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Chapter 1: Benefit of the Doubt


"Bee, what are you going to do?"

I sigh. "I don't know."

She jerked back and frowned. "What do you mean you don't know?"

I plopped down on the couch. "Dammit Tanya, I. don't. know."

I felt like shit. Tanya was my best friend, but she was the last one that needed to find out, before I did. She'd been in her relationship longer than me, but her view was a little jaded when it came to mine, him.

He didn't like her, and she didn't like him, but he at least tried, for me. Tanya didn't mince her words at all when it came to him. She said he wasn't good enough for me, and she told him that.

The TV played in the background, too low to be much of a distraction so I lost myself in the thunderstorm that had slowly rolled in, the swift updraft of cooler air funneled through my open window, as the rain drizzled against the windowpane.

I zoned out as my mind went back to the moments, we'd shared just last night, the promises he made to me as we laid in the dark, skin to skin, in the disheveled bed after hours of making love. The 'I love you's" we shared. The way he stared into my eyes when our bodies rocked together in sync.

He knew my body, how to play it like his own personal instrument. He knew when to be slow and smooth and when to be rough and ravenous. He took me to heaven, to Zen, every time.

I was brought out of my thoughts as the lightening flashed across the sky and the thunder clapped and rolled, shaking the window.

Tanya paced back and forth in front of me mumbling indescribable words. I didn't bother to ask because I needed the quiet, to think, before the impending conversation that I wished I could've avoided took place.

Tanya ran her finger through her hair. "He won't be able to talk his way outta of this time."

"Are you sure you heard her right, T?"

She scoffed. "Bee, how the fuck do I misunderstand her saying she's his damn girlfriend."

I pulled my legs to my chest. "You could've mis-."

She cut me off. "No, fuck that." She pointed to her chest. "I know what she said, Bee. Stop with the benefit of the doubt shit, it ain't gonna work this time." She waved her hands. "He's fucking her and you." Her gray eyes stared down at me intently.

I turned my head toward the window, I couldn't hold her gaze anymore. Tanya could be a cold bitch, but we'd been best friends since kindergarten, almost twenty years now. I knew when she was lying, and she wasn't lying.

And that broke my fucking heart.

She sat down next to me and pulled me in for a hug. "I know you love him; I don't have to ask; I can see it in your eyes." She tugged stands of hair behind my ear. "But he's hurt you too many times, he's not gonna change; let the motherfucker go."

I buried my face into her shoulder and let the unshed tears fall. She was right I'd been here before, forgiving him time after time. How many more times should I forgive, could I forgive?

She rocked us back and forth as the sobs continued, and my body trembled. "Bee, we'll get through this, like we've gotten through everything else." Tanya whispered in my ear, as she rubbed my hair.

The doorbell rang with a hard knock that followed.

Her arms tightened around me. "Are you expecting him?"

I shook my head. "No, he was supposed to be hanging out with his brothers tonight."

Tanya squeezed me, as if to give me strength, before she went to answer the door.

I can't do this.

I heard his voice.

"No, I'm not letting you in, you've done enough you cheating, no good, bastard."

"Move outta my way Tanya, you don't know what the fuck you're talking about, I need to see Bella, now."

I heard a scuffle and then rushed footsteps.

"God, I hate you." Tanya growled.

I don't even know why she tried; she knew he was getting passed her.

He laughed without humor. "Trust me, the feeling is mutual."

"That skank told me the whole story you fuckn' douchebag, you're busted." Tanya yelled as she followed behind him.

I couldn't move, my head told me to run to my room and lock the door, but my heart wouldn't let me move.

"Bella." He chocked out.

"Edward." I whispered softly.

A/N: This started out as a prompt in the Fic Lab FB group, for the prompt nEXt, several months ago. It's a fun group where a word, song, etc. is posted and we simply create a story from that. Some of the readers asked me to add to it…and here we are.

I do not have a beta for this story. This is something fun for me… and I intend to keep it that way. So, if a coma isn't in the right place, you can do one of two things, keep reading and enjoy the story or you can "X" out of it.

I don't have a posting schedule and I don't know how many chapters it will be yet, but more than likely I'll post once a week. However, I don't see it going passed twenty-five chapters… but I'll let you know as the story progresses.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read and review my story!