Thursday, May 19, 2011

CBWR? Chapter 98

Author's Notes:
My desire to wrap this up at chapter 100 is getting you some much longer chapters.  LOL
As many of you have guessed/moaned about - there's some time jump here.
“Write to Bella’s mother?  Fuck no.”
Chapter 98:
“I’m gonna miss you, but not this place!” Seth said with a chuckle as he and I stood next to my cell door, prepared to leave and head back out into the real world..
“Yeah, well, you just make sure you don’t end up back in here, okay?” I told him.
“Yeah, I know – I’m turning over a new leaf and all that shit.”
Embry walked up then, his normally hap-hazard hair slicked back flat against his head.
“What the fuck is up with that?” Seth laughed.
“I’m properly groomed to be our boy’s protector now!” Embry said with a laugh.  He clasped his hand on my shoulder.
I rolled my eyes, but couldn’t help but laugh along with them.  We finished saying goodbye to Seth, and he walked down the aisle to freedom.  Embry and I went out to the yard, where he offered me a smoke.
“I should quit,” I said as I lit one up.
Fucking sue me.
“What for?”
“Bella hates it,” I said with a smirk.
“Can’t let the woman run your life,” Embry commented.
“If she’ll let me be in hers, I’m perfectly happy with having her run mine.”
“Where is she now?”
“Back in Washington,” I said.  “She’s trying to work shit out with her mom and get her school credits transferred and shit.  She’s supposed to start at the state college here in the fall.”
“Did she find a place to live?”
“She got the financial aid to live on campus,” I told him.  “It might not be as cheap as an apartment with a bunch of people, but it includes all her meals and whatever as well, so it should be cheaper in the long run.”
“Good deal.”
“She thought so,” I said.  I took a drag off the smoke and watched some of the guys bouncing basketballs around.  The day Bella got her acceptance letter to the college just about twenty miles from where I was incarcerated, she couldn’t stand not being able to tell me in person and wasn’t patient enough to wait for a letter to arrive.  She actually called Irina and dictated the message to her instead.  She was so excited about it, but it still worried me.  It would cost a lot more, and there wasn’t a lot I could do to help.
“Shit, it’s almost ten,” Embry jumped off the bench and smashed his cigarette butt under his heel.  “I gotta go.”
“To work!” he beamed.
“Yeah, there’s a new program where we can work in different areas of the prison and actually earn a bit of money.  It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.”
I talked to Irina about it the next day, and before I knew it, I was cooking vegetarian meals in the prison kitchen.  Killed two birds with one stone, and had something to start sending to Bella every month to help her out.
With Bella living close, I wouldn’t say the weeks started flying by or anything, but I had a lot more to look forward to.  I worked in the kitchen every day except for Sundays, which gave me something to actually get up and do.  I continued to see Irina once a week, and once I started eating a little better, I started working out in the gym as well – at least, when Embry could go with me.  Sometimes you just don’t tempt fate.
Bella came during visiting hours every Wednesday and Sunday.
Those days were the best.
Most of the time we talked through the letters we sent.  Once she started putting my ID number and cell block on the envelope, they started getting to me a lot faster, though I swear they must sit on the warden’s desk for a week before they get distributed.  He’s probably the asshole reading them, too.  I wrote her every day.  Usually it was just about whatever bullshit was going on around me, but other times it was about my talks with Irina, how well my medication was helping, and what plans I wanted to make with her when I got out.
I wouldn’t have been so willing to say that life was good, but it was better than it ever had been before – even when I was a kick-ass fucking insanely rich gun-runner.  I didn’t have anything to speak of, and I couldn’t leave, but I didn’t feel like I was alone all the time.
As time went by, the stack of letters from Bella eventually had to be moved from under my pillow to a satchel Irina acquired for me.  I still kept the most recent six in my pocket.  I easily had over a thousand letters, and I had all my favorites marked so I could go back and read them over and over again.  Bella said mine were in a shoebox in her room.  Then she said they were in two shoeboxes.  Then she had to buy more shoes.
She was doing really well in school, working towards a degree in teaching.  She was a little behind because of all the bullshit I put her through, but she still thought she’d get out in good time.
Be finished, not get out.
So as I marked my six year anniversary in the state penitentiary, Bella started preparing to leave college and get a job in the real world.  I had managed to send her enough money from my kitchen work to get a small apartment, though she ended up needing a roommate anyway.  I didn’t really mind that so much – it was good for her to have someone else around her.  I worried about her being alone.
I wished I could really be right there next to her through it all, but I took a deep breath, reminded myself that if none of this had happened I never would have become the person I was now – a person worthy of being in her life.
“How are you doing today?”
“Annoyed with myself.”  I plopped down in the chair across from Irina.
“What has you annoyed?”
“Bella’s all done with student teaching and graduates in two weeks,” I said.  “I wanted to be able to give her a ring.  Even if I could actually order one over the internet or something, I don’t have the money to do it.  Cooking is only getting me seventy-five bucks a month, and I always send that to her anyway.  Even if I kept it all, it would take me the rest of my sentence to get her a nice one.  It’s pissing me off.  I want to give her something.”
“The ring is just a symbol, Edward,” Irina told me.  “Bella already accepted your proposal.  There are a lot of ways you can symbolize how you feel about her.  What else can you do?”
“I don’t have a fucking clue, that’s why I’m pissed.”
“Think about it,” she said, like I hadn’t already been doing that.  “I think Bella would appreciate any symbol from you, not just one that costs money.”
“I guess.”
“While we’re on the subject, did you talk to her about the wedding date?”
“Yeah, but we’re not exactly seeing eye-to-eye on that one.”
“Have you listened to her reasons?”
