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The Dreams of the Boy In the Nighttime

Summary:
Bella Swan has had a tragic and abusive childhood; everyone knew it. But not everyone knew of the bronze-haired boy who visited her in her dreams. He was the only one who knew the true Bella. But Edward wasn't real, was he? Banner made by Anne Cullen :)


Notes:
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended. Twilighted Supervisory Beta: qjmom Twilighted Validation Beta: Twilightzoner


2. Moving Onward

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2224   Review this Chapter

Two weeks later, Bella had not once stepped foot in her home. Instead, Esme had gone to Bella's house when Bella's father had been at work to collect clothes and other necessities using the key placed - as Bella had said - on the eve.

Gradually, over the next eighteen months, more and more of Bella's belongings had begun to appear around the Cullen household, to the displeasure of Alice's brother, Emmett.

He felt as if his home had been invaded by aliens "of the female kind," as he had put it. Esme had to bribe him with her infamous chocolate crispy cakes to make him pull down the obscene posters he had hung around his room - topless women posing seductively with various male models on motorcycles.

She didn't even want to imagine what would have happened if her daughter or Bella had happened to stumble into the room, and she was surprised that neither of them hadn't already. She herself had had a fit the first time she'd seen them. Perhaps they have seen them and they're just too scarred to mention it, Esme thought to herself, quickly shuddering and then disposing of the thought.

Other than the over-nights and mornings before school, it hadn't been much different than usual, as Bella had spent so much time at the Cullens' over the last eighteen months that it almost felt as if Bella lived there anyways.

Of course, there was more food to be cooked, more housework to be done and she had to plait two sets of pigtails in the mornings instead of just one, but Esme had no hesitation in thinking that it was for the best. Esme would've hated for Bella to have to go into protective care or worse, for something bad to happen at her home.

Bella seemed contented with her situation and the bruises under her eyes, that Esme had grown so used to seeing that she'd assumed they were just a permanent part of her complexion rather than an indication of fatigue, had begun to fade. Bella's hair held more shine than it ever had before, falling in ringlets down her back instead of in knotted waves.

She even wore more smiles around the house, and Esme was sad that she hadn't seen them as often as she would've liked before. It was a truly beautiful smile, so similar to what Esme could remember of Renee's.

Bella's persistence in helping around the house had begun as sweet and caring, but as she constantly asked to wash the dishes or strip the beds Esme had grown worried. What had that man truly done to her? Nine year olds were meant to be outside playing, not doing housework.

She couldn't help but compare Bella's willingness to help to Alice's, who was always bouncing around in a pair of Esme's designer heels (Esme had enforced many a time that Alice would not be able to have her own heels until she was at least thirteen, though that didn't stop her from wearing Esme's), as she whined money out of Esme's purse.

Esme didn't think that her daughter was spoilt. No, though it might have looked like that from the outside, it was more that Alice appreciated the finer things in life rather than dwelling on the bad ones, and Esme saw no harm in feeding that desire. Alice could be very genuine, and that was confirmed by her optimistic behavior around Bella when she seemed disheartened.

Bella must think that she was abandoning her father. How would she know what filth he really was? It wasn't as if she had any other father figure with whom to compare him.

But, Alice took her friend's situation in her dance-like stride, not pitying her or judging Bella in any way for it. When Bella did seem saddened, Alice was always positive, suggesting things to do to distract her, and in no time a beautiful smile was upon Bella's face.

Esme admired her daughter's care-free attitude, and she wished that she would've been able to be that... mature... at her daughter's age. Alice was the greatest friend Bella could have ever expected, since there was only so much Esme could do herself in these times. But Esme swore that whatever it was that Bella needed, she would provide. And Bella needed whatever she could get.

####

"What do you think is going to happen?" Bella asked Edward that night, as she sat on the lake's bank, dipping her toes into the cool and refreshing waters. It was summertime, and the heat was warming, but not uncomfortably so. Flowers were blooming in the pastures and she could hear the soft sound of crickets in the air.

Edward was sat beside her with his legs crossed Indian-style. He had a strange aversion to the waters that Bella did not quite understand. When she'd asked him about it, all she'd gotten as a response were mumblings made under Edward's breath of water demons and the Loch Ness monster. Bella couldn't help but smile at the memory.

"What do you mean?" he said, fiddling with a few of the strands of grass by his side. His head was bent over as he spoke so that his hair, which had grown quite long in recent months, had flopped in front of his face, obscuring his emerald eyes from Bella's view.

"Well, I can't stay with Alice and Esme forever, can I?"

"You won't have to. I'm sure you'll move out after graduation, and even then you'll probably be going to college with Alice anyways."

"Edward, that's not what I meant. Graduation is years away! I haven't even graduated elementary school yet! I can't intrude on their hospi-"

At that moment, Edward lifted his gaze from the grassy ground, shifting his hair as he did so. From the frantic expression on her face, he could tell that she had now gone into full discussion mode. From what he knew of Bella - which was more than he knew of any other person - he knew that she could go on for hours like this without even stopping for breath. He swiftly lifted his hand, the one that was not fondling the grass, and shoved it against Bella's mouth, her head jerking back slightly as he did so.

