My Past: Part I
My mother and father, Renee Dwyer and Charlie Swan, had divorced when I was two years old. Renee took me away to live in Florida with her, but she was never the same. She would cry every night, she wouldn't get up until early afternoon and when she was up, she was a zombie; just sitting around, staring at nothing.
Because of her lack of, well…life, this meant that I had to look after myself. Each day, I would make my own breakfast, wash myself, walk to kindergarten by myself, learn at school, make my way back home, prepare my own dinner and then go to bed. I couldn't exactly say that I liked the life that I had been given, but it was heaven compared to what happened next.
I noticed that my mom had life in her again. She was happier and was starting to look after me properly. I no longer heard her crying at night, and she would occasionally go out with a few of her friends; I was genuinely happy that I had my mommy back.
When I was six, I noticed that Renee was going out more often and coming back later. She told me one day that she had a surprise for me. I was eagerly awaiting her arrival, literally bouncing on my feet in the hallway. Just then, the door knob twisted and my mom came back with a man. He looked about 5'11 with a shaven head and grey eyes. I looked to my mom and saw her eyes sparkle with happiness and excitement as she introduced me to the man.
"Bella, this is Phil." She said, tenderly. Phil looked down at me.
"Hello Bella. It's nice to meet you." He smiled at me, but something was off about it. It wasn't a friendly or happy smile. No. This smile was creepy and sent shivers down my spine. Renee was completely oblivious to this as she continued talking.
"Phil is a minor league baseball player; isn't that exciting?" she squealed at me. I wasn't really a big fan of sports and my voice had caught in my throat so I simply nodded, not taking my eyes off Phil who was still smiling at me.
We proceeded to have dinner and I ate mine quietly, sneaking glances at Phil every now and then. Every time I looked, his eyes seemed to be calculating, darting between me and Renee occasionally. I couldn't stand the tension anymore so feigned tiredness and went to bed, wondering what Phil was up to.
For the next few days, Phil would come over to our house for dinner and stay until the early hours of the morning. His weird behaviour didn't cease as he kept on giving me creepy looks and smiles. I tried not to be in the same room with him if I could help it, but sometimes I had to.
One night, Phil decided that he would tuck me into bed so that he could "bond" with me. He tried to hold my hand in a fatherly way, but I kept my arms stiffly by my side.
"Hold my hand you little bitch." He hissed in my ear, so low that my mother couldn't hear. I froze. No one had ever spoken to me like that. Tears sprung to my eyes and I cried out as Phil grabbed my hand and squeezed it with too much force, making a few bones crack.
"Shut up!" he ordered. I silenced immediately as he dragged me up the stairs to my room. He ripped open my bedroom door and threw me on the bed.
"Say a word to your mommy and you'll regret it." He growled before slamming the door shut. After sitting in shock for a moment, I quickly buried myself in my bed sheets, hiding myself away from the world so that nothing could hurt me again. I felt tears roll down my cheeks as I shifted into a deep sleep.
That happened for the next two years. We would have dinner together, watch T.V. for a bit and then Phil would "tuck" me into bed. My eyes were always red and puffy from crying myself to sleep. But things got a whole lot worse.
Phil had proposed to my mom…
And she'd said yes.
When they told me the news, I didn't respond. I was too numb, thinking about my future with that monster. Thinking about how he would be living with us now. They tried to snap me back into reality and when they did, I just ran upstairs and locked myself in my room and cried.
The wedding was only small and to my surprise, Charlie had attended. Renee had asked him to look after me whilst they went on their honeymoon for six weeks. I was rejoicing on the inside, but tried not to let it show as it might have given Renee the message that I was glad to see her go.
Charlie had decided to stay in Florida to look after me. He had gotten time off work as the Chief of Police and was temporarily living in our house. It was the best six weeks of my life. I didn't go to sleep with one eye open. I didn't cry when I got back home. Charlie loved me. He held me on his lap when we were watching T.V., he would tuck me in properly with a kiss on the cheek accompanied by "Sweet dreams Bells". For once I was content with my life. But I knew it couldn't last.
The six weeks flew by and before I knew it, Mom and Phil had come back off their honeymoon. Charlie had to leave so he could go back to his job and as soon as his car went around the corner, my world came crashing down. Phil placed a hand on my shoulder and squeezed too tightly, causing me to wince.
"Aren't you going to welcome us back Isabella?" he asked; I could detect the threat in his voice.
"Welcome back." I mumbled and headed back into the house.
Now that Phil was living with us, things had started to get progressively worse. Phil had somehow convinced my mom to get a full time job. She thought that Phil wanted her to do well in life, but it was really just to get her out of the house.
