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
3. What Edward Hit
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As Bella settled into me and her regular breathing indicated that she'd finally gone back to sleep, I remembered with heartbreaking clarity the horrible things she'd told me. Someone had touched her. Had hurt her. Scared her. And she had only been a child! I was so angry at this Steven. I felt FULL of anger, as though it were going to overwhelm me and spill out. But there was nothing I could do about it now. Bella had to be my priority, and she wanted me here with her. I couldn't leave her alone right now for anything.
Bella's sleep seemed dreamless and peaceful. I prayed it was. A few hours after the gray dawn broke, my cell phone vibrated in my pocket. Leaving one arm wrapped around Bella, I used the other to pull out my phone. It was a text message from Alice. "Sunshine by 9am. Come home." I looked at the time. It was 8:30am. Bella showed no sign of waking and I didn't want her to wake up alone today. The phone buzzed again while I deliberated. "I know, wake her to tell her, she'll come here later today."
I hated to do it, but Charlie was not planning on leaving the house until later this afternoon. It would be beyond awkward to be stuck in the house with him on a sunny day while we waited for him to go to La Push this afternoon to watch a baseball game. I gently shook Bella's shoulder. She mumbled but didn't wake up. I pressed my lips to her hand and called her name softly. Her eyelids fluttered and slowly opened. "Wha-" she muttered, sleepy and confused.
"The sun is going to be out soon, Alice sent me a text. I've got to go now, but feel free to come over later. Call if you want to, or take some time alone. I love you and I'll see you soon." She nodded, frowning. My dead heart broke at the abandoned expression on her face, but the clock said 8:43am and I wouldn't help anything by getting stuck. I moved swiftly out of the window and started to move as soon as I hit the ground.
I ran home, using the speed to help control my mounting anger. But it wasn't a long enough trip to do any real good, and the cloud cover was starting to break up. I owed my family too much to risk them by being seen. All too soon, I was running up the long driveway. Alice sat on the porch, her thoughts full of the conversation Bella and I had had last night.
Alice knew? Why didn't she tell me? "Alice," I growled, "Do not tell me that you knew that this was coming."
"No!" she said, and her thoughts proved her to be mostly right. "I saw part of it the night before last, but none of it made any sense. It just looked like a bad dream, and I didn't want to worry you about nothing." The vision she showed me was cloudy and muted, as so many visions of Bella are. Alice had indeed seen only Bella having her dream and than her later outburst. I took a deep breath. I couldn't take my frustrations out on Alice. This wasn't her fault.
"Does anyone else know?" I asked her in an even tone of voice.
"Jasper." she said aloud. "I was so upset when I understood last night - I had to tell him. Rose and Emmett know that I had an upsetting vision, but they don't know what about." I felt guilty as Alice remembered having her vision last night, and Jasper's worries about her.
My anger was growing again. How could one human wreak so much havoc on our lives? I kicked one of the pillars that held up the roof on the covered porch. The whole structure shook, reminding me to be more cautious with my strength. Alice was sorting through visions of Bella arriving at the house - the timing kept changing. Some were a few minutes away, some much later in the afternoon. Bella was feeling indecisive and it was driving Alice crazy. My Bella was not usually indecisive - in fact she was usually so stubbornly stuck to one point of view that it was impossible to convince her of anything else. She'd never been shy about visiting either - she liked it here. I groaned, gripping the edge of Esme's carefully chosen patio chair so hard that a piece came off in my hand.
"Do you want me to go get Jasper?" asked Alice doubtfully, leaving unspoken her reluctance to expose him to my emotional maelstrom. I shook my head, my teeth clenched shut. I was only keeping it together by a hair's breath and didn't know how or where I could safely let it go. I threw the piece of chair into the wide yard.
Emmett stuck his head out of the door. "I'm so telling Esme it was you trashing her furniture for once and not me - whoa!" As he got a good look at my face, Emmett's thoughts suddenly filled with a clearing in the woods. He turned into house yelling "Back in a while Rose!"
