfortable around Edward. I didnt exactly trust him, as
in my world it was stupid to ever put trust in another. You have to look out for
yourself first and foremost, and putting trust in others only makes you vulnerable
to be thrust in the line of fire. People will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat
to divert the attention from themselves.
I glanced around the room again, needing to keep from staring into those
hypnotic eyes of his, my gaze falling on his alarm clock. Oh wow, I didnt realize
it was so late! I exclaimed when I saw it was already 4pm.
Edward glanced over to the clock. Yeah, you slept for quite a few hours, he
said. He started chuckling after a second. You mustve been having some
amusing dreams, too.

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My eyes widened. I knew I talked in my sleep, my mother used to comment on it


occasionally growing up. I was suddenly extremely self-conscious and a bit scared
of what I mustve said. I felt my cheeks grow warm as the blush crept into my
face. He laughed.
Aw, dont be embarrassed. You didnt say anything too crazy, he said with a
shrug, but the fact that he emphasized the word too didnt escape me. I nodded
but was mentally trying to recall what it was I dreamed about so I could get some
idea of what I may have said. Edward filtered into my dreams often and I was
afraid that Id said something about him.
My stomach chose that moment to growl loudly. I hadnt eaten the day before,
considering I was handcuffed to my bed all evening, and had yet to eat today. I
blushed even deeper and he laughed again.
Want me to go grab you something to eat? he offered. I stared at him for a
moment, contemplating, before I shook my head.
I think I should try to get up and move around a bit, I said. He looked slightly
hurt, a strange expression flickering across his face. I appreciate the offer, I
really do! Its just, the longer I lay around the harder its going to be tomorrow
when I have to get up and clean and stuff. I didnt want to upset him or make
him think I didnt appreciate what hed done for me so far. No one had ever been
as nice to me as hed been today and I was truly grateful for it.
He nodded. I understand. He stood up and held his hand out to me. I took it
and he helped me up to a stand. I was feeling a bit better, thanks to the icy hot
and Tylenol, but putting weight on my legs was a bit hard as my knees were so
sore.
Edward kept a hold of my hand firmly and helped me walk toward the door. I had
to take small slow steps, wincing a bit as I put pressure on my knees. I was
hoping once I got moving around it would be easier, that my body would adjust.
We headed out into the hallway, Edwards hand in mine, and he led me to the
stairs slowly.
Descending the stairs was a bit hard, but Edward held onto me the entire time.
We made it down to the foyer finally and I sighed, trying to pull my hand from

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his. He hesitated, keeping a grip on me for a moment. I looked at him


questioningly and he sighed, finally letting go. Do you want something to eat? I
asked quietly. He was just gazing at me, the look on his face unreadable. He
shook his head no slowly after a moment. I gave him a small smile, nodding, and
headed into the kitchen on my own.
I opened the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water. I glanced around, grabbing a
pack of wraps and some turkey and cheese. I made a quick wrap and was putting
the stuff back away when I heard Jaspers voice. It hadnt even dawned on me
that Id slept so late that the boys would already be home from school.
Is she okay? Jasper asked Edward, his voice low but loud enough for me to
hear where I was standing. I smiled lightly at the fact that Jasper was worried
about me. He was a sweet person, so compassionate.
As okay as she can be, I guess. Shes a shitload tougher than I thought,
Edward replied with.
Yeah, Im surprised to see her up already. When Dad punished Janet the first
time she was out of commission for two days at least, Jasper whispered.
Yeah, well, Isabella got it worse. He barely gave her any fucking room to move,
tied her to the bed kneeling. I cant believe he did that shit, he fucking knows
better, Edward said.
You went in there last night?! Jasper asked Christ, Edward, if you wouldve
gotten caught
I didnt. I just couldnt let her in there alone, I had to make sure she was okay,
Edward said. There was a hint of sadness to his voice that made my heart pound.
I heard Jasper sigh. Are you okay? I mean, I know we havent talked about what
you said that day and I know you, youre going to deny it, but Im not stupid you
know. I can tell. And I know all this had to be hard
Can we seriously not fucking talk about this right now? She can probably
goddamn hear us, Edward snapped quickly, his voice loud and sharp. It sent a
chill down my spine. Edward had been so sweet and gentle to me all day long,

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but it was a reminder once again that he had another side to him. A volatile
dangerous side.
Jasper shut up at once. I stood by the counter, ignoring my throbbing knees, and
ate my food quickly. I turned and hobbled out of the kitchen, seeing both Edward
and Jasper standing quietly in the foyer. Jasper smiled sadly at me and Edward
was staring at the ground, looking upset.
I walked past them, a little confused about the conversation that went down and
the thick tension that hung between them now. What had Edward said that hed
deny now? And whyd the mention of it make Edward snap like that?
Fucking Christ, Edward spat, his voice almost a growl. There was anger in it
that was somewhat frightening.
Yeah, I see it too, Jasper responded with, his voice lower and laced with
sadness. I had no idea what they were talking about and didnt bother to stop to
find out, part of me not even wanting to know. I used the downstairs bathroom
and headed back out to find Jasper waiting right outside the door for me. I looked
at him questioningly and he smiled lightly. He took my arm and led me over to
the couch, sitting me down carefully. He positioned me so I was lying down and
my eyes widened with surprise as he sat down, grabbing my legs and putting
them across his lap.
Edward walked in the room, carrying what looked like two first aide ice packs. He
walked over and carefully sat them slightly on top of my knees, positioning them
so they didnt fall. I hissed at the coldness and looked at him questioningly.
Your knees are swelling, the shit has to be painful. The cold will bring it down
some, he said. I nodded, gazing up at him. He smiled lightly before walking over
and practically throwing himself down in a chair.
Jasper picked up the remote and I smiled lightly as he put an episode of Jeopardy
on that the DVR had recorded. Edward groaned, obviously having endured
countless hours of the game show with his brother over the years, but otherwise
didnt make any comment.
We sat there, casually chatting and watching TV. I had to laugh at some of

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Jaspers answers to the Jeopardy questions. At one point I even got a question
right and both Edward and Jasper looked at me with shock, neither one of them
knowing the answer.
Jasper reached over and started massaging my feet at one point. I told him he
didnt have to do all that, that I was used to dealing with pain, but he blew me off
and did it anyway. I didnt exactly have pretty feet, as they were the most
abused part of me, so I was surprised hed even touch them. I sighed contently
and closed my eyes after he refused to stop, allowing myself to enjoy it as it felt
amazing.
After awhile the front door opened and I tensed up as I heard female laughter.
Edward groaned and my eyes popped open, my head snapping in his direction.
He dropped his head slightly and ran his fingers through his hair, looking
irritated. I looked over in the direction of the foyer and watched as Emmett and
his girlfriend Rose walked in, followed by Alice. Alice smiled brightly when she
saw me.
Hey Isabella! she said. I smiled at her enthusiasm. I imagined it was nearly
impossible to be glum in Alices presence because she oozed happiness.
Hello, Alice. I felt slightly uncomfortable having my legs across her boyfriend,
especially considering he was still massaging my feet, but it didnt seem to faze
her. She leaned down and kissed Jasper on the lips, squeezing in beside him on
the couch so my feet were nearly touching her.
What happened? she asked, glancing over at my knees. Jasper looked at me
sadly and opened his mouth to speak but I cut him off quickly.
Im clumsy, I said simply. Jasper looked surprised at my answer and Alice
smiled sadly. I didnt know if she believed me but I hoped so, as I really didnt
want her knowing the truth. I was embarrassed enough about it as it was, having
the guys looking at me so sympathetically. I didnt want her sympathy tooit
would only make me feel worse.
I could feel eyes on me and glanced over to see Rose staring at me. She glanced
at Jasper rubbing my feet, giving him a look of disbelief, before her gaze
wondered over and fixated on my chest. She cocked an eyebrow and I suddenly

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felt self-conscious, glancing down. My eyes widened when I realized I was still
wearing Edwards football shirt.
I didnt exactly understand her reaction. She seemed to be irritated at my
presence, not entirely happy with the fact that Edward and Jasper were being
pleasant toward me. It was evident she didnt like me and I was uncomfortable
being near her. I barely knew her so I couldnt predict her moods, couldnt predict
what shed do or how shed react.
So Edward, Rosalie said finally, breaking the uncomfortable tension in the
room. I saw a small smile on her lips that frightened me slightly, as it looked
mischievous. Edward groaned.
What? he said sharply, his voice full of irritation.
Who are you taking to homecoming? she asked, sitting down on the arm of the
couch beside Alice.
He groaned again. I dont know, I dont even know if Im going, he muttered.
Rose laughed. Of course youre going. And seriously, you need to figure the shit
out soon because you got half of Forks High in a tizzy over it. The girls are all
holding out, hoping Edward Cullen asks them, and thats pissing the guys off
because none of the girls will commit to going with them.
Edward sighed. I know. Ill figure it out by the weekend.
No one said anything after that, but Jasper and Alice both frowned and shot
Edward sympathetic looks. I didnt understand it, had no idea what homecoming
even was.
We all sat around for a while, the rest of them chatting a bit but I stayed quiet. At
one point Alice reached over and tickled the bottom of my foot. It startled me and
I pulled my foot away instinctively, crying out as the pain shot through my leg
from the sudden movement. The icepack fell off of my knee and hit the floor.
Alices eyes widened as she stared at me, obviously not expecting my reaction.
Edward jumped up quickly, groaning so loud it sounded like a growl. He grabbed
the ice pack and sat it back down on my knee carefully. Alice tried to apologize

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but I shrugged her off, telling her it wasnt a problem.


Alice and Rosalie got up eventually, both saying they had to get home. Alice said
goodbye to me and they walked out. About the time they hit the foyer the front
door swung open abruptly.
Hey, doc, Rosalie said. I heard a chuckle and tensed up, realizing Dr. Cullen
was home. I glanced over at the clock and saw it was only 5:45, meaning he was
early.
Hey, girls, he said, greeting Rosalie and Alice.
Can we have a Halloween party again this year?! Alice blurted out excitedly, her
voice rushed and the words blurred together. Everyone started laughing,
obviously finding something humorous about it. I just sat silently.
Of course you can. Ill be out of town that day, though, so as long as you
promise not to destroy my house its yours, Dr. Cullen said. Alice squealed.
You wont even know we had a party, I promise! Alice exclaimed.
Yeah, itll be cleaned up by the time you get back, Rosalie said. Thats what
you got the slave girl for, right?
Her tone was slightly vicious. I looked down the moment the words left her lips, a
queasy feeling rolling through my stomach. I was suddenly feeling very
uncomfortable there.
Damn it, Rose, Emmett said, sounding a bit irritated. I glanced up and saw he
was frowning. I looked beside me and saw Jasper was watching me. He smiled
sympathetically but I looked away quickly, unable to take it. I didnt want his
sympathy. I reached over and took the ice packs off my knees, pulling my legs
from Jaspers lap and sitting up. I could feel Edwards gaze on me, could sense it
so powerfully that I was surprised it wasnt burning holes through me. I couldnt
look at him, though. I didnt want to see his expression.
Be nice, Dr. Cullen said in a fatherly tone. The girls mumbled goodbyes and
walked out, closing the door behind them.

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I sat still, staring down at the ground when Dr. Cullen walked in. He paused when
he hit the living area, sighing. There was an extremely uncomfortable silence and
tension that entered with him, worse than it had ever been before. I felt like I
was going to be sick but I fought it back, focusing all of my attention on a small
spot on the floor. It looked like possibly dirt, a smudge, and was making a mental
note to scour it up later when I cleaned. I tried to think of what chemical would
be best to use and it was a completely ridiculous thing to be thinking of at that
moment, but I needed something to keep my attention away from Dr. Cullen and
the sickness I felt near him.
Can you guys go up to your rooms for a few minutes? Id like to talk to Isabella
alone, he said eventually, breaking the silence. My heart started racing fast, fear
coursing through me so intense that my hands started to shake. I tried to keep
my composure though and continued to stare straight at the spot on the floor.
Jasper and Emmett stood up after a second and I could hear their footsteps as
they walked out. Edward stood up and took a few steps but hesitated as he
approached his father. I glanced up briefly and saw he was staring at Dr. Cullen,
and looked as if he wanted to say something. Dr. Cullen was just looking at him,
obviously waiting to see if he was going to speak. After a moment Edward shook
his head and looked away, leaving the room quickly.
Dr. Cullen walked forward and my eyes shot back down to the floor, staring at
the spot again. He paused when he reached me, crouching down in front of me.
He was blocking the spot Id been focusing on so I stared at his shoulder, unable
to meet his eyes. He had a loose thread on his shirt and I made another mental
note to find the shirt and snip it off later. I could feel his gaze on me but I was
too afraid to look at him.
From the corner of my eye I saw his hand come up and I recoiled away, moving
as far back from him as I could. I turned my head away and pressed my back
against the couch, wrapping my arms around my chest. He paused briefly, seeing
my fear, but brought his hand up and laid it on my knee after a moment. The
queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach flared up when his skin connected with
mine and I bit my bottom lip hard, trying to keep it in. My eyes welled up with
tears.
You should stay off of these for a few days, he said as he ran his fingers across

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the tops of my knees and squeezed them lightly. I winced, as they were tender,
and the feel of his hands on me terrified me.
Im fine, sir, I said quickly, my voice shaking. He sighed.
Youve got bursitis of the knee from kneeling so long. Its when the little sac
above the kneecap gets inflamed and fills with fluid. You need to rest often and
ice them a few times a day until the swelling goes away. Ill get you some
ibuprofen to take also, as itll be a bit painful for a while. Do you understand?
Yes, sir, I said.
I also got the results from your exams back. Youre surprisingly healthy, given
the conditions youve lived in. Youve got some anemia so Im going to be giving
you some vitamins, and youre of course underweight but other than that youre
fine, he said.
Okay, I said, unsure of what else to say and not wanting to look as if I were
disregarding him.
He let go of my knee but didnt get up. It was uncomfortable, him squatting in
front of me and staring at me, and I wanted nothing more than for him to back
away from me.
Isabella? he said after a moment, his voice slightly softer than before. Look at
me, please.
I sighed and glanced over at him. His eyes were soft, his gaze slightly sad. There
was compassion in his eyes, sympathy that made me feel even sicker. I knew it
was wrong but I had to look away quickly, unable to bear it. I felt a tear slip
down my cheek and mentally cursed myself for being so weak. I understand
youre upset. I know it wont change anything, but for what its worth I didnt
intend to be so cruel toward you.
I nodded, unable to speak. I was afraid if I unclamped my jaw and opened my
mouth to speak Id lose it. I didnt understand, as Id never had these reactions
toward Charles punishing me. I endured so much from him and was able to get
up afterwards and push forward. But in one night, without even raising his hand

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to me, Dr. Cullen shattered me.


And ignore Rosalie. She often says stuff just to get a rise out of people, he
added, standing up. He turned after a moment, heading out of the living room
and going for the stairs. I sat there quietly, trying to compose myself. I needed to
put myself back together somehow, build my walls and strength back up so I
could push forward. I pulled myself up from the couch eventually, wincing at the
pain, and headed for the stairs. I got halfway up the first flight when Edward and
Dr. Cullen started down them. They both froze at the sight of me.
I finished up the stairs and mumbled excuse me, brushing past Edward and
limping slightly. Edward groaned, shaking his head. Emmett walked out of his
bedroom and raised his eyebrows at me.
Shouldnt you be taking it easy, girl? he asked. I just stared at him, and
shrugged lightly. He rolled his eyes and walked over to me, and I yelped as he
picked me up quickly.
Christ, Emmett, be fucking gentle. Shes hurt, Edward snapped.
Oh relax, shes tougher than you give her credit for, Emmett said nonchalantly,
heading for the 3rd floor. He smiled lightly at me and pushed my bedroom door
open, sitting me down on my couch.
Uh, thank you, I mumbled, slightly stunned. Besides the times I hung out with
him along with Jasper, we didnt have much interaction. Most of his time was
spent with his girlfriend.
Dont mention it, he said, shrugging. He smiled and turned to walk out, closing
the door behind him.
The rest of the night flew by relatively fast, as I spent it in my room locked away.
No one bothered me thankfully, as I wasnt in the state of mind to deal with any
of them. I felt bad for that, as Jasper and Edward and even Emmett had all been
so nice to me, but I couldnt deal with the looks. I didnt want their sympathy and
compassion, I didnt want them to look at me like they actually cared what
happened to me. I was nothing but a piece of property theyd purchased to make
their lives easier.

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Despite the excessively long nap Id taken earlier in the day, I was still
exhausted. I went to bed early, sighing as my head hit the pillow. It didnt feel
right, the bed not as comfortable, the pillow not smelling like Edward. I tried to
push that thought away, not wanting to deal with it. I didnt want to care about
him.
I had nightmares that night. Nightmares of Dr. Cullen and that look he'd had in
his eyes. I woke up startled in the middle of the night, sweating and shaking and
queasy. I jumped out of bed and ran into the bathroom as fast as I could, which
wasn't easy as the pain was still so intense. I collapsed on the floor in front of the
toilet, dry heaving and gagging. Hitting the cold hard tile aggravated my knees
even more, sending intense pain through my legs. My eyes welled up with tears
and I started sobbing, completely overwhelmed and shaken. When my system
calmed down and I wasn't heaving anymore, I laid down on the floor and sobbed
to myself. I cried for myself, and for my mother, and for every one else whose
life wasn' t their own. I cried for every child in the world who wakes up each day
without freedom, who will never know a life without pain. I cried for everyone
who never got to experience love, who only knew a life full of abuse.
I woke up the next morning, still on the hard cold bathroom floor. I forced myself
up, ignoring the pain as sleeping on the floor had only made everything worse.
The house was completely quiet, everyone already gone for the day. I made my
way downstairs, still limping, but I pushed through it, refusing to give into it. I
cleaned the house, scouring it from top to bottom the best I could in my
condition. The pain didnt deter meit pushed me forward.
I was used to it, pain was something I knew well. Pain reminded me of exactly
who I was, reminded me of my place. Id been forgetting it lately, so wrapped up
in those tiny specs of freedom Id gotten my hands on. So in a way, I welcomed
it. Every ache and throb and sharp sting that shot through me was a reminder
that I was still alive, that I was a survivor.
For the first time since coming to the Cullen house, something finally felt familiar
to me.

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Chapter 20 - Significance of a Man


The significance of a man is not in what he attains, but rather what he
longs to attain. -- Kahlil Gibran
EPOV
Homecoming.
I should be excited, right? It was my fucking time to shine, after all. Everyone
paid me attention the week of homecoming, all eyes on Edward Cullenvarsity
quarterback.
Rose hadnt been lying when she said every girl at Forks High School was holding
out until I picked a date. I didnt care frankly; I couldnt care less about any of
those bitches. Just because I took you to the dance didnt mean youd be leaving
with me. I walked into school that Friday morning, determined that I was just
going to invite the first bitch to approach me and get it over with.
Stanley didnt count though. Bitches tended to guarantee giving it up on special
occasions like dances and I had no desire to fuck that sleaze again, even though
she was back to practically throwing herself at me daily. I frankly had no desire
to fuck anyone at the moment, which was crazy because I always wanted to fuck,
so that wasnt exactly what Id call a motivating factor. When Stanley walked up
to me in the parking lot at school, like clockwork, I blew her off. She could go
with Newton, they were a perfect matchboth dumbasses.
I walked in the building and headed to my locker, freezing when I saw Tanya was
blocking it, her body leaning against the door. She had on the shortest fucking
skirt Id ever seen, her long legs all bare and looking indecent. Id be shocked if
she didnt get suspended for that shit, but knowing Tanya shed blow her way out
of it. I shook my head and walked to her.
Good morning, Edward, she practically fucking purred. I couldnt help but smirk
at her attempts at seduction. Too bad for her that shit wasnt going to work
today.

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Good morning to you, too, I said. I turned the lock on my locker and she luckily
moved out the fucking way before I swung it open, because I wouldve definitely
hit her with it and not gave a shit.
Can I borrow your trigonometry notes from yesterday? she asked, her voice still
that seductive purr. I had to hand it to Tanya--she could make even a word like
trigonometry sound sexual.
I shook my head. No can do, I said. I had them and knew exactly where they
were but if she wanted notes she shouldve paid attention like the rest of us. Plus,
I had a tendency to doodle on my papers and theres no fucking telling what else
shed see on them. She just looked at me, not surprised I said no since I always
fucking say no when people asked me for stuff, as Im not a very giving person.
Im a taker, thats what I do. I expect people to give me shit but dont give
anything in return. Tanya stuck her bottom lip out in a ridiculous pout after a
moment that reminded me of some shit Stanley would do. I rolled my eyes and
shrugged, slamming my locker closed. But I know something I can do for you.
Whats that? she asked, smiling.
I can take you to the goddamn dance, I said, shrugging. Her eyes widened and
her smile brightened and she looked like she won the fucking lottery, which made
me smirk again. I guess in a way I was the fucking lottery around this shithole.
So yeah, that was a fucking week ago. And for the past week Forks High School
has been in homecoming mode, in a frenzy like its the second coming of Jesus
Christ or something. And the entire time Ive been in a bad goddamn mood,
refusing to participate in the ridiculousness.
My brothers fucking loved spirit week, as did Alice. Rose thought she was too
good for the shit but I could tell she was amused by Emmetts behavior. As the
week went on it got more and more ridiculous, and I grew more and more
irritated.
Monday was career day and Jasper wore one of dads lab coats and stethoscopes,
whereas Emmett wore a suit and carried a briefcase because he wants to be a
fucking CEO or something. They gave me a raft of shit for not dressing up. What
did they want me to do, put on some goddamn wingtips and carry an AK-47?

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Because the rate I was going, that was my future.


Tuesday was Pajamas day, which irritated me to no end because of all the
bubblegum pink pajamas with ridiculous shit like poodles on them I was forced to
look at. Christ, couldnt one or two of them be fucking reasonable and wear a
goddamn negligee or something? At least fucking give me something to look at.
Emmett wore a pair of too tight superman pajamas that showed entirely too
much of the fucking bulge in his pants that day. Jasper at least had the decency
to rock something half-normal.
Wednesday was childhood day, which made me feel like a damn pervert being
around so many girls in pigtails and pink bows and frilly socks and mary jane
shoes. Emmett, so fucking help me, wore high water pants and a goddamn
Smurfs T-Shirt and brought a fucking tricycle to school to ride around in the
plaza. That was a sight I never want to fucking see again. Jasper wasnt much
better in his overalls and dukes of hazard shirt. I swear we never wore that shit
as kids.
And Thursday was dubbed crazy day, where you were supposed to intentionally
look completely ridiculous. And boy did my brothers succeed with that shit. I
refused to give either of those fuckers a ride to school that day. I dont even want
to get into what they wore, but I swear half of it they got from Isabellas closet.
Today was school colors day and Ive seen more bitches with blue hair than I can
count. It wasnt cuteat all. But at least I blended in today wearing my football
jersey.
Usually Id love homecoming week, dont get me wrong. And I realize I sound like
the biggest prick in the world, like Ive got a stick up my ass or something, but I
couldnt help it. I knew the exact reason why Id been in a bad mood, and that
reason sleeps in the fucking bedroom across from me.
Shes been cold all damn week and it was driving me insane. It seems like ever
since Rose called her a slave right in front of her shes been fucking acting like
one. She speaks all fucking robotic and calls me Master Edward and I hate that
shit. I swear I want to beat the shit out of Rosalie for doing that but we all always
just ignored her in the past when she acted like a bitch and me speaking up now
would be like waving a big fucking red flag in front of everyones face. But I want

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the girl back that had napped in my bed and said devastatingly cute and sweet
things in her sleep. The girl that laughed and was open with me. Because that
fucking girl made me happy, and I realized without her I was just an insufferable
prick.
It wasnt like I could do anything about it so I dont know why I was being such a
whiney bitch about it. Its not like I could be open about my feelings. Christ, Id
even found myself daydreaming about taking her to the dance, as she was the
only fucking one I really cared to do anything with. I bet shed look stunning all
dressed up in a long dress that hugged her body, showing off her curves.
Because despite the fact that she was skinny as hell and needed to eat more, she
had a naturally curvy frame and a nice ass that I caught myself staring at
constantly like a fucking pervert. It was useless to think about all that though, as
I couldnt take her. Even if she wanted to go, that would be like waving that
fucking red flag in front of Dads face again. But damn if I didnt still dream about
that shit.
And shed been in pain all week, but was being so fucking stubborn and refusing
to take a break. Shes been cleaning and cooking her ass off. I just wanted to
grab a hold of her and shake the shit out of her and tell her to fucking relax.
Because she was going to make me explode if she didnt fucking smile at me
soon.
The fact that she had stopped smiling was killing me. I used to be guaranteed to
see it in her sleep when she said my name but that didnt even happen anymore.
Because she never fucking slept. I heard her crying that night, the night after
Dad did that shit to her. She was fucking sobbing and it killed me to listen to it
but I didnt know what to do about it. I wanted to go to her and try to console
her, and I fought the urge for fucking ever not wanting to be an ass and burst in
there if she just wanted to be alone. Her cries died down eventually and her room
grew silent, so I snuck over there to check on her. I was confused when I saw
she wasnt on her bed, but I saw the bathroom light was on and figured she was
in there. I wanted to go in and check on her but going in her room was bad
enough, there was no fucking way I could go into her bathroom after her. That
was just fucking wrong, the concept feeling perverted. So I went back to my
room and tossed and turned all fucking night, worried.
The next few days following that were just as bad. I heard her moving around her

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room all damn night, never relaxing, never fucking sleeping. She cried nearly
every night and that ate away at me, broke my fucking heart. I didnt want her to
cry, didnt want her to hurt. But the way she spoke to me made me think that I
was part of the fucking reason she was in pain. And I wanted to go to her but I
didnt want to make it worse, I couldnt do that to her. Couldnt be that fucking
selfish. God, where had that sweet girl with the infectious smile gone? I missed
seeing her sleep, hearing her say my name and watching as that smile curved her
lips upward. I loved that shit. I looked forward to it. How pathetic is it that the
highlight of my day is when I sneak into some girls goddamn bedroom to spy on
her like some peeping tom? But yeah, it hadnt been happening and I was fucking
miserable because of it.
I rode in the homecoming parade after school, smiling and waving like some
fucking celebrity. Bitches screamed my name but I just couldnt give a shit.
Isabella was under my skin.
After the parade I jumped in my Volvo and was going to meet the guys for
something to eat before the game as we usually did, even though I wasnt exactly
in the mood to. But it was tradition, and you cant break a fucking tradition like
that before a big game. That just begging for bad luck. I was sitting in the
parking lot of the school, trying to clear my head. I had a game tonight and
needed to focus and was finding it difficult to get Isabella off of my mind.
The passenger door to my car opened and my head snapped in that direction,
anger instinctively surging through me that someone was getting in my fucking
car without my permission. People knew how I felt about my car. Getting in my
car without my permission would be like fucking my girlfriend if I had one. Its a
goddamn violation and youd be just asking for an ass kicking. My eyes widened
slightly and the anger was replaced with confusion when I saw tiny ass Alice
climb in. She closed the door and turned to me, smiling sweetly.
Hey, Edward, she said.
I smiled lightly. Hey short stuff, whats up?
She shrugged. Nothing much, just wanted to make sure you were okay.
My brow furrowed and I looked at her incredulously. She was checking on me?

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Why wouldnt I be? You know how I am, Alice. These people are feeding my ego
today. What else would a conceited fucker like me need?
She laughed lightly but didnt have a comeback. It was quiet for a moment and I
started to get uncomfortable, wondering what the fuck she really wanted. There
had to be more to it than just checking on me, as that didnt make any sense.
She sighed after a moment, shaking her head. I told you it would happen but
you doubted me, she said softly.
I narrowed my eyes at her slightly. Told me what?
That you were going to fall in love.
I looked at her with disbelief and tried to play it cool and look like I didnt know
what the fuck she was talking about, but inside I was frightened. Theres no way
she could know, I couldnt handle someone else fucking looking at me all
sympathetic because I went and caught feelings for the only goddamn girl in the
world I couldnt have. Jaspers looks were bad enough, and if he went and ratted
me out to his girlfriend I was going to fucking kill him.
Get real short stuff, you know the only fucking person I love is myself, I said,
smiling.
She smiled lightly in return. You dont have to pretend with me, Edward. I know
you love her.
I shook my head. What makes you think I love her? I asked, cocking an
eyebrow questioningly.
She laughed. The simple fact that you didnt even have to ask me who I was
talking about gives you away, you know. I rolled my eyes, mentally cursing
myself. I hadnt played that shit off well at all. Plus, Ive picked up enough
Italian from you boys to understand some of the things youve said to her.
Maybe you misheard me, I said, shrugging. She fucking had me and I knew it,
but I wouldnt just admit the shit right off the bat.
Maybe, she said. But even without hearing you call her your beautiful girl I

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knew it. I could just tell.


I sighed. Am I that fucking obvious? I asked, slightly irritated. I slumped
forward and pressed my forehead against the steering wheel. I thought Id been
pulling the shit off pretty good but evidently not.
No, youre really good at faking not caring, but Ive never really been fooled by
you. Everyone thinks youre just a cold person but I know youre not. I know you
just come off that way because youre sad. I knew one day happiness was going
to walk into your life and change everything, because you deserve it. Honestly.
And I can tell by the way you look at her that its her that shes your
happiness.
I groaned. Yeah well, what fucking good is a glimpse of happiness if you cant
keep the shit?
Why do you think you cant keep it? Alice asked, her tone full of confusion. I
peeked over at her and saw her looking at me questioningly.
Seriously, Alice? I asked, rolling my eyes. Was she really that fucking clueless?
Could she not see how fucked up the situation was? Are we even talking about
the same people here? Look at me and look at her and fucking tell me we could
ever work out. I dare you to.
Alice huffed. I could tell I was irritating her and smiled lightly. Alice didnt often
get aggravated but when she did it was amusing.
L'amore e cieco, she said, her pronunciation fucking horrific but I knew what
she was saying anyway. Love is Blind. I guess she knew more fucking Italian than
I thought.
Love may be blind, Alice, but my father isnt. Im not worried about love killing
us as much as I am him killing us.
She stared at me for a second before shrugging nonchalantly. I think your dad
would just be happy that you finally let someone in your heart, no matter who
she was.

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Would you bet Jaspers life on that? I asked. My voice was sharper than I
intended and I knew she didnt deserve to have me snapping at her as she was
just trying to help, but I was irritated. She just stared at me, startled by my tone.
Because I cant exactly put Isabellas life on the line on a hunch that he just
fucking might accept it. I cant gamble with her life just because my stupid ass
went and caught feelings. God, I know Im cocky but do you really think Im that
much of a selfish prick to risk her life like that?
She sighed, looking away from me. Why do you even have to tell him? she
asked quietly after a moment.
I laughed bitterly. Do you seriously think we could keep it from him? That he
wouldnt see the shit?
Alice nodded confidently and I rolled my eyes. Hes rarely there Edward and I
know for a fact youre good at faking not caring. I think you could pull it off.
What about her? I asked, cocking an eyebrow. I was trying not to fucking let
her words get to me, as the idea that I could actually have the girl made my
fucking chest swell with the feelings I was trying to suppress.
Alice smiled, shaking her head. If you think Isabella isnt queen at hiding things,
youre crazy. I barely know her but I can already tell she has secrets.
I smiled lightly, nodding. Yeah, she does, I said. I was quiet for a moment
before chuckling. I learned last week that shes not illiterate.
Alice smiled. I knew that, actually. I looked at her with shock and she smiled. I
caught her sounding out words silently at the football game. She was reading the
names and numbers on the football jerseys. I didnt call her out on it, of course,
but I noticed.
I blinked a few times, a little stunned. I wonder how my father hasnt caught her
doing that shit.
Alice shrugged. Maybe hes not as observant as you think he is, Edward. I still
dont think hed care, though, even if he were to find out. Well, at least he
wouldnt care enough to actually hurt either of you.

