What's Love? Ch 10

Chapter 10
Bella POV
10 years ago

This chapter includes a trigger warning for sexual assault.

One year ago I buried my father, but I was not allowed to go and put flowers on his grave. I hated the latest foster family. They were the fifteenth family I had been with, and in between placements I went to the group home with Jasper. That was my goal, of course; I tormented my foster family until they called dumb ass Paul to get me. I would have thought that he would give up and let me stay there, but he didn’t like the bullying that happened to me. And the last time I had gotten revenge, not that anyone had legitimate proof it was me other than the girls, who had constantly had problems in the past.

I had been with the last family for one week and two days, and I was having apprehensions about it. The man gave me the same feelings that John had. I tried getting Paul to understand that, but he told me to look up the story of the boy who cried wolf. I told him that didn’t apply to my situation, because I had never cried wolf.

I was working on the tablet that I built from scratch, tweaking the coding on it. I thought about giving it to Jasper, since he really enjoyed playing on it when I needed his opinion on its user friendliness. I felt a presence before I heard the squeak of the floor board that was just inside my room. I didn’t want to look up and confirm my gut feeling.

“Isabella, it's family time.” I could feel him so close and hear him smell my hair as his hand ghosted over my head. Then he was gone, the noise from the floorboard telling me where he was.

Quickly, I called Jasper.

“Hey, Bells.” His voice was cheerful.

“Jasper, I’m scared.” I could feel my hand tremble and every wall I had been building cracked as I confessed this feeling to him.

“What’s wrong?” His voice immediately changed.

“Marcus, I think he’s going to try to hurt me tonight.” I could feel a few tears as they trickled down my cheeks.

“Isabella, you have to call Paul and tell him.”

“I’ve tried, Jasper, he doesn’t believe me.”

“I’m coming to get you, then. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“Okay.” We hung up the phone, and I felt a little relief knowing Jasper was coming.

I could hear Marcus, his wife and two daughters laughing downstairs. I couldn’t get my legs moving to join them like he expected me to, so instead I packed my things and waited for Jasper.

I didn’t realize I'd fallen asleep until I felt a cloth over my mouth. It had a chlorine smell but worse, and I couldn’t help but inhaling it when I tried to scream. I felt myself go under.

The pain that radiated from my wrist and ankles startled me awake. I could feel cold air on my bare skin. I was too afraid to open my eyes, but that was when I felt the roughness of a man’s hands rubbing my sides.

My eyes met Marcus’s dark ones. He looked like evil incarnate. “Isabella, I am so happy you’re awake. I thought I was going to have to get started without you.” He smiled, and all I could think of was the devil.

“I called Jasper, he’ll be here. He’s going to know something is up!”

“Oh sweetie, I sent him away. I had to call the cops and everything. He tried hard to get in here, I’ll give him that.” He chuckled at something that only he understood.

“Paul has to check in on me,” I said, my own voice betraying that I knew it was a hopeless threat.

“No, Isabella, he won’t. I called him after Jasper was taken care of and told him you ran away. You’re all mine, sweetheart.” He grabbed my legs roughly to pull them apart.
Feeling myself detach, I forced my attention to the pain in my wrists, the feel of the blood dripping down my arms from the wire cutting into them as my body moved without my permission.

From that point on, time itself became obsolete. I just learned to tune myself into the pain in my wrists so I didn’t focus on what he was doing to me.
When he was gone, I either slept or tried to come up with a plan of escape. Very slowly, I was coming up with the idea of cutting my hand off, but I was sure that blood loss would kill me before I could get out and to the authorities. But continuing with that thought, maybe cutting into myself to create enough blood to make my wrist slippery enough to slip my hand out of the tie would work.

Trying to not focus on the searing pain, I rubbed my wrist back and forth, getting blood to moisten all around it. I tried to slowly bring my hand down and it slipped through the wire. I couldn’t help but chuckle through my tears as I began to untie my other hand and my ankles. I worked as quickly as my body allowed, fleeing up the steps to the door, finding it unlocked. Thank God! I flung open the door and collided into a body. I screamed bloody murder, thinking it had to be Marcus.

“Bella!” Jasper's cool voice got through to me; I finally processed seeing him. I could only imagine how I looked, naked and covered in blood.

“Jasper,” I sobbed, falling into his arms.

I didn’t remember much from that point. I knew I was safe with Jasper. My first clear moment was two days later in the hospital overhearing a conversation between two men.

“I thought she was just being difficult, Mike.”

“I’m astounded that you have a job right now, but no worries there, I’ve already asked for an inquiry.” He voice was filled with disgust. “To top this fuckery, you actually believed she ran away. She has never done such an act. You didn’t even investigate, as you are supposed to do per protocol. You do know how many bodies they found in his pond, right? All of his charges. All he said ran away. How the hell could you not see a pattern!” Hearing that rant, I had the feeling Mike was not a fan of Paul or the system. Good.

