14: Turn & Turn Around


Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind,

Because your lover threw wild hands toward the sky

And the affrighted steed ran on alone,

Do not weep.

War is kind.

Stephen Crane, “War Is Kind”


There are battles, and there are wars.

His body stretches over me, his weight a foreign world, even as he braces himself on his forearms, languidly pressing his lips against my naked shoulders.

“Stay,” he whispers. As if it’s simple. As if he is just a man and I am just a woman from a bar who drinks White Russians and does not easily bend to his every whim.

I envy him this ease he has, the naïveté with which he sees me.

An echo of Cope’s voice sounds in my head: this will not end well, Isabella.

Prone on his counterpane, slowing pulse and shaky hands, I breathe, “I’m leaving.”

Then I watch, fascinated, as his fingers tighten around my wrists, as his breathing speeds in aggravation.

Captive, my own fingers twitch with the desire to take and take over. Turn around, my muscles hiss.

But still I stay.

“I’ve already told you,” I continue, and my words are pebbles landing on the coil of a constrictor. “I’m done.”

His lips press, kiss and curl back and I feel teeth, teeth nipping at my neck. He is slow, but he is not soft, he is not gentle. His body envelopes me, holds me and holds me down and for a moment I am not the hunter, I am the selkie and his fishmonger fingers grasp at the treasure of my skin.

“I’m leaving,” I repeat, but my voice is not as cold as it once was and he knows it.

“You’re a liar,” he says softly. “You need this as much as I do.”

I tense at his words, frozen remonstration I am not a liar but then

I remember what it will take to keep him.

Freedom, something inside cries. Run now. Run fast.

But my pulse protests, finding the honey, the heat, the languor of him quite agreeable.

Stay a little while, it moans, weak and wanton.

And so I am torn:

if I stay,

I will change, but

if I change

am I still in control?

Can I keep him, and

can I be kept?

The warmth of him presses me into the mattress as I think, and I am burdened, I am anchored.

“I want this,” I admit. “But I do not need you.”

“So you’ll stay?” he murmurs against my skin, nonplussed, the hardness of him pressing against my backside. I don’t have to turn around to know what he looks like: the sated, libertine businessman, tailored pants pooled around his calves; lean, well-muscled thighs tensing, relaxing as his hips begin to undulate slowly against my nakedness. He is ready again.

And he is still wearing his necktie.

He moves now, fingers leaving my wrists, arms sliding underneath me, snaking around my abdomen to hold my breasts, around my hips to press against the fever heat between my thighs. It is uncomfortable and torturously worth it when he begins to circle my clit.

My hands tense, clench, clutch the covers, and he exhales into my hair.

Itch and twitch and want and whining, whining in my head that this is power, this is control, this is taking him, even now, even beneath him.

“You’re not done,” he says, rough and low and mocking. “We’re not done.”

Silent, I arch against him and do not argue.

I am where I want to be.

And will deal with the rest when at the end.


I wake up one morning to find my mother, blank and silent at the dining room table.

My father sits across from her, his face worn and drawn and tired after six weeks of silence.

She is stone and he is water, rushing back because this is home, of course this is home.

“Renee,” he says quietly, but she does not look at him.

“Please,” he says.

“I’m sorry,” he says.

And still she remains, unmoving and unmoved as he speaks: a first, for my father does not beg.

For the first time, I witness something more to her stony face, her stoic posture. My father is back, repentant and remorseful and she holds some of the power.

And then I am spotted in the doorway.

“Isabella,” he smiles wearily, and I walk into his embrace.

There is tension, silent and suffocating; all I can hear is the muffled sound of movement from the kitchen staff in the next room.

“Are you back?” I ask him. “Are you going to stay?”

And he says, “Always.”


“Good morning,” he says, cocky and casual, and I open my eyes and hate my own confusion.

I am here, still naked, still in his arms, still in his bed, and morning sunlight pours through the windows and casts the room in whites and yellows. My eyes dart to the arm draped across my chest—the fine, light hairs on his forearm, the elegant, strong line of his wrist.

He has freckles, I realize.

