This outtake is written from Edward's POV - from the time he was warned about the drug raid on the island until Bella called him from Europe.

Eternal thanks to Nic, VampyreGirl86 and Hadley for all your help.

Edward Goes Straight

I was dreaming of long silky hair when my phone started ringing—the ringtone assigned to my supplier. Trying not to wake Bella, I gently moved her arm and leaned over to answer the phone.

"Are you awake?" he asked in his gravelly voice.

Swinging my feet to the floor, I sat up to answer him. "Kind of."

"There's a team assembling here to pay you a visit."

"Do you know why?" I asked, as a rush of adrenaline hit my chest. The police had never shown interest in the resort before.

"Someone's got it in for you."

Then it had to be him. I knew yesterday's confrontation would come back to bite me.

"Any idea what time?"

"Just get out of there," he said, coldly and calmly. "Destroy the phone and SIM card. No more contact."

"Okay, thanks." He'd already hung up before hearing my response.

My supplier was not a regular dealer, but he had access to the spoils from his job on the drug squad. He kept just enough aside without drawing attention and swapped it for cash he used to keep his wife happy. He trusted my market wasn't going to expand or cause him trouble, and he believed me when I told him why I needed the money.

This morning, he was covering both our asses when he called to tip me off about the raid.

I wasn't thinking straight when I hightailed it out of there, loaded with endorphins from the night with Bella. I was so in love with her, had been for ages, and the selfish part of me was glad I finally showed her and said the words. A man should have that kind of experience at least once in his life. The way she clung to me gave me hope it wouldn't be our last.

Scrambling to pack a bag, I jammed a wad of money in an envelope and wrote her name on it, forcing her to accept something from me without an argument. She had given me so much in our months together, and I wanted to thank her. The cash would give her a breather from her determination to save every penny she earned.

The hasty goodbye was surreal, dreamlike, but the barge was leaving, and I had to be on it.

I dropped the gun in the ocean halfway to the mainland. Once the barge docked, I looked back to the island, and the enormity of leaving was all around me in a world gone empty and quiet.

Until then, I had purpose, putting distance between my illegal activities and my girl. Bella knew nothing about the business end of my life, and her innocence would protect her. Not even Emmett knew where I scored. If the police did come and find drugs, it would only be a misdemeanor for the staff. If one of them turned me in as the supplier, enough people had seen me flee to lead the cops away from the island.

Now I had to get to Aro and end this thing quickly, for my own preservation as well as Bella's. Such a strong girl, she could have run screaming from me after what happened at the restaurant, but it was crazy how quickly she calmed down after her initial meltdown.

Knowing she was never in any real danger from those two goons, I thought I played a careful game, giving him the money he thought I'd cheated him out of, while warning him to stay away. Instead, he'd pushed me to the point where I wanted to kill him, a split second where everything about guns wasn't fucked up. Not knowing my enemy had backfired on me, and now I felt sick when I thought about it.

As I stared at the ocean, I saw the mistake I'd made. Aro had an ego that fed on respect, so I would have to approach him in a certain way to fix this.

Taking a chance by calling him on a phone I should have already destroyed, I asked him if he would accept my apology. He suggested we meet in person at a coffee place a street back from the main drag.

"I'll be there."

Hanging up, I found a rock and then hesitated, remembering the pictures I'd lose—a whole week of happiness gone. The fact I hadn't uploaded them when I had the opportunity ignited an anger that spread through me. With Bella's terrified eyes in my head, I smashed the phone into a thousand pieces. The bruises on her neck helped me pulverize the SIM card. Her face as I left brought a mixture of regret and shame, but I kept it together to gather all the pieces littered around. Some of them I buried deep in the sandy soil above the vegetation line. The rest I scattered in the dumpsters near the beach campground.

Catching the bus to the city, I gazed at the sea as the bus rocked its way north on the old highway, imagining my day if everything hadn't turned to shit. It could have been one of the best days of my life.

