Monday, May 13, 2013 | By: Drotuno

Hard to Love Chapter 4

Chapter 4
Present Day
So you’ve been telling her your whole story?” Rose asked before taking a sip of her water.
I laughed and shrugged, looking down at the sandwich in front of me. “Yeah. I didn’t know what else to say to her, and I don’t know... We’ve never really talked about it. It always was just...there.”
Well, you’ve been together since you were kids,” she stated the obvious. “Maybe you needed to talk about it.”
Sighing, I took a sip of my soda. “Maybe.”
Rose lightly poked my hand with her fork. “C’mon, Edward. You’re the school counselor, so you of all people should know how healing talking something out can be.”
That’s true, but I’ve got...what? A couple of promiscuous teens, a few harmless troublemakers, and one kid whose father died in Iraq. And while that last one is tragic, he’s handling it pretty well, but there’s no one that I’ve found that was like me.”
Then, that’s a good thing,” she reminded me, raising her eyebrows at me.
Smiling, I nodded. “Yeah.”
No offense, but why’d your mom move you guys here all the way from Chicago?” she asked.
I chewed a bite of sandwich, swallowing it. “I didn’t know until later, but I apparently had a grandmother here. Her mom. But we never saw her. I guess when my mom got pregnant with me, she was kicked, disowned. My grandmother died when I was thirteen. I didn’t know anything about her until she was already dead.” Suddenly, my sandwich tasted like paper, and I tossed the rest down onto the plate. “I need to get back...”
Not so fast, handsome,” my mother stated, pushing me back down into my chair and taking the one next to me.
Chuckling, I looked over at her. “You gonna make me clean my plate?”
I can’t make you do anything, Edward Anthony,” she sighed dramatically, adding a roll of her eyes for emphasis. “I’ve never been able to make you do what you didn’t want to do in the first place.”
Rose giggle-snorted, but hid it behind her napkin.
Mom shot her a wink, but turned back to me. “I dropped you some clothes off in Bella’s room. Your father was running some more tests on her, so you might as well sit tight for a minute.” She pushed my plate closer to me, raising an eyebrow at me.
Smirking her way, I picked up the last half of my ham and cheese and took another bite. It still tasted like paper. By the time I was done with my food, Emmett had joined us in the cafeteria, as well as Renee and Charlie. Looking around at all of them, I felt saddened that Bella was missing it. She loved when we all got together.
Once we got back to the ICU, Rose went back to work and everyone else took turns sitting with Bella while I cleaned up in the bathroom. It was the middle of the afternoon when I finally had the room all to myself again.
I took my usual seat, after kissing her forehead and noticing that her hair had been brushed and her face cleaned up a little. Between Rose and the moms, it could’ve been any of them that had done it. Trailing a finger down her face, I sighed at just how beautiful she was. She’d always been pretty, but I’d never really started paying attention until we were in our teens – probably later than I normally would have, considering the shit going on in my life.
I miss you, Princess,” I sighed, playing with her fingers, especially the one I’d hoped would’ve had a ring on it by now. I swallowed back my emotions, glancing up at her face. “I feel...lost. You’ve always kept me grounded, and right now, I feel like I’m floating aimlessly. And it’s only been...what? A day? Not even twenty-four hours.” Leaning my elbows on the side of the bed, I kissed the inside of her wrist, letting the flutter of her pulse press against my lips. “Rose asked about why I moved here all those years ago, which led to Grandma Masen.” I frowned, shaking my head. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. I was fucking ticking time bomb.”
Age 13
The bell rang, signaling the end of the day, and I slung my backpack over my shoulder. I needed to get home straight from school, but I had to find Bella first. The halls were filled with idiot guys and squealing girls, none of whom I paid attention. My mind was on something else. My mom was supposed to visit again today, but she’d bailed out the last three weeks in a row, and before that, I’d probably seen her four times in the last year. She’d been granted supervised visitations, but she hated the Cullens. Well, she not so much hated them as envied them. She was jealous.
I’d gone from a shit-hole apartment to a huge house. Anything I needed, anything I asked for, I got. I had new clothes, the latest sneakers, a brand new bike, and more video games than I could play. I also went from pretty much being on my own to having two people that really cared about me, that asked how I was doing, even when it bugged me. Carlisle and Esme were great. And Elizabeth Masen saw that. She saw that I was as close to happy as I could be. She also knew the Cullens wanted to adopt me, and it made her green with envy.