One day, whilst she was at work, Phil had decided that we should spend some "quality time" together.
"What do you want to play Isabella?" he asked, a smirk spreading across his features. I put my head down, looking at my shoes.
"I don't want to play anything." I replied in a quiet voice.
"What did you say?" he seethed, rage dawning on his shapeless face. I snapped my head up to look at him, right in the eye. I didn't back down from is stare as I normally would have; this only seemed to anger him further as his face twisted into a sneer.
"I. Don't. Want. To. Play. Anything. With. You." I said icily. Before I could react, Phil lunged at me. He grabbed a fistful of my hair and started dragging me up the stairs, with me kicking and screaming in protest. When we reached the top, he roughly pulled me up so that I was eye level with him.
"You will not defy me, your father, ever again!" he spat at me.
"You are not my father!" I screamed back. His eyes narrowed and he let me go. I scrambled up in front of him and when I had regained my balance, he placed his arms on my shoulders and pushed me down the stairs. As I tumbled down, I remembered what my life was like when Charlie was looking after me. No abuse. No screaming. Just the love of a father and his daughter. The memories comforted me as I fell and hit the floor with a thud. Pain took hold of my body and tears leaked down my face as I faded into blackness. Before I completely went under, I heard a ghastly voice in my ear.
"Maybe that will teach you for disobeying me, my daughter." And with that, darkness wrapped around me.
I awoke to a strange beeping noise and it was hurting my ears. I tried to shift my position to get rid of the wretched noise, but no matter where I was, it was always beeping. With great effort I managed to crack my eyelids open, only to slam them shut as the light radiating around me blinded me.
"Bella?" I heard a gentle voice call. I felt slight pressure on my hand, but I did not open my eyes.
"Bella? Baby?" the voice called again. I exhaled slowly and tried to open my eyes once again. A slither of light crept through my lids, but I was now determined to open them fully. I managed to do it within five minutes, but I found that my vision was blurry. It was as if I was underwater. I saw a figure to the left of my bed. The figure was small, with reddish, frizzy hair which I recognised almost immediately.
"Mom?" I whispered my voice hoarse.
"Oh Bella!" she cried. She wrapped me up in a quick but gentle hug. I was too weak to respond so I just lay there, watching as she loved me. After a few minutes of crying, she kissed my head and pulled away.
"Thank Goodness you're alright!" she gushed, "When I got home, I found an ambulance leaving our house and then Phil came out crying and told me what happened and then we rushed straight to the hospital. Oh my poor baby!" If I wasn't hurting so bad, I would have smiled in rejoice. Renee finally knew what that monster has been doing to me. Soon, she will divorce him and then mom and I will be happy again!
"Mom." I croaked out, "Where's Phil?"
"Oh, he went to get something to eat. He's too distraught about what happened. He said that he tried to catch you." My heartbeat sped up.
"Mom, what did Phil tell you?" I asked carefully.
"What do you mean?"
I took in a deep breath. "What happened to me?"
"You mean you don't remember?" she asked incredulously; I simply stared blankly at her, waiting for her to continue. "Well, you were going upstairs to your room when you tripped at the top and fell down the stairs. Phil practically dove for you but it was too late." By the end of her speech she was bursting in tears again, fumbling with her handkerchief. My fists clenched at the sheets. Phil had completely lied to my mother; she was still clueless. I couldn't live with him anymore.
"Mom, that's not what happened." I told her quietly. She snapped her head to look at me; her eyes swimming in confusion.
"What do you mean?" she questioned.
"Well, you see, Phil-"The door to the room burst open and there stood a shaking Phil. He glanced threateningly at me before producing fake tears in his eyes.
"Oh Bella!" he cried with false sadness. He rushed over to me and pulled me into a tight embrace.
"Say anything and you're dead." He whispered coldly. I shuddered as he pulled away and went to sit by Renee.
"Bella says that she didn't fall down the stairs." Renee informed Phil. He turned to glare angrily at me.
"N-no." I protested, "I-I did. I mean, my memory is quite bad at the moment. It's all a blur really." Phil nodded in approval at my lie and I sunk back into the mattress, willing for this to be all over.
When I was out of hospital, Phil had started to beat me constantly when Renee wasn't around. He would punch me, kick me and slap me. I was always covered in black and blue bruises and, sometimes, blood. I thought that my life couldn't get any worse, but how wrong I was.
"Bella, come here quick!" Renee squealed from the front door. I sighed and put away my lighter. I had bought one in case Phil went too far and I had to protect myself from death. I was now thirteen years old, so Phil's beatings had been happening for four years now. I trudged down the stairs and found Renee bouncing on the spot with excitement, a grumbling Phil beside her.
