A few weeks before the wedding Bella has a startling memory that could change everything. I dreamed of hall lights and unfamiliar faces, darkness and feeling small and helpless. I woke with a start. May contain triggers
2. What Bella Remembered
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What Bella Remembered:
Edward was kissing me. It felt like an electric pulse was running up and down my skin, with his cool white hands. Unfortunately we weren't alone in the Cullen House, so I pulled away before I got carried away enough to be noisy.
"Bella?" Edward smiled, "Are you all right?"
"Yeah.... it's just hard to get used to the idea of a houseful of people with super sensitive hearing..." I blushed beet red. Edward laughed.
"They don't want to hear us, love. They'll do their best to ignore it."
"I'll make sure you don't get too loud...." he chuckled evilly.
I blushed again, but moved in closer. As Edward's lips met mine my heart sped up. I revelled in the feeling of his hands on my waist. Edward had been surprisingly reasonable when I had pointed out that if control on our honeymoon was his goal, than it would be a good idea to get a little practice in first. Like moving beyond kissing. Practice makes perfect after all.
His hands slid up towards my breasts and I bit my lip, letting out a low moan. Edward smiled and flicked my nipple, playing with it and I choked back a cry of pleasure. I moaned again as one of his hands slid down my stomach and cupped between my legs. My heart sped and I sucked in air to let out a small scream when Edward clapped his hand gently over my mouth.
Suddenly I felt like I was somewhere else. All the pleasure I’d been feeling died as I was overwhelmed by a memory of being trapped and scared. I started to shriek and struggle to get away. I couldn’t remember where I was and what was happening. Edward jumped away at vampire speed, his face concerned.
"Bella, are you all right? Did I hurt you?" he asked in a panicked voice, inspecting me for damage. I panted, trying to pull myself out of my strange memory.
"I'm not hurt. Just, give me a minute." I needed to think. What had just happened? He sat as still as a statue for 2 minutes while my mind raced, but couldn't help himself for long.
"Bella, what's wrong? Are you sick? You look green." He reached out a hand to touch my face and I jumped away unconsciously.
"Please, don't touch me," I begged, terror rising from an unknown source.
"Bella," he whispered, his eyes growing frantic, "I'm sorry, whatever it is, whatever I did, please tell me, I'll do my best to make it better."
I knew I needed to start talking, to pull myself together soon, or he was going to panic entirely.
"I don't know what's wrong." I began. "When you put your hand over my mouth, it was like I was somewhere else. Like I was remembering something terrifying - but I can't remember what it was now." The panic was starting to fade, and I was embarrassed for freaking out. Edward was still staring at me as though I were a bomb about to explode. Noticing the guilt in his expression I sighed. "It's not your fault Edward. I'm not hurt. I'm fine!"
"You didn't look fine a minute ago Bella," he said, sitting next to me, "You were terrified." He looked so sad.
"I wasn't scared of YOU," I insisted. "I must have been trapped in a closet as a baby or something, and I don't like being trapped. Silly memory. Gone now. Let's not ruin our evening because of it." I knew that wasn’t it, but I couldn’t figure out any other explanation that made sense. I took a deep breath and looked at the clock. "We still have a few hours left until Charlie is expecting me. Do you want to go downstairs and watch a movie before you take me home?"
He looked at me intently for a minute, and then sighed. "Are you sure? You don't have a very good track record when it comes to looking after yourself."
Later that night, curled up next to Edward in my bed at home, I dreamed. I dreamed of hall lights and unfamiliar faces, darkness and feeling small and helpless. I woke with a start.
"Bella, what's wrong? Did you have a bad dream?" came Edward's soft voice.
Was it a dream? I thought. "I remember now. I remember." My voice was groggy, but I was wide awake now.
"What do you remember?" Edward was confused.
"What scared me earlier. It was him - it was then. And that’s why…. And I never understood why, but WHY didn't she tell me." I sat up, my mind whirling. I felt sick and little dizzy. I hugged my knees close.
"Who, Bella?" Edward asked in a suddenly calm voice.
"Renée." I answered without thinking, "and Steven" I shuddered.
"What didn't Renée tell you?" he asked in that same calm voice. Something in his tone was familiar.
"About when I was in foster care... and why.."
"When was that?" I realized -he was using the same tone of voice all of the Cullens used with Alice when she was lost in a vision. I must be scaring him, if he felt he had to draw on that. I didn't answer, but looked him straight in the eyes.
"You're here," he said, heaving a sigh of relief. I raised an eyebrow at him. "You haven't been since you woke up. It looked like you were still in your memory. It reminded me a bit of Alice."
"I was just thinking the same thing." I said, and sighed.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he asked. "You don't have to."
"No, I do. I can't keep this from you. It wouldn't feel right. Are you sure you want to hear... I don't ... I mean... this isn't a happy memory Edward." I choked out, suddenly terrified that he would leave after I told him.
His arms were tight around me. "Bella, I love you. I will be here for good times, and the bad ones. I will listen to whatever you want to tell me and we will deal with the consequences together."
I took a deep breath. "I don't know where to start... I can't believe I'd never put this all together before."
He looked at me. "Do you want me to ask questions or just listen?"
"Do you want to tell me why you were in foster care? And when?"
