I'm not happy and i'm not sad. I'm detached, cold and emotionless. I'm Bella Swan and i have no life. ExB All human
11. Chapter 11
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"I refuse to talk about it anymore," were my first words to Alice when we met up in the school parking lot. And honestly, it was physically painful to remember and comment on the Saturday night party. It was just one of those memories that keeps coming back to make you cringe and hate yourself, regret and wish you could just erase it from your mind. I really fucking wished that I could wipe clean the memory of getting drunk and letting that guy grope me and do some painful things to my nipples. I still couldn't believe that most people actually like that.
I had plenty of regrets and I had different bad memories coming back to me every time I went to sleep. I remembered when Kate and I had laughed at our…more- than- chubby teacher when he had said that he was on a diet to lose weight. It was spontaneous, really, and utterly mean. We were laughing before we could even think about how mean it sounded and it had always haunted me after that. I was always nice, and that was really, really rude. I felt bad for days and even after two years I still got that feeling of shame when I remembered it.
There was also this other time when I got a little offensive towards a friend's choice of career. I could not really remember the exact words but I could tell I was joking around, innocently mocking my friend until it got to be a little insulting. We always fake insulted each other back then, and I remember being the object of the mocking many times, but that was why it was so bad of me – I knew how hurtful some things could be, even when they were uttered as a joke.
I realized how silly these things were, how silly of me it was to think and feel bad about stupid memories like those. But it was more like a feeling, a disappointment on my part that reminded me that I had made plenty mistakes, examples of which were those particular memories. There were plenty other, more important or even more insignificant little flashes that penetrated my mind when I was trying to sleep. That time, when you are lying in bed and waiting for slumber to take you under, I always called it the regret time. It was when I went back unconsciously and unwillingly to things that I regretted, to things that made me feel like crap.
Stupid as it may be, this Saturday night was another one of those little flashes.
Sunday night was hell. I tossed and turned, got rid of my covers until my feet were frozen and I had to get covered up again. I sighed and groaned and just regretted the hell out of ever going to that party. I knew I was going to get weird looks, gossip and all that from the other students first thing in the morning, but that was the least of it. I was always the harshest judge of my actions. Even if nothing happened at school concerning my… "hook-up" I was going to beat myself up until I was exhausted. And only then did I fall asleep, when I was completely and utterly exhausted from overanalyzing every little moment of that night – what I should have done, what I should not in any case have done, what I could have potentially done and what not. My mind was a spinning wheel when I opened my eyes at the crack of dawn.
"Oh come on, give me a little something!" Alice insisted. She grabbed my arm and linked it with hers, walking alongside me towards the school entrance.
"You were there, Alice. You saw…everything," I said and immediately cringed because the memories were too fresh.
"No, I only saw you two making out and groping each other. I don't know how it started, what he said, what you did, how it all-"
"I didn't…grope, he did, I was just…there." I felt like defending myself but truthfully I was just ashamed. It wasn't like I did something bad, I wasn't cheating or anything and I wasn't taking advantage of anyone. It was just…I had nothing to tell Alice about it. And that by itself was sad. I had hooked up with a guy, made out with him, got groped and felt up rather thoroughly and yet I had nothing significant to remember but the fact that I had thrown up the day after. The whole thing was so pointless, so…blah, that I had no reason for ever doing it. I didn't like the guy, I didn't even know the guy, I didn't feel anything but regret and I was starting to realize that I had even forgotten his name. Or maybe I never really knew it.
"Oh, come on Bella, don't make me drag this out," she whined. "Don't be embarrassed; you didn't do anything I haven't done before," she whispered suggestively and giggled a little.
"But I am embarrassed, Alice," I burst out suddenly. "This isn't…this isn't something that I want to…It's one of those things that…I regret it, ok? I fucking regret it!" I unlinked our arms and stomped off because I was angry and sad and ashamed and just wanted to get the hell away from everyone.
I was almost running to get to my locker and get my things when I collapsed into someone and literally fell on my ass. I heard muffled giggles and laughs all around me but I didn't even bother looking up. I got on my knees and was about to stand up on my own when two strong hands grabbed me and pulled me up. I saw green eyes, bronze hair and furrowed brows and then I was watching Edward's retreating back as he walked away from me.
