We do not own Twilight. Stephenie Meyer does. No copyright infringement is intended.
SexyLexiCullen & Ashma0407
Jolting awake by the telephone, I quickly answered it. "Hello?" I asked groggily.
"Who—" I feel my husband's soft touch on my hip. "Who would be calling so late?" He asked.
"Hello?" I asked again, and then turned on the lamp.
"Mom..." Bree cried.
"Baby...what's wrong?" I started to internally panic which of course made my husband shoot up and panic as well.
"Is that Bree?" He asked.
I waved my hand. "Baby, talk to me..." I said into the phone, frantically.
She sobbed into the phone, uncontrollably, and I could barely understand her. "Calm down..." I tried to soothe her. "Take a breath." I blew out my own.
"Can Katie and I come stay with you and dad?" She sobbed again. "Just for a couple of days."
"Of course. Why would you even ask that?" I said, rising from the bed, and putting my slippers on. "Everything okay?"
"Can you come get us?" She asked.
"Absolutely." My stomach turned into a knotted mess. "Talk to daddy, okay? I'll be there as soon as I can. You're home?"
"Yeah..." She whispered. "I'm in the bathroom—Gar-Garrett is sleeping."
I nodded, debating whether or not to put a damn bra on. "Talk to daddy, calm down, and I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Okay?" I said.
"Okay," she said shakily, followed by more sobs.
"I love you...I'll be there soon." I handed the phone to my husband.
"What's going on?...I'll come too." He placed the phone to his ear. "Bree? What's going on?" He looked back to me.
"Talk to her...keep her calm...I don't know what's going on." I shrugged, running from my bedroom without another word.
"Love you!" I smiled, hearing my husband's sweet words shout out to me as I ran from the house.
The ride over to my daughter's apartment was quick. She lives just across town with her husband, and two year old daughter. She's a young mom, much like I was, and rushed to marry her high school sweetheart. Well, she was pregnant—fell pregnant senior year. My husband and I accepted it and moved on, happy for them—they always seemed so happy, and the fact that she called crying, asking to stay with us was surprising. When the phone rang, I thought it was our youngest son, Benjamin. He's thirteen, and was spending the night at a friend's house. He never stays, and always finds some excuse to come home—he just likes to stay out late. Then I thought maybe it was Riley, our middle child. He's eighteen, and in his first year of college.
When I pulled up to the curb of her building, she was already outside. I rushed to get out of the car but stopped. She in turn ran quickly to my car with my granddaughter tucked tightly into her arms.
"Bree..." I said softly, my heart breaking.
She had her face shielded by Katie, holding her close as sobs racked her body. "Mom...just go...just go..." she rocked them back and forth.
I grasped her chin, turning her to face me when a loud gasp escaped my lips. "Wh-what happened?" A sob shaked me as I gazed at the fresh bruises all over her face. She had dried blood surrounding her nostrils, and as I tried to fuss over her, she pushed me away.
"Bree..." I palmed her face. "My baby...what happened...did he?...I'll fucking kill him!" I seethed.
"Not now...just go...please just go...please just go..." she rocked herself and the baby again.
I cringed in place, rage flowing through me.
"Mom...just go, before he wakes up...Oh man, I should just—" she reached for the door handle and I stopped her.
"Don't you dare!" My voice rose several octaves.
"It'll be worse—he's going to be so mad I told you..."
"I don't give a shit." I started the car again. "We're going home, getting your father, and going to the police station—we'll call aunt Alice...she can sit with Katie." I ranted out, pulling away from the curb and making the tires squeal. Maybe I was too loud, since my granddaughter stirred awake, and whimpered. But I just couldn't hold it in.
"It was my fault—"
I stopped the car short, and turned to look at her. "Your fault?" My face crumbled again. "Baby...no one, and I mean no one is ever supposed to put their hands on you—least of all—least of all..." I palmed my face.
"It's okay," now she was consoling me, and I tried to shake myself out of it. "He gets mad every now and then...when things don't go his way—"
My head snapped back up to look at her.
"It's no big deal...I'm just being a baby...it happens, and I get over it, right? That's what you do? Suck it up, and move on? Cover it with a good foundation. I just...I couldn't take it anymore, but I'm fine. It was my fault. I see that now."
"Suck it up? Move on?" I asked softly. "Bree, your nose...how..." I felt useless as a mother right now. How could she think this was okay? I didn't understand—no, I understood perfectly. This was my fault, all of it.
"Turn around." She whispered.
I shook my head no, and righted myself in the seat. "You're done with him...You'll stay with us, Garrett will stay away, unless he has a death wish, and you'll be fine." I said more to myself.
"Ma...that's crazy. He's my husband—how will I? I stay home with Katie."
"You're nineteen! Still a baby. Your father and I are here!" I nearly shouted, still panicking inside and needing desperately to get home to my husband. I needed him. Bree needed him, and once we're all together we'll be okay. "How long has this been going on? The truth?" I whispered, whipping the car to a screeching halt in my driveway.
"Since...since...forever." She whispered.
I swallowed thickly, and wiped my eyes.
