There was a loud bang as the door to the classroom suddenly flew open with so much force it slammed into the wall with a resounding crack. I tensed immediately but didn't even have time to turn around and look to see who had come into the room when what looked like a door handle flew past my face and crash into the wall beside me, the cheap metal exploding into several pieces and scattering in all directions across the room.
I glanced through a curtain of my hair and recognized Edward.
I immediately felt like the last piece of hope inside me had been broken and thrown away just like the tiny pieces of door handle that were now clattering to a stop all around me on the floor.
I was so terrified I didn't even hear what Edward was yelling. The pain in his voice was burning it's way through my entire body and it was taking every ounce of energy I had left to block him out. I felt Mr. Bennett squirming uncomfortably underneath me, his hands thrown up in surrender. It sounded like he was accusing me of seducing him. I blinked several times as I stared down at his pudgy face that was now frozen in fear.
Such a pathetic loser, I thought.
Disgusted with myself and with him I unhooked my arms from around his neck and crawled off of his lap. I stood completely still with my hands at my sides avoiding eye contact with Edward. I was hurting him...just like I always knew I would. Only this wasn't at all what I had imagined would happen. This was not my fault at all.
I had always pictured me relapsing and cheating on Edward with some faceless gamer who meant nothing more to me than the hunt and conquest that I so desperately craved. But this scenario was so fucked up even I hadn't seen it coming. Thankfully, Edward had interrupted Mr. Bennett before he could force me into anything heavier than fondling. I knew myself well enough to realize that if it weren’t for Edward bursting through that door like a crazed lunatic, I would have let him do just about anything to me. I’d given up.
Who could really blame me though? This is what was expected of me. Mr. Bennett, the entire school, my doctors, even my own father. They all knew what I was, and what I craved; a dirty whore with no recovery in sight. I was a monster.
Since Charlie had banished me from everything I cared about, I had been on a slippery downward slope. I had retreated to the darkness of my mind and blocked out everyone around me. It wasn't a shock to me at all that when Mr. Bennett propositioned me I had just given in without a fight. If everyone expected me to be the village tramp, I would be just that. I would close myself to the world and be done with them all.
Especially Edward, I told myself. I didn’t deserve him. He deserved better. He deserved a girl who would be loyal to him always; a girl who wouldn’t sneak into his room in the middle of the night and profess her love for him, then leave him stranded the next.
A girl he wouldn’t be arrested over.
As Mr. Bennett pulled me on top of him on his office chair and ran his grubby hands all over my body, I closed myself off to his touch and dreamt of Edward.
I dreamt we were sitting in my house, playing COD and eating pizza. We were not the people we were today. We were normal teenagers, drinking beers and laughing as we took down a clueless noob. Edward would lean over occasionally and kiss my neck or hold my hand. I could feel my heart swell with love for him.
But it was just a dream.
The fantasy came crashing down around me and I was brought back to reality when I felt someone's hand on my arm. Mr. Camp, the assistant principal was talking to me. I lifted my head slightly.
"Ms. Swan. I would like to see you in my office. Mr. Bennett, do not leave. Do you understand me? I will need a statement from you." Mr. Camp leaned down slightly. "Bella, I will have to call your father. You understand this?"
I nodded silently and started chewing nervously on my bottom lip.
As he led me out of the room and started towing me down the hallway I could hear Edward begging me to explain. He was torturing himself, as well as me and I couldn’t face him. I could hear his heartbreaking.
"FUCK!" I heard him scream and the sound of his anger was punctuated by the sound of shattering glass.
Mr. Camp stopped and turned and ordered him to go home. I just stood there my eyes blank and my expression emotionless. I had destroyed the one man I had ever learned to love. The thought made me sick to my stomach.
I was taken to Mr. Now’s office, the principal, and, as expected, my father was called. I sat down in one of the uncomfortable chairs in front of his desk and began the 15 minute wait for my father to arrive. I wasn't looking forward to the look on my father's face.
If I thought the pain I was putting Edward through was bad, it wasn't anything compared to the disappointment and hurt my father will be feeling right now. I knew he had been through a lot during my last round of rehab. He had really tried to help me, showing up for family therapy sessions which I knew were torturous for him. Even my own mother never bothered to show up to any family sessions.
