A/N: I love all the love you all have for Edward!

Thanks to my wonderful team of ladies: Mandi, Nikki, Dawn & Sandy! *mwah* To pixiekat.. no words.. I heart you big!

Now.. you've all wondered what Bella is up to... I think you'll love this chapter... ENJOY!

Ch 40


Time passed in strange lurches and lulls. I loved those times when I'd become cognizant of the day and realize that days or weeks had passed. It gave me a sense of security that I'd be alright, even if I never really felt it to be true. But when life would lull, it was painful. Moving through my day felt as if I was slogging through mud, thoughts were slow and sluggish, while my heart felt like it was as fragile as glass. It was those moments when I missed Edward with an intensity I've never experienced before.

It scared the daylights out of me.

So I did what I always did, I denied and buried all the uncomfortable, unwanted feelings deep down in my heart. I worked hard to keep busy with school and when I didn't have that, I cleaned, cooked, whatever it took to make the day go by. I strived to ignore the persistent ache in my heart, certain that in time it would go away.

So it was with some relief that I prepared to head to Arizona for Thanksgiving, it was just another trick in my arsenal that quenched my need to run from whatever was going on in my life. Hanging out with my mom and taking care of her would keep me busy enough. I was fortunate that the flight to Arizona was long enough for me to fall asleep and stay asleep. I was exhausted from my constant running and attempts to stay busy. My body would welcome the little break, my mind and heart were preparing for the worst.

After touchdown, I gathered my one suitcase and made my way to the doors, excited to see my mom. It had been almost six months since I had seen her and as much as she drives me crazy, I loved her. As the crowds thinned the closer we got to the main doors, I finally saw her, waving her hands in the air like a mad woman. She was a welcome sight for sore eyes and I found myself smiling at just seeing her. When I was closer to her, I dropped my shit and walked right into her arms.

"Oh Bella! I've missed you so much."

"Me too, mom."

The familiar scent of honey and lavender invaded my senses and I knew I was home. She hugged me tight and I relished just being in my mother's arms. But all too soon she pulled away. She had a smile on her face that my gut was telling me wasn't due to my appearance. Her next words confirmed it.

"Bella, honey, meet my boyfriend, Phil." She turned me to her left where I was met with a tall, athletically built man. He had sandy blonde hair and kind hazel eyes.

"Nice to meet you, Bella. You're mom has told me so much about you." He held out his hand and I shook it, limp and awkward, still stunned that my mom had a boyfriend.

In a flurry of activity, my stuff was gathered and Phil ushered us out to a beat up looking pick-up truck. As I sat in the backseat I watched how the two of them interacted, it was obvious that they were smitten with each other. Phil held my mom's hand for most of the drive back to the house and the smiles she gave him made me smile. They seemed effortless together, which reminded me of how easy it had been with Edward.

My face twisted into a grimace. I hated how simple it was to find something, anything that reminded me of Edward. But before my thoughts could spiral out of control, the truck came to a shuddering halt in front of mom's house. It never quite felt like home as she moved there during my freshman year of college. But I had a room with all my things from our old house, so it was as familiar as possible.

My first night was spent talking to Mom and Phil learning all about how they met at a coffee shop one morning. I smiled when they both described their fumbles and awkwardness over a cup of spilled coffee and Phil offering to take my mom out to dinner as a way to apologize. When they looked as if they wanted some alone time, I snuck up to my room and fell asleep to thoughts of cuddling with Edward.

The next day was a whirlwind of activity. I helped with the prep for the turkey dinner while mom picked up her sister. When Cynthia and Liam arrived it added to the noise and distraction. The kitchen was filled with laughter as pies were baked and I peeled one too many potatoes. The jovial feel continued the next day as the women were busy in the kitchen and Phil and Liam were busy watching the Cowboys and Vikings play football.

With all the noise and commotion, it was easy to live in the moment, to just concentrate on whether the huge pot of potatoes would cook in time or if I added enough brown sugar to the sweet potatoes. When dinner was served it was filled with compliments and sounds of utensils scraping on plates. It was then that I felt eyes on me and a quick glance around the table showed me Aunt Cyn peering at me.

I gave her my best smile, but as her eyes narowed, I realized it wasn't fooling her. I averted my eyes and went back to my plate. Suddenly mixing my potatoes and gravy together was more important than joining in the conversations going on around me. When I chanced another look at her, her face held a slight frown and when she caught me looking, her eyes looked so sad. I practically choked on my turkey knowing I was the cause of her sadness.

So it was no surprise that later that night when I heard a soft knock on my bedroom door. With a resigned sigh, I told her to enter. I made room on my bed and looked anywhere but at her face as she made herself comfortable.

The silence was heavy, yet I refused to break it. When her warm hand slid over mine, traitorous tears welled in my eyes.

"I'd ask how you're doing, but I can see it's not well." Quiet descended again. She was right, we both knew it, so there was no need to reply.

"I won't take up too much of your time tonight, sweetie. Although I hope you'll humor an old woman." She paused as I gave her a shaky nod. "You're hurting and I know you know it. But I think part of y our hurt is because you haven't let go of Quil. He's dead, Bella. Nothing you do or say will ever change that. Wallowing in your pain only serves to make your life miserable. So ask yourself, if Quil could see you now, would he be happy or upset by all your pain? I think he'd tell you that you need to let him go. He would want you happy. We all want you happy, Bella."

With that she kissed my forehead and walked out of my room without another word. I curled up on my side and let the pain wash over me. There was a part of me that agreed with her words, but the idea of letting go of the pain was so fucking scary. It had been my constant companion since Quil died and I felt naked without it.

My dreams were filled with images of Quil. His smile made his whole face light up and I couldn't help but smile back. When he ran his finger along my cheek, I could feel warm tears course down my face. He frowned as he worked to wipe them all away. Wanting to feel him, I burrowed myself into his chest. His hands smoothed my hair and I smiled at the gesture. He always hated to see me upset.

When the last of the tears subsided, he pulled away. It was then that I noticed how fuzzy he appeared. Fear that I was forgetting him flooded my body.

"You're not forgetting me, Bella. I'll always be with you here." His finger tapped my heart. I clasped his hand to me holding him close. There were a million questions floating in my head. I had no idea where to start. But when I tried to ask one, nothing came out.

"Don't be sad over me, Bella. You have a life to live and so much to do. Be happy for me, please?" He batted his eyes causing me to chuckle. He always played the puppy eyes to get what he wanted.

"I'm scared, Quil. I don't know what to do."

"Easy," he said, "just let me go. I promise you that there's something amazing waiting for you and I want nothing more than for you to go and get it."

A/N: Soo.. do you all see the light? It's a teeny tiny point! It's coming!

Head over to the FB group.. I'm running a contest where you can win picking an outtake or future take! Check the group for details! Also check out TEASE ME BABY Saturday in the FB group...

Ok.. give me your thoughts... I love to hear them! Till then.. see ya later!