Someone said, "Cops," and a few people leaned over to get a look at the two police cars speeding south. I wondered why they chose to come by road when the only two ways over to the island were to wade out into the ocean and board the water taxi or to wait for the barge. It made me think they probably had nothing to do with me, since the smarter option would have been to fly them in. Perhaps the raid was low priority and not worth the expense.

After shoving my bag into a locker at the bus terminal, I walked to the cafe. The bodyguard was out front, and he stepped on his cigarette, frisked me on the sidewalk, then flashed the weapon strapped to his shoulder. He followed me inside and sat down at a table near Aro who was stirring a cup of steaming black coffee. I asked if it was okay to sit down, waiting for him to agree.

It was all there in front of me in his mannerisms, his cultural background. He'd never recognize it from the way I look, but half my family was Mediterranean, made up of men just like him, who lived to torment a half-blood kid from Chicago.

I learned friendly obedience quickly during our vacations in Stresa, and soon my mother's cousins were messing my hair and taking me out in their boats.

"You've come to apologize?" he asked, ready to hear me submit.

"Yes, I am ashamed of my behavior. I know I'm not in your class, and I still have a lot to learn."

With a smug look, he raised his fingers, and a cup of coffee appeared in front of me.

"The girl you supplied us was a disappointment."

"I understand. They were only waitresses and housemaids, making money on the side. The girl begged me to triple the price, so she wouldn't have to go through with it. We never expected your client to accept."

I heard a laugh and turned to see two uniformed cops enter the cafe. They'd come from their Dodge Charger parked across the street. With their sunglasses pushed up high on their heads, they looked weighed down by pouches and holsters hanging from their belts. Searching Aro's eyes, I found no reaction, but when I looked at the bodyguard, he smiled. They'd led me into a trap.

The cops stood at the counter and proceeded to talk about a game on Saturday. Aro leaned forward and said quietly, "You tried to kill me yesterday."

I watched for any sign they heard what he said over the noise in the cafe. Trying to hide the terror coursing through me, I ignored my coffee and gripped my thighs under the table. Concentrating on keeping my ass on the seat, I stared into the eyes of the asshole sitting opposite me who was enjoying this immensely.

As the cops continued talking, I replied, "It was a bluff. There were no bullets in the gun."

Aro's eyebrows raised as if he found this interesting. "You bluff well then."

"It's not something I'm proud of," I responded, never breaking eye contact. I was doing it now, assessing if there really was danger here when these were street cops, unlikely to be after me when no one else in this town knew me except one of their own.

When the cops walked out without a glance our way, Aro asked, "What are your plans?" I watched them get into the car and pull out.

"I have to disappear. The police are after me now." I didn't know that for sure, but I wasn't sticking around to find out. Fiddling with the button on his cuff, he nodded and looked to his guard.

Then he smiled, rising from his chair. "Look me up if you're ever in town. I may have something for you."

"We won't be back."

"Your lady friend?"

Without flinching, I answered, "She's coming with me."

"Good luck then," he offered, dropping a few bills on the table as another cop came in, greeting the barista in Spanish. The fucker had dropped me into the place they all came for their coffee, just to scare the shit out of me. I breathed out heavily and drained my own cup, relieved I'd survived and achieved what I set out to do. Aro wouldn't go looking for Bella, and our brief business relationship was over. He seemed satisfied he'd punished me sufficiently.

Suddenly I was free, having cut ties with the criminal world. Leaving the cafe, I felt like high-fiving the first person I saw. When I reached the bus terminal and saw the next bus was going to Jacksonville, it felt like a good omen. The city was big enough to hide me while I found an honest job.

Bella would be proud of me, but I couldn't risk telling her. It was better no one knew where I had gone.

I slept for a while on the bus, dreaming of Bella holding me in her arms, and woke up feeling the weight of her loss. Now I wished I had opened up to Bella and Emmett, my only good friends in the world, so they wouldn't remember me as just some two-bit criminal. Even as the miles distanced us physically, she was still in my head, encouraging me to make something of my life, and I felt that should happen before I contacted either of them again. I owed them that much.