Rosalie answered, "Kay!" and returned to the piano piece she'd been working on.
"C'mon bro," Emmett ran off, gesturing for me to follow him. "Do you want to talk about it?" he asked. I shook my head. I still felt like I was going to explode. We kept running. Being with Emmett this way was peaceful, as he kept his thoughts focused on the clearing that was our destination. When we arrived I suddenly realized my brother's intentions. This was a safe place to explode. I shook my head. It was a nice gesture, but couldn't do this now. Bella could be arriving any minute. "I.. shouldn't be here. I should go..." I started to say.
"Edward, come on. You need to let it out, or you're going to hurt her." Emmett was frustrated, and honestly worried about Bella. It was a nice thought, but what did he know about what I was going through?
"Look," I said, the anger at the surface boiling over again, "You don't know anything about what's going on, so don't tell me what I need," and I shoved him, just to make my point.
"Oh, I don't, huh? You feel sick to your stomach? Like you want to punch something? Maybe you'd like to take her away somewhere and just hide for the rest of time? Go on Edward, what other unique feelings are you having? Cuz obviously there is no way I understand what it's like to have the person you love the most hurt. I wouldn't understand what it's like to feel like you want to hit something you can't get at. I have no idea how frustrating it is to be understanding and supportive when all you want to do is destroy something, just so you can feel better." Underneath my anger, I suddenly realized that Emmett was possibly the only person in my family who could truly understand what I was feeling. He'd been dealing with this since he opened his eyes to this life almost eighty years ago. Emmett roared, "DO NOT TELL ME WHAT I AM NOT FEELING, AND WHAT I DON'T UNDERSTAND." and then he jumped at me. I was so distracted that I didn't really see him coming until it was too late. We fell to the ground with a crash, and rolled to the side. I used the momentum to get him off.
I grabbed a tree and threw it across the clearing. "It's not fair!" I sobbed as another tree went flying. "We don't deserve this!" It did feel good to get rid of the tension and anger, and I gave myself over to that anger, screaming, yelling unintelligibly and throwing trees and rocks. Several minutes passed before I could get myself under control again. I noticed Emmett sitting off to one side of the clearing.
"That's the first time I've ever surprised you in a fight, I think."
"So, you gonna tell me who hurt Bella?"
I grew cautious. Emmett was well intentioned, but it was really Bella's story to tell. I was curious though, "How do you know that someone has hurt Bella?"
"Other than the fact that I can't think of any other reason for you to destroy Esme's furniture?" Emmett quirked an eyebrow and then sighed. "I recognize the look man. Carlisle's worn it, Jasper had it last year when Alice found out all that shit about being in an asylum, your face was stuck like that after Phoenix and I've had it when Rose is going through rough patches." Emmett's sunny face clouded as he remembered comforting Rosalie. Rosalie's beautiful face twisted in tortured memories, and as I watched in Emmett's memories her face morphed into Bella's face last night and I groaned. "It's the face you get when someone hurts the woman you love," he finished.
I as still hesitating. Emmett noticed, and guessed the reason why. Emmett can be surprisingly intuitive - when he has to be. "Do you really think it will be worse if we all know? I would think it would be easier if everyone knew. No curiosity, no questions to answer. We can all just focus on helping as much as we can. Cuz this is bad, isn't it?" He was right, again.
I nodded, still trying to find the right words.
"Is it - the mutt?" Emmett asked reluctantly.
"No, no!" I exclaimed, "No one we know, unfortunately. Last night when Bella came over we were...practicing for... after the wedding. She was nervous about ... being overheard." I shot him a look, and his guilt level rose. "At one point, I covered her mouth with my hand. She panicked and screamed - well, you heard that part."
He nodded. "Thanks goodness for Alice, keeping us all in line, and looking out for Bella."
"Yeah. Bella downplayed it, and said she didn't know what it was about and then we came down to watch the movie. Later, while she was sleeping she looked like she was having a nightmare, but she wasn't saying anything, so I didn't know and then she just woke up."
