I'm back!

Apologies for how long it took to get this chapter out, but the mom life is busy and exhausting. I've barely had time to write, and when I do get free time, I'm usually so tired that my brain is just mush. But I've finally rallied and gotten this chapter done, though fair warning, I feel like it's not my best work. My original plan didn't work out, so it's not quite the chapter I was hoping for, but I've been beating my head into the wall trying to make this chapter work and I'm literally just so over it. So this is what we've got, and I hope it doesn't disappoint you too much.

Anywho, enough from me! On to the story!

P.S. In the last chapter, I had the Cullen's scheduled to leave Forks after Dani and Jasper, but that was making things feel complicated as I wrote this chapter. So I've changed that, and now they're leaving sooner. Just wanted to let everyone know to avoid confusion.

P.S.S. I have two shoutouts! To TinaG – thank you so much for always listening to me vent about this story, you're the best! And to Kalniczanka – thank you again for the AWESOME new cover art! I love it!

Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Twilight, only the OC's.


Chapter Nine

Danielle could vividly remember how devastated she had been when her mother had told her they would be moving from Houston to Forks.

The thought of leaving her hometown and moving to a place that she had never been to, where she wouldn't know anybody and where she would be finishing her senior year without all of the friends she had grown up with, had been heart breaking. She had fought with her mother for almost a solid month leading up to the move, trying everything she could to convince her that moving to Forks was the worst thing they could do. But there had been no changing Lynne's mind, and Danielle, as angry as she had been, had had no choice but to accept that.

Her last week in Houston had been miserable. She could remember crying multiple times as she tried to come to grips with the fact that she would be leaving everything she'd ever known behind. She could remember how bittersweet it had been to hang out with Tom those last days at home, knowing she wouldn't be seeing him in person again for a long time. She could remember how much she had hated packing, purely because with every knick-knack she wrapped in bubble wrap, with every article of clothing she stowed away in her bags, the move to Forks became that much more real.

Now, as Danielle stood in the closet in her and Jasper's bedroom and eyed all of the clothes hanging in front of her, all of those same feelings had come rushing back with a vengeance.

She and Jasper had to leave Forks. She wasn't doing it because she wanted to, and she definitely wasn't doing it because Edward had practically demandedit of them. Danielle had only agreed to leave for Jasper, because he needed to get away to get his mind straight again and because she refused to let him go anywhere without her. Supporting her husband was the right thing to do, and she knew that. But it still made her feel sad and overwhelmed and angry all at the same time. Because leaving Forks meant leaving her mother and her friends. Because she and Jasper had made a life for themselves there, and now they had to leave that behind and start over somewhere new.

Instead of having weeks to mentally prepare for the move to come, now she only had days. Two days, to be exact. One day to pack and break the news, one last day to spend with her mother, and then that was it. They were gone.

Despite having had the entire morning to try to come to terms with things, Danielle was still struggling to accept the fact that they were leaving. There had been a lot of crying, and plenty of cursing Edward, both in her head and out loud. She felt like an emotional yoyo, alternating between being indescribably sad over what they were leaving behind, and irrationally angry at the unfairness of it all. Jasper had tried to reassure her that things would be alright, that things would get better. But no matter what he said, and despite his numerous attempts to stabilize the emotional rollercoaster she was on, nothing made her feel better about it.

The entire situation just royally sucked.

Danielle let out a long breath, then finally started going through her shirts, picking out the ones she liked best and tossing them in the direction of the bedroom. They wouldn't be taking much with them, just their clothes and most important possessions. They hadn't decided where they were going to go yet, or how long they were going to be there, so they had agreed it was probably better not to bring too much stuff with them.

When she had finished picking out her shirts, she moved on to her pants, pulling them from the drawers they were stowed in and throwing them over her shoulder, uncaring of where they landed. Danielle only picked out a few pairs of shoes – she didn't have that many to begin with – then started loading up underwear and bras. Finally, with her arms full of her undergarments, she turned to walk back into the bedroom, fully expecting all of her clothes to be scattered around the floor from her unceremonious tossing.

She stopped short as she exited the closet, blinking in surprise when she saw that her clothes were not only not on the floor, but that they had already been neatly folded and stowed away in the suitcases on the bed. Danielle looked at the packed clothing, then at Alice, who had arrived sometime while she had been in the closet and was now sitting on the bed, smiling sadly as their eyes met.

"Hope you don't mind me dropping by," Alice said in greeting.

Danielle shook her head. "Of course not," she said, moving to one of the neatly packed suitcases to shove her underwear into the space Alice had left for them. She then looked at Alice, a pang of sadness hitting her heart when she remembered that her favorite sister-in-law would soon be gone, and she wasn't sure when she would see her again. "How much longer until y'all leave?" Danielle asked.

Alice sighed heavily. "Not long at all."

Danielle nodded and sank down on the bed next to Alice.

It was going to be very strange, not being with the rest of the family. She had spent nearly every day of the past six months with the Cullen's, and to know that they wouldn't be around anymore just felt wrong. Alice wouldn't be there to gab her ear off. Emmett wouldn't be there to make her laugh until her sides hurt. She was going to miss chatting with Esme over breakfast, and she was definitely going to miss the comforting, fatherly support that Carlisle always had to offer. Hell, she was even going to miss the hot-and-cold semi-friendship she had managed to achieve with Rosalie.

As Danielle rubbed her sore eyes, Alice studied her quietly, her brows creasing with concern. "How are you?" she asked gently.

There was no use trying to sugarcoat it. "Not good," Danielle said with a shake of her head. "I knew we would have to leave Forks eventually," she admitted. "I just didn't think we'd be leaving this soon. And I definitely didn't think it would be under these circumstances."

"Me neither," Alice said with a quiet sigh. She shook her head, her expression caught somewhere between sad and angry. "I feel so bad for Bella…and I'm so mad at Edward."

Danielle's expression went sour at the mention of Edward. There would probably come a time where she would feel guilty for all of the rude things she had said to him that morning, that she might someday regret how she had treated him, but today was absolutely not that day.

"Don't even get me started on him," Danielle said venomously. "If I was strong enough to do it, I'd have already kicked his ass into next week."

Alice nodded slowly, then shrugged. "I suppose, in a way, I can understand why he's doing this," the vampire reluctantly admitted. "He loves Bella. He would never leave her unless he genuinely thought it was what was best for her." Alice frowned and shook her head. "That doesn't make the situation any less crappy, though."

Danielle gave Alice a look. "I think Edward likes to make a lot of decisions for Bella. Apparently him not being able to read her mind made him forget she has her own thoughts and is capable of making her own decisions." Danielle turned her eyes to the massive bedroom window and shook her head. "I just don't think he fully understands how horrible this is gonna be for her."

Alice let out a long sigh. "No, probably not. But Edward's made up his mind, and there's nothing anybody can do about that now." Alice frowned for a moment, then gave Danielle a curious look. "When are you telling Bella you're leaving?"

Danielle had already made plans to meet with Bella once her friend got out of school, but she had no idea how she was going to face her knowing that Edward would be breaking up with her. The whole situation, crappy as it already was, had been made even worse by the fact that she apparently was 'forbidden' from telling Bella that the Cullen's were leaving Forks and that Edward was about to break her heart. According to Jasper, these were things that Edward wanted to tell Bella himself, and he had warned her not to reveal anything more than their own plans to leave.

Needless to say, Danielle was not happy with the predicament she was in. She wanted to defy her brother-in-law and tell Bella what was coming so she wouldn't get blindsided – as one of Bella's best friends, she felt it was her job, nay, her duty, to have her back in situations like these. On the other hand, however, she knew it probably wouldn't be a good idea to spill the beans. Telling Bella that the guy she loved was planning to dump her would probably only make things worse than they already were, and at the end of the day, that was something Bella needed to hear from Edward, not from her.

Plus, she wasn't about to make Edward's life easier by doing his dirty work for him.

"I'm meeting up with her in a few hours. But…how am I supposed to look Bella in the eye knowing what I know?" Danielle asked guiltily. "I want to warn her, but I feel like it'll only cause more problems. But by not saying anything, I feel like I'm being a horrible friend. I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't.'

"You're not a bad friend," Alice quickly said. "This whole thing is just…really complicated. I'm sure she'll understand that you were in a tight spot and won't hold it against you," she added reassuringly.

Danielle sighed, unconvinced that Bella would be so forgiving. "At least one of us is optimistic about it."

Alice gave her a gentle smile. "How about your mom?" she asked next. "When are you going to tell her?"

Thinking of her mother made her only feel worse than she already did. She had invited her mother over for dinner that night so she could break the news. With how little time they had left in Forks, she wanted to tell Lynne as soon as possible so they wouldn't waste any of their remaining time together.

"I'm telling her over dinner tonight," Danielle said.

"Do you think she'll be mad that you're leaving?" Alice asked.

Danielle shook her head. "Worse. She'll be sad," she said with a frown.

Alice nodded understandingly. "I'm sorry this is all so hard on you," she said sympathetically. "But you're doing what's best for you and Jasper. Everything else will work itself out in time."

Danielle mustered a smile and reached over to squeeze Alice's hand. "Thanks, Alice." She paused, then gave her a sad look. "I hate that we're not gonna be around each other. What am I gonna do without you?"

"Be very bored, I imagine," Alice said, her tone joking but her smile sad. "But this isn't goodbye forever. It's only goodbye for now. And you know if you ever need me, I'm only a phone call away."

"The same goes for you," Danielle countered firmly. "My phone is always on. Call whenever you want."

Alice quickly nodded. "I will. I promise."

They shared a long hug after that, squeezing each other tightly. Alice finally patted her on the back and they separated, then the vampire stood from the bed. "How about I help you finish packing?" she suggested. "You still need to add some coats to your luggage."

Danielle lifted a brow. "Coats?" she asked. "Did you have a vision about where Jasper and I are gonna go?"