The old RV park had trailers you could rent by the month. It wasn't much different from living in the Caravan. During the first few days in Jacksonville, I checked the paper for any news of the raid and found nothing. I bought the cheapest phone I could find and called the resort. Bella answered, not in her usual sunny voice, but she was still there working and okay, thank God. As soon as I heard her irritated sigh, I hung up, feeling so lonely and isolated I wanted to give up and go back.

My optimism started to fade. Jobs were scarce, and those available to someone like me paid minimum wage. Bar work would add tips, but I hadn't found a single vacancy. With no chance of sending money home, it felt like I'd stagnate until someone made me an offer of easy money I couldn't refuse.

Just as I was thinking of going home to Chicago and begging forgiveness, I saw the sign for a commercial diving school.

What had the barman on the island said? Unbelievable money, no qualifications required.

When I went in and inquired about the course, I almost laughed in the guy's face when he quoted the thirty grand I'd need to complete the certification. Instead of walking out right away, I asked about the money I could realistically earn. He told me about the elite end of the international industry and the heady amounts SAT divers received for working at extreme depths offshore. The school boasted lifetime work placement assistance for all graduating students.

I asked where the highest paid work was, and he advised me to look at the oil industry jobs in the Gulf of Mexico, Middle East, Asia/Pacific region and the North Sea. When I asked where that was, he said Scotland, but he cautioned that it was hard to break in as a foreigner unless you had a lot of experience. Most of the divers came from the U.K.

It was like I'd come full circle.

That's where I was born.

After I picked the man's brain, I hit the local library to research on their computer, thinking it was like scuba diving, but deep. After completing an open water diving course when it was briefly on offer at the resort, I toyed with the idea of becoming an instructor. That was until I found out the number of expensive courses I had to complete first, and gave up on the idea.

Laughing at my naivety, I saw this was something else, diving to hundreds of feet and staying on the bottom for the entire shift. I found the physics of saturation diving fascinating, watching videos showing the daily life of these men and women living and working under constant pressure. In Britain, they were earning a thousand pounds a day, more with experience, and it really didn't look like hard work.

I Googled other similar highly paid industries and had knots in my stomach seeing images of people working at extreme heights, some of them connected to the structure by a flimsy-looking strap or piece of rope. The idea of falling and dangling until someone came to the rescue was terrifying. That was definitely not for me.

It took two days to work up the courage to call my father for help, and two minutes of spilling my guts to realize he wasn't going to disown me. He kept saying this was all his fault and urged me to come home. When I explained my plan, he said he wanted to see for himself what the dangers were.

Dad flew in from Chicago and stayed for four days, four normal days with him I'd craved for such a long time. We toured the dive school facility and met some of the outgoing class. A few of them already had jobs, but none were going to the U.K. They all said the same thing—everything was geared to the diver's safety, but the work itself was much harder physically than it looked, and the PT during the course was brutal.

After a couple of beers at a local bar, I asked Dad outright if he could lend me the money. When he looked at me without answering, I didn't know what to think when he'd seemed genuinely open and interested all day.

"I'll find out about financial aid," I said, disappointed.

"I wanted you to go to college, son."

"I'm too old, Dad. I can earn a lot of money this way."

"Forget about the money, Edward," he said, shaking his head. "I'm the reason you're money- driven, but we are not your responsibility. It's time to think of yourself for a change."

"Then let me do this, even if I use it to finance something else."

"Like what?"

"I don't know yet, but I have dreams of my own business one day. Bella and I always…" When I stopped mid-sentence, his lips turned up into a smile. "Okay, I met a girl. She's the main reason I'm… trying something new."

"Women will do that," he advised, full of experience, when I was pretty sure he hadn't been on a date since Mom died. "I'd like to meet this girl. Is she here?"