"Mom...I can't leave him...I just never saw him this mad before...I thought—I needed to get away—for Katie. She's teething, and kept crying...he came home drunk, and it's my fault the baby is crying."
All three of us were sobbing now.
"What is going on?" Shouted my husband as he ran from the house.
"Dad..." Bree fell to more pieces.
He ran to the car staring at Bree, back to me, and back to Bree again. "The three of you get in the house." He had tears in his own eyes. The three of us entered the house, and settled on sitting in the kitchen. I made Bree a cup of tea while grandpa went to put Katie in Bree's old bedroom.
"I'm fine, really." She wiped at her nose, just as my husband joined us again.
"I'll kill him—"
"He didn't mean it...daddy, he didn't mean it." Bree cried.
My husband looked back to me, and we shared the same mask.
"Please don't make me leave him—please!" Bree begged. "I—I love him."
"You can leave him." I said. "You can do anything you want—you're young, smart, beautiful, and you have the world by the fucking balls!" I ranted.
"Spare me!" Bree spat. "—with your self help bullshit." She cried again.
That stung but I ignored it. "Bree—" I started. "How much do you remember? Like when you were younger?" I whispered.
I put my hand up, stopping my husband. "I know how you feel." I squeezed Bree's hand.
"No you don't...I know my father was an asshole but—"
"You don't know that half of it..." I sighed, looking to my husband. Then I looked back to Bree. "You can leave...YOU. CAN!" I said. "-and you will. I did it." I whispered.
She sniffled, giving me an odd look.
That was when I felt my husband place his hands on my shoulders. "Bree, just sit and listen...okay?" I asked, tears streaming down my face. "I know how you feel..." I grabbed my gold cross necklace in my hands.
June 5th, 1965. .
It was just about that time again—six O'clock. The same time my husband gets home from work every day. Dinner was made. Most of the dishes were clean. The kids were upstairs busy doing their home work, and I was just about finished with my own home work. The place was immaculate—just the way my husband likes it.
According to him your house represents you. Basically, if you have a messy house, it's a direct reflection of you—indicating that you have a messy life.
If only he knew how wrong he was in that assessment.
Hurriedly, I scrubbed the roasting pan, hoping that the grease stains would come out. My knuckles were as red as a tomato from the scolding-hot water and scrubbing so hard. But that—that wasn't my biggest problem, it's how the pan became burned and greased stained to begin with.
Earlier, Riley and Bree were playing outside when I heard loud wailing. I ran outside as fast as I could to see that Bree had fallen from her bicycle. She scraped her knee.
I called the both of them back inside, washed and bandaged Bree up, and went back to my cooking. Well, I attempted to. Bree became very emotional. She's young for her age, or some would say dramatic. She clung onto me and wouldn't let go. Since Riley follows everything his sister does, I had the both of them glued to my sides.
It's not like I mind having them by my side. I enjoyed it, relished in it and didn't want to turn my back on them. I brought out the coloring books. I turned on the radio in the kitchen, and hoped that they were content to hang out with Mommy while she cooked dinner.
I listened to Elvis Presley—God do I love him—as I continuously scrubbed.
A tear fell down my cheek, as he sang "Love me tender," his voice is just that beautiful.
The kids lasted ten minutes sitting still with me in the kitchen, but all that running around, and tending to the children before that tore me away from the pot roast. The pot roast which is now well done, instead of medium rare—how Carlisle likes it.
What to do? What to do?
Riley and Bree are five and seven. They don't care how their meat is cooked and they aren't picky either. They'll eat it, I just hope Carlisle does.
I blew out a breath and reached for another SOS pad. Then I continued to scrub.
"Mommy," Riley tugged on my blouse.
I gulped, trying my hardest to smile. "Y-yes?" I turned to him.
He smiled back. "Daddy is home," he ran from me, most likely going to welcome his father. Since Carlisle bought his new Plymouth fury—such a fitting name for his vehicle—Riley loves to watch his father arrive, pull into the driveway. The kids aren't allowed in his car, so a glimpse is all Riley is granted.
Quickly, I squeezed the dish soap into the pan, and let the water fill it. I set it to soak, in hopes that the burnt pan goes unnoticed.
Such a silly concept, worrying about a roasting pan and the temperature of meat, but it is important—so important. I am to take care of our house, be the perfect wife and mother, and never am I to say a God damn thing.
Of course none of that matters—none of it.
Nothing is perfect.
And yet he expects it to be.
"Bella?" I heard Carlisle call. I stiffened in place, as intense fear dashed through me. I wondered what he would find out of place? What was possibly still dirty?
And what was going to set him off?
As I turned to him I kept my back to the sink, hoping against all logic and reason that I effectively hid the ever offensive, dirty roasting pan.
"Hello," I cleared my throat. "Ri-right on time," I stammered, drying my hands on a dish towel.
He nodded, taking a curious glance around—looking.
His eyes finally came to settle on me and it felt like he was looking right through me—like he could see the pan. He walked towards me, getting too close. I leaned back, my torso nearly in the sink, as I still tried to hide it. He dipped his head low, and surprisingly placed a soft kiss on my cheek.