Alice nodded. "I'm not sure where exactly, but I saw lots of snow."

Danielle immediately deflated. She had hoped they would go somewhere familiar, like Houston, or maybe somewhere pretty, like Ireland. She'd had her fair share of cold and snow living in Forks. She wasn't thrilled to learn that she was about to be dealing with even more of it.

"More snow," Danielle said dryly. "Fan-friggin-tastic."

Alice suddenly looked to the right, her eyes turning toward the front of the house. Her vampire ears had picked up on a sound Danielle couldn't hear. "Jasper and Emmett are back," she announced.

Jasper had gone with Emmett to Seattle a few hours ago to move some valuables into a storage unit the family had there. It hadn't sounded like an errand that required them both, but Danielle suspected they had wanted to get in some last minute brotherly bonding. They might have loved to annoy each other, but it was no secret that they were close. Danielle knew they were going to miss each other.

A few minutes later, she heard Jasper's car pull into the driveway. Soon enough, Jasper and Emmett appeared in the bedroom doorway. Jasper looked at the packed suitcases, then offered her a small, slightly sad smile when their eyes met. Danielle mustered a smile in return, then looked at Emmett, who seemed unusually somber.

"Everything taken care of?" Danielle asked to break the silence.

Jasper nodded. "For now, yes," he answered.

"What do we need to do next?" Danielle asked.

He hesitated, his expression a resigned one. "It's time to start saying our goodbyes," Jasper said.

Danielle tried to ignore the way her heart dropped at those words and nodded, trying to stay strong. "Right."

A brief silence fell over the room, and nobody seemed to want to make the first move. Finally, Alice squeezed Danielle's shoulder and headed for the door. Emmett lingered long enough to give Danielle a look, then followed his sister. Danielle reluctantly stood up and went to the bedroom door, but paused next to Jasper. He gave her a supportive smile and pulled her close to kiss her temple. There was no doubt that he knew what she was feeling, and she was actually relieved when he made some of the sadness in her heart diminish.

Jasper grabbed her hand and they followed Emmett and Alice out of the house. They started toward Carlisle and Esme's house, walking in silence, but they hadn't gone very far when Emmett dropped back so that he was walking on Danielle's other side.

"Why don't you two go on ahead," he suggested. "I wanna talk to Dani about something."

Jasper and Alice nodded in agreement, then were gone in a flash.

She and Emmett continued on at human speed, walking side by side in silence for a few moments. Finally, Emmett looked down at her.

"Are you mad at me for voting to leave?" he asked.

Danielle glanced up at him, then sighed. "It stung a little," she told him truthfully.

Emmett nodded grimly. "I almost voted the other way," he admitted. "I guess I just didn't see the point in staying. Alice saw everyone leaving, and Rose and I are supposed to be off at college anyway. Figured we might as well rip off the band aid and go before things get more complicated."

"I suspect Rosalie would have been mad if you had voted to stay, too," Danielle added knowingly.

"Probably," Emmett said with a shrug. "She's ready to get out of here. We've been doing the high school thing for a long time, even before we came to Forks. She's ready to do something different. You'll understand how mind-numbingly boring pretending to be a high-schooler gets when you're one of us," he told her with a pointed look.

"I get it. I can't blame either of you for wanting to move on," Danielle said with a nod. "I just wasn't ready to go yet," she continued with a frown. "I love the house Jasper built for us, and I wanted to enjoy these last few years with my mom before I turn, you know?"

"Yeah, I know," Emmett said understandingly. "But you can still come back to visit whenever you want. Jasper would never stop you from coming to see her."

"I know. It just…won't be the same," she said with a sad sigh. "I feel guilty leaving Bella, too, especially considering what Edward's about to do," she added, shaking her head.

Emmett sighed heavily. "I'm not psyched about that, either," he admitted. "But I don't think Ed wants her to be one of us. If he isn't gonna turn her, then her being around us is only gonna get more and more complicated. It's a crappy situation, but…maybe it is for the best in the long run."

Emmett did sort of make a good point. If Edward had decided against turning Bella, then maybe, in a way, it was better for them to not be together. Their relationship would likely only become strained due to their different wants and desires, and Danielle didn't really see how that could sustain in the long run. Plus, there was the Volturi to think about. Jasper didn't seem concerned about them, but that was probably because Danielle was going to be turned eventually. Bella remaining a human would put her and the entire Cullen family at risk, and seeing as Edward was trying to avoid putting Bella in more danger, splitting up before the Volturi found out about her was probably the smart thing to do.

As logical as that all sounded, however, Danielle was too committed to her anti-Edward campaign to acknowledge that maybe, in some warped, twisted way, what he was doing did kind of make sense. The way she saw it, he was still a jerk for dumping Bella, and she was still pissed off at him. She'd listen to reasonable explanations later, once she had some time to be away from him.

"Anyway," Emmett continued on, "I'm sorry for voting to leave. And I'm sorry you have to leave your mom and Bella behind."

Danielle smiled. "You don't have to apologize…though I appreciate the sympathy."

Emmett just smiled and nodded.

"So," Danielle said to change the subject. "Where are you and Rosalie going?"

"Paris," Emmett answered.

Danielle lifted a brow in surprise. France didn't really seem like the sort of place Emmett would want to go, nor did she think he would fit in very well. He was practically the walking, talking definition of loud obnoxious American. She couldn't imagine the Parisians taking to his overly large ego or his annoying, sometimes inappropriate, sense of humor.

"Paris, huh?" she asked. "Doesn't seem like your kinda place."

Emmett shrugged, his expression less than thrilled. "It's not my favorite, but Rose likes it there. She's into all that French crap," he said with a slight roll of his eyes.

Danielle couldn't help but smirk with amusement. "Something tells me the French wouldn't appreciate their culture being referred to as crap," she pointed out.

"Eh, tomato tomahto," he responded, sounding completely unbothered.

Danielle snorted and shook her head at his indifference. "Well, I've never been, so I think it sounds fun," she said matter-of-factly. "Can I convince you to bring me back a cool souvenir?"

Emmett nodded in agreement. "Sure."

She could see the Cullen house through the trees now. What little sunlight there was peeking through the clouds was bouncing off the humongous windows, making the house shine like a beacon in the woods. She couldn't help but sigh sadly as she remembered that she likely wouldn't see the house again for quite some time once she and Jasper left. It was a shame, seeing as the house was so beautiful and held so many fond memories for her.

"I never thought I'd see the day where I'd actually dread leaving Forks," she commented. "Nine months ago, my mother had to practically drag me here kicking and screaming. Now I'd give just about anything to stay just a little bit longer."

"I'm sure we'll move back eventually," Emmett said encouragingly. "We kind of rotate through the places we know are good for keeping our identities a secret."

"And how long is eventually?" Danielle questioned.

Emmett shrugged. "Eighty, ninety years?" he estimated. "Long enough for the people who knew us here to, uh…not be around anymore," he explained carefully.

Danielle didn't particularly want to imagine moving back to Forks when all of her friends and family had grown old and died. Just thinking about it made an uncomfortable feeling settle in her belly. "Great," she said unenthusiastically.

Emmett placed a large, cold hand on her arm and gently pulled her to a stop. His expression was uncharacteristically serious again, which always made any ominous situation seem so much worse to her. "Look, this whole thing sucks," he said. "But you're doing the right thing by going with Jasper. Him getting away from here for a while will really do him some good."

Danielle sighed and crossed her arms. "I know. That's the only reason I agreed tp leave. If this is what Jasper needs, then that's what we'll do," she said with a nod.

A small smile appeared on Emmett's lips at those words. "I don't know if I've said this enough, but…Jasper is damn lucky to have you by his side, Dani," he said sincerely. "I'm worried about him. We all are," he then admitted. "But I know that as long as you're with him, he'll be okay," he concluded, nodding his head firmly.

Danielle, who had already been on one hell of an emotional rollercoaster since the night before, felt tears begin to prickle at the back of her eyes at those words. She sniffled a bit and looked away, trying really hard to stay composed. "You trying to make me cry or something?" she asked to try to lighten the mood a little.

Emmett seemed to catch on to what she was doing and smirked, his serious expression easing. "Making people cry is a specialty of mine," he said with a nod. "That, and being ridiculously good looking," he added with a joking smirk.

She knew he was just trying to make her laugh, but for some reason, his joke had the opposite effect. It just made the tears she'd been fighting finally spill over. For probably the twelfth time that day, Danielle broke down crying, and this time it was because it had really hit her how much she was going to miss having Emmett around to annoy her and make her laugh.

"Hey," Emmett said with a frown, immediately pulling her in for a freezing cold bear hug. Danielle hugged him tightly and buried her face into his massive shoulder. "Come on now. The joke wasn't that bad. You're gonna give me a complex."

Danielle laughed through her tears. "Damnit, Big Foot," she said, hugging him tighter. "I'm gonna miss your ugly face so much."

Emmett made a sound of offence. "Excuse me. Who you calling ugly? Have we not established several times that I'm the best looking Cullen?"

Danielle laughed again, and this time Emmett joined in. They hugged for a few moments longer, squeezing each other tightly, before they finally released one another. Danielle sniffled again and dried her cheeks on her shirt sleeves, before looking up at Emmett with as stern of a look as she could muster.

"You will call me while you're off galivanting around Paris, okay?" she said, pointing a finger at him.

"You kidding?" Emmett countered incredulously. "I'm gonna call you so much, you're gonna want to block my number."

Danielle nodded with satisfaction. "Good."

"And if you need anything, anything, you better call me, too," Emmett countered. "I don't care what it's for. If you're having a hard time, or if Jasper's being emo, or if you just need me to come change a damn lightbulb, I'm there. No questions asked," he said with a firm nod.

Danielle felt a swell of affection for her favorite brother-in-law as she nodded in agreement. "I will. I promise."

