She had lost her sense of time a long while back. She wasn’t sure when but she was more than certain that they did. When she continued to refuse to give in to their demands to accept them, to accept him, the beatings and isolation only grew worse. They never allowed it to go far enough for her to die. No. They wanted her to live because they needed her. They needed her to survive the change.
They needed her to accept him of willingly. Even if they would beat it out of her. And yet, she still refused.
Bella Swan’s will was as strong as her soul, once she realized how black Edward’s was. How black as nearly all of the Cullens were. She wasn’t sure about a couple, as they seemed to play the part, but she did notice the hesitation in their eyes that the others might have missed.
The first time she began to feel the darkness coming from Edward, something in her to awake, wanting to flee, to just disappear from the area from the threat. She didn’t understand it then, not until months later after she tried to leave, and they refused to let her go. Each time someone came to her prison, if it was to feed her, it was because she was still healing from whatever punishment that Edward had deemed necessary for her refusal of him.
Hearing the tray being set down on the table beside the bed, she waited until she heard the footsteps leave the room. Only then would she moved to peek through the curtain of hair to be sure she was alone again. Breathing out a sigh of relief, Bella laid her head back against the wall. Rosalie brought her food, never doing anything to harm her. Though the fear was there that she might.
The first time Edward had struck Bella when she had announced that she wanted to end things, Rosalie had noticed the bruising that she had tried to mask beneath makeup that she never wore. He had forced her to cover it up, even under his captivity of her. When his sister reached out to run her fingers delicately over the tender skin, the girl flinched, expecting more harsh treatment – as Alice had done with her voice for wanting to break apart the perfect family. Sensing a familiarity in her, Rosalie never again attempted to lay a finger on her, even when the angry teenager wanted her to join the family in the human girl’s regular punishments.
As she was still recovering from her most recent ‘punishment,’ Bella moved gingerly on the bed, her arm, and shoulder having had taken the majority of the damage this time. Closing her eyes, she could feel the tears escape as she cried, wondering if her mother even knew she was truly missing.
All the time she spent alone in her prison, she was forced to think about the decisions that had been made that set her one on the course to Forks. It wasn’t a place her mother was particularly fond of returning to, sharing in the similar distaste for the dreary weather. If anything, she hated the small city. When they learned that her father had died, it had been hard for several years but eventually Renee had remarried once she found someone that accepted her in a way that Charlie Swan couldn’t.
Something though had changed with her, and she agreed to return from where she had fled, believing that it would be good for Bella to know where her father had grown up, and loved. And for awhile, she had appreciated it. Believing that she had found her love there herself.
Until love eventually became her nightmare.
Renee had adored Edward. He had her wrapped around her finger early on, but Phil had been skeptical of him, taking on the protective father role for Bella. He had been quiet in his opinion of him, never quite objecting.
Moving to Forks at first had filled Bella with conflicting emotions. She was curious as to her father’s history and what had torn him from her life before his time, but also dreading the overall atmosphere of the region. It was cold, rainy almost daily. After living most of her childhood throughout the southern portion of the United States, she craved sunshine and warmth. A detail that she wished she considered when she started talking to Edward.
He charmed her, and she fell under his spell. Her infatuation though she realized eventually was nothing more than a teenage fantasy of first love if that. He was a vampire. A snake is drawing in his prey. He had told her enough times certainly, and she never listened. Or she did, but she wanted to convince him that he wasn’t the monster he claimed to be. Maybe it was to convince herself more?
Bella had been ignorant to the manipulation of most of the Cullens in the beginning, blindly welcoming their affections and attention that the girl lacked growing up. She had essentially taken on the role of the adult and for the first in her life, it seemed she was being given the chance to live almost like a typical teenage girl. Well, as one might dating a mythical creature of the night with a penchant for sucking blood.
One of the early signs of his oppressive nature came to light was when they were in Port Angeles on a dinner date. Even though he wasn’t capable of eating human food, Edward ordered for her without consideration for her tastes or previous dietary choices. Bella hadn’t commented in the restaurant, but it had left her unsettled at the moment if she hadn’t already been fighting off the adrenaline from would be rapists or potential murders earlier in the evening.
She never had the opportunity to dwell truly on the incident at dinner as Dr. Cullen had taken over with the encouragement of changing her diet for reasons of her health, much to Renee’s added involvement. With Phil away often for training and travel, she was still left to cook for her mother and herself. So she did her best, and the Cullens selected the new ‘menu’.
That was only where it begun. It was slow. It was subtle. Aside from carefully controlling what she ate, he soon limited how much time she was able to see the human friends she made in Forks on her arrival. The time that dwindled down to next to nothing by the end of the summer entering her senior year of high school.
It was another thing added to their control of her life that she lost. In the approach to her eighteenth birthday, Alice and Edward had insisted that the family celebrate by throwing a party. Of course, no matter how much she objected to one, she was refuted at every turn. When she did give in, submitting to the forced event, she mentioned inviting her other friends. However, it had been insinuated that to her that it wasn’t acceptable. For reasons that the humans weren’t family. Even her mother and stepfather weren’t welcome.