I cracked a small smile, turning to face him.
"I can't kiss my wife?" He asked.
I smiled, a real smile, relief flowing through me, and feeling lucky.
"Bella?" he leaned back, away from me. "I asked you a question," he said.
I grabbed onto my small gold crucifix that hung around my neck. "You can kiss me," I grinned, leaning in further, and hoping that was the right answer.
He smiled, before he turned from me and left the room. Once he was out of sight I felt slightly out of breath, like I was holding my breath that whole time.
While he was away from me, I dumped the water out of the pan, dried it as best I could, and hid it in the lower kitchen cabinet. I'll worry about it tomorrow. It's just a pan, something replaceable, but if it was burned, grease stained that means it's not perfect and shouldn't be in this house.
With the table all set for dinner, we all sat down to enjoy the feast that I prepared. It was about that time again, time for me to hold my breath, and wait for it.
This time I knew it was coming. I was lucky before—so lucky.
I had two choices.
Choice number one, would be for me to have thrown dinner away.
Choice number two, serve the pot roast as is, and at least the kids will be fed.
Either way burning the pot roast—dinner or no dinner—was an egregious error that I will pay for.
"Looks a bit dry," he mumbled, grabbing for his knife and fork—ready to carve.
I didn't reply to that. In fact, I didn't say a word all throughout dinner. Carlisle smiled, picked at the pot roast, only filled up on potatoes, and took it upon himself to tell me about his day. He stressed the things he didn't like, the difficulties he has regarding being chief of surgery. His malpractice insurance rates rising, and the patient he just couldn't save.
Overall, he had a very trying day, and he made sure I knew about it—not bothering nor caring about how my day went.
The kids ate and saw nothing wrong with dinner or our conversation. I didn't touch my food. My stomach continued to roll with nausea.
This was the calm before the storm.
After another round of washing dishes, cleaning every messy surface, getting the kids ready for bed, and ironing Carlisle's clothes for work tomorrow, I went into my bedroom to get ready for bed. I was quiet—tip toed across his home office to get into my bedroom unseen. It worked because he was on the telephone.
—probably talking to her.
I've seen her, and I've seen just how happy he is with her. They share loving embraces, laughs, and soft kisses. I bet she is perfect. She looks it. With her flawless skin, youth, beauty, and carefree laugh. I saw them one day. The one day I was foolish enough to bring Carlisle leftovers for lunch. He loved the pork chops I made—that was a day I didn't slip up.
I knew her too, having met her a few times prior to that day.
My husband's secretary, Esme Platt. The woman who always smiled at me and my children, complimented me on their beauty, which she joked about in front of Carlisle, and said came from me. Little did I know that it was witty, flirtatious banter shared by the two.
I was a joke...
Am a joke...
That night Carlisle spoke in great detail about how our children resemble him, and barely look a thing like me, except for Riley's dark hair and eyes. Bree is the spitting image of her father; gorgeous blonde hair and blue eyes.
With my pajamas on, I reached back to take off my necklace. It was a gift from my mother, having received it as a child, and as of late, I needed the faith—I hoped that one day it could become the amulet I hoped it to be. I take it off every night, just in case it was to somehow be torn away from my neck, or break unnecessarily.
I fastened my bathrobe and left my bedroom. I checked on Bree first. I kissed her cheek, tucked her in tightly, and left her nightlight on. Then, I repeated the same with Riley. He doesn't have as much anxieties as his sister, so I was able to shut his light off.
Again, I quietly tip-toed back to my bedroom. I turned down Carlisle's side of the bed and then my own. That's when I felt his presence behind me. I stiffened, not wanting to turn around, wanting to disappear, somehow magically snap my fingers, or crinkle my nose—like the witch in that new television show"Bewitched", and zap—I would be gone, away from here.
If only I had a two minutes head start.
If I was in bed I could pretend to be asleep.
And if I was asleep, he couldn't yell.
And if I was asleep, he wouldn't make me feel like nothing.
And if I was asleep, I wouldn't feel helpless.
And if I was asleep...
He couldn't hit me.
I heard him fully enter the room and the click of the door as it closed. "Did you think I wouldn't notice?" He asked. "You think I'm stupid?"
I turned to him. I turned to see the ice-cold gaze of his eyes as they appraised me. I stared back, partly in fear—in fear that the children might still be awake, afraid that they might hear everything.
"Bella?" He walked closer to me. "I asked you a question," and this time I had no idea how to answer him. Did I think he wouldn't notice? No. I hoped that he wouldn't notice, but it's not like I can make that distinction or inform him of such a thing.
I looked down to the floor. "I'm sorry," I whispered.
"You're what?" My head whipped to the side when he back handed me. I didn't dare reach up to cup my cheek, hoping the sting would go away as fast as it got there, hoping tomorrow I wouldn't have another black eye, and hoping that he was finished. "I didn't quite catch that," he said.
"I said that I was sorry," I whispered, feeling the tears rolling down my cheeks. He did it again, hitting my face forcefully with his hand, only to push me back, pinning me to my chest of drawers with his body, and yanking a handful of my hair. He pulled my hair back, exposing my neck, seething down to me.