"And" thought Emmett.
"And," I sighed, "She remembered why she was screaming. One of Renée's boyfriends had molested her when she was 6. And she thinks she spent a week in foster care because of it." Emmett's thoughts were whirling. Mostly he wanted to find whoever had hurt Bella. "Not helping Emmett." I muttered. I was trying to suppress the urge hunt the bastard down and kill him myself. I didn't have enough information to find him though - and I couldn't leave Bella to deal with this by herself.
"Sorry," Emmett thought, getting himself under control. "Six years old, sick fuck."
"So what does Bella want to do now?"
"I don't know. She doesn't know. She was too tired and upset last night - I still don't know exactly what happened after Renée found out."
Emmett was shocked. "Her mother knew - but Bella didn't? That's fucked up man." Emmett's words were crude, but I agreed with the sentiment. Bella loved her mother dearly. However, reading between the lines of Bella's stories of burnt dinners, late night meditations and séances, getting lost, have the power switched off due to non-payment, Renée had never looked after Bella. It didn't surprise me that when something hard had come up, Renée had done what was easiest for her, and not what was best for Bella. Avoiding the issue, and hoping it would never come up again. It fit Renée’s childish personality perfectly. Again, I had to leave that thought. Bella would not thank me for hurting her mother, no matter what she had done. Or not done.
"I should head back, Bella is coming over later and I don't want to miss her."
"We can't go back til you get your face under control."
He'd lost me. "What?"
He sighed. "If you look at her like that, how do you think she'll feel? Like you still love her, sure. But like you pity her. Like there's something wrong with her. Like she's a victim. You can't do that to her. You have to be able to look at her the same." I hated it when Emmett was right. But he was. Bella had to know that nothing had changed between us, or she would feel terrible about herself. As I thought about that I realized that nothing had changed between us. We were still strong, and would hopefully remain so.
"That's better. Let's go."
We ran quickly back to the house. Alice was still sitting on the porch, and Jasper's arm was around her. He looked at me warily, assessing my emotions. I was calmer now, though still upset. He should be able to tolerate me, and maybe even help without getting overwhelmed. Alice was still running through Bella's future, trying to assess when she would arrive. Things were clearing up now. I was glad, until I realized that Rosalie was with her. In a car. On a sunny day.
"Alice?" I asked. I must be seeing things.
"Well, I could see that you were going to tell Emmett, and so I told Rosalie. And then Bella was still trying to decide when to come over, and it was really starting to get to me, and Rose..." she stopped talking but I could see the rest of the scene clearly in her thoughts.
"Agh! Bella, just make up your mind!" Alice exclaimed.
"What exactly is her problem?" Rose asked.
"The usual with Bella. She doesn't want to "burden" us by bringing in negative emotions, she doesn't want to have to deal with any embarrassing questions, and she's not sure how Edward's going to react to all this."
"God, they are both just as bad as each other, aren't they? I can't deal with this shit any more. I'll go and pick her up, and end all the drama."
Jasper stared at her. "Do you really think that that's a good idea? It's not going to help anyone if the neighbours get a look at you in the sun, is it?"
Rosalie glared back, "Of course not. I wasn't going to get out of the car. Bella will recognize Carlisle's Mercedes, and the windows are tinted dark enough that I shouldn't have any problems driving there and back. Besides, if you two didn't get caught on the way to Phoenix, then shouldn't really have a problem in Forks, should I?" She turned on her heel and before Alice or Jasper could react, the sound of the Mercedes started in the garage.
"It didn't seem like it would matter that much how she got here." Jasper filled in the story, " And Rose... was really worried about Bella when she left. She wanted to care for her. I think this could be good."
He knew as well as I did that it really depended on the method of caring Rosalie chose. Her brand of brutal honesty was not for everyone and could really hurt Bella in her fragile emotional state. But there really didn't seem to be much I could do about it now, so I sat down on the porch with my family to enjoy the sunshine and wait for Bella.
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- 06 Apr 09
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