No wonder I was so fucked up.
I looked up and noticed that Mr. Now was avoiding eye contact with me and shuffling through stacks of paper obviously desperate for a distraction from me. He was a heavy man and he was breathing loudly through his open mouth, his fat sausage fingers fumbling as he flipped through pages and pages of reports that meant nothing to me. He would occasionally cough and shoot an accusing glance in my direction.
If I wasn’t so fucked up right then, I would have burst out laughing.
Finally, after what seemed like an hour, Charlie arrived. I swear, his expression as his eyes found mine, was enough to make Mr. Now realize I wasn’t going to be getting away with this.
Of course, the usual proceedings took place. Sadly, I was very accustomed to these “meetings” as they so formally called them. Back when I lived with Renee, I had been witness to many scheduled rendezvous’ between my mother and the principal.
They would always go the same way and in this case, there was no exception.
First, Mr. Now made a point to explain exactly what had been witnessed. Informing my horrified looking father of what his daughter had been up to and magically whipping out a statement from Mr. Bennett who was (quite generously apparently) not going to press any charges.
Next up, my father would then go into a long winded spiel of how he was truly sorry this ever happened and that he would make sure all precautions would be taken so that it would never happen again.
Then something strange happened. Something that had only happened once before.
Mr. Now looked up from his desk once my father had finished his exaggerated apology. After glancing at my blank stare, he sighed and turned his focus back to Charlie.
“Mr. Swan...Charlie. I’m afraid it's not as simple as that.”
“What do you mean?” Charlie asked, his face looking puzzled.
Again, Mr. Now sighed.
“We have already taken all the precautions necessary to try to keep Isabella from doing any harm. We have removed her from practically any interaction at all with the student body and it is obvious to me that she as retaliated by turning her attention elsewhere.”
He paused to take a breather before continuing.
I had a feeling I knew where this was going and it scared me so badly I could feel my body beginning to tremble. The last time a "meeting" had gone this direction it had resulted in me going to rehab. I did not want to go back there, I couldn't. My eyes flew to my father's face as I awaited his reaction. Surely Charlie wouldn't let this happen. He knew what this would do to me.
“I feel, it would be better, for the safety of the kid’s as well as the teaching staff if Bella were not attending Forks High anymore. I am sorry Mr. Swan, we tried, but we can’t help those who don’t want to be helped.” He finished on a firm note.
Charlie was speechless. You could see it on his face, he wanted to come back with a valid argument, anything to make him change Mr. Now’s mind but he had nothing. I saw his shoulder's slump and I knew that he was going to give up and agree with Mr. Now. As I watched my father nod his head slowly, any hope I may have had vanished and I felt dead inside.
Mr. Now began to speak again but I didn’t hear any of it.
It wasn’t until I noticed that I could no longer hear Mr. Now's rambling that I realized I was in Charlie’s police car. I was sitting in the back and I felt like I deserved to be there.
Charlie occasionally glanced at me through his rear view mirror as we drove home but he didn’t speak a word.
I knew he was waiting until we got home, and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy what he had to say.
- Three Weeks Later -
Life at Crossroads Rehabilitation Clinic in Port Angeles was nothing like the pictures in the full color, glossy brochure.
In the brochure, all the patients were smiling, recovering and happy. In reality, the shit hole is filled with angry, fucked up and hopeless human beings who have been put there because their family and friends couldn’t take their shit anymore.
I was one of them again.
When we had arrived home that day Charlie, father of the year, had rang Renee, who then called Crossroads and arranged for my immediate check in. I had my bags packed for me within the hour and was driven directly there without being given a chance to explain my side of the story.
There was a nurse waiting for me on the front stairs of the building and she was smiling her oh-so-friendly and dreadfully fake smile as we pulled up. Charlie had left the cruiser running and pulled my bags out of the trunk and set them at my feet on the cracked tar pavement. I stared at my shoes trying hard not to cry. I already knew how he felt about sending me back to a place like this and I didn't want to make it worse on him. I knew I deserved to be here, and I wanted to avoid making him feel guilty.