"I don't want you to be sorry—" He yanked my hair tighter, causing me to whimper. "Did you hear me?"
I nodded, swallowing loudly.
"I don't want sorries..." He stared deep into my eyes. "I want you to get it right," he pushed me further back, and let go. I was panting, my chest heaving, as I hoped my heart would slow itself down.
"I work hard all day and this is the thanks I get? All I ask of you is to keep this house, mind the children, and have an edible meal on the table by the time I get home. Am I wrong? Tell me Bella, am I wrong to expect such things?" he ranted. "Do you want to start working? It's becoming quite common nowadays," he ended with a bitter chuckle.
"You can be a secretary or possibly a nurse," he found that to be funny as well. "Oh no! You—you can work at the perfume counter at the Gimbles. That would suit you. What else could you be capable of? Nothing...you can't even keep a fucking house clean." He thought that was even funnier. His sadistic humor was short lasting. He turned back to me, expecting an answer.
I shook my head no, palming my cheek. It's already starting to swell and in this moment I am just grateful that he didn't see the pan.
He accepted that. He didn't say another word, while I stood still, wondering what my best move was. I wanted to climb into bed, fall fast asleep, but instead I stood there, and watched my husband undress.
He took off his cufflinks, shirt, and then his slacks—he never reached for his pajamas—and I thought I was going to be sick.
He wasn't finished.
He was going to have me.
He rapidly came back towards me, grabbing ahold of my waist, only to throw be back onto our bed. I didn't dare move again, hoping this would be over quickly. He leaned back, reaching up to grab my undergarment. He tore them away from me, lifting my nightgown, and spreading my legs with his. He didn't even bother to take off his underwear. He brought them down low enough. Low enough to expose himself and be able to thrust into me.
He was rough.
I was dry.
He was frigid.
I was still.
With the bed squeaking during this heinous act—an act I'd take more strikes for—wear the bruises proudly, rather than feel him inside of me...that close.
I stared at a photo, closing my eyes, and wishing we were back at the cabin by the lake. 1957—when things were different. When Carlisle was still doing his rotations as a medical student. Before things had to be perfect. Before Bree was born, and before any of it.
He took hold of my hands, bringing them above my head. "Look at me," he demanded.
I closed my eyes tightly. No matter what was to be bestowed upon me, I just couldn't do it.
This was not Carlisle.
This was not my husband.
This was not happening. I was walking, by the lake—the birds singing their morning song, the sun hot against my cheek, the green grass cool against my feet, and the air so fresh. My Carlisle, so carefree. Chasing me, just to tickle me, and assault my face with kisses—before he would make passionate love to me, where he worried about my release—my needs. Our trembling bodies rocking back and forth as we enjoyed each other. I found myself wanting to grin at that moment—lost in the memory that was him...
I felt another blow, another slap to my face. He made sure to get the other side—even it out a little.
"I said, look—at—me," he panted.
Finally, I turned to face him, a part of me dying inside with every second my eyes stayed focused on that face.
His piercing blue eyes—so cold, so distant, staring into mine.
His face—contorted in pleasure or disgust.
His grip—on my wrists tightening with every buck of his hips.
Before long, he thrust into me as hard as he could, spilling himself inside of me. He panted, blowing his hot breaths against my cheek. He collected himself, and then just rolled over.
I stayed still a moment, bringing my legs together, and lowering my nightgown.
"Go clean yourself up," he said.
I did as I was told.
In the shower no one can hear you cry.
No one can see you at your worst.
No one can see you bear down to push what is left of your husband's filth out of you—wash it away.
I grabbed a packet of aspirin and washed it down with the tap water. I made the error of facing myself in the mirror then. I had the start of another black eye, which was no surprise, and my cheek was still very red.
What I saw—what I really saw sickened me.
And most of all...
I shook my head in disgust, so disgusted with myself as I quietly left the bathroom. Still, so afraid to make any noise, I gripped the door handle and turned it so that it wouldn't make that 'clicking' noise as it closed.
I walked silently to the bed.
My face stung as I made contact with the pillow, feeling the cold linen against my heated cheek. It's going to be another restless night without much sleep.
Suddenly, the bed dipped beside me. Carlisle had rolled over to face me.
My breath hitched in fear. He never faces me while he's sleeping and I know that this can only mean one thing.
He's still awake.
My fear is confirmed when I feel his breath hit my neck.
"Bella." He said softly. I turn to look in his direction.
The moonlight that filtered in through the window casted just enough light into the room. I was able to see his face.
Something within him shifted.
The distance in his eyes, the coldness in his stare, the hardness in this face….all gone.
He's replaced with caring eyes, a loving stare, and unspoken apologies.
This is new. He always apologizes but never the same night. It usually happens in the morning before he goes to work.
"I'm sorry." He says. His voice is soft and cracks a little as he speaks. "You know I never mean to hurt you." He lightly trails his finger over my swollen cheek. "You do know that right?"