"Good." Emmett ruffled her hair gently, then nodded toward the Cullen house. "We should meet up with everyone else," he suggested. "Rose and I have a flight to catch, and she's probably getting impatient. I can practically hear her stomping a hole in the ground with those expensive ass shoes of hers."

Danielle snickered, then nodded, and with that they continued on to the Cullen house.

Everyone was outside waiting in the driveway when they finally arrived. Or rather, everyone but Edward was there, which was a massive relief. Danielle knew she wouldn't have anything nice to say to Edward if he had been there, and she didn't particularly want to ruin the Cullen sendoff by causing another scene. It was for the better that he had decided not to show up.

As she and Emmett approached the rest of the family, her eyes found Jasper, who seemed concerned as he looked at her. It was probably obvious that she had been crying, which was undoubtedly the reason Jasper looked so worried. Danielle flashed him a small smile to reassure him that everything was alright, which made him relax and had that concerned expression easing.

She looked to Carlisle and Esme next, whom she had not seen since she had stormed out of the house during the family meeting. At the time, she had been too angry to care about her behavior, but now that she had cooled down, she was feeling guilty and embarrassed by the way she had acted. Had she had a right to be angry? Absolutely. But should she have been so childish and immature about it? Probably not. She knew she needed to make amends before the family went their separate ways.

While Emmett went toward his massive jeep, Danielle made her way over to Carlisle and Esme, who were putting the last of their bags in Carlisle's car. Both looked at her as she approached, and while they seemed a little subdued, they didn't outwardly appear to be upset with her for her temper tantrum earlier that morning. Still, Danielle's expression was one of remorse, and she couldn't help feeling a little ashamed.

"Hi," she said awkwardly once she was in front of them.

Carlisle inclined his head. "Dani," he greeted gently.

Danielle glanced back and forth between her in-laws, before finally just coming out with it. "I'm sorry about earlier," she apologized. "I let my anger get the better of me. I shouldn't have acted like such a brat, and I definitely shouldn't have stormed out of the house the way I did. It was disrespectful, and I'm sorry."

Carlisle and Esme both gave her looks of understanding. "There's nothing to apologize for," Esme said, reaching out to squeeze Danielle's hand. "You were upset. We all were," she said with a nod. "We would never hold that against you."

Danielle smiled a bit, then looked to Carlisle questioningly, just to make sure he shared Esme's sentiments. When he smiled and nodded to silently assure her that he wasn't angry with her either, she finally felt herself relax. "Thank you for being so understanding," she said gratefully.

"Of course," Carlisle said, patting her shoulder. "We're family. It's important to understand and support one another."

Danielle couldn't help but feel like his words held a double meaning to them, as though he were subtly trying to hint that she should be a little more understanding of Edward's decisions. Since she was in no way ready to be understanding or forgiving toward her idiotic brother-in-law, she merely nodded and decided to change the subject.

"So…Ithaca?" she asked.

Carlisle nodded. "We have stayed there before in the past. It works well for our circumstances," he explained. "Any idea where you and Jasper will be going yet?"

Danielle shook her head. "No. All I know is there will be snow, courtesy of Alice's visions."

Carlisle and Esme both nodded in understanding. "Well, while we wish the two of you were coming with us, we do think it will be good for you and Jasper to have some time to yourselves," Esme offered with a smile. "We will miss you two very much, though."

Danielle felt a lump form in her throat again. "We're gonna miss y'all, too."

Esme smiled, then pulled Danielle in for a hug that was just a little tighter than normal – Danielle suspected that Esme might have cried, had it been a possibility for her. "You and Jasper take care of yourselves, alright?" she said in Danielle's ear. "And know that you are more than welcome to come and join us any time you want."

Danielle nodded, her arms tightening around Esme. "Thank you, Esme."

Esme nodded, squeezed her for good measure, then released her so she could pull something from the pocket of her jacket. It was an envelope, with the name Lynne written on the outside in Esme's neat handwriting. "Could you give this to your mother? It's our goodbye to her, since we can't do it in person," she explained.

Danielle took the envelope. "I'll make sure she gets it."

Esme smiled gratefully, then moved aside so that Carlisle could hug her next. He immediately enveloped her in a hug, patting her back soothingly. "I would tell you to take care of my son, but I already know you will," he said, giving her a fond smile as they pulled away to look at one another.

"I'll do my best," Danielle promised with a nod.

"And I have no doubt you'll do spectacularly," Carlisle said without missing a beat, which made her smile. "If you ever need us, for anything, do not hesitate to reach out," he added seriously.

"We'll be in touch, I promise," Danielle told him.

Carlisle nodded, hugged her one last time, then surprised her by pressing a brief, fatherly kiss to the top of her head.

A tear slipped down her cheek at the gesture, and though Danielle tried to wipe it away before he could see, she was fairly confident Carlisle had noticed. He didn't say anything about it, just patted her back once more and went with Esme to say goodbye to Jasper.

Danielle stood back, watching the rest of the Cullen's say their goodbye's to one another, taking a moment to try to collect herself. It wasn't an easy task, though, because to see everyone looking so sad to be saying goodbye to one another only made her feel even more emotional. She gave up trying to pull herself together when Alice wandered over and wrapped her up in another cold hug.

"I miss you already," Alice said with a slight waver in her voice.

Danielle smiled and hugged her as tight as she could. "Same."

Alice pulled away and braced her hands on Danielle's shoulders, giving her as bright a smile as she could manage. "I'll talk to you soon, okay?"

Danielle nodded. "Okay."

After Alice released her, the only two she had left to say her goodbye's to were Emmett and Rosalie.

Danielle went to Emmett and hugged him tightly, taking the opportunity to remind him of their promise to stay in touch and threatening him with bodily harm if he didn't hold up his end of the deal. After he assured her that he would call often, Danielle released him and turned her attention to Rosalie, who seemed a little unsure of how to say goodbye to her.

She didn't know what possessed her to do it – maybe she was feeling brave, or maybe she was just feeling extra emotional – but before Danielle could rethink the decision, she stepped up to Rosalie and, for the very first time, wrapped the beautiful blonde up in a hug.

Rosalie was stiff as a board at first, but eventually she patted her awkwardly on the back, which was probably about as close to a hug as Danielle was going to get. Danielle, blushing a little, pulled away and gave Rosalie a small smile. "I hope you and Emmett have fun in Paris," she said.

Rosalie looked very weirded out by the unexpected display of affection, but still nodded. "Thank you."

There was an awkward silence, where neither of them seemed to know what to do or say next, and where the rest of the family looked back and forth between them as they waited to see what would happen. It was finally Emmett who broke the silence.

"Well, that was weird," he said bluntly. Danielle and Rosalie both gave him unimpressed looks, which had him raising his hands in surrender. "Geez. Tough crowd," he said with a huff. Danielle thought she saw the rest of the Cullen's hiding smiles of amusement. "You ready to go, babe?" Emmett finally asked Rosalie with an upward nod.

Rosalie nodded, then glanced at Jasper before turning a serious look on Danielle. "Take care of him, okay?" she said.

Danielle immediately nodded. "I will."

Rosalie gave her a look of approval, then gave her a smile so small it was almost unnoticeable, before finally joining Emmett at the Jeep.

Jasper was by Danielle's side in the blink of an eye. He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her close as they watched Emmett and Rosalie climb into the Jeep, while Carlisle, Esme, and Alice headed for Carlisle's car.

"Are you alright?" he asked quietly.

Danielle nodded. "As alright as I can be."

Jasper smiled understandingly and kissed her temple.

Once the Cullen's were all in their respective vehicles, Emmett backed the Jeep out of the driveway first, honking the loud horn as he and Rosalie departed. Danielle and Jasper waved goodbye to them, then watched as Carlisle's car backed out of the driveway next. With a single beep of the horn from Carlisle, the car started off down the road in the opposite direction Emmett and Rosalie had gone. When Alice poked her head out of the back seat to wave goodbye just before the bend in the road, Danielle and Jasper both lifted a hand to wave at her.

Then the car drove out of sight, and with that, the Cullen's were gone.


The diner was surprisingly busy when Danielle arrived about an hour and a half later. She parked Jasper's car in a space on the edge of the lot, then, after glancing around and not seeing Bella's truck anywhere, she pulled her phone out to see if Bella had tried to contact her.

There was a text message from Bella sent only a few minutes prior.

Got held up at school. Be there soon.

Danielle let out a breath, actually feeling a little relieved that Bella was running late. It meant she'd have a little more time to prepare herself for the conversation to come.

Once she was in the diner and seated by the window, she fiddled nervously with her straw as she tried to plan out what she would say. When she had arranged to meet with Bella, she hadn't given any indication that anything was going on, so as of now, Bella had no clue that Danielle was about to drop a bomb on her. Should she just be blunt? Or should she try to sugarcoat it? And what if Bella asked if the Cullen's were leaving, too? She'd have no choice but to lie to her.

Then again, she was already lying to her by not telling the full truth about what was going on, wasn't she? Between keeping secrets from Bella and the story she would have to give her mother to explain her and Jasper's decision to leave, Danielle was going to be doing a lot of lying that day.

She heard Bella arrive before she actually saw her, simply because her truck was so horrendously loud. Danielle watched through the window as Bella parked not far from Jasper's car, then came striding toward the diner. When she stepped inside, she started looking around, clearly searching for Danielle. Danielle lifted a hand to catch her attention, then stood to greet Bella as she came hurrying over.

Bella immediately hugged her, catching Danielle a little by surprise, seeing as her friend didn't always like to show physical affection.

"I'm so glad Jasper came back," Bella said earnestly, squeezing Danielle a little tighter.

