(NEW ENGLAND, Dec 2005)
The dining hall was dangerous ground for Edward. It was huge, loud and confusing. No order. And it was crowded, a vast area filled with Others. They had told him that he would be among peers at Glenholme Boarding School, 'among his equals'. But they had been wrong. He was nothing like those kids around him; they were just Others.
They were noisy and cheerful. It was nauseating. The laughing, the squealing, dishes clanking on trays, rubber soles squeaking on the wooden floor, and the non-stop talking... it all fused into the same meaningless mash of noise he remembered from those times in other institutions and foster homes.
Once more, he was among Others, just like the times before Esme had come to take him home and told him that this time, it was for good. Just like the times before Esme had given him Easybella and he had learned the real meaning of the word 'home'; he was feeling homeless now. It was a broken promise all over again.
Edward knew it was his own fault. He knew that he was here to learn how to be like Them. And he tried really hard, thinking that if he'd be good maybe they would allow him to leave.
Maybe if he smiled enough, or joined more of their silly games, then the teachers would certify him trained and ready to go home.
Maybe if he spoke in complete sentences all day, Easybella would talk to him again.
So he kept trying. The teachers were nice and patient; they didn't force him. He was even allowed to keep his communication cards, although they assured him that he didn't need them. Which was true, in a way. He barely ever used them any more. He just had nothing to say.
Yet everyone at Glenholme seemed convinced he would get there. They never got tired of telling him that he was doing great, cheering upon every single word he uttered and every facial expression he mimicked. But deep inside, Edward knew he was just pretending, and a niggling feeling of failure had grown to be his constant companion.
He was nothing like those kids and would never be - a fact that was never more evident than during those noisy lunch times. But every single day, he still kept on trying to learn how to be better... at pretending.
Right now though, he needed a break. Next to his untouched meal, Edward let his head sink onto his folded arms on the table and closed his eyes. Deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of his mind he descended, until nothing was left but a soothing grey mist and silence.
There he waited.
We need more condoms. I hate not being able to be with her the way I want to be, the way I need to be. But I love that I can give her pleasure. I love tasting her pleasure. It's on my tongue, it's all over my face... sweet, sticky pleasure... sweet Bella making sweet noises, each of her moans and groans coursing through my body like shock waves.
I love the way her pleasure tastes and sounds and feels. I love the pain on my scalp where she is clutching at a fistful of my hair, like she's afraid I would stop before she's got there. As if I could...
I won't stop until she tells me to. I won't stop as long as her body says yes, a thousand times yes!
And she is all Yes, my Bella. She's all Yes and More in my mouth, all Pleaseand Harder in my hands. It's impossible to determine which one of us is in control; I feel weak and powerful, and I'm loving it... so, so much! I feel like I'm giving and giving, yet I'm receiving more than I give. I feel like I'm coming, but I'm not. I feel like I could go on and on like this.
But she starts to fall.
Her legs quiver and she takes in big, loud gulps of air, almost like sobs. She inhales and inhales... three, four, five times... and I don't stop, I don't stop. I lick and taste and drink my Easybella. And then her knees give way and she falls.
My mouth is empty all of a sudden, and there's the loud clatter of the chair knocked over. Her body all but melts and flows down on me like a warm, silky fluid. Her fingers slip out of my hair and her hands limply fall onto my shoulders. She glides down between my arms and sinks onto her knees and slumps against me, with her face nestled in the crook of my neck. And when she finally exhales, it is a long, muffled cry against my skin.
I hold her shaking form, with my face buried in her hair, and I want to cry because the beauty of this moment is almost too much to bear. There's one single thought inside my head, repeating itself over and over... one elating, hurting, happy-sad thought that rips me open and leaves me bleeding here on the floor, while I'm holding my Easybella - my life - in my arms...
She missed me while I was gone.
She missed me while I was gone.
She missed me while I was gone.
It's true. I know, it is.
"I missed you too, Bella," I whisper against her temple.
And then I cry.
(NEW ENGLAND, Dec 2005)
It was the color of her hair that caught Edward's eye first, those dark brown locks with a few mahogany lights where the sunbeams coming through the roof windows impinged on them.
He had just entered the main building of the Center of Arts, when he saw the girl and froze. He momentarily forgot to breathe. Also, he immediately forgot why he had come here, even though his piano classes were the one thing here at Glenholme School he was usually looking forward to. Edward outright forgot about everything.
The brown-haired girl slowly walked down the hallway, with her back to him. Her head was turning to and fro as she passed along and read the signs on the doors on either side of the corridor, searching for something... or someone.
'Here', Edward thought, 'I'm here!' Then he remembered that he needed to breathe in order to speak. So he sucked in some air and...
It was merely a whisper.
Unsurprisingly, she couldn't hear him. Edward could hardly hear himself over the thundering of his heart. He had practiced so hard, and now that she was finally here, his voice simply refused to be obedient to him.
"Over here," he breathed desperately, while she kept on walking into the wrong direction. 'Sentences', he reminded himself, getting annoyed with his own lack of concentration, 'complete sentences!'
"I am here, Easybella. Please turn around," he tried again, but only managed a feeble whimpering. So he did the only thing he could think of. He dropped his bag and, pulling all his strength together, he ordered his shaking legs to move.
When he crashed into the girl's back and threw his arms around her skinny waist from behind, he knew right away that something was wrong. He knew it before she gave that piercing scream and lashed out blindly. He knew it before she turned around and stared in shock at him with those watery, blue eyes. He knew it even before he heard one of the Others yell, "Miss Meyer, Edward just touched Jessica without asking permission!"
Right before he passed out on the floor of the Center of the Arts' hallway, he knew that something was terribly, terribly wrong.
But when he woke up to the hushed voice of the school nurse talking to his mom on the phone, he couldn't remember what it was, or why he was lying there on the cot in the first place. The only thing bothering him was that he apparently had missed his piano lesson. Other than that, he was just fine. Actually, he felt better than he had in a while. He couldn't understand why everyone was in such a flurry.
He behaved himself perfectly during the following examination, and when they asked him whether he was feeling better, he nodded his head yes and forced a timid smile onto his face like a good boy.
Everyone was relieved.
In the weeks and months to come, Edward surprised his teachers by making great progress learning and adjusting. He was coming on in leaps and bounds. He still had trouble bonding with other kids, but he adapted some valuable social skills. And though he only spoke if absolutely necessary or when he was told to, his use of the spoken word improved remarkably.
Everyone was pleased.
He was coming along so well that no one even tried to get to the bottom of the so-called 'Jessica Incident'. Everyone forgot about it, even Edward himself. He kept on trying really hard to get better and better at... pretending. Because deep down in his heart, he knew it was very important.
He just couldn't remember the reason why any more.
Truth is easy; pretending is so much harder, isn't it?
We both know the truth now. That's a good thing. No matter how hard one pretends, it doesn't change the truth. Even if someone steals the truth from us and we can't see it and believe otherwise - what's true, remains true. That's a good thing. But the fact that truth can be taken away in the first place... that's pretty scary.
I wish, Bella would say something. She's so quiet all of a sudden. I've only cried a little; she didn't even notice. Just a few salty drops into her hair...
Maybe I should say something? She likes it when I talk. It's important to her. Complete sentences! But where to start? Truth is easy... easy, easy, Easybella. We both know the truth now; we won't lose it again. Complete sentences!
One... two... three...
"I love you, Bella."
Truth is easy.