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Distruzione (Destruction)

Summary:
This is La Tua Cantante in Edward's POV--as was promised. A lot of your unanswered questions from BPOV will be answered in this story. So I hope you enjoy and please rate and comment. I love hearing from you guys!


Notes:


23. Chapter 23: Dealings

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I had to force myself to ignore Charlie's thoughts of murdering me, stood up, taking my time in releasing Bella, and pulled her to her feet, wrapping my arm around her waist, and pulling her in close. Despite Charlie's utter hatred of me, I made Bella a promise and I would not break it simply because we had one more obstacle to face. I was not going anywhere and I would never allow Charlie to change my mind.

"Charlie," I said, struggling to keep my tone one of light

acknowledgement.

Jasper immediately began calming Charlie down, diminishing his anger, until he was nothing but confused by my presence.

Charlie stared blankly at me, "What the hell are you doing here?" 'I swear to God, if you touched my daughter...how dare you disrespect me and my daughter like this? You worthless pathetic son of a--'

"Dad, please -" Bella came in at the perfect time, but was cut off by Charlie, "You...stay out of this, young lady. I will deal with you later."

'18 or not, this is my house, my rules, and I will not let some...good-for-nothing horny teenager ruin your life like this!'

I clenched my teeth in anger. What the hell was the matter with him? Did he honestly think all I wanted from Bella was sex? If that was true, why would I have even bothered coming back?

"Right now, my problem is with Edward -"

Yeah, damn right he had a problem with me...he would have a huge problem with me if he kept thinking of Bella like this. He was her father--he had no right to think so poorly of her.

"...you'd do well to go to your room." He continued, as Bella staggered, catching herself on me.

"No..." she said weakly, burying her face in my chest.

"Bella?" I no longer cared about Charlie--as far as I was concerned he didn't exist. I hugged her close and sat down, pulling her onto my lap and holding her.

Jasper focused on easing Bella's pain--nothing else mattered to him right now.

I moved her hair back from her face and began tracing her features.

"Bella!" Concern now filled Charlie's thoughts as he approached us, "What is it; what's wrong?"

'What did you do to her?' He thought, bitterly, but I ignored him, and pressed my lips to her forehead and whispered words of comfort to her as she clung even tighter to me. Even though it killed me that I couldn't do more, it was all I had. I just hoped it was sufficient enough for her.

Charlie made to take her from me, but noticed her wounds from Jacob, and gasped. 'Oh, my...God. What happened...what happened to my girl?'

He was too shocked to take it out on me. He touched one of the wounds, tracing it, causing her to cringe and scream, turning into me.

Now, he was ready to put the blame all on me. "What the HELL happened to my daughter, Cullen?!" Charlie asked angrily, just as Jasper sent more calming waves over him and even some to Bella.

I kept my voice soft and calm as I said, "Charlie, please, calm down." How could I ask him that? It killed me to say the next words, but I forced myself to. "Bella was..." I stiffened up, "...raped...by Jacob Black."

"What?" Charlie said, shocked, as he thought: 'No. No, not Bella. Please...why her?' I had asked myself the same question many times. "Bella?" He asked, regretting how he treated her.

She looked up at him and nodded, "It's true...Jake...he - he got mad at me and..." she broke off, unable to say the words herself, "Edward saved me."

If you can call it that. 'Saved you? He saved you? If he had saved you, he would've been here to stop this from happening.'

"And where were you when this was happening to Bella?!" Charlie demanded, desperate to make this my fault. 'Jake would never hurt Bella--but he would. He did. If anyone is capable of such an act, it's him.'

Instead of feeling remorse, I felt nothing but anger towards him. Why would I ever want to hurt Bella? I might have hurt her once before, but it was not intentionally and I would never hurt her again.

I had to force myself to remain respectful. "I was honoring your wishes by staying away from her until your return." Thank God I was such a good liar.

Charlie simply stared at Bella, trying to analyze what he saw, not wanting to believe me--refusing to accept it. 'Jacob would never hurt my daughter, Cullen; pick another lie.'

"WHY would Jacob do this?" Charlie asked angrily, hoping to prove me wrong, desperate to make me the bad guy.

And, I was the bad guy. I might not have been the one to do this, but I was the reason it happened. I flinched, but Charlie didn't notice.

'Edward, don't go down this road,' Jasper thought, 'Not again. Don't let him do this to you.'