“Yeah, and I get it – I do,” I sat back and rubbed my hand against my jaw.  “I know the kinds of things we’d be able to do…you know…”
“Conjugal visits.”
“Well…yeah.”  I couldn’t look her in the eye.  “But I just…I can’t even imagine taking her back to a trailer to…to do that.  She deserves better than that.  She keeps saying she doesn’t care, and she needs the physical contact.  Believe me, I want to give in, but I know it would mean so much more to her if our real wedding was after I got out.”
“When is your earliest parole hearing?”  As if she wasn’t keeping track herself.  Ha!
“With my behavior record, I have a little less than four hundred days off,” I told her.  “So I can be eligible for parole in fourteen months.”
“It’s a long time, I know, but we’ve already gotten this far, and if I get out then…I just think it would be so much better.”
“But you haven’t convinced her.”
I laughed.
“She’s seriously stubborn,” I said.  “Besides, her mom is not exactly in favor of the whole thing, you know?  Not that I blame her.  I’m sure if I was her I’d want to rip my balls off, too.”
“Have you ever written her?”
“Write to Bella’s mother?  Fuck no.”  I gave a short little laugh and shook my head in disbelief.
“Why not?”
“Because she hates me, for starters.  I am sitting here now for raping her daughter, as you may remember.”
“And how does her daughter feel about you?”
I just sat there and stared at her for a minute.  I guess I kind of knew what she was getting at, but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with the information.
“You are going to run into people once you get out of here,” Irina said.  “People who are going to look at you, know you are a convicted felon, and make judgments based on that.  People who are going to find out you are on the sexual predators listing because your crime was against a minor.  You are going to have to learn to deal with that.  What better place to start than with Bella’s mother?”
“You are seriously trying to throw me into the deep end here,” I pointed out.
“You already know how to swim,” she shot back at me.  “You’re communicating with people, you have friends, you’ve set goals, and attained some of them.  You’re ready for the diving board, Edward.”
My eyebrows smashed together as I tried to think about what she was saying.  We’d talked about some of this before – about being on the list and how people were going to view me when I got out.  I had at least thought about that, but Bella’s mother?  She didn’t speak to Bella for nearly a year after she moved out here, and their relationship was still on rocky ground now.  She didn’t even want to acknowledge my existence. 
I tried to put it out of my mind once the session was over – there was just no way could I say anything to Bella’s mother – but it wouldn’t leave my head.  Even went I sat outside after dinner, just smoking and trying to clear my head, the idea of writing to Bella’s mother kept creeping back.
I stomped out my cigarette and decided it was time to jump into the pool.
I was feeling strangely nervous when I handed over the two papers I planned to give to Bella for graduation.  Well, one was for her.  The other one had another purpose.
“I wish I had a frame for it,” I said when Irina held up the picture I had drawn years ago of two hands clasped together.
“You don’t need it,” she said.  “But maybe I can come up with something for you.”
“Seriously?” I asked.  “I mean – if you could find something, I could pay you back, as long as it wasn’t too expensive.  I mean, I’ve been saving back a little, because I want to get her a ring eventually, and I want to be able to pay for it myself.  I have about sixty bucks though…”
“Let’s worry about that when the time comes, okay?”  Irina smiled at me and then reached for the other paper.  I sat back and felt my chest go tight.  I tried slow breathing for a minute, and it helped a bit.  As Irina opened up the second paper, the words I had written appeared in my mind.
Dear Ms. Renee Swan,
I realize you probably never expected to hear from me, but if I want to turn my life around, one of the things I have to do at least attempt to make some amends.  I’ve put all my energy in doing this for Bella, but I’ve neglected the person I have hurt almost as much.
There is nothing I can possibly say or do to make up for the pain I have caused you and your family.  All I can do is assure you that if it was within my power, I would take it all back.  I cannot bring myself to ask for your forgiveness, because I do not deserve it, but please believe I’m truly sorry for what I have done.
I love Bella with all my heart and soul.  As ashamed as I am now for the decisions that brought her to me, I cannot regret having her in my life.  She woke me up, and the events that followed have turned me into a different person.   It is with that in mind that I ask something of you, even though I have no real right to do so.
I know tradition holds that I ask for your permission to marry your daughter, but since Bella has already accepted, I will ask instead for you to please, for Bella’s sake, bless our marriage.  You are very important to her, and I know she is very important to you.  Having you in her life is paramount to her healing.  Even if you don’t want to have anything to do with me, please be there when we get married.  It would mean so much to her to have you there.  You wouldn’t ever have to see me again – I would make sure you and Bella could see each other anytime you wanted without me being in the way.
With all my heart and soul, I swear to you that I am a different person now.  I’m a better person, and I want to spend whatever life I have making Bella happy.  I know things will always be a little difficult for us because of what I’ve done and where I am now, but I promise to make the best of it.  I’m not perfect by anyone’s standards, but I will try to be the best husband I can possibly be.  Bella deserves nothing less.
Edward Cullen
“Edward…”  Irina’s voice trailed off as she looked up from the letter and met my eyes.  I had to look away, afraid of how she might react to it.
“Is it stupid?” I asked quietly.
“It most certainly is not,” Irina said, her voice just a little bit scolding.
“Do you think she’ll say yes?  I mean, do you think she’ll come to the wedding and shit?
“I don’t know, Edward.”  Irina placed both papers on the desk in front of me again.  “You can never be too sure how someone is going to react, regardless of how sincere you may be.  But I do think this is a very important part of mending yourself.”
I guess I did okay, right?