I didn't really think before moving but I was suddenly running after him and walking side by side with him.
"Hey," I said and tried to watch where I was going while looking at him.
"Hey," he said back with a nod towards me.
"Um…sorry for bumping into you like that. I wasn't watching…"
"S'okay." He shrugged my apology off.
He was still walking fast and I had a hard time keeping up with him while I was also feeling a little uncomfortable with the fact that he wasn't even trying to slow down so he could talk to me. And I don't know where I found the courage or the strength to actually do it, but I firmly grabbed his arm and made him stop and face me.
He looked thoroughly surprised, maybe even more than me.
"What's wrong?" I asked and then started fidgeting because really, I was feeling too uncomfortable to look him in the eye. We might have…"bonded" in a way, over the last month, we may have talked and laughed and just interacted, but I was not in a place to take liberties like grabbing his arm or forcing him to talk to me.
He raised one eyebrow at me, as If dismissing my efforts completely, shrugged his arm out of my grip and with an indignant "nothing" he was walking, or more like running, away from me.
I was determined to be angry with him because he was back to being an ass for no reason, but it was really hard for me not to feel rejected at that moment. He was walking away from me, leaving me standing there like an idiot, like I had crossed some kind of line when I was certain that was not the case. Just last Friday we were talking and gossiping and exchanging notes and now he was dismissing me like I was any other Jessica who was following him around.
I felt like shit.
My mood didn't improve during the rest of the classes. Alice was still trying to make me feel comfortable about my hook-up, but the more she tried, the less comfortable I was. However, the most annoying of them all, was Jessica and her totally inappropriate gestures regarding my Saturday night activities. It was the first time I was seriously considering physically harming her.
Jessica wasn't the only one making suggestive comments but she was the most provocative. Angela tried to discreetly find out if anything other than what she saw, other than what they all saw, happened. Mike and the rest of the guys made a couple of crude jokes about me "getting some action" but then got bored and went back to ridiculing each other.
By the time I finally met up with the Cullens, it was lunch time and Edward was not with them. I was past embarrassment and way past my shy, insecure self, so when I seated myself at the table, I wasted no time and I asked what had been itching my insides since the day that I met them.
"What the hell is wrong with Edward?"
If I had told them that I had a penis, their reaction wouldn't have been so shocked.
"Why? Did he do something?" Jasper was the first to get a hold of himself.
"No. Yes. No, I mean, he didn't actually…do something, he's just…," I looked up unsure, "a jerk." And then because I wanted to clarify, I added, "again."
I looked around to see their expressions – Emmett was shaking his head resignedly, Rosalie was rolling her eyes, Alice looked worried and Jasper looked calculating. What was obvious was that Edward's being a jerk to people was not a surprise and no one seemed to want to explain why the fuck that was.
"Look," I decided to take matters into my own hands, "I know…what happened. At least…some of it."
No one seemed surprised to hear that either.
"What I don't get is why…why he treats people like that…people that have done nothing wrong…" People like me, I wanted to add.
"Bella," Jasper sighed, "you need to understand that…he is very, very angry."
"With me?" I asked incredulously because it didn't make sense.
I looked up and realized it was Alice who had answered. She wouldn't look at me though and I hated it, it was like Edward was a wall separating us, keeping Alice from truly reaching out to me. It was like she was afraid that everything would be ruined because of him, and his issues and his anger. Only now did I realize the reality of that. I could trace back to the first days when I met Alice, she was eager and smiling and excited to know me, but never so excited about me knowing her. I remembered all those questions directed at me, all the things she wanted to know about me, to be my friend when she didn't let me be her friend, when she closed up whenever I inquired about her and her family. She would only tell me trivial things, insignificant things that would make no difference in our relationship. But when it came to Edward, and to their life before Forks, she backed off. And now I could finally understand her reaction, her immediate defense when I learned about Edward's past.
I looked at her and willed her with my eyes to look at me too because I wanted to reassure her, I wanted her to know that whatever Edward's behavior was, I would never think badly of her. She was one of the few people I felt really damn close and while I wouldn't go about expressing my emotions and hugging her or kissing her claiming us BFFs, I wanted to show her just how much she meant to me. The only question was how.