The teenage girl, blinded by her first love, ignored the screaming consciousness in the back of her mind again. Screams that everything was going was wrong hoped foolishly, that this handsome creature would be turning her at that fateful party. After all, why else would they forbid anyone else from attending? It was the only logical explanation her mind could contemplate.
It was blindingly clear the truth behind their denial. They merely had no desire to hide themselves from anyone else. They were vampires in their home and had no wish to have to put on airs of pretending to eat human food, breath or move at an agonizingly slow human pace.
The biggest facade to have to mask of their being came when she opened her presents. Rosalie and Emmett’s were simple enough as they had already installed a new radio in her old pickup truck. Alice and Jasper handed her a gift box with gaudy, gold necklace that she knew that she would likely never wear. As much as she tried to smile and thank them, hiding her true emotions under the forced gratitude, Jasper nodded, catching her eye briefly. He conveyed that he understood completely. She hated the present that she knew his wife had chosen, in which he had no part.
When Carlisle and Esme handed her a sealed envelope, she looked up to Edward, who she found staring back at her. She recalled that she felt dazed, and not quite in the way whenever Jasper had influenced her previously but she couldn’t be sure. Opening the envelope, the sharp edge of the paper sliced at her finger, shocking her, causing her to look down. Frozen at the knowledge of the blood seeping from the tiny wound; her eyes slowly looked up to find Jasper being held back from going after her. Before she knew it, she was laying in a pile of broken crystal and glass with her arm bleeding even worse and her boyfriend looking back at her strangely.
Three days later, he had abandoned her, leaving her broken in more ways than one in the middle of the same forest he told her repeatedly never to venture alone.
It had taken time, a great deal of efforts for her parents to get Bella back to normal. Or as normal as she could be considering the state of despair had left her in a seemingly catatonic state for some months. If she had to describe the time, she would have said she felt like she had been going through a state of withdrawal from not having the Cullens around. It wasn’t until much later that she realized how true that was.
As she returned to school and her friends, at least Angela and Mike, began talking to her, welcoming her back. She was careful because she had believed what Alice and Edward told her. That they had not wanted to be her friends anymore since she began spending time with their family. She quickly learned it was a lie they fed her to keep her under their thumb.
As the time moved on, she continued learn that there was more and more that they did around her that she was unaware. And the rage that slowly engulfed her at each new revelation was overwhelming.
Bella had soon become friends with the boys on the nearby reservation, spending a great deal of time with them. She shared what stories she felt comfortable in telling, apart from the truth of what the Cullens were, in an attempt to vent out her anger. Her new friends allowed her to vent, even giving her different avenues to channel her other emotions. Experiencing new activities was simply the highlight of her days.
The biggest and worst being the day she made the decision to go cliff diving. She had seen the boys go many times, but she never attempted. The day had simply been a bad one for her, and she needed to do something freeing. Not a very strong swimmer for the currents of the water, she had simply been lucky that one of her friends happened to be close. He witnessed her jump and had been able to pull her out quickly to safety, but not without some consequences.
He lectured her on the entire ride home, where someone she had never thought she’d see again ambushed her. Alice had practically dragged her from her home, despite her friend’s objections. By the time he had been able to come back to help, she had already disappeared with Bella, filling her with tales that she was needed to save Edward and being mates.
There was nothing that Bella said that would change Alice’s course. Everything that she tried to explain about how Edward had left her, she didn’t believe. She denied that he would do that, and claiming the family heard something else entirely different. In the end, it didn’t matter.
Where Alice was taking Bella was right into the lion’s den.
Stopping Edward from exposing himself was another foolish move, she knew. She knew somehow she wasn’t going home one way or another on this trip. When they were lead into the grand ballroom to the Volturi, Bella imagined herself being anywhere else but there. She imagined herself on a tropical island, as far away from the cold castle she could get. So far to the point that she could practically taste the salt in the water blowing on her lips, feel the hot sand between her toes, the sun kissing on her skin.
And when Aro failed to get an accurate read on her thoughts, she was never more frightened, or relieved. When she looked to Alice and Edward, it took everything in her maintain her expression as it seemed they had anticipated something of that magnitude to occur. This entire trek was an elaborate test.
When the three returned to Washington state, Edward had kept a firm hand on her, not allowing her to leave his side once. He would not even allow her to return home to let her mother know where she had been the entire time, claiming he would deal with it.
Instead, Bella had found herself trapped in that room since. Losing count of the days, unable to keep a grasp of time as it slipped from her fingers as he continued his attempts to break her mentally to serve his idea of the ideal mate. She only learned this as Rosalie tried to explain the situation to her with haughty indifference one afternoon when she dropped off her food after another ritualistic beating.
Despite the blonde’s attitude, it wasn’t blind on the human girl that she disagreed with what was going on; which was most likely why she never actively participated in the family’s activities before. She wasn’t sure about Jasper. The first time she’d seen him in the room with Edward, it looked as if he wanted to be anywhere else but. It wasn’t until Edward begun to slap her around that she saw what he was there to do for her. She hadn’t felt the pain as severely as other beatings, and when she looked over at him, he only stared at her impassively. She again knew that Edward had been monitoring his thoughts, so he was careful as well in what he was doing. She needed to stay strong, to endure longer.