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I shook my head. None of that even matters anyway Alice. It doesnt matter how
I feel, theres no way she would ever feel that way about me.
Alices eyebrows raised. Why do you say that?
Have you met me? I asked, cocking an eyebrow at her. Im not exactly a nice
fucking guy, you know.
She laughed. Whatever Edward. Look, Im not going to tell you what to do. Im
just going to say that when the time is right, youll know. Youll see it for
yourself.
I shook my head. We fucking own her Alice, shes practically a piece of property.
She calls me her fucking master. How can she ever love someone that damn
despicable, with that much power over her?
Alice smiled lightly. L'amore e cieco, she said again, opening the door and
hopping out. Love is fucking blind.
I started the car up and drove away after Alice got out, spinning tires because I
was irritated. I met the guys at the pizza place and they ate but I didnt have
much of an appetite so I just tore a fucking piece of pizza apart with my fingers,
taking my aggression out on it. I was trying to center myself and push the shit
from my mind so I could get my head into the game. I knew tonight was
important, it was fucking homecoming. We made it back to the school eventually
and dressed out and started warm ups and stretches.
By the time game time rolled around I was focused, thankfully. The crowd was
cheering loudly, the stadium fucking packed more than usual. I had no idea if
Isabella had come to the game or not, hadnt even asked if they were bringing
her, and I did every damn thing I could not to look for her. I wanted to, fucking
just wanted to see her, but I knew if I saw her, it would only make that longing
feeling come back. And if I didnt find her, if she didnt come, it would fucking
hurt. I knew that, so it was better just not knowing for the time being.
The second half of the game started and I was attentive, but it was getting
harder to keep my head in the game. We were winning handedly and by the time

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the 4th quarter started I was losing focus. I finally allowed myself to look up into
the crowd, not able to take it anymore, and my eyes drifted toward her almost
immediately. My family always sat in the same area every game for some reason;
I guess they liked that spot. She looked beautiful and was wearing a baby pink
and mint green and tan striped shirt that made her skin glow. When I started
noticing shit like that, I dont know. The only time I ever noticed a girls clothes in
the past is when they were fucking indecent and being thrown on the floor as
they stripped for me. Isabella wasnt looking at me, was looking off to the side,
away from everyone, staring off into space. She looked sad, so fucking sad, and I
could see the exhaustion in her features from where I stood. I glanced over at my
family briefly and saw my dad actually came, which was fucking shocking since
he was always too busy for shit like this.
I looked away and didnt allow myself to look again until the final whistle blew
and the game was over. Everyone rushed the fucking field, all excited that we
won. Not like we wouldve ever lost or anything, not with me running shit.
My family came at me, Emmett catching me off guard and tackling meI went all
game unharmed only to be knocked over by my own brother. I pushed him off of
me, which is a lot easier said than done as hes built like a fucking Mack Truck.
Dad held his hand out to me to help me up. I laughed when I got to my feet,
shoving into Emmett.
You did good, Dad said, slapping me on the back. I smirked, happy that for
once he was congratulating me on something and not bitching me out for fucking
up. I was still pissed off at him about the shit he did to Isabella and had been
giving him the cold shoulder all week, but I couldnt deny it made me feel good to
have him congratulate me.
Thanks, I mumbled. I glanced around, instinctively looking for Isabella, my
brow furrowing when I didnt see her. Dad started talking to some guy who was
evidently a patient of his and Emmett turned his back to me, talking to Rose. I
scanned the crowd and spotted Alice and Jasper and took a few steps in their
direction, freezing when I realized she wasnt standing with them.
I started to panic a bit, looking around frantically. She was here somewhere, Id
fucking seen her here, but she wasnt with anyone she knew. I was worried
there were a lot of people in the stadium and I was afraid shed be freaking out

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around so many strangers. I hated the thought of her alone and scared.
I scanned the area and started walking around looking for her, bumping into
people but not giving a shit. That fucking instinct to protect her was flaring up
and I was desperate to find her, make sure she was fine. I spotted something
green and pink from the corner of my eye eventually, my head snapping in that
direction. I froze abruptly at the sight in front of me, my eyes widening.
She was in a slightly isolated grassy area over by the stands, standing with a
guy. And not just any fucking guy, a prick I would recognize anywhere. Those
fucking torn up camouflage cargo pants. The too tight white t-shirt showing off
his biceps, trying to look all big and strong. The long black shiny ass hair, pulled
back with a rubber band. He thought he was hot shit but he really looked like a
fucking finocchio.
Yeah, I knew that motherfucker well, because it was the same asshole that made
me snap last year. He was the one that pissed me off and made me lose control.
He was the prick that got me sent away to that goddamn preppy boarding school,
the one that nearly made me destroy my fucking life. I hated him, fucking
despised him, more than anyone in the world. I wanted to snap his neck, just
looking at him made me angry.
And he was standing beside the woman I loved, the only girl I ever fucking let
into my heart. He was talking to her, and she fucking smiled at him. She smiled.
Ive been waiting all goddamn week for her to smile again and when she does its
at him of all people. Why him? Why the fuck hasnt she smiled at me?
The murderous rage that surged through me made me shake. I just stood there,
frozen in spot, trembling and pissed off. I heard someone call my name nearby,
and it sounded like Emmett, but I couldnt focus on him. I had tunnel vision, all I
could see was my beautiful Isabella standing beside that filthy mongrel Jacob
Black.
The moment he reached his hand out toward her to touch her, I snapped. I
started running right for them, as fast as my fucking legs would carry me. I heard
shouting behind me, my brothers and Dad and what sounded to be Alice, but I
ignored them. Someone was chasing me, I could hear them running behind me,
but I didnt give a shit. He was going to fucking pay for laying a goddamn finger

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on my Bella Ragazza.
I hit the chain-linked fence and grabbed a hold of it, leaping over it like some
goddamn track star. I landed on my feet and started running again, and I could
hear someone leap over the fence after me. Jacob and Isabella mustve heard the
commotion because they both looked up at the same time. Isabellas eyes
widened with confusion and fear and Jacobs eyes narrowed when he saw me.
Yeah, he fucking hated me too and I didnt blame him after what I did last year,
but I couldnt regret that shit. He deserved ithe deserved much more. I was out
for blood back then and wanted it just as much now. So I ran right for that
motherfucker. He backed up a few steps like the pussy he was when he realized I
wasnt going to stop, but it was too late for him to run from me. His ass was
mine. I slammed right into him, sending him flying backwards onto his back with
a thud. He yelled, startled, and I landed right on top of him, my knee going right
into his fucking privates. He cried out in pain, as I probably crushed his fucking
dick with my weight. I drew my fist back to pummel his ass, determined to break
his face, when someone snatched a hold of the back of my jersey and yanked me
off of him. I was jolted roughly, my fucking jersey choking me around the neck.
It startled me when my father got between us, shoving me backwards and away
from Jacob. I sure as shit hadnt expected him to be the one that chased after my
ass so fast. Jacobs friends from the reservation ran up and pulled him off of the
ground and he looked confused and shocked, I guess not expecting me to
actually make contact with him. He had his hands over his crotch and I probably
wouldve laughed and fucking mocked him if it werent for the look my father was
giving me. He was pissed, pinching the bridge of his nose like he usually did when
he was trying to keep his composure. I got that fucking habit from him. I shook
my head, sighing loudly. I knew him being proud of me couldnt last too fucking
long.
I heard more commotion behind me and turned my head to see my brothers run
up. Alice walked by me and gave me a quick glance, frowning and narrowing her
eyes slightly. Yeah, she apparently disapproved. She headed straight over to
Isabella and I took a step to the side, wanting to fucking see her to make sure
she was okay. I knew Jacob hadnt hurt her but I knew she didnt like people
touching her. I mean, shit, she still flinched away from me. But Dad grabbed a
hold of my jersey to stop me, obviously afraid I was going to lunge at that prick.
I grabbed a hold of his hand and pried it off of me, which probably was a mistake
and likely pissed him off even more. If we werent in public he mightve

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intentionally snapped all my fucking fingers for it, as you dont fucking touch
Carlisle Cullen. I sidestepped him so I could see her, my eyes widening. There
were tears streaming down Isabellas face. She looked scared as shit, her body
trembling.
I groaned. Isabella, I said quickly, wanting her to understand I did that shit for
her own good. I hadnt meant to scare her. She glanced over at me when I called
her name but looked away quickly and stared at the ground, unable to keep eye
contact with me. Alice grabbed her arm and started leading her away from us,
whispering something to her. I took a few steps forward, intending to go after
them, but Jasper jumped in front of me.
You need to let her go and go calm down, he said, his voice low, his tone sharp.
I narrowed my eyes slightly, fucking pissed that he was telling me what to do and
was about to argue when Dad butted in.
I agree. Im guessing this is the first time youve seen Jake since youve been
back so Im going to try to be understanding and not get pissed about your
behavior. But you need to keep yourself in check, boy. Do you know what I went
through to get you out of all that bullshit last year? Im not going to do it again
and I mean that. I will let your ass go to jail this time, so its in your best interest
to learn your fucking lesson and fast.
I looked away from him and nodded. I was fuming. I wasnt ungrateful for what
he did for me but I was getting tired of him holding that shit over my head. This
had nothing to do with that, he had no fucking right to be around Isabella. He
was scum and she was goodtoo fucking good for him to be touching her.
I turned and stalked away from them, heading into the locker room. All the guys
just looked at me, not saying much as they saw what the fuck just happened. I
changed quickly, slamming shit around and cursing under my breath. I threw on
a pair of jeans and a wifebeater and headed out to my car, speeding like fucking
crazy over to Demetris house where the after party was. He was on the football
team, a linebacker, and I knew he always had plenty of fucking liquor.
I pulled up in front of the house, getting out and heading straight inside. The
house was already packed with people celebrating. I brushed by a few girls and

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none of them said anything to me, I imagine because my expression told them it
was in their best interest to not bother. I was too fucking pissed off to deal with
the female species.
I headed into the kitchen and found Demetris brother Felix. He took one look at
me and held out an entire fifth of vodka. You look like you need this, he said. I
laughed bitterly and took the bottle, unscrewing the cap. I brought it to my lips to
took a big fucking gulp of it, shivering as it went down. It was cheap shit, not at
all smooth, but it would do the job just fine.
Is Cheney here yet? I asked. Felix looked at me with surprise, knowing damn
well why I was asking for Ben Cheney. Ben was a small time drug dealer, just
locally but if you lived in Forks and wanted something it came from Ben. He was
one of the rare motherfuckers in town that knew my family at least had drug
connections, as my father supplied him with his shit. I had my own drugs at
home but there was no way I was going there, not in the mood I was in. Id
fucked up enough as it was, upset her enough for one day.
Yeah, hes in the back room, Felix said after a moment. I nodded and took
another big gulp of the vodka before handing it back to Felix and heading down
the hallway.
The room was fairly dark except for a small dimly lit lamp. It was a den, I guess
you could call it, with a few couches and tables. There were a couple people in
there doing shit, mostly smoking weed, and they had the stereo playing with
some mellow ass music filtering out from the speakers. It wouldnt last long, as
the moment Demetri got here hed crank up the hip hop and blow the fucking
glass out of the windows with the bass. Everyone looked up at me when I entered
and greeted me all fucking warmly.
Hey Cullen, Ben said, nodding in greeting. He was a smooth fucker, I liked him.
Straight A student, had plans of going to the fucking Ivy League and becoming a
lawyer of all things and was selling to save up money for college. His girlfriend
Angela was a sweet girl, too, the complete opposite of most of the bitches in
Forks.
Cheney, I said. I walked in and sat down beside him on a couch.

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You need something? I got some of that White Widow left, he asked quietly.
Naw, I dont want any weed, I said. You got any blow on you?
He looked at me, shocked by my request, but nodded. I very rarely asked for
anything hard like cocaine but with the week I was having I needed a major lift.
How much do you want?
Just a gram, I said, shrugging. He nodded again and got up, walking out of the
room. He came back a few moments later and handed me a small baggy. I
poured some of the white powder out onto the table in front of us, enough for
two lines. I reached into my pocket and grabbed my wallet, pulling my American
Express card out to straighten the coke up into lines. I pulled out a bill and rolled
it up, bringing it to my nose and snorting one of the lines up quickly. I wiped my
nose afterward and sniffed a few times.
Thanks, man, I mumbled. My nose numbed out almost immediately and my
heartbeat started racing.
Ben nodded, sitting back down. Anytime, he said. You having a bad day?
I laughed dryly. You could say that. I leaned down and snorted the second line,
closing my eyes and leaning back against the couch. The euphoria started
coursing through my body, warmth starting in my chest and radiating out
through my limbs. I felt lightweight, invincible, like I didnt have a fucking care in
the world. It was exactly what I needed.
I hung out with Ben and some of my classmates for a while, floating on air. It
was nice to fucking forget about everything and just feel good for a while. I did
another line when I felt myself coming down from the first two.
A little while later Tanya walked in the room. She smiled when she spotted me
and walked over, plopping down on my lap. I was beginning to think it was her
favorite fucking seat, as every time I saw her she sat on me.
If youre going to sit on my lap bitch you ought to at least take your clothes off
first, I said. She rolled her eyes but smiled. I felt the euphoria starting to wind
down, her presence annoying me for some reason and killing my high, so I

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pushed Tanya aside a bit and poured some more powder out, making two more
lines. I took my bill and snorted them both up quickly, wiping my nose as the
fucking congestion and drip was outrageous. I poured the rest of the power out,
enough for one line, and lined it up. I handed the bill to Tanya and cocked an
eyebrow. She looked fucking stunned that I was offering and quickly jumped on
that shit. I realized Id probably never fucking offered her anything before and
shook my head. I guess Edward Cullen in love was a fucking generous guy after
all, I thought.
The moment the words rang through my head I groaned, probably fucking loudly
as both Ben and Tanya looked at me questioningly. I shook my head and gave
them a look telling them not to even fucking ask.
Someone cleared their throat across the room and I looked up to see Alice
standing in the doorway, hands on her hips with an eyebrow cocked at me. She
had that irritated look on her face again, obviously still pissed at my acting out at
the game. I started laughing and shook my head. Hey short stuff, I said.
She walked toward me and froze. Youre high, she said matter-of-factly, her
tone making me laugh even more. She sounded like shed just made some big
fucking miraculous discovery.
Yeah, Im pretty fucking high.
She shook her head. I can barely even see the green in your eyes. Theyre
nearly all black.
I sighed, shrugging, unable to really give a shit. I lifted Tanya off of me and
practically tossed her on Bens lap. She yelped and he groanedBen wasnt a big
fan of Tanyas. I handed him the bill Id used to snort the blow, which was $100,
and he tried to refuse it because it was technically my familys shit I snorted. But
it was money out of his pocket and I couldnt fucking do that to him, not what he
sold for such a good cause. I mean, shit, it made me feel like I was doing the
coke for a reason, like how they did marathons or bike-a-thons to raise money
for charities. It was a fucking coke-a-thon to send a deserving kid to Yale. It felt
almost justified but I wasnt so sure the fuming little pixie in front of me would
see my logic. Actually, I wasnt even sure it made fucking sense. Coke tended to
fuck with my mind.

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I walked over to Alice, smiling sheepishly, and put my arm over her shoulder. I
led her out of the room, walking down the hallway to an isolated part of the
house.
Seriously, Edward? Cocaine? she said, her voice low. I groaned.
Please dont go giving me hell Alice. Just really not right now, okay? I just want
to know if shes okay.
Shell be fine, you just scared her and she thought it was her fault of course. You
need to stop doing that, by the way. You need to control that temper of yours if
you ever want her to relax and let you in fully.
I groaned, nodding because I knew she was telling the truth but it was a lot
easier said than done. I reacted without thinking a lot and I didnt know how to
fucking stop that. Alice reached up and patted me on the cheek condescendingly,
and walked away.
I spent the rest of the night hanging out with friends, getting even more fucked
up. On top of the alcohol I ended up doing another few lines coke at some point.
I knew I was going to pay for that shit later, but I couldnt care at the time. I
popped some Vicodin eventually to lessen the comedown so I didnt go all fucking
emo when the coke wore off. I knew I couldnt go home as fucked up as I was, so
I ended up just crashing on a couch at Demetris.
I woke up the next morning with the worst hangover Id ever had, my head
pounding so hard it made my eyes pulsate. I headed out to the car and winced at
the fucking sunshine, putting on my sunglasses. I drove home relatively slowly
again since I obviously was still pretty screwed up.
I pulled up in front of the house and cursed when I felt a warm trickle of liquid
coming from my nose. I snatched the visor down quickly and looked in the
mirror, cursing again when I saw it was blood. My fucking nose was bleeding.
Just my goddamn luck, I muttered. I pulled my wifebeater off quickly and wiped
the blood away, holding it up and pinching my nose. I got out, groaning, and
headed into the house.

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I walked in the foyer and spotted Dad coming down the stairs. I cursed under my
breath, as Id been hoping to get in and get up to my room undetected. He glared
at me and rolled his eyes.
You keep snorting that shit and youre seriously going to damage your septum,
he said.
I laughed dryly. How do you know I just didnt get punched in the nose?
He shook his head. I know you, Edward. Your knuckles are fine. If someone
punched you in the nose, youd have busted their face up pretty good.
I sighed. He had me there. He walked over to me and pulled my chin up. I moved
the shirt out of the way and he checked out my nose, looking all in it in doctor
mode.
Lay off the coke, okay? I may push it but I dont like it and I dont like my kids
doing it. He let go of my chin and walked away, heading into the room under the
stairs. I turned and went into the kitchen, popping some aspirin and drinking a
shitload of water.
I headed upstairs and plopped down on my bed, passing out the moment my
head hit the pillow. I was woken up sometime later by a loud knock on my door. I
pulled myself out of bed, groaning, and walked over to it. I swung it open and
saw Alice standing in the hallway, holding a garment bag. She grimaced when
she saw me.
God, you look like crud, she said, giving me the once over. Anyway, I got you
something to wear because I know you didnt do it yourself. I laughed and took
it from her because she was telling the damn truth. I wouldve just worn
whatever the fuck was hanging in my closet. Tanya will be here soon with Rose.
I sighed and thanked her, shutting my door. I hopped in the shower and washed
my hair, trying to wake myself up. I didnt bother even trying to do anything with
my hair, just ran my fingers through it and let it do its thing. I opened the
garment bag and pulled out the black pants and black dress shirt, pulling them
on. I grabbed some black dress shoes from my closet, slipping them on even

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though they were uncomfortable as shit. I eyed the tie hesitantly, as it was a
purple color that was almost fucking pink and I definitely didnt fucking wear
pink. I put it on though, because I honestly didnt know shit about fashion and
Alice had never steered me wrong before.
I spritzed myself with cologne and walked over to my desk, unlocking my stash
drawer. I pulled out a flask and poured some absinthe in it. That shits hardcore
and has been illegal in the US since the early 1900s but my dad imports it into
the country from Switzerland. I took a big swig from the bottle, hissing because it
was strong, before placing it back in the drawer. I put the flask in my pocket and
headed out, pausing in the hallway when I spotted Isabella coming up the stairs.
She froze when her eyes fell on me, her gaze intense. She blushed a deep fucking
red and looked away after a second, which was both cute and confusing.
I really wanted to think of something profound to say to make shit right, but like
an idiot I just blurted out the first thing to come to my head. This tie makes me
look fucking fruity, doesnt it?
She looked up at me and burst into laughter. I chuckled and felt like a fool for
what Id said, but she was laughing so I couldnt regret it. I hadnt heard her
laugh all week, I missed that shit.
She laughed so hard tears came to her eyes. I laughed along with her, because
her laughter made me fucking happy. She calmed down after a moment, shaking
her head.
No, it doesnt, she said, still giggling as she walked past me. She headed into
her room and I watched as she disappeared out of sight.
I headed downstairs and groaned softly when I saw Tanya was already there and
had on a purple almost fucking pink dress, the same shade as my tie. I walked
over to where she was sitting with Rose and leaned against the wall for a few
minutes before glancing at my watch.
Come on, lets go, I mumbled. I grabbed Tanyas hand, trying to be polite and
shit, and led her out to my car. I helped her in the passenger seat and climbed in,
pulling away from the house.

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We got to the dance I walked her in. My brothers and their ladies walked in
almost directly after us, having left almost at the same time we did. They girls
went off and did whatever the fuck girls did in the bathroom together, and I
drank. Heavily.
I danced with Tanya a bit, which really equated to her rubbing her ass on my
crotch to some rap music. She tried to pull me out onto the dance floor during a
slow song but I wasnt having that shit. That was entirely too intimate for my
liking. Rosalie and Emmett were crowned homecoming queen and king, which
didnt surprise me in the least. I knew a fucking Cullen would get it, and it
wouldve been me if I were a senior. Jasper had been nominated but he refused
to participate, pulling his name from competition because his girlfriend was only a
junior like me and he didnt want to do that shit without her. I swear those two
are like the fucking bopsy twins, cant do shit without each other anymore. Of
course Rose was the hottest senior so there was never any question as to
whether or not shed be crowned.
By the time my flask was empty, I was drunk and bored as shit and my dick was
hard from Tanyas ass rubbing on it all night. I told Tanya I was ready to go and
she smiled all seductively, agreeing. I smirked and rolled my eyes, leading her
out of the building.
I drove to her house, as she said her parents were out of town. I got out and
helped her from the car. We headed inside and she went straight to the liquor
cabinet, pulling out a bottle of vodka. She handed it to me and I opened it, taking
a swig. She grabbed my tie and led me through the house like a dog but I was
drunk and not really giving a shit. I was on auto-pilot, just going through the
fucking motions and not thinking about shit. She took me into her bedroom,
where I drank even more vodka.
She started kissing on my neck and I groaned, feeling my dick harden even
more. I put the bottle down after a minute and she walked me over to the bed,
pushing me down. I just fucking lay there and let her strip me. She slipped her
dress up over her head, tossing it to the floor, climbing onto the bed and
hovering over me. She grabbed my dick and went to lower herself on me and I
grabbed her hips tightly, stopping her.
Im not that fucking drunk, I said, pulling her up and away. I sat up and

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reached for my pants, pulling out my wallet.


Im on the pill, she whined. I chuckled and shook my head.
You know better than that shit, I dont go unprotected. Ever. I frankly didnt
trust bitches. She could intentionally skip her birth control or lie to try to trap me,
and there was no fucking telling what diseases she couldve accumulated over the
years. I didnt want any of that shit.
I pulled the condom out and opened it, rolling it on. I lie back down and let her
climb back on, lowering herself on me.
I groaned and just lay there, letting her do the fucking work. It started feeling
uncomfortable after a moment, too fucking intimate. She was going too slow, her
hands running over my body all gentle and it was irritating me. Nothing felt right
about it, her body all wrong. She wasnt as small and frail as she shouldve been,
wasnt as pale, her hair and eyes the wrong fucking color. I squeezed my eyes
shut, trying to block that shit out, but it was still wrong. She didnt sound right,
her voice and moans and grunts not as fucking sweet and melodic and innocent
as they shouldve been.
I felt my dick softening and opened my eyes in just enough time to see Tanya
about to fucking kiss me. I turned my head so her lips grazed my cheek. What
the fuck was wrong with these girls, they knew I didnt kiss on the mouth.
I rolled us over so I was on top of her. I leaned back on my knees and flipped her
over so she was on her hands and knees. I pushed her head down so nothing but
her ass was in the air and pushed back into her. She moaned and panted and
cried out my name as I pounded into her and the fucking shame rolling through
me nearly buckled me. What the fuck was I doing? It wasnt right. I wasnt even
fucking enjoying myself, was just going through the motions. And for what? I
didnt give a shit about this girl.
I pulled out quickly and stood up. Ive gotta go Tanya, I said, rolling the
condom off and throwing it away in her trash can. She sat up and watched me
with disbelief. I started pulling on my clothes and grabbing my stuff in a fucking
frenzy.

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Youre leaving?! she asked incredulously. I sighed and I headed for the door.
I dont love you Tanya, Im never going to fucking love you. Its just not right.
I turned and walked out before she could even say anything. That was such an
asshole move, I knew that, but I had to fucking get out of there.
I hopped in the Volvo and peeled out of her driveway, flying down the roads. I
was hyperventilating, my chest hurting where my heart lay. It felt like it was
fucking shattering, being ripped apart. I fucking loved Isabella, I couldnt keep
going off and doing stupid shit and my heart knew that. My heart felt that, was
fucking in pain because of my stupidity. What the fuck had I done?
I just wanted to fucking get home.

L'amore e cieco = Love is Blind


finocchio = homosexual

Chapter 21 - Burst into Flame


In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst
into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be
thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. -- Albert
Schweitzer
IPOV
I rolled over and glanced at the clock, wincing at the harshness of the numbers
and sighing. It was a few minutes past midnight.
It had been a rough week, to say the least, and I was utterly exhausted. I
couldnt sleep though, hadnt slept much all week long. Id pass out from
exhaustion eventually and sleep for an hour or two, only to wake up abruptly,
screaming in a cold sweat. I was still having nightmares and I didnt understand
them at all, but they plagued me and wouldnt seem to stop. I was afraid of

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closing my eyes, afraid of reliving that moment in Dr. Cullens bedroom again. It
wasnt just him anymore though--it was all of it. It was like 16 years worth of
neglect and abuse had finally caught up to me and was replaying itself, torturing
me in my sleep. I saw that girls face, the teenage girl Charles had murdered in
front of me. I saw that look in her eyes when she took that last blow to the face
with his steel-toed boot, the life leaving her. I saw the look on my mothers face,
the pure horror when Charles was raping her and she looked over and noticed I
was awake that first time. It was haunting me, torturing me. I wanted to blame
Dr. Cullen for it, blame him because of what he did to me, but a part of me
acknowledged that Edward likely had something to do with it. Over the past week
more of the conversation that day in his room started coming back to me and I
realized Id confided experiences in him that Id never spoken of out loud before.
Id been repressing it all, and it seemed like once the dam was broken the flood
started. I couldnt escape it all anymore; I was forced to deal with the facts.
And I desperately wanted to sleep, and I desperately wanted to dream of Edward
again because I missed it. It was pathetic, I realize that. The thing I looked
forward to most in life was when I dreamed of the gorgeous boy across the hall,
dreamed that we werent so different and that he could like me like I liked him.
My knees were still inflamed but they werent so bad that I couldnt get done
what I needed to do. I iced them at night and besides the pesky little limp I
barely noticed anymore. I tried to stick to myself and stay in line the best I could,
getting my work done and staying out of the way. When I wasnt doing work, I
was hiding out in my bedroom or sneaking off outside when it wasnt raining. The
Cullens had a beautiful piece of property, everything green and lush, the smell of
the grass and trees so foreign and captivating. The only trees I ever saw in
Phoenix were barren and ugly, but the ones here were beautiful. I knew Dr.
Cullen preferred me to wear shoes based on the conversation hed had with
Charles, but I enjoyed going outside without them, loved the feel of the grass on
my bare feet and in between my toes. It was cool and damp, the complete
opposite of the hot dry sandy ground Id grown up walking on. I never let Dr.
Cullen see me do it though.
In fact, the only people who even saw me going outside were Jasper and Emmett,
as I usually only did so those few hours between them getting home from school
and Dr. Cullen arriving home from work. Edward was always the last to come in,
so of course he never saw. Id occasionally catch Jasper standing at the window

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watching me curiously and I thought about inviting him to join me once or twice,
but I never did because I was trying to keep my distance. I tried to stay slightly
detached with the boys but it was difficult. Theyd all been so nice to me and
didnt deserve to be given the cold shoulder but I was just too afraid to let my
guard down again. And Jasper and Emmett had been amusing all week long,
dressing like fools every day, so it wasnt helping my resolve to look at them as
purely masters. I kept my composure around them but when I was alone Id
laugh at how ridiculous it all was, how carefree and playful they could be.
When it came to Edward, it was nearly impossible to be detached. Edward was
under my skin, had found a way into me deep into the bone. He had been in a
bad mood all week for some reason, his expressions almost matching mine, so
that had helped me from cracking completely in his presence. I think if hed been
laughing and smiling all week long, I wouldnt have been able to stop myself from
doing the same.
His football game had been uncomfortable. Dr. Cullen had been nice to me all
week, acting almost as if the incident where he handcuffed me to the bed hadnt
occurred at all. I wasnt comfortable around him, fearful naturally, and tried to
stay away from him as much as possible. The day of the football game he came
home from work early and declared we were all going to the game. He didnt ask
me if I wanted to go, just assumed I suppose. And so even if I didnt want to, I
had no choice when it came down to it. When the master says youre doing
something, the simple fact is youre doing it. It wasnt that I didnt want to go to
the game itself, as the idea of watching Edward play excited me, but sitting at the
football game with Dr. Cullen wasnt my idea of fun. I was too afraid of doing
something wrong, or causing a scene unintentionally and making a mistake.
Everyone knew Dr. Cullen, he was so well respected in town, and the last thing I
wanted to do was embarrass him.
After the game was over they all got up to go to the field. I lingered behind and
Alice looked at me questioningly, obviously not understanding what was going on
with me, but I motioned for her to go ahead. I walked over and stood to the side
by myself, away from everyone. I walked around a bit, not afraid of getting lost. I
knew Id never actually go missing because Dr. Cullen would always be able to
find me; hed assured that by implanting that microchip into my back. I really
just hadnt been comfortable going out on the field and celebrating with any of
those people. I wasnt a part of their world, and although I was happy that

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Edward had won I didnt think I had a right to celebrate. I was nothing to him but
a convenience, designed to make his life easier. Why would he care what I had to
say? No one ever cared what I thought.
So I stood off to the side and wandered around the grass, enjoying the feeling of
the cool slightly damp air on my skin and wondering what my mother was doing.
Wondering if she were okay. Her birthday was in two daysSunday. She was
turning 33 and was still so young herself. She had an entire lifetime ahead of her
and deserved so much better than what she had, so much better than the life she
was given. She was so strong and despite the fact that she always told me I was
the strong one, I felt weak. I was cracking all ready.
Lost? a voice said behind me. I swung around to see a tall boy with dark tanned
skin and long black hair looking at me. I glanced around and was slightly
uncomfortable, noticing I was alone with him. I didnt know this boy, definitely
didnt trust him as I trusted no one, but I didnt want to be rude. I didnt want to
cause a scene and embarrass Dr. Cullen. There was no way I could upset him in
public.
No, Im just waiting on someone, I said. He nodded.
You must be new around here. Im Jacob Black, he said.
Isabella Swan, I said softly.
Well, Isabella Swan, its nice to meet you, he said. I nodded.
You too, Jacob Black.
Are you okay? You look upset about something, he said after a moment. The
concern in his voice caught me off guard, as he didnt know me and had no
reason to worry about a strange girl such as myself.
Im fine, I said quickly. He just stared at me, obviously not believing me for
some reason. The look he was giving me was making me very uncomfortable. It
wasnt mean or scary, but it was intense. I didnt want him to look at me. I didnt
want to be seen. I wanted to be ignored, I did better when I was overlooked
things were easier that way, it simplified my life.