I saw the nurse wrap her hands around the handles of my bags and lift them from the ground. Charlie stood in front of me not moving for several seconds before finally turning around, getting into the cruiser and driving away.
I felt a tear slide down my cheek as I followed the nurse into the boring brick building that looked more like a prison than a patient care center.
The usual check in then took place. If someone ever asked me to explain the process I could do it simplified into one sentence.
They take everything materialistic that you love away from you and leave you with nothing but a pair of pajamas, a pair of hideous rubber shoes without laces, and a new toothbrush.
I was then showed to my room where I was to spend a good 10 hours a day by myself, battling with boredom. Boredom always won. However, how could it not? The room was painted a dreary yellow color that I supposed was meant to make patients "think happy".
It was only large enough to house two battered white washed wooden dressers and two twin sized beds leaving a small narrow pathway to the door. My roommate was a plain girl who barely spoke two words to me. I had gathered through talk that she was a meth addict. I suppose they had learned their lesson, don't let sex addict’s bunk with sex addicts.
I was hurting inside, devastated in fact, but I pushed those feelings and thoughts to the far corners of my mind and focused hard on nothing. I refused to even think Edwards name, knowing it would cause me to feel again. I wanted to numb myself out until finally I would become just a shell of a person. A shell couldn't hurt the ones she loved.
I did exactly what I was told. I was good. I ate my meals, went to my therapy sessions and I cooperated with the nursing staff.
After a week of intense one on one therapy and a daily group session I was fairly certain I had the routine down. I could see my therapist beginning to feel hopeful for me and I didn't want to break her heart and tell her that I was fucked up beyond fixing.
On Thursday I followed behind my attending nurse as she led me to my normal therapy session. I knocked on the door and heard Dr. Harper's friendly voice invite me inside. She really was a nice lady. She was young, and open minded and she didn't try to 'cure' me. She actually tried to give me tools to help me, help myself. This was a first for me and even I had to admit it felt nice to have someone rooting for me even if I would never be able to put her methods into practice. I closed the door behind me and turned around to make my way to my favorite fat, fluffy, armchair near her window when I stopped dead in my tracks. Standing beside my chair was a man I didn't recognize.
“Hello Bella, My name is Dr. Cullen.” The blonde doctor held his hand out and smiled, showing off his brilliant white teeth.
At the sound of Edwards surname, I snapped my head up and narrowed my eyes. I quietly studied his face and gasped as I noticed the resemblance between them.
He was very good looking; I noted and immediately scolded myself for thinking that way. I lowered my head in disgust. Seriously Bella, I thought to myself, get a hold of yourself.
When I made no move to shake his outstretched hand he cleared his throat uncomfortably and withdrew it. I glanced at Dr. Harper and I was sure my expression was panicked because she smiled warmly and instructed me to sit down in my chair. I did quickly, probably a little too quickly. I crossed my arms over my chest defensively and stared at the floor.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Dr. Cullen crouch down so that he was eye level with me. Despite the fact that his posture was intimate and informal, he was far enough away from me that I didn't feel nervous. “Now, I think you should know right off the bat Bella” He said in a low, comforting voice, “I'm not a therapist or a human doctor. Nope, I’m a regular run of the mill Veterinarian!”
He cracked a wide grin as my head snapped up to face him, a curious expression on my face.
What the fuck? A Vet? I thought.
My mind was suddenly filled with a barrage of images most of which involved peculiar animal treatments which managed to do nothing but freak me out.
Dr. Cullen laughed loudly and I felt the corners of my mouth lift involuntarily. I knew that laugh. Without warning I felt a warm feeling begin to spread from my chest to my stomach and then to the rest of my body. I loved that laugh.
“Please, don’t be scared. I promise we won’t be testing new lipstick on you or anything.” He moved to sit on the chair beside me and nudged my knee, “Although I’m sure some of the girls in here wouldn’t totally hate that, eh?”
Again, getting no response from me, he continued on.
“Anyway…I have been working with Dr. Harper here for a few years on a therapy program that pairs rescued dogs with rehab patients. We’ve found this program to be terrifically successful. Perhaps you’ve heard the old saying for ex-rehab patients. After a year of being out, get a plant. If it’s still alive after a year, get a dog?”
