"This is not something that I think I can overcome," she whispered, hating herself for saying it but knowing that she had to. Because she was telling him the truth. Just as he had stood there in the forest and told her the truth – what he said was the truth anyway – so she now needed to tell him. She scrunched her eyes tight, seeing the look on that perfect face the day that he le-
That he had le -

Dazed, she swayed on the spot, unable to comprehend what had been said to her. What Edward had said, just moments ago, before he had….stepped away for a moment. She couldn't bring herself to say what he had done; perhaps if she didn't say the words, it would not have happened. This could all be a mistake – a bad joke perhaps, and at any moment now, Emmett would burst into the forest, laughing at the expression on her face. She looked around blindly for Edward's bear-like brother, expecting him to come crashing out of the undergrowth and whooping with laughter at this oh-so-funny joke, his other brother Jasper chuckling as he followed them. But there was only silence.

She noticed in a disinterested way that the light was dimming. Unable to process why, she cast about once more for Edward's marble-perfect form, which was surely waiting to extend a hand to her and to walk her home safely. To come into the house that she shared with Charlie (Dad, I must remember to call him Dad, she reminded herself) where she would cook dinner whilst he watched, laughing over something Emmett had said, or idly chat about the latest book Bella was reading. Once he had officially "left" for the evening, she would race upstairs to her bedroom, where he would be waiting for her once again. Waiting. Yes, he would be waiting for her. He always was. Why would today be any different?

Frowning, she considered this as she measured her current circumstances. She was standing in the forest and it was starting to get cold and she longed for the warmth of her house. Edward wasn't there, which she could not immediately account for - perhaps he had forgotten to tell her he needed to slip away, to hunt or to spend time with his family? That would be why he had stepped out briefly after their walk, but he would be in her room waiting when she returned. He always would, she reassured herself. Was he not utterly devoted to her? This summer had been incredible – they had spent every day together, and Bella had never been so happy. He would be waiting. The alternative was so horrifying that she could not bring herself to contemplate it and it was this thought that froze her to the spot, as though the trees around her had spread the roots to her feet and she could no longer move freely; she was as one with these everlasting sentinels, whose watchful gaze towered over her. She simply refused to acknowledge the concept that he would be parted from her.

Slowly, other sensations floated past her. She was cold – well, she often was cold when she was with Edward, given their different body temperatures – she felt things against her and she noted disinterestedly that she was now lying on the floor – well, she did not care what she laid against as long as she had Edward. And she did. He was here. He had not le-