I simply nodded my head—afraid of what will come out of my mouth if I were to speak.
If he doesn't mean to hurt me, why does he continue to do it?
"Maybe I should stay home tomorrow-" he suggested. "-make sure you're okay," and his voice is still soft.
My heart dropped to my feet as I felt my insides shake and my stomachache. He can't stay home tomorrow. Tomorrow is important.
I took a deep breath, preparing myself. I also reached up to grasp my necklace, which was no longer around my neck. "I will not to be home tomorrow, remember?" I rushed out.
"Oh?" he leans further away, to get a better look at me.
I nodded my head yes. "Bree has a school trip tomorrow and I am a chaperone. This trip is important to Bree. The school won't be able to let the class go if there aren't enough chaperones. You should go to work. I'll be fine." I explained as calmly as possible.
Then, after realizing that I argued with him, my body froze.
Rule number one in the Cullen house: never argue.
He was quiet for a minute, a minute that lasted an eternity to me. "You're right." He finally said. "Make sure to cover that bruise. We don't want people to speculate," he pushed some hair away from my face. "Wear the powder...not too much rouge. I don't want my wife looking like some tramp."
"Of course." I agreed.
I would surely hate for someone to find out that Dr. Cullen is anything less than perfect. I scoffed internally.
"Of course..." he mocked me. "I don't like that tone...were you—were you sassing me?" His own tone is harsh once again.
"No," I breathed. "I would never. I was just—"
"Enough," he scoffed dismissively. "You need to do things right—correctly...please...why must you anger me so?"
I stayed silent. It's not a question that warrants an answer. It's hypothetical.
"Tomorrow—the house will be cleaned to my liking. You will cook a pot roast again, and you will get it right." He grasped my jaw, making me face him. "Am I making myself clear?"
I nodded, anger bubbling up inside of me. I wished I was as tall—as strong as him to fight back. To give him a taste of his own medicine—the good doctor's medicine.
"Goodnight." He forcefully kissed my slightly parted lips from his tight grasp, and turned over. "Tomorrow will be better..." he sighed.
I swallowed loudly, staring at the ceiling, and pulling the blankets tight around me. I hoped that too. I hoped that tomorrow would be better—
"I said goodnight, Bella." I felt his eyes on me again.
"Goodnight." I whispered.
The alarm went off all too soon. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom. After finishing, I washed my hands. Then I glanced up at the mirror and surveyed the damage.
My eye was black and blue, slightly matching the other. I had a bruise, in the shape of a handprint across my face.
It's a good thing Carlisle demands that I use expensive cosmetics.
I applied my makeup, caking on my powder, and using more rouge than usual—just a little more. I needed to cover it. The powder just wouldn't do alone.
Reexamining myself in the mirror, I saw that there was still a faint darkness to my skin where the bruise tried to hide, but it was not very noticeable.
I left the bathroom, grabbing my clothes for the day. Today is supposed to be a good day. I put on my floral print dress, placed a belt around my waist, and put on my flats, making sure they were white to fit the season. Last night, I never had the chance to put my curlers in. I left my hair down, putting half up, with a slight bouffant. All the women are wearing their hair like this these days—Esme wears her hair like this.
My only hope is that Carlisle likes it—on me. He hates changes—on me.
Last Christmas, my mother bought me a pair of slacks. It's becoming quite common for women to wear pants now. Carlisle didn't like them. He threw them into the trash, before he scolded me for trying to act like a man, which was a huge no-no.
Another rule in the Cullen house, no one is to ever see me without makeup or being fully dressed.
On my way downstairs, I wake Bree and Riley. I make sure they are out of bed and shuffling around in their rooms before going downstairs.
I go straight to the front door first, grabbing the milk from the box, before I enter the kitchen.
I turn the coffee on and begin my morning routine. When I am in the kitchen, I am on auto pilot. All the pots and pans are still in the same place, where we put them eight years ago, when we first moved into this house.
I bounce around the kitchen from refrigerator to stove. From stove to sink and from sink to cabinets.
Just as I am taking the last pancake off of the griddle, I hear footsteps on the stairs. My ears strain to make out who's coming. They aren't heavy enough to be Carlisle's and my body instantly relaxes.
Bree is the first to enter the kitchen, wearing the pink sailor dress that makes her look adorable. She had her hair in lopsided pigtails. Riley was right behind her, wearing a button down shirt, shorts, and skippys.
"Good morning." They mumbled in unison. I smile at them. They are not morning people, much like I used to be.
"Good morning." I greet them cheerfully, as I walked to Bree. I quickly redo her hair, making sure her pigtails are even. She had a few flyaway hairs, but it will just have to do.
After, I begin to carry the food over to the table. I pour the kids their orange juice before pouring Carlisle's cup of coffee. Just as I put the percolator back on the stove, I heard him coming down the stairs.
"Good morning, kids." He sings as he walks into the kitchen and takes his seat. They respond as cheerfully as possible.
They know that I understand their distaste for the mornings. They also know that their father expects them to be happy and bright in the morning. It breaks my heart that at the ages of seven and five they know their father's temper so well.