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What do you call a deer with no eyes? he blurted out abruptly after a moment.
My brow furrowed, caught of guard by his question.
Excuse me? I said.
He sighed. I said, what do you call a deer with no eyes? he repeated.
Uh, what? I asked.
No Eye Deer, he said, grinning. Get it, no idea.
I smiled immediately when I got the joke, a giggle escaping. It was so ridiculous
and cheesy and completely juvenile, but I couldnt deny that it was amusing.
Ah, yes, I got her to laugh! Much better! he said playfully. He smiled and
laughed in response to me smiling, reaching his hand out. I flinched back
instinctively, my smile falling, but he didnt seem to notice. He touched my arm,
squeezing it lightly in a friendly manner.
Maybe Ill see you around sometime? he suggested, raising an eyebrow at me. I
froze up, unsure of exactly what to say. I didnt know this boy and he didnt know
me, why would he want to see me ever again?
Uh I started. I was afraid of saying the wrong thing and offending him, or Dr.
Cullen finding out Id been rude and getting upset. Before I could really respond,
though, there was a loud commotion that caught both of our attentions. We both
looked over and my eyes widened as I saw Edward running full speed right
toward us, a murderous look on his face. Fear shot through me, so intense it
nearly made my knees buckle. I took a few steps back instinctively and watched
Jacob do the same. I watched, completely horrified as Edward ran straight into
Jacob, not slowing down a bit and sending him crashing to the ground. Edward
landed on top of him and drew his fist back. I held my breath, completely
frightened, and felt the tears streaming down my cheeks.
All I could think about was Edward was attacking this poor boy because Id
spoken to him. I tried to be polite because I thought thats what I was supposed
to do and in turn it ended up only getting some innocent kid hurt. He hadnt

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meant any harm, he even told me a joke! He was completely harmless. Dr. Cullen
jumped in between them, and Alice took me away. All I could do was sob about
how sorry I was, that I hadnt meant for anyone to get hurt because of me. Alice
told me I was being ridiculous, that it had nothing to do with me, but I couldnt
believe that.
Edward hadnt come home last night. I wasnt sure where he was or what he was
doing, but I hoped that he was okay. It was ridiculous of me to worry about him,
I shouldnt care but I couldnt help it. I eventually heard him come up to his room
sometime this morning but he stayed locked away most of the day.
I cleaned and did my usual stuff until the girls arrived. They were all dressed up
and looked amazing. Rose kept staring at me like she was trying to read me, as if
my every thought and feeling was written on me in a foreign language and she
was deciphering it all. The other girl, whose name I couldnt recall but
remembered from the party as being the one sitting on Edwards lap, kept giving
me dirty looks. She was very pretty, but the color of her dress looked odd
compared to the red tones in her hair. I didnt know much about clothes and
fashion, so maybe I just was wrong. The looks she was giving me made me
uncomfortable though, so I decided to escape up to my bedroom.
I hadnt been lucky enough to slip by undetected, as I ran into Edward in the
hallway. I was completely stunned at how gorgeous he looked dressed up. It took
my breath away and I blushed and had to look away. It was almost
uncomfortable, neither of us speaking, but then he randomly asked if the tie
made him look fruity.
I laughed, ridiculously loud and hard. His tie was the same color as the girls
dress, and I too thought it looked odd against his bronze toned hair. But Edward
managed to pull it offI ventured to guess there wasnt anything he wouldnt
look good in. I was almost embarrassed by my outburst but it felt nice to be able
to truly laugh at something. Edward laughed also, the sound of it doing crazy
things to me. God, his laugh was so amazing. Edward happy was an incredible
sight, a sight I craved.
After they left for the dance, I was alone. Dr. Cullen was away somewhere, I
think to Seattle for a conference or something, and wouldnt be back until
tomorrow. I spent the evening by myself, drawing and watching TV, bored out of

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my mind. I kept thinking about my mother again, which was a bit welcoming as
when I wasnt thinking of her I was dwelling on Edward and where he was. He
was out with that gorgeous girl and as much as I hated to admit it, I was jealous.
And it was so ridiculous of me to be jealous but I couldnt help it. I longed to be
in that girls shoes. I longed to be pretty, and free to go out and dance with
Edward and have fun, and just be a teenager with no worries. And it was fruitless
to long for those things, because Id never have any of it. Id never be pretty. Id
never be free. And Id never have Edward.
So I finally gave up at midnight, tired of wallowing in my ridiculous envy and my
inability to sleep without being terrified, and decided to go downstairs.
I descended the stairs slowly, quietly. The house was silent, eerily so, and every
noise I made only startled me more than the silence. I hit the foyer and sighed,
glancing around, contemplating what to do. I headed toward the kitchen to grab
something to drink and froze in the doorway, fear immediately shooting through
me when I saw the form sitting there.
The fear dissipated when I recognized the chiseled features glowing under the
moonlight from the window. My brow furrowed in confusion and I stood there
frozen, utterly puzzled and shocked. Edward was sitting on the counter beside the
fridge, slouched slightly with a bottle of what I guessed to be liquor in his hand. I
didnt know what he was doing, why he was home. I hadnt even heard him come
in and had no idea how long hed been here. He looked upset, very much so, and
that made a stinging pain shoot through my chest. I didnt want him to be upset.
Hed been so happy earlier, laughing in the hallway with me. I wanted to see that
side of him again.
I didnt exactly know what to do, as I didnt think he heard me and I didnt want
to scare himespecially if he was already upset. Startling Edward wasnt wise, as
he lashed out without thinking, and the fact that he was drinking and upset made
him even more unpredictable.
I sighed after a moment, the noise louder than I expected it to be. His head
snapped in my direction and his eyes met mine instantly. Even in the darkened
room I could see the fire in his eyes, the spark inside the swirling green. There
was always passion in Edwards eyeshe had a lot of soul underneath that
hardened exterior.

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We just stared at each other for a moment and there was an odd tension with
neither of us speaking. I didnt mean to interrupt, I said finally, unable to take
the silence.
Edward laughed bitterly. Youre not interrupting Isabella. Its not like Im fucking
doing anything. Im just sitting here drinking myself into a coma.
His tone kind of startled me and I considered turning around and walking away,
as it appeared he wasnt exactly happy to see me there.
I just sounded like a dickhead, didnt I? he asked after a second, his tone
softer. I didnt respond, unsure if agreeing or disagree would upset him more.
You can tell me the truth you know. You can always tell me the truth.
Yeah, I said simply, deciding to just do what I came to do. I walked forward a
few steps and he looked at me questioningly, but I just brushed by him to open
the fridge. I pulled out the jug of orange juice and sat it down beside Edward on
the counter. He was slightly blocking the cabinet where the glasses were and I
knew there was no way I could open it without hitting him. I, uh need a glass,
I said hesitantly.
He nodded. I expected him to shift over out of my way completely or get down
off the counter but he didnt. He simply moved his head to the side slightly,
giving me just enough room to open the door without hitting him. I hesitated but
leaned forward, my body pressing slightly between his legs while I reached up to
open the cabinet. I had to stand on my tiptoes to reach them, my body almost
flush against Edwards, his face just inches to the side of mine. I could feel his
body heat and smell him and it nearly made me dizzy. I reached and grasped my
glass, jumping and nearly dropping it when Edward spoke.
Get me one too, he said softly, his lips right beside my ear, his breath lingering
on my neck. A shiver ripped through me and I tried to stop it but I couldnt.
Edward chuckled and I blushed, reaching and grabbing a glass for him quickly. I
swung the cabinet shut, a slightly loud bang resulting which made us both jump.
I sat the glasses down and grabbed the orange jug. I poured myself some,
pausing.

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Did you want some of this? I asked, unsure if thats why he wanted the glass.
Edward stared at me for a second.
Yep, he said, popping the p at the end to emphasize the word. Definitely want
some of that, he added softly, laughing to himself in a sarcastic manner. I
looked at him with confusion, as it seemed like he was reacting to some inside
joke, and he just waved me off. I poured his orange juice and set the jug back in
the fridge. I picked up my glass and took a sip, eyeing Edward cautiously as his
behavior was confusing me. Part of me wanted to get the heck out of there and
hide away, as I had been doing all week, but a bigger part of me was intrigued
and wanted to stick around. That part of me was desperate for companionship,
craving his company.
Edward tipped back the bottle of alcohol, grimacing and making an awful grunting
noise after he pulled it from his lips. Fuck thats rough, he said, his voice sort of
gritty. He took the bottle and poured some in his glass of orange juice. He
hesitated before reaching out and pouring some in my glass. I stared at him with
shock, a bit stunned, and he just shrugged. I dont like drinking alone
sometimes.
I blinked a few times, smelling the drink. What is it? I asked as he sat the bottle
beside him on the counter. He took a gulp of his drink before laughing, a bit
bitterly again.
Why ask me? You can fucking read so read it, he said. My eyes widened,
shocked. He glanced at me and groaned. Im sorry. Christ, I sound like a dick
again. I didnt mean it like that.
I nodded, still stunned, frankly not even caring what it was anymore. I tipped the
drink back and started chugging it, thirsty and a bit irritated and a lot hurt. It was
stupid to be hurt but I couldnt help it. I ignored the slight burning sensation in
the drink but it still tasted mostly like orange juice. Edward stared at me with
shock as I sat my empty glass down beside him on the counter.
La mia Fucking bella ragazza, he said, laughing afterwards. He shook his head,
still chuckling, and tipped his drink back. He chugged it and sat his glass down
beside mine. Youve got potential, tesoro.

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I smiled lightly. Thanks I guess, I said. He laughed again.


Yeah, its a compliment. And youll get many more where that one came from if
you can do it again, he said, motioning toward the fridge. I hesitated, not
entirely sure if I wanted to be doing this as there was no telling how I was going
to act under the influence, but I eventually opened the door and grabbed the
orange juice. I poured two more glasses and Edward picked up the liquor bottle,
pouring some in each glass. I took a deep breath and picked mine up, tipping it
back. I started chugging but it was a lot stronger this time, the burn more
prominent. I could barely get half of it down before having to pull the glass away.
I made a face and coughed a bit.
Goodness gracious thats strong, I sputtered. Edward laughed and sat his glass
down, which was unsurprisingly empty.
Yeah, I kinda loaded that one down. He hopped down from the counter and I
stepped back so he didnt bump into me. He grabbed the jug of orange juice and
poured it into my glass, filling it back up. He handed the glass out to me and
smiled. Dont chug this time, because if you do youll pass out on me and Id
really like some fucking company.
I returned his smile and nodded, a little stunned that he actually wanted to spend
time with me. A swell of emotions shot through me, the hope and longing
returning, but I tried to push it back because it was dangerous to let them out.
He poured half his glass full of the clear liquid and topped it off with a bit of
orange juice. He put the orange juice away and put the lid on the liquor. He
hesitated but put the bottle of liquor in the freezer before turning to me.
He stared at me for a moment, smiling lightly. Come on, he said, heading out of
the kitchen. I hesitated, debating once more as to whether or not what I was
doing was for the best, but followed behind him regardless. I couldnt think about
consequences now. It was too late for that. Edward Cullen was under my skin and
there was no getting him back out.
We went up to the third floor and he pushed his door open, motioning for me to
go inside. I stepped in and glanced around. He stepped in behind me, shutting
the door. He walked over and sat his drink down on his desk, sitting down in the
chair. I hesitated, unsure of where to sit as I didnt want to look like I was

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invading or disrespecting his territory. He turned his head to look at me and


smiled lightly. You can sit anywhere you want to sit, he said, obviously sensing
my dilemma.
I smiled and walked over, sitting down on his bed. I tipped my drink back,
thankful it wasnt very strong at all anymore since Edward had diluted it with
juice
Lets play a game, Edward said after a moment. I raised my eyebrows at him.
What kind of game? I asked, a little nervous. I wasnt very good at games,
didnt have much experience with anything at all.
He took a drink and shrugged. How about 21 questions? he suggested. I just
stared at him, having no idea what that was. He turned his head to look at me,
noticing my expression. He laughed lightly. We take turns asking each other
questions until we hit 21. Pretty fucking simple, no worries.
Okay, I said, slightly relieved it at least sounded easy but at the same time a
little nervous as I was guessing it could get personal.
Only rule is you cant lie. I dont give a shit what its about, just dont lie to me
and I wont lie to you. And we each can get one pass, where we can refuse to
answer one question if we want, he added quickly. I nodded. I took a deep
breath and tipped my cup back, chugging the drink. I was already feeling warmth
and some fuzziness inside, which I imagine indicated the alcohol was taking
effect. I knew all about alcohol, as Charles drank heavily and was a mean drunk,
so I was well aware that the more I drank the less inhibited Id be.
You wanna go first? Or do you want me to go? he asked.
You go, I said, having no idea what to ask and wanting him to lead. He glanced
over at me, his eyes falling on my empty drink. I was nervous, I couldnt lie, and
my hand was trembling slightly and shaking my glass. I hoped he didnt see it but
I had a feeling he could, as he was staring right at it. He sighed after a moment
and stood up, taking the glass from me and sitting it down on his desk. We pulled
his keys out of his pocket and unlocked a drawer in his desk. I peeked over,
oddly not worried about getting into trouble from being nosey. I didnt know what

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it was, but I didnt fear him punishing me.


How do you feel about drugs? he asked, glancing up at me. That doesnt count
as my question, by the way. I just want to know before I do this, dont want to
offend you or do something you dont want me to do.
I smiled, a little stunned that he was asking my opinion on something. I guess
they dont bother me. I dont exactly know much about them.
You were never around them in Phoenix? he asked. I shook my head no.
Charles drank but he was never one for drugs. He nodded, reaching into his
drawer and pulling out a bag full of something green. It looked like dried up
leaves. He pulled out a brown piece of what looked like paper and filled it up with
some green stuff, rolling it up and licking it to seal the paper. He brought it to his
lips, pulling out a lighter and lighting it, inhaling it like a cigarette.
He stood up and walked over to me. My heart started beating fast as he crouched
down in front of me, face level with me. This will relax you, he said, smiling
lightly and raising his eyebrows at me. Its marijuana, nothing crazy or anything,
just a fucking plant. I wouldnt give you anything that could hurt you. You wanna
try?
I just stared at him, slightly stunned by his proximity. His eyes were staring
straight into mine, so close the green was practically hypnotizing me as they
were swirling with emotion. It didnt help that the fuzzy feeling inside of me had
grown a bit from the alcohol.
I nodded hesitantly after a moment, a little nervous because I had no idea what I
was doing. He smirked and must have sensed my apprehension. Ill make it easy
on you, he said. Sit still and open your mouth and inhale what I give you, okay?
When you inhale it just hold it as long as you can.
I nodded. He brought the drug to his lips and sucked in deeply. I parted my lips
and sat as still as I could, despite my anxiety. He moved his head forward toward
me and my heart started racing fast as he cocked his head to the side. He paused
when his lips were only about an inch from mine and started exhaling. I inhaled
when he exhaled, the mixture of the smoke from his lungs and the intoxicating
scent of his cologne entering my system. It clouded everything and I closed my

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eyes, holding it in my lungs. It burned a bit but I held it as long as I could before
finally letting it go when I needed air. I exhaled slowly, opening my eyes. Edward
was still in front of me but had moved his head back, his expression staggering.
His stare was intense, almost burning through me.
He smiled lightly after a second, bringing the drug back to his lips and sucking in
again. He leaned forward quickly, pausing with his lips close to mine and exhaled
again. I sucked in his air and closed my eyes once more, holding it.
I felt my entire body tingling, an intense relaxed feeling taking over me. I finally
exhaled again, opening my eyes. Edward smirked, still crouched in front of me.
Question One. How did you know those Albert Schweitzer quotes?
I stared at him for a moment, a little surprised by his choice of question. My first
Master had one of his books. I took it when I was first learning how to read. None
of the slaves could write very well so I needed something to practice with. I
blushed after I admitted it and Edward looked at me questioningly.
That embarrasses you? he asked.
I just confessed to being a thief, I said. Edward laughed, shaking his head.
Yeah, well, you live in a house with a career criminal darling. Thievery doesnt
faze us, he said playfully. He finally stood up, sitting down the drug, which hed
put out. He sat down in the chair by the desk and leaned back in it, facing me.
Your turn.
I sighed, unsure of what to ask him. Howd you get that scar on your side? I
asked after a moment, just pulling something random out. He just sat and stared
at me for a second, not moving.
Youre not taking it easy on me, are you? he muttered, reaching up and running
his hand through his hair. I was shot. I was eight, bullet ripped right through my
side.
My eyes widened and I stared at him with shock. I wasnt sure what sort of
answer I expected, maybe he fell off a bike or cut himself on something, but I

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surely didnt expect him to say hed been shot.


Im sorry, I said softly, dropping my gaze to the floor, feeling bad for bringing
something like that up. He chuckled and I peeked back up at him to see him
smiling lightly.
Dont be. But like I told you before, were more alike than you think. I shed
blood over shit that wasnt my fault too.
I stared at him in shock for a moment. Could we really have things in common?
Why were you shot? I asked. He shook his head.
You already asked your question. Its my turn, he said. His tone wasnt harsh at
all but there was a slight edge to his words that told me maybe that wasnt a
question I should be asking him not right now, anyway. He sat back and
squinted at me for a moment, obviously thinking. Question three--Do you have
any secret talents?
I furrowed my brow. Uh I dont know. I dont think so, I said. He raised his
eyebrows skeptically.
Youve gotta be good at something. Sewing, drawing, poetry, singing,
something.
I shrugged. I guess I can draw but I dont know if youd call it a talent or
anything. I never have the opportunity to really practice.
He nodded. Would you consider drawing something for me?
I smiled. You already asked your question, I said playfully. He laughed, shaking
his head.
Fine, go, your turn.
I hesitated. Why did you attack that Jacob boy at the game? I wasnt sure if I
wanted to hear the answer, wasnt sure if I really wanted to hear him confirm it
was my fault.

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He groaned. Because hes a prick that deserves an ass whooping. Him and I just
dont get along and it just seems to get worse as time goes on. It wasnt the first
time I hit him and it probably wont be the last. And Ive done a lot worse to him
than just knock him down, thats nothing compared to the shit that happened last
year. It would do you well to steer clear of him, he likes to fuck up peoples lives.
And I didnt mean to scare you but fuck, I didnt like the fact that he was
touching you. He destroys everything he touches and I didnt want you to be one
of those things.
I just stared at him, slightly shocked by the answer. I didnt exactly understand
what he meant by Jacob destroying everything he touched and him not wanting
me to be one of those things, didnt know what to think about it. He sounded like
he was being protective over me and in a way I was used to that, someone
protecting their property in a sense, but this felt different.
My turn. So will you draw a picture for me? he asked. I shrugged.
Someday, I suppose. He cocked an eyebrow at me.
Someday? he asked questioningly. I nodded. What the fuck does someday
mean? Tomorrow? Next week? When Im 80?
I smiled lightly. I suppose Ill draw for you the same someday that you let me
finally clean up your room. He rolled his eyes and looked like he was about to
argue so I cut him off quickly and asked my next question.
What did you do to Jacob last year?
He laughed bitterly. You sure you want to know? I just stared at him for a
moment, his reaction making me second guess asking the question. I nodded
eventually, purely out of curiosity, and he sighed. He pissed me off one day and
I snapped. I drove to the reservation where he lives, pulled out a gun, and shot
his car up. I hit the gas tank, it sparked and I blew the fucking thing up. I mean,
yeah, it was just a fucking car but he babied that piece of shit, saved up and built
it up himself. They tried to accuse me of attempted murder because when I got
there Jacob was in the car. But he spotted me pulling out the gun and jumped out
of the car and ran and I didnt shoot until after he was away from it, but
whatever. Dad paid a lot of fucking money to a lot of fucking people and called in

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some favors to get that to go away. He sent me away for a while after that and
Im forbidden from stepping foot onto the reservation now. At the game with you
was the first time Id seen him since then.
I just stared at him, a little surprised that hed gotten that violent. Jacob had
seemed so harmless when I spoke to him, I couldnt imagine him being able to irk
Edward to the point where Edward snapped like he did.
What did Jacob say to you that made you smile? he asked, cocking an eyebrow
at me. He was frowning and looked to be a bit upset about something.
Uh he told me a joke, I said. Edwards brow furrowed and the anger written
on his face seemed to grow.
It wasnt a fucking dirty joke, was it? he asked in a slightly loud voice. I
laughed lightly, a bit confused as to why a joke was making him mad.
No. He asked me if I knew what you called a deer with no eyes.
Edward rolled his eyes and shook his head, muttering under his breath. Your
turn to ask a question.
Do you not play the piano anymore? I asked. He looked at me questioningly like
it was a stupid question. I mean, Jasper sort of hinted that youd get violent over
your piano so Im surprised Ive never seen you play it.
He smiled. Did that fucker tell you Id break your fingers if you touched it? I
nodded and he laughed, shaking his head. I swear to God I didnt mean to break
that bitches finger but I asked her to quit touching it and she wouldnt listen.
My eyes widened with shock. You actually broke someones finger?!
He nodded. The last lady, Janet. She hadnt been here for more than a week and
I already caught her fucking with it. She wouldnt stop when I asked her to so I
grabbed a hold of her hand and she tried to pull away. Her finger kind of got
pulled the wrong direction. I swear I didnt try to do that shit though. And yes, I
do still play the piano. Just been busy and in a bit of a rut, he said, shrugging.

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I nodded and he sighed. Last thing you dreamed about? he asked.


I was caught slightly off guard. Uh my mom, I said. It was truth, but I didnt
tell him the details. He didnt need to know I dreamt of her being brutalized. I
glanced over at the clock and smiled lightly, realizing it was Sunday now. Its her
birthday today.
He looked at me with surprise. Really? I nodded and he smiled. Well, happy
birthday to her, he said, picking up his drink and raising it in the air before
chugging it. I laughed lightly, shaking my head.
Edward? I said hesitantly after a moment, unsure if I wanted to ask the
question but the mention of her had me curious. Can I ask you something?
He glanced over at me, his expression serious. Based on my tone I guess he
could tell it wasnt a game question. Yeah, he said softly, hesitantly.
What happened to Janet? I asked. I knew she was likely dead but I was more
curious as to what led to that. Id faced Dr. Cullens wrath myself but I was
curious as to what pushed his buttons to the point where hed actually kill you.
Edward sighed, running his hand through his hair.
She wouldnt listen, kept disobeying. My dads pretty chill but when he gives an
order he means it. Shit I even listen when he directly tells me not to do
something. Usually, anyway. He chuckled lightly. Anyway, she kept getting
punished for the same shit over and over again and they were big fuck ups but he
was trying to be patient with her. One night he had her handcuffed and she
managed to squeeze her hands out of them. He found her the next morning out
of her restraints and snapped. Its one thing to do something he could deem a
mistake, its another to directly fucking defy him, which is why I couldnt untie
you that night even though I wanted to.
So he killed her? I asked softly. Edward sighed, shrugging.
He pulled her out of the house by her hair and out into the woods. I never heard
a gunshot but then again I wouldnt, as he had a silencer on his gun. I never saw
her again though so I assume so. I try not to think about that shit, I know its
fucking wrong of me to want to ignore it but I do.

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I nodded, understanding. It horrified me a bit, I couldnt lie, but I recognized


what she did was something that you simply just dont do to your master. Thank
you, I said. For telling me.
He nodded. Were going to consider that your question, he said, smiling. He
hesitated for a moment, gazing at me. Have you ever been kissed?
My eyes widened and I stared at him, slightly shocked that he asked me that. I
shook my head no slowly. I felt slightly inadequate by my answer, admitting my
innocence on the subject. I know that probably makes me seem so immature to
you, that Ive never even kissed anyone, I mumbled, dropping my eyes from his
in embarrassment.
He laughed lightly. No, dont be embarrassed. Hell, I havent either technically.
My brow furrowed and I glanced up at him. But you said I started, clearly
remembering the conversation when he said he had sex with girls for pleasure.
He smiled sadly. I dont kiss, never kissed any of them on the lips, he said with
a shrug. Too lovey and romantic. I mean, I may have kissed a girl or two when I
was just a kid but I dont really count that as they still had cooties back then.
That probably makes me look like a dickhead, that I can have sex with them but
not kiss them, but they knew how I was.
I was staring at him, shocked. He hadnt ever really kissed a girl? How many
have there been? I asked. His brow furrowed in confusion.
How many girls? he asked. I nodded and a look of embarrassment came over
his face. He dropped his head and ran his hands through his hair, staring at the
ground. He didnt really say anything for a moment, was just fidgeting nervously.
It was a little confusing, him looking almost ashamed about it.
Christ, I dont know. A dozen and a half plus two or three maybe, he sputtered
out. I blinked a few times.
So 20 or 21? I asked. He glanced up at me and cocked an eyebrow.

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Fuck, youre pretty quick at math. But yeah, I dont know. I dont exactly keep a
list around but thats probably about right. And thats ridiculously fucking high, I
know. He shook his head, running his fingers through his hair again. He was
watching me cautiously, frowning. He looked upset by his own answer and that
saddened me. Did he regret some of those girls and not like speaking about
them?
I smiled, trying to be reassuring and not wanting him to feel bad. I mean, I didnt
exactly understand the whole sex subject but he hadnt ever forced any of those
girls and he said he enjoyed it so I didnt understand why hed be ashamed.
He groaned, running his hands over his face in frustration. New subject.
Question number whatever fucking number were on. Whens the most afraid
youve ever been?
I sighed, thinking. Probably in your dads bedroom.
He frowned. When he pulled the trigger? he asked.
I looked at him with surprise. I didnt know he was aware Dr. Cullen had done
that to me. Uh, yeah that was frightening. But I was going to say when I heard
the door click shut and looked up and saw his expression. Id never seen such
rage before in a persons eyes. It was like he was a completely different person.
Edward nodded but didnt comment. Your turn, he said, turned away from me
and grabbed his glass, gulping the rest of his drink.
Wheres your mom? I blurted out before I even realized what I was asking. My
eyes widened and my hands shot up to cover my mouth. Edward froze, his glass
in mid-air. I couldnt see his face, as his back was to me, so I wasnt sure if he
was upset or mad.
Chicago, he said simply after a moment. He sat his glass down and turned back
to me. He looked to be fine, which surprised me almost as much as his answer.
Chicago? I asked, slightly confused. I thought for sure she had passed away.
He nodded. Yep. He hesitated for a moment. Actually its technically Hillside,

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just a few miles outside of Chicago. Shes in Mount Carmel Cemetery.


I frowned, realizing she was indeed dead. Im sorry, I whispered, almost
wishing I hadnt asked. It was wrong of me to pry on such a sensitive subject as
his mother obviously was. If he wanted me to know about her, he would tell me.
He shrugged.
Its fine. Just dont ask me how she got there right now, okay? Thats a different
fucking story for a different fucking day. I nodded, understanding, and he smiled
lightly.
Whys your favorite color green? he asked. My eyes widened slightly and felt
the blush creeping up quickly. I looked away from him and heard him chuckle.
Pass, I mumbled, laying back on his bed and closing my eyes, wishing I could
disappear. Hed caught me off guard and I reacted without thinking, which made
me feel like an idiot. He laughed even more at my reaction and I felt the bed shift
after a second. My eyes shot open and met his smoldering green ones
immediately, as he was sitting beside me now and almost leaning overtop of me.
Your turn since you used your pass, he said with amusement in his voice,
smiling his stunning crooked smile. I sighed and could still feel the blush on my
cheeks.
Whats your favorite color? I asked, too flustered to be able to think of anything
to ask. His smile grew a bit more.
Im torn between chocolate brown and this nice shade of pinkish-red right now,
he said lightly, staring straight into my eyes. I felt my blush deepening and had
to look away from him. My heart was racing fast, his closeness messing with me
and making me think he was actually flirting with me. I knew it was just my
ridiculous feelings controlling me and clouding me, as there was no way hed
actually be flirting with the likes of me. He chuckled.
My turn. Why are you embarrassed about your favorite color?
I glanced over at him, confused. Thats not fair, I already passed on that
question. He laughed, shaking his head.

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No you passed on why green was your favorite color. Now I want to know why
green being your favorite color is embarrassing. Two totally different things. He
spoke matter-of-factly, as if it were just that simple and there was no way out of
it. I groaned, closing my eyes. He was chuckling and finding the entire thing
amusing, which was only embarrassing me even more. The truth, Bella.
I sighed. I felt the bed shift and peeked my eyes open to see Edward reach over
and grab the marijuana. He lit it up and sucked in deeply, closing his eyes and
holding it. I watched him for a moment, slightly mesmerized. He looked so calm
and relaxed. He opened his eyes after a second and glanced over at me. He saw I
was watching him and smiled his charming lop-sided smile. I felt a tingle course
through my body, goosebumps coming up in my skin at the sight of him. He truly
was amazing and I wasnt sure if it were the drugs or alcohol but something
made me feel completely at ease with him. I felt comforted and safe, and as
downright frightening as that concept was I basked in it. Because never in my
life, even as a small child, did I ever feel like I was safe with someone. Not even
my own mother. From the very beginning I knew my mother was powerless and
couldnt truly protect me, as much as she may have wanted to.
But laying there, staring at Edward, I felt protected. Safe. I realized, looking at
him and seeing that smile and feeling those things that were surging through me,
that I trusted him. Id never trusted anyone in my life, I couldnt trust anyone.
But for some reason I trusted him. And I knew I shouldnt. I shouldnt trust him
of all people. He was dangerous to me. He was the son of the man who owned
mehis family held my life in their hands. He could hurt me or even kill me and I
was powerless to stop it. But I trusted him anyway. Trusted he wouldnt do
either. And it was so stupid of me, because hed shown me he could have a
temper and was callous and careless when it came to females. There was no
reason for him to have any regard for my life.
But I loved him. Christ, I loved the boy. I could feel it in every inch of my body,
every beat of my heart. I never knew what love really was until Id come here,
but now I felt it. He consumed me entirely, and that was frightening, and falling
for him was likely the stupidest thing Id ever done. But I couldnt stop it. I
realized, lying there, that Id do anything he asked of me willingly. If Edward
Cullen wanted me, Edward Cullen could take me and I wouldnt stop him. I
wouldnt want to stop him.

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Edward leaned forward, his smoldering green eyes staring into mine. There was
so much fire in them, so many sparks. I tensed up as he drew closer to me,
pausing when he was a mere inch from my lips. I parted my lips and inhaled
everything he gave me, closing my eyes and sighing as I tasted his breath and
smelled his scent.
I felt his face graze against my cheek, the sparks from his skin sending tingles
through my body. I could feel the slight stubble of his facial hair rubbing against
me, rough and scratchy, and could feel him inhaling against my skin. I realized
he was breathing me in and I finally allowed myself to seriously wonder if maybe,
just maybe, this beautiful creature could crave the same thing I craved. If he
could possibly feel the same sparks I felt.
He broke the connection after a moment, pulling away from me. I held on as long
as I could, not wanting to let go, but eventually my bodys need for oxygen won
out. I exhaled and felt the bed shift, Edward getting up. I kept my eyes closed,
not wanting to open them and face reality. Not yet.

