So quickly that even my heightened and well-honed senses can barely register the action, he grabs me by my hand and pulls. Pulls me from the place in which I have decided to occupy myself towards the door.
Away from prying eyes, ears, minds – witnesses. I don't try to stop him.
If she sees, realizes, reacts in time, she will say something like, 'don't be too rough,' or, 'don't hurt each other now.' I will see his lips begin to curl out of the corner of my eye. A smirk beginning to form. It seems the irony is not lost on him either as he leads us further, through the door and to the river.
He leaps, his hand still a vice upon mine, his momentum carrying me with him across, to land on the other side.
There is no effort on my part. I do not help – but I cannot stop.
As he breaks into a run, deeper into the forest, still pulling me, it is hard to believe what feels like hours has been only seconds. Seconds which provide me with any number of opportunities to escape, to fight back.
If he thought I didn't want this he wouldn't force me, he would let me go. I know this and he thinks it is want, desire that allows him to have his way. It isn't. Need, compulsion, all-consuming inevitability – but not want, desire.
This is lost on him – the distinction. It wouldn't be a smirk he wears if he knew this.
I have wondered many times over the years why Edward has never said anything when I am grabbed and taken away. I cannot bring myself to believe that my attacker has been so consistently capable of hiding such...powerful thoughts – at least if his emotional state is any indication of their intensity.
I find my other explanation more likely. Perhaps the thought, the desire and the decision all strike him at once. It certainly suits his character. We would be out of the door before Edward caught anything, just as Esme's sometimes reactions have followed us through. Perhaps he has heard it every time we have performed this dance and chosen to ignore it. Perhaps, worse, he has become so used to what has always followed that he avoids listening.
I know I analyse it each time it has happened, as it is happening. I know how much thought it has always sparked in me. That, I have always told myself, is why I have never initiated the dance. It wouldn't have come to me so suddenly that action would come almost on top of thought.
I would analyse. Edward would hear. Alice...Alice would see. I would see her see. I am lying to myself even now. That she knows, has to know, pains me, but she sees whether I am there or not. The fact that I just go along with it, am too weak to deny myself, too weak to say no, is perhaps worse for her. Maybe it would be easier for her, maybe she would be able to give me the hate I deserved if I initiated it.
So it is not the reason I do not initiate the dance. I have never done it for the same reason that would cause him to stop. I do not want this, I never have, but I need it, my fix, my drug. I won't seek it out, look for it. I have always accepted it though when it is given to me so freely.
For half a century, every few weeks my fix is delivered. I will take it.
He slows, the vice still tight upon my wrist. He stops and I with him. Where we are is irrelevant beyond being far enough away from our home, from our family – those witnesses.
Suddenly he will wrench me around him. I fly into a large tree that shakes with the impact of my back upon it. This one stays standing. Again, the action is irrelevant, beyond the reaction it causes in me.
It never fails to shock me – the pain in my arm; the breath that is forced from my lungs, though obsolete and unnecessary they and their contents are. It never changes – this dance – the steps, their order, yes – though never the tune at its heart.
Perhaps that is why it shocks me so much. I always expect something different.
He crouches, as if hunting, and stalks towards me. My body is rigid, stiller than stone as he comes closer. My breath hitches as I study his face – a strange reflex that hasn't disappeared after more than two centuries.
The smirk he still wears from Esme's words still plays on his face, but it is no longer amusement, rather mischievous glee – a sadistic pleasure I realize for his eyes give him away. This will hurt.
As he grabs me by my shoulders, tight enough to ground diamonds into powder, I know. This does hurt. I do not wince...cry out – rather I return the smile in kind. My need, my compulsion, my drug.
I have always needed this feeling. Control taken away from me, not given away. I died craving it, and now it is part of me forever. Part of my unfaltering, unwavering and unforgiving personality. It is a huge, profound, and incredibly rare thing for our kind to experience real change. And so, my need stays with me forever...as does my inability to deny it.