And then the arm leaves and I am rolled onto my back and he is there, hovering over me, the light illuminating the golden lines of his shoulders, the auburn hues in his hair. He is beautiful.

And he is on top.

“Sleep well?” he asks with a smirk, and here is where his naïveté works against him.

“Let me up,” I say firmly, and my voice is husky with sleep and hoarse from yelling my own release. He watches my hand as it travels up his arm, his shoulder, rests in the crook of his neck; his smirk grows into a grin.

“I don’t think so. I like being in charge.”

“Then get another girl,” I snap, and dig my nails into the skin of his neck.

“Ow! What the fuck did I say about that?”

“You said no slapping,” I note calmly, and dig deeper, exulting in his wince. “Now get off.”

“I’m trying,” he grinds out, rolling his hips against me. “Work with me, here.”

My other hand reaches into his hair, stroking even as my nails begin to draw blood. He practically purrs at my touch…

… and tenses when I yank his head up by his hair, but I can feel him grow harder against my stomach.

“I’m not here to work with you,” I hiss. “Let me up.”

He stares, picking his battles, and then sighs and moves slightly up, lifting an arm to let me escape.

I move, and am straddling his back in seconds.

“Lie down,” I command coldly, clenching my thighs around his hips as he tenses, begins to roll over. “On your stomach.”

There is only a second’s hesitation before he does as I instruct.

“You gonna spank me?” he asks, steel and sarcasm; but I can hear the frisson of want in his voice.

I scoot down to straddle the back of his thighs and run my hands over the roundness of his ass. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

You would,” he retorts. “As I recall, you’re quite fond of slapping me.”

“You’ve earned it each time.”

“You’ll have to excuse me it’s not like you come with an instruction manual.”

I roughly pinch the skin of his neck, luxuriating in his gasp, in the rocking motion of his hips as he rubs himself against the mattress, searching for some relief. “Cheeky,” I sigh. “That’s what got you slapped in the first place. And you’re wrong: I’ve never understood the appeal of spanking.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Mmhm.” My hands circle the muscles of him, pressing, testing. “You’re a runner,” I state, lightly scratching down his ass with my nails.

“Yeah,” he groans.

“You have a wonderful ass. Why would I spend my time and energy bruising it?” He doesn’t answer, and I continue. “I know better ways to mark you.”

“You’re not sticking anything up my ass,” he rasps, tensing again beneath me. “Don’t even try it, or I’ll… I don’t—I’ll use a safeword.”

My laugh is sudden and genuine, ringing loud from my lips. I watch his profile, his mouth as it curves into a smile at the sound.

“I’m serious,” he chuckles.

“Of course you are,” I reply, patronizing him. Let him have his chuckle, I think.

I’ve never given him a safeword.


Under the watchful eyes of our teachers and peers, Tyler remains aloof, never speaking, barely looking, and hardly acknowledging.

But the silence only whets my hunger for his skin.

His eyes, blue as a sea, find me rarely, but when they do I see the storm inside. Stupid boy.

It’s a Tuesday when Bree tells me of a weekend party off-campus. Hotel rooms will be involved. The soccer team will be there.

Of course I’ll go, I tell her, and my plans are already forming.


“So,” Edward says offhandedly, his muscles relaxed beneath my hands as I caress him. “You don’t spank, and you sure as hell aren’t sticking anything up my ass.”


“But you’ll mark me.”

I smile at his confidence, at his dismissal. My hands slide up as I lean forward and begin pressing wet kisses down the long, graceful length of his back. “I will,” I assure him.

“How—oh, you’re killing me,” he moans, still thrusting a small, steady rhythm into the bed. “At least tell me how.”

“Where’s the fun in that?” I tease, my eyes finding the spot of choice: the area just below one of his back dimples, the place where the taut swell of his buttocks begins.

I lick my lips, and

bend down, and

his howl as I sink my teeth into his skin is music.


“Am I the first guy that’s ever been in here?” Jacob teases, his eyes taking in the art on the cream-colored walls of my bedroom.

“I’m sure you already know the answer to that.”

“Well… I know what I’d like the answer to be.”

“I wasn’t aware congressmen operated on something as impractical as wishful thinking.”