Bella knew Jasper had returned because Danielle had told her so that morning when they had been finalizing plans to meet up. As they pulled away from each other and Danielle saw the relieved smile on Bella's face, guilt ripped through her. Bella was happy now, but Danielle doubted that would be the case once she found out Jasper's return to Forks was only a temporary one.

"Hey, you okay?" Bella asked, frowning a little with uncertainty.

Danielle blinked as she realized she had taken too long to respond, then forced on a smile. "Yeah, yeah. Fine," she lied. "Why don't we sit?" she quickly suggested.

Bella nodded slowly, then took off her backpack and plopped it down on the floor as they sat down at the table. Before they could say anything else, their waitress came to get their food and drink orders, then disappeared again. Once they were alone, Bella leaned closer.

"So how's he doing?" she asked.

Danielle nodded slowly. "He's…okay," she said. "He was really beating himself up about what happened, but I managed to talk him down."

Bella frowned. "You told him I don't blame him, right? You told him I wasn't mad at him?"

"Yeah, I told him. But he's still mad at himself for what happened," Danielle said, which was putting it mildly, to say the least. He hadn't just been mad at himself – he had hated himself for losing control. "He's not gonna bounce back over night. It's gonna take some time for him to forgive himself for what happened," she explained.

Bella nodded in understanding, before her brows furrowed together with what seemed like consternation. "I don't think he's the only one that's gonna have to work on forgiving himself," she said quietly, her eyes turning down to the table as she began to fiddle with her napkin.

Their conversation paused as the waitress returned with their drinks. Danielle eyed Bella from across the table, knowing good and well that her friend had just been referring to Edward. Under normal circumstances, she would have asked Bella to elaborate on a statement like that, but since she didn't want to accidently say something she wasn't supposed to, she thought it better to steer the conversation away from her brother-in-law altogether.

"How's your arm?" Danielle asked when the waitress left again.

Bella looked up at her, then shrugged in response. "It's fine," she said. "It bothered me a little during gym, but other than that, I barely even notice it."

Danielle smiled. "That's good."

Bella tore the paper off of her straw and stuck it into her coke, taking a long sip. "Hey, did you see Alice today?" she suddenly asked, her head tilting curiously. "She wasn't at school. I asked Edward where she was, but all he said was that she had other stuff to do?"

Alice had had other stuff to do alright, like helping Danielle pack for their upcoming departure and then leaving Forks with Carlisle and Esme. Danielle, who had not thought to come up with an explanation for Alice's absence, took a long drink of her sweet tea to stall, trying to come up with a good reason for her sister-in-law to skip.

"I saw her this morning," Danielle said, which wasn't technically a lie. "She, uh…went hunting." Yeah, hunting. That sounded like a good excuse.

Bella frowned unsurely. "That's weird."

"Why?" Danielle asked. "The Cullen's skip school to hunt all the time."

"Well, yeah. But Edward's never shied away from telling me when someone in the family has gone hunting in the past. If she was hunting, then why didn't he just say that?" she mused aloud.

Crap. Maybe that excuse hadn't been the best one to go with. "I dunno," Danielle said with a shrug. "He's just weird sometimes." And irrational, and overdramatic, and cold-hearted…but that was beside the point.

Bella snorted a little, her eyes widening. "Edward's weird alright," she said dryly. "He was acting weird last night after he took me home, and he was still being weird today at school."

Danielle pressed her lips together, not liking where the conversation was headed. "Yeah?"

Bella nodded. "He's upset about what happened. I know he is," she said with certainty. "I get it. He's always been protective, especially after what happened in Phoenix. But he's keeping it all in, and no matter what I do, he won't talk to me about it. I just wish he'd open up to me, you know?"

Danielle bit her tongue to keep from saying all the words that suddenly wanted to burst past her lips. He's more than just upset. He's going to break up with you. He's going to leave Forks. That's why he's being weird. He'll never open up to you about it because he's a stubborn ass and would rather you both suffer than actually find a way to work through this.

Not being able to tell the truth just made her resentment of Edward return in full swing.

"I'm sorry," Danielle said quietly. "I know it's hard." And it was only going to get harder, and knowing what was in store for her friend left her with a bitter taste in her mouth.

"Thanks," Bella said dully.

Their food finally arrived, but neither one of them really dug in. Bella pushed her food around on her plate, looking upset and preoccupied with thoughts of her boyfriend, while Danielle's guilt and anger had made her lose her appetite altogether. She found herself staring out the window, watching as cars drove past the diner, her food laying in front of her untouched. It was only when she felt a hand on her arm after a few minutes of silence that she looked at Bella, who was gazing back at her with worry in her brown eyes.

"Are you sure you're okay? You're being kind of…quiet," she said slowly.

Danielle knew she had stalled long enough. She had come with the intention of telling Bella that she and Jasper were leaving Forks, and it was time to stop beating around the bush and just do it.

"Actually…there's a reason I wanted to meet up," Danielle said slowly, sitting a little straighter. "There's something I need to tell you."

Bella, recognizing how serious the situation must be, slid her hand off of Danielle's arm and gave her an uncertain look. "What is it, Dani?"

Might as well be blunt about it, Danielle decided. "Jasper and I are leaving Forks."

Bella frowned questioningly. "What do you mean?"

Danielle sighed quietly. "What happened last night has been really rough on Jasper. He needs to get away from here, needs to get his head right and try to find confidence in himself again. So…we're leaving," she explained.

Bella's brows knitted together and she crossed her arms tightly across her chest as she sat back in her seat. "For how long?"

Danielle shrugged. "I don't know," she answered honestly. "But…I think we'll be gone for a while. A long while." Like maybe eighty years, she added in her head, thinking back to her conversation with Emmett.

Bella blinked a few times, then looked to the window. After a few moments she shook her head, and when she looked back to Danielle, her eyes were glossy with the beginnings of tears. "I'm so sorry," she said, her voice thick with emotion.

Danielle immediately frowned with confusion. "Why are you apologizing?"

"Because this is my fault," Bella said dejectedly.

"No, it's not," Danielle argued immediately.

"Yes, it is," Bella countered. "If I wasn't so careless, if I wasn't so clumsy, if I wasn't…if I wasn't…" She seemed to hesitate on the last word, as if she couldn't decide if she should say it or not.

"Human?" Danielle offered incredulously, knowing exactly what her friend was going to say. When Bella just looked at her with undeniable guilt, Danielle sighed and ran a tired hand over her face. "Don't blame yourself for this, Bella," she said with a shake of her head. "What happened was an accident. It's nobody's fault – not Jasper's, and not yours."

"But you're leaving," Bella said with distress. "And you're leaving because of me."

"Bella, this would have happened one way or another," Danielle told her. "I can't stay in Forks once I'm…turned," she reminded, glancing around to make sure nobody was eavesdropping on them. "Jasper and I were always gonna have to leave. We're just…leaving a little ahead of schedule, is all."

Bella leaned forward and grabbed one of Danielle's hands, and though there were still tears in her eyes, she was doing a good job of holding them back. "I don't want you to go, Dani," she whispered fiercely. "You or Jasper," she added.

Danielle squeezed her hand back. "I don't want us to go either, but we have to." Bella swallowed hard, then slowly nodded in understanding. "I'm sorry, Bella," Danielle finally said, letting her own guilt show. "I'm sorry I can't stay, that I can't be here with you." I'm sorry I can't protect you from what Edward is about to do, that I can't be there to pick you back up after you fall, she added in her head.

"You don't have to apologize to me," Bella said softly. "You're right to stay with Jasper." She paused, then gave her a hopeful look. "Will you come back to visit at least?"

Danielle smiled and nodded. "Of course. We still have a concert to go to in a few months, remember?" she said as chipperly as she could, though she wasn't even sure if they'd be able to go anymore.

Bella smiled back, but it didn't reach her eyes. She released Danielle's hand and sat back in her seat once again. "When are you leaving?"

"Day after tomorrow," Danielle answered.

Bella cringed. "That's like…really soon," she whispered, her shoulders sagging. She looked down at her lap for a second, before looking up at Danielle sharply, as if just remembering something. "Have you told Lynne?"

Danielle winced and shook her head. "No. I'm telling her tonight," she answered. "So if you could maybe keep this on the down low for now…" she said, giving her friend a pleading look.

Bella nodded immediately. "I won't say anything to anyone. I promise."

Bella's display of loyalty normally would have made her feel grateful, but in that moment, it just made her feel like a jerk. Bella was being so understanding about everything and was proving, yet again, to be such a good friend. And how was Danielle going to repay her? By lying about the fact that she and Jasper were not the only two in the Cullen clan that were leaving, and by standing by and just letting her friend's heart get ripped to shreds without doing anything about it.

Not for the first time, Danielle had to wrestle with her own feelings of self-loathing.

"What do the rest of the Cullen's think of you two leaving?" Bella asked next.

The question made nervousness jolt through Danielle's stomach. "They…don't want to see us go. But they understand our reasons for leaving," she answered with a nod, praying that Bella wouldn't pry further or think to ask if anyone else was leaving.

Bella nodded in understanding, then fell quiet for a few moments. Danielle held her breath, waiting to hear what Bella said next and hoping she wouldn't have to come up with anymore lies. Finally, Bella spoke. "I'm gonna miss you, you know."

Danielle let out the breath she'd been holding and did her best to not show how relieved she was that Bella had shifted the conversation back to safer waters. Her relief was short lived, though, replaced swiftly with guilt and uncertainty. Would Bella still miss her once she found out that she had been keeping secrets from her? That she had lied to her? Danielle wanted to believe that her friend would understand that she had been put in a tough position, but she honestly didn't know if she would see it that way. Bella would probably see it as a betrayal and never forgive her for it.

Hell, Danielle wouldn't have forgiven herself either, had the roles been reversed.

"I'm gonna miss you, too," Danielle said softly. "But I'll stay in touch. I promise." Assuming, of course, Bella still wanted to talk to her once it was all said and done.