While he has never stricken them, he has yelled. I would rather he take his anger out on me than them.
The one time I stood up for them—the only time I had to intercept, I ended up in the emergency room with a broken arm. The small scar on my elbow is one I wear with pride. At the hospital, I am known as Dr. Cullen's clumsy never-do-right, wife. That time, I fell from a ladder, trying to clean out the gutters on the roof—doing manly deeds. That's another thing. Dr. Cullen's wife doesn't know her place, never has—never will.
Reminding myself of my place, I make sure that everyone is served before sitting and serving myself.
Breakfast was quiet. The kids were still tired and only opened their mouths while they ate. Carlisle read the morning paper and I picked at my food.
"I don't like your hair," he mumbled, not taking his eyes from the paper. "-and easy on the pancakes." He moved the paper to give me a small smile.
I didn't respond, and stopped chewing.
"Just concerned...women get older...the hips get wider..." he sighed.
My anxiety was worse than usual today. My stomach was in knots and my body was involuntarily shaking. I tried to hide the shaking by constantly moving around.
Carlisle either didn't notice or ignored my constant movement because he never made a comment. Normally this would be fine, but today, I'm a little confused.
He always has something more to say—more complaining. The toast is too dark, the coffee is too cold, or there is a dish left in the sink. There is always something for him to comment on, but today, nothing—only my appearance. I brought that on myself, changing my hair and all.
I wonder if he knows?
That thought alone made me sick. He can't know and I haven't given anything away.
"I'm going to be late tonight." Carlisle's voice breaks me from my thoughts. I looked up at him. He was staring back at me with his coffee cup against his lips. His eyes were back to their normal cold, distant selves.
"What time do you think you will be home?" I asked quietly.
"Late." He sat his coffee cup back down on the table and picked his paper back up. "I changed my mind...Use what's left of that awful pot roast you made last night, and make a stew or something. The least you could do is salvage a ruined meal." He didn't even bother to look at me.
I was about to respond when he spoke again. "Make sure its ready when I get home. I don't want to eat a cold dinner."
"But how will I know when you will be home?...to make sure it's..." His eyes snapped up to meet mine and I realized my mistake, as soon as the words escaped my mouth.
I should have just kept my mouth shut.
"Did I ask you to question me?" His raised an eyebrow, an unspoken challenge.
"No." I dropped my head, my eyes lingering on the floor.
"Then do as I say." He got up from the table and walked over to me. My body stiffened. I felt him standing next to me as I braced myself.
Not in front of the children...I internally chant over and over.
He bent down and kissed the top of my head. I jumped a little at the contact.
"You're awfully jumpy today." He chuckled. "I'll see you later, alligator." He touched my cheek adoringly.
I grinned up to him. "In a while, Carlisle." I breathed, remembering the playfulness we once shared. I actually—in a last attempt of desperation, clasped my hand over his as I stared up at him. I wanted him to feel something, anything. His eyes left mine quickly, darting to his watch and withdrawing his hand.
He said his goodbyes to the kids and left the house. I didn't take a full breath until his car was down the road. He was finally gone.
I relaxed a little as Riley and Bree finished eating. A little before eight, there was a knock on the door. Standing from the table, I shuffled my way to answer it. When I opened it I was greeted by Alice Whitlock—my dear friend. My face nearly crumbles at the sight of her, my nerves getting the best of me once again.
"Oh, Bella! Everything is going to be fine." She assured me in a hushed voice. I nodded and moved out of the way so that she could enter the house.
Alice is Riley's kindergarten teacher. She also happens to be a great friend of mine from high school. She was one of the few people who knew how important today was.
Alice, along with my other childhood friend, Edward Masen were the only friends I had. Only, I wasn't allowed to openly be friends with Edward. It just doesn't look right.
They are both teachers at Forks Elementary and ironically they each had one of my children in their class.
One day, after an exceptionally hard night with Carlisle, I was late dropping the kids off at school. I walked Bree to her class.
When Edward spotted me he froze. Without acknowledging him, I got Bree situated in her seat before leaving the classroom.
I managed to make it out to the parking lot and to my car before Edward showed up. He asked me to unlock the door, and I paused, staring at the passenger's side. Then, I finally reached over to unlock the door—to let someone in. He entered the car and sat with me for thirty minutes, while I cried and told him my story.
Despite the fact that Carlisle has told me over and over again not to tell our personal business, I've always felt comfortable with Edward. He has always been there for me. With him I'm never afraid. With him I can be myself. With him I smile, and laugh—without fear.
I can laugh. My odd laugh which Carlisle once found endearing but over the years has become annoying to him.
At first, I tried to play it off and give the cliché excuse of 'I fell' and 'I bumped into the door' but Edward wasn't buying it. He pleaded with me, held me in his arms, and I never felt so safe before. I never felt so at peace.
After I stopped being greedy—needy for his calm embrace, I eventually told him what happened. He was livid. He wanted to leave the school and hunt Carlisle down. I cried, pleaded, and begged him not to. That would only make things worse for me. He didn't understand that.
He asked me to leave Carlisle.