But, I couldn't help it. "I don't know," I said softly, hating myself for having to lie about this. Charlie deserved to know the truth, but he could never know. Ever. "Charlie, I'm sorry. I know you asked me to stay away, but Bella needed me...I couldn't leave her alone. Not after that."

'Yeah?' Charlie thought, still not buying it, 'I bet you only stayed hoping to get some, you piece of crap. Well, guess what? Bella...isn't for sale...so take your business elsewhere.'

I shook my head and said, "Charlie, I know what you're thinking, and I assure you, I -"

"Don't go there." Charlie said, glancing at Bella, hoping and praying his suspicions weren't true. "Just...don't. Don't you dare tell me you know what I'm thinking; you couldn't have the slightest clue what I'm thinking. As far as I'm concerned, you are just as bad as Jacob! You both have destroyed my daughter's life and you can never know what it is like. Not unless you are her father...watching your only daughter suffer hell from a boy that broke her heart. If you

loved her, you never would have done that to her. What makes you any better than Jake, huh?"

Seeing the memory of the pain I inflicted upon Bella caused me to flinch so hard that Bella literally shook with me.

"DAD!" She yelled, "STOP! Don't do this. How dare you compare Edward to Jacob?! As if he's some monster?"

Why did she have to use that word? Would she stop defending me? It would never work--she was the only one who couldn't see me for the monster I was.

"He's NOT. He never meant to hurt me; Jake did."

"That's enough, Bella!" Charlie reprimanded, seeing in his mind every minute of those months I had left her... how miserable and...dead she was.

I had done that to her. I killed her without even killing her. It was inevitable--I had to kill her. If not physically, then mentally.

"I will not allow you to keep doing this to yourself."

Her pain was causing him misery--he would never tell her, but he couldn't stand this. It nearly killed him to have to see her everyday when I had left. To have to watch her suffer such endless torment--with nothing in his power to help her. Then, when I returned...she took me back so willingly...no questions asked. He would never understand her justification in doing so. He would have rather her let me go and move on with her life.

But, what he didn't realize was...I was her life. She had no life to move on to. Not anymore. If I left her again...we would both inevitably die. I knew that now. More than ever, I knew...that separating us would never be an option.

"What are you doing to do about it, huh?" Bella challenged. "You can't change my mind."

"Enough...Bella." I said, firmly. She couldn't possibly understand Charlie's reasoning for this. His hostility towards me was totally justified. "It's okay. He's right."

"No...he's not." She clearly misunderstood what I was saying. "Will you stop telling me what's right for me?! I make my own decisions, and I will not leave you."

I cupped her face in my palm and said, "No one's asking you to." Even Charlie knew it was pointless to even bother trying. She was too stubborn--as was I.

She looked at me pleadingly. "Edward, please...tell him."

I didn't answer. It was no use. Charlie would never listen to me--especially now.

"Fine...I will." Jasper said. What the hell?

I cast him a threatening glare, and he thought, 'Relax, Edward. I'm going to help him see how great you really are. Let me do this. Please? For you, for Bella.'

Charlie jerked around forcefully. "Who are you?" 'What, is my daughter's misery some source of entertainment for you people?'

Jasper smiled politely, "I'm Jasper; Edward's older brother. It's nice to meet you officially, sir." Sir? I had never heard Jasper use the word sir before in my entire life. It was quite strange.

Charlie was still reluctant, not trusting his motives for being here. "Mm-hmm," He forced out, struggling to remain as polite as Jasper was.

"Sir, if I may, Edward is not what you make him out to be."

Again, with the sir, what was this? Jasper, having been in the military, had always been a different, less formal kind of polite.

‘Trust me,' he thought, sensing my reluctance. "He loves Bella more than you could ever know."

'Why do I find that so hard to believe?' Charlie thought, bitterly. "Well, with all due respect, I believe this has nothing to do with you. I appreciate your loyalty toward your brother, but it is my role as a father to keep my daughter safe."

'And...who does he think is better suited for Bella than you?' Jasper wondered, 'Don't say Jake--do not say Jake. Stupid dog is lucky to win over the rats in that hellhole of a jail cell.'

Still, he kept his tone polite as he continued, while Charlie's suspicions as to why he would be here now began to grow. "And I assure you, she cannot be safer with anyone but Edward."

'Believe...me.' "Look, I know this is hard to believe, but turning things around on Edward won't change what happened. He did everything he could to keep her safe...that's all you can ask for."