Chapter 22 - An Echo
For he loved her, as you can only love someone who is an echo of
yourself at your time of deepest sorrow. -- Orson Scott Card

EPOV
I watched as the blush crept up into her cheeks and she diverted her eyes from
me. I couldnt help but laugh, slightly baffled about the entire thing. The whole
reason I asked her about her favorite color again is because she had that exact
same reaction the first time. I didnt get what was so important about the color
green for her to have such an intense reaction to it but fuck if she didnt have me
curious. There was no way she wasnt telling me now.
She lay back on the bed, trying to shield herself from me, and mumbled pass.
Out of all the questions in the world, she passes on one as simple as a fucking
color. What can be so goddamn embarrassing about liking a color as mundane as
green for her to get so evasive? I swear she was the most fucking complex
person Id ever met. Its a good thing I didnt go asking her about anything

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sexual like the hormonal teenager inside of me wanted to ask. I mean, shit, I
knew a man had never touched her but I really wanted to know if shed ever
touched herself. She was sixteen, and regardless of everything she had to be
fucking curious about her body at least. Did she ever at least feel the pleasure of
orgasm, even if it was self-induced? I mean, it would at least relax her and the
life she lives I bet a little relaxation would be fucking heavenly.
But I couldnt ask her that shit. Normal bitches get all embarrassed over
masturbation; brining it up to Isabella would probably give her an aneurysm or
something. And she was so relaxed around me; I didnt want to go ruining that
by being a hormonal nosey dickhead.
I didnt like not seeing her so I got up and sat down on the bed beside her. I
wanted to see that blush, as it was cute as hell. I didnt even know girls still did
that shit until she came along. I guess maybe they do and just wear too much
goddamn makeup for anyone to be able to see it.
I leaned over toward her and her eyes shot open, looking straight into mine. I
told her to ask a question since she passed and she asked me my favorite color.
Fuck, frankly I didnt have a specific one, my preference always shifted depending
on what looked good at the time. And right then, those deep chocolate brown
eyes and that reddish-pink blush was all that fucking looked good to me.
She turned even redder when I told her that and couldnt even fucking look at
me. She was so fucking cute it was ridiculous. I asked her why the color green
embarrassed her and she tried to get out of answering again, still embarrassed,
and I couldnt help but laugh. I told her to tell me the truth and she groaned,
closing her eyes.
I was quite a bit intoxicated and the weed had me relaxed. I couldnt believe
shed actually been willing to drink the Everclear with me, as that shit was strong,
and was even more fucking stunned that she hadnt run for the hills or had a
panic attack when I rolled the blunt. I knew shed never done any of that before
and Christ, I felt like a dickhead corrupting her. She was so innocent and pure,
unlike anyone Id ever met. Every thing was fresh and astonishing to her, and I
loved the way her fucking eyes lit up when she was seeing or experiencing
something new. And maybe it was selfish of me to want to get her fucked up and
uninhibited, but I wanted to spend some time with her and get to know the real

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her and not that robotic version that had been roaming the house all goddamn
week. I wanted her to be at ease with me and look at me like I was just another
fucking person, an equal, and not someone above her like a master. I realized
that was probably hard for her, to look at me like she was my equal, considering
my father paid money for her. But she wasnt a piece of property to me. She was
just a girl, and a beautiful fucking girl at that, and I was just a boy who wanted to
know her.
And I cant lie; watching her inhale the smoke Id exhaled was erotic. It felt like
she was taking me into her system, inviting me in. A fucking part of me was
inside of her, flowing through her. It was sensual and made my dick harder than
Id ever felt it before. It was throbbing and I tried to ignore the shit, not wanting
to be indecent or scare her off. I had no idea how she felt about me, if shed even
ever want me like that. She was inexperienced and to be honest so was I.
It killed me to fucking admit to myself that I was just as inexperienced as her at
this shit. I could fuck a girl senseless, make her scream and cry from pleasure,
but when it came to loving one I had no clue what I was doing. I was afraid of
hurting her, of getting her hurt. She may be strong in spirit, but when it boiled
down to it she was fucking fragile. I had to walk a tight line to keep from harming
her. I knew I wasnt boyfriend material or anything, I hadnt been lying when I
told Alice she wouldnt want me like that because I wasnt a nice guy. Because I
wasnt. I had an attitude and I was conceited and fucking broken. Id rushed
home because I realized I loved her to the point where I couldnt be with anyone
else, that I was fucking cheating myself by trying to ignore what I felt, and Id
still managed to be an asshole toward her. I had no idea how I was going to act
on my feelings without my father finding it out, I only hoped that Alice were right
about him being unobservant and her being able to keep a secret. But you know,
none of that would even fucking matter if she didnt like me.
And Christ, Id used so many girls over the years its ridiculous. I couldnt believe
shed asked me that question. I thought about passing but I knew passing on it
would make me look even worse, being unable to admit the number. I didnt
know it honestly, gave the best estimate I could. I didnt want Isabella to be like
them, didnt want her to be another number on the list. She was special; I
wanted things to be different with her. I wanted to love her, not screw her. Of
course she turned me on but it wasnt about that, not at all. I wanted her fucking
soul, not her body.

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I reached over and grabbed the blunt, lighting it up and taking a long drag. I held
it for a bit, closing my eyes and just feeling the burn. I opened my eyes and
glanced over at Isabella, smiling when I saw she was staring at me. There was a
look of longing on her face, intense desire that was almost staggering. I wish I
knew what it was she wanted, what it was she yearned for. I wanted to ask her,
tell her Id give her anything she wanted, but I couldnt do that. I was in no
position to be making her promises without knowing what I was getting myself
into. I leaned over toward her and she tensed up slightly, but it wasnt from
fright. She wasnt afraid of me. I stopped short of pressing my lips to hers and
exhaled. She breathed in what I put out, closing her eyes and sighing. She looked
so content and relaxed and it truly was a beautiful sight. I was so close I could
feel her inhaling, I could smell the citrus from the orange juice and the woodsy
smell of the marijuana and the mint from her toothpaste all in her mouth. In that
moment I wanted nothing more than to kiss her lips, taste her breath and feel
her tongue.
My own desires startled me, as I dont kiss. Id never wanted to fucking kiss a girl
before. But at that moment I wanted nothing more than to feel those luscious lips
pressed against mine, to see if they were as soft and tender as they looked, to
taste her and see if she tasted as good as she smelled.
But I couldnt. As much as I wanted to, yearned to, Id be the biggest fucking
prick on the planet if I did. Just a few hours ago Id been fucking Tanya and I
couldnt just go and kiss Isabella so quickly after that. She deserved better than
that shit, she wasnt just another girl. I needed to treat her with respect, show
her I fucking adored her with my heart and not let the hormones lead.
And besides, what fucking right did I have to just go and kiss her lips? Shed
already pretty much told me shed rather someone murder her than force
themselves on her. It takes a real fucking asshole to just go and kiss her without
her consent after she confessed that. I was an ass, yes, but not that big of an
ass.
I pulled away from her mouth and ran my nose along her jawline, pressing my
cheek against her cheek, feeling her body heat. I inhaled, as she smelled fruity
like strawberries and sweet, pure fucking female, and it was a fantastic smell. I
wondered how she smelled down below, if her female juices were just as sweet

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as the rest of her. Id never tasted a girl before, I didnt do that shit. I didnt give
like that, Id gotten so much head in the past but would never return the favor.
Damn if I didnt want to taste her juices though. But I needed to push that shit
aside and ignore those urges because they were going to get me in trouble if I
didnt.
It was all too much though, entirely too much. I had to pull away from her before
I crossed the line, before I pushed her too far and scared her because being so
close physically was testing my willpower. Id never had to deny myself
something I wanted and it was hard as hell doing it. I sat up, sighing. She stayed
lying back, her eyes closed and not breathing, holding my air in her lungs.
She started exhaling after a moment, the smoke filtering from her parted lips and
nose slowly. I stood up from the bed and walked out of the bedroom, closing the
door behind me. I wasnt at all uncomfortable leaving her in there, which was
fucking strange for me, as I never trusted anyone around my shit. But I guess
trusting someone tends to come along with loving them. I didnt think shed fuck
with anything, honestly didnt care if she did. None of it mattered when it came
down to it.
I walked down the hallway and opened the door to the library. I flicked on the
overhead light, which was fucking bright with its high voltage and made me
wince. I squinted and blinked a few times, trying to adjust my eyes. I walked in
front of the bookshelves for a moment, scanning the titles. I rarely came in here
anymore, not having time for reading with how busy I was. Most of the books
were my mothers as she collected the fucking things and none of us really
touched them. They usually just sat here and collected dust, going unused like
the rest of moms stuff. We kept it all, dad refused to give any of it away. It was
all up in the attic of the house, locked away and boxed up.
I doubted Isabella even knew we had an attic. The only way to get to it was
through the library and I very highly doubted shed come in here often enough to
even notice the entrance to it. I mean, I noticed some of the layers of dust were
gone so it was evident she cleaned the fucking place up, but as for spending
quality time in here it was unlikely. I also doubted she knew about the basement,
considering the only way to it was through the locked room under the stairs.
There was another entrance outside but it was hidden by overgrowth and I didnt
even think she went outside to ever notice. She didnt want to fucking go down

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there anyway. Thats where all the contraband was keptthe guns, the drugs,
the money, all the illegal shit my dad was moving through the area. It resembled
a dungeon, one of those torture cells you see in the movies. And I guess in a way
it was, as there was another room down there designed to lock people in it, with
fucking chains hanging from the ceiling and on the walls. I didnt think hed ever
used it but I wouldnt fucking put money on ithe couldve slipped someone in
and out without us ever knowing. Dad was slick like that, he could be holding
someone hostage a few yards under our feet and none of us would ever fucking
know it because he wouldnt give any indication that anything was going on with
his demeanor. Always cool, calm, and collected. Of all the fucking traits I got
from him, why couldnt I have inherited that one? If we asked he wouldnt lie to
us, hed tell us the truth, and that was partially the reason none of us ever
fucking asked. Ignorance is bliss or whatever.
I glanced along the bookshelf, scanning titles. I stopped when I reached the one I
was looking for and pulled it out. It was old and worn from use, my mothers
favorite fucking book. The cover was a bit dusty so I blew on it, coughing and
closing my eyes when the dust came back at me. Smooth fucking move, Cullen.
I turned the light back off and headed back toward the bedroom. I opened the
door and my eyes met Isabellas soft brown ones instantly. Shed moved her
position and was laying on her stomach on my bed, her feet up by my pillows. I
gave her a small smile and shut the door behind me softly. I walked over and
held the book out to her and she reached her hand up hesitantly, gingerly taking
it but looking confused.
Its Wuthering Heights, I said, shrugging. Its not exactly a nice happy story
full of rainbows and fucking sunshine. Its about love and hate and obsession and
passion and revenge and cruelty and all that other shit. I thought youd like it.
Her eyes widened slightly and she glanced down at the book in her hands. Uh
she started, her brow furrowing as she eyed the cover. I chuckled at her reaction,
so fucking cute and innocent, getting all flabbergasted over a damn book.
Look, you dont have to read it, I just thought it would give you something to
do, I said, not wanting her to think I was forcing her to do anything.
Oh no! I want to! Its just what if your dad finds it? she asked. I glanced at

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her and saw her staring at the book with that fucking look on her face, that look
of wonder and excitement and passion that I loved so much.
Dont worry about him, I said, shrugging. She glanced up at me with a look of
disbelief on her face. I smiled lightly. I got you covered, trust me.
She stared at me for a moment and I saw her eyes gloss over with tears. It was
startling how much fucking emotion was there. I could tell she was fighting them
back, not wanting to cry. I mean, it was just a book, but I guess to her it was a
lot fucking more than that. But frankly she could have the entire fucking library of
books if she wanted them, if it meant making her happy.
Okay, she said softly, glancing back down at the book. She opened it about
halfway through and looked like she was scanning the page. Uh, I dont think I
can read this, she muttered.
Why? I asked, confused and curious. She looked over at me.
Theres a lot of big words in this thing, she said. I laughed, shaking my head. I
expected her to say it was too fucking scandalous or something, not that it was
difficult.
You can read Albert Schweitzer but you cant read this? I asked incredulously.
She shrugged.
That was the only book I had for years, only thing I had to read. I didnt get
through all of it because so much didnt make sense but I memorized a bit that I
did get through.
I smiled. Ah, well I think you can do it. Youve got us to help anyway.
Her eyes widened. Help? she asked. I shrugged.
I mean, if you dont want help learning and reading and shit thats fine. But Id
be more than happy to do what I can, and I know Jasper and Alice would too, I
said. As taken with Isabella as those two were and considering they knew how I
felt about her I knew damn well theyd jump at the opportunity.

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She just stared at me for a second. She turned away and looked down at the
book in her hand, blinking a few times. Okay, she said softly.
I smiled and kicked my shoes off finally. My feet were fucking killing me but Id
been so consumed with everything, lost in my mind and in Isabellas company, to
even think about taking them off. I climbed onto the bed and lay down beside her
on my back, grabbing the stereo remote and flipping through my CDs in the CD
player until I found something that interested meSimple Plans Still Not Getting
Any record.
You looked handsome tonight, Isabella said softly. I glanced over at her,
slightly caught off guard by her words. I was used to having girls tell me I looked
good, Stanley fed my ego with that shit every morning, but having Isabella say it
was different. I was oddly stunned that she thought of me as fucking handsome,
that concept sending those goddamn swells of love and desire through my chest
and into my heart.
She was watching me and I smiled in response. Thanks, I mumbled. The
fucking tie was fruity, though.
She giggled in response, staring me straight in the eye. I loved the fact that she
was usually able to keep eye contact with me now, I felt like I could see her
fucking soul through her eyes. I had an urge to tell her she was beautiful at that
moment and the words almost came out, but before they could she turned her
head away and focused back on the book. I sighed, running my fingers through
my hair, pissed that I wasted the opportunity to fucking really compliment her. I
doubted anyone ever fucking told her she was beautiful but she truly was.
I relit the blunt and stared up at the ceiling, listening to the music. I offered to let
Isabella actually take a hit from it but she looked at me like I was nuts. I knew
she was getting a contact high being so close to me smoking it and I could see
her taking deep breaths in my direction occasionally. It made me feel all warm
and fuzzy inside and for a while there it almost felt like we were fucking normal
people. Just a boy lying with a girl, getting high while she read a book, neither of
us more powerful than the other. We were equals, both of us a bit fucked up
honestly, but we were just us, just lying together innocently in a bed.
And I fucking loved it.

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I tried not to look at her, as I knew she was trying to read and I didnt want to
make her uncomfortable by watching her. But from the corner of my eye I could
see her brow furrowing occasionally, a look of pure fucking concentration and
determination on her face as her lips moved and she tried to sound shit out. It
was endearing and so damn adorable, but I tried not to tell her that because I
didnt want her to get self-conscious.
Whats a misanthropist? she asked after a bit. I smiled lightly, feeling fucking
proud that she was comfortable enough to actually ask me for that help I offered.
Its someone who generally hates people, doesnt trust them, I said. You know,
like Squidward from SpongeBob. As soon as I said the shit I mentally kicked
myself, not knowing if she even fucking knew what SpongeBob was. I probably
sounded like a damn idiot. But she just glanced over at me, an eyebrow raised,
and giggled.
Thanks, she said softly, turning back to her book. She was quiet for a moment
before groaning. Whats, uh, solil-- uh, this word mean?
I smiled and rolled over onto my stomach. The movement moved me so close to
her that our sides were touching. I peeked over to see what she was pointing at,
my chin resting on her shoulder.
Solilquised. Means they were talking to themselves.
She smiled and turned her head to face me. Her eyes were directly in front of
mine, our faces so close the tips of our nose brushed together. I thought she was
going to turn back away quickly, as our close proximity was really intimate, but
she didnt. She stared at me and I could feel her breath on my skin. She brought
her bottom lip into her mouth after a moment and started chewing on it as she
usually did when she was nervous about something. I was a little confused as to
why she wasnt moving if she were nervous but then her breathing grew a bit
shaky. My brow furrowed a bit. Did she want me to kiss her? God how I wanted
to and she was so fucking close it was hard not to. She looked like she did but it
was wrong of me to do it, especially after that whole Tanya shit. And I was so
afraid of hurting this girl, of pushing her too far or in a direction she didnt want
to go in.

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I didnt have the opportunity to do it though, even if I had wanted to. My phone
rang suddenly, startling both of us. We both jumped and she turned her head
away quickly, looking away from me. I groaned and rolled over onto my back
before sitting up. I grabbed my phone off my stand and cursed.
Why the fuck is my father calling me at 3am? I asked, more to myself than
anyone. It was homecoming, he had to assume I was fucked up or passed out at
this hour. I brought the phone to my ear, sighing.
Yes, Dr. Cullen, what can I do to help you at this lovely hour? I asked
sarcastically. He sighed.
Are you at home? he asked.
Yep, sure am. Been here for awhile.
He sighed. Have you seen Isabella? I tried to call her earlier and check on her
but she didnt answer. I figured she was asleep but its been bothering me.
My brow furrowed with confusion. What do you mean you tried to call her? I
asked.
I called the cell phone I bought her, he said. I was slightly stunned, having no
fucking clue he got her a phone. I mean it made sense for her to have one, we
usually had a landline installed with the other women though, but I knew he
intended to do things differently with Isabella. Intended to give her a bit more
room to roam than the others got when he got comfortable with her loyalty.
Oh. Well, shes fine. Shes been keeping me company, I said.
Really? he said, sounding surprised. I wondered immediately if maybe I
shouldnt have said that, I was fucking paranoid of waving that goddamn red flag
in his face and the weed wasnt helping my paranoia. Thats good. Im glad all of
you have seemed to make friends with her.
Yeah, I said simply.

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Well Ill let you go. Goodnight, he said. I muttered a goodnight, hanging up and
tossing my phone down. I turned my head to Isabella and saw she was watching
me cautiously.
He was just checking on you, said he tried to call you. Her eyes widened slightly
and I saw a spark of fear in them. I sighed. Relax. You arent in trouble with
him, he was just worried. My dads usually not that much of a prick, doesnt get
worked up about most shit. I mean, I dont blame you for not being his biggest
fan after what he did to you but he wont be doing that shit again.
She nodded slightly and turned back to her book, chewing on her bottom lip. I
reached over and grabbed the book from her, but made sure to hold her place.
She looked at me, fucking startled Id snatched the book out of her hands, and I
smiled. Go get me your phone, I said. She looked a bit confused but got up and
headed for the door.
She came back a moment later and held a small light blue phone out to me. I
thanked her and took it, motioning for her to sit back down. She did and I handed
the book back to her. She stretched back out on the bed on her stomach, this
time with her head up by the pillows.
I lay down beside her again on my back and opened her phone. I scrolled through
it and noticed my number was programmed into it, which I imagine was dads
doing. I stopped on my name and hit the call button, hanging up after my phone
started ringing. I sat her phone down on my chest and reached over, grabbing
mine. I opened it and went to my missed calls, programming her number into the
address book as Bella Ragazza. I had so many females phone numbers in my
phone, but none of them fucking mattered but hers. I lived with her so it was
ridiculous to be so fucking giddy inside over getting her phone number. I felt like
some inexperienced pre-teen with a goddamn crush.
I like this song, Isabella said softly beside me. I glanced over at her. She was
looking at the book but I could tell her attention was on the music. I sighed when
I realized what song it was: Welcome to My Life. Of course shed like that one, I
imagined she could relate to it.
No you don't know what its like

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To be hurt, to be lost, to be left out in the dark


To be kicked when you're down, you feel like you've been pushed around
To be on the edge of breaking down and no one's there to save you
No you don't know what its like
Welcome to my life.
I tossed my phone back to the side and picked hers back up, scrolling through
her settings. I made her wallpaper some green design, since she said it was her
favorite color. I was still going to fucking figure out what was up with that. I went
online and downloaded the ringtone of the song playing, since she liked it and it
was the only fucking song I knew of that she liked. I never heard her listening to
music, which I found odd. Music was a part of my fucking soul, I couldnt imagine
living without it. Id definitely have to change her attitude toward music.
I closed her phone and put it to the side, gazing up at the ceiling. I was still quite
fucking high and felt relaxed and just completely content. Isabella groaned after
awhile and closed the book, pulling it to the side and lying her head down on my
pillow. I peeked over at her and smiled at the look of irritation on her face.
What, not liking the story? I asked.
She glanced over at me. Im sure the story would be great if I could understand
it, she said, dropping her head down and shielding herself with her hair. I
reached over and tucked some of the hair behind her ear so I could see her face.
She smiled lightly when our eyes connected.
Patience, youll get it. I have a feeling itll come easy to you once you really get
into it. Christ, anyone who can learn the basics of reading through goddamned
closed captioning is a natural at the shit.
I had no idea if I was telling the truth but I wanted to make her feel better. Id
never taught anyone how to read, had no idea what I was doing, but I was sure
as hell going to give it a shot with her. She nodded but I couldnt tell if she
believed me or not.

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Thanks, she said. I nodded. She yawned after a second and looked utterly
exhausted, like she was fighting sleep hard. Im sure the fact that I bombarded
her system with intoxicants wasnt helping her struggle to stay awake. I didnt
get why she was so tired lately, but why she wasnt sleeping. The fact that she
cried at night really bothered me and I wanted to ask her why but I didnt want to
fucking pry or invade her privacy.
You look exhausted, I said. She sighed, smiling lightly. Her eyelids were
obviously heavy as they kept drifting closed slightly.
Ill be fine, she said, her voice soft and sweet. I wanted to ask her if that was
the truth, if she really would be fine, but I just sat quietly with my mouth shut
and smiled.
I got up and went into the bathroom to take a piss, the alcohol in my system
draining through me. I washed my hands and came back out, walking back over
to where I had been lying. I glanced down at Isabella and smiled, as her eyes
were closed. If she werent already asleep, she would be soon. I really fucking
wanted her to stay in here with me, was glad she hadnt made a move to go back
to her room yet. I imagined she was just so exhausted that she couldnt even
think about getting up. I knew my bed was comfortable as shit.
I sat down on the edge of the bed beside her and her eyes opened as the bed
shifted. It looked painful how exhausted she was.
Bella? I said softly as her eyes were drifting closed again.
Yes?
I hesitated, unsure if I should even bother asking, but it was still weighing on my
mind and I knew it would be until she gave me an answer. It was probably
something fucking really ridiculous but I needed to know. Why are you
embarrassed about liking the color green? I asked. My voice was low, practically
pleading for her to answer me this time.
She sighed and turned her head, diverting her eyes away from me. I took that as
a sign that she wasnt going to answer me and was about to tell her it was fine,

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she didnt have to tell me if she wasnt comfortable with it when she spoke.
Your eyes are green, she said softly, her words slightly slurred from fatigue and
barely audible. My brow furrowed in confusion at her answer. I mean, of course
my eyes were fucking green. What did that have to do with anything? I watched
her for a moment, noticing her breathing steady and a slight snore coming from
her. It wasnt an annoying snore or anything; it was soft like some fucking heavy
breathing. I realized she was sleeping.
I sighed after a moment, getting up and turning the overhead light off, changing
quickly into a pair of flannel pants and climbing back into the bed. I wondered if I
should go sleep on the fucking couch or something, not wanting to be a dick or
make her uncomfortable, but I figured she fell asleep in my bed so it couldnt
have been that big of a damn deal if I slept beside her. Id keep some space
between us and wouldnt fucking touch her or anything, Id keep it innocent. Id
never actually fucking slept with a girl before, never shared my bed in a nonsexual way and the concept made me anxious for some reason. God, I was so
new to all this shit, it was all so intimate.
I lay there for a minute, trying to figure out why my eyes being green would
make her embarrassed about liking the color. I mean, was that supposed to be
an insult, like I fucking somehow dishonored the color? I figured maybe she had
just rattled something off, half-asleep, and maybe it didnt fucking mean
anything.
I gave up after a moment and closed my eyes, about to fall asleep when it
fucking hit me. She wasnt embarrassed about liking the color because of my
eyes, she fucking liked it for that reason. Thats why she got embarrassed when
she said it, why she didnt want to tell me what was so special about the color.
I felt the bed shift and opened my eyes, fucking afraid that she was awake and
getting up and leaving. I didnt want her to go. I felt relieved when I saw her
eyes were still closed and she was asleep, but had rolled over to face me. I stared
at her for a bit, watching her sleep, lost in thought. She liked my eyes, obviously
enough to make it her favorite color. How much did she really like me though?
Christ, could she love me? Could I seriously fucking have this girls heart? It would
be hard as hell and fucking unfair having to keep it a secret, but I couldnt deny
that it would be worth all the fucking trouble. She was worth it.

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I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep after awhile, falling into a deep slumber.
I woke up abruptly some time later to a piercing fucking scream in my ear. I shot
up quickly, half out of it and fucking startled. I heard the crying and realized it
was Isabella and fear shot through me, fucking afraid that she was hurt or upset,
that maybe she was freaked out waking up in bed beside me or some shit. I
looked at her, wanting to fucking explain or something, and my brow furrowed
when I saw she was still asleep. Tears were streaming down her cheek from her
still closed eyelids. Her head was thrashing around and she was fucking sobbing
and whimpering, the sight of it breaking my fucking heart. She was having a
nightmare.
I grabbed a hold of her and pulled her to me, wrapping my arms around her. I
didnt give it a second thought, didnt even think about the potential
consequences. I wanted to fucking comfort her, wanted to make that shit go
away. I felt so protective over her, didnt want her to be hurt or scared. I started
rocking her, shushing her softly, telling her she was safe and everything was
okay, that I wasnt going to let anything hurt her. She was drenched with sweat
and trembling. I knew all about nightmares, as I usually had them a few times a
week and have for fucking years. It was fucking torture.
I held onto her tightly and she eventually calmed down, falling back into a
peaceful sleep. I shifted us around a bit with her head lying on my chest, my
arms still wrapped around her. I leaned down and kissed the top of her head
lightly, sighing.
Sogni d'oro, la mia bella ragazza. Ti amo, I mumbled, closing my eyes and
drifting back off to sleep.
Sogni doro, la mia bella ragazza = Sweet dreams, my beautiful girl.
Ti amo = I love you

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Chapter 23 - Deep Book


No man understands a deep book until he has seen and lived at least
part of its contents. -- Ezra Pound
IPOV
I was having a puzzling morning. It wasnt entirely bad, but it was strange nonethe-less.
Id woken up in the mid-afternoon, a few minutes past twelve, and was
absolutely stunned by my surroundings. As soon as I gained consciousness the
musky smell Id come to associate with Edward assaulted my senses. I felt the
warmth beneath me, the hardness of it a bit odd but not exactly uncomfortable. I
opened my eyes, extremely confused, and I gasped in shock when I realized I
was lying in Edwards arms, my head on his naked chest and my arm resting
across his toned stomach. I shot up quickly, having no idea how Id gotten there,
honestly astounded by it. Edwards arm had been wrapped around me but fell to
the bed when I sat up. I sat up so fast he was jolted a bit and I froze, downright
frightened of him waking up. I couldnt figure out how wed ended up in that
position, how Id come to sleep in his bed and in his arms. I didnt even know if
he was aware I was there, if he was aware that hed had his arms around me.
Maybe he was used to sleeping with girls and it didnt even strike him that it was
me there, and I was afraid hed wake up and freak out about it.
He stirred some, shifting his position and mumbling. I heard Bella in the midst of
his mumbling and smiled involuntarily. I still didnt know what that meant in
Italian, but he called me it constantly now. I realized he may have just been
mumbling Italian in general, but my heart swelled regardless on the off chance
that he had said it in reference to me.
I climbed out of his bed, as quietly and gently as possible so not to disturb him. I
tiptoed through his room, opening the door and stepping out into the hallway. I
closed the door behind me quietly, holding my breath as the door clicked shut. I
stood there for a moment, completely shocked that Id not only slept so late but
that Id slept in Edwards bed with him. I went into my room and walked over to
my closet, pulling on a pair of jeans and a plain black t-shirt. I pulled my hair
back into a messy a ponytail and threw on my black ballet flats before heading
downstairs.