He waited for a reply again, but again received nothing.
“Well, we thought we’d go direct and try you out with a dog. Other treatments have failed you, obviously, and Dr. Harper here is just about ready to try anything.”
I glanced up at my doctor who had been standing quietly all the while Dr. Cullen had been speaking. She nodded eagerly towards me and I shrugged.
As I turned my gaze back to Dr. Cullen, I saw, though his disposition was a friendly, smiling one, his eyes were filled with so much sadness it took my breath away. Stunned by this sight, and curious as to why my therapy struck such an emotional chord with him, I nodded.
“Ok.” I said simply.
Dr. Cullen then went on to explain the specifics of the treatment, but I paid little attention. He did make a point to say that in less than a week I would be receiving a dog which would become my responsibility. I would be expected to care for it, and train it. He explained that the dog had been rescued or abandoned and needed special attention. With a final smile and a pleasant farewell, he left the room.
Dr. Harper seemed to understand that I was in a bit of shock and didn't press very hard to get my "feelings" on the new therapy. We sat quietly for the rest of my hour. She wrote notes in her patient charts, and I stared out the window and thought of the one person I had been trying to avoid thinking about for weeks.
I wasn’t allowed any contact with my family, or that is what I assumed anyway as I had received no phone calls or letters from them just like the last time. So I was a little more than shocked when five days after the strange visit from Dr. Cullen a nurse came to inform me I had a visitor.
I expected it to be Charlie or Renee, their faces all sad and concerned for their poor fucked up daughter. As I walked down the hallway to the living room where they waited, I secretly hoped the guilt for sticking me back in here was eating them alive.
My jaw near dropped when I shuffled into the room in my baggy, not so clean pajamas, to find a small pixie like girl sitting casually on one of the old beat-up sofas.
“Bella!” She jumped up and ran towards me, scooping me up into a big bear hug. I stiffened uncomfortably unsure of how to react to her casual embrace. I awkwardly reached up with my hand and patted her back.
“Alice?” I asked, taken aback that she had come to visit me. I hardly knew this girl and yet here she was, when my own family wasn’t.
Finally, Alice released me and pulled me by the hand over to the empty sofa. The common living room was deserted, as always. It wasn’t a pleasant place to spend your free time. It was bare, and filled with musty old photos of previously “cured” patients and a few dog-eared magazines of Vogue dated from 1992.
Patients usually preferred to stay in their own rooms rather than sit in that depressing dump.
“Ok, yea...I know it’s a little weird; me visiting and all....but I kind of felt like a visit would be appreciated.” She smiled excitedly, like we were old friends about to catch up for the first time in years.
“I’m just shocked that’s all. I wasn’t expecting you...Or anyone for that matter.” I explained with a shrug. I pulled at my ratty pajamas, feeling self conscious sitting next to Alice in her impeccable outfit that looked as if it were custom made for her.
“Yea well..I’m here now! How are you?” She asked, her smile fading into a concerned frown.
I shrugged and made a gesture to the room we sat in.
“Hmmm…I see what you mean.” She casually glanced around the room, her gaze resting on the cheesy crocheted doilies on the coffee table, and the heavy beige curtains that were so dusty and filthy they looked like they hadn’t been washed for years.
“Home sweet home...” she mumbled under her breath and then turned to give me a goofy grimace.
I smiled for the first time in what felt forever. Alice definitely had a way in making me feel better and I was suddenly grateful for her visit.
We talked briefly for a while, small talk mostly. She updated me on the latest gossip at Forks High and assured me that things were basically same old same old. Alice then went on to make a point that the gossip about me was dying down, which was nice to hear. If nothing else, it meant Edward didn’t have to bear the brunt of that shit while I was tucked away in rehab.
Finally, it seemed Alice had run out of things to say. She sat before me anxiously tugging at the hem of her jacket and looking everywhere but at my face. It was painfully obvious that she was putting off asking me something so I decided to call her out on it. .
“Alice. I don’t know you that well, but I “sense”” Mocking her as I spoke, “that there’s something you wanted to talk about? And I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume it's not about the weather or high school gossip.”
Alice fidgeted nervously in her seat and nodded.