"Well…that sucks for him," I shrugged and with an indifference so well faked, I started eating my crappy sandwich. I was anything but indifferent, I was curious and upset and dying to know what the fuck was wrong with him, but a feeling in my gut, a feeling that I hadn't felt for a very long time, made me suck it up and pretend for Alice's sake. And there it was, that cute little smile of hers. And after a while, all the weirdness was gone and we were back to just hanging out.
And since we had plenty of time and I really wanted to change the subject, I asked the question that had been in the back of my mind all this time.
"How does…this work? How can you all be in relationships and yet…be, legally at least, related?" I really hoped I was not being offensive or anything but as it appeared they had no problem talking about it.
"Not all of us are actually adopted by Carlisle and Esme," Rosalie informed me. "Only Edward, Alice and Emmett are Cullens, at least on paper. Jasper and I use my former surname, Hale."
"Oh," I said surprised. "I didn't know that. But how…?"
"How can we stay under the same roof?" Emmett cut me off. "Well, it's some legal shit that I don't really understand or bother to understand for that matter, but the main point is that Jasper and Rose have Carlisle and Esme as guardians but not as legally adopted parents. Thus, I can make out with her all I want without having anyone calling me weirdo. Not that it would have stopped me anyway," he smiled cheekily at Rosalie who at first scowled at him but then succumbed to his teddy-bear charm. It was sweet and uncomfortable at the same time how they could go on and kiss each other like no one else was present.
I averted my eyes from them and turned to look at Alice hoping that I hadn't made her uncomfortable about the adoption part. She seemed unfazed so I probed a little deeper.
"So, how did you all meet?" I knew from our previous talks that they had all been given for adoption when they were mere babies and they had moved a lot, from orphanages to foster families until they ended up in the Cullen household.
"Well," started Alice, "Edward was the first to get adopted." I tried very hard not to show any emotion when his name was mentioned. I hoped I succeeded. "We didn't know him before we got adopted ourselves but from what Esme has told us, Carlisle sort of knew him since he was a baby but only managed to adopt him when he was 8. Emmett was next, but almost 3 years later. He had been living in a foster family that was too big for a kid to grow up. Carlisle found him one day when he was out hiding from all the noise and the commotion that was going on in the house."
"I remember that day," Emmett popped in. "I was sitting by myself outside a grand house, like 10 blocks away from that dump I was living then, when Carlisle got out to get rid of the trash. He sort of stepped on me as he hadn't seen me in the dark, and well…I may have pretended to be more hurt than I actually was." Everyone laughed at that. "Long story short, he got me inside and took care of me and when he found out the conditions I was living in, he immediately tried to help me. And since I was always a charming motherfucker, he couldn't help himself; he adopted me as well."
I was so…surprised. Everything they said seemed unreal. They were so at ease with everything, like their parents giving them away was not a big deal. I knew deep down they all had issues and emotional baggage, but I was surprised by the aloofness and the carefree way they were all dealing with this.
"We were next," Jasper claimed and Alice went on. "Jasper and I had grown up together in the orphanage. We were together since I can remember." She smiled at him and I could practically feel their connection, their attachment.
"We never got settled in a foster family because every time they would separate us, we would be hell on earth," Jasper stated almost proudly. "They couldn't deal with us more than a month each time. So we always got back to the orphanage where we at least had each other," he ended with a shrug like it was no big deal. But it was a big deal even if they couldn't say it out loud, you could see it in their eyes when they looked at each other, in their touches, in their unspoken words.
"By that time, Carlisle was in full save-all-the-kids-you-can mode," Emmett explained in his own way. "So when he visited that orphanage it wasn't too long before Edward and I had another brother and sister."
"Wow," was my only comment. Now all of Charlie's praise and thanking-of-the-God for sending Carlisle was justified. The man was truly a saint.
I was just about to ask about Rosalie when Alice interrupted my thinking.
"Rosalie was the last one," she said. "And it was all Emmett's doing," she said smiling at him.
Rosalie didn't speak but she cast a look on Emmett that left no doubt about her gratitude towards him.
"What happened?" I asked curious.
"I met Rose at school," he obliged me. "She was probably the only one from an orphanage that had enough money to go to a private school."