His laugh sounds hollow. “That’s all congressmen operate on.”

I make a noncommittal hum and sit down on the bed, watching him.

“This is an interesting piece,” he notes, running his finger down the frame of the painting. “What is it, like Alice in Wonderland?”

“It’s a hedge maze.”

“Did you paint this?”


“What are these things in the middle?”


“Uh huh. What about this…” he points to a figure at the entrance. “Is this a lion?”

“That’s Ammut.”


“An Ancient Egyptian demon.”

“Right. So… what does it mean?”

“It means whatever you want it to mean,” I sigh impatiently.

He frowns. “That’s rather… vague.”

“Many metaphors are.”

“Hm.” He looks uncomfortable, grasping, grasping for a change of subject. “So… how many boys did you sneak into your room, then?” he asks with an uneasy chuckle.

I shrug. “I didn’t sneak them in. They managed well enough without my help.”

“Uh huh.” His brow furrows further, and I watch as he wanders around the room, lingering at the stack of moleskins on my desk. “What are these?” he asks, and I flinch as his fingers run down the cover of the topmost book. “Journals or something?”

“Something like that,” I say shortly. “Don’t touch those.”


Control or no control, I cannot help my smirk whenever I catch the petulant expression on Edward’s face as he moves about the room, getting ready for work. Silly, sulking boy.

“Stop pouting,” I chide, stretching in his sheets like an indolent cat.

“You bit my ass.”

“I did. And then I fucked your brains out. Stop complaining.”

“You broke the fucking skin,” he grouses. “It’s going to leave a mark.”

I shrug. “I told you it would.”

“Yeah, well I’m damaged goods now.”

I cock an eyebrow at him and he shrugs defensively.

“I am. How the hell am I supposed to change at the gym now?”

“Medical exams may be awkward now,” I concede with a smile.

“Not to mention dating,” he quips, and his voice is light but his eyes are sharp, watchful.

“Yes,” I agree flatly.

His frown is gone almost as soon as it forms, but I get out of bed anyway. It is time for me to go.


As the weeks go by, Father Brewer’s eyes lose the priestly sheen and begin to grow impatient. Annoyed. Frustrated. His mouth begins to purse at my blunt answers to his vague questions.

They teach them not to inadvertently show negative emotions at seminary, I’m sure of it. He wants me to see his aggravation.

“Isabella,” he says shortly. “You claim that you feel freedom when you tempt Tyler into sin.”

I roll my eyes at his phrasing, but answer honestly. “Yes.”

“Don’t you feel any remorse? Any guilt? You’ve taken something away from this young man something he’d wanted to give to his wife.”

“He was my first, too. Besides, it took very little persuasion, Father. All I had to do was take off my shirt.”

His eyes flit down to my barely-legal breasts for the briefest second before they snap back up to my own. There is guilt and want and exhilaration in his gaze, and I feel it: that small rush of power, that slight tickle that builds at the base of my spine.

Ever the shark, I smile.


I am almost dressed, about to escape unscathed, when:

“I’d like to see where you live,” Edward says suddenly.

He is in his closet, and the words are muffled but I understand them as I’m slipping on my shoe. I freeze, focus on breathing, plan and plan and one step ahead.

“It’s better here,” I reply carefully. “It’s nicer.”

He comes out of the closet holding two neckties. “Which one?”

“Red,” I answer, crossing the bedroom to take it from his hand, loop it around the elegant column of his neck. My fingers work to tie him a double windsor, my eyes needlessly engrossed in the task to avoid looking up at him.

“I’m sure your apartment looks fine, Bella.”

“It does. But I don’t have visitors.”

“Never?” he asks with a frown.


He says nothing, looking down at my hands as they rest on his chest. I quickly remove them.

“So I’m the only one on whom you’re currently… bestowing your affections?”

I pat his now-knotted necktie with a smirk. “Who said anything about affection?”

And then I feel his sigh more than I hear it.

The selkie skin as yet, as ever remains out of his grasp.

“Bella…” he begins, plaintive and hopeful and

I hear something in this voice that says:

he will push me for more.

I look at him as he sits down on his bed, expectant eyes and hunched shoulders, and I think I could break him right now.