'Oh, please!' Charlie thought, growing angry again, 'He's so helpless--he might as well have raped her himself.'

That stunned me to beyond response. I was too surprised to even be sure he really thought that. How could he possibly think I would ever treat Bella with such disrespect? I might not have been the best choice for Bella; I knew that. But, I would never do that. I would never even be capable of such a terrible act.

Charlie shook his head. "You couldn't understand...what do you know?"

'A hell of a lot more than you do; that's for sure,' Jasper thought, while saying, "I know Edward and he is hurting just as much - maybe even more than you." He added the "maybe" for credibility but it was no question--I was suffering more than Charlie was. "You don't understand what Bella means to Edward. You cannot blame him for this. It's not him you're mad at. It's Jacob."

Jasper caught that Charlie was wishing desperately that it had been me instead of Jacob that had hurt her. "Jacob is the one that intentionally hurt Bella and you don't know what to do with that. It would be...so much easier for you if it was Edward, wouldn't it? It would be easier to hate him."

Jasper felt instantaneous remorse for Charlie's feelings and ill will towards me. 'Edward...don't...he doesn't mean it.'Didn't he? Of course he meant it. Charlie was ready to use even the smallest of excuses to justify killing me right now.

"It isn't his fault, though." Jasper forced himself to continue on, the thought of someone hurting me or anyone else he loved almost unbearable for him. The thought of others in pain had always hurt Jasper--and it had nothing to do with his ability. Anyone's suffering made him suffer in sympathy for them. With the exception of Carlisle, he was the most compassionate person I would ever know.

"Jacob knew exactly what he was doing." He reminded him. "If anyone deserves to be hated, it's him." 'And, he is.’ He assured me, 'Believe me, I couldn't hate him any more.' I didn't think bitter hostility would help us right now.

Charlie simply stared at him, analyzing his words, twitching slightly, as he turned to look at Bella. He knelt down and placed his hand hesitantly over hers, hanging his head in regret.

'Oh, God...' he thought, struggling to hold it together for Bella, 'Is this my fault? Is this all my fault?'

How did he get that? 'This is all my fault...it's all my fault, it's all my fault, it's all my fault--' He thought, breaking off, miserably.

"I'm sorry, Bella. I'm so sorry. I should've been here for you." 'Why the hell did I let her talk me into this damn fishing trip? Nothing good came of it.'

Well, I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but he was mostly right.

"It's ok, Dad," Bella said, stiffening up slightly. "I don't blame...you." She was clearly uncomfortable with his conveying emotions that he usually kept bottled up.

He began trembling involuntarily, struggling not to cry, as he said, "This is my fault. If I had never left this wouldn't've happened."

Oh, how many times I had thought that! But, you couldn't just reverse time and undo your mistakes like that. I had tried on countless accounts, hoping to erase so many horrible things from my past, but life would never be that easy. That was just the deal.

"Dad, please, don't -" Bella looked to Jasper for help, not sure how to deal with emotion from him.

Jasper immediately calmed Charlie down, focusing primarily on taking the pain and tension out of the room and diminishing it completely.

Charlie's gaze was fixated on the ground as he recovered.

Bella hesitated before reaching her hand out and touching his shoulder. "I'm fine...trust me."

He was silent for awhile, weighing his options, struggling to figure out what to do.

Worry and concern filled me as his every thought turned darker and darker. After a moment, coming up with the worst scenario possible--well, the worst that he was capable of; if he wanted worse, I could easily give it to him--he looked up angrily and said, "You're absolutely right. It is Jacob's fault. Where is the worthless brat, huh? He does NOT hurt my daughter and get away with it."

I stiffened up, terrified of the extent of his musings, so to speak, and said, "Charlie, please, don't." He could not do this. It was bad enough he was even thinking about it. He was the Chief of Police--how could he seek revenge over justice? "Everything's taken care of. He's in jail where he belongs."

"No, he belongs in hell!" Charlie said angrily, through clenched teeth.

'Well, you have a lot of volunteers in here.' Jasper thought, jokingly.

I ignored him and begged, "Charlie, don't. That won't make you any better than him."

"Do you really think I give a DAMN about the high road right now?!"

"Of course not." I rose to my feet, sitting Bella up, but keeping my hand on hers, desperate to bring Charlie back to his senses. "But that is not our decision to make. Bella deserves justice for what he did not to her, not vengeance. Vengeance helps nothing."