"My mother was not dead," Rosalie explained. "She just could not raise me," she said and I could now see that at least one of them was openly troubled with abandonment issues. "And since she had plenty of money, she gave me a generous trust fund while ditching me at the nearest orphanage," she finished bitterly. Emmett didn't try to sooth her with words, he just took her hand in his and gave it a squeeze. She squeezed back.
"Anyway," she went on, "I met Emmett at school when we were almost 13. He was the most annoying kid," she said with a laugh and Emmett just shrugged his shoulders.
She went on about how he kept bugging her to be her friend and how she always turned him down. She talked about his insistence that ended up being the reason she fell in love with him. Of course, it was much more innocent when they were thirteen, but since that age they were inseparable. A year later, Esme this time, decided to take under their wings Rosalie as well. But since Rosalie needed her last name in order to keep her trust fund they organized the whole guardians deal which worked for Jasper as well.
I felt really weird about bringing this subject up, like they were forced to tell me their history. In all honesty, I had only started this discussion in order to change the subject from Edward, I didn't expect to get so many answers. That didn't mean I wasn't satisfied with what I got, on the contrary I felt even more close to them than before. Somehow knowing their past and the circumstances that brought them together, made me feel like almost a part of them. Almost, because however good I was at understanding people or being there for them, I knew nothing of what they had been through, of what it was like to lose your parents, to move from family to family only to return to an orphanage. I could imagine, but I could not know.
"Err…I'm really sorry, guys…for bringing this up….you didn't have to tell me all that…" I stammered like a moron.
"It's ok, Bella," Alice smiled at me. "Really," she added when I didn't look convinced.
"Seriously, Bella," I looked up at Rosalie. "It's not like we don't have issues…" she trailed off vaguely, but then added, "but we're moving on. We are going through this as a family."
And suddenly I was…jealous. I was jealous of their bond, of their family. The thought was ridiculous before it even passed through my mind. I was jealous of some kids whose parents had abandoned them. How fucked up was that?
Truthfully, it wasn't like that. I knew I was lucky to have my parents safe and sound, and even though they were divorced, I knew they loved me and would never abandon me. What I was jealous of was the feeling itself. Alice, Rosalie, all of the Cullens, loved each other unconditionally and they showed it in their own way. They showed it, they acted on it, they admitted it. Me? I didn't even admit it in my head. I never told Charlie or Renee that I loved them. Sure, it went without saying that I did, in fact, love them, but why couldn't I be one of those kids who could actually say it or show it? Why couldn't I hug them once in a while just to show them that I cared for them?
I wish I could just pretend to feel it, this love, this bond but it would be a lie.
I crushed those thoughts as quickly as they appeared. We went back to chitchatting and I was glad that there was no weirdness between us anymore.
Weirdness came back in the form of Edward Cullen during biology.
He was mad at me; there was no doubt about that. The question was, was it just me this time, or was he mad at everyone? I decided not to try and found out. Somehow, I convinced myself that it wasn't my fault, that he couldn't possibly be angry with me as he didn't really bother with me all that much. We weren't exactly friends, we were…familiar with each other. I used to hope that we would get closer because in good days, Edward was pretty awesome, funny, smart and nice in general. Plus, he was smoking hot, and you can't help but want him to be at least your friend. At least.
But, apparently, even though I thought we were making progress, he went back to his brooding, angry, closed up self that I had no more patience for. And even if we had shared some…moments, up on that roof, I was not kidding myself.
He sat beside me silently, no longer angry-looking, just indifferent. He didn't say hello, or go fuck yourself, so I was pretty satisfied with the silent treatment. I was determined not to be the one to reach out to him, not to fucking bother because honestly, I was tired of his crap. I had accepted his word on the scandal involving him in Alaska, which some would say was foolish as I didn't know him very well, but I was certain because I trusted him. And apparently he thought nothing of that trust. Well, screw him.
I paid attention to Mr. Banner for all ten minutes he told us about the reproductive system and showed us ridiculous images of the "reproductive organs" while Mike and some other douche were snickering like five-year-olds.
Mr. Banner was quick and short, something that came as a surprise. But it was only because he had an ulterior motive.