"When I was seven. I broke my wrist for the third time. The hospital told me they had no choice. They knew me pretty well at the hospital, and they knew that I was a klutz. None of my injuries were “suspicious”, but I had too many ER visits to not have Child Protective Services involved."
"I've seen your head X-ray. I can believe that. Carlisle wondered if you'd been dropped on your head as a baby the first time he saw them."
"Well, I was only there a week, it wasn't that bad, the family were very nice to me. But now I wonder about the timing. When I was 5, my mom and I moved out of my Gran's house. She died soon after. We moved into the house I grew up in. Renée was only 25, and she started dating again. I met a lot of them. They were usually really nice, and Renée was pretty good at getting rid of the ones I didn't like. Just after my 6th birthday she met Steven and they got really close really fast. He seemed really nice at the time. He bought me lots of presents and always wanted to do things "as a family". It didn't take long for Renée to get comfortable enough with him to have him stay at the house overnight."
I stopped and took a deep breath. Edward, his arms still around me, didn't move.
"And that's what I remembered. I know it is."
"You remember him staying overnight?"
"No. Yes, but I think... no, I know he used to come into my room while Renée was sleeping. I would lay in bed at night, scared, while I waited for the hall light to come on... that meant he was on his way. And he would sit on the edge of my bed." my voice dropped to a whisper. "and he put one hand over my mouth so I couldn't make any noise. And he pulled up my nightgown and touched me. He touched himself too, but I didn't understand that part then. I was just so scared, and embarrassed..." I bit back a sob. We sat absolutely still, the weight of what I'd just said immobilizing us.
"Why didn't you tell Renée?" Edward's velvet voice was almost hoarse.
I sniffed and cleared my throat, "He told me she wouldn't believe me, and that she'd be very angry at me for lying. He called me horrible names in the dark. Told me that it was my fault. She was so infatuated with him... I believed him. Just after I turned seven Renée found him in the hallway when he was done with me. He lied and said he'd been in the bathroom, but I don't think she believed him. He never stayed over again, she didn't break up with him though." I was breathing heavily, almost panting.
"Bella, we can stop..." began Edward, but I cut him off.
"No, I need to finish this." I slowed my breathing, trying not to hyperventilate. "It was just after that when I broke my wrist. I was trying to learn to Rollerblade. I can remember sitting on the bed in the ER, and Renée talking to one of the doctors, but she was too far away for me to hear what she said. The she came back and told me that the hospital had to investigate because of all the ER visits. I was in pain from my wrist and so scared and worried about Renée, and scared that I'd never see her again, and I thought I'd done something wrong."
I could recall with perfect clarity the social worker shaking hands and introducing herself to me as though I were an adult. "I'm Sophia Tynes. The doctors here are going to give you a complete physical and then I'm going to take you to stay with a foster family for a little while." I'd just stared at her, so confused. The nurses were nice, several of them were familiar from previous visits. A doctor came in and did all the usual things. She had weighed and measured me, poked at my abdomen, listened to my heart and lungs. It was harder to remember what had happened next, as I hadn't understood it at the time, but I think I had an "internal exam".
"What are you thinking?" Edward's favourite question pulled me back to the present.
"I think Renée told them. I can remember at the hospital, before the social worker took me to the foster family, they ... checked me. At least I think that's what they were doing... they didn't tell me. And I wonder if that's why they took me away. Or maybe the staff at the hospital thought something was wrong? They knew me fairly well - they called me a "frequent flyer". I don't know if I was acting differently, I was just a kid."
I jumped out of Edward's lap and began to pace. I was overwhelmingly angry all of a sudden. At Charlie, for not protecting me, at Steven for doing what he did in the first place, at Edward for just sitting there shocked and most of all at Renée, and at myself for not remembering this in the first place.
"Why didn't she tell me," I groaned, "How could she keep this from me. It‘s not fair that this is happening now. I don‘t want this, I don‘t want to have to deal with this, we‘ve already dealt with so much. I just wanted some peace and quiet… why didn‘t she TELL me!" I failed to understand how my flighty mother had kept such a terrible secret for so long. From ME! She told me everything, we had been the best of friends when I lived with her in Phoenix, we had no secrets - or so I had thought. Tears were pouring down my cheeks. I looked a Edward, my anger spent. "I don't know what to do now," I whispered, rubbing away my tears with the heels of my hands. I looked straight at him, for the second time since I’d woken up.
Edward was still. Too still - he always did that in stressful situations. His eyes were horrified, sad and scared, all at once. Looking at them, I burst into fresh tears and dove back into his lap, seeking the comfort of his arms. I sobbed and sobbed while he gently patted my hair and made quiet "shh" noises. Eventually the storm of crying passed and I craned my head to look at the clock. It was late - or early- and I was exhausted.
"Love, you should try to get some sleep," mumered Edward into my ear.
I shook my head a little. "I'm scared I'll have nightmares," my voice shook. It was the one side effect of Edward leaving me last year that I had never been able to overcome. Any kind of stress led straight to screaming nightmares.
"I'll be here all night. I'll keep you safe," he said softly.
I yawned. I wasn't going to get a choice. My body was shutting down regardless. We lay down, Edward's arm tight around me, his cool body pressed firmly against me, and I closed my eyes and fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
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