It has been my bad luck, and great fortune, that he been there to provide it. He has always been more than willing to take away my power and to have complete and utter control – dominance – over me. No matter how painful it is or how far he goes, I am left feeling serene, filling a hole within myself, whose existence, at other times, I am often unaware of.
These are the reasons I always have given myself for my inability to give up my...pastime. I dislike them. They are merely platitudes, excuses, lies, used to cover the truth. I don't know why I need to feel powerless, vulnerable. It can't be as simple as just liking the feeling – I know this much. If it were just that, I would have given up this fleeting thrill so long ago, when I realized the pain of others far outweighed my pleasure, or rather my relief, as did, and still does my own pain.
Maybe I just like to be broken inside. That seems profound enough, a shame then I know it is not the reason. Pity.
I think that it would be better for all concerned if I allowed Alice to service this need for me – she offered once. I declined, as she knew I would. I did appreciate the offer though and felt thoroughly disgusted with myself for many years afterwards. For her to have felt as though she wasn't good enough for me, that I was too good for her – it is something I never want to feel again.
Even if I could only hear her hurt, hear her tearless sobs, it would have been unbearable, but I had to feel it along with her.
I deserved much worse for that.
I did beg, plead, explain that it was not her but rather me, my needs, my limitations. A cliché even all of those years ago. It made her smile again though. Weak, but I could see it in her eyes, feel her self-worth return. Now she just pities me my pain.
It is better the way it is now, healthier. For her. That is what is important.
I cannot let her help me as she wants to though. To be subjugated, dominated by a woman, my wife, soul-mate. Humph, if Edward is listening I hope he is in the mood for morbid humour. It would humiliate me – but I do not want, or more importantly crave this, rather only pain. Regardless I don't believe this is something she could grant me even if I allowed it – hurting me is not in her nature, I know she has protected me at the expense of all else, on more than one occasion.
I should probably recognise in this some remaining vestige of misogyny from the time and place of my upbringing, or rather that I am using that as an excuse to mask some repressed sexuality, again a product of my Confederate (some would say bigoted I suppose) upbringing – either way, stuck, unchanging in this shell for all of my part of eternity.
Before him though – it wasn't sex – merely submission.
His eyes...onyx, desperate for blood – are alive with the sadistic humour I began to see moments ago, as he continues to pin me to his surface of choice, a towering spruce.
He holds me still, his face only the tiniest fraction of an inch away from touching mine. Minutes pass. Hours on occasion.
The more the pleasure behind his eyes grows the more my stomach turns. This is the part I wish did not have to happen. This isn't what I need, this is just cruel, but it is what he thinks I want.
I dare not stop him.
He is thinking. Carefully planning what he will do, down to the smallest detail. This goes against his personality, his character – think and act together, the two one and the same in his mind. This is for my benefit – and there can be only one possible reason.
He wants Alice to see. To make sure she knows every punch, kick, tear, every cutting remark, biting insult, thrust, scream, cry of agony, every tender caress, touch, kiss – to provide some reference for the pain, what the pleasure should feel like.
This is unbearable, though I do not stop him.
Eventually, I whimper, no longer able to stand what I am putting her through, and his pleasure grows. I have given him the reason he needs to punish me, to begin.
Alice will see no more I tell my self, my need will be met.
Relief washes through me as his fist connects with my chin, my shirt is torn away and his knee moves towards my groin.
I will not stop it – I need this.
It has always been my fear that brings Alice these visions which must make her suffer. I will not acknowledge it outside of the dance itself though and so I cannot tell him, for that is the only time when I could ask him not to make her suffer, to make it easier for her. I am too afraid though. What if I have underestimated the pleasure he gains from this sadism – what if hurting her is his bonus, his free gift with purchase. I know this is not true though, in my unbeating heart, it is just an excuse. Edward would know. Edward would kill him before I even had the chance. He loves her almost as much as I do. Though I imagine his love is purer...and far less complicated for his sister.