"No, she's still on the island, saving for a vacation to Europe. Then she's going to work in London."

"Ah, so that's why you're asking everyone about the U.K.?"

I had to admit, the thought of seeing her over there was swaying me toward that part of the world. "Maybe, but I am English after all."

"I spoke to the bank before I came down here. If you really want this, then I'll get you the money."


Taking hold of my forearm, he cut me off. "I'm better now, Edward. I've pulled myself out of it, finally. We're going to be okay, Alice and I."

I hoped he was being honest because Dad wasn't okay when I left Chicago. He was depressed and drowning in money woes, so helping him financially was the only thing I could do.

Soon after he flew home, I managed to score a casual job as a bartender. I talked my way into the job, never doubting they'd hire me. It was less than a month before the dive course started, and the new me was ready for anything. In five months, I'd have a profession, something I could finally be proud of.

I went to the library to check out Bella's Facebook page and PM her. Reactivating my account, I smiled when I saw photos of little Alice from a time when she was my whole world. Lost for a while in a past that didn't seem so bad, I searched for my future in Bella Swan. That's when the here and now came crashing down around me.

At first, I couldn't tell what I was looking at. She was with a group of people and a police officer. Dressed in cap and gown, it was taken the day of her graduation.

Who was he, and how was he connected to her on such an important day?

With a shaky hand, I clicked on the image and the caption read, "Mom, Dad, and the graduating class of 2014."

Her father was a fucking cop, and she'd never once mentioned it! Staring at the photo, I had a cocktail of emotions boiling inside me, mostly anger and feelings of betrayal. It made me ask myself why she befriended someone like me, questioning every encouraging word, every tolerant smile.

I'd heard Rose refer to Bella's dad as Charlie, and I Googled him, finding his professional image alongside other men with the same name. With one click, I was in the Seattle Police Department website, showing the profile of a career cop with twenty-eight years under his belt. Captain Charles Swan was in command of the North Precinct. It just kept getting better and better: a Degree in Criminal Justice, Masters in Public Administration, career highlights like the SWAT Team, and a stint at FBI Headquarters, Narcotics Unit.

Fuck, fuck, fuck.

If Bella told him what happened, how she'd been hurt under my watch and scared half to death, he'd come after me as a very high priority and find a way to put me in jail.

From that moment on, I had to accept that contacting Bella was out of the question, even though the life drained out of me thinking that way. Instead of feeling positive and full of ambition, I looked over my shoulder, wary of anyone who struck up a conversation. I didn't settle down until I moved into the dorm at the dive school, when I finally let the paranoia go, believing that Bella's father either couldn't find me or was satisfied I was no longer a danger to her.

The nine-hour days of the course took over my life, physically and mentally challenging me. As my body's efficiency improved with our daily PT sessions, so did my concentration, and getting an 'A' in an exam was very encouraging. By the time we moved to the tank, I knew how every piece of equipment worked.

Once I got used to the sounds and sensations of breathing and communicating in a helmet, I was calm under water, offering solutions to problems in front of me while other students struggled with the mechanics of their gear. The years of watching Dad work out stuff on building sites were actually paying off.

One of the instructors pulled me aside during the week before fall break and patted me on the back, saying the way I approached the job was more valuable to employers than years of experience. He asked if I had any plans, and I told him I wanted to go to the oil rigs in the North Sea.

He just nodded and said, "You'll do well." He didn't say I was too young or that I should get more experience first, and those three words boosted my confidence.

While I was popular with the instructors, I found it hard to connect with my fellow students. I didn't know what they made of me, reluctant to answer everyday questions. They were nothing like me, talking about things I'd never experienced, lives I had only dreamed of. Many of them came to PT hungover and lazy, ungrateful for the opportunity they'd been given. Some pulled out of the course before they gave themselves a proper chance to succeed. All I saw was wasted money and time.