I finally opened my eyes to indeed find Paul and Mike at a stand-off. Paul saw that my eyes were open and came over to me and attempted to take my hand.

“Don’t fucking touch me.” Even to me, my voice was harsh. Paul’s head fell and he walked out of my room.

Mike began to fill me in on Marcus. I was apparently lucky to be alive. Marcus had homed over thirty kids, seventeen of them being girls age thirteen to seventeen. Of those seventeen, fourteen of them had been found in his pond. He put cement on their feet and tossed them in, all of them showing signs of sexual assault. The bodies were brutalized. I was his only survivor. He held me prisoner for four weeks and three days, while Jasper had been searching for me. He was certain that I was still there because he pinged my cell from his phone, something I added to it the last time I was with him. Marcus had kept everything of mine in the basement. Jasper had immediately called 911 after I collapsed in his arms. Marcus and his wife were at work and their kids were at school or else we probably wouldn’t have made it out of there.

Two days of cops, and more cops, and case workers and Mike. I just wanted to blow something up, but Jasper brought in my tablet and laptop. After seeing me the way he did, he had trouble looking at me, he told me all he saw was dead eyes and blood. I could tell he was high as a kite, which was probably why he was able look at me.

He didn’t say much other than giving me the rundown on what was going on at the group home, and all the police interviewing he had to do. He reassured me that he didn’t mind. He went on about talking with Mike, and I could see he was trying to distract from the elephant in the room, which I was grateful for.

“Bella.” Mike came in looking somber.


“I really hate having to tell you this, especially now. But Bella, they found your mom's body last night. It looks like an OD.” His eyes searched mine for my reaction.

What should my reaction have been? I had so much medication to keep the pain at bay. I couldn’t sleep because I could hear him say my name. All of this happened to me because Renee couldn’t keep her shit together.

“Okay. Can you deal with it? Just make sure she’s buried with my dad. He would have wanted that.” My voice was mechanical.

He nodded his head and touched my arm in comfort.
But the punches didn’t stop there. The doctor came in to inform me that all of the sodomization Marcus did to me messed me up. At fifteen I was told that I would probably never be able to bear my own children.

I really hated Renee. I really hated Paul, I detested Marcus. I hated everything.

The doctor left, and Jasper held my hand while I cried. I cried so hard that my whole body began to shake and the nurses came in with a shot to calm me down.

Christmas passed and then New Year’s. I was back in the group home with Jasper. Paul lost his job, and he was possible getting charged with neglect. Marcus’s trial would start in February, and Jasper and I had been working with Mike to prepare for it. I built so many nice walls and fakeness that sometimes I forgot who I was. I only ever let Jasper truly see me. He had been working on not getting high to be able to talk to me. I didn’t blame him, if I didn’t know the statistics of reaction time that weed and alcohol depleted I would join him. I could really use a new coping mechanism.

I knew he was getting better because at night when I felt the walls closing in, I ran to his room and hid in bed with him. I couldn’t sleep, it was when I was sleeping that Marcus came for me. Mike told me I needed to stop hiding with Jasper. It was only putting a band aid on a bullet hole, as he put it.

January seventeenth was when I decided not to go running to Jasper and let the nightmare finally play through. After that I hated Mike, too.

February finally came and so did the court date. The prosecuting attorney assured me that he wasn't getting away with anything. He was most likely getting the death penalty, or at least that was his goal. I didn’t hold my breath. The death penalty wasn’t something that was favored.

The opening statements were very powerful. The prosecutor was amazing with his words. The defense, if that’s what you could call it, was grasping at straws. He was trying to say all the girls found were suicides and Marcus was trying to give dignity. For me, he was trying to say it was consensual.

My testimony wasn’t needed until two weeks into the trial. I answered the prosecuting attorney’s questions in a mechanical voice, and it wasn’t until the pictures were shown that I began to break. I looked to Mike and Jasper. Jasper had given his testimony the day before, but he couldn’t look at me or the pictures. I never really looked at myself when I got away. To say the pictures were disturbing would be an understatement. The only real description that came to my over-worked mind was that I looked dead, yet I was alive. I guessed Jasper’s reaction and ongoing need to self-medicate were reasonable.

I felt the tears stream down my face as I kept staring at them, but I couldn't help myself. I didn’t even remember the questions the defense attorney was trying to ask. I ingenuously ignored him until the judge got my attention and asked if I was okay. I nodded my head and quickly answered the defense’s questions that barley pertained to the case. I left the stand and walked out of the court house, vowing that I would never go back.

It wasn’t long before the verdict come back guilty, but I still couldn’t sleep without him haunting my dreams.


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