A few choice words and several steps, and this would be finished and he’s attached now, he wants something from me and he’ll see what it’s like to want, to want, to want something that sees you as nothing more than the means to an end.

If I leave, he will feel it,

and I revel in that knowledge.

Until I realize that he knows it, too,

knows that I may want nothing more to do with him,

and that my answer could very well ruin the strange light in his eyes,

and that I have the power,

and still—

and still

there he sits:


and waiting for my words.

My mouth opens, and closes. At this moment, this moment I’ve seen before, I have no words for him.

Silence reigns.

I am still in control, I tell myself. Permission is mine to grant, or revoke.

And still,

he waits.

I open my mouth again and

ignore the way he smiles when I tell him yes.



At Tyler’s cry, my hand stills, my gaze running across the long, athletic lines of his back, his broad shoulders stretched across the width of the hotel mattress. “Relax,” I tell him.

“Bel—Bella he pants.

“You wanted to walk around looking guilty,” I snap. “So keep breathing and relax while I give you something to feel guilty about.”

My fingers push forward, push into him, and I am nervous, energized, euphoric as he strains to hold still like a good boy.

“You have to relax, or it’s only going to hurt more.”

He nods quickly, breathing in and out and in and out my fingers go again and his gasp is only partly pain.

“Is it good?” I demand.

“Yes—yes… ah, oh—oh—oh—”

“Has anyone ever done this to you?”


“Tell me you’re sorry again.”

“I’m sorry,” he cries.

“Say it again.”

“I’m sorry, Bella.”


“I’m sorry!” he yells into the pillow. “I’m sorry!”

I smirk, and then my fingers are gone and my small hands are pale on his hips as I urge him over so I can sink back down onto him, and he is still the young, dumb thing that first took me but now his fingers know where to hold on as I fuck him.

I lean over him and he is lust and uncertainty as he eyes my breasts.

“Kiss them,” I pant.

His lips lock clumsily onto my nipple, suckling like a newborn and whimpering against me.

“Don’t ever ignore me again,” I grunt above him. “Don’t you ever fucking look away from me.”

But my words are lost as I tighten around him, his head falling back onto the pillow like a deadweight.

“Tyler,” I snap. “What the fuck did I just say?”

“Don’t… don’t ignore you… don’t… I won’t…”

It was easy, too easy to put him beneath me again a look, a few choice words, my hand on his thigh as we sat in the vacant lot where our classmates worked on draining a keg and suddenly he was breathless and following me, hard and hot and eager and now his desperate eyes clench shut as I lean down, my mouth a breath away from him and he reaches to kiss me but my teeth are what he finds as they latch onto his lower lip and nip.

And then he comes, stupid boy, twitching and swearing and tensing beneath me, and his frantic moans are all I need to finish soon after.


“‘Every renaissance comes into the world with a cry, Billy says as soon as he sees me.’The cry of the human spirit to be free.‘”

His words stop me, and I stare. He sees my consternation and grins. “Well?”

“I don’t know that one,” I say, and the words feel wrong.

“Anne Sullivan,” he crows with a laugh. “I did it! I was beginning to think I’d never stump you.”

“Good, Billy,” I murmur, and begin to walk inside before remembering something else. “Billy?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I’m expecting a visitor tonight.”

“Oh, really?”

“Yes. And I’d appreciate it if you would keep this to yourself.”

He frowns. “Mr. Carlisle pays me a good little bit to make sure you’re looked after and safe, Ms. Swan.”

“I am safe. But if that’s what it will take to convince you…” I slip him two bills from my wallet and watch as he smiles.

“This is a safe neighborhood,” he admits with a grin. “Sometimes I don’t even pay attention to see who’s visiting who that’s how safe it is.”

“Thank you, Billy.”


The tickle at the base of my spine blooms into a glow that envelopes my entire being as I realize this: I am a woman a perfect predator, with my body as my bait.

The beauty of this revelation is lost on Father Brewer, who still will not look at me, his chest rising and falling to the beat of his speeding pulse as he sits, slumped in his chair, his mouth still agape as he gasps. Later, he will repent, but at the moment his pants are still undone and I can still taste his cock in my mouth, hear his moans and grunts echo in my ears. So.