Most of them went home for fall break while I stayed, having lined up a full week's work at the bar. Sleeping in the dorm with so few people made me lonely, craving Bella again. She was still in my thoughts, and I wondered if she ever thought of me. I analyzed how our relationship developed, her fear of me, which turned into disgust and then belief that I could turn my life around. In a spur of the moment decision, I called the resort, and she answered. Dumbstruck and unprepared to hear her sweet voice, I hung on in silence, waiting for her to end the call.

"Edward?" she asked, shocking the life out of me.

My mouth opened to speak, but I choked on the words, and she soon hung up, leaving me to wonder why she said my name. Did she still care? Now I knew I had to try and see her before she left the island for good. I couldn't get the idea out of my head.

But what did I want to say?

This time I'd be ready to explain why I hadn't contacted her. She had to know finding out about her father changed everything, and I practiced, moderating the anger out of my speech.

Straight after the break, we took to the open ocean in the school's dive vessel for a deep dive. It was just a bounce to the bottom and a long ascent with a series of decompression stops; more a lesson in patience and control than anything else.

The most magnificent shark swam up past me slowly as a call came through my helmet. One of the guys below me was panicking, heading for the surface. They asked me to stop him and take him back down. Without hearing what he was saying to the crew, the bubbles coming up showed his breathing was out of control. I grabbed hold of him, and with only the hand signals they'd taught us, managed to keep him with me, lowering us both to the previous deco stop.

I stepped back onto the ship a hero, and they sent him for counselling. Feeling good about myself, I decided to call Bella, but there was no signal from my crap phone. Trying from different sides of the ship, one of the crew saw me and handed me a satellite phone, telling me not to take long. When I heard it ring, I held my breath, excited when I heard her answer.

"Bella?" I called out loudly over the annoying static.


The line faded in and out, and I was nervous hearing her voice. "I just called to say Merry Christmas." She said something, but the static drowned her out. "Sorry?"

"Where are you?"

The call died, and I tried again with no luck. I'd be damned if I didn't give it another shot, so I went back to ask if something was wrong with the phone. After he checked it out, he said it hadn't been charged properly and handed me another one.

I walked up to the stern of the ship and tried again, knowing she wouldn't wait long when she was finishing her shift. It rang, and I smiled when she answered.

"Is that better?"

She launched straight into me. "Why didn't you call me? I've been worried sick about you."

I sent it right back at her, feeling the anger I'd been holding for weeks. "Why didn't you tell me your father was a cop? Huh?" That stopped her. She had no comeback ready. "Your cover shot on Facebook, you know, the graduation picture? He's in uniform, Bella."

After a second, she said, "It just never came up, did it?"

"You think he wouldn't track me down and string me up by the balls if he knew the danger I put you in?"

"I never told anyone what happened, and he doesn't need to know." There was the answer why no one came after me.

"And you let me fall in love with you." I wanted to make sure she knew I meant that declaration of love. She was still the girl who had my heart.

"Then why did you leave that money for me? It was insulting."

Was she really going to tackle me over the gift?

"The money in the envelope? I wanted you to have it for your trip."

"It was two thousand dollars. You know what that meant. That was the exact amount..."

Did she really think I'd paid for the privilege of sleeping with her? She must hate me.

"I didn't have time to count it. I just shoved what was left in the envelope. I didn't mean that. Christ, Bella. You know I didn't mean that."

Her voice was softer when she asked, "Are you okay, Edward?"

"Yeah." I wondered if she'd let me see her. "Are you going to be down here for Christmas?"

"No, this is our last week. We go home, and then we fly to London."

Of course not. I had waited too long to contact her. "Oh… all right. Well… have a great time."

I really thought she'd hang up, but she asked, "Where are you?"

"I'm at sea, on a ship."

"Wow, are you really okay?" Her voice was so gentle. She sounded sincerely concerned for me, and it made me want the girl I loved.