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Id spent a good amount of time with Edward last night, that much I
remembered. I remembered the game and the questions wed asked and
answered. I also remembered him giving me a book and laying there reading it
on his bed with him beside me. After that there was nothing. I didnt recall
getting up and going to my room, so I imagined I mustve fallen asleep in his bed
and he was too much of a gentleman to wake me up and kick me out. How Id
gone from asleep in his bed to asleep in his arms I wasnt sure. I recalled having
another nightmare last night, another one about my mother as today was her
birthday, and was slightly worried about whether or not Id disturbed him by
sleep talking. I hoped not, hoped I hadnt been that much of a nuisance. Not only
did I invade his bed and apparently force myself onto him while I slept, I likely
kept him awake with my outbursts in the middle of the night. I felt queasy at that
thought, that Id bothered him or put him out. Hed been too nice for me to be
pestering him.
I expected to wake up this morning feeling bad, as hed gotten me slightly
inebriated, so I was pleasantly surprised I didnt have a headache. I didnt exactly
know what had gotten into Edward, why he had been acting the way he was. I
imagined something had to have happened at his dance to upset him but I was
glad he seemed to get happier as the night went on. Hed shocked me though
with how sweet he was toward me and I was slightly scared, as the time we
spent together seemed to make the feelings I felt toward Edward even stronger. I
realized last night that I was in love with him and didnt know what I was
supposed to do about that, how I was supposed to act toward him. I couldnt tell
him, as I was afraid hed have me sent away if he found out my feelings ran that
deep.
I didnt exactly know what he felt for me, I couldnt see how hed ever like me
even a fraction of the way I liked him, but I got the hint last night that maybe he
was at least attracted to me. I knew Edward was attracted to many women, Id
heard it from quite a few people and even he himself expressed to me that he
enjoyed female company in an intimate way. And I swore he had been about to
kiss me last night, right before his father called. In that moment I was conflicted,
completely torn between wanting him to because of the way I felt, and not
wanting him to because I was so afraid. So afraid of everything romantic or
sexual. I didnt know what I was doing, never thought Id ever even be in the
position to ever kiss someone, much less anything else. I didnt know what to do

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or how it was supposed to feel or if it would hurt. The entire concept frightened
me.
But it seemed my body controlled me when I was around Edward, my heart
taking the lead over my mind. My mind told me it was ridiculous, dangerous. But
my heartmy heart told me it was right. My heart told me loving Edward was
what I was destined to do all along.
I reached the downstairs and glanced around, sighing. The house was completely
silent, so much so that youd likely hear a pin drop on the wooden floor. I walked
into the kitchen and peered out the window over the sink, noticing Edwards silver
car was the only one in the driveway. I realized the rest of the family was still
gone, that Jasper and Emmett must not have come home last night at all.
The house was clean from when Id scrubbed out of boredom yesterday so there
really wasnt anything for me to do. I didnt want to just sit around and do
nothing though, because I knew if I did that Id just get depressed thinking about
my mother or panicking over whether or not Edward would be upset toward me
about the sleeping situation. I glanced around the kitchen, opening cabinets, and
decided to bake some type of cookies. We needed to get groceries again, as they
were finally starting to run low on stuff again, but we had everything to throw
together some peanut butter cookies. One thing I realized is that all the Cullen
men loved peanut butter. It was one of the very few things they all agreed on. It
was nothing abnormal to find one of them standing in the kitchen throughout the
day eating peanut butter by the spoonfuls straight from the jar. Because of that,
I figured theyd all at least appreciate peanut butter cookies, and I could bake
quite well, thanks to Charless love of all types of deserts.
I got the ingredients out and started throwing them together, preheating the
oven. I got the dough ready and placed the rounded balls on the cookie sheet. I
was putting the first batch in the oven and setting the timer when there was a
knock on the door. It startled me and I jumped, not expecting anyone to show
up. The knocks were loud and forceful, sounding quite urgent.
I glanced out the window and saw a little white car in the driveway. Whoever it
was knocked again, just as forceful, and I groaned. I glanced around for a towel
but shrugged and just wiped my hands on my pants. I had flour all over my
clothes as it was so what harm was a little more. I looked like a mess from

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baking and felt disgraceful answering their door like that, but I was the only one
up to do it.
Id never been in this situation before, as Id never been alone when someone
knocked. I wasnt sure if I was supposed to actually answer or not, as Dr. Cullen
had never said anything about visitors, but I imagined it would be part of my
duties as it usually was for someone like me. The person knocked a third time
and I sighed, resigned. I walked into the foyer and peeked out the peephole, my
brow furrowing when I saw it was a female. I couldnt really see who it was
though, as they were facing away from the door.
I unlocked the door gingerly and took a deep breath, pulling it open slowly. The
girl turned around when she heard the door open and my eyes widened slightly
when I recognized her as the girl Edward had taken to the dance last night. She
narrowed her eyes slightly at me and wrinkled her nose, a look of pure disgust
coming over her face as she eyed me up. I blushed a bit, embarrassed and
feeling completely inadequate. She was gorgeous, even in a pink jogging suit she
looked like she could be a model. I felt inferior, and it didnt help my confidence
that I was covered in flour and dough from the cookies. She just stood there
glaring at me for a moment, and I noticed she was so well put together that even
her lipstick and hair tie matched her clothes.
I need to see Edward, she said finally, a slight viciousness to her voice.
Hes, uh, still sleeping, I mumbled. She laughed dryly and put her hands on her
hips.
I didnt ask you what he was doing, freak. I told you I needed to see him. So run
off and fucking get him, isnt that your job? she sneered. I flinched back from
her tone.
I didnt exactly know what to do. Edward had welcomed me into his room and
had been nice to me, but I wasnt sure I could exactly just go barging in and
wake him up. Edward hated being startled and I imagined doing so would
definitely startle him. But I didnt want to be rude and turn away his guest, and
possibly end up with him upset because shed come to see him and I didnt tell
him. I didnt know if hed want to see her, but since he took her to the dance I
figured maybe he would. Maybe he really cared about her, and it would be a

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grave mistake to send his female friend away if she were special to him.
Uh, Im not really supposed to go into his room, I said, still unsure of what I
was supposed to do in this situation. She groaned, obviously irritated with me,
and rolled her eyes.
Fucking incompetent people, she spat. She pushed me out of the way
unexpectedly and caught me off guard. I stumbled backwards, losing my balance.
I threw my hands behind me to catch myself as I fell on my behind. She stalked
inside quickly, walking around me and nearly stepping on my hand, heading
straight for the stairs. I was completely stunned, unsure of what to do. Should I
follow her, try to stop her? She scaled the steps, sprinting up them so fast that
she was completely out of sight before I could even get up off of the floor.
I climbed to my feet, groaning, and headed for the stairs. I got halfway up them
when the timer went off in the kitchen. I hesitated but turned and headed back
down. I went into the kitchen and pulled the cookies out of the oven, not wanting
them to burn and creating a disaster.
I realized at that point that chasing after the girl was fruitless, as shed make it to
Edwards room before I could even make it out of the kitchen. I sighed, resigned
that it was too late to do anything about the situation now, and put the second
batch of cookies in the oven. I would just have to deal with the potential
consequences later. I put the first batch of cookies on wire racks to cool and
walked out to the foyer when I heard commotion upstairs.
Youre such an asshole! the girl yelled from the second floor. I glanced up the
steps and saw Edward starting down them to the first floor. He was wearing only
a pair of flannel pants, his chest still bare, and his hair was sticking up worse
than usual. Shed definitely woken him up in the middle of sleeping, based on his
appearance. He had an extremely mad look on his face and I grew slightly afraid,
realizing the two of them were fighting.
The girl started down the steps behind him, yelling. Edward didnt say anything in
response to her yelling but she was calling him pretty much every name in the
book. She was spewing off curses Id never heard before. She was very visibly
upset and I wondered what in the world Edward could have done to ignite such
fury from her. It reminded me somewhat of how Charless wife used to go off on

300

him.
I stood frozen in spot on the platform beside the piano as they hit the foyer. He
glanced up at me and paused, cocking his head to the side and raising his
eyebrows at me. A smile graced his lips, which shocked me. He was looking at
me with that gorgeous crooked grin of his, looking almost happy to see me,
completely ignoring the girl standing a foot behind him cursing and yelling. I gave
him a small sad smile in return, trying to be sympathetic and apologetic at the
same time, hoping he wasnt upset at me for her presence. The girl caught sight
of our exchange and it only seemed to increase her intense anger. She froze
abruptly, narrowing her eyes at me.
Oh how fucking cute. Is that the fucking reason Edward? That bitch? Servant
doubles as a prostitute? she spat. Edward froze, his smile falling and anger
taking over his features once more. I noticed his eyes darken slightly with rage as
he turned his head to glare at her.
If you know whats good for you Tanya, youll shut the fuck up right now, he
said. His voice was raised, his tone harsh and sent a chill down my spine. It
wasnt me being yelled at or in trouble, but hearing that tone frightened me
regardless. Id realized last night that Edward was more like Dr. Cullen than I
originally thought. Edward could indeed be dangerous, very dangerous if you got
on his bad side. Hed confessed to blowing up Jacob Blacks car by shooting it so
many times with Jacob present. He didnt frighten me per say, as for some
reason he made me feel protected, but none-the-less he was intimidating.
She laughed dryly. Defensive are we? Thats disgusting; I thought you were
better that that shit Edward. Look at her! She turned her head to glare at me
again. So how much is Dr. Cullen paying you to fuck his son, huh? Does he even
know?
My eyes widened and I stared at her in shock. She thought Edward and I were
having sex? Edward glanced over at me and something about my expression
mustve set him off. He walked over to Tanya and grabbed her arm. He swung
the front door open with so much force it slammed into the wall. He pulled her
out into the yard and she was yelling at him, still infuriated. At first I thought he
was hurting her but I realized he only had a hold of her jacket and not actually
her.

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I walked into the kitchen and glanced out the window, knowing I shouldnt be
nosey but I couldnt help it. I was baffled and had no idea what was going on. I
watched as the girl reached her hand out and tried to smack Edward when he let
go of her arm. He ducked out of the way, grabbing her wrist to stop her. He
started yelling at her, I couldnt hear what he was saying but it was obvious he
was furious. He let go of her after a second and she just stood there with her
eyes narrowed. He turned and walked back toward the house, turning his back on
her.
The oven beeped again, the second batch of cookies done. I was pulling them out
when I heard the front door slam shut, so forcefully that it rattled some of the
things sitting on the kitchen counter. I heard his footsteps as he entered the
kitchen but I didnt look over at him, afraid of his reaction. I was kicking myself
for even answering the door in the first place.
Edward walked over to where I was, pausing beside me. He glanced out the
window, groaning when he saw Tanya was still sitting in the driveway. Whyd
you fucking let her in here, anyway? he asked, sounding irritated.
I sighed. Im sorry. I didnt mean to, honestly. She knocked and I didnt want to
be rude so I answered and told her you were sleeping. She got mad when I told
her I wouldnt go wake you up and so she knocked me out of the way to go up
there herself.
His eyes narrowed, his head snapping in my direction. She hit you? he nearly
yelled, that murderous expression back in his face.
I flinched, startled by the rage he was showing. Uh I mean she pushed me and
I fell but I really dont think she meant to hurt me or anything, sir.
He groaned loudly. Dont fucking call me sir, Bella, he said. He pushed away
from the counter and turned, walking out of the kitchen. I heard the front door
open and glanced out the window again. Edward ran over to Tanyas car,
stopping her as she started to back up. She hit the brakes and rolled her window
down. Edward leaned down into her window and said something to her. I couldnt
see her well enough to know if she responded to him or not, but after a moment
he stood back up. He stood there still for a second, staring at her, before walking

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toward the front of her car. He yelled something and slammed his hands down on
the hood of her car hard. Tanya hit the gas and flew backwards quickly, pulling
away from him. My eyes widened when I saw the dents his hands had left.
Edward walked away, looking completely enraged. He headed back into the house
and slammed the front door, cursing to himself. He ran up the stairs quickly,
returning a few moments later with his keys in his hand. He headed outside and
climbed into his car, starting it up. I was a little shocked and confused, wondering
why he was leaving. I thought maybe he was going after her, but instead I heard
the garage door open. Edward never parked in the garage, none of them ever
really bothered doing so, so I watched with a bit of confusion as he pulled his car
in and closed it up.
He walked back in the house a moment later, coming into the kitchen where I
was. He tossed his keys down on the counter, sighing. He looked over at me and
saw the confusion on my face and sighed, shaking his head and running his
fingers through his hair. Id have to fucking kill her if she turned out to be stupid
enough to try to hurt the Volvo, so to spare her life itll go into hiding until she
calms the fuck down.
I nodded, understanding. Id learned that Edward is highly protective over his car
and couldnt imagine what type of rage it would ignite within him if someone
harmed it. I started pulling the second batch of cookies off the cookie sheets
finally, putting them onto racks. Im sorry if that was my fault, I mumbled. He
sighed, running his fingers through his hair again.
Its not your fault, its mine. Ive know Tanya for a long time, and evidently at
some point she got it into her head that I was going to fall in love with her and
settle down with her or whatever. She cant quite grasp the concept that she isnt
exactly my type.
I looked at him, slightly surprised. Edward reached around me, brushing my arm
and grabbed one of the peanut butter cookies from the rack. Shes not your
type? I asked with disbelief.
He glanced over at me, shaking his head and taking a bite of the cookie. No,
why does that surprise you? And this cookie is fucking fantastic, by the way.

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I smiled lightly at the compliment. Thank you. And I guess it just surprised me
because you went out with her last night and shes a beautiful girl.
You think Tanyas beautiful? he asked, his tone completely curious. I nodded.
She looks almost perfect, like she belongs on a magazine cover, I said.
He laughed. Exactly. Shes not fucking real. Too manicured, too fucking fake.
She tries too hard. I could never really be with someone who spends hours in
front of a mirror every morning putting on a shitload of makeup and perfecting
their hair only for them to wind up looking like a damn Barbie doll. I need
someone whos not afraid to get their hands dirty and that isnt her. Tanya would
snap if she chipped a fucking fingernail. Perfection is not my definition of beauty.
Oh, I said simply, not exactly sure how to respond to that. I immediately
wondered what he thought beauty was, but was too shy to ask. He laughed again
at my lame response, reaching over and grabbing another cookie from the rack.
Eat a cookie, Bella, he said, turning and heading for the stairs.
I was cleaning up the kitchen when a car pulled up out front. Jasper and Emmett
climbed out of Emmetts jeep, both acting sluggish and looking rough. They came
into the house and headed straight for the kitchen. Jasper grabbed some bottles
of water from the fridge and Emmett grabbed the bottle of aspirin out of the
cabinet.
Edward came down the steps and walked into the kitchen. He looked at his
brothers and started laughing, shaking his head. Sfatto, he said, reaching over
and slapping Jasper on the back. Jasper winced and pulled away from Edward,
rolling his eyes.
Yeah, well, what time did you get in? he asked. Edward laughed, shrugging.
Who fucking knows? Midnight maybe? I didnt exactly look at the clock when I
arrived, he said, glancing over at me with his eyebrows raised. I nodded and
smiled. Id found him in the kitchen slightly after midnight.
Both of his brothers looked at him, obviously surprised by that answer. Emmetts

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phone rang and he answered it, giving Edward one last strange glance before
walking out of the room. Jasper just stood there, staring at Edward as if he were
crazy. Youre serious? You really came home at midnight?
Edward nodded. Isabella and I hung out until like 3:30, he said, shrugging.
Jasper glanced over at me and raised an eyebrow. I smiled and nodded,
confirming it. He stared at me for a moment with a curious expression on his face
before turning back to Edward. He cocked an eyebrow at him and Edward
groaned, rolling his eyes.
We were fucking reading. Well, she was. I was getting high and blowing smoke
at her, he said, chuckling. My eyes widened at his admission. Jasper stared at
Edward for a moment, looking completely stunned.
You got her high? he asked with disbelief. He blinked a few times before his
head snapped in my direction, shock on his face. Wait, I thought you were
illiterate?
Edward laughed loudly and I blushed, embarrassed. I couldnt believe Edward
was telling everything so nonchalantly.
She knows basics, just a little rough around the edges, Edward said. He leaned
back against the counter, grabbing another cookie from the rack and munching
on it. He was staring at me and his gaze was making me feel slightly selfconscious. Jasper spotted the cookies and grabbed one also, taking a bite.
I dont remember the last time I had a real homemade peanut butter cookie, he
mumbled with his mouth full. I smiled lightly. Actually, I dont think Ive ever
had one, and these are awesome. But thats great you arent completely illiterate.
Well have to help you out with that.
Edward smirked at me. Yeah, thats what I told her.
I heard gravel crunching outside and glanced out the window to see the black car
pull up. Dr. Cullens home, I said softly, turning away from the boys. I grabbed
a container from the cabinet and started putting the cookies in it now that they
were cooled. I heard the front door open and footsteps head toward the kitchen.

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Morning, boys, Dr. Cullen said, walking in the room. They both mumbled good
morning, and Jasper turned and walked out. Edward hung back near the
doorway, watching his dad curiously. Dr. Cullen walked over to where I was,
pausing beside me. He was so close that his arm brushed against mine and sent
chills of fright through me. Dr. Cullens presence still alarmed me after what
happened that day. I had a hard time pushing aside that version of him to accept
the compassionate man again and wasnt sure Id ever be completely comfortable
with him again.
Morning, dolcezza, he said softly, reaching into the container in front of me and
grabbing a cookie.
Good morning, sir, I said softly. Uh what does that mean?
He glanced over at me and raised his eyebrows, smiling. Dolcezza? he asked.
His expression was light and carefree, his eyes practically dancing. He looked to
be happy and that wasnt usual for him. He was very rarely so relaxed in
appearance, his appearance usually always having a hard edge to it.
Yes, sir. That.
He took a bite of the cookie, nodding. Italian for sweetie basically. And this
cookie is amazing, thank you.
My eyes widened and I nodded, slightly stunned. Sweetie? He smiled once more
and turned, heading out of the kitchen. I had no idea what had gotten into Dr.
Cullen to make him so happy this morning but it was startling.
I continued to put the cookies away and heard footsteps come up behind me. I
glanced around and saw Edward approach. He turned and hopped up onto the
counter near where I was standing and grabbed another cookie from the
container before I could put the lid on them. I smiled at him, proud that he
seemed to enjoy my baking. He returned the smile and took a bite of it, staring
at me. I started cleaning up the area, trying to ignore his intense gaze because it
was making me self-conscious.
Are you okay? he asked after a moment, his voice quiet and laced with concern.
I looked at him and saw he genuinely looked worried and that confused me a bit.

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Yeah, Im fine. Why wouldnt I be? I asked hesitantly, a little curious as to why
he was asking me that question. He sighed and ran his hand through his hair.
You have nightmares, he said, shrugging. My eyes widened slightly and I looked
away from him, embarrassed that Id apparently bothered him after all last night.
Im sorry if I disturbed your sleep, I said softly. I didnt intend to. I shouldve
gone back to my room.
He groaned. I dont care about that, angelo. You didnt bother me, just worried
me a bit when you started freaking out on me.
I could feel his eyes on me but couldnt look up to meet his gaze. I felt my cheeks
growing warm from embarrassment. Im fine, I said, hesitating. I, uh I dont
know why that happened, it doesnt usually. I was lying but I was a little
uncomfortable talking to him about it. I didnt want him to worry about me, he
shouldnt have to do that.
Bullshit, he said. I glanced up at him, a little stunned. He had an eyebrow
cocked at me. Why are you lying to me?
My heart started racing as I inwardly started panicking. What makes you think
Im lying? I asked. He sighed and shook his head.
I can hear you, you know. You cry out every night. And you look like you havent
fucking been sleeping, like last night was the longest youve slept in forever, he
said. I groaned and closed my eyes, putting my arms down on the counter and
laying my head down. I couldnt believe he could hear me at night. I didnt think I
was that loud.
I didnt know you could hear me. Im sorry, I mumbled, sighing and keeping my
head down.
Dont apologize. I was just worried about you, and I surely dont get why the
fuck youd stand here and lie to me about it.
I felt tears welling up in my eyes but fought them back, not wanting to look like

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an idiot and cry. Because its stupid, and not that big of a deal, I muttered.
He sighed but didnt say anything. After a moment I felt his hand on the back of
my head. He ran his fingers through my hair softly, bringing them down and
rubbing the top of my back gently. It is a big deal if its keeping you from
sleeping. I know what thats like, you know. I glanced up at him with surprise.
He smiled lightly when my eyes met his. Do you want to tell me about it?
I shook my head no quickly. I, uh no, I said. He smiled lightly and nodded.
Okay. If you change your mind, Im all ears. And Im sorry if I made you in any
way uncomfortable in bed with me, but it seemed to calm you down some when I
held you.
My eyes widenedhe did that? I thought I practically forced myself into his arms,
not at all considering he did it intentionally. No, you didnt make me
uncomfortable. It was, uh I hesitated, unsure of what to say. Nice?
He smiled and chuckled, nodding and looking away. He removed his hand from
my back and hopped down from the counter. Yeah, it was nice, he said softly,
giving me a small smile before walking out of the kitchen.
I sighed, brushing the flour from my clothes the best I could, and finished
cleaning up before headed into the living area where everyone had congregated.
Edward glanced up at me from the spot hed taken on the couch and smiled
brightly. Hey Dad, he said, his eyes still on me. My eyes narrowed a bit, unsure
of what he was doing but he had a mischievous look on his face that made me
anxious.
Yeah? Dr. Cullen replied from the chair he was sitting in across the room. He
didnt look at Edward, continued to stare at the TV.
I think were gonna teach Isabella how to read, he said. At least then someone
will get some use out of the library. My eyes widened and fear shot through me,
afraid of Dr. Cullens reaction. Edward said he had me covered when he gave me
the book and I had no idea what he meant by that, but could it really be that
simple?

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Dr. Cullen glanced over at his son briefly before looking over at me. He raised his
eyebrows and stared at me questioningly for a moment, seeming to contemplate
about it. Okay, he said, shrugging eventually and turning back to the TV. I just
stared at him with shock, glancing over at Edward. He smiled and winked and I
dropped my gaze. I felt the blush creep into my cheeks. Have a seat, Isabella.
I glanced up and saw Dr. Cullen looking at me again. I couldnt tell from his
expression whether it was an offer or a demand that I sit with them but I knew it
was better to be safe than sorry. I sighed and turned from him, still not able to
keep eye contact, and walked over to the couch slowly. I sat down in the middle
of it, between Jasper and Edward.
Edward had his feet kicked up on the table in front of him, slouched down with
his arms crossed over his chest. My arm brushed his and he glanced over at me,
smiling lightly. Jasper had his long legs stretched out in front of him and was
drumming his fingers on the arm of the couch. We all sat quietly for a while, their
attention fixated on the TV. I had no idea what it was, some movie about some
guy. I couldnt focus on it--Edwards closeness was messing with me.
There was a knock on the door after awhile and I glanced around, confused as no
one got up to get it. I considered doing it myself but was slightly afraid to after
the previous encounter this morning. They knocked once more and I felt my
heart racing, confusion finally setting in as the door was pushed open.
None of you douches can answer the door for me? Rosalies voice filtered
through immediately. I glanced over and saw Edward roll his eyes. I tensed up,
slightly afraid of her. I could hear the click of her heels in the foyer as she walked
toward us, every step increasing my anxiety.
Hey, Rosalie, Dr. Cullen said as she entered, not taking his eyes off the TV. She
paused and glanced around at all of us, her eyes lingering on me for slightly
longer than I was comfortable with.
Hey Doc, hey boys, she mumbled. Edward and Jasper muttered a hello to her
and Emmett bellowed an enthusiastic hey baby.
They all chuckled at Emmett and Rose walked over to where he sat. She
squeezed in the chair with him, sitting on his lap and wrapping her arms around

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him. Emmett squeezed her tightly and they shared a small smile, their
expressions both loving and warm. It was a bit surprising and I smiled
instinctively at the sight. Rosalie may be cold toward me, but I realized she
wasnt a completely mean person. It was evident she had a nice side that Emmett
clearly saw.
I turned my attention back to the TV, not wanting Rosalie to catch me looking at
her. I tried to focus on it, tried to figure out what the movie was about, but
Edward kept inching closer to me and it was messing with my mind. I could feel
the tingles in my body from his touch, the scent of his cologne filtering into my
nostrils and making everything else just seem so insignificant.
Hey doc, did your son tell you he beat-up Tanyas car this morning? Rosalie
asked, glancing over at Edward and smiling mischievously. Edward groaned and
rolled his eyes.
I didnt beat it up. I put a little fucking dent in the hood, he muttered, shaking
his head. And she deserved it, busting in here this morning like some goddamn
interrogator and waking me up. I figured it was better to hit the fucking car than
her.
Dr. Cullen glanced at his son. And why exactly did she bust in here this morning
to interrogate you?
Edward rolled his eyes. She went all psycho because I wouldnt give her what
she wanted. She wants a fucking relationship with me or something.
Dr. Cullen laughed, shaking his head. Yeah, well, thats what happens when you
lead girls on, you know.
Edward groaned, narrowing his eyes slightly at his father. Whatever, I dont lead
them on. Im straightforward; they know what the fuck is going on. But
regardless, maybe I deserve the shit but Isabella sure didnt deserve to get hit.
Dr. Cullens eyebrows raised and he glanced at me. My heart started racing, my
stomach feeling queasy at the fact that I was being dragged into the
conversation. Tanya hit you? he asked.

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I sighed. Yes, sir. But I dont think she meant me any harm. It was probably an
accident.
Bullshit, Edward said, glancing over at me and cocking an eyebrow. Tanya was
pissed, knew exactly what she was doing.
Dr. Cullen sighed, shaking his head. I imagine she did. Im glad you werent
really hurt Isabella. You shouldnt be put in the line of fire with Edwards puttani.
Edward groaned but I smiled lightly. I had no idea what puttani were but I had a
feeling it was a not-so-nice name for girls. Its fine. Ive survived a lot worse
than a shove.
The moment the words left my lips I felt sick. Dr. Cullen stared at me, his gaze
intense. He probably thought I was calling him out, as I realized thats what it
sounded like. It was true, hed done worse to me than Tanya ever could, but I
hadnt meant it like that. Yeah, you have, he said after a moment, turning his
head back to the TV.
You look anxious. I jumped, slightly startled as Edward leaned his head over
and whispered, his lips so close to my ear that I could feel his warm breath on
my neck. I shivered lightly at the feeling, my cheeks reddening immediately from
embarrassment because of my reaction. Edward chuckled lightly, his mouth still
close to my ear. I could feel his messy hair brushing against my neck and cheek,
tickling my skin.
Im okay, I said softly, turning my head in his direction. He was so close my
cheek grazed his nose and the tip of our noses brushed when our eyes met. He
pulled his head back quickly, but kept his gaze on me. He raised an eyebrow and
we stared at each other for a moment.
I hate this movie, Rosalie said after a moment, breaking the silence in the room
and startling me. Id been so caught up in Edwards eyes that Id forgotten we
werent alone. I turned my attention back to the TV, trying to focus on it.
You hate everything, Edward muttered. I felt the cushion move as he shifted his
position slightly.

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Whatever. I just hate not knowing the ending. I mean, seriously, what the hell
happened to him?
Dr. Cullen laughed lightly. Thats the point. Jimmy Hoffas death is unsolved.
My brow furrowed, that name sounding slightly familiar. I guess the guy on the
movie we were watching was named Jimmy Hoffa and evidently he died. I felt
Edward lean back in my direction after a moment. Its a true story. He vanishes
into thin air, he whispered. I smiled lightly, appreciating the gesture. He mustve
seen the look of confusion on my face.
Come on, dont give me that shit. What really happened to him? Rosalie asked.
Dr. Cullen sighed and shook his head. If youre insinuating I had something to
do with it Rosalie, youre wrong. I was only ten when he disappeared.
She huffed. Come on, youve gotta know something, she said. Ive always
wanted to know.
There was a briefly silence. If I were a betting man, Id put my money on Frank
Sheeran being the one who actually took him out. Id venture a guess he was
cremated and his ashes disposed of. Chicago had nothing to do with it, though.
Hoffa was an asset to the family with laundering money through the casinos.
Dr. Cullens tone was even, his voice devoid of any and all emotion. It was
slightly bone-chilling, reminded me of how hed spoken to me that day in his
room.
So hes not under Giants Stadium? Emmett asked after a moment. Dr. Cullen
laughed.
No, I dont think so. Well, I dont know, but if Id have done it I wouldve
cremated him.
They all sat around, nonchalantly chatting about the Hoffa guy and laughing. I
was slightly uncomfortable with the situation, having been reminded once again
how callous Dr. Cullen could be. I couldnt exactly run up to my room and hide
out, unsure of how Dr. Cullen would react to that considering he was the one that

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had told me to sit down in the first place. After a moment I couldnt take it
anymore and leaned over to Edward.
Do you want something to drink? I asked softly. He turned his head toward me
and smiled.
You can bring me something if you want, he said, shrugging. I smiled and
nodded, standing up. I took a few steps toward the kitchen, pausing abruptly
before I exited the room.
Uh, do you want something to drink Dr. Cullen? I asked hesitantly. I knew it
would be rude to not offer and the other two boys already had drinks.
No thank you, he said, glancing over at me and smiling lightly. I forced a small
smile in return to be polite, turning to head out when Rosalie chimed in.
Ill take a bottle of water, thanks for asking, she sneered sarcastically. My steps
faltered and I felt my heart rate spike, slightly frightened that Id messed up. I
didnt know if I was supposed to ask her or how exactly I was supposed to treat
her when she visited. Dr. Cullen had said she was like a daughter to him, did that
mean I was to treat her like a family member?
Youre perfectly capable of getting your own water Rosalie. Last time I checked,
there was nothing wrong with your legs, Dr. Cullen said. His voice was casual
but I was slightly stunned by the words. Rosalie huffed in response but otherwise
didnt respond.
I took a few steps toward the kitchen and heard Edwards voice. Youre such a
fucking bitch, I swear, he said. I heard Rosalie mumble a whatever in response.
I walked into the kitchen and opened up the fridge, glancing around. I grabbed a
can of coke, opening it and pouring it into a glass. I grabbed the container of
cherries and mixed some juice into the soda, tossing a few cherries in and stirring
it. I reached in the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water, hesitating before
grabbing another one.
I walked back in the living room and walked over toward Rosalie cautiously.
Here you go, I said softly, holding one of the bottles of water out toward her.

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She glanced up at me, raising her eyebrows and staring at me for a moment
before taking the water from me. She turned her head back to look at the TV
without saying a word.
I walked over to the couch, sitting back down between Edward and Jasper. I
handed the glass of cherry coke to Edward and he smiled. You didnt have to
fucking do that, you know, he said softly, leaning over to whisper. Actually you
didnt have to do any of it. I can get my own drink and that bitch is surely
capable of doing the shit herself also. He brought his drink to his lips, taking a
sip. I really fucking appreciate though, he added, chuckling.
I smiled lightly. Youre welcome, I said quietly. I glanced back over at the TV
and something from the corner of my eye caught my attention. I peeked over,
my eyes widening slightly when I saw Dr. Cullen looking at Edward and I. I
couldnt quite decipher his expression, whether he was upset or mad or sad, but
his lips were curved downward a bit and his eyes were narrowed slightly.
I started to get self-conscious, afraid that maybe Id done something wrong. I
couldnt help the constant fear I felt around him now, as I was always afraid of
unintentionally making a mistake and setting him off.
Dr. Cullens phone rang and he looked away from us, reaching into his pocket to
find it. He pulled it out and glanced at the screen, a look of confusion on his face.
He sighed and answered it.
Cullen speaking, he said. He was quiet for a moment. Yeah?
I guess the person on the phone was speaking, as Dr. Cullen sat quietly listening,
the confused look on his face growing. How many hits did you say you had? he
asked, his voice portraying the same amount of confusion. A surge of instinctive
fear shot through me, knowing hits was what people called it when the mob
killed people. Youre sure?
I tried not to listen, not wanting to look like I was spying or anything, but Dr.
Cullen was speaking quite loud and clearly. Well, who were they? I peeked over
and saw Edward was watching his dad, his eyes narrowed slightly.
What?! Dr. Cullen said, his voice louder than before. How the hell is that

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possible?
Dr. Cullen groaned after a moment. Do it again. If it comes out the same, well
redo the entire thing. But that has to be wrong. And I expect complete discretion,
you hear me? I dont want this getting out until I can sort this out, especially not
when weve got so many rats in the sewer system. Keep it off the record we
just dont need to be hitting the mattresses over this prematurely. Capisca?
He tossed his phone down, pinching the bridge of his nose and staring at the
ground. I watched him from the corner of my eye, slightly confused about his
shift in demeanor. Hed been in such a happy mood earlier.
Isabella? he said after a moment. I glanced over and saw him staring at me.
Yes, sir?
Do you know much about The Swans business? Did they ever discuss it around
you? he asked, raising his eyebrows questioningly.
Uh no, sir, I said hesitantly, caught of guard, unsure of why hed be asking
me about Charles. I mean, we were aware but Charles would punish us if we
ever suggested he was more than a realtor.
Dr. Cullen nodded, but didnt respond. He sat staring at me, his expression
unreadable but it looked as if he were studying me for some reason.
He turned his attention to Edward after a moment. He shook his head and
pinched the bridge of his nose. Fucking cherry cokes, he mumbled, his voice a
mixture of anger and disbelief. He got up abruptly after that, grabbing his phone
and heading out of the room without saying another word.
I had no idea what had happened, but whatever it was it couldnt be good. I
glanced over at Edward who was watching me intently. I furrowed my brow,
confused, and he shrugged.
Beats the fuck out of me, he said.
A/N:

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Mob Speak:
Rat = someone who snitches/tells organization secrets
Off The record = Do something without the knowledge of the entire family
Sewer System = waste management is a euphemism for a mob organization
Hitting the Mattresses = going to war with rival organization
Puttani = whores
Capisca = Understand
Sfatto = When youre fucked up after a wild night
Dolcezza = Sweetness
Angelo = Angel

Chapter 24 - Forms of communication


Words are a wonderful form of communication, but they will never
replace kisses and punches -- Ashleigh Brilliant

EPOV
I sat in the uncomfortable little plastic chair, shifting around because my ass was
hurting. I was beating the end of my pencil against my desk, every tap irritating
the shit out of everyone around me but I didnt care. I was bored and anxious
and ready for this ridiculous fucking class to get over with. Tanya was sitting
behind me and I could practically feel her eyes boring into the back of my head.
She was pissed at me and I honestly didnt care what she thought, but I was
getting annoyed listening to her exaggerated sighs and huffs. Every exhale and
noise that came from her made me want to punch her in the fucking face just
that much more. Ive never lashed out so bad that I straight up punched a girl,
although Ive wanted to a few times. Thats the only reason Tanya has gotten
away with disrespecting me so much over the yearsI dont hit females. But Ill
be damned if she didnt tempt me. Unfortunately Tanya knew I wouldnt punch
her, regardless of how much I wished I could, and thats why she has the balls to
talk to me the way she does.
I heard my name being called and glanced up at the teacher standing at the

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chalkboard. She was looking at me expectedly and I muttered some curse words
under my breath. I hadnt been paying any attention to what the hell she was
saying or what she was going over so I frankly had no idea what she was calling
my name for.
Can you repeat that please Miss Jones? I asked, using my light charming
seductive voice that even the female teachers seemed to cave to, and cocked an
eyebrow at her. I saw the corner of her mouth lift up into a small smile and
smirked. Yeah, even that frigid bitch wanted me--it was ridiculous.
Whats the answer to question 21? she asked. I glanced down at my book,
praying I was listening at least subconsciously enough to be on the right
goddamn page.
315 degrees, I mumbled. I glanced up and saw her nod slightly, moving on to
someone else. I sighed, shaking my head and glancing up at the clock. Only
fifteen fucking minutes to go.
Whats got you distracted? Tanya whispered, leaning up in her desk so her
mouth was near my ear. I moved my head away from her quickly, repulsed by
the feel of her breath on my skin, and groaned.
Like its any of your fucking business, I muttered, louder than I intended as
everyone around me looked at me with irritation. I rolled my eyesthey all could
kiss my ass. I sat quietly, listening to Tanya continue her ridiculous huffing
behind me for the rest of the class, just staring at the clock as the seconds ticked
away.
The bell rung finally and I slammed my book shut, muttering about fucking time
under my breath.
What has gotten into you lately? I swear, take some fucking Midol or something
and get over this PMSing because its not you, Tanya said, throwing her book in
her book bag. I rolled my eyes again.
You ever think maybe you just dont know me? I asked, irritated that she was
calling me out. And why are you even fucking talking to me?

