I carried Bella out of the arena and gently placed her in the limo. She was still crying softly as I crawled in next to her. I pulled her to my chest and held her as she quietly fell apart. I know that she was struggling with her decision to pull us from the competition but she couldn’t skate. Just like Carlisle, I saw the look of absolute pain when she landed the throw double axel. If we had continued, she would have had some serious hip issues and been forced into early retirement.
The limo pulled up to the hotel and I thanked him for his services. Gingerly, I picked Bella up again. She leaned her head against my shoulder and didn’t fight my need to hold her. I got us up to our room and placed Bella on the bed. She gave me a watery smile, asking if she could take a nap. I kissed her forehead and let her be. Slipping out of the hotel suite, I walked to Rose and Emmett’s hotel room. I knocked on their door. Emmett opened it up.
“Dude. You’re supposed to be skating. What the hell?” he asked, arching a bushy brow.
“We pulled out. Can I come in? Bella’s sleeping,” I said. Emmett moved to the side and I skulked into the room. I wrinkled my nose as the smell of sex filled my nostrils. “Jesus, Em. Have you and Rose been going at it like porn stars?”
“Shut up, douchenozzle,” Emmett said as he handed me a beer. “Excuse me for loving up my women. I bet your room smells the same.”
“That would be a negative, ghost rider,” I quipped. “Jasper put the kibosh on the nookie. Thrusting is bad for Bella’s hip.”
“She’s not thrusting. You are, moron,” Emmett snickered. I shot him a look. “Okay, I’ll shut up. Why did you pull out?”
“We went to the rink and did some things on the ice. When Bella landed a throw double axel, the look on her face was…It killed me to see her in so much pain. She was in agony. But she wouldn’t admit it. Only after a talk with Carlisle did she agree to pull out. She’s incredibly upset. Understandably so, but I think it’s not about the competition.”
“My guess is it’s probably about Jacob,” Emmett explained. I sipped my beer and encouraged him to further clarify his statement. “Fuck. Jacob was always trying to push Bella. She performed with many injuries while she was with him, Edward. I mean, she had a chipped bone in her landing foot during Nationals two years ago. Jacob refused to pull out. Each time that she landed, it was brutal for her. After the competition, Bella had surgery to get the bone chip removed. A week later, she was back on the ice preparing for the world competition, at Jacob’s insistence. She had barely gotten the stitches removed, Edward.”
“She’s crying because she saw Jacob’s behavior in her decision to skate,” I murmured. “Fuck.”
“Exactly, fuck,” Emmett growled. “But, she went along with it since she was so driven. Her body and consequences be damned. Jacob controlled more than we knew. I never knew how much until she started working with you. You worked as equals. Not as the man telling the woman what to do.”
“Wow. I never realized. I mean, Bella certainly didn’t tell me,” I muttered. “Did he ever…hurt her?”
“Prior to the assault in Chicago? No. He was rough with her when he threw her or was not exactly gentle when he lifted her, but he never outwardly harmed Bella. Just pushed her to her limit. Too close to her limit.”