"Yeah… I am," I answered as static screeched in my ears. "I think I'm losing this line, Bella. Have a Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, Edward…"

The fucking line did drop out and wouldn't reconnect, but I felt like we'd said all we could for now. She was leaving, and I'd still be here for months.

The call had not gone as planned, but something about the emotion in her voice made me think I still had a chance with her. How that would happen, I had no idea. For now, I would let her go and enjoy her vacation.

For the first time in years, I went home for Christmas, amazed at the improvements in Alice. Understandably wary of me, she was more engaged with Dad, anticipating and helping him. We went out together and bought a tree, which Alice decorated and redecorated until she was satisfied it looked right. Sadly, no friends came to visit over the holidays. In that regard, we were similar because I'd lost touch with my friends from school, but I was happy chilling at home with my father and sister.

It was over too quickly. In three months, I would be back, hopefully with a job lined up and ready to move to the U.K.

We spent our time on the use of explosives, cutting, topside and underwater welding, inspection and testing support structures, and rigging and airlifting heavy equipment. First aid, hazmat, offshore survival, and hyperbaric chamber operations became a big part of our world.

We moved into the Deep Water Training Center to experience the real world of commercial diving: surface-supplied air and diving bells. The shifts were exhausting, proving the work was much harder than it looked. This was where I had my first experience of breathing a helium-oxygen mix, and trying to communicate was impossible at first. It was the one thing I hated—the squeaky, duck-like voice—and I swore I'd never let anyone outside of work hear me talk like that.

As we approached graduation, an instructor wrote me a recommendation that helped me get me a job, the whole month of May on a ship out of Aberdeen, servicing the rigs in the North Sea. I'd make thirty thousand pounds, and if I did well, they'd hire me again.

The call to Dad was the most joyous one I'd made in years. He'd been intrigued with the work, encouraging me all the way, and I told him he'd never know how much his support meant to me. I wanted to scream that I'd done it, that I was on my way, but I had no one else I could tell.

I wondered where Bella was, if Rose and Em were with her, and if she was enjoying the trip as much as she'd hoped. Checking her Facebook page, there were no public posts. Frustrated, I tried Rosalie Hale, and their world opened up to me. Everything was public.

Bella and Rose were on the move. From the dates, they were spending a short time in each country. There was a shot of Bella asleep on a tourist coach, and my heart melted. God, I was still in love with her.

As I scrolled down, the background changed to groups of people, parties, booze, and massive bars with crowds and laser lighting. Bella was behind the bar working in some of them but there was nothing of Emmett. There were skiing images, with deep snow and mountains, somewhere called Davos, and it killed me seeing Bella with the same guy repeatedly. There were shots of him wearing a number, like a competitor.

With so many photos of this same place, they must have been there for a while, and I came to see this person as my competitor, someone I'd allowed to compete for the love of my life as it happened in front of my eyes.

Then Rose and Bella were together in London, wearing layers of clothes out sightseeing, a night of masses of people and fireworks, obviously New Year. There hadn't been a single shot of Emmett.

Where the fuck was he?

There was only one way to find out—call the resort—one of the barmen would know where he went. When they transferred me to the main bar, he answered the phone.

"It's Edward! You're still there?"

"Hey, man!" he said with a chuckle. "Bella said you were alive. You working on a ship?"

At first, I didn't understand, and then I realized Bella must have told him what I said.

"No, I was on a ship that night I called. You didn't go to Europe with them?"

After a few seconds, he answered. "Rose didn't want me to go."

"Shit. Did you break up?"

"Not really, but I haven't heard from her."

"Oh, Em, I saw Rose's Facebook page and wondered where you were."

"They seem to be having a good time."

"Who's the guy with Bella? Do you know?"

"Nope, and there's one who kept popping up with Rose, too."

"I'm sorry I…" The words dried up in my throat. I honestly hadn't noticed, and Emmett would be taking this even harder than I was.

"S'okay. I don't think it was serious. There are no photos of them now. Anyway, you know Bella wouldn't get involved with anyone else."