When I told him that I had nowhere to go, he offered his house. I refused—I vehemently refused, scared—frightened to wits' end. What would I do? Regardless of what happens in my home, Carlisle is still my husband. He gets angry because I get him angry. If only I could not do that, then we'd be okay, right?
Edward relented and told me to call him if I ever needed him.
And I'll never forget his face that afternoon. His eyes held such sadness, and his whole demeanor changed. He also said that I was stronger than this. That I canwalk away, and that I will overcome this. Edward was willing to be anything I needed him to be, but he also understood that I just wasn't ready yet.
What if things changed?
What if my husband reverted back to the sweet man he once was?
What if I left and he found me?
The following weeks were filled with phone calls and meetings—secret meetings—with Edward, as usual. Only now they were more frequent. When he brought Alice to one of our meetings, I was suspicious. They sat me down and explained that I needed to get out of this situation. I refused until Alice did and said something that scared me to death.
She made me stare at myself in the mirror. "How much more are you going to take? One of these days he's going to kill you and then what? How long do you think he's going to wait before he starts hitting the kids too?" She wasn't yelling but you could hear the anger in her words. "If you don't get out for yourself, do it for your babies...please, Bella...I love you."
That conversation haunted me for a week before I made my decision. With the help of Alice and Edward, I started forming a plan to escape. Today was the day. It has taken six months to get to this day, but it will all be worth it in the end.
Every week when I do the grocery shopping, I hide a few dollars here and there. I had some money, combined with what I had been saving for ages. Carlisle gives me an allowance, which is to cover household items, gas for my car, and anything the kids need. We've been going without and I only use the car when I absolutely need to. It wasn't much, but I now had enough to get away—enough, just enough, and I hoped this brilliant plan that the three of us concocted would work.
"We are going to head out." Alice said, breaking me from my thoughts, and glancing to the children. "Nothing out of the ordinary, remember?" She whispered. "You'll come get them after Edward comes."
I nodded and went to the closet to get the kids their sweaters. I hugged them and kissed them goodbye. "You guys behave, and listen to Mrs Whitlock, okay?" I swallowed back my tears.
"Why aren't you taking us to school?" Bree asked.
I took their hands in mine, placing them on either side of me while we walked to the car. I never answered Bree, and she didn't push. Riley, her go with the flow counterpart, never asked either. I said a quiet thank you to Alice after I got them situated in her car.
I watched them back out of the driveway and drive down the road before I went back inside. I glanced at the clock.
I still had about an hour before Edward was supposed to be here. He was taking the day off work to help me. I tried to tell him that it wasn't necessary but he insisted, saying that he wanted to be around 'just in case' something were to happen. I didn't argue because truth is, I feel more comfortable doing this with him around.
A half hour later I had three suitcases full of clothes, along with myself, waiting by the door. I am only taking with us what can fit into these bags. With nothing more to do, I began to pace the house.
As I walked back and forth, my mind wouldn't shut off. My mind was playing the 'what if' game.
What if I was making a mistake?
What if my kids grow up to resent me?
What if I cannot support the kids on my own?
What if Carlisle comes home early?
What if this plan doesn't work?
What if I never get away?
That last one caused me to stop in my tracks. What if the only way out is death? I sat down on the couch and shook my head, willing the thoughts to disappear. Maybe I am making a mistake.
I can't do this.
Six months of planning and with one thought, it's all thrown away. I can't leave. What the hell was I thinking? I will never be stable enough to support two children on my own.
I stood from the couch and walked over to the suitcases that I had just placed there. I picked one up and was about to take it back upstairs when there was a knock at the door.
With the suitcase still in hand, I walked to the door and opened it. There stood Edward with his bright green eyes and shiny white smile. I half attempted to smile back.
"Morning, B." He said as he kissed the top of my head. "It's a brand new day." He took my hands into his.
I cleared my throat, taking my hands back.
Edward and I are not romantically involved. Sure, he is gorgeous and any woman, including myself, would be lucky to have him, but I am a married woman. Despite my situation, I honor my wedding vows.
Even if my husband does not.
"I can't do it." Those are the only words out of my mouth.
"You have to do it...everything is in motion." Edward's smile falls from his face. He takes the suitcase from my hands and places it on the floor next to the rest. Then he takes my hand and drags me back to the couch. I sit down and he kneels on the floor in front of me.
"What happened this time?" He asks simply, reaching up to touch my cheek.
As I gazed into his eyes, my stomach rolled again—but this time it was different.
"Bella, please..." He swallowed loudly. "It's me," he touched his chest.
I tell him about the 'what ifs' and explain that I just cannot manage to raise my children without a job and no way to support them.
"What did I tell you last time we went over this?" His smile is back. Its contagious because I feel my lips turn up just from looking at him.
"You said that everything was under control and that I need to take a deep breath and see the bigger picture." I recited in a dull, bored voice.
"Exactly." He patted my knee. "Everything's groovy—"
I snorted a laugh, tried to cover it up, and failed miserably. Edward, since he works with children is always trying to incorporate their lingo into every day conversation.