“Well then…?” I gestured for her to get on with it.
“Look, I totally understand if you don’t wanna talk about this but… What happened? I mean between you and Mr. Bennett?”
The instant she spoke his name I felt fire rise up inside of me, the anger was threatening to take over me and I became very afraid that I would take it out on Alice. I took several deep breaths before answering trying to cool the red hot flames that were quickly getting out of control.
“Nothing.” I said through gritted teeth.
“Ok.” She said in a timid voice and holding her slender hand up defensively. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you...”
“You didn’t.” I cut her off and then immediately felt bad for my abruptness. “I'm sorry too.”
I sat in silence for a very long time, thoughts swirling through my mind at an incredibly fast and overwhelming pace. I really felt as if I could trust Alice, and I suddenly felt a pressing need to explain to someone what had really happened.
I was tired of taking the blame for the way Mr. Bennett took advantage of me. I know at the time I had accepted it as my fate, but I had hurt so many people and it wasn't even my fault. With a deep breath and a shudder, I felt as though all of the bottled up emotions came bursting out at once as I unloaded the truth on Alice in a tearful confession. I started at the beginning, my first introduction to sex and my own addiction. I told her about Katie and my family. I told her about Mike Newton and Mr. Bennett. I even told her about Edward and how I was terrified of losing him.
The more I spoke, the more I cried until I was bent over with my head in my hands sobbing uncontrollably. Alice wrapped her arms around me and held me tightly as I continued confessing to her everything that had happened the last few weeks. I finally straightened up and wiped my eyes. Unable to find any more tears, I turned to her
“..And what’s worse is this time it wasn’t my fault.” I said sadly, my tone distorted by my stuffy nose. “I’ve done some pretty messed up shit Alice, really I have, but I love him. So much. I didn’t ever want to hurt him. But he did, and it’s my entire fault and I’m so sorry…” I trailed off as another wave of emotion rolled through me and the tears started all over again.
Alice held me close to her until I finally stopped crying. I was surprised that I was able to talk to her about everything, I was even able to rationally explain how I felt and she listened without interrupting once.
She didn't try to make me feel better or lie to me and tell me everything was going to be ok. It seemed like she knew that I just needed someone to listen to me and comfort me as I broke down. She smiled warmly at me and handed me a Kleenex out of her purse.
"Feel better?" She asked stuffing the tissue into my clenched fist. "I always feel better when I unload like that."
I nodded and actually managed to smile at her. She lovingly patted my cheek and stood up.
"Visiting hours are just about over, they are going to kick me out soon." She said with a frown. "I'll come back ok? Would that be ok?"
I nodded again, hopefully not too obvious that the idea of Alice coming back to see me made me happier than I had been in months. I coughed to clear my throat. "Yes. I would really like that."
"Good." She smiled. "Take care of yourself ok? Don't let them shrink your head too much. I think you are saner than most the people in the outside world, so don't go messing that all up."
At that moment one of the nurses walked into the room and stood politely at the door. She was waiting to escort Alice out.
"Thanks again." I croaked, my voice all but gone.
She winked, and gracefully made her way out of the dreary common room. I sat for a moment processing everything that had happened today and as the room began to darken as the sun slipped behind the building I felt the heavy depression settle back onto my shoulders. I really couldn't wait for Alice to come back. I had never had a friend like her and I knew without a doubt that I would always treat her like she was the best thing that had ever happened to me.
That night was the first night I was able to sleep since I first arrived at Crossroads. I settled into bed, feeling lighter...if that made any sense, and fell asleep as soon as my head it the pillow.
My bed was so warm. I snuggled back under the covers, and rolled over, my head sinking into my pillow. I stretched my arms out and gasped when I felt warm flesh. I flattened my palms against what felt like a man’s naked chest and spread my fingers wide.
The man moved closer to me until the length of his entire body was pressed against mine. His arms wrapped tightly around my waist and one hand reached up to grab a handful of my hair.
“Mmm…Bella.” A familiar voice moaned into my ear.