"You better," Bella said. "Otherwise I'll come find you and beat you up," she threatened in an unconvincingly joking tone, a clear attempt to lighten the mood a little.

Danielle scoffed. "Get real, Bella. If you tried to beat me up, you'd probably just hurt yourself."

Bella laughed a little. "You're probably right."

Danielle smiled, then reached back across the table to touch her friend's arm. "But seriously…even though I'm leaving, I want you to know that no matter what, I'm always here for you. Even if I can't be here physically, I'm only a phone call away. So if you ever need me – for anything – just call, okay?"

Bella nodded in agreement. "I will."

"Good," Danielle said as she retracted her hand. "Now I've got the whole afternoon free, and you're the one I wanna spend it with. So how about we actually eat the food we're gonna have to pay for, then have one last adventure around Forks?"

Bella smiled and nodded in agreement. "Sounds great."


Danielle was nervous as hell.

Her afternoon with Bella had served as a nice, temporary distraction from her anxiety over her impending visit with her mother, but now that it was getting close to dinner time and her mother would soon be arriving, Danielle's nerves had returned with a vengeance.

She could not stop moving around the house as she waited for her mother to show up for dinner. She went to the oven to check the lasagna for about the twentieth time, then went to the dining room table to rearrange the napkins and placemats, which she had already done five times before. Danielle next went to the window to look for headlights, then, when she didn't see any, she went back into the kitchen to check the lasagna yet again.

Just as she closed the oven door, she noticed Jasper had come out of the bedroom and was looking at her with sympathy. "How are you, darlin'?" he asked, though the tone he used hinted he already knew the answer.

Danielle gave him a jittery smile and shrugged. "Well, we're about to tell my mother, who is extremely protective and whom I've never been away from for longer than two weeks, that we're moving out of Forks, and she's probably gonna blow a freaking gasket when we do," she said in a rush. "So yeah…I'm just peachy," she concluded with a sardonic smile.

Jasper looked at her for a moment, then came to stand beside her and grabbed her hand. "It's going to be alright, darlin'," he assured her, even though he had looked a little on edge himself ever since her mother had confirmed that she would come over for dinner.

"She's gonna be crushed, Jazz," Danielle said with a sigh. "And if she's not crushed, then she's gonna be pissed." Danielle shook her head. "Neither option is ideal."

Jasper sent a wave of calmness through her, which had the tension in her shoulders relaxing. "Either way, you're still her daughter and she still loves you. She will understand."

Danielle wasn't so convinced, but nodded anyway. "Guess we'll find out soon enough."

About ten minutes later, Jasper finally said that he could hear Lynne's car coming down the road. Danielle, heart jumping up into her throat, fidgeted on the spot and shook out her hands, trying to ignore how sweaty her palms suddenly felt. Jasper made her feel calm once again, which she was extremely grateful for, before gently nudging her toward the door when they saw Lynne's car pulling into the driveway. Danielle went to the door to wait, sucked in a few deep breaths, then opened the door before her mother even had the chance to knock.

Lynne seemed a little surprised that Danielle had appeared so suddenly, but quickly recovered and smiled warmly. "Well, hello," she greeted. "Excited to see me or something?"

Danielle struggled to respond for a moment, because it was in that moment that it really hit her. She would be moving away from her mother for the very first time. Sure, she had lived with the Cullen's when they had been arguing prior to the wedding, and yes, she lived with Jasper now, but at least Lynne was still close by, and they still saw each other all the time.

With this move, however, she and her mother were going to be separated by states, perhaps even countries. When would she have the chance to come back to Forks next? When would she get to see her mother next? She honestly didn't know, and the realization of that had Danielle fighting down a sudden surge of emotion.

When Lynne tilted her head and frowned uncertainly, Danielle realized she was still waiting for a response. She forced herself to pull it together, then plastered on a smile. "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you," she said. "I just…saw you pull into the driveway and thought I'd meet you at the door."

Lynne eyed her with a quirked brow, and though Danielle could tell her mother thought something was off, she didn't press the issue. "Okay then," she said, before smiling and stepping close to hug her. "Thanks for inviting me over. You, me, and Jasper are long overdue to have some quality time together."

Danielle hugged her mother tightly, inhaling the familiar scent of her shampoo and perfume. She squeezed Lynne for good measure, then finally, reluctantly, released her. "Which is exactly why we invited you over," she said, even though there were definitely other reasons for having her mother come for dinner. "Come inside, it's getting cold out," Danielle then insisted, ushering Lynne through the doorway.

Lynne stepped inside, her eyes almost immediately landing on Jasper. "Hi, Jasper!" she said with a big smile, moving to hug him.

Jasper returned the embrace, shooting a look at Danielle over her mother's shoulder. "It's very good to see you, Lynne," he said as they parted again. "I trust you're doing well?"

"Yeah, I'm great. Thanks for asking." Lynne looked to the kitchen and sniffed the air. "Wow, it smells great in here! Did you make lasagna?" she asked Danielle.

Danielle shrugged. "If by make you mean throw a frozen lasagna into the oven, then yes," she said, which made Lynne laugh. At least she was in a good mood. Maybe that would make things a little less terrifying…maybe.

"Well, then this will go perfect with dinner," Lynne said, producing a bottle of wine from her purse.

Danielle was actually glad to see the wine – maybe if her mother had some wine in her system, she would take the news a little better…though that was probably just wishful thinking. "Awesome," Danielle said, wanting to keep her mother's spirits high. "I'll pour you a glass."

Lynne and Jasper followed her to the kitchen, both of them watching as Danielle opened the bottle and poured a hearty glass. "Thank you," Lynne said as she accepted the glass from her. "You can pour a little for yourself, too," she said with a wink. "I won't tell Charlie."

Danielle immediately shook her head. "I'm good," she said. She wanted to have a perfectly clear head when she broke the news.

"Why don't you come and get comfortable?" Jasper suggested to Lynne, motioning for her to sit on the couch. "I'd like to hear how business at the bookshop is going."

While Jasper and Lynne settled on the couch and talked, Danielle finished making dinner. She prepared a quick salad, then took both the salad and the wine to the dining room table, before going back to the kitchen to throw some garlic bread into the oven once the lasagna had about ten minutes left. All the while, Jasper kept her mother talking and laughing, and Danielle would bet everything she owned he was using his power to keep Lynne in an exceptionally happy mood.

Bless him. She never would have been able to do this without him.

When the lasagna and bread was ready, Danielle took the food to the table and then called Jasper and her mother over to start eating. After everyone had a plate of food and Lynne's wine had been refilled, they settled in to eat.

At first, they kept the conversation light and casual, making small talk about the goings on in town and such. Every so often, Danielle noticed Jasper sending her discreet, questioning looks, as though he was silently asking when they were finally going to break the news. Danielle had no idea how to approach the topic, though, so she kept stalling, just waiting for the right moment to finally tell Lynne what was going on.

"So," Lynne said, taking a sip of wine and then setting her glass back down. "I hear Bella had quite the birthday party last night."

Danielle immediately shot a slightly alarmed look at Jasper. Though Lynne had absolutely no idea what had really gone down at Bella's birthday party, just her mentioning it brought back a rush of memories from the night before, none of which were very good. "Uh, yeah," Danielle said, clearing her throat as she looked to her mother. "It was something alright."

Lynne, thankfully, didn't seem to notice Danielle's delayed reaction, which Danielle could only assume was thanks to the wine she had drunk. "Charlie said Bella's not really a fan of birthday parties. I'm sure she wasn't over the moon about the fact that y'all insisted on throwing her a big shindig," she said with a laugh.

"She definitely wasn't thrilled," Danielle confirmed.

Lynne smiled and shrugged. "Well, even if she didn't want a party, I'm sure she still had fun in the end."

Danielle shared another brief look with Jasper, before pressing her lips together tightly and nodding. "Yeah, she did," she lied, because nobody had had fun in the end.

When they all finished dinner a short while later, Danielle started to get up to collect the plates. Jasper, however, beat her to it and grabbed the plates himself. When he came to Danielle's side, he gave her a look that plainly said that it was time to tell Lynne why they had really invited her over. Danielle sighed and gave him a discreet nod, watching as he walked into the kitchen.

A touch on her hand made her look back to her mother. Lynne glanced in the direction Jasper had gone, before raising her brows questioningly, her expression more serious than it had been all evening long. "Is everything alright?" she asked quietly. "You and Jasper seem a little…tense tonight."

So Lynne had picked up on the fact that things were not all sunshine and rainbows, after all. Danielle sighed a little, then placed a hand over her mother's. "Actually, mom…there's a reason we had you come over tonight," she admitted.

Lynne sat straighter, her brows furrowing unsurely. "Is there something going on?" she asked apprehensively.

Before Danielle said anything, she knew she wanted Jasper to be there, too. "Jasper? Can you come back in here?" she called to him.

Jasper reappeared a few moments later and eased into the seat next to Danielle, rather than the seat across from her, which was where he had sat during dinner. Danielle immediately laced her fingers with Jasper's, feeling comforted by his reassuring touch. "Mom, there's something we need to tell you," Danielle said.

Lynne looked back and forth between them. "Oh my God. You're pregnant, aren't you?" she asked, almost sounding afraid to know the answer.

Danielle blinked, then almost laughed at the ridiculous suggestion. Not only was she one hundred percent certain that she and Jasper couldn't even have children, considering he was a vampire and, to their best knowledge, couldn't reproduce, but it seemed her mother always jumped to that conclusion first whenever they had something important to tell her.

"No. I'm not pregnant," Danielle said calmly.

Lynne relaxed a little, but her expression was still uneasy. "What's going on then?"

Danielle looked at Jasper, who nodded in encouragement, before looking back to her mother. "Jasper and I are leaving Forks for a while," she finally revealed.