"I finished so quickly today, because there is something I want us to discuss. As you know, due to budget cuts, there is no longer sex ed in this school, which I think is highly inappropriate. Nevertheless, I think most of the teachers here are capable enough to inform you about some basic things."
More snickering from Newton.
"Yes, Mr. Newton," Banner addressed his snickering, "I realize most of you know the meaning of sex and condom and STD and pregnancy and abortion."
Edward visibly stiffened next to me. I couldn't see his face clearly but his hands were gripping his chair so hard that his knuckles were white.
"What is the important thing that you all need to consider," Mr. Banner paused for dramatic effect, "is the context."
"I want to spend the rest of the hour to just talk, but I need all of you to participate. If you have any questions, please ask away. If you have any objections, you are free to state them. Raise your hand and say what you think."
After that little speech, he started talking about sex and abstinence. To his credit, he didn't really try to convince us that abstinence was the only option. In fact, he seemed to discard that altogether. What he did focus on, though, was safe sex, which would be completely tolerable if he hadn't started giving examples of some guys' ridiculous excuses for not putting on a condom.
"It is too tight, it itches, it hurts…These are excuses for the idiots. Always. Use. A. Condom."
Then he went on about teenage pregnancy and the inaccuracy of some pregnancy tests.
"If it's positive, then it's positive. If it's negative, don't rely on it. Go see a doctor to make sure."
I blushed when his gaze fell on me during his pregnancy speech. If he only knew...
All the while Edward was sitting stiff and angry-looking, staring off into space. I tried not to look at him, but his reaction had me intrigued. I knew that Tanya, that girl he supposedly raped, got pregnant. I knew she had an abortion. What I didn't know was Edward's role. Actually, I didn't know shit and once again I was mad at myself for trusting his word and not asking some serious questions. But at this point, it looked like we were never going to talk about anything remotely serious, maybe anything at all.
Mr. Banner's mood increasingly got more serious as he started the abortion talk. It was obvious that it was a sensitive subject for him but I admired him for not voicing an absolute opinion.
"I do not want to be absolute about this, but I just want you to think…think, before you do something you may regret later on. I know it's legal, I know it's your choice and that there are valid reasons for it, but please just…"
Both Mr. Banner and I were surprised when Edward freaking Cullen raised his hand.
"Yes, Mr. Cullen..?"
"I'd just like to point out that it is not only the woman's choice. Two people are involved, both of them should decide."
"Yes, of course," Mr. Banner said, "there are two people involved…"
I couldn't help it. He was crossing some line in my head that made my feminist side flare up. I raised my hand.
"Yes, Miss Swan?"
"Um…I agree that there are two people involved, but when it comes down to it, it is, in fact, the woman's choice, as it is inside the woman's body that the baby grows."
Edward's head snapped towards me and all I saw was green eyes, raised eyebrows, tight lips, an angry glare, before he was raising his hand again. Mr. Banner just nodded at him and looked at us a little disgruntled but happy as well for our participation in the subject. I was not very happy as I knew this would not end well. Discussions such as these between men and women never did end well.
"Just because the baby grows inside a woman, doesn't make the father any less involved."
"Oh, doesn't it?" I replied without even bothering raising my hand. "I agree, the father should be informed, should know everything, but…"
"Not have a say in it?" Edward interrupted. He was all sarcasm and mocking and I so wanted to punch him right then.
"No, that's what I just said. He should be involved, he should have a say in it, but in the end it's the woman who decides because it's her body."
"Again with the same crap," he muttered and rolled his eyes not looking at anyone in particular but I knew it was for me.
"Mr. Cullen!" Mr. Banner scolded him.
"Let me ask you this," I went on because I was flustered, furious and fucking done with this, "If the woman wants an abortion but the guy doesn't, who gets to decide, huh? Do they put it on popular vote and see who gets the most votes?" I asked sarcastically. He didn't answer and I knew I had him, or so I thought.
"Maybe if she knew how to keep her legs closed, she wouldn't get pregnant in the first place. But I guess you don't know how to do that either."
I wanted to die. And then rise from the dead and die again.