I knew she could barely look at me, much less come for a visit. So I braced myself for her to not be there when Bella and I got home from school.
I found Bella by her locker, looking pretty pissed at something Mike Newton was saying to her. His boy, Tyler, was right behind him wearing a smug smile. I wasn’t stupid. I heard the stuff they said about girls in the gym locker room. Lauren had a nice ass, Jessica’s tits were getting bigger, as were Bella’ was all trash talk.
Bella spun so quickly in front of Mike that her ponytail smacked him in the face, but when she shoved him, looking all sorts of pissed, I rushed to her, dropping my bag by her feet.
What’d he say?” I asked her, but she only glared at him, shaking her head. Finally deciding I’d had enough of his laughing at her, I gripped the front of his shirt and slammed him into the lockers across the hallway. “Maybe you’ll tell me what you said... Spill it, Newton,” I sneered. I was taller than him, although still considered skinny, but my temper gave me the advantage. “What did you say to her?” I slammed his head again.
Edward, stop!” Bella begged, pulling at the sleeve of my jacket. “It’s not worth it...”
I simply asked her if she was a size B-cup yet. I was willing to feel them for her to be sure,” Mike taunted.
I slammed him into the lockers again, holding his neck with one hand while pulling my other back to punch the shit out of him. I was pretty sure Mike grossed Bella out to no end. She’d said so to me more than once.
But Bella grabbed onto my arm and held on for dear life. “Don’t you dare!” she hissed in my ear. “You’ll get into trouble again, and we won’t be able to go to the movies in Port Angeles on Saturday.”
I glared at her, my nostrils flaring, but I knew she was right. Esme had promised to take us.
Please?” she begged again, gripping my jacket sleeve. “Besides, we have to get going.”
With one last shove, I let Newton go, backing away from him. “Leave her alone, Newton. Next time, I will kick your ass.”
Hey, wait,” Tyler said, glancing between Bella and me. “This Saturday’s the mixer. You two aren’t going?”
I looked to Bella. “Did you want to?”
No. Did you?” she asked with a laugh, shaking her head.
I shrugged, not really interested in the school’s functions.
C’mon, Edward. We’ll be late,” she told me, handing me my backpack.
When we were off the school property and on my street, I looked down at her. “You okay?”
Yeah. You?” she asked, smirking up at me as I shrugged. “I woulda been okay. You taught me how to knee a boy in his balls.”
Laughing, I shoved her a little with my shoulder. “So no dance?”
Please,” she scoffed, rolling her eyes. “We barely make it through a school day without you getting into it with someone, so why come here when we don’t have to? I’d rather go to the movies.”
Yeah, me, too.” We were quiet for another block, and I looked down at her. “What if she doesn’t show again?” I asked, knowing she’d know what I was talking about.
She looked up at me, her nose wrinkling. “I don’t know, but it’ll be okay, either way.”
Ya think?”
Yeah, I swear.” She crossed her heart before we turned up my long driveway.
There was more than one car parked in front of my house when we walked up. I saw Carlisle’s and Esme’s cars, as well as two cars I didn’t recognize. We walked into the front door, dropping our stuff by the stairs. The living room was filled with loud voices and my mother’s curses.
He’s my son. I’m not just going to just fucking give him away.”
You already have,” Esme stated calmly.
Enough,” Carlisle said, looking our way. “Edward, was school?”
My mother snorted derisively, but I answered his question. “Fine. Passed that math test.”
Carlisle smiled, gripping my shoulder. “Good for you.”
Bella stayed quiet, but her eyes narrowed on my mother. She still hated her.
I see you still have your little girlfriend. The cop’s kid,” my mom said sarcastically, walking to me.
Instead of caving to the jibe she sent Bella’s way, I asked, “Where’ve you been? You were suppose to be here the last three weeks.”
Oh, Edward, I’ve been busy,” she said, taking my hand and pulling me to the couch. “Sit...I need to talk to you.”
About what?” I glanced around the room.
Esme and Bella were on the loveseat together, looking like they were keeping each other from jumping up. Carlisle looked livid – like really, really pissed – as he stared my mother’s way. But there was another person in the room I hadn’t seen at first. I recognized her as Carlisle’s lawyer, someone that had come over before once or twice. Mrs. Goddard stayed silent in the corner chair.
I looked back to my mom, who looked older than she should’ve looked. “Mom?”
She smiled at me, but it didn’t seem real. “Listen, Edward, I need to go away for a while.”
I don’t wanna move,” I told her, shaking my head. “I wanna stay here.”
Well, see...that’s what I wanted to talk to you about,” she said, sounding sickly sweet, the tone she used when she wanted me to do something for her. “You’re not going. It’s just... My mother passed away...”
Esme sighed deeply, squeezing Bella’s hand.
Wait...what? I had a grandmother?” I asked.
