Chapter 14 ~ Testing Faith

“EDWARD!!! HELP ME!!” Jessica cried out, trapped underneath the flaming vehicle. “YOU PROMISED ME!!”

Edward tried to move to help Jessica before she got burned, but he couldn’t move. It was like he had a heavyweight was on his legs preventing him from getting up and saving her. As he glanced down at his legs, he saw nothing on them and when he looks back at where Jessica was it is not her.

“EDWARD!!! HELP ME!!” Elizabeth cried out, trapped underneath the same flaming vehicle. 

“What was his mother doing here?” Edward thought as he tried even harder to get his legs to work. 


“What the fuck?” It was now the lovely Bella crying out to him to save her. Fighting for strength, he tried to break free of whatever bonds were preventing him from being able to get up and walk. However, no matter how hard he struggled, he was unable to move even one inch. He watched over and over again as the flames washed over her, burning her beyond recognition. 

Carmen had not left the rehab center since Edward had been brought in. Emmett had a comfortable recliner brought into the room, along with a standing order with her favorite restaurant to deliver meals as she vigilantly kept watch.

As she sat and watched, she continued to talk to him about anything and everything. Hoping that he would come up out the depression that had set in after he learned about the loss of his leg. At first, he was mad and upset, but over time he began to withdraw and distant, not talking and barely eating. He was giving up.

Carmen had never told the boys about her past. Her life began when she met Elizabeth Cullen in the park all those years ago. She had been twenty-nine years old and had just left her abusive husband in Georgia. Taking what little cash she had hidden from the drunken abusive asshole and hopped the first bus west. She was still was recovering from the last brutal attack, which caused her to lose her baby and required the physicians to remove her ovaries. Mark had knocked her to the ground and proceeded to stomp her lower stomach until he ruptured them. When she was questioned about who had attacked her, she said she couldn’t remember.  She had been given strict orders not to be moving around, but Mark demanded she get up and make his dinner.

“Damn cow, it’s bad enough that you’re bleeding and I can’t get my dick wet, ” he snarled. “Quit laying around and make me dinner.”

Carmen did as she was told, even though she thought she would pass out at any point. Realizing that it was only a matter of time before Mark would end up killing her, she knew she had to get away. Packing all she could carry in a bag, it’s zipper broken and one strap hanging off, she began to walk the two miles to the bus station. When she finally arrived, she thought for sure she would collapse from exhaustion and pain. Somehow she walked to the ticket booth.

“When and where is the next bus?” Carmen asked gasping for breath.

The redheaded attendant, snapped her gum and looked at the clipboard in front of her. “Plano, Texas.”

“Where is that?” Carmen questioned.

The woman looked up at Carmen, who was sporting a black eye and busted lip. “Honey, far away from this dump and whoever did that to you.”

Carmen nodded slowly, tears welling up in her eyes. She had been so strong, not allowing herself to shed tears, even though the pain had been so great. “I’ll take a one-way ticket.”

“Smart choice,” the woman said with a wicked grin. “And if anyone comes asking, I never saw you.”

“Thank you.”

“The bus is already boarding just out those doors, ” the attendant point. “I hope you find peace where you stop.”

Carmen thought about that for a moment. Peace would be nice. “I’ll try.”

The bus trip was long and hard. She was in so much pain that by the time they stopped for breaks, she could barely move. Finally, she decided to purchase a few cheap snacks and water at one stop, then she would stay on the bus. Money was going to be an issue and she would have to find employment quickly. The only job she had worked was either a waitress or a barmaid. Fuck that was where she had met Mark. In the beginning, he had charmed her off her feet and her panties to the floor. It was their wedding night when he began his abuse, giving her a bloody nose and busted lip. The next morning he was back to his charming self and so began the cycle of abuse.

Finally, after eighteen grueling hours on the bus, it pulled into the bus station in Plano Texas. It was nine o’clock in the morning and when Carmen hobbled down the stairs, she was hit by the heat and humidity. 

“Damn, I thought Georgia was bad,” Carmen thought. 

She looked right and left and wondered which way she should go. It was daylight now, however, she would need to find accommodations before nightfall. Remembering just how much money she had left, she knew that she didn’t have enough for both food and lodging. Turning right she walked down the sidewalk, appreciating the large trees that lined the sidewalk. Glancing at the many shops as she walked and seeing the smiling faces of the people coming and going. When she reached the corner she looked to the right and saw a lovely park. 

Carmen decided that this was a good spot to sit and relax and think about what she was going to do next. Walking into the beautiful park, she saw a bench underneath a massive oak tree, its branches creating a protective canopy from the blistering Texas sun. Gently sitting down on the wooden bench, she closed her eyes and enjoyed the calmness of the moment. For the first time in a long time, she felt free and safe. 

“Excuse me, ” a small voice said.

Carmen opened her eyes to find a little boy, no more than four or five years old, dark curly hair, bright green eyes, chubby cheeks with a delightful set of dimples. “Well, hello, ” she replied with a bright smile.