I think she is protecting me, not punishing me when she doesn't say anything to my enabler. So many times she could have told him she didn't want to see, didn't need the detailed preview to my suffering. She's never said anything though, despite having seen every dance we have danced – knowing what would happen to me, remembering the last time...and every time before that with perfect clarity.
I wish it was Jacob. Yes. I wish that mongrel was the one I danced with. He could plan, decide, imagine to his hearts darkest content. He could tell me every detail of the pain he planned to inflict upon me. She wouldn't see. She wouldn't have to suffer with me any more...for me...before me. As soon as the thought came into his mind we would both disappear to her vision. She would no longer have to see me suffer knowing she still had time to stop it, that I did not want her to, that I would beg her not to – as I would beg him to hurt me. She wouldn't have to suffer for me any more...before me...with me. This is what matters. Yes, I wish it could be Jacob instead. She would know though. She would see me disappear and know that I will still be in pain, pleading for it. She will know where I go when she can no longer see me. Regardless, he would have to be in his wolf form to have the strength to inflict upon my stone body the punishment I require. And then the sex...it would be...well, awkward to say the least– no, no it could not continue.
Huh, awkward. I hope Edward isn't listening to this. He already thinks my head is screwed as it is, without adding – animals – to my perversion. If you are listening you do understand, don't you? It isn't about Jacob or...the animal, again awkward. It's the darkness it will bring. She wouldn't see any more. Despite what you think about the rest of this, you can't think I am wrong about this. It is a moot point regardless. Besotted as he is with your daughter. Appalled as he would be at the mere suggestion. I felt that brother, you do like the idea don't you. You're right, it would almost be worth asking him – just to see the look on his face. Feel the bone-chilling terror run through him. For you, to hear his panicked thoughts. Get out of here Edward. I'm sulking – suffering, I can feel you joining me. Run while you can.
He orders me to the ground, to kneel before him. I comply, my head spinning with pain, from wounds which leave no lasting marks on this body, and fulfilment, relief. He pulls my head closer to him. My mouth opens resigned to what is to come. I could resist, but a missing appendage, a finger, toe perhaps, reminds me I would be overpowered – another removed – and then back to where we are regardless. When we finish I will collect what belongs to me, they will reconnect themselves to my body, heal quickly.
If I resist too far, I know what will be removed as punishment. It has only happened twice in our long partnership and does not this time. I do not resist... he forgoes my castration – my need is not that great. He fills my mouth, my throat – I still gag, another pointless reflex. He enjoys the sensation, the noise though. I enjoy his orders, they are easier than the pain...and just as necessary. He withdraws. Orders me up, against a tree this time, orders my hands against it, my legs spread. I am compelled to obey. This dance nears its climax.
I was compelled to join the Confederate Army, before I was even old enough, and provided myself with many good reasons for doing so. The same reasons which compelled many of the others to join up as well. I have a better idea now though, of the real reason, or at least the over-riding motivation. Discipline, order, orders, punishment for disobeying, for being inadequate. I denied myself the knowledge then that I see so clearly now, my need.
Even in its human form, my gift would have allowed me to talk my way out of any punishment, for any mistake. I knew I had the ability, though not the true nature of it. I did not use it though. I would accept the punishment, telling myself it was my duty...denying to myself that it was my need. I think I realized that I was more comfortable with control over my life in the hands of other men after I was turned.
Even later, when it was just Maria, my discomfort continued to grow with the power resting with her. It wasn't a desire to control. I did not want to control her, but I disliked her dominance over me. When she inflicted pain, it did relieve something, unrecognised at the time, within me. The humiliation I felt though, reduced its effect. Even if I weren't averse to the life we led – in terms of our dietary habits – the building discomfort would have led me to leave eventually to seek a better way to fulfil my need. I think that is why Peter was able to convince me to leave her so easily.
Ah, of course. He didn't. He told me to leave her. It was a command from one who was once under my command – my subordinate – no wonder I thrilled at the idea of doing as he said. So I left. And now I am here, caught up in this dance.