“Are we done with these sessions now?” I ask, and I am all politeness.

Whatever trance he is in breaks and he looks at me. I could recoil from what I see in his eyes, but I don’t. I’ve already won this game.

“What did you say?” he rasps.

“I’m sure you heard me.”

I can see the warring in his head as he debates between his two options: keep a shark in his swimming pool or release it back to the sea.

“I will tell, you know,” I inform him calmly, and his glare is no longer indecisive.

“You’re going to Hell, Bella,” he spits angrily, but I can still see his limp cock and the bite of his words is lost.

“If that is truly what you believe,” I answer. “Then I’m sure I’ll see you there.”


The walls of the apartment pulse, thrum with nerves, with excitement.

He is coming here, they gaily remind me. He is coming.

I want to shush them, burn them, calm them in the ashes. It is nothing, I tell them. He is nothing.

But still they dance to the murmured song of, finally! finally!

The two women sent by the cleaning service work quickly, quietly around me as I write, and write, and write until I barely blinking, barely breathing and my fingers fly across the page with quicksilver in their veins as the box in the closet whispers doubt into the room.

Keep me covered, it hisses. Keep me safe. You don’t want to lose him.

He is nothing, nothing, nothing, my mind retorts, and I write it in endless lines, questioning:

Was there ever a man who followed a selkie into the sea?


It is the summer after my father comes back, after he holds me and tells me he’ll stay.

There is tension before we arrive, strain etched like fault lines on both my parents’ faces. My mother, ever cold, always still, leaves her hands clasped firmly in her lap. I watch as her fingers press against one another, slim and strong and shaking.

Beside her, my father’s pensive gaze does not waver from his window.

We arrive to find that Carlisle is all politeness, affable as he shakes my father’s hand and welcomes our family to his home yet again. Beside him is Esme, but her warm smile and bright eyes are absent; in their places are features that match my mother’s.

The two women regard each other with the feral hatred of two alley cats but it’s soon covered up with smiles and light kisses to the cheek as I watch them erase the past before my very eyes. Father and Carlisle chuckle over something and I hear one of them say something like, “bygones be bygones” as we walk into the palatial Masen home.

I watch as my mother slips back into her role a little colder and a little harder, her anguished eyes disappearing behind a dark veil, and the sun sets on her few precious days of power.


“So… I’m the first visitor you’ve had in here?” Edward asks, his eyes roving quickly over the blank, whispering walls, the luxurious lines of furniture my mother selected.

I am silent.

He notices, and his steps are slow until he is standing in front of me.

“May I kiss you?” he asks, a question of Victorian innocence.

And again, I grant him permission.


We walk in the garden while the adults socialize, and Ilse tells me stories of evil, foolish men and the folly of power and immorality. Abram gave his wife to the pharaoh in exchange for money and safety, she notes disapprovingly. “His wifeliebchen. And God was angry.”

I nod.

“And you know that’s not right, don’t you? That you are more than just some bargaining chip for silly rich men?”

“Yes, Ilse,” I reply, impatient. “Can I go in the maze now?”

“You’ll get lost, child. Best to stay out of it.”


“Everything okay?” Edward asks, taking a bite of his lamb wellington.

“Of course,” I answer firmly, but my hand is shaking.

This is a mistake.

This is a mistake.

This is a mistake.

“You seem nervous,” he observes, his sharp eyes missing nothing.

“I’m tired.”

He sets his cutlery down and places his napkin on the table. “Well, then. Ready for bed?”

I stare at him for several long moments, desperate for him to leave, to get out and let me be alone.

You don’t belong here! I want to scream.

But his green-glass eyes are mine now and they look at me with something warm, something wanting.

Stiffly, I stand.

And lead him to my bed.


My father and Esme do not speak easily anymore gone are the days of the easy grins and shared jokes that made my mother so uncomfortable.

Now, there is only silence and the emptiness of Carlisle’s toadying smile.

Men will do anything for power, Ilse tells me constantly. Bad, evil things.