“You have a boo-boo, ” the child said pointing up to her face. “Do you want me to tell you a story? That is what my momma does when I get a boo-boo.”

“That would be very nice, but where are your parents?”

“Over there, ” he said pointing across the lawn. “Carlisle and Edward are playing soccer, but they won’t let me play, because I’m too little. I’ll show them, one day I am going to be bigger than them, ” he said looking towards them and sticking out his tongue. “They let Jasper play and he is the same old as I.”

Carmen looked across the lawn and saw a dark-haired lady bent down and talking to the other three boys. “Wow, four boys so close together, she must have her hands full, ” Carmen thought. Looking back down at the sweet boy. “I would love to hear a story.”

“YEAH!” the child exclaimed jumping up and down. After his celebration had ended, he sat down in front of her in the grass and began a tale about a wounded grasshopper who couldn’t hop anymore. 

The little boy told the story with such enthusiasm and waved his heavy round arms, as he demonstrated how the animals acted. She was intrigued by the story that she didn’t see the boy’s mother and brothers walk up.

“Emmett, I hope you are not disturbing this nice lady, ” the woman said looking down at the child.

“No, momma. I was telling her my grasshopper story to make her feel better.”

Elizabeth took a closer look at the woman and saw the horrible bruises and how pale she was. “Boys, why don’t you go play ball.”

“Do we have to?” The taller of the four whined. His hair was a lighter shade of brown and instead of green eyes, he had crystal blue. 

“Carlisle remembered what we talked about, ” Elizabeth said, her voice a little more stern. 

“Fine, ” Carlisle murmured, remembering that if he didn’t place nice with Emmett that he couldn’t ride his horse for a week.

“I’ll finish my story later, ” Emmett told Carmen, before jumping to feet and running after his brothers.

Once they were playing nicely together Elizabeth turned to Carmen. “May I?”

“Of course, ” Carmen answered, as she noticed how beautiful and graceful the woman was.

“My name is Elizabeth Cullen, “

“Carmen Lewis.”

They sat in silence for a few moments. “When did you arrive in Plano?” Elizabeth asked. 

“Today. It was an awful long trip, confined to the bus that this park was so inviting, ” Carmen answered.

“Do you have family here?” Elizabeth asked.

Carmen shook her head. She had no living relatives and a husband who would kill her if he found her, that she was for certain. 

Elizabeth placed her hand on top of Carmen’s and gave it a squeeze. She didn’t know why, but there was something about this woman that made her want to help her. “Why don’t you come home with us and let me cook you a welcome to Texas meal?”

Carmen gasped. “Why?”

Elizabeth looked deep into her eyes and smiled. “My Emmett doesn’t talk to anyone other than family, however, he was telling you his favorite story. I get these feelings about people and I am never wrong. Carmen, I believe you came to Plano for a reason.”

Carmen couldn’t believe what she was hearing, but there was something about Elizabeth that made her feel safe. “I would love to come to dinner.”

That was the first night of Carmen’s new life. The Cullen’s welcomed her into their home and the boys attached themselves to her. She was their second mother who supported, corrected them, and above all else loved them as if they were her own. When their parents were killed in that horrible accident, Carmen was their rock. 

Edward sprung up from the recurring nightmare that had become his nightly routine.  He looked around the room he was in, trying to become familiar with his new surroundings.  He felt trapped in a dark cloud. His brothers had fucking dumped him here in this hell hole to get rehab.  Well not Carmen, there is no way she would abandon him like this.

He no longer felt like a whole man.  How was he expected to live the life he was living before the crash if he was going to be a fucking cripple for the rest of his now miserable life.  He loved his life the way it was, and he didn’t want any fucking changes. His brothers gave him their version of an enthusiastic pep talk about how there would be modifications to the way he did things from before, but that he would still be able to live the same life he had made for himself.  They spewed the advantages and benefits of what I would learn here in rehab. “Rehabilitation, my ass,” he thought. The damn doctors repeatedly informed him that through strength training and adapting to his prosthetic, he would be back doing everyday functions very soon; he would soon be normal if he just worked hard. Normal, normal, how the fuck can you be normal if you are missing half your leg. Then the thought, no nightmare that kept plaguing him since he woke up, he would never be able to be a Dominant again.  Shit, who would even want to look upon his naked form now that half his fucking leg was missing. He couldn’t even stand to look at the nub that remained, let alone expecting a submissive to feel comfortable with it. He knew he was wallowing, but fuck, he had a right to wallow. He didn’t know what he did to deserve this life-altering experience, but his game plan for his life was going to change drastically.

Edward looked up just in time to see Carmen coming into the room, laden down with a picnic basket of all his favorites, he was sure.  She had been coming each and every day to see him. At first, he didn’t want any company, and especially Carmen, after the way he acted to her after initially waking after the accident.  But if anyone could understand how he felt, he knew Carmen could empathize. She was quickly becoming the only bright spot in his daily routine. He thanked his lucky stars to have her in his life.

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