Lynne blinked, then slumped in her seat in what seemed like relief and let out a small laugh, which had Danielle frowning with confusion. She had been bracing herself for several possible reactions from her mother – tears, anger, maybe some shouting, maybe even some pleading for them to not go. But laughter? That was definitely a curve ball.

"Goodness gracious, Dani. You scared me," Lynne said, still laughing a little. "That's a lot of suspense to build up just to tell me you and Jasper are taking another vacation."

Ah. Now she understood why Lynne had reacted like that – she had misunderstood what Danielle was trying to say. "No, mom, we're not taking a vacation," she corrected, which made Lynne immediately stop laughing. "We're moving away from Forks."

Lynne's expression quickly turned to one of shock, which was more along the line of what Danielle had been anticipating. She gaped at them for a few beats of silence, her eyes bouncing back and forth between them, before she finally shook herself from her momentary stupor. "Wait…what?"

"My father was recently offered a job at another hospital out of state," Jasper jumped in. "It is a very prestigious position, and he simply could not turn it down. As it so happens, the city my parents are moving to isn't far from where Emmett and Rosalie are going to college. We discussed it as a family, and since there is a chance for all of us to stay close together, Danielle and I have decided to go with them."

This was the story that they had decided to go with when they had discussed how to break the news to Lynne. It was indeed true that Carlisle had accepted a job out of state, and as far as everyone else in Forks knew, Emmett and Rosalie were going to college on the east coast, so it worked well with that cover story. Their hope was that if Lynne thought they were moving to stick close to the family, rather than going off on their own, that she might be a little more understanding, and, therefore, more accepting.

Currently, however, Lynne didn't seem to really understand anything. She was still gaping at them, looking more confused by the second. "Where is this job?"

Danielle cringed a little, before saying, "New York."

Lynne's eyes grew almost as wide as the plates they had eaten their dinner on. "New York?" she repeated incredulously. "That's on the other side of the country, Danielle."

"I'm aware," Danielle said with a sigh.

Lynne pinched the bridge of her nose as she took a moment to process everything. "I don't get it," she finally said. "If Carlisle got a new job, why do you two have to go?" she demanded. "This doesn't make any sense. I mean, you just built this house for you and Dani to live in," she pointed out to Jasper. "I know you're close with your parents, but wouldn't you two rather stay here, where you can enjoy your new marriage without being surrounded by your family all the time?"

"Trust me, we were just as surprised as you are when Carlisle told us the news. We're not excited about leaving this house, or leaving Forks," Danielle said honestly. "But…at the end of the day, going with Jasper's family is what's best for us right now."

Lynne's expression was starting to show mild traces of anger. "How so?" she asked gruffly. "How is jetting off to the other side of the country what's best for you?"

Danielle started to speak up, but Jasper silenced her with a gentle hand on her knee. "Lynne, I'm not sure how much Danielle has told you about my history," he said slowly. "But before Carlisle and Esme adopted me, I was…not in a good situation. I had a very difficult upbringing, and if it weren't for Carlisle and Esme taking me in, I can assure you that I would not be where I am today," he explained with a firm nod. "The truth is that my parents are crucial to my well-being, and being separated from them would be…incredibly difficult for me. You may think me selfish for taking Danielle away so that we can be with them, and I completely understand that. It is selfish of me. But know that I would not have asked her to leave if I had not thought it was what needed to happen," he finished gently.

Once again, the things Jasper had said were the truth. Carlisle and Esme were extremely important to him, and being away from them was going to be difficult for him. But Carlisle and Esme were not the only people he looked to for support anymore. Danielle was his support now, too, which why he felt confident enough to leave his family so they could try to be on their own for a while.

Danielle squeezed Jasper's hand and gave him an encouraging smile, before looking back to her mother to see how she was processing what Jasper had told her. Lynne looked at Jasper for a long moment, before her shoulders slumped in what seemed like defeat.

"I suppose I understand that," she said, albeit reluctantly so.

Lynne sighed heavily and leaned her elbows on the table, her face sinking into her hands for a few breaths. Danielle shared a quick look with Jasper, then turned her eyes back to her mother when she lifted her head to look at them again. Danielle could see that her eyes were already starting to get glossy.

"So when are you leaving?" she asked.

"Jasper and I will be leaving the day after tomorrow," Danielle revealed.

Lynne's eyes bulged. "That soon?"

After Danielle and Jasper nodded in confirmation, Lynne immediately grabbed for her wine and took two large gulps. She then looked at Danielle, as if she had just realized something.

"This is what was bothering you at work the other day, isn't it?" Lynne asked knowingly.

Danielle didn't know what her mother was talking about for a second, but then she remembered. Lynne was referring to Sunday, when Danielle had called that meeting with the Cullen's to reveal that she wanted to become a vampire. She had spent most of her work shift fretting over the upcoming meeting with her in-laws, which her mother had definitely noticed. Though Lynne couldn't know what the real source for her anxiousness had been, this was a good excuse, so Danielle decided to roll with it.

"Yeah," Danielle fibbed with a nod. "We didn't know for sure if we were gonna move yet, but we were talking about it. I didn't wanna say anything to you until we had decided what to do."

It was a convincing lie, so much so that Lynne immediately frowned with anger. "So you waited until now to tell me? When you're only going to be here for one more day?"

Danielle pressed her lips together. She had known her mother might be angry, but that didn't make facing it any easier. "I should have told you sooner," she admitted. "I just didn't know how to tell you."

Lynne sighed loudly and shook her head, before abruptly standing up. She looked at them for a moment, before she finally held her hands up and stepped away from the table. "I need some fresh air," she announced.

Her mother started to leave, but then turned back around to grab both her wine glass and the bottle of wine. Then, without another word or look toward them, she made her way to the front door and stepped out onto the porch, closing the door loudly behind her.

Once it was just her and Jasper, Danielle released a long, heavy breath and dropped her head down onto the table with a thump. "Well, this sucks," she muttered.

Jasper immediately rubbed her back, his cold, firm fingers massaging away some of the stress knots that had formed in her shoulders. "Honestly, I expected worse," he confessed.

Danielle lifted her head to glance at the front door, then turned a wary look on Jasper. "What's she doing?" she asked.

"It sounds like she just poured a very large glass of wine," he said, before frowning. "And she's crying."

Danielle sighed and rubbed her face. She hated it when her mother cried, and she hated it even more when she was the cause of her tears. As much as she had worried that her mother would be angry, if it came down to shouting from anger or crying from sadness, Danielle would much rather deal with the shouting.

She gave it a few minutes, then looked at the door again. "I should go talk to her," Danielle said. "Alone," she added gently.

Jasper nodded in agreement and gave her an encouraging smile.

Danielle stood, kissed him on the temple, then went to the front door. She sucked in a deep breath, then slowly opened the door, eyeing her mother carefully as she stepped out onto the porch and quietly shut the door behind her. Lynne was sitting in one of the rocking chairs, the wine bottle sitting by her feet, clutching her now very full wine glass in her hand. She wasn't sobbing or beside herself with emotion, but there were obvious tear tracks on her cheeks, which she wiped away with a sniffle.

Danielle walked closer, her hands wringing together. "May I join you?"

Lynne just nodded, her eyes turning elsewhere.

Danielle eased into the other rocking chair, and though she tried to catch her mother's eye, the woman wouldn't look at her. Finally, Danielle looked to the front yard, her gaze drawn to the flowers that Esme had planted when the Cullen's had been building the house.

"I'm sorry," Danielle said softly. "I know this is hard for you. It's hard for me, too."

"Then don't leave," Lynne immediately countered, finally looking at her with red, glossy eyes.

Danielle gave her a sad smile and shrugged. "It's not that easy, Mom," she said regretfully. "Leaving Forks…it's what we have to do."

"You mean what Jasper has to do," Lynne corrected.

God, her mother had no idea how right she was. Danielle nodded, seeing no point in denying it. "Yes," she said. "And he's my husband, and this is important, so even though I don't want to leave, I'm doing it for him. Because sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the people that you love."

Lynne looked at her for a long moment, then turned her eyes forward again as she took a drink of wine. "Trust me, I know all about making sacrifices," she said quietly.

Danielle smiled sadly as she thought about all the sacrifices her mother had made to ensure her happiness over the years. "I know."

There were a few beats of silence between them, before Lynne sighed heavily and shook her head. "I'm sorry I'm being like this," she said. "It's just…so sudden."

"I know it is," Danielle said understandingly. "And you don't have to apologize. You have every right to be mad."

Lynne turned a sad smile on her. "I'm not mad, Dani," she said, before taking a deep breath, her eyes filling with tears again. "You're my baby girl, you know? I know you're grown up and married and living your life, and trust me – I'm happy that you're doing so well. But not having you in the house anymore is still hard for me. I take great comfort knowing you're just a short drive away and that I'll see you walking through the door at the bookshop four times a week." Lynne sighed shakily, her bottom lip trembling a little. "Now you're gonna be all the way in New York. How long will you even be gone for?"

"I don't know," Danielle admitted.

Lynne shook her head. "I'm not thrilled about this, Dani."

Danielle nodded and sunk back in her chair. "I know, and I'm not either," she said honestly. "I'm just…trying to think of this as our next adventure," she said with forced optimism. "I've always wanted to get out and see the world. And you know Jasper and I were toying around with the idea of getting out of Forks for a while before we start college next year."

"Well, yeah. But that was supposed to be temporary," Lynne pointed out. "Taking a couple trips is very different from moving."

Danielle sighed. "I know."

Lynne stared at her for a long moment, then shook her head. "What am I gonna do without you?" she asked, the heartbreak in her voice wrenching Danielle's heart.

Danielle tried to fight back the tears she felt starting to prickle at her eyes. "You'll be alright," she said, trying to convince both her mother and herself. "The bookshop will keep you busy, and you'll have Charlie to keep you company. You'll hardly notice I'm gone."