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She huffed again. Maybe because we used to be friends? she said.


Yeah well, you pretty much killed that when you busted into my house like the
goddamn police coming to interrogate me, I spat. I was still pissed at her, not
speaking to her because of what happened that day when she showed up at the
house. I paid her for the damages Id caused her car just so she didnt throw
some fucking tantrum and try to sue me or some shit, but her and I were far
from being friends at this point. She had come into my room, screaming about
how we fucking belonged together and that I was ruining everything. I never
made that bitch any promises, sure as shit never took any vows, so she had no
goddamn right to be acting that way. Id been having a fantastic morning too,
dreaming about Isabella and looking forward to waking up with her in my arms.
But instead, I woke up to Tanyas shrill voice and Isabella nowhere to be found. I
ignored Tanya the best I could, not giving a shit what she thought of me, but
when she started on Isabella it snapped something inside of me. I nearly fucking
beat her like a man, didnt give a shit at the moment, but what held me back was
the fact that I knew Isabella would see and I couldnt do that shit in front of her.
Christ, I was trying to win her heart, the last thing I needed to do was hit a
woman in front of hereven if that woman is someone as vile as Tanya. God,
why did I ever fuck that girl? What did I ever see in her? I tried to calm myself
down but when I went back in the house and Isabella mentioned Tanya had hit
her, I lost it. I ran back outside to her car and she rolled her window down,
thinking I had some change of heart and was trying to make up with her or
something. I leaned down in her window and told her in my hardest coolest voice
that if she ever touched Isabella again I wouldnt hesitate to fuck her world up.
And I meant that. I wouldnt lay a finger on her, but I would hurt her regardless.
And if youre coming to the party tomorrow, Id appreciate it if you left the
fucking attitude at home, Tanya, I said firmly. I got up and slung my book bag
over my shoulder, turning and heading out of the room. Everyone was heading to
5th period but I walked right by my classroom and out of the building, heading
straight for the student parking lot. The only reason Id come to school today was
for the trigonometry test I just took last period and there was no way I was
sitting through any of the other fucking classes. Not today.
Since we moved to Washington, weve been having a Halloween party every year.
Alice usually takes care of all of the specifics about it, the whole planning bullshit
with decorations and invitations, and the rest of us are usually just along for the

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ride. Its always a big deal in this small ass town--everyone looks forward to it
every year.
Alice always handled the costumes too. I had no clue what the hell she had
planned this year and wouldnt know until she showed up at the house in the
morning with everything. I was a bit worried at first, throwing a big ass party at
the house with Isabella there now, but Alice and Jasper had been insistent that
everything would be fine. I wasnt so sure I trusted their opinion on the subject
though, considering their dumb asses brought her to that party after my game
and she couldnt handle it. Id brought it up to Isabella a few times, trying to
gauge her reaction to the idea of a party at the house and she didnt really freak
out about it, but I could tell she was a bit apprehensive. I tried to reassure her
that everything would be cool but honestly I couldnt even know that myself.
Bitches were unpredictable.
I reassured Isabella multiple times that she didnt have to participate, that she
could stay in her room if she wanted and no one would bother her. No one was
allowed up on the third floor during our parties, they knew that. There was
absolutely no reason for anyone to go up there so shed be left alone. But she
said she was okay with it all. I couldnt deny I was slightly worried though,
wondering if she had any idea at all of what she was getting herself into.
I headed out into my car and started it up, spinning tires and pulling out of the
parking lot quickly. I scanned through my IPod, putting on some hip hop for the
hell of it. I had such an eclectic taste in music it was ridiculousmy music tended
to change with my mood. I flew through the roads, heading toward the house.
Dad had left town early this morning for a trip to Chicago to deal with borgata
business and wouldnt be back for at least a few days. I gathered from his
telephone conversation last week that they were having some problems with
people infiltrating and defying the Omert loyalty oath and telling family secrets,
so they were going to be doing some sorting out and house cleaning. That
conversation had confused me though, as usually when Dad talked business I
could pretty much understand it all, having had so much practice over the years
spying like the nosey little shit I could be. I knew all the code words and what
they really meant when they said stuff, which always gave me a good idea of the
shit my father was up to. He said hits and instinctively I thought he was talking
about killing someone, but that didnt make any fucking sense. They never were
that damn blatant about killing people when talking because you never fucking

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know who might be tapping into the lineespecially now, with the Justice
Department all over them. When they were taking someone out, they talked
about remodeling. Painting the house is killing, like blood splattering the fucking
walls, and carpentry work is disposing of the body and cleaning up. You want to
do away with someone, you ask the hit man about a contract for painting a house
and doing some carpentry work. So I couldnt figure out what kind of fucking hits
he was talking about and why the conversation had basically stunned him. He
came home in a stellar fucking mood and I imagined it meant he likely got laid
while he was gonewhich I didnt like to fucking think about--but something
about that conversation had killed it. It had to be something serious, as he was
worried about a war starting because of whatever it was, and ever since then hes
been distracted. All damn week hes been on edge, fucking staring at people like
he can read their minds. Him being on edge made me fucking paranoid, since he
was usually so nonchalant about everything, so as much as I loved my father I
was glad he was gone for a while. I needed a damn break from all of that.
I pulled up in front of the house and shut the car off. I climbed out and shut the
door, heading toward the house. I stepped inside and froze abruptly in the foyer.
It smelled like pine-sol, all lemony and piney and just downright fucking clean.
Usually the smell of cleaning chemicals irritated me and I wouldve bitched about
it and opened windows to get the scent out, but it just didnt fucking bother me
now because I knew it was Isabellas doing. That girl could probably bring a
goddamned skunk in the house and let it spray around and stink shit up, and Id
overlook it and deal with it as long as she fucking liked it. I swear, she had me
wrapped around her pinky and she didnt even know it. The place was spotless,
the floor nearly sparkling as she had very obviously scrubbed the hell out of it.
The house was completely silent so I had no idea where she was or what she was
doing, but it was evident shed had a busy morning. I walked through the bottom
floor, glancing around and noticing every other room was just as clean.
I headed toward the steps, slightly confused as to why shed cleaned so much.
Dad was gone and she had to know by now that none of us boys would really
give a shit if she relaxed a bit. I made it to the second floor and saw all the doors
closed and no sound anywhere, so I figured she wasnt there. I headed up to the
third floor and walked toward our rooms. I heard the TV on in her room and
paused outside her door, listening. I brought my hand up after a second and
knocked lightly.

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I heard a yelp and the door swung open quickly. Isabella stood there, staring at
me wide-eyed, looking completely startled. I cocked an eyebrow at her, my eyes
instinctively roaming downward and scanning her body. She was wearing those
fucking tiny shorts and that low-cut tank top, the same clothes shed been
wearing the first night I slipped into her room to watch her sleep. The black made
her skin look so smooth and creamy that I had to resist the strong urge boiling
inside of me to reach out and caress it.
Get dressed, I said, cocking an eyebrow at her. She furrowed her brow in
confusion, glancing down at herself. Her eyes widened slightly with surprise, I
guess realizing how little clothing she actually had on.
Im so sorry, she muttered, glancing up at me. I looked at her questioningly,
confused as to why the hell she was apologizing to me when it struck me what Id
said. She thought I was telling her to get dressed because of how much skin she
was showing.
Dont apologize. Seriously, never fucking apologize for that, I said chuckling,
shaking my head and scanning my eyes down her body again. It was so obvious I
was checking her out but I really didnt care if she knew. I cared if it made her
uncomfortable, of course, but I couldnt exactly care if she figured out I was
attracted to her. Honestly, she had to suspect it by now anyway. Id been calling
her sweet names and flirting all week. Its just we got somewhere to go and Im
sure youd rather put something else on before we left.
Okay, she said hesitantly. Just give me a moment, okay?
I nodded. Take all the time you need. Ill be in the kitchen.
She smiled her sweet innocent smile and nodded. I lingered there for a moment,
just gazing at her and smiling, before turning and heading for the stairs to give
her some privacy. I didnt want to look like I was hovering or anything, although
thats exactly what I wanted to do.
I headed downstairs and went into the kitchen, opening the fridge and glancing
around. I sighed and grabbed a bottle of water, opening it and taking a swig. I
heard her footsteps on the stairs after a moment and smiled to myself. She was

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getting better at letting herself be known and not being so fucking stealthy all the
time around me. I hated being snuck up on.
I walked to the doorway of the kitchen as she hit the foyer. She had on a pair of
jeans and a shirt, looking casual. It was nice for a girl to be so fucking chill
around me, not so wrapped up in appearances.
She smiled sweetly at me, raising her eyebrows. Im ready, she said,
shrugging. I smiled and nodded, hesitating before heading for the door. I opened
it up and she walked by me and outside so I could engage the alarm and lock up.
I opened the passenger door to the car for her, and she thanked me softly. I
climbed in the drivers side and started the car up, pulling away from the house.
Where are we going? she asked. I glanced over at her, realizing shed just
fucking gotten into a car with me, having no idea where we were going. I wasnt
sure how I felt about that, as Id been trying to get her to speak her mind around
me and stand up for herself, telling her she was allowed to tell me no. I hoped
like hell she hadnt just followed me and did what I said simply because she felt
she had no choice. But the alternate meant that she fucking trusted me and I
wasnt so sure about that. I wanted her to trust me, wanted her to believe that I
would never hurt her intentionally and Id do what I could to help her, but could
the girl actually fucking trust me to the point where shed follow me blindly? I
wasnt sure.
I opened the center console, glancing inside of it, looking for the list. Open the
glovebox, there should be a piece of paper in there, I said. She looked at me
with confusion, I guess because I didnt answer her fucking question, but she did
what I said anyway. She opened the glovebox and started shifting some things
around, looking for it. I glanced over and saw her pull something out and hold it
up, a confused look on her face. My eyes widened in shock and I groaned when I
realized she found the fucking condoms I always kept in the car just in case.
Christ, I forgot they were in there, I mumbled, feeling like a jerk. I mean, it
wasnt like they were used or anything, but I didnt like her seeing them because
it probably reminded her that I was the type of dickhead who fucked girls just for
the sake of fucking. She peeked over at me with confusion, holding up the little
black Magnum box.

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"Uh... what is it?" she asked hesitantly, her brow furrowed. I groaned again,
realizing she didn't even fucking know what a condom was and knowing I was
going to have to explain.
"It's a condom. You, uh... put it on... or i mean a guy puts it on when you're, you
know..." I stammered. I ran my hand through my hair nervously, not knowing
how to fucking say it and feeling like an idiot. God, why did this girl make me so
damn nervous?!
I groaned, more irritated now because of my fucking incompetence. She was
looking at me curiously, obviously waiting on a goddamn answer and not
understanding. "They're for sex, Isabella."
Her eyes widened with shock and she dropped the box, letting go of it quickly like
touching it was painful or something. I nearly laughed at her reaction and
probably would've if I weren't so damn embarrassed about it. I reached over and
snatched the condoms out of her lap and rolled down my window, throwing it out
onto the highway. Her eyes widened with shock at my behavior. "They're just for
protection, you know. So you don't catch any diseases or make any babies. I'm
sorry you had to find them."
She nodded hesitantly, understanding. She blinked a few times, obviously still
absorbing it and likely trying to figure out why the hell I'd just thrown them out
the window in the midst of my overreaction. She glanced over at me briefly and
gave me a small smile.
Its no big deal, she said softly. She grabbed a folded up piece of notebook
paper and held it up, looking at me questioningly. Is this it?
I nodded, glad we were moving on from that disaster of a conversation. Yeah,
thats it. Open it up, whats it say? She closed the glovebox and unfolded the
paper, scanning over it. Her eyes narrowed slightly after a moment and I saw her
lips move as she silently sounded out some of the words. Out loud, Bella.
She glanced up at me with wide eyes before turning back to the list. Uh.
Chips Pret--uh, pretzels Soda Are we going to the grocery store?
I smiled. Yes, indeed, we are. Alice gave me that list almost a week ago to get

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shit for the party and I havent done it yet. Honestly, she knows better than to
fucking ask me to do it because I always forget, but if I dont get it done now
shes going to kill me. I figured while we were there we could stock the house up
since were starting to run low on shit. You know, two birds with one stone.
I didnt know if she ever heard that expression but she smiled and nodded like
she understood, turning back to the list. Do you want me to make some stuff for
the party? she asked.
No, I said quickly, probably too forcefully as she jumped slightly. I mean, you
dont have to do that shit. I dont want you cooking for all those fucking people or
anything; you should be enjoying the break with my father gone. Its Halloween,
you should have some damn fun too.
She smiled lightly. I really wouldnt mind, she said with a shrug. I rolled my
eyes.
Well, I would. So would you do me the favor of relaxing a bit? Because I dont
want you going out of your way to do anything for any of those mother fuckers. If
any of them ask you for anything, you make sure you tell them to kiss your ass,
I said. I was worried about her natural instinct to do what shes told to kick in and
her start fucking taking orders from bitches. I really didnt want to cause a scene
at the party but I would--I wasnt going to allow her to be disrespected in her
own home. Because thats exactly what it was, and I realized maybe she didnt
feel like she had a home but she did. Her home was with us, with me.
Okay, she mumbled. I rolled my eyes.
Really, Bella? Just okay? I mean it, promise me if any of them try to order you
around youll tell them no, I said.
She sighed. I promise.
I nodded, hoping she wasnt one to break fucking promises. Good, I said. We
pulled up in the parking lot of the store and climbed out, heading inside. Isabella
grabbed the cart, not an ounce of hesitation or fear this time, and I smirked. It
was such a simple thing but shed really grown a lot and adapted since she first
arrived here in Forks. She was finally starting to get used to things, getting

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comfortable out in the world. I still had a hard time believing she spent her life up
until now out of the public eye. Theyd done the world a grave injustice, locking
such a beautiful creature like her away.
She went to hand me the list and I shook my head. I reached into my pockets
and pulled out a pen, handing it to her. It was my favorite fucking pen at that,
the one that wrote smoothly and seemed to have a never-ending supply of
flowing ink. Yeah, I was even finicky with my writing utensilsI couldnt help the
shit. She took it hesitantly and I smiled. I practically pried her fingers off the cart
and started pushing it. You can handle the list, I said. She looked shocked and
blinked a few times but nodded. I figured practice makes perfect, right? Reading
the words and making sure we got it all would help her at least fucking apply
what she learned. Id been busy all week with football and school, and hadnt
actually been able to help her, but Jasper said he hung out with her a few days
this week and they worked on stuff. He said he helped her out with practicing
some technical aspects, like rhyming and syllables and letter sounds and shit. I
dont know, like I said I know next to nothing about how to teach people stuff but
he made it sound like he knew what he was doing so I was grateful. He had Alice
around also some of those days and she worked at a preschool over the summer
so I assumed she knew how people learned how to read. Yeah, I was completely
out of my element on thatId probably be very little help to her when it boiled
down to it.
We went through the store and threw shit into the cart, both from the list and for
at the house. We hadnt bee back grocery shopping since that day a few weeks
ago, although weve all stopped by the store to grab necessary shit like milk.
Shed gotten the hang of our eating habits over time and I didnt even have to do
much, as she grabbed our favorite snacks and drinks too. Id actually gained
weight since she moved in because of her amazing fucking cooking, which was
nice but irritating as shit because I was having to spend even longer hours in the
gym at school to stay in shape. I honestly couldnt figure out why the fuck
Isabella stayed so thin, she could use an extra ten pounds at least. I was
beginning to wonder if I was going to have to start force-feeding her. I never
fucking saw her eating anything.
After we made it through all of the aisles she handed the list back to me. I
glanced down it and smiled, seeing everything crossed off. I stuck the paper in
my pocket with the pen and we headed toward the register. I started throwing

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shit up on the conveyer belt, thankful that the cashier this time was an elderly
woman and not one of the Forks High bitches, since they were all still in school. I
wasnt so sure how to handle someone hitting on me or trying to hook up with
me in front of Isabella. Christ, they could be persistent and I had no intention of
screwing any of them anymore, but I didnt know how exactly to ward them off
without actually punching them in the fucking nose or something. Id told a few
girl this past week that I wasnt interested and they just rolled their eyes or
laughed, thinking I was fucking kidding or mumbling that Id change my mind. I
guess it was hard for them to understand Edward Cullen not fucking around
anymore, as it didnt make sense to them. And I couldnt exactly explain why, but
Tanya had picked up on that shit quickly that day at the house. Shed been just
lashing out and angry and I dont think she actually believed the shit she was
spewing, but it still worried me. This town was small and people had big fucking
mouths, and I was worried about rumors getting back to my dad. And I didnt
want Isabella to get the wrong idea about shit, especially if she saw other girls
flirting with me, or trying to grope me, or something. Id been working up the
nerve all fucking week to tell her that I liked her and it was hard as hell. I mean,
I wasnt planning on confessing my undying fucking love or anything, I didnt
want to scare the shit out of her, but I wanted her to know that I thought she
was special. I figured there was no harm in that and it would help me gauge
maybe how receptive shed be to something more, but I couldnt deny that I was
fucking nervous. Who knew Edward Cullen would ever be fucking anxious about a
girl? I sure as hell never imagined it possible.
I got all the groceries up on the belt and turned around, about to grab my
Toblerone bar to get my chocolate fix, and froze. My eyebrows raised in surprise
when I saw Isabella had beaten me to the shit and was holding one out to me. I
smirked, fucking proud that she remembered something so trivial. She was
observant, thats for sure. Thanks, I said, taking it from her and tossing it up
with the rest of our groceries. Get yourself one too.
She looked at me with surprise, hesitating before grabbing a second candy bar
and putting it up with the groceries. I turned back to the cashier, pulling out the
American Express and paying when it was all totaled up. The manager came over
and bagged the groceries again, sucking up to me like usual. I thanked him, and
Isabella and I headed out of the store to the car.
I loaded the groceries up in the back, keeping the top up because it was a gloomy

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day and drizzling. I used to like the rain, fucking loved thunderstorms as a kid,
but I was growing to hate it because it kept me from being able to utilize the
convertible. Winter was coming and it would be awhile before I actually got to put
the top down again. We climbed in the car and I handed Isabella her Toberlone
bar. Thank you, Edward, she said politely with a smile, opening the candy bar
all gingerly and pulling a triangle off to eat. I chuckled and opened mine, taking a
bite.
Anytime, bella ragazza, you dont even have to thank me, I said. I started the
car up, smiling, and headed out onto the road.
We talked about nothing of importance on the drive home, mostly about weather
and random shit like vegetation, but it was nice just to chat with her. She was
quite sharp minded and witty when she opened up, never ceased to amaze me
when she opened her mouth to speak. It was raining harder by the time we
arrived at the house so I pulled as close to the front door as I could. I turned the
car off and handed her my keys. She looked at me with confusion and I smiled.
Unlock the door, I said, motioning toward the house key. Dad hadnt given her
one yet, I guess because she never went anywhere without one of us, but I
figured he would soon enough. Punch the numbers 62373 in the keypad and hit
the big red button. Think you can handle that?
She nodded hesitantly. 62373, she repeated. I smiled and nodded.
She got out quickly and ran to the front door, putting the key in the lock. I
smiled, watching her, and climbed out once she had the door open. I grabbed a
bunch of bags and followed her, tossing them right inside the door in the foyer.
She turned, heading to go back out to the car and I threw my hand in front of her
to stop her. I didnt think about it before I did it, just wanted to fucking tell her to
stay in the house so she didnt get wet, but she flinched back and her hands flew
up in front of her protectively. I withdrew my hand quickly, feeling like an ass for
startling her. She was still so sketchy about sudden movements and I shouldve
known better than that shit.
I didnt mean to scare you, I muttered. She nodded and brought her hands
down, giving me a small smile. She looked like she was ashamed of her reaction

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but really it wasnt her fault. Go ahead and start putting this shit away, Ill get
the bags from the car. I dont want you to get wet and get sick or something.
She gave me a look that seemed to be a mixture of confusion and amusement,
but nodded and started grabbing bags to take into the kitchen. I finished
unloading the car and dropped all the bags on the floor. I started digging things
out and tossing them where I figured they went. I was probably making the job
harder on her by getting in her way, but I felt like I should at least try to help. I
didnt want her to have to do the shit herself.
Jasper and Emmett arrived home when we were finishing up putting groceries
away. They came in the house and we stood around chatting for a bit before
Emmett suggested getting pizza and watching a movie. Alice and Rose were both
busy with Halloween preparation so neither of those fuckers had anything to do.
We all agree and he drove into town to get the food, while Isabella, Jasper, and I
sat in the living room chatting. I kept waiting for Isabella to try to leave and go
hide up in her room or some shit, as this would be the first time she ever actually
ate with us. Emmett returned home with three pizzas--one with everything on it
for himself, one plain cheese because Jasper always eats fucking plain cheese
pizza, and another with just pepperoni because evidently Im finicky and he didnt
know what to get for me. Well actually, as Emmett put it, Edwards the dickhead
that doesnt fucking like anything you get, so you just get the usual and hope he
doesnt bitch too much.
I rolled my eyes and grabbed the box of pepperoni, not bothering to thank him
after that. I sat the box down on the coffee table, plopping down on the couch. I
glanced over at Isabella, quite shocked she was still there, and patted the
cushion beside me telling her to sit down. She hesitated, and I saw her eyes dart
toward the stairs, but I cocked an eyebrow at her and gave her a look that clearly
said dont fucking dare. I wouldve dragged her ass back, theres no doubt about
it. There was no reason for her to not eat with us.
She sighed and sat down beside me, giving me a small smile. We sat there and
ate pizza straight out of the box, and Jasper put in the movie Ghostbusters,
which we all saw a million fucking times but it was evident Isabella hadnt
because it had her undivided attention. I thought theyd want to watch a scary
movie like Friday the 13th since it was Halloween weekend but was thankful when
they went with something a bit tamer. Isabella had been having nightmares again

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all week and I found myself sneaking into her room to try to console her. I dont
know if she knew I did the shit, as she never actually woke up to see me but my
presence usually seemed to calm her a bit. Yeah, I was getting fucking soft but I
loved doing that shit. Loved knowing that just my touch could scare away her
demons, even if its only for a little while.
When Ghostbusters was over, Jasper put in Ghostbusters II and Isabella was
just as captivated by it as the first one. When it was over Jasper offered to put in
part three but she declined, saying she was going to bed. She left and I sat
around with my brothers for a while, watching some whacked-out subtitled
Japanese fighting movie Emmett bought before heading up to my room.
Isabellas room was oddly quiet for most of the night. Sometime around midnight
I snuck inside and saw her sleeping, looking fucking peaceful and almost happy. I
sat down on the edge of her bed and watched her for a bit, hoping shed say my
name but it never came. I had no plausible reason to touch her, since she wasnt
in a panic or anything, but I couldnt help myself. I stroked her hair for a bit,
running my hand along her soft cheek. I finally got up and sighed, running my
fingers through my hair, knowing I needed to leave before I got caught. I left her
room and headed downstairs, sitting my ass down in front of my piano. I honestly
hadnt been playing much up until this past week, but I had a melody stuck in my
head that was driving me insane. After I calmed Isabella down from her
nightmares I usually came down and tinkered around with it for a bit, trying to
flesh it out. Dad would be happy if he knew I was actually playing around with it
and composing a bit, as I knew he hated seeing the piano sit over in the corner
and collect dust. He never said shit about it to my face though, as hed be a
fucking hypocrite if he did.
I gave up at around 3am and headed back up to my room, laying down on the
bed and passing out as soon as my head hit the pillow. A loud fucking pounding
on the door woke me up later and I sat upright quickly, startled, and glanced
over at the clock. My eyes widened when I saw it was already after 1 pm. Christ,
Id slept half the fucking day already.
I jumped up, cursing because whoever it was continued to fucking pound on the
door like they were the police with a goddamn search warrant. I swung the door
open and spotted Alice standing there with her hands on her hips and her eyes
narrowed slightly.

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Im just wondering if you intended to wake up at all today, she said, irritation in
her voice. I rolled my eyes, shaking my head.
Does my answer even fucking matter Alice, considering Im up now? I asked.
She smiled and shook her head.
Were decorating, be down in 10 minutes, she said, turning and walking away. I
shook my head and closed the door, sighing. I walked over to my dresser and
pulled out a wifebeater, pulling it on with my flannel pajama pants. I wasnt going
to even bother dressing yet as Alice would be forcing us all into costumes before
long anyway.
I headed downstairs, groaning when I heard Rosalies voice. I hated dealing with
her when I first woke up because I was naturally more of a dickhead then and
she was always a mouthy bitch. Yeah, we always conflicted but more so first
thing in the morning. I headed into the living area where they were, still half
asleep and having no desire to spend my day decorating when the shit was only
going to be torn right back downI didnt see the point. I could hear Rosalie and
Alice chatting but the room was oddly fucking quiet, Jasper and Emmett nowhere
to be found. Rosalie and Alice were standing on chairs by the windows, trying to
tack orange and black streamers to the wall, and Isabella was sitting on the
couch, sorting through a box of what looked like fake flowers and was separating
them into piles of colors. I cocked an eyebrow at her, wandering what the fuck
she was doing, but she just shrugged obviously having no clue what the hell Alice
had fake flowers for. I smiled lightly at her and shook my head. I walked over to
where the other two were and grabbed a hold of the chair Rosalie was standing
in, shaking it. She yelled, as I scared the shit out of her and almost made her fall
because she hadnt heard me come in. She reached her hand out to smack me
and I jumped back. She narrowed her eyes and leapt off the fucking chair,
running straight for me. I ducked and covered my head and she punched me
twice in the back.
Youre a jerk, Edward, she spat. I dropped my hands and glanced at her,
laughing.
Yeah, well, you hit like a little girl, I said. She narrowed her eyes again and her
fist shot out, punching me right in the fucking chest. Christ! That fucking hurt! I

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said, rubbing the spot where her fist had connected.


Whos the little girl now? she asked, cocking an eyebrow at me and smirking. I
rolled my eyes and turned away from her, glancing over at Isabella. She was
watching us warily.
Edward can you help Isabella separate those flowers? Alice asked behind me. I
sighed and nodded.
Sure, short stuff. What the fuck are they for, anyway? I asked, walking over to
Isabella. She smiled at me and I winked, which caused her to blush. I chuckled
and headed for the stereo. Do either of you have your IPods?
Theyre for decoration idiot, Alice said playfully. She hopped off the chair and
walked over to her purse, pulling out her little pink IPod. She handed it to me and
I put it in the docking station, turning some music on because it was entirely too
fucking quiet and I couldnt do anything without background noise.
I sat down beside Isabella and started separating flowers. Jasper and Emmett
came in after awhile from outside, lugging boxes of even more shit. Isabella was
quiet for the most part, just listening to us chat, and I was already missing the
sound of her voice.
A Justin Timberlake song came on, one of his new ones called Like I Love You. I
wasnt a big fan of his music but I started listening to the words and chuckled.
Fuck if it didnt make sense to me now.
We got up and started hanging bunches of orange and black flowers around the
room. do you like Justin Timberlake? I asked, cocking an eyebrow and glancing
over at Isabella. She looked over at me, seeming confused for a second before
shrugging.
Not particularly, she said. I looked at her with surprise, having yet to meet a
fucking teenage girl that didnt love that prick.
I thought all bitches loved Timberlake, I said, shrugging. She froze, her brow
furrowing and eyes narrowing as she practically glared at me. Id never seen her
look at me with so much irritation before and it startled me. Christ, Id yelled at

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her and cursed at her and been a pure asshole and she always let it roll off her
back, but she gets pissed about Justin Timberlake? Hell of a time to start taking
my advice about standing up for herself.
What did you just call me? she asked after a moment, her voice low but had an
edge to it that Id never heard from her before. It almost frightened me, this soft
little kitten growling at me like she was about to bring out the claws. My brow
furrowed in confusion for a moment, unsure of what the fuck she was talking
about and wanting that mad look to leave her face. I heard Rose snicker and
glanced over at her. She looked majorly fucking amused about something. Alice
was frowning, and my brothers were watching with a look of pure anticipation on
their face. I shook my head, trying to remember what I said that couldve upset
her so much. I mean, I only asked her if she liked Justin Timberlake because all
bitches loved him.
My eyes widened and I groaned. Ah, shit I mumbled. I fucking just called her
a bitch. I shook my head in pure disbelief that Id just spouted that off to her.
Nothing.
She glared at me for a moment longer before turning her head away and going
back to work. Rose laughed again, obviously fucking loving this.
I watched her for a bit, feeling like an asshole as it was obvious she didnt like me
calling her that, even if I hadnt actually meant it to mean anything bad. It
eventually got to be too much so I walked over to her and leaned in, my lips
close to her ear. I inhaled briefly, her hair and skin smelling like luscious
strawberries. Im sorry, I whispered.
She peeked at me and shrugged. Its fine, she said softly. I groaned, shaking
my head.
I really didnt mean it like that, honest, I mumbled. She smiled lightly and
nodded, but didnt say anything. I couldnt tell if she believed me but I hoped she
did.
I pulled away from her and noticed Rose was watching us curiously. I glared at
her for a moment, wondering what the hell had her so interested, before walking
across the room and continuing to put those ugly goddamn flowers everywhere.