I am asleep in the car one night when I hear my parents speaking in hushed, horrible tones:

“Do you love her?” my mother asks finally. An image of Esme, laughing and lovely, floats through my mind, and I strain my young ears for his reply.

But my father does not answer.


I know you, I told him, and meant it.

I know that, despite his taking, his recent dominance, he is unsure of his hold on me. His arms tighten around me in his sleep, the clench of a massive fist, whenever I attempt to move in my own bed.

He murmurs things into my hair, sleep-addled words that mean nothing, nothing, nothing.

I am not tired, and so I lie in his arms, my body still, my mind a cesspool of question marks.

I am not a liar,

but I may be willing to lie

if I can keep him now, just for a little while,

after waiting and waiting.

This will not end well, says an echo in my mind.

And perhaps it is right.

And perhaps he will hate me.

And perhaps the man in the park was right,

But I do not want to teach him a lesson

I do not want to walk away.

Not yet.

He wants me,

of course he does.

I shift, and he shifts with me, arms tensing around my torso.

“Bella,” he sighs in his sleep, and gone is the unsure, the man who took me from behind while his fingers stretched my mouth, pinched my nipples painfully and rubbed my skin raw as he tried to prove a point. Now he is soft, now he is sweet.

You poor, stupid fool, I muse bitterly, and settle against him.


My apartment in Georgetown is unlocked when I arrive and I tense, tendons taut as I reach into my bag and continue inside.

“Who’s here?” I call coldly.

No one answers.

I walk slowly, slowly down the hall and into my room and—

there he stands, moleskin in hand:


Wrath and madness roil, roll like a high tide in my chest and I am shaking, I am raging, I am ready to leap at him and tear out his heart and weigh it, watch it as it pulls down the scales, as feathers float to the floor and I am Ammut herself now, angry and awaiting the feel of his heart beneath my teeth.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I ask, low and flat and furious, and he spins around, sees me, sees me finally and gone are the oblivious eyes and lazy smile and he is scared and defensive and quickly, so quickly tries to hide behind the mask of self-righteousness I’ve seen him wear so often.

“Your spare key was—I was going to surprise—this book was open,” Jacob lies, so like him, so like his namesake. “I happened to see it and— what the fuck is this, Isabella?”

I do not answer, stalking toward him in ire and silence, my hand closing around what I’ve finally found at the bottom of my purse and I am cold, cold, cold.

“I think your father should see this,” he says slowly. “You need help, Isabella.”

“From you?” I sneer. “Stop fucking around. Put it down and leave.”

“The fuck I will. You— you’ve—this is psychotic!”

“It’s none of your business.”

“How many others are there?” he demands. “How many men are you stalking?”

“Get. Out.”

I watch as he eyes me, assesses how far I am between him and the exit. His fingers close tighter around the binding of one of the journals.

He is fast, and almost makes it through the door before the Taser charge hits him and he is down and shaking, tongue lolling, eyes rolling like a wild animal as I crouch over him, feral and furious and fingers around his windpipe, scratching as I scream, cornered and uncoiled, that he is mine and that all I want is for him to learn his fucking place.

But my hands do not stay on his throat and he is pushing, shoving, trying but I dig into his skin and hang on and there is blood under my fingernails by the time someone in my building calls the police and then we are caught, questioned, cuffed as Jacob, shocked and incoherent, looks at me with something like horror in his eyes.


He is gone when I wake up and there is a note that says I should bring a bottle of Merlot to his apartment that evening.

I frown as I read the scrawled lines and the meaning between them. It’s so… pedestrian.

Freedom, something inside me screams. This isn’t it.

But neither is choosing the opposite of what I want, I reason.

And so, with the wine in my hand, I am in front of his door nine hours later waiting for someone to answer my knock—

The door swings open.

And I am frozen, pinned and cornered by glass-green eyes in a smaller, more feminine face.

“You’re Isabella,” the tiny woman in front of me says flatly.

I am silent, motionless despite the urge to run, to run, to run and never look back and I remember my father’s words as he spoke of vigilance, of single-mindedness, of no distractions.

“Sorry, that was rude,” she sighs, offering me her hand. “I’m Edward’s sister, Alice. It’s nice to finally meet you.”




About hollelujah

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