**There are subjects in this story that may be triggering to some people. If you feel you need to know more than that, feel free to message me.**

Chapter One

There was a loud, unrelenting knock on my door. I knew who it was, and I had no desire to answer it. But knowing him, if I didn't, he'd never go away. And that was all I wanted—him to go away.

"Leave me alone, Edward," I yelled through the door.

"Open the fucking door, Bella!"


"I swear to God, Isabella. Open the damn door. You owe me at least some kind of explanation. Do you love him? Does he love you?"

It was at that point that I whipped the door open. He stumbled, trying to catch his balance. He had no right to be asking me those kinds of questions and I was thankful James had already left for work. The last thing I needed was for him to hear any of this.

"Are you serious right now?" I growled. "How dare you ask me something like that! It's none of your fucking business."

"As your friend—"

"Friend? Friend?" I shouted. "We haven't been actual friends in over two years! I told you how I felt about you. I told you I loved you and you just wrote me off. What was I supposed to do, Edward, sit and wait and hope you'd love me back one day? Should I have just died a sad, lonely old lady because if Edward Cullen doesn't want me, then no man would?"

He glared at me. "I know what you told me, but I wasn't ready then. It was too much. I was still figuring shit out. It was a bad time for me. But if you don't think I loved you then, you're insane."

"You're such an asshole. So now that I'm trying to find some happiness without you, you feel the need to come in and put some sort of claim on me? It doesn't work that way. You can't just come here and tell me you love me after all this time just because you're jealous. James is a good man. He cares about me."

"But do you love him?" He spoke slowly, enunciating each word.

"Like I said, it's none of your business."

His eyes narrowed. "If you loved him, you'd say it. Whether it's my business or not, you wouldn't be able to deny it. I know you."

A lump formed in my throat. I knew that everything he was saying was true. There was only one person I loved, and I was staring right at him. But I'd been honest and open with him two years ago. I'd told him I was in love with him, and he'd told me he wasn't ready for a relationship and didn't know if he ever would be. After that day, he pulled away. Our daily texts and phone calls faded. We'd still run in the same circle, which meant I had to see him constantly, always with his arm around a different girl. He'd sent his message loud and clear—Edward Cullen wasn't available to me.

It was torture. So, I drifted away from our group of friends. I knew it hurt Rose, but what was I supposed to do? Sit there and have my heart stomped on repeatedly to keep the status quo? It wasn't possible if I wanted to keep any ounce of my sanity.

Instead, I worked on myself. I went to the gym more often. I went on interview after interview and finally landed a great job in the legal department at a bank. Even if there was this emptiness that gnawed at me nightly, I felt good about where my life was headed.

It was around a year later that I met James. I literally walked right into him as I was leaving the coffee shop around the corner, spilling my entire cup of coffee on him. I'd apologized profusely, offered to pay for his dry cleaning, but he'd just waved me off, telling me he had extra shirts at his office. Then he surprised me and asked me for my number. The rest was history. He made me feel not so alone.

Maybe I didn't love him, but I was sure I could grow to. He was handsome and kind. We had a great friendship, and he was easy to talk to. I felt safe when I was with him.

"Just go away, Edward," I whispered.

He pushed off the doorframe, looking me up and down slowly. "I'll go, but this isn't over. You're not marrying him. I've got a year, right?"


"I've got a year until you walk down that aisle, yeah?"

"Please don't do this."

"You're not happy. I can see it. I know you, Bella."

I took a deep breath, willing my tears to not fall. "Maybe you don't know me as well as you think you do. It's been years. I doubt I'm the same girl you remember."

"You know what? Maybe I don't know everything about you. Maybe you have changed, but I can see it in your eyes. Deep down, you're still the girl I knew. I'm going to take my time. I want to know you as well as I know the back of both my hands."

I glanced down at his heavily tattooed arms and hands. Every piece of ink had a meaning to him, and I knew what he was saying with those words. He wanted to know everything and anything about me. If it meant something to me, he wanted to know it.

But he'd broken my heart. How was I supposed to let him in when he'd rejected me?

I closed my eyes tightly, shaking my head. "You're too late."

"Until you slip a ring onto his finger and say 'I do', I'm not too late. I didn't fight before, but I'm fighting now."

He pressed a light kiss to my cheek, but when I finally opened my eyes again, he was gone.

And once again, there was a hole in my heart.


Thanks to all of my ladies who are helping me to make this story wonderful!







And to Sunshine1220 who doesn't yell at me when I make horrible grammar mistakes or use the same word 5000 times. Thank you for supporting me and being encouraging when I step outside of my comfort zone.

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