AN: I have been on this site for weeks, and have been so impressed with the stories that are out there. They have give me inspiration to write one myself. This story takes place a few weeks after they return from Italy. Please note that in this version, Bella had to move to Forks originally because her mom had died – so she came to live with her father. Also, Jacob – the werewolves – the treaty – etc… do not exist.

Please review – but be nice… this is my first fan fiction. Actually the first and only story I have ever written… :o)

Chapter 1


It had been a few weeks since my return from Italy, and things with the Cullens were just about back to normal. With the exception of Rosalie's new found amiability and my countdown to graduation, when Carlisle had promised to change me. Edward and his family were out hunting for the day, but I knew they would be back shortly after my shift at Newton's Outfitters Store and Edward would come to my room.

As I was driving home, and I looked up to the evening sky – it was twilight. The sun had just fallen over the horizon leaving an auburn hue swimming above. I smiled to myself as I remembered this being the favorite time in Edward's day. My mind absently began thinking obsessively about Edward.

Edward still felt immensely guilty about leaving me. He had insisted on trying to make it up to me everyway humanly, and non-humanly, possible. And he was constantly shoving food down my throat saying that I had gotten too thin. It had been especially rough the first few weeks of his return, because I was still having nightmares, and Edward did not handle those well. I remember when he experienced first hand my horrid dreams. I remember the dream from that night vividly:

I was in the forest, and it was so dark and cold. I had been badly beaten physically and mentally. I felt so fragile, like I could break at any moment. I cried for someone to help me, calling out Edwards's name, but no one came. Then I was consumed by a rising heat, and suddenly I was surrounded by a wall of fire. I could hear laughter coming from a shrill voice, circling around me. I tried to look for a way out, and slowly the smoke filled my lungs and I could not breathe. As I was gasping for air, I looked down and saw that my body was engulfed in flames. I screamed cry for help but no one came. "Edward, where are you?" I sobbed. "How could you leave me?"

As I slowly began to awake from my dream that night, I knew I had been violently tossing and turning as I was twisted in my sheets. Then I became aware of two cold strong arms holding me. I was thankful for the coolness, because I was still slightly considering that my body was on fire. As I became aware of my consciousness and the fact that I was not burning to a crisp, I shot up in my bed – drenched in sweat – gasping for air. I was crying – well just about hysterical – and my throat was so dry.

"Charlie!" I heard Edward suddenly whisper.

And in an instant he disappeared. With in half a heartbeat, my bedroom door opened and Charlie appeared, rushing to my bedside. He grabbed my shoulders, shaking me, practically screaming at me "Bella! Bella! Are you ok? It is just another dream!"

I looked at him with fresh tears in my eyes and broke down sobbing once more. I was still in shock from my dream. He pulled me close, patting my back, and whispering soothing words. Edward must have known at this point that this had been a regular occurrence while he was gone. I felt instantly chagrin. Then suddenly, I realized my father was crying. My father was crying! I pulled back.

"Dad?" I whispered, trying to calm myself and catch my breath.

"Oh Bella!" He sobbed, "I thought you would get better now that Edward had returned, but he has done too much damage. I don't know how to help you!"

"Dad, I am okay. I will be okay." I tried to soothe, but even I was not sure I would believe the words. We sat there for a few moments, until we had both stopped crying. I did not know what to say. I felt so bad that my behavior had affected my dad in such a way. I was ashamed. I gave him a smile and said, "Dad, don't worry. Please. I am better. I promise. My dreams just get carried away sometimes. Trust me."

"I know Bells. I love you so much. Try to get some more sleep." He whispered. And with that, he kissed me on my sweaty forehead and walked out of the room closing the door. I will make this up to you dad, I promise, I thought to myself.

Edward was instantly by my side. The anguish on his face was unbearable. Tears silently fell from my eyes as I felt the pain he must be going through. "This is not your fault." But my words fell on deaf ears. I knew him seeing Charlie break like that was just too much.

"How could I have done this to you Bella? I did not even think it would affect you like this; I have broken you. The pain I went through when I left, not having you with me anymore, would have killed me if I was human. How could I think that my leaving wouldn't do the same to you? But, it did kill you, just not physically. I am so stupid and selfish. Please, please forgive me Bella. What can I do to help you, to soothe your fears and dark dreams?" His eyes were begging for my forgiveness.

"Give me forever with you" I replied. He did not respond. He did not have to. We both knew he would never let me go through the experience of being changed without him. He held me the rest of that night soothing me and humming his lullaby until I felt into a safe slumber, making promises to never leave me and that everything would be ok.

So after that night, my nightmares started occurring less and less until finally they stopped altogether. I could visibly see the relief on Charlie as the nights passed when he did not have to run into my room in the middle of the night to soothe me from a nightmare.

As I pulled into my driveway, I absentmindedly thought about what to cook Charlie for dinner. Fish again, I thought and chuckled to myself. He was so much easier to live with then my mother had been. My mind raced to the night of that horrible car accident that had taken her life and prompted my move-in with Charlie. Within one week my life had been turned upside. I shuddered as I remembered her funeral and the despair I had felt. When I had moved to Forks, I was literally numb and I felt so alone. But how could something so good come from something so bad? I immediately felt remorse as my thoughts moved to understanding that if it wasn't for my mother's death, I would have never moved up to Forks to live with my father, therefore I would have never met Edward. I shook my head erasing those thoughts from my mind.

As I walked through the door, I tripped on the entryway, but quickly corrected my step. I was still clumsy as ever. I headed for the kitchen to begin dinner, but was stunned by what I found waiting for me. There she was - pale skin, dark circles under her eyes, hair afire, and crimson eyes which were filled with death.