Chapter End Notes:

Making amends = very important.  For yourself as well as those you have hurt.  Scooby snacks all around again!

Two more chapters to go!  AT least they're going to be long ones.  LOL

I expect one tomorrow, then the final (can you believe it??) chapter on Saturday.

CBWR? Chapter 97

Author’s notes:
I am not my own
For I have been made new
Please don’t let me go
I desperately need you
Owl City – Meteor Shower
“I never told you anything.”
Chapter 97
Three days on suicide watch at a local hospital wasn’t really all that bad, except that I was under constant surveillance by both the hospital staff and a prison guard.  I was cuffed to the bed, which also sucked, big-time. 
Bella wasn’t allowed to visit.
Irina came to talk to me every day though, and she told me sometimes it took a giant step backwards in order to be able to move forward again.  She didn’t hide the fact that she was still pretty ticked off at me for considering what I had tried to do…well, not really tried…thought about…whatever.
I didn’t know if I really would have pulled the trigger or not.  Everything was kind of a blur in my memories – at least until Bella was there.
Irina also gave me a little detail of what happened that day.  She had been walking out of the building and heading home when she heard someone arguing with the front desk about visiting Edward Cullen.  She recognized Bella from the media accounts of my trial, though I hadn’t known Irina had ever looked any of that up.  Irina went up to Bella to talk to her, and to find out why she was coming to visit me.  Once Bella received my letter, she realized our messages had gotten crossed in the mail.  She pawned the wedding ring I had given her all that time ago to get a plane ticket to come and talk to me in person.  While they were talking, Irina was called about me being in her office with a gun.  She took the chance, and brought Bella in with her.
After my little ordeal in Irina’s office, Bella had to be taken out of the inmate’s area while I was placed back in cuffs.  It just about tore me in half.  I was about five seconds from being sedated when Irina reminded me that people did get visitors here, and if I wanted to be able to see her again I’d better shut the fuck up and start cooperating.
“Soon,” Bella whispered against my cheek.  “I love you.”
“I love you,” I replied, surprised at how easily the words came now – like the tiny hole in the dam that suddenly gives way to the flooding waters.
After the hospital stay, I was put on anti-depressants and my therapy sessions were increased to twice a week.  I also had to spend a week in solitary.
No visitors there, either.
It was kind of strange how anxious it made me feel not to be able to see anyone except Irina, when the day before all of this happened I hadn’t cared about visitors at all.  I didn’t even are about seeing other inmates, but I found I was missing the presence of both Seth and Embry, and not just because I could trade food with them.
Irina was still allowed to conduct our session from solitary, at least, but the guard had to be in there with us, so there really wasn’t much point.  I didn’t really want to talk about shit in front of that guy, and Irina picked up on that pretty quickly.  She kept our talks about what I was eating, if I was taking my medication when I was supposed to, and whether or not I still felt like I wanted to die.
My goals for getting out of prison were going to become the focus of the rest of my therapy – where I wanted to be, where Bella wanted to be, and how we were going to work together to make that happen.  Obviously, when the two of us were trying to deal with it alone we were not very successful.
After I was brought back into the normal prison population, I was allowed visitors on Wednesdays and Sundays.  Bella was there the first day I could see her.  It was only through Plexiglas, but I would take it.
I picked up the little handset on the pegboard wall, and Bella did the same.