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We finished decorating and Alice started pulling out bags of costumes. She
handed each of us one, keeping a hold of two of them. Im going to get ready
with Isabella, Im sure you guys can handle getting dressed by yourself, she
said. We all mumbled in agreement. I opened my bag and smiledshe went with
a pirate theme.
Wait, I dont get a sword?! Emmett asked, glancing into his bag. I chuckled and
Jasper groaned. Every year that fucker wants a weapon, and every year he gets
drunk and causes destruction with it. We always go with themes where Alice
coordinates all of our costumes, she truly was master at that shit. I immediately
wondered what Isabellas costume was, as Alice had promised me it wouldnt be
too scandalous because I knew she wouldnt be comfortable with something
raunchy. I knew asking was a waste of time, as Alice would simply give me that
wicked smirk of hers that practically screams I know shit that you dont know
and refuse to answer.
Alice led Isabella upstairs. She looked fucking nervous and I felt bad for her, but I
figured shed be okay. I headed up to my room, tossing the bag on my bed and
stripping. I hopped in the shower, scrubbing real good as I felt grimy for some
reason. I hopped out and dried off, heading into the room and pulling out the
costume. I put on some boxers, pulling on the black pants and black boots. I put
a wifebeater on and the button-up white shirt on overtop of it. I put on the black
vest, buttoning it up, and tied the red sash around my waist. I grabbed the red
bandana and went into the bathroom, trying to comb my fucking hair down so I
could tie it around my head. I looked at myself in the mirror and smirkedI
looked fucking badass. I grabbed the hat and cocked it on my head slightly
crooked, making me look even better.
I glanced at the clock, noticing we only had about 30 minutes until people started
showing up. I spritzed myself with cologne and headed down the stairs, pausing
on the second floor and laughing when I spotted my brothers. Emmett had on
some black and white striped capris with an unbuttoned red vest with no shirt on
underneath it, a big ass golden hoop earring and an eye patch. He also had
somehow acquired a fucking sword from somewhere. Jasper looked like Captain
Hook, with the formal looking robes and frilly shirt and big ass hat. Yeah, I
definitely got to be the fucking cool pirate.

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I headed downstairs and grabbed my phone, dialing Dads cell phone number. It
rang a few times before his voicemail picked up, as I guessed he was busy with
business. I honestly didnt even want to think about what the hell he was doing at
the moment, but it was likely illegal and probably pretty fucking violent. His
voicemail beeped and I sighed. Dad, your eldest has a sword, so if shit gets
broken he did it. I was just calling to tell you in advance that I was going into the
basement to get some liquor for the party. I hung up and put the phone in my
pocket, pulling out my keys. I was the only one who had a key to the room other
than dad, and I only used it when I had permission to. I unlocked the door and
slipped inside, closing it behind me quickly and locking it. I didnt want anyone
walking by and wandering in the room while I was downstairs... Dad wouldnt be
upset if Jasper or Emmett came in, but anyone else hed probably snap. This was
the only room inside the house that had a security camera, so hed know if
anyone entered it. The room looked like a normal office, with a wooden
mahogany desk with a laptop sitting on top of it and a leather chair. There was a
section in the corner that opened into a walk-in closet where Dad kept some of
his more flashy items, like the Italian suits and hats and wingtips--the shit thats
used for show when they feel like dressing the part, basically. On the floor of the
walk in closet is a large Persian rug. I grabbed the rug and folded it up, exposing
the door in the corner of the floor. I opened it and headed down the flight of
stairs into the basement. I flicked on the light and a subtle glow came over the
front room. It was full of crates and boxes of shit. I grabbed an empty box and
started throwing bottles of liquor into it. I didnt go past the area near the steps,
having no need to go through his guns or see the torture chamber.
I headed back upstairs with the box full of liquor, closing everything up and
heading out into the living area. I handed the box off to Jasper and relocked the
room back up.
Rose came down, dressed as a raunchy pirate wench. I fought back the urge to
call her out on her costume, tell her she was supposed to dress up as something
she wasnt already, because my chest still fucking hurt from her punch earlier. I
had a feeling it was going to leave a bruise.
Rosalie made some type of alcoholic punch and pulled out the blender, throwing
together batches of Margaritas. I went into the living area and turned the music
up some, plopping my ass down on the couch with a bottle of Grey Goose vodka.
People started arriving and we all started drinking and chilling. Someone got a

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card game going at the dining room table and my gambling addicted brothers
started playing. Alice had set up a table over by the window and some of my
teammates got a game of Beer Pong going, roping me into participating. I hated
beer, especially the cheap shit, but fuck, it was Halloween so I wasnt going to be
a bitch about it. We were laughing and joking around, some of them getting
pretty drunk off the shit. I had a high tolerance for alcohol since I drank so much
hard liquor straight so it barely even buzzed me.
Tanya walked up to me while we were playing and smiled all sweetly. I rolled my
eyes, realizing she was trying to be seductive. She was dressed as a bunny, with
some short ass gray shorts that showed hints of her asscheeks and a white
cotton ball on her ass, a skin tight revealing gray tank top and some fucking
bunny ears. Normally Id find that shit hot but the sight of her just irritated me
now. I wanted to uninvited her but I couldnt do that shit. It may be my house
but it wasnt just my party. Her and Rose were friends and I figured rose
wouldve bit my head off if I told Tanya not to come.
I glanced at the clock when the beer pong game ended, my eyes widening with
surprise when I realized the party had been going for well over an hour already. I
glanced around, worried about Isabella, wondering where she was as I hadnt
seen her. Jessica came up to me while I was looking for Isabella and started
talking. I glanced at her briefly while she prattled on about something, but
walked away after a moment, as I had no patience for her nonsense. She was
dressed up as Dorothy from Wizard of Oz with a short ass dress and normally Id
try to bend her over something and take advantage of that, but the sight of her
didnt even make my dick hard anymore. I didnt even really find her that
attractive, the sound of her voice grating my nerves.
I walked into the kitchen and froze when I spotted Alice. I started laughing
hysterically, shaking my head. She was dressed as a fucking parrot, with a
colorful ass dress on that was covered in feathers, and she had a yellow beak on
her nose and yellow high heels. Leave it to Alice to think of that shit.
Hey, Polly, I said playfully, nudging her. She smiled lightly, nudging me back. I
glanced around before turning back to Alice, cocking an eyebrow at her.
She sighed, obviously knowing what the fuck I was looking for. She was really
nervous, didnt want to come down. Jasper went up to check on her a few

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minutes ago, Alice said. I sighed and nodded, not really surprised.
Alice gave me a sympathetic smile and linked her arm in mine, leading me out of
the kitchen and toward the foyer. The foyer was empty for the most part, except
for the people filtering upstairs to smoke in Emmetts room. Drugs had to stay in
one of the bedrooms, as dad didnt like us doing the shit in his common areas
because he didnt personally ever use.
We stood on the platform by the piano, just waiting around to make sure she was
okay. I spotted Jasper heading down the stairs after a moment and frowned when
I saw he was alone. I sighed and glanced at the ground, shaking my head. I
couldnt lie--I was fucking disappointed. I didnt blame her for wanting to stay
away from the party but I was selfish and really wanted to see her.
I turned and was about to walk away when I heard the laughter, that innocent
sweet melodic sound I loved so much. My head snapped toward the stairs and I
saw Jasper standing there waiting for Isabella as she started down them from the
second floor. My eyes widened in shock at the sight of her, my breath hitching.
She looked gorgeous. No, she looked better than gorgeous. She was literally
breathtaking, which is saying a lot because it takes a lot to stun me. She had on
a shiny gold dress, not too tight but it showed her curves and fell slightly above
her knees. It had fringe around the edges made out of fake gold pirate coins, and
had on a pair of furry brown Uggs boots that fell mid-calf. She had a bunch of
gold costume jewelry on with different colored stones, hanging around her neck
and wrists. Her hair was curly and she had a gold crown on. The makeup wasnt
overdone, but it was slightly glittery, her skin shimmering. I glanced over at Alice
and cocked an eyebrow.
Shes our treasure chest, eh? I asked. Alice smiled brightly and shrugged. I
shook my head and chuckled. Only fucking Alice would do that.
Jasper led her over to us. She smiled sheepishly, looking so fucking cute and shy.
Jasper grabbed Alices hand and led her away, leaving Isabella and I alone. Alice
glanced back and winked at me. I rolled my eyes at her playfully but I couldnt
help the big ass smile that came on my face.
I stared at Isabella for a moment. La mia bella ragazza, I said softly, reaching

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out and grabbing her hand. She looked up at me, meeting my eyes. There was a
sparkle in hers, a twinkle of happiness. She glanced down at our hands and then
looked back up at me.
What does that mean? she asked.
I smirked and shook my head. I turned and headed toward the kitchen, pulling
her along with me. I grabbed a bottle of liquor off of the counter and opened it,
taking a swig. I held it out to her but she shook her head, not wanting any. I
shrugged and took another drink of it, sitting it back down.
Whats up Cullen? I glanced behind me and saw Ben and Angela walk in the
kitchen. Ben was dressed as a cowboy and Angela as an Indian.
Cheney, I said, nodding in acknowledgement. This is Isabella. Isabella, this is
Ben and his girlfriend Angela. They said hello to Isabella and she said hey back,
saying it was a pleasure to meet them, surprising me with how fucking confident
and charming she sounded when she greeted them. I could tell she was nervous
by the look in her eye but she was trying to be strong and was putting on a great
show.
We stood around and talked for a few minutes, Isabella being silent for the most
part but looking attentive and smiling and shit. Alice walked over after a bit,
saying she wanted to borrow Isabella for a bit. I smiled at her as Alice led her
away.
I walked over and got into another round of beer pong, but I couldnt get my
mind off of Isabella. No matter where she was, my eyes kept drifting in her
direction and each time shed be looking at me. Id smirk and shed blush and
look away.
After about a half an hour I couldnt take it anymore and walked over to the
kitchen where she was standing. As soon as I hit the doorway Rose walked up to
her, pausing in front of her. Get me a glass of punch, she said, holding her
glass out to Isabella. I froze and held my breath, waiting for her reaction, fucking
hoping she didnt cave and do it. Isabella hesitated for a moment.
Sorry, no, she said finally. Rose cocked an eyebrow at her.

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Excuse me? she said.


I said no. The punch is right over there if youre thirsty, she said, shrugging. My
eyes widened at her bravery, a swell of fucking pride shooting through me that
shed actually stood up for herself. I walked forward a few steps and Rose
glanced up at me. I smirked and she narrowed her eyes.
I guess she told you, I said, shrugging. Isabella jumped, not having heard me
approach, and glanced back at me.
Yeah, I guess she did, Rose said. About fucking time, too. I watched in
disbelief as Rose walked over and filled up her glass with punch. She glanced
over at us for a moment, shaking her head. I shouldve been the fucking
treasure though, she added, turning to head out.
No, I think being the wench was perfect for you, Isabella said with absolutely
no fucking hesitation. I started laughing immediately and Rose froze mid-step.
Isabellas hand shot up to cover her mouth, realizing what shed just said.
Rose turned her head and eyed us. Her glare was menacing and I worried
immediately that I was going to have to fucking finally hit a girl, as if rose came
at Isabella there was no doubt in my mind Id jump in. I was bracing myself for
her to lunge, but it never came. Roses expression softened after a moment.
There may be hope for you yet, she said, shaking her head and leaving the
room.
Ah, Bella, that was fucking brilliant! I said, stunned. I started laughing and
grabbed her hand, twirling her around. It caught her off guard and she started
laughing, nearly losing her balance. I grabbed a hold of her so she didnt fall and
pulled her to me. I was buzzing and feeling brave, and Princes Kiss started
playing and at that moment I wanted nothing more than for her to dance with
me. I wanted to feel her body close to me, wanted to hold her and just be with
her for a moment. I gripped her hips and she jumped slightly but didnt pull away
from me. I started swaying her body to the music and she looked slightly afraid,
obviously not one for dancing.
Relax, tesoro mio, I said, smiling. She smiled lightly in return, some of the

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anxiety in her face leaving. I grabbed her arms and pulled them up over my
shoulders before placing my hands back on her hips and pulling her even closer
to me.
What does that mean? she asked softly.
I smirked again, debating whether or not to actually answer her this time.
Tesoro technically means treasure in Italian, although some use it in place of
sweetheart, I said with a shrug. So Tesoro mio is my treasure which right
now you literally are.
She blushed and looked away from me and I chuckled. I swayed us to the music
and started singing along to the chorus, as it was the only fucking part of the
song I knew.
You don't have to be rich to be my girl, I sang softly, my lips near her ear. You
don't have to be cool, to rule my world. Ain't no particular sign I'm more
compatible with. I just want your extra time and your
I dipped her backwards, startling her. She yelped and wrapped her arms tightly
around my neck and I laughed. Kiss. I said playfully, finishing the chorus. I
pulled her back up quickly and twirled her again, because she was fucking
beautiful and deserved to be shown off. She nearly lost her balance again and I
caught her, pulling her body so close to mine that our noses rubbed together, and
our foreheads touched. She was laughing, the sound so fucking carefree and
happy that it made my chest swell with all the love I felt for her. I went to pull
back, not wanting to make her uncomfortable being so close, and stopped
abruptly when Isabellas lips brushed against mine. It was soft and innocent,
barely a kiss but thats exactly what it fucking was. I almost thought maybe I
imagined it but I could feel my lips tingling. I brought my bottom lip into my
mouth, licking it, and could taste the lip-gloss on it from her mouth. I wondered if
it were an accident, if maybe she hadnt meant it, but how do you fucking
accidentally kiss someone? She had to have cocked her head to the side slightly
to do it. No, that was no fucking accident. Shed pressed her lips to mine on
purpose.
She pulled back quickly from me, her eyes widening. She brought her hands up
to cover her mouth, a look of pure shock on her face. I was just stunned, unable

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to do anything but gape at her. I couldnt believe she kissed me. Id been
stressing over the shit since that day in my bedroom, wanting to kiss her mouth
and taste her lips but unsure of how to go about it, never even considering shed
make the first move. And God, that was fucking brave of her, especially since I
told her I just dont do that shit, I dont kiss on the mouth.
Isabella backed up a few steps and my brow furrowed in confusion, unsure of
what she was doing. She started to turn around and I realized she was about to
run away. I reached out and grabbed her arm, swinging her back in my direction
and pulling her to me so her body was pressed up against mine. Her hands fell
from her mouth, her eyes widening even more. I pressed my lips to hers firmly
without a second thought, cocking my head to the side and kissing her
passionately. I closed my eyes and tasted her mouth, just fucking enjoying the
softness and sweetness of her. She seemed frozen for a second before she
started kissing me back, her lips moving with mine and parting slightly. I could
feel her breath, her breathing shaky but whether it be from nervousness or
eagerness I wasnt sure. I felt her arm come up and she ran her hand along the
back of my head, her fingers lacing in the hair sticking out of my bandana by my
neck. Her touch was gentle, her hands trembling. I groaned into her mouth as
that shit tickled and pulled back from her slightly. I felt my dick hardening and
didnt want to fucking be indecent with her and press it all on her. I also didnt
know if she were trembling from fear, if I was fucking scaring her, and that
worried me because I didnt want to frighten her by kissing her like that. I mean,
she started the shit and was kissing me back so I didnt think she was freaked
out, but I didnt want to overwhelm her. I opened my eyes and pulled my lips
from her, noticing her eyes were closed and she looked pretty fucking relaxed.
She opened her eyes slowly, her eyes meeting mine. I smiled and stared at her
for a moment. She smiled and blushed, bringing her bottom lip into her mouth to
chew on it nervously and looking away from me. So fucking bashful. I chuckled
and reached my hand out, gripping her chin and pulling her head back up so
shed look at me. Her eyes met mine again hesitantly and I leaned forward,
pressing my lips to hers once more, this time softly. I gave her a sweet kiss, an
innocent one. She kissed me back, still blushing.
Holy shit! I pulled back from Isabellas mouth quickly, breaking the kiss and
dropping my hand from her when I heard my brothers voice. I glanced over and
saw Jasper and Alice standing in the doorway to the kitchen. Alice was smiling
and Jasper looked fucking stunned, staring at us with wide eyes. Isabella looked

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up at them, her eyes widening also and looked almost fucking horrified, scared
like shed been caught doing something wrong. I guess in a way she probably
thought that.
I, uh have to go to the bathroom, Isabella said, her voice shaky. She
practically ran from the room, not giving any of us any time to even really
register any of it. I glanced up at Alice and she smiled, nodding and turning to
chase after Isabella. I sighed and brought my hand up, rubbing the back of my
neck nervously.
I didnt mean to interrupt, Jasper said, coming forward and smacking me on the
back lightly. But shit, I surely didnt expect to walk in the kitchen and see that. I
figured youd make a move in private, not around so many fucking people.
My eyes widened slightly. I didnt even fucking think about that. Christ, how
many people saw?
Jasper laughed. I dont know. Other than Alice and I, I think only Lauren.
Lauren? I asked. Jasper nodded.
She was right behind us when we stopped in the doorway. I dont know where
she went so maybe she got distracted and didnt actually see it.
I groaned, rolling my eyes. Whatever. I didnt mean to do it here but she kissed
me first and I just couldnt fucking help myself.
Jasper looked at me with disbelief before laughing and mumbling something to
himself, shaking his head. Alice walked back in and smiled lightly at me. She
said shed be out in a bit, wanted a moment to herself.
I nodded and sighed, grabbing my bottle of Grey Goose and walking out into the
living room. I started taking gulps of it, grimacing at the burn but it didnt deter
me. I stood near the beer pong table, watching Emmett get his ass kicked. He
was getting sloppy drunk, which wasnt unusual for our parties. I gave him
another thirty minutes at most and hed be swinging that sword around and
breaking shit with it.

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I felt a body press up against the back of me after a moment, a hand reaching
around and grabbing my dick through my pants. I jumped and cursed, pulling
away and swinging around. Lauren stood there and smirked at me. Christ, what
the fuck Lauren.
I can take care of that for you, she said, her eyes drifting down toward the
bulge in my pants before she looked back up and raised an eyebrow at me. I
rolled my eyes.
Im sure you could, I said. I looked her over and shook my head. She was
wearing a devils costume, with a tight ass bright red leotard and fishnet hose,
with devil horns and a tail hanging from her ass. Wheres your boyfriend? I
asked, giving her a questioning look that matched the one she was giving me.
She narrowed her eyes slightly. You never cared about him before, she said
matter-of-factly. I shrugged, taking a swig of the vodka.
Its evident you dont care about him either, I said. She rolled her eyes.
I care about Tyler, but hes not you. I want you, Ive always wanted you. We
could be good together, you know. We are good together. I can take care of you
like she couldnt, she said. My brow furrowed in confusion for a moment before it
struck me what the fuck she said. Yeah, shed definitely seen me kissing Isabella.
So whats so different about her? Ive been trying to get you to kiss me for a
long fucking time, you know.
I shrugged, taking another swig of vodka. Whats different about her is she isnt
the type to let me bend her over the hood of my car in the middle of the woods
and fuck her silly just for kicks.
Lauren cocked any eyebrow at me. I didnt see you complaining at the time,
Cullen.
I chuckled. No, that was nice. I appreciated that shit. I took another swig of
vodka, not enjoying having this fucking conversation. But that isnt exactly how
you win a guys love and respect.
Her eyebrows raised. Do you love that girl? she asked.

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I laughed bitterly. Does it fucking matter, Lauren? I surely dont love you.
It was a harsh fucking thing to say, but I didnt want to answer that question and
I wanted her to go away and leave me alone. She stared at me for a second, the
look on her face indicating she was thoroughly pissed, before turning and
storming away. I drank some more vodka and finished watching the beer pong
game, fucking irritated at these females. Couldnt they take a goddamn clue?
I glanced around after awhile, looking for Isabella, wanting to talk to her and see
if she was okay. I didnt want her to be freaking out about the kiss and wanted to
explain to her that it meant something to me, that I didnt just fucking kiss her
because of hormones. I spotted Alice and Jasper after a moment but didnt see
her with them. Alice looked over at me and I gave her a questioning look,
wondering where the fuck Isabella was. Alice just shrugged, obviously not
knowing. I nodded, figuring it meant she was probably upstairs, and mouthed
that Id go check on her.
I walked out of the room, brushing past Ben and Angela coming down from
upstairs. Have you guys seen Isabella? I asked, remembering Id introduced
them earlier.
Yeah she was heading upstairs a few minutes ago. I saw her with Mike on the
stairs, Angela said. I froze abruptly, turning to cock an eyebrow at her.
She was with Newton? I asked. Angela nodded and I groaned. That jackass was
drunk; I didnt want him anywhere near her. I headed up the stairs to the second
floor, glancing around and not seeing either of them. I started to panic a bit.
Everyone fucking knew to stay off of the third floorI was going to kill that
motherfucker if thats where he was.
I headed up the stairs to the third floor, heading down the hallway quietly. I could
see Isabellas door was open and walked toward it, freezing when I heard the
male voice. Murderous rage surged through me and I nearly fucking sprinted the
rest of the way to her room. I paused in the doorway and saw Isabella standing
right inside the door, Mike crouched down in front of her with his hand on one of
her boots. I didnt even fucking think about it, didnt even pause to try to figure
out what the fuck he was doing. All that mattered was that he was up here where

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he wasnt supposed to be and had a goddamn finger on my girl, in her bedroom


at that.
I took a step inside and Isabella glanced up at me, her eyes widening at the
expression on my face. I grabbed a hold of the back of Newtons shirt and pulled
him up roughly, choking him with the fabric. I dragged him out into the hallway,
in a rage, so fucking pissed off I was shaking. He gasped, startled, and turned
around to face me. I shoved him, throwing him into the wall. His eyes widened
with fright and I drew my first back, throwing it forward and punching him dead
in the fucking nose. He screamed and blood started pouring from his nostrils. I
punched him again, started fucking pounding on his face. He brought his hands
up defensively, trying to ward me and busted me in the mouth. I bit down on my
lip and tasted the fucking blood as my lip split open. The fact that he made
contact with me only pissed me off even more, even if it had been an accident. I
started punching him harder and he tried to protect himself but it was no fucking
use. His ass was mine.
He slumped to the ground, trying to get away from me, and balled himself up in
the fetal position. I grabbed the wall and reached my foot back and started
kicking him hard. He was yelling and trying to stop me, trying to grab a hold of
my foot. I heard shouting and footsteps on the stairs and someone grabbed a
hold of me, pulling me back. Calm the fuck down Edward, Jasper said. I
shrugged him off of me, crouching down at Newton. He had a big fucking gash on
his head and his nose was busted, his right eye already swelling up.
I grabbed a hold of him and pulled him up slightly so he was looking at me. I
slammed him back against the wall hard and he cried out. If you ever fucking lay
a finger on her again, I swear to God I will rip each and every one of them off, I
said harshly. He just stared at me, looking frightened. I heard a gasp and turned
my head. Isabella was staring at me with a look of sheer fright on her face. It
startled me and I stood up, reaching out to her. I didnt want to fucking scare
her, that prick shouldnt have been in her room. She flinched away from me,
taking a few steps backward. I took a step forward and she turned, running into
her room. She slammed the door behind her and I headed for it, wanting to
fucking make sure she was okay. I reached for the knob to go in after her and
heard the click of the lock, freezing abruptly.
Isabella had never locked the door before.

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Chapter 25 - Dispositions
I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or
misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. -Martha Washington
IPOV
Alice gave me a small smile from the doorway before pulling the door closed
softly behind her, leaving the room. I sat on my bed, staring at the door, feeling
queasy and nervous. I could hear the music downstairs, the faint chatter of
people talking.
Id assured them all multiple times the past week that I was fine with the party,
that it wasnt that big of a deal, but the fact of the matter was even the thought
of it made me feel sick. I didnt feel comfortable around so many people,
especially knowing Edward knew all of them quite well. There would be a lot of
girls at the party, girls I knew he knew intimately, and I was afraid of how I was
going to react to seeing them with him. I was in love with him, I had come to
grips with that in my own mind, and I knew along with that was going to come
less-than-pleasant feelings like jealousy. I knew seeing him with those other girls
was going to hurt, especially if he were touching them or being romantic with
them. A part of me wanted to just stay in my room and squeeze my eyes shut
and cover my ears and pretend none of it was going on, stay in my own little
bubble of ignorance. But I didnt want to disappoint them. They all had talked so
excitedly about the party and Alice had expressed to me how happy it made her
that I was joining them, and I couldnt just chicken out and lock myself away like
an immature child.
I felt like a true teenager for the first time in my life, spending the day decorating
and hanging out and getting dressed up for a party. I didnt have to worry about
chores or responsibilities, could just relax and have fun. But it wasnt easy, as
when it boiled down to it I still felt out of place. Still felt like I didnt belong, that I
stood out and was inferior to everyone here. And I was so afraid of going down
those steps, because I was afraid that with one look at me theyd all know exactly
what I was. Theyd all know I didnt belong.
I sat there for a bit, feeling horrible that all of Alices hard work was going to

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waste. Shed put together a really pretty costume that was quite creative, and I
was just sitting here hiding away and not letting anyone see it.
There was a soft knock on my door after awhile and I tensed up, unsure of who it
could be. They said no one was allowed on the third floor so I figured it was likely
one of the boys, or maybe Alice, but I wasnt positive that people wouldnt
disregard the rules and wander up here. I sat still for a moment, debating on
whether or not to ignore it just in case, when I heard Jaspers voice. Isabella?
Can I come in?
I relaxed a bit, realizing it was indeed someone I knew, and sighed. I stood up
and walked over to the door, pulling it open slowly. His eyes widened slightly
when he saw me and he smiled. Molto bella, he said, his eyes scanning my
costume.
Whats that mean? I asked, stepping aside and motioning for him to come
inside. He walked into the room and I shut the door behind him, going over and
sitting back down on the bed. He walked over and sat down beside me, leaning
back on his elbows.
Molto bella means very beautiful, he said, smiling.
Thank you, I said, surprised that he was calling me beautiful. I smiled and
blushed from his compliment, not used to people saying such things to me. He
nodded.
Things were quiet for a moment and Jasper stared off into space, appearing deep
in thought. I wondered why he was up there with me instead of down at the party
and was starting to worry a bit. He sighed after a moment, shaking his head
slightly. Nella vita - chi non risica - non rosica, he said softly. In life: nothing
ventured - nothing gained. My mother used to tell us that all the time. Anytime
one of us would be nervous about something, or we werent going to do
something because we were afraid of the potential consequences, shed throw
that phrase at us. Its been a really long time but I can still hear her voice saying
it.
I watched as he smiled lightly to himself, obviously remembering. It saddened
me a bit and I immediately thought about my own mother, trying to conjure up

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her voice in my mind. I never wanted to forget what she sounded like.
My mother taught me a lot, but out of everything thats what I remember most.
Her teaching me that you shouldnt be afraid to take risks. It may not always
work out, you may fail miserably sometimes and you might get hurt. But youll
never know unless you try. And if it does work out, wouldnt it all have been
worth it?
He paused for a moment, sighing. You can play it safe, Isabella. I wouldnt
blame you a bit for it. You can continue on as youve been doing and youll
survive, but is that what you really want? Is that enough anymore, just
surviving? Do you even want to, if this is what surviving entails? He turned his
head my direction, looking me straight in the eyes. Or you could venture out and
take a risk. Go for it, while you can. There are no guarantees, but there are real
possibilities. I cant promise things will work out the way you want them to, that
youll get everything you want, but I can promise that nothing will change and
you wont get anything if you dont at least try.
I stared at him, absorbing his words. He was looking at me expectedly so I
nodded after a moment, unsure of exactly what he wanted me to say. I
understood it, and it made perfect sense, but I wasnt exactly sure what I was
supposed to do. He smiled lightly. You wouldve really liked my mother. She was
strong in spirit, the strongest person Ive ever known. The only person Ive ever
met who even rivaled her in strength is you. I looked at him with disbelief and
he laughed. I mean it. Youre a tough little cookie. And as much as you wouldve
liked my mom, she wouldve loved you. I mean she wouldnt have been okay
with the whole slavery part, wouldve absolutely never condoned it going on
under her roof, but had she ever met you and seen the strength and spirit in you,
she wouldve completely adored you. Thats just the kind of person she was,
loving and compassionate.
He turned his head to stare off in space again. Our lives are lacking without her,
none of us have been the same since she died. Edward wasnt always such an
asshole, you know. He used to be the most like mom, had a big heart and was
compassionate, couldnt fucking hurt a fly as a kid. He was so nave and gullible,
too but all that changed when she died. He closed himself off to everyone,
locked himself away figuring it was easier to stay detached. Less painful that
way. He forgot that lesson mom strived to teach him so quickly. Edward will take

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physical risks in a heartbeat sometimes I honestly wonder if he has any regard


for his own life but anything that involves emotion is out of the question. Youre
good for him, you know. Youre good for all of us, but most of all for him. I think
you remind him of mom, remind him that those compassionate parts still exist. I
think youre the first female hes looked at like a true person and not an object
since we lost her.
My brow furrowed in confusion. Jasper saw my expression and nodded, smiling
lightly. Odd, isnt it? I imagine youve spent your entire life feeling like an object
and not a person, having someone basically own you and possess you, control
every aspect of your life. You end up here and meet someone who has treated all
women like that, and he ends up changing that part of himself for you. I know
you probably dont see it since you didnt know him before, but its true. Youve
managed to somehow tap into a part of Edward we all thought was gone, the part
of him we thought died alongside mom.
I felt a tear stream down my cheek and blinked a few times, surprised that I was
crying. Jasper's words had touched a part of me deep inside, that part of me that
I, too, thought was died and had tried to fight back. The hope, the desire for
something more out of life. Jasper reached up and wiped my tear away, smiling
lightly.
Why? I asked. He looked at me questioningly. Why am I so different to him?
Jasper shrugged. Youll have to ask Edward that. I mean, I could spout off some
theories about why he saw you differently from the first day you walked into this
house, one of course being that you probably remind him of mom, but hes the
only one that can really answer that.
I nodded in understanding. We were both quiet for a moment before Jasper stood
up and sighed. So, tell me, Isabella. Are we going to play it safe and merely just
survive, or are we going to put ourselves out there and take a risk and truly try
to live?
I stared at him for a moment, contemplating, before taking a deep breath and
standing up. Jasper smiled, obviously pleased with my answer, and reached out
for my hand. He led me out of the room and out into the hallway, down the
stairs. We ran into Emmett on the second floor and Jasper managed to evade him

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and head down the stairs, but he leapt in front of me with a sword drawn. He was
making awful pirate noises, in character with his costume, and looked completely
ridiculous. I couldnt help but laugh at him, his behavior making me relax slightly.
I headed down the stairs after Jasper, glancing up and spotting Edward with
Alice. He looked so handsome in his pirate gear and was watching me as I walked
down the stairs. My heart started racing, those feelings I felt for him bubbling up
inside of me. I paused in front of him and smiled nervously while Jasper led Alice
away.
La mia bella ragazza, he said softly, grabbing my hand. I was slightly stunned
and so curious as to what that meant, but like usual he wouldnt tell me. He
offered me alcohol, which I declined as I didnt feel comfortable getting inebriated
around all of these strangers, and introduced me to some people. Alice took me
away after awhile, introducing me to even more people and I was slightly stunned
at how nice they all were toward me, but I couldnt seem to focus on any of
them. My eyes kept drifting toward Edward instinctively. He kept spotting me
watching him and Id look away, embarrassed that he caught me, but I couldnt
help it. I was instinctively drawn to him.
I was feeling comfortable after a while finally and decided to go off on my own for
something to drink. I made it into the kitchen and was stopped by Rosalie, who
told me to get her some punch. I hesitated, my natural instinct being to do
whatever I was told, but I had Edwards words ringing through my mind. Hed
made me promise Id say no, that I wouldnt cater to anyone at the party, and I
wasnt the type of person to break promisesespecially when it was Edward I
had promised. So I took a deep breath to prepare myself for the potential
consequences of being defiant and told her no. Edward said something from
behind me and I jumped, having not heard him approach. Rosalie seemed almost
glad I stood up to her, which I guess made sense as Alice told me that was the
key to winning her over for some reason. It seemed odd to me, but Rosalie liked
people standing up to her for some reason. She made a remark about my
costume and I spouted off something about her costume, which seemed to stun
both her and Edward. She left and Edward grabbed a hold of me, seeming
ecstatic at my behavior for some reason. It was so strange, someone celebrating
me being defiant. Just a few weeks ago I wouldve been beaten nearly to death if
I spoke such words to my master or people he knew. He twirled me around,
which caught me off guard and I nearly fell, but his happiness made me laugh.