I had never in my life felt more humiliated, more crushed in front of an audience. Mike snickered again, while Jessica laughed like she wasn't the biggest whore in Forks and Eric tried to hide his laugh but was unsuccessful. And Edward…Edward sat back, looking relaxed now as though he had been keeping his comment inside him for too long and now that he had said it, a burden had lifted from his shoulders and he could finally lighten up. He only looked at me while saying those hurtful words, and then he was staring in front of him. And I was glad because I fucking hated him but I would hate myself more if he got to see the traitor tears that had formed in my eyes.
And it all fucking made sense now. The angry looks he cast me during that party when I was grinding that dude, the cold, indifferent treatment I got when I bumped into him this morning, the fucking anger. It was all on me, today. He wasn't just angry in general, he was angry with me. And he apparently thought I was a whore.
I'm not crying, I'm not crying, I'm not crying, I'm not crying.
I blinked and I blinked, willing the fuckers away from my eyes but they wouldn't budge.
"Mr. Cullen!" Mr. Banner practically yelled. He had heard and watched my humiliation along with the rest of the class. "Detention for the rest of the month!" He was furious and I enjoyed it, but the only thing that would make me feel the tiniest bit better would be a kick in the crotch of Edward fucking Cullen. And even that wouldn't have been enough to stop my fucking tears.
As soon as the bell had rang, two minutes after my humiliation, I was out the class, running, tripping and running some more, until I was in a bathroom stall, crying, gasping for air, punching the closed door imagining it was his fucking face, crying, sobbing, sobbing, sobbing…
I heard the door opening and a couple of chattering girls came in. I blew away my snot and wiped under my eyes. When I got out of the stall I made a pretense of my contacts bothering me, thus the redness of my eyes, and went out.
There was not even the slightest possibility that I would stay for the rest of my classes. If there was ever a decent reason for me to ditch school, Edward Cullen would be the perfect excuse.
I quickly went to my locker to pick up the things I needed but fucking luck had it that I bumped into Alice who was walking towards her next class.
"Hey, Bella," she said, confused, "don't you have another class?"
"Yeah, I just…" I fucking sniffed and she had me.
"What's wrong?" she asked trying to get a better look at me but I wouldn't let her. I really didn't want to deal with her at the moment, I didn't want to deal with anyone. I wanted to go home, get under the covers and die a troubled, tearful and sobbing death.
"Nothing, Alice, I just want to go home."
"Bullshit. What happened?"
"Jesus fuck," I muttered running my hand through my hair.
"Just…ask your brother, Alice." I didn't want to tell her, because I didn't want anyone to hear his god- awful words again. I wanted to erase his words from my memory. If hitting my head against a wall would let me forget, I was really fucking tempted to do it, but I would wait until I was in the safety of my room. The last thing I needed was people calling me a whore and a psycho.
Alice doesn't even bother to ask which brother. "What did Edward do?" And she sounds all worried and panicked that I remember my previous revelation that she's worried her brother's behavior will drive me away.
"Alice, it wasn't a big deal. And we'll talk later, I promise. I just really need to go," I say, lowering my voice more and more so that the hurt cannot be heard.
"Why?" she asks all confused and cute which is probably why I blurt out the truth.
"Because I'm about to start crying and I don't like crying in public," I whisper while the tears in my eyes confirm my words.
"He made you cry?" And she's the one about to cry now.
So I hug her because…I felt like it. And it's probably the first time in fucking ever that I had the urge to hug anyone. I hug her tight and emotional and fucking honest and she hugs me back.
And after that was done, I pulled back and with the promise to call her as soon as I was feeling better, I left.
I didn't really look around me while I was walking towards my car. I don't know what actually compelled me to look up when I was passing that secluded spot where some kids were usually hanging out to smoke pot and make out, but I did and I saw him. Of all the people, it had to be Edward motherfucking Cullen.
He was ditching class as well, it appeared, to smoke pot. I could see it wasn't a regular clove; I had some experience with that shit. He even looked stoned, so it wasn't a big fucking mystery. He didn't see me; he probably wouldn't even see me if I was standing in front of him. He looked like he was about to pass out and for a minute I was worried for him. Maybe I should call Alice? Or Jasper? Maybe I should go ask if he's feeling okay?
And then I remembered he didn't like me anymore. He didn't like whores.