"What?" I asked, looking at Renee's form.
"We're going to have a baby!" she burst. That was when I saw blackness.
Renee was six months gone and her bump was coming on lightly. I worshipped these past weeks as Renee was on maternity leave; that means no beatings for a whole year!
Renee came to join me in the lounge, sprawling across the sofa. She had a bowl in her hands and it smelt horrible.
"What's in that?" I asked, inclining my head towards the bowl.
"Ice cream." She replied cheerily. There was no way that there was only ice cream in there. I raised an eyebrow at her. "Oh ok. It's ice cream and pickles." She admitted, looking down.
"Eww." I scrunched my nose up in protest. I continued watching the T.V. when I heard Renee squeak. I whipped around to face her and saw that her hand was planted on my stomach.
"What is it?" I asked, panicked. She didn't respond, but she grabbed my hand and placed it on her stomach.
"Mom, what-" I was cut off by a kick. I stared at Renee's stomach in amazement. I leaned in closer, wanting the baby to kick again. It must have read my mind as the little one kicked just where my hand was. Tears sprung to my eyes as I realised that this innocent little baby would have to put up with Phil. I promised myself then and there that I would protect my half brother or sister as best as I could from the clutches of Phil. I would be their protector.
All too soon, Renee had been whizzed off to hospital. The doctors tried to convince me to stay at home but with my stubbornness, I was allowed to go to the hospital too.
Renee had been wheeled in to the maternity ward and I reluctantly agreed to stay in the waiting area with Phil. The room was dull and didn't have any light to it. I was constantly pacing the boring blue carpet, eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new sibling. I glanced at Phil and saw that he was lying on two of the chairs, snoring. I rolled my eyes at him; how could he not care about his child that was being delivered right now?
Oh yeah. This was Phil we were talking about.
The hours felt like years. Renee had been in labour all night and we hadn't heard a word on how she was doing. Phil was still sleeping and I could see a bit of drool coming out of his open mouth. Maybe I could stick something down his throat…
My musings were interrupted by a tired looking nurse entering the waiting room. Phil shot up immediately and then rubbed his eyes and grumbled as he rested back on the chairs.
"Congratulations." The nurse smiled at us, "It's a girl." I was starting to bounce in my seat.
"Can I go and see her?" I asked. The nurse looked me up and down before smiling gently.
"Your mother is quite tired at the moment, but yes, you may see her." I beamed at her and all but ran to where Renee was staying, tripping several times along the way. I turned the corner and dashed down the corridor to the grey double doors at the end. I pushed them aside and then froze where I was.
Renee had bags under her eyes, her face pale. Her hair was tied up, covered in sweat. But she was not what caught my attention.
In her arms was a pink bundle. I approached it carefully and took a peek inside. I gasped at what I saw.
A peach, round face, with red cheeks was cuddled up to Renee. I could briefly see blonde strands of hair coming out of her head in little wires. I beamed at her; she looked so beautiful.
"Hi baby." I whispered, stroking her warm cheek. She lifted her small pink hand and her tiny fingers curled around mine. She opened her eyelids and bright blue eyes stared back at me. The tears fell down my cheeks freely as I gazed lovingly at my new sister.
"Isn't she wonderful?" Renee sighed.
"She's much more that wonderful mom." I spoke reverently, never taking my eyes off the baby's small frame. A moment of silence passed over us before Renee broke it.
"Where's Phil?" she asked. I gritted my teeth at what Phil might do to this little one; I would not let him hurt her in any way.
"He's asleep." I answered curtly. I saw Renee frown out of the corner of my eye and glance at me and the baby.
"Here." She said and held out the baby to me. I smiled gratefully at my mom and took my sister into my arms, cradling her to my chest. She was so warm and fragile; how this angel was produced by Phil I have no idea. Thinking of Phil made my anger rise, but when I looked back at my sister, I calmed immediately. An instinct took over me as I kissed her on the forehead; I felt more like the baby's mother than her sister.
"What shall we call her?" Renee asked quietly. I gazed at my sister and only one name came to mind.
"Emily." I firmly told her, "Emily Jane Swan." I decided to give her Charlie's last name as I couldn't stand the thought of her having Phil's last name. Renee nodded in approval and I ducked my head down, kissing Emily's forehead again.
"I won't let any harm come to you." I whispered into Emily's ear so that Renee would hear. "I promise." I looked back up to Renee and saw that she was looking at the door. I followed her line of sight and saw Phil leaning against the doorway, smirking with an evil glint in his eye.