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He grabbed my hips and started swaying me to the music, which made me a bit
nervous as Id never danced before and I was afraid of looking stupid or messing
up and frustrating him. He mustve sensed my apprehension because he smiled
lightly and said, Relax, tesoro mio, while pulling my arms up on his shoulders.
It was a completely overwhelming moment, dancing with Edward, and I asked
him what tesoro meant. I expected him to blow me off so I was utterly stunned
when he admitted it meant my treasure. I blushed, shocked as hed called me
that quite a few times over the weeks. He found it amusing and started singing
along to the song, his voice soft and warm and sending shivers through me. The
words were sweet and made me feel that hope again. He dipped me backward
abruptly and I yelped, caught off guard. He pulled me back up and twirled me,
catching me once again when I nearly fell. I was laughing, probably loudly but I
couldnt help it. I felt light and carefree, and even a bit beautiful at that moment.
He pulled me toward him and my heart started racing at the closeness. His body
was flush against mine; warmth was radiating from him, our foreheads touching
with a light sheen of sweat on his. My nose brushed against his and I stared into
his eyes. The green was so radiant, so bright and emotional. Looking into his
eyes I could see the compassion and love inside of him, those things Jasper had
said they all thought disappeared. But I could tell they existed within him, and
that they were powerful. Jasper said that somehow Id brought them back out
and all I could think about were his words, how Edward looked at me like a
person and not an object. To Edward I wasnt a possession or a slave--I was just
a girl. And I felt it at that moment. I felt like nothing but a simple girl a girl in
love with the amazing boy in front of her, at that.
I was so close to him that I could feel his breath on me. Jaspers words rang
through my head, nothing ventured nothing gained, and I barely even gave it a
second thought. I tilted my head to the side and inched forward, brushing my lips
against his softly. I didnt know what I was doing but I loved him and that was all
that mattered at that moment. I wanted him to see it; I wanted him to feel love.
I pulled back quickly, my eyes widening. I felt horrible instantly, remembering
Edward didnt kiss people on the lips. Fear shot through me and I felt my knees
weakening, my stomach growing queasy. I covered my mouth with my hands,
completely shocked that Id been that stupid. Jasper had told me to be brave and
take a risk, but he didnt tell me to go violating people.

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I started to back away and Edwards brow furrowed. I turned around to flee,
afraid of his reaction, when he reached out and grabbed a hold of me. I tensed up
and stared at him with shock as he pulled me toward him. My hands fell from my
mouth and Edwards head came forward. He pressed his lips against mine and
started kissing me. I stood there in shock for a moment, completely confused and
stunned. His lips were soft but his kiss forceful and passionate. He tasted like
alcohol and mint, and it was an odd combination but it was completely Edward
and I loved it. I started kissing him back, having no idea what I was doing but
just following his lead. I was so overwhelmed with emotions that I was trembling,
but I just closed my eyes and allowed myself to feel it all. My hands found their
way into his hair and he groaned into my mouth, pulling away from me. I opened
my eyes hesitantly and saw Edward was looking at me, smiling. I was nervous
and bit my bottom lip as I felt the blush creep into my cheeks. I tried to look
away, embarrassed about what Id done, but Edward pulled my chin up so Id
look at him again. He leaned forward and kissed my lips once more, softly and
sweetly that time.
It couldnt last, the radiance of the moment. Jasper and Alice walked in, catching
us. Edward pulled away from me so quickly that I was afraid hed be upset that
people saw. I left the room hastily and locked myself in the bathroom, taking
some deep breaths to calm myself down. Alice knocked on the door and I told her
Id be out in a minute, that I just needed a moment alone. I glanced in the mirror
and smiled involuntarily, bringing my hand up to my lips. They were slightly
swollen from the force of his kiss and tingling, my lip-gloss all wiped off. I was
still so stunned about the entire thing, my mind working a million miles a minute
trying to sort everything out. What did all of that mean? What had happened? Did
that mean he liked me like I liked him? Did he feel the same sparks I did?
I headed out of the bathroom finally, still feeling slightly overwhelmed about it
all. I glanced around, looking for Alice to let her know I was okay since shed
been nice enough to check on me, and froze abruptly when I spotted Edward.
Some blonde-haired girl was behind him and wrapped her arm around him,
grabbing a hold of him.
I turned away quickly, feeling sick. I didnt want to see it, couldnt stand seeing
him with another girl. She was pretty and was wearing revealing clothing and
there was no way someone like me could compete for attention against someone
like her.

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I headed toward the stairs quickly, just wanting to get away and forget about it. I
made it halfway up to the second floor when I spotted Tanya standing at the top
of them, smirking with her hands on her hips. My heart started racing fast from
fear and I stared at the ground, hoping shed overlook me. I didnt get that lucky,
however. The moment I reached where she was, she moved toward me,
slamming into me intentionally and thrusting me into the wall hard. I winced and
she backed away, smiling wickedly.
Oh, Im sooo sorry, she said sarcastically. I didnt see you there.
I didnt say anything, not wanting a confrontation, and just turned to head toward
the second flight of stairs. Apparently ignoring her was the wrong thing to do,
however, as the moment I tried to walk away she shot her elbow out and jabbed
me in the ribs hard. I yelped and grabbed my side, my eyes welling up with tears
at the cheap shot.
I felt a hand grab my arm and my eyes widened in fear. I turned my head around
quickly, startled when I saw it was a blonde haired boy. He had a concerned
expression on his face and I recognized him as being the one who talked to me at
the party Alice and Jasper had taken me to.
Are you okay? he asked, raising his eyebrows in question. I nodded quickly and
blinked, trying to clear my eyes from the tears, not wanting people to see me
crying. I felt like I stood out enough as it was, didnt want to give people even
more reason to notice me.
Im fine, I said. My voice was slightly broken from fighting back tears but I
smiled lightly, hoping he wouldnt notice. Thank you. For asking.
He nodded. Yeah, I know Tanya can be a bitch sometimes, she gets a kick out of
torturing people. Makes her feel better about herself or whatever. Im Mike, by
the way.
Isabella, I mumbled. I, uh I was just going to go to bed. I turned and
headed toward the steps for the third floor and hesitated, noticing thats where
Tanya had wandered off to. She was standing right in front of them, talking to
another girl. I didnt recognize the second girl but she was quite pretty herself.

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Both of them kept glancing at me and whispering, laughing. I had no idea what
they had planned but they definitely looked like they were up to no good. I
considered turning and sprinting back down to the first floor but I didnt want to
have to see Edward with that girl again. Seeing that would hurt worse than any
physical blows Tanya could throw at me.
At least let me help you up the steps, Mike said, glancing over at where Tanya
stood. I narrowed my eyes at him suspiciously but he smiled politely. I didnt
think a boy would be stupid enough to try something with me in the Cullens
house with so many people present, but I honestly didnt know. I didnt really
know these people. Tanya had no problem putting her hands on me, so what
would stop the Mike guy from doing the same? I weighed my options and nodded
after a moment, preferring to take a chance with Mike to enduring some more of
Tanyas antics if she caught me alone. I knew Tanya meant me harm for
whatever reason and Mike had done nothing to suggest he wasnt just being a
gentleman. Both Dr. Cullen and Edward had indicated no guy would touch me
sexually without my permission and if anyone tried theyd hurt them. It was
strange but that made me feel safe in a waysafe from men. I knew I probably
shouldnt feel that way, but I did.
He walked up the steps with me, brushing by Tanya. She narrowed her eyes and
gave me a menacing glare but didnt speak or try to touch me with Mike between
us. He was babbling about something, I wasnt entirely sure about what. I
honestly wasnt paying him that much attention, I just wanted to get to my room.
He paused at my door and I opened it, walking inside. I thanked him and he said
goodnight, turning to walk away. I reached down to unzip my boots immediately,
as my feet were sweating like crazy. Tall fuzzy boots dont do well when youre
used to being barefoot most of your life. The zipper was stuck and I tugged on it
hard. It slipped from my grasp and I cut my finger trying to pull it down.
Ouch! I yelped. Crap!
Mike appeared in the doorway quickly, having heard me yell. Are you okay? he
asked with concern. I glanced up at him and frowned.
This zippers stuck, I mumbled. He laughed lightly and came forward, crouching
down in front of me. He tugged on the zipper and I groaned when it came down
quite easily for him. Why couldnt I have done that?

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I caught movement in the hallway from the corner of my eye and glanced up.
Edward walked into my room, the expression on his face downright frightening.
My eyes widened in fear, unsure of why he was so upset. He grabbed a hold of
Mike by the shirt and hauled him up and away from me, dragging him out of the
room. I watched, horrified, as Edward threw the boy against the wall and started
punching him in the face. Blood started flowing from the boys nose and he
started screaming, but Edward didnt stop. Mikes hands flew out as he tried to
protect himself and he accidentally hit Edward in the face. Edward started
shaking harder, the fact that Mike made contact with him obviously spurring him
on. He started punching him more forcefully and Mike collapsed to the ground,
trying to shield himself. I was completely frozen, stunned and shocked and
frightened when Edward braced himself against the wall and started pounding on
Mike with his foot. Seeing Edward kicking the boy brought me out of my stupor
and I ran out of the room, needing to do something to stop him before he really
hurt him. Id watched Charles beat a girl to death kicking her like Edward was
kicking Mike. I watched the life leave her and that image haunted me every day,
and every night in my dreams, and there was no way I could just stand there and
watch it play out again. He hadnt done anything wrong. Edward mustve
misunderstood it, and I remembered him saying that no one was allowed on the
third floor but I needed Edward to realize the boy meant no harm, hed just been
trying to help me by keeping me out of Tanyas line of fire.
Jasper and a few others ran up the stairs the same time I came out into the hall,
pulling Edward away from Mike. Edward still had that murderous look on his face.
He shrugged Jasper off and pulled Mike up to look at him. Mike looked hurt pretty
badly, but having been injured by blows to the face countless times I knew it
often looked worse than it was. He was still conscious thankfully.
If you ever fucking lay a finger on her again, I swear to God I will rip each and
every one of them off so you never touch anything again, Edward said, his voice
hard and cold. My eyes widened at his words and I gasped, a shot of fear and
dread coursing through me as I immediately thought of Dr. Cullen. That was
almost exactly what he had told me when I touched his gun. Edward looked at
me, the rage in his face dying slightly when his eyes met mine. He stood up and
reached his hand out to me but I backed away, not wanting to deal with it. I
couldnt believe hed said that. He started toward me and I turned and ran into
my room, shutting the door and locking it so he wouldnt come in. I just wanted

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to be alone--I needed to think. I was confused, so many different emotions and


feelings surging through me and I needed time to sort through them all, to make
sense of everything.
I plopped down on my bed on my stomach and grabbed my pillow, covering my
head with it. There was a knock on my door and I heard Edward yell my name
but I ignored it. He stopped after a moment and everything grew quiet in the
hallway.
I sat up eventually and started pulling off my jewelry, finally kicking off the boots.
I didnt bother changing, just pulled the dress off and laid down in my bra and
underwear. I could hear the music downstairs, people chatting as the party
continue on throughout the night. I just lay there most of the night, trying to
figure things out in my head. I was worried about Mike, hoping Edward hadnt
hurt him too bad, and although it was ridiculous of me I was worried about
Edward. He didnt make any sense to me, I didnt understand. It was hard to
reconcile the Edward that had just beat up that boy in the hallway for touching
me to the Edward I see when him and I are alone. For someone who supposedly
sees me as a person and not an object, he sure comes off possessive like Im a
piece of property to be guarded.
I fell asleep eventually but the sleep didnt last long. I woke up screaming and
sweating before long, having had another nightmare. There was another knock
on my door and I froze, trying to calm myself down. I just sat there while they
knocked, hoping theyd go away. I was in no state of mind for company, in no
mood to talk about any of it. Not yet.
Isabella? Please open the door, I can hear you. I sighed and closed my eyes as
I heard Edwards voice. He knocked again for a bit, calling out to me, practically
begging for me to let him in. A part of me wanted to, the part that never wanted
to deny that beautiful creature anything, but when it boiled down to it I simply
needed to be alone for a bit. He eventually stopped knocking and I heard his
bedroom door close.
I drifted back off to sleep eventually and woke up around 7am. I climbed out of
bed and threw on a pair of yoga pants and a tank top, not caring what I looked
like. I washed my face, trying to get the makeup off that Alice had applied but
the glitter was stubborn and clung to my skin so I gave up. Id take a shower

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later after I cleaned up. My hair was curled and coated with hair spray that
desperately needed washed out. I used my fingers and pulled it back, just putting
a rubber band around it for now.
I walked to the bedroom door, opening it and freezing. My eyes widened with
shock when I saw the splatters of blood on the wall and carpet. I looked away
quickly, groaning, and headed for the stairs. The second floor wasnt too badthe
hallway, anyway. The boys were still asleep so I had no idea about the condition
of their rooms. I headed down to the foyer and froze once again, my eyes
widening with sheer disbelief.
Never in my life had I ever seen such a disaster. I walked slowly through the
downstairs, completely blown away. There as trash everywhere, beer cans and
empty bottles. There was food all over the place, in the carpet and on the
furniture. Liquids were spilled all over also and the place smelled wretchedly like
beer and sweat. There was some broken glass in the corner of the room and one
of the couch cushions was oddly missing.
I walked into the kitchen and gasped. The sink was piled high with dirty glasses,
the counters covered in cans and bottles and food. I groaned and went to the
fridge, grabbing a bottle of club soda before walking over into the laundry room. I
grabbed some rags and a pair of gloves. I headed back upstairs, sitting the items
down in the hallway. I went into my room and grabbed a bottle of peroxide from
my bathroom and took it out into the hall.
I got down on my knees and put the gloves on, opening the club soda and
pouring some of it on the bloodstain. I tried my best not to dwell on the fact that
it was blood, as if I did Id probably be sick. I hated blood but had plenty of
experience cleaning it up over the years. I grabbed a rag and leaned forward on
my hands and started blotting the stain, getting as much up as I could. I used
some club soda and wiped the blood off the wall, thankful it came off quite easily
there at least.
I closed the club soda up and opened the peroxide, pouring a bit on what was left
of the stain. I was blotting it up, praying the carpet didnt bleach from the
peroxide and that all of the blood came up, when Edwards door opened. I froze,
my heart racing fast, and peered up. He took a step out of his room, looking
completely disheveled and exhausted. His eyes widened slightly as he looked

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down at me. He sighed and frowned, closing his eyes briefly.


Christ, what are you doing? You shouldnt be doing that! He crouched down
beside me and snatched the rag from my hand. I was a bit startled, unsure of
what I was doing wrong, and sat up on my knees. He was glaring at me and I
wondered if maybe I shouldnt be using peroxide on his carpet, if maybe he knew
something I didnt know. They had special windows that required special cleaner,
so maybe they had special carpet. I was just trying to clean up, not wanting the
blood to set in any more than it already had, not wanting anything to be ruined
when Dr. Cullen got home. My eyes started welling up with tears and I mentally
cursed myself for being so weak, but I was still so confused and honestly
exhausted and overwhelmed that I simply couldnt take him looking at me like
that. Couldnt stand him looking at me like I was a screw-up.
Fuck, are you crying? he asked with disbelief. I turned my head away from him
and closed my eyes, wishing I would stop reacting so intensely. It was only
making things worse for me. I opened my eyes again and caught sight of his
hand coming in my direction. I flinched backwards, instinctively thrusting myself
away from him and moving back out of his reach. He froze and his face clouded
over with confusion, a look of hurt in his eyes that shocked me.
He dropped his hand and blinked a few times, still looking at me. He shook his
head after a moment and ran a hand through his hair. I swear, I cant seem to
get anything right with you.
My brow furrowed. Im sorry, I said instinctively, not understanding but not
wanting to upset him. My response seemed to only upset him even more, as he
groaned and threw the rag at the wall. It made a small thump and fell to the
floor.
Youre sorry? What are you sorry for?! Ci scopare pazzesco! Im going to lose
my goddamn mind if we dont stop this fucking dance were doing, Isabella!
I just stared at him with shock, his voice slightly raised with passion. He was
really getting worked up about something and I had no idea what it was. What
are you talking about? I asked, shaking my head, trying to figure out what was
going on. What dance were we doing? I wasnt trying to upset him; I didnt mean
to do things to drive him crazy,

357

He groaned and reached his hand out, grabbing a hold of me suddenly. I looked
down at his hand on my arm, fighting off the feelings his touch naturally did to
my body. The tingles that coursed through me, the swell of emotion it conjured
up. I just stared at his hand, confused as to why he was touching me but that
irrational part of me wishing hed never stop doing it.
Tell me you dont feel that, he said, his voice lower but still slightly forceful. I
glanced up at him, my eyes widening, afraid that he figured me out. That he
could tell what his touch did to me. All I could think about was the fact that Id
kissed him last night, it had to be so obvious. Was that why he was upset? Tell
me you dont fell those same sparks that I feel and Ill back off and leave you
alone. But Im tired of trying to stay away from you, Bella.
I stared at him for a moment, completely stunned. I glanced down at his hand on
me briefly before looking him back in the eyes. His gaze was so intense, the
green so bold. You feel it too? I asked hesitantly, trying to make sure Id just
heard him right. He laughed lightly, anxiously.
Of course I feel it. Christ, it had to be obvious what I was feeling. I mean, I
kissed you last night, he said.
I blinked a few times, stunned. But I kissed you I shouldnt have, because you
told me you didnt do that and I started rattling off, confused. He laughed
again.
You barely grazed my lips. I practically fucking assaulted your mouth. . And
youre right, I dont do that, which is what makes it so fucking crazy. Ive been
trying to get the balls to tell you this shit all goddamn week. He sighed and ran
his fingers through his hair, staring at me, his eyes imploring me but for what I
didnt really understand.
Tell me what? I asked, confused as to what exactly he was saying.
He groaned and stood up, shaking his head. Madonn', dovete scopante
scherzandolo! Non potete essere quei ciechi. Sparimi gi nella testa maledetta dio
e superilo con! Mettalo dalla mia miseria scopante! Come potete non vedere
quello ti amo?!

358

I just stared at him as he ranted on in Italian, not understanding a single word


coming from his mouth. I sighed after a moment and reached over, grabbing the
rag hed taken from me and thrown. I went back to blotting up the peroxide on
the carpet, knowing trying to listen to him was fruitless.
He quieted after a moment and stopped his pacing, pausing beside me. He sighed
and sat down, slumping backwards so he was leaning against the wall. He
brought his knees up and wrapped his arms around them, his posture indicating
he felt defeated.
I peeked over at him after a moment and saw he was watching me curiously. He
looked exhausted, his eyes bloodshot with prominent dark circles under them.
Are you going to translate? I asked hesitantly, raising my eyebrows in question.
He shook his head, his lips curving upward slightly. I nodded, not at all surprised.
I wouldve cleaned up the blood, he said after a moment. I spilled the shit, you
shouldnt have to be the one doing it.
I shrugged, sitting back on my butt and laying the rag beside me. There was a
slight pinkish hue to a small part of the carpet, but for the most part it was up.
Was he okay? I asked.
Edward stared at me for a moment, his face almost expressionless. Does it
matter? he asked eventually.
I sighed, shaking my head at his unwillingness to actually give me a straight
answer. He helped me, you know, I said softly. Edward raised his eyebrows at
me questioningly, obviously wondering what I was talking about. I got cornered
at the stairs on my way to my room and he stepped in to stop them. He walked
me up to my room so theyd leave me alone.
His eyes narrowed slightly. Who cornered you? he asked, his voice having a
hard edge to it. I shrugged.
Does it matter? I asked, throwing his own statement back at him. It may not
have mattered to him whether or not Mike Newton was okay, but it mattered to
me.

359

He groaned. Newtons fine, hell make a full recovery. Looked a lot worse than it
was. Now, who cornered you?
Tanya, I said. His eyes darkened, his expression shifting to intense anger. I had
a feeling he was still upset with her for how she acted during the previous
encounter.
Did she touch you? he asked. I could tell by the strain in his voice that he was
fighting to remain calm.
Yes, but it wasnt that bit of a deal. Didnt leave any marks or anything, I said
with a shrug. Id had a lot worse than an elbow and a shove.
Edward shook his head. I dont care if it didnt leave any marks, it is a big deal.
She has no right to lay a finger on you.
I sighed. What, are you going to beat her up for touching me too? First Jacob
Black, then Mike Newton. Who next? Are you going to beat everyone up who
touches me? Look, I realize that Im your property Edward and I have no right to
tell you what to do, but I dont like people being hurt because of me. Ive told you
before that Ive spent my life paying for other peoples mistakes and I cant stand
knowing that others are shedding blood because of mine. If you want to blame
anyone for it, blame me. Punish me. But please dont continue to hurt other
people because theyve been unfortunate enough to cross my path.
His eyes widened and he stared at me with disbelief. I wondered immediately if
maybe I shouldnt have said that. It was strange how at ease Id become when
speaking to Edward and expressing what was on my mind, but I recognized there
were still some things I should never say. You think I think of you as a
belonging, something I own? he asked, his words low and almost a whisper.
There was some hurt evident in his voice.
I shrugged. I dont know what to think anymore. I didnt at first, but when you
attack those people its like youre upset because theyre messing with one of
your possessions. You said to Mike almost the exact same thing Dr. Cullen said to
me that day in his bedroom when I touched his gun.

360

He sighed, lacing his fingers in his hair and gripping a handful of the locks. He
looked frustrated. Damn it, I never wanted you to get that impression.
Sometimes I have a problem with my temper, Bella, and I just snap at people
without even thinking. Im so fucking sorry if I reminded you of my father, I
never want to remind you of that shit because Id never ever do anything like
that to you, I swear to God I wouldnt. Its just, I feel He hesitated, taking a
deep breath and gazing at me. I feel protective of you, and its not because I
think you belong to me, but because I want you to belong to me.
My brow furrowed in confusion. Is there a difference? I asked. He groaned,
closing his eyes.
That didnt fucking come out right. Christ. Look, I, uh care about you, okay?
he said hesitantly, watching me cautiously. And I know I fucking overreact
sometimes but its because I dont want anyone to hurt you. And I know that
probably doesnt make any sense considering Im probably hurting you more
acting out than any of those assholes did but I dont want to hurt you. I dont do
the shit intentionally. Youre not like anyone Ive ever known. You fascinate me.
I just stared at him in shock. I fascinate you? I asked, stunned that hed say
that. Edward definitely fascinated me, as he was a complex dazzling human
being, but I couldnt understand why someone like me would interest him. There
was nothing special about me, nothing I could offer him that another girl couldnt
do better.
He sighed. You dont see yourself very clearly, you know. Youre different, not
like all of the rest of them. Youre perceptive and so fucking strong and wise way
beyond your years. You can understand me the way no one else ever could. And
youre molto bella," he said.
I blinked a few times, caught off guard as I remembered those words. Jasper had
said them to me last night when he saw me in my costume. You think Im
beautiful? I asked with disbelief.
His eyes widened when he realized I knew what that meant. He smiled
sheepishly, nodding slightly. He scooted closer to me, closing some of the
distance between us so he sitting right in front of me with our legs touching. La
mia bella ragazza, he said softly, staring into my eyes.

361

You know I dont know what that means, I mumbled, feeling the blush creep up
into my cheeks because of the intensity of his stare. He always refused to tell me
when I asked him and it was maddening. I wondered if Jasper or Emmett would
tell me, if Alice would know, and considered asking them but didnt out of
embarrassment.
Edward nodded, bringing his hand up. He ran the back of his fingers along my
flushed cheek, stroking down my jaw line. My eyes fluttered closed at his soft
touch, my head instinctively leaning in his direction. My beautiful girl, he
whispered.
I opened my eyes and looked at him again, completely stunned by the expression
on his face. There was so much love and compassion brewing in his eyes, his face
soft but full of emotion. His hand gently caressed my jaw line once more before it
came down to cup my chin. He brought his thumb up and rubbed it across my
bottom lip softly and I breathed a shaky breath, my heart racing fast. The desire
on his face was stunning, consuming me. It felt so surreal and I was nervous and
excited, a bit shocked but utterly hopeful and that feeling alone made me queasy.
Edward was staring at me with such intensity that it felt like he could see through
me, see past my exterior and into my soul.
He glanced down at my lips briefly before looking me in the eyes again. He inched
his head forward slowly, cautiously, watching me. My heart was racing, thumping
so hard it nearly hurt and I wondered if maybe he could hear it. I leaned forward
a bit, closing some more of the distance between us. He smiled lightly at my
movement and closed the rest of the distance, cocking his head to the side and
pressing his lips against mine softly. I moaned as my lips started tingling from
the connection and Edward groaned in response. His hand was still holding my
chin as he kissed me. I closed my eyes and brought my hand up, hesitating
before placing my palm against his cheek. His skin was warm to the touch, his
face slightly rough from the stubble of his facial hair. I felt Edwards other hand
come up and he laid it on top of mine on his cheek, pulling my hand off of him
after a moment. He intertwined our fingers together and sat them on his lap.
He pulled back from my lips after a moment and I opened my eyes. He smiled at
me and leaned forward quickly to briefly kiss me softly once more. I dont think
youre beautiful, Bella. I know youre beautiful.

362

I blushed and he chuckled. Thank you, I said softly. I felt my eyes welling up
with tears but they werent my usually tears of sadness. These were happy tears,
hopeful tears. They scared me, as the entire concept was so foreign still, but I
didnt try to fight them back. You are too.
He smirked, his cute crooked smile overcoming his mouth. You think Im
beautiful? he asked playfully, cocking an eyebrow at me.
I laughed lightly. Maybe handsome is more fitting? You are a beautiful person,
though.
He chuckled, shaking his head. Yeah, I cant say Ive ever heard that one. Im
been called pretty much everything under the sun, but a beautiful person isnt
one of them.
I smiled and shrugged. They all must be blind then, for them not to see it.
His smile grew, his smoldering green eyes practically twinkling with joy. He gazed
at me for a moment before leaning forward and pressing his lips to mine once
more, softly and sweetly. Now that Ive started, I dont think I can stop, he said
softly when he pulled away. I blushed, nodding. I gazed down at our hands, our
fingers still intertwined together lying on his lap. It was all so overwhelming,
none of it making any sense. I couldnt figure out what all of it meant. What
exactly he was saying, what it meant for him, for me for us. What happens
next?
He mustve been having the same thoughts because he sighed. How about we
go downstairs and straighten up some, and then maybe we can come back up
here and talk about what all this means, he suggested, raising our hands up to
emphasize what he was talking about. I glanced up at him and nodded. He sighed
again and let go of my hand. I pulled it from his lap and grabbed the gloves and
rag from the floor, standing up. I was still so blown away and stunned that I had
a hard time looking at Edward. He stood up and grabbed my arm lightly and I
tensed up instinctively. Hey? Relax, okay? Theres no need to be frightened of
me, or of this or whatever. Well figure the shit out. And you dont have to hide
from me, no need to be shy or close yourself off, okay?

363

I glanced up at him and nodded. Im sorry, I mumbled, feeling bad that hed
just opened up to me and I was holding back and tensing up. Edward shook his
head.
Dont apologize. I have more reason to be sorry for shit than you, he said,
running his hand through his hair. I smiled at him, realizing he was just as
nervous as me. It didnt make any sense, as Edward had experience with girls,
but it was comforting to know I wasnt the only one a bit anxious about it all.
He hesitated and we lingered there in the hallway for a moment, before he turned
and started for the stairs. I followed behind him, not at all looking forward to the
massive amount of cleaning that awaited us.
Edward froze when he hit the bottom of the stairs, so abruptly than I didnt
realize hed stopped and I ran right into him. My eyes widened slightly and I
started to move away, unsure of how he was going to react because of his
temper, but he merely reached around and grabbed my arm, stilling me at his
side. His attention was focus on the room in front of us, his expression one of
sheer disbelief.
Yeah, uh he started, his brow furrowing as he seemed to be concentrating on
something. How about we forget I said anything about cleaning and just go back
upstairs.
I giggled involuntarily at his expression and he glanced over at me, cocking an
eyebrow and smiling. I shook my head, returning his smile. Okay, I said, not
wanting him to feel obligated to help. It was my responsibility anyway, the
reason Id been brought to the Cullen household in the first place.
He gave me a questioning look, obviously not expecting that answer for some
reason, but shrugged. Good, he said, grabbing my hand and turning back
toward the steps. My brow furrowed in confusion and I resisted as he tried to pull
me up them. He paused when he realized I wasnt budging. He glanced at me,
seeing my confused expression. I thought wed go back upstairs and talk.
I stared at him for a moment, shaking my head. I, uh, need to clean, I
mumbled. He groaned and rolled his eyes.

364

You just said okay when I said we were going to forget about it, he said with
some slight irritation to his voice. I sighed, realizing I was confusing him.
Yeah, we can forget that you were going to clean. But I really need to, I cant let
the house stay like this, I said, trying to clarify. He just gazed at me, looking a
bit frustrated. I started to feel a bit uncomfortable by the scrutiny of his eyes and
was about to walk away from him when he spoke.
Hes not going to be back for a few days, you know. The mess can wait for a bit,
its not a big fucking deal, he said, shrugging. I just stared at him with disbelief
at his nonchalance.
But, uh I started, glancing around at the disaster. There was no way I could
just walk away and relax, knowing how messed up everything was. Id be
constantly on edge until I got the house back in order.
He shrugged after a moment. Fine, he said simply, taking the step back down
into the foyer. I stood and watched him as he headed for the laundry room,
disappearing inside of it. He reappeared a moment with a handful of black trash
bags. He walked over and handed one to me. You start gathering up aluminum
cans and Ill go deal with whatever the fuck got broken, as I know damn well
theres no way everything survived the night intact.
I smiled lightly, slightly stunned that he was actually going to help clean up. You
dont have to do this, I c