"Don't," he gently took my hands away from my mouth. "Laugh...it's beautiful." His gaze softened. I felt uneasy again, and composed myself.
Edward sighed. "All the paperwork has been filed with the sheriff's office and the courts. All we have to do is get you out of here." He stood and offered his hand to help me up.
Part of my escape plan was to draw up and file both divorce papers and a personal protection order—which was something new. Something I had never heard of. The personal protection order stated that Carlisle was not allowed to come within five hundred feet of me or the kids since he's such a danger. It was the most difficult task I had ever done, getting people to listen to me, convincing police officers not to contact my husband.
I'm just a woman.
I am nothing, without my husband's consent.
Imagine that? Needing your husband's permission to file a complaint about him?
However, one officer took pity on me, after Edward urged him to take a good look at my face, stating that if I was killed, my blood would be on his hands, as well as Carlisle's. That officer, Emmett McCarty, was the only person who listened. He too has helped me, taking photographs to keep a record of all my bruises, getting in touch with a Ms. Rosalie Hale. She's a lawyer, something that in this day and age is rare. A woman lawyer. She dedicates her time to help people like me.
And she wanted nothing in return.
"Bella, we have to go." Edward urged. I glanced at the clock as I picked up the bag from the floor. It was already eleven. Where did the time go?
According to Emmett, I needed to be out of the house no later than noon. He was going to serve Carlisle sometime before then.
"I—I—" I stammered.
"I'll be with you...you won't be alone. Bella, please." He whispered softly. "Every step of the way—Alice too...you can do this." He grasped my hands again. "We're going to get the kids, and then go—"
"But—no—I can't—Edward, you—you..." I was shaking again.
"Bella." He placed our conjoined hands to his lips. "There's no place else I'd rather be. I'm here—I want to be here. I'm not going anywhere, and you're safe with me."
I smiled at him through my tears and tore my hand away from his grasp. I palmed his cheek, in relief, in comfort—just to gaze up to the ceiling and thank God that I finally told someone.
I walked through the door behind Edward and made my way to his Dodge dart, something that Edward calls his baby. As my feet hit the pavement and the sun hit my face, something inside of me was awakened.
I know I have a long road ahead of me. I'm sure Carlisle will put up a fight but I think Edward was right.
October 11th, 1978
Bree's face was a blank mask as I'm sure mine was as well. "My father...he did that to you?" She broke down even more, and that's when I sat up straight.
"Yes." I said. "Although, I prefer to reference your father as more of a sperm donor," I looked to Edward, trying to make a joke.
Bree nodded, cracking a smile at Edward. "Yup..." she looked down. "That's why we had those supervised visits? Until...until Carlisle just stopped...uh...caring?" Bree whispered.
I nodded. "He was volatile man." I said. "He wanted you guys, just to hurt me...we went to court for almost two years, and when he lost—he just took off, and left town."
She nodded. "I know...How—how did you—uh..." Bree studied the wood grain of the kitchen table.
"With the support of people I loved, and loved me in return. You can leave him,"
"Bree," Edward started. "You're a beautiful, young woman...you can have any guy out there—I knew Garrett wasn't good enough for you—no one will be for my baby girl, but that's who you wanted...do you still love him?"
Bree shrugged. "He's all I know."
"I'm throwing out my dad card..." Edward threw his hands up. "You and Katie are moving in. We're going to the police station tomorrow, and that's that." He wiped his hands clean.
"I'm an adult!" She said, sounding like the young child she still is.
"Bree." I said sternly.
"What if he changes?" She asked.
I shook my head. "He's not going to." I stood up and grabbed her hand. I pulled her over to the hall mirror, and made her look at herself. "Look at what that animal did to you—my baby girl..." I began to cry again as did she. She also put her head down, and I gently picked it back up. "Bree, look at yourself."
She did. "I can't—I'm fat—I'm ugly—I'm—who's going to want me?"
"You're beautiful," I held her chin in my hand. "-and plenty of men will want you." I cracked a smile. "You're so beautiful," I pushed her hair away from her face. "Inside, and out...and this was not your fault."
Her lip quivered and she bit it down. "But what if—"
"What if the next time you leave the house, leave Katie with him, and she can't stop crying?" I didn't even want to finish but I had to. "What's going to stop him from hurting Katie?"
Her knees almost gave out but Edward caught her. "I've got you," he cradled her in his arms.
"I can't go back. I can't go back." She cried, over and over.
"You won't...Your father and I love you, and we're here for you..." I touched her cheek, locking eyes with Edward. "It's a brand new day."
Domestic Violence; It's EVERYBODY'S Business!
Domestic violence should not happen to anybody. Ever. Period. But it does - and when it does, there is help. Maybe you have lived with abuse, maybe it happened just once; maybe you work or live next to someone who is being abused right now.
Whoever you are or know...there is help. Don't keep your mouth shut. SPEAK UP! Speak up against domestic violence!
For more information, (if you need help) please visit domesticViolence.org.
I know that walking away or speaking up is easier said than done, but it could be the difference between life and death.
And I hope with a heavy heart that there is a light at the end of every tunnel.