"I know what you meant, Bella and... OW!" He pulled his hand back, reflexively shaking it in front of him.

"Isabella Marie Swan, did you just bite me?" he asked incredulously. Bella just stared blankly back at his skeptical expression, and lifted her hand in a circular motion in front of her, indicating for Edward to continue with whatever he was saying.

Edward sighed over-dramatically and continued, "As I was saying before I was ever so rudely interrupted," he narrowed his eyes at Bella's brown innocent ones. Innocent my ass. "I know what you meant, and by what you've told me of Esme, and how kind she's been over the last year and a half, I wouldn't be surprised if she was overjoyed to have you."

"Hmmm... I'm not sure..." she said, leaning against his shoulder and moving her feet so that the water swam around and in between her toes. She was still unsure whether she could, or should, stretch Esme's hospitality that far; she was already a single mother of two.

"Just think of it this way, Bella. It's either living with the best friend who has been like your sister and with Esme, who already - I think - seems to think of you as her own daughter, or to endure the next nine years until you move out with that pig you call your father," he ended aggressively, with evident venom deep in his tone.

"Hmmm... I guess... you're... right..." she yawned. She wasn't really listening to what he was saying or she would've been her normal stubborn self and retaliated for his comment about her father. But she could feel her eyelids beginning to close shut and fatigue begin to coat her bleary vision.

"It's going to be okay, Bella - sleep," he whispered into her ear, making her breathing automatically level out as she grew unresponsive in his arms.

####

Where is that fucking daughter of mine? Charlie Swan asked himself.

He was sitting on the unkempt double bed, the same one that he had shared with his Renee. He hadn't changed anything in this goddamned house. He'd imagined many a time the joy that would appear on Renee's face when she'd come home to the house the same as she'd left it. They'd have been able to restart their life together perfectly.

She would've come back, he thought for the one millionth time. It seemed to be the only straight thought his drunken mind could fully comprehend these days. He swung back his bottle and felt the acid burn a trail down his throat.

Fucking delicious.

He slowly transferred his weight to his feet, making sure he didn't fall. His head spun, but he quickly grabbed hold of the bedstead before he could fall to the floor.

He swaggered to the doorway and continued on to the landing. This place really is a shit-hole, he thought to himself, as he stepped over various objects splayed around that he didn't take time to recognize.

Where is that fucking daughter of mine? he asked again.

He walked into the bathroom. Used towels were strewn all across the floor tiles, and he stepped past them as he continued to walk forward to the cabinet to which he was headed. He opened the door. "Paracetemol, Tylenol, Ibuprofen..." he murmured aloud to himself. He pushed through all the useless shit he had clustered at the front of the cabinet. He was looking for the good stuff.

Aha! He had found it. In between his index finger and his thumb, he held the second thing he longed for the most (his first being Bella). The front of the package had some capitalized words written across it in black permanent marker.

CONFISCATED

PROPERTY OF THE POLICE

There was bound to be some perk of being the Police Chief of this godforsaken town. Those kids may all be crack-heads, but they sure as fuck know their shit.

Charlie dug around in the pocket of his pajama bottoms and pulled out his credit card. Since it had been canceled, that sheet of plastic had only served one purpose. He shook the packet out until his average dose was laid out on the card. He looked back to the packet - there was only enough left for another half dose.

He contemplated in his head whether it would be too much, but the coke-addicted monster in the back of his head, yearning for the stuff, won over. Might as well, he thought as he tipped the remainder of the packet onto the card. He tossed the sachet to the side and turned to face the card, a tight smile on his face.

He leant forward and rested his nose on the edge of the card. He tapped the other end of the plastic, and with each tap, the substance shifted closer and closer. He inhaled strongly through his nose, like a vacuum, and the powder was gone.

He felt the familiar light-headedness, as if he was going to faint, but as he expected, the sensation left as soon as it had come. Instead, it was replaced by the shifting in his vision as everything in the room rose in contrast.

He could feel the large grin spread across his lips as the adrenaline coursed through his body until his elation felt fit to burst. He was higher than the earth and higher than the clouds. He was truly on top of the world.

He was getting higher and higher, and he experienced the sensation in the pit of his stomach that you get when you're falling from a great height. He felt his eyes widen as they tried to focus on the room in front of him. The room felt as if it was getting smaller and smaller, as if he was moving further and further away from the scene before him, being replaced by an all consuming, empty blackness. His breathing quickened into frantic breaths, and his heart raced erratically against his chest until it felt as if it was going to explode.

The falling sensation only stopped when he himself fell from where he had been sitting on the edge of the bathtub.

Convulsions pulsed through him, and he could hear the banging sounds as his limbs repeatedly made contact with the tiled floor.

She would've come back, he thought as he rode out one of his final convulsions.

Where's my fucking daughter? he asked himself once more. The thought was more pleading now, as if he were wishing for her presence, rather than hostile as it had been earlier. That question echoed through his head over and over as he grew still and his eyes glazed over as they looked into the barren world of the afterlife.