Lynne snorted into her wine. "Yeah right," she said sarcastically.

Danielle smiled. "I'll come back to visit," she promised. "I can come whenever you want me to."

"So every weekend then?" Lynne quickly proposed.

Danielle laughed gently. "I think flying across the country every weekend is a little excessive…and expensive."

"Jasper's parents are loaded. They can manage," Lynne countered with a flippant wave of her hand.

"You're not wrong," Danielle admitted. "How about we shoot for once a month?" she proposed, though even that sounded ambitious, since she honestly had no idea what she and Jasper would be in store for when they left Forks.

Lynne winced. "Sounds terrible," she said. "But…okay. Let's shoot for that."

Danielle nodded, then gave Lynne a curious look. "I have to say…you're kind of taking this better than I thought you would," she commented. "Aren't you supposed to be yelling and shouting and listing off all the reasons why we shouldn't leave?"

"Do you want me to do that?" Lynne asked with an arched brow.

Danielle shook her head immediately. "No. I guess…I just expected more of a fight, is all."

Lynne shrugged, then took a drink of wine. "We've gone down that road before, remember? And it didn't really work out all that well," she said, clearly referring to the messy fight they'd had following the revelation of Danielle and Jasper's engagement. "Look, you're a grown, married woman now, and as much as I love you and want to protect you, it's not my job to make decisions for you anymore. If this is what you and Jasper feel like you need to do, then…I'll find a way to cope," she said with a nod. Lynne then reached over to grab her hand and squeeze it tightly. "I'm gonna miss you, though," she said, her voice thick with emotion as a tear rolled down her cheek. "God, I'm gonna miss you so much."

Danielle finally let a few of her own tears fall as she squeezed Lynne's hand back. "I'm gonna miss you, too."

Lynne set her wine down, then, at the same time, they stood to hug each other tightly. Lynne started crying again, and that was all it took to get Danielle going. She clutched her mother tightly, crying quietly as she rested her chin on Lynne's shoulder and tried to not wonder how many hugs she had left before she was turned and everything changed.

"You better call me every day," Lynne demanded. "If you don't, I'm gonna fly to New York and chew you out in person."

"I will. I promise," Danielle said.

Lynne pulled back far enough to wag a threatening finger. "And you and Jasper better not start popping out babies while you're gone. I want you two here when that happens, so I can spoil my grandchildren rotten, understood?"

Danielle laughed and shook her head. "Trust me, there won't be any babies in the near future." Or in the distant future, she added in her head.

Lynne nodded. "Good." She hugged Danielle tightly once more, before finally releasing her. "So we've got one more day together?" Danielle nodded. "Then we better make the most of it," Lynne said with a forced smile. "How about you stay with me tonight? It'll be like the good old days."

Danielle immediately nodded in agreement. "Definitely. Then we can spend tomorrow together. I don't even care if we just end up sitting on the couch all day. I just wanna hang out with you before we go."

Lynne laughed, though despite her amusement, the sadness in her eyes never fully faded away. "Sounds great." She wiped the tears from her face and took a deep breath to collect herself. "I should probably go say my goodbye's to the family while we're here," she said, looking in the direction of the now vacant Cullen house.

Danielle cringed a little. "Actually…Carlisle, Esme, and Alice already left."

Lynne blinked. "Really?"

Danielle nodded. "Only Edward stayed back to say his goodbye's to Bella, and Jasper and I stayed so I could have a little more time with you."

Lynne looked a little hurt, which was understandable – she had grown close with the Cullen's, especially Esme, whom she considered a good friend. "But they didn't even say goodbye."

Danielle frowned. "It's nothing personal. I think it was just…too hard for them," she quickly excused. "They did write a letter to you, though. I have it waiting for you inside."

Lynne nodded slowly, looking a little less wounded now that she knew the Cullen's had at least written her a letter. "Oh, that's nice." She then glanced toward the window, where they could see Jasper waiting patiently inside. "We should probably get back in there," she suggested. "Jasper looked like he was gonna wet himself when you guys broke the news. I don't want him to think I hate him for stealing you away again," she said with a halfhearted smile.

Danielle nodded. "Good idea."

They started to go back inside, but when Danielle remembered something, she stopped her mother with a gentle hand on her arm.

"Oh, and Mom? I need a favor from you," she said carefully.

Lynne frowned questioningly. "What is it?"

"Bella knows Jasper and I are leaving, but she doesn't know the rest of the Cullen's are gone yet…or that Edward is leaving," Danielle explained. "This is probably crappy of me to ask, but…could you not say anything about this to her? Or even to Charlie," she added, knowing that if Lynne said anything to Charlie, then he would definitely tell Bella.

Lynne frowned. "You want me to keep secrets from the man I'm dating and his daughter?" she asked, not sounding fond of the request.

Danielle shrugged guiltily. "It's just that Edward wants to be the one to tell her," she said. "She should hear about this from him, not anyone else. You know?"

Lynne thought about it, then sighed. "Yeah. I guess you're right," she admitted. "Okay. I won't say anything."

"Thanks, Mom," Danielle said, despite feeling awful for turning her mother into an inadvertent accomplice.

Lynne just nodded, then grabbed Danielle's hand and led her to the door. "Now let's tell Jasper I'm not going to murder him, then let's go back home," she said quickly. "And you better believe we're bringing that wine with us," she added matter-of-factly.

Danielle just laughed as she followed her back inside.


Considering how late she and her mother had stayed up the night before, Danielle woke far earlier than she would have anticipated the next morning.

Just past seven in the morning, her eyes popped open as if she had never slept at all, and all too soon the realization of what day it was set in, making her instantly feel heavy with sadness. She sighed and turned onto her back, her eyes habitually turning up to the glow-in-the-dark stars she had often stared at when she had still called this house her home, a frown pulling at her lips.

One last day. One last day in Forks, one last day with her mother, then she and Jasper were gone.

Danielle stared at the stars for a few more minutes, then blindly reached for her phone on the nightstand to call Jasper.

"You're up earlier than expected, darlin'," Jasper greeted as he answered on the first ring.

"Yeah, hard to sleep knowing what today is," Danielle countered with another sigh.

Jasper made a sound of sympathy. "Did you have a good night with your mother at least?" he asked.

"Yeah, it was good," Danielle said with a nod. "We stayed up late, watched some movies, talked a lot. Oh, and mom got super sloshed on wine, so I'm sure she's gonna be feeling it today," she revealed, a smirk finally pulling at her lips. "It was fun, even if I did have to put her to bed because she was too tipsy to do it herself."

Jasper chuckled, and the sound of it eased some of her nerves. "I'm glad you two had a good time," he said. "Any plans for today?"

"I think we're just gonna hang out some more, try to make the most of it while we can," Danielle said as she stretched her limbs to wake her body up a little more.

"Sounds like a good plan."

Danielle finally got out of bed and went to the window to look outside, pushing the curtains out of the way. There was a light on in Bella's window, and she could see the silhouette of her friend as she undoubtedly got ready for school. A frown immediately pulled at her lips again as she let the curtain fall back into place.

"When is Edward going to talk to Bella?" she asked.

"After school today," Jasper revealed, sounding a little somber now.

Danielle swallowed past the lump that had formed in her throat, an uncomfortable feeling filling her belly. "Okay." She sighed and rubbed her face, then turned away from the window. "Well, I'm gonna go make breakfast and coffee for mom. Lord knows she's gonna need it to feel like a normal human today," she said. "Are you game to force down one more dinner with my mom tonight?"

"Of course," Jasper readily agreed.

"Cool. I'll let you know when to come by."

"Alright." Jasper paused, then spoke again. "I know you are worried about Bella, but…try to have fun with your mother today, alright?" he encouraged gently.

Danielle closed her eyes and nodded, trying to ignore the sick feeling that kept persisting in her stomach. "I will."

"Good. I love you, darlin'."

"I love you, too."

After she got off the phone with Jasper, she went downstairs. Unsurprisingly, her mother, who was normally an early bird, was still snoring away in her room when Danielle checked on her, still sleeping off the effects of the wine. Danielle left her to her sleep and went to the kitchen to get started on breakfast.

She cooked up some bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns, then made a large, very strong pot of coffee. With the food covered to await the arrival of her mother and with the coffee bubbling away, Danielle slipped on some shoes and went outside to get the morning paper from the driveway, knowing her mother liked to read it while she ate her breakfast. It wasn't raining, thankfully, but it was gloomy and overcast as usual, and when she located the paper in the driveway, it was already damp from the moisture in the air.

Danielle picked it up and started to turn back to the house, but froze when the door to the Swan house suddenly opened and Bella walked outside. Her friend was obviously on her way to school, and she didn't seem to have noticed that Danielle was in her mother's driveway. The girl was too busy frowning down at the ground as she walked to her truck, wearing a brooding expression on her face that would have given Edward's a run for his money.

Danielle stared at her friend, her stomach flipping unpleasantly. By the end of the day, Edward would be gone and Bella would be heartbroken, and there was nothing she could do to stop it from happening.

Bella suddenly looked up and spotted her standing in her mother's driveway, as if she had sensed someone watching her. She seemed surprised at first, then she offered a small, slightly sad smile. Bella changed directions, walking toward Danielle instead of her truck. Danielle went to meet her in the street.

"Hey," Bella greeted quietly.

"Hey," Danielle said back with a half-hearted smile.

Bella glanced toward the house, then gave her a questioning look. "How'd it go?"

"Better than I expected," Danielle answered with a nod. "She's not jumping for joy, but…she's not fighting me about it either."

"That's good," Bella said with a small smile. "I'm glad she didn't freak out in like she did when you and Jasper got engaged."

"You and me both," Danielle said with a force laugh.