You did, but she wouldn’t see you.” My mother’s voice was abrupt and so final. “She didn’t want me to keep you, you know?”
Whatever,” I grumbled. “So you’re going there?”
No, she was here, but she left me some money...enough to get out of this rut I’m in. We’re going someplace new to start over – California. I can get on my feet and send for you, Edward,” she explained, but my ears caught two things.
I stood up quickly, glaring down at her. “Wait a second. Who’s we?”
Well, Roger and I need a new start, sweetie...”
Roger’s a monster! He almost killed Edward!” Bella yelled, standing up, but Esme tugged her back down and shushed her.
I spun to look at Carlisle, whose face was as red as I’d ever seen it. Turning back to my mom, I lost my temper completely. “You can’t still be with him? Tell me you’re lying! Tell me the minute you didn’t get that money that he didn’t just come right back to you. Did he show up the day she died, or did he wait for the money?”
Watch your mouth!” she snapped back, standing up in front of me, but I was now as tall as she was, which I wasn’t sure she was aware. “I love him, Edward. He’s getting better.” She sounded just as weak and lifeless as the last time she’d told me that.
And what about me?!” I yelled, balling up my fists.
A strong arm wrapped around my shoulders, and again, I looked around the room. Everyone was standing. Carlisle was holding me, Esme looked like she’d be sick, and Bella’s eyes were tearing up. My eyes finally landed on Mrs. Goddard.
Is she here with adoption papers?” I asked Esme, pointing to the lawyer.
Yes, sweetie,” she answered honestly, because we always told the truth in that house. It was the Cullens’ biggest rule.
Good.” I glared at my mother, still pointing to Mrs. Goddard. “Sign them. If you’re leaving with Roger, then sign them now. I’ll never go where he is, and you can’t make me. If you go with him, I don’t want to be your son anymore.”
The room went completely still. All I could hear was my own heart pounding in my ears.
Esme walked to me, pulling me from Carlisle’s arms. She forced me to sit down, kneeling in front of me. “Edward, are you sure that’s what you want?” she asked me, brushing my hair from my forehead.
She doesn’t care about me. She never has!” I sneered, watching as Carlisle spoke to my mom so softly that I couldn’t hear him. I met Esme’s gaze. “I want to stay here...with you and Carlisle.”
The conversation across the room stopped, and my mother stared at me for a minute. She never said a word when she signed the papers, when Carlisle handed her an envelope, or when she walked out the front door. She just...left.
Present Day
You were the best that day, Princess,” I said with a small smile against her hand. “You stood up from the couch, grabbed my hand, and said, ‘Good. Now we know you’re staying. And we have an English paper due.’ You never let me dwell on it. But it was the second best decision I ever made. We’ll get to the best one later.” I leaned over and kissed her cheek. “And Mike was a fucking idiot, Bella. He never did find out what size cup you had. But I did, didn’t I?” Grinning at how the heart monitor sputtered a bit, I kissed her cheek again. “God, I love you. And I hope you’re hearing all this shit.”
I sat back down and adjusted her blankets, but I looked up when my dad drew the curtain back.
Hey,” I whispered, afraid of the file in his hand. “Tell me it’s good news, Dad.”
He smiled, dropping the file on the bed. “It is. The swelling has gone down significantly. Now that we know that, we’re going to keep her under just to let her body heal. Okay?”
I nodded vehemently. “So she’s better. Really?”
Really. But give her time, son. In fact, you should go home...get some rest in your own bed, maybe a shower. Just one night...”
M-Maybe,” I hedged, looking to Bella, though the thought of sleeping in our bed without her made me anxious.
Think about it, son,” he sighed, but he was wearing a placating smile as he squeezed my shoulder.
I nodded and he left the room. I braced an arm by Bella’s head, brushing her hair with my flattened hand. “You hear that, Princess? You’re getting better, so keep that shit up. Okay? ’Cause I’ve got somethin’ important to ask you, and I really want to hear your voice when you answer it, so come back to me, Bella.”


Evelyne-raconte said...

Very good chapter. Where do you find all of that ? You have a wonderful imagination et talent to put your ideas in words. Thank you.

Sophi715 said...

Pivotal chapter...Thank God for positive role models in Edwards life! At thirteen he took back control of his situation and stopped being the victim of his selfish mother's destructive choices...My heart breaks for kids out there in the real world in similar situations...the saddest part being that they don't all find an Esme and Carlisle to pick up the pieces and give them a loving home. God bless all of the good foster parents out there...I hope they know how incredibly important and amazing they are...great chapter...can't wait for the next.

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