'Sure it does,' he thought, 'It makes me feel better.'

I used to think like that too and it was the worst mistake of my life...I would not let Charlie do this. It wasn't worth the temporary satisfaction to deal with the endless consequences and pain that went along with the act.

"It only makes matters worse." I assured him, "You're the chief of police; you know that revenge is never the answer."

"This is different," he insisted, thinking, 'I have let Bella get burned one too many times by you worthless scum--no more. Not so long as I can help it.'

"No...it's not." I said, firmly, "Believe me, I wanted to kill Jacob too. I wanted him to suffer endlessly for what he did...but that is not our decision." Unfortunately. If I had it my way, the word "hot dog" would take on a whole new meaning for him. "He will suffer...the right way." Damn the right way! I wished the right way could involve me breaking his neck in half--just this once. "I want him to understand the pain he put Bella through. And he will." Maybe not today, but he would feel the pain and horror he inflicted upon Bella. That much I was sure of.

Charlie simply stared at me, debating with himself, thankfully choosing to go with the right thing to do with a little help from Jasper.

'The kid might not be good for much, but he is making some sense.'

"You're right," he said. "Fine...I'm going to the station." 'I can't be around Bella for awhile--she can't see me like this.' "I'm going to ensure he has the worst future possible." He took off without another word, going through strategies in his head, and desperate to be away from Bella.

Bella sighed, "Wow. That was...strange. I've never seen him like that before."

Charlie was the least of my concerns right now--his blood was finally getting to Jasper, weakening him. He had grown accustomed to Bella's blood, but he could not handle Charlie's scent yet. He was working on it, but it was still quite difficult for him. "Jazz, how are you holding up?" I asked, turning to him.

Jasper said, "I think I should go. Now."

"Go on." I said immediately. "Go! We'll be ok."

Jasper took off and Bella said, worriedly, "Is he ok?"

"He can't handle Charlie's scent." I explained, "He accustomed himself to your scent the same way I did, but his resistance for others is still weak. I don't want to push him over the edge. I'd rather be safe than sorry. He'll be back soon." I assured her, "He just needs time."

She nodded, almost numbly, and simply stared into space, absorbing everything that had happened.

I went and knelt down in front of her, bending down to look in her eyes. "Hey...are you ok?"

She smiled sadly. "Yeah. It's just hard. Everything's going to be different now, isn't it? Nothing will ever be the same."

No. Unfortunately not. She would never get her life back completely. And that was what scared me the most. I touched her face and shook my head. "No...I'm afraid not. But one thing is certain and unchanging: me." Oh, boy! I'd better end this with a joke. "I will always be here for you. As Caesar said, 'My love for you is as constant as the north star' - with a detail or two changed."

She chuckled softly and I kissed her lightly, hoping to relieve her stress. "I love you."

She smiled against my lips and hugged me, clinging to me. She sniffed in and buried her face in my shoulder. I tightened my hold on her and sighed softly. When she finally pulled away, she said, "I want to see Jake."

Was she crazy? "No, Bella," I protested, shaking my head. If she did one thing to set him off, he could lose it and hurt her in a second and he would. He couldn't be trusted with her again. I would never allow him to see her again.

"Please..." she begged, "I need closure, Edward. I want him to see what he's done to me."

"Do you think that will make it easier? To let him go?"

"Maybe not," she admitted, "But it might help."

I supposed if I could be with her the entire time, and if she was absolutely, 100% positive, I'd let her see him. So long as she stayed by my side the entire time. She deserved to have a proper good-bye to her former best friend.

I nodded. "Fine...but I'm coming with you."

She nodded and I helped her up before leading her out to the car.

We got to the station and simply waited in the car as Bella stared at the prison, itself.

"Bella, you don't have to do this," I said softly.

"Yes, I do. I need to...say goodbye."

Hearing the pain in her voice, I took her hand and brought it up to my lips to kiss it.

She smiled and nodded, not looking at me, "I'm ready."

Was she; really? She didn't seem ready. I didn't want her to do this if it was too soon. But, I had promised her. I had to fulfill my promise to her.

After a moment, I said, "Okay..." and then got out and helped her out.

I wrapped an arm tightly around her waist, clutching her to my side protectively and lovingly, took her hand with my free one, entwined our fingers, kissed her forehead, and then sighed before leading her inside.