Chapter One


Well this was my last year at college and then I would have to make a final decision about what I wanted to do with my life, a decision I'd put off for far too long. Like every girl I had dreamed of being a princess or a ballerina when I was little and then a vet or an actress but now I had to make a real life decision and it wasn't easy. At one time I had even wanted to become a vampire, now that was an unusual career choice! But that was when I was in love with Edward Cullen, when I found out that such things as vampires and werewolves really walked the earth.

I had wanted him to change me and he had wanted me to marry him. Neither of us was prepared to compromise and as a result we decided that we weren't meant to be together. It had been a hard decision to make but ultimately the correct one for both of us and a few months later the Cullens had left Forks for good, or at least for my lifetime.

I missed them, or some of them, Alice my best friend, Esme a kind of mother substitute and Emmett who had been like the big brother I never had. I finished school, graduated, and went off to college taking English and History as my main subjects. I think if I could I would have been a perpetual student, never having to make any final choices, spending my whole life just drifting along but to do that you needed money and that was something I was always chronically short of. Hence I worked two jobs as well as completing all my coursework.

When Alice emailed me after two years I was pleased but surprised. I hadn't expected to hear from any of them ever again but she wanted to meet so I agreed and she came to Portland where I was studying. Somehow she looked different although I couldn't quite put my finger on how. She filled me in on what had happened since the family left Forks. Emmett and Rose had gone to Nepal on an extended holiday looking for the Yeti, or at least Em was. Rose it seemed had decided she couldn't live with Edward any longer.

"She never forgave him for falling for you and putting us all in danger. Even after we left she was scared you might let our secret out so Em decided to take her abroad. There's talk of them returning eventually but I'm not sure when. Of course Edward played the martyr after leaving you but now he's found a new love interest, a piano prodigy in Vienna so he's living there now."

"What about you and Jasper? I was surprised you came alone to be honest."

She sighed and I could see she wasn't sure what to say.

"Sorry, did I hit a nerve?"

"No, not really. It's just we divorced about a year ago. Things just didn't feel right any more."


I was shocked, they'd seemed so right for each other.

"Yes, it was amicable enough, there wasn't anyone else involved."

"Have you seen anyone in your future?"

"That's difficult to answer Bella, I don't really know, its all very confusing so I'm just going to wait and see what happens."

I got the feeling she was uncomfortable with my question so I changed tack,

"So where are you living now? With Esme and Carlisle?"

"Off and on, sometimes I just travel, see old friends then I go back. Esme gets lonely, she misses us all. She misses you too."

I didn't answer that, what could I say? The Cullens were a part of my slightly bizarre life in Forks but I couldn't become involved again. Knowing Alice was one thing but the family? I didn't think so.

"Does Jasper still live with them?"

She laughed shaking her head,

"No, Jazz went to stay with his friends in Colorado but last I heard he'd become a nomad. He doesn't find friends easy as you know. Jazz is a very special kind of man."

"You sound like you regret the divorce."

"In a way I do, I'll always, love him but we both need to find our mates and that seemed the only way to do it once I understood we weren't destined for each other."

She didn't even sound so sure about that but I could tell she couldn't or wouldn't be more specific.

"So you thought you'd look me up?"

"Yes, you suddenly popped into my head and I decided to check up on my best friend."

She spent a few days with me and then left and I thought this might really be goodbye. I had the strange impression that she was expecting something to happen and when it didn't she was disappointed. After that there were a couple more emails until suddenly out of the blue I received one telling me she was seeing someone, a friend of Carlisle's and then nothing. The crazy thing was that I missed her all over again and cursed myself for getting involved, would I never learn?

I didn't visit Forks often for this very reason, I think my dad understood it held memories that weren't all pleasant but we did keep in touch so I told him of Alice's emails and her visit. I could see he was concerned for me but he understood Edward was in my past and I knew he didn't regret that. Charlie had never really taken to Edward although he could never really say why. Maybe it was his cop's intuition that told him something wasn't quite right. He still insisted on telling me about Jake and what he was up to even when I called him the matchmaker. Jake and I had been close at one time after Edward left but he saw way too much in it. Jake and I were great friends but I didn't see him in a romantic sense, besides he was younger than me and a part of the world I left behind when I decided to go to college away from the area.

No more vampires, no more werewolves, no fairies, pixies, ghosts or ghouls, I wanted a normal ordinary life. I never thought about the future, about getting married and settling down and I wondered if that was because I could never give myself one hundred percent to any one man, Edward and his world would always hold a small part of me.

Anyway, back to my last year of college and my decisions. I had almost decided on a career in journalism but did I really want to write about the mundane when there was so much more exciting things I could never allow myself to put into print? Maybe I would just take some time out to travel, become a nomad like Jasper and see the sights of my country. My mother would be all for that, she hated the thought of me settling for the mundane before I'd even lived. She was the voice of adventure while Charlie kept me tethered to the ground.

I was still thinking about it when I picked up my class schedule and took it to a nearby cafe to study while I topped up my caffeine level. My tutors were the same as last year with one exception. I'd known Mr Anders was leaving, we'd all loved Bill, he made history come alive and I wondered what our new lecturer would be like, hoping for someone similar but I almost choked on my coffee when I saw the name Jasper Whitlock. It couldn't possibly be the same guy, Alice had said he was a nomad not a college lecturer and if she'd seen him coming to my college she would have warned me surely? Well the first lecture would certainly be interesting if nothing else!