Bella hesitated for a second, looking as though she had about a dozen things she wanted to say. In the end, she seemed to decide against it and jabbed a thumb in the direction of her truck. "I've gotta get to school," she said. "Any chance we can hang out later? Charlie's working late tonight, so maybe I can come over and we can do one last dinner with your mom before you and Jasper head out?"

Danielle shrugged unsurely. "Actually, my mom wanted to have me and Jasper over for one more dinner tonight," she said, knowing already that Jasper probably wouldn't be comfortable seeing Bella so soon. And considering what Bella's day had in store for her, Danielle honestly wasn't so sure her friend would even want to see her come dinner time.

Bella must have picked up on what Danielle was trying to subtly hint. "Probably better for me to keep my distance then," she said carefully. "I don't want to make it weird for Jasper."

Danielle frowned apologetically. "I'm sorry, Bella. It's nothing personal."

Bella waved the apology away. "No worries. I get it," she reassured. "You'll say goodbye before you leave, though, right?"

Danielle nodded. "Absolutely."

"Good," Bella said with a smile. "I'll see you later."

Bella then turned and started back toward her truck. Before the girl could get far, however, Danielle grabbed the sleeve of her jacket to stop her. "Bella?"

Bella looked at her questioningly, and without warning, Danielle pulled her into a fierce hug. Bella seemed surprised at first, but then hugged her back. When they separated a few moments later, Bella was looking at her with raised eyebrows, clearly wanting to know what had prompted the hug.

"Have a good day today, okay?" Danielle said lamely, knowing her behavior was odd but unable to help herself.

"Oookay," Bella said slowly. "Thanks."

Bella finally went to her truck, started up the loud engine, and waved as she drove off. Danielle waved in return, then crossed her arms over her chest, watching the truck drive away until it finally disappeared from sight.

Despite her every attempt to only focus on her mother and enjoy her rapidly dwindling time with her, it was literally impossible not to worry about Bella as the day seemed to pass by faster than usual.

Once her mother had showered and gotten some food and coffee in her system, she was feeling human enough to take on the day. They picked up another round of coffee from the café in Forks, then headed to Port Angeles for the day, where Lynne treated her to lunch, a surprisingly fun game of minigolf, and took her to several stores, where she bought a couple of cute decorations for wherever Danielle and Jasper lived next. As nice as it was to spend so much one on one time with her mother, she couldn't fully enjoy herself while thoughts of Bella kept creeping into her mind.

The dread only worsened when they finally made their way back to Forks around four o'clock.

School was well past done for the day, Danielle knew that for a fact, which meant that Edward had to have broken up with Bella by now. As they turned onto her mother's street, Danielle checked her phone yet again, but there were no messages from Bella. She sighed involuntarily and fidgeted in her seat, anxious to get back home so she could check on her friend, but also afraid of whatever she might face whenever she did see Bella again.

"Are you doing the pee-pee dance or something?" Lynne suddenly blurted out, giving Danielle an odd look. "You've been fidgety the whole drive."

"I know," Danielle said, before sighing heavily. "It's just…Edward was telling Bella he was leaving after school, and I know she's gonna be devastated. I'm really worried for her."

Lynne sighed and shrugged. "Well, the situation certainly isn't great. But Bella and Edward are crazy about each other. I'm sure they'll figure out how to make long distance work," she said optimistically.

Danielle looked over at Lynne with a frown. "That's the thing, Mom. Edward doesn't want to do long distance," she revealed.

Lynne's eyes widened with realization. "Are you telling me that he's moving and breaking up with her all at the same time?" Lynne asked, the volume of her voice raising some. After Danielle nodded in confirmation, Lynne scoffed. "Seems a little heartless. I mean, he couldn't have given her a little more warning?" she asked incredulously.

Danielle did her best to suppress a scowl. "That's what I said when I found out. Edward had his own plans though."

"Well, pardon my French, but what a little shit," Lynne said with a shake of her head.

"My sentiments exactly," Danielle agreed.

They had reached her mother's house by now, and when Danielle saw Bella's truck parked across the street, her heart skipped a beat. She practically pressed her nose to the glass as she stared intently at the Swan house. Edward's car was nowhere in sight, nor did she see Bella or Edward anywhere. She could not see any movement in the house, either, despite the fact that most of the curtains were open.

As soon as her mother parked in the driveway, Danielle got out of the car and started toward the Swan house. "I'll be right back. I'm gonna check on Bella."

After Lynne nodded, Danielle hurried across the street. She bypassed Bella's truck and jogged up to the front door, where she knocked loudly. When a few moments passed without any response, she rang the doorbell and knocked again. When there was still no response, she stepped off the doorstep so that she could peer up at Bella's bedroom window.

"Bella?" she called. "Are you in there?"

No answer.

Danielle's shoulders sagged. Maybe Bella wasn't there, she decided. Maybe she had gone somewhere else.

A glance toward her friend's truck, however, left her with some nagging doubts. Where could Bella have gone without her truck? Surely she wasn't still with Edward somewhere. Surely he wouldn't have dragged out the break up for this long, right? She glanced at the window again, thinking it possible that maybe Bella was there, only she just didn't want to talk. If it had been her that had just gotten her heart broken, she probably wouldn't have wanted to talk to anyone, either.

Though her instincts told her not to, Danielle decided to leave. If Bella wasn't there, then there was no use loitering around outside an empty house. And if she was there and just didn't want to talk, then it would be wise to respect her decision and just leave her be.

Danielle pulled out her phone and typed out a quick text message – Bella, I'm here if you need to talk.

Then she reluctantly went back to her mother's house.

There was no response from Bella. Not in the next hour, or the one after that. There was no movement at the Swan house, either. Danielle checked the window several times, looking for any sign of her friend, but so far there had been nothing. That nagging feeling in her gut kept telling her that something was wrong, but Danielle tried to ignore it. Of course something was wrong – Bella had just been dumped by the guy she loved. She probably just wanted to be left alone, and that was completely understandable.

As much as she rationalized the situation, however, she was still worried. And there was no hiding that from Jasper when he showed up for dinner around seven o'clock.

"What's wrong?" he asked as soon as she opened the door to let him in, his brows creasing with concern as he picked up on her anxiety.

"I haven't heard anything from Bella since this morning," Danielle told him, casting another frown toward the Swan house. "I tried knocking, I tried texting, but I've gotten nothing." She looked at him questioningly. "Is she home?"

Jasper glanced toward the house, seemed to listen out for a second, then shook his head. "The house is empty."

Danielle frowned deeper, that nagging feeling returning in full swing. "But her truck is there. Where would she have gone?"

"Would she have gone somewhere with Angela, or maybe Jessica?" he suggested. "Perhaps she was upset and called one of them to pick her up?"

Danielle thought about it, then shrugged a shoulder. "Maybe." It seemed like a reasonable enough scenario, but she wasn't entirely convinced.

Jasper reached for her hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "I know you are worried, but give it some time. She is probably very upset. She will reach out when she is ready."

Danielle sighed and nodded. "Alright," she agreed hesitantly.

Jasper came inside, and they sat down to have dinner with Lynne one last time. It was hard to focus on the conversation around her, however, when the only thing she could seem to think about was Bella. The sun eventually disappeared and night set in, and still there was no word from Bella. There were no lights on in the Swan house, either, which Danielle noticed with a distinct jolt of worry toward the end of their dinner. The feeling did not go unnoticed by Jasper, who discreetly squeezed her hand and sent a comforting feeling through her.

After dinner had been eaten and the kitchen cleaned up, Danielle, Jasper, and her mother retreated into the living room for some late night coffee and dessert. From that room of the house, it was impossible to see the Swan house through the windows, so Danielle was no longer able to stare through the front windows, desperate for any sort of development or news.

Just past nine o'clock, as they were finishing the last of their coffee and cake, Danielle saw something change in Jasper's demeanor. It was a shift that would have been imperceptible to most people, but Danielle knew her husband like the back of her hand, and spotted it right away. While Lynne talked about some vacation she and Danielle had taken years ago, Danielle noticed that Jasper's eyebrows had creased the tiniest fraction and that his lips turned downward in the barest hint of a frown, his eyes cutting briefly toward the front of the house.

When Lynne paused to finish her coffee, Danielle caught his eye and gave him a questioning look. Jasper leaned closer and whispered one word for only her ears to hear.

"Charlie."

Danielle frowned unsurely. The last she had seen, Charlie hadn't been home, but they had been in the living room for a while, so it was definitely possible he could have come home a while ago and she wouldn't have noticed. But why was Jasper bothered about something to do with Charlie?

She got her answer about two minutes later.

Out of nowhere, an urgent knock sounded on the front door. All three of them looked that way, before sharing looks with each other.

"Who could that be?" Lynne asked as she got up to answer the door.

Danielle shared another look with Jasper, then they moved to follow her, eager to find out what was going on. When Lynne opened the door, however, Danielle and Jasper both stopped dead in their tracks.

Charlie looked panicked.

Charlie looked scared.

"Charlie?" Lynne asked, looking worried. "What's wrong?"

"It's Bella," he said, his eyes wild. "She's missing."


I so did not want to end the chapter this way, but to do the next part justice, I had to move it to the next chapter! Sorry for the cliffhanger!

I'd like to take a moment to talk about something here, now that it's been brought up in this chapter. I know some of you have been wondering if Dani and Jasper will have a child. It hasn't really been addressed in the story, because as you can now see, Dani and Jasper both firmly believe that it's not a possibility for them to have kids (Edward didn't think he could have a child with Bella, so I figured it safe to assume that none of the Cullen's believe it's a possibility). I'm not going to say what will happen (because who likes spoilers?), but know that this is something that will pop up on Dani's radar in the coming chapters.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and I'll see you at the next chapter.

Coming up next – We see the aftermath of Bella and Edward's breakup, the awkward encounter I originally planned for actually happens, and our main couple start their little adventure, but there's a little trouble in paradise.