Edward was in my bed. He was really here and he was holding me tightly. With a small whimper I pushed myself even closer to him and slid my leg between his. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I raised my head slightly and pressed my lips to his eagerly. I could feel his scruff tickling my cheeks as he slowly kissed me. He forced my mouth open and I felt his tongue gently tasting my own.
“I missed you.” I sighed placing kisses along his jaw and down his neck. “I am so sorry.”
“I know you are.” He said, his hands exploring my body tenderly.
He rolled me onto my back and leaned over me, his long, slender fingers softly making a path from my neck, over my naked breast, and down to my waist.
I looked up and smiled at him, my heart hammering loudly in my chest as he grinned back at me, his lips curving into the sly sideways smile that always made me melt into putty.
My eyes went wide as he nudged my legs apart with his own knees and slid his long body down the bed until his head was between my legs. I whimpered when I felt him wrap his free arm around my knee and then press his warm, wet open mouth against the delicate flesh of my inner thigh. I grabbed a fist full of the bed sheet as he kissed a path down to the sensitive place between my legs. As he passed over my pussy his lips barely grazed it as he moved to my other thigh and started the slow and painfully agonizing process all over again.
I let go of the sheets and instinctively wound my fingers in his hair tugging at him, trying to direct his mouth where I wanted it.
He fought against my impatient attempts at control and chuckled.
“Something you want?” He asked slyly licking his lips as he looked up at me. I felt my clit begin to throb as I imagined what it would be like to have those perfect lips and tongue licking and sucking me.
I groaned and lifted my hips, my body begging for him. Unable to wait for him any longer I moved my hand down my stomach and slid them into my folds. I gasped as I touched myself gently. I could see the lust burning in his eyes as he watched me.
He suddenly reached up and grabbed my hand and pulled it away. I studied his face and smiled at the look of determination and desire burned into his expression. I whimpered when he lowered his mouth to the warm wetness between my legs…
“Checks!” A woman’s nasal voice announced as my bedroom door opened and light from the hallway flooded into the room waking me immediately. The nurse at the door made a mark on her chart and closed the door louder than what I thought was necessary.
I laid my head back down and sighed.
What a dream.
I closed my eyes and tried to replay the whole dream in my head. I hadn’t wanted it to end when it did. I wanted him to make me come. I slid my hand into my panties and started working on getting myself off to images and memories of Edward. When I finally came I didn’t even try to be quiet. I knew my roommate was sleeping not even three feet from me but I didn’t give a shit.
“Oh fuck!” I moaned as my powerful orgasm racked my body.
With a smile plastered on my face, I hugged my pillow tightly and drifted back to sleep....
The next morning I was woken early by one of the nurses. Normally I would have grumbled and refused to get up, but this morning I didn’t mind. I was still feeling the effects of last night’s dream and with a smile frozen on my face; I got dressed quickly and followed the nurse into the courtyard just outside the main therapy building.
It was there I met Dr. Cullen again. He was pacing up and down the car park adjacent to the courtyard behind a red delivery van.
As I approached he stopped in his tracks and smiled brightly. I noticed he too had slightly unruly hair and guessed that this is where Edward must have gotten his out-of-control mop on his head. He lifted his hand and with an excited wave of his hand he gestured me forward.
“Good morning Bella.” He greeted me happily.
I nodded, “Good morning Dr. Cullen.” I replied politely.
“Sleep well?” He asked cheerily.
“Mmmmhmmm.” I nodded, as a slight, knowing, smile crept into my expression. I blushed fiercely when I saw Dr. Cullen watching me with his eyebrow cocked curiously.
“Well…shall we meet our new friend?” He asked, his eyes filled with excitement.
I nodded nervously.
Dr. Cullen reached towards the back doors of the van and knocked twice. The doors swung open and I felt faint when my mind finally processed the scene in front of me.
There, crouching inside the van was Edward.
He was holding a plastic travelling kennel for animals, inside of which was obviously my new pet. At first I wasn’t sure he was really there and for several minutes I stood dumbfounded, my mouth hanging open in a surprised ‘o’.
His intense eyes were fixed on my face as I stared at him not sure what to do or say. Did Dr. Cullen know about Edward and I?
Confused, I tore my eyes from Edward’s face and turned to Dr. Cullen, who winked at me and held his finger up to his lips.