“I love you,” we both said at the same time.  Bella’s cheeks turned red, and I couldn’t help but smile.  It made my face feel weird – I don’t think I had done that in a while.  For the longest time, we just looked at each other, but it wasn’t awkward at all – it just felt good.
“I’ve got a long way to go,” I finally said.  “But I’m going to do it, okay?  I swear to you, I’m going to be better when I’m out of here.”
“I will be, too,” she responded.  She took a deep breath and wiped a tear from the corner of her eye.  “It’s not going to be easy, is it?”
“Nothing worthwhile ever is,” I said.  “At least, that what Irina keeps tell me.”
“She’s your counselor,” Bella said with a nod.   “I like her.”
“I do, too,” I responded.  I reached up and ran my hand through my hair.  I didn’t want to hold anything back.  Irina said that was important – I needed to tell her everything.  “Um…she had the doctor put me on some pills.  For the depression.”
“Good.”  Bella’s hand reached forward and her fingers pressed against the Plexiglas.  I raised my free hand up and placed my fingers on the other side, lining up with hers.
“How are you?” I asked, and then had to kind of laugh at how lame the question was.  “I mean, really?  I know I must have…scared you.  Being like that.  With everything you said in your letter…shit, Bella – I had no idea-”
“I know you didn’t,” she said with a nod.  “How could you if I never told you?”
“I never told you anything.”
“No, you didn’t.”
“I’m sorry.”
“You’ve already apologized, Edward.  You don’t have to apologize for it again every time it’s brought up.  At some point, you have to let go.”
“Now you sound like Irina.”  I smiled and pushed my fingertips against the glass a little harder.
“It’s what Sue keeps tell me,” Bella said.  “She’s my counselor.”
We just looked at each other for another minute, which was when the guard came up and give me my five minute warning.
“Bella…” My voice trailed off as I took a deep breath.  “I’ve still got a long time in here.  I’m not going to ask you to put your life on hold to wait for me.  It’s not fair to ask you to do that.  I have pretty much nothing to offer you as long as I’m here, and by the time I get out…shit, Bella – you could be thirty by then.”
“I know you aren’t asking me to,” Bella said.  “That doesn’t mean I won’t do it anyway.”
I took a breath, and it felt like my lungs were actually working correctly for the first time in a very long time.  I was still torn – the selfish part of me that wanted her to wait, and the other parts that wanted to say I wasn’t good enough for her.
But I was going to be.
I was going to make sure I was the kind of man she needed me to be before I got out of here.
“You still have to do what you need to do for yourself, too,” I told her.  “You have to finish college and have a life outside of me.”
“I know.”  Bella sighed.  “I’ve been trying.”
“I’ll try to help you,” I promised.  “Anyway I can – just tell me what you need from me.”
“Don’t close me out,” she said immediately.  “Don’t do what I did, and sugar-coat everything.  I want to know how you really are.”
“You too, right?”
“Right.”  Her eyes locked with mine, and I was captivated by her gaze.  I could have just looked at her for the rest of my sentence.  No problem.
“Time’s up, Cullen.”  The guard tapped the edge of the wall.
“What do we do from here?” I asked her.
“What do you want to do?”  She really did sound like a fucking therapist.
“I want to figure out what I need to do to still have you in my life when I leave here,” I told her.  “If you want me to be, anyway.”
“I do,” she responded immediately.  “How do we make it work?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted.  “But I’m going to figure it out.”
 Where there’s a will there’s a way, right?
Chapter end notes:
They are both learning, right?
Scooby snacks all around!
100 chapters is still my target.  Not sure if that will be the exact number, but it calls to my OCD.  Nice, round number…mmmmm….