"Why do you say that?" I couldn't help the glimmer of hope his words gave me.

"In case you didn't know, she's in love with you."

"I don't know about that, Em." God, I wanted that to be true.

"Well, you didn't see her face when we spoke about you. You didn't see how lost she was when she thought you were dead."

The pain in my gut was real and intense. "Christ, I'm so sorry, but I couldn't risk contacting you. What did happen when the police came? I still don't know."

"We cleaned the place. They didn't find anything, so they left after a couple of hours. We thought they'd gone after you. Did you go to Chicago?"

"No, but I'm going back soon then over to the U.K. I start a real job there in May."

"Doing what?"

"Commercial diving on the oil rigs."

"Well, good for you, man. Good for you. You need to tell her that."

"I don't have anyone's phone number."

"I've got her home number. Call her parents."

"Uh, I think I might PM her." The thought of Captain Swan answering my call was terrifying.

"No, call her. She deserves to hear your voice for this one."

"Her father's a cop, Em."

"Well, PM her if you want, but you got nothing to lose."

Sighing, I knew he was right. "I'll think about it."

"I'll send you the number, just in case. I don't have their new cell numbers."

Rose really had dumped him just like that. He deserved a lot better.

"I have to get a new phone myself. I'm not putting any more money on this piece of shit. How long are you planning to stay on the island?"

"I'm still making good money. I thought Rose would call, and I'd join her over there, but I might come visit you instead."

"Yes! Let's do that!"

"Do you know where you are going to be living?"

"No idea yet, but I'll keep in touch."

"I'm glad you called, Ed."

"Me too, Em. Me too."

I read out my cell number, and he said he'd text me Bella's number right away. Emmett had always given me good advice, like an amazing brother who never interfered or put me down.

The text arrived, and with his words in my head, I made the call before I lost my nerve.

It was just my luck that her father answered. I had to swallow before I could speak.

"Mr. Swan?"

"Yes." I felt like I'd called him the wrong thing, and he was already on the defensive.

"My name's Edward Masen. I'm trying to get in touch with Bella."

"Oh, really?" He sounded uninterested, leaving a wall of silence for me to break through.

"I'm a friend of hers. I don't have her new number."

"I don't give out my daughter's number. If you were really her friend…" A female voice cut into the background, asking him who it was. She stopped him from shutting me down.

"I am her friend, Sir. Can I leave you a number where she can get in touch with me?"

He made a humming sound, like he was unsure, and then said, "Sure, Edward. Let me get a pen."

I gave him the direct line into the school, knowing Frank would find me or give me a message. The last thing I wanted was for her to call on this unreliable cell, and I wouldn't know.

Now it was up to her. I just hoped what Emmett believed was still true.

From the day I called Bella's house, Rose stopped posting on Facebook. When two weeks went by, and Bella hadn't called back, I wondered if the two things were connected. It was like they didn't want me to know anything about them anymore and saw me there lurking.

I started to think they'd already come home. My time here was running out, and I couldn't call Bella's parents again without appearing desperate and dangerous.

Accepting a future without Bella was tough, but I already knew life could often be cruel. I still reminded Frank occasionally I was expecting an important call, and he'd roll his eyes, telling me to concentrate on my exams. He saw how low I was, dragging myself through the end of the course.

Then one day, having finished a long practical exam, I passed by the booth, and Frank called out to me.

"Hey, Ed! Who's the girl?" My ears pricked up, and I walked in, frowning. He was holding a slip of paper in the air. "Bella Bellissima," he sang as he grinned at me. Charging at him, I tried to grab the note he held above his head.

We struggled in fun for a moment until I took the note from his hand and saw her name with a cell number. "Yes!" I said, feeling as light as a feather. "How did she sound?"

"Cute, Ed. Made sure I repeated the number back to her."

He handed me the phone and told me I had five minutes. All I could do was laugh. I'd never been so happy in all my life.

Thanks for reading xo