Edward never came back - Alice never had a vision of Bella cliff-diving. So, in an effort to keep hearing his voice, Bella keeps doing more and more dangerous stuff. Her depression and need for danger have changed her into a different person – a darker, angrier, total bad-ass. Also, in the books, it was painful for Bella to even think Edward's name, but I'm going to be using his name to avoid confusion. This will probably be three chapters, but if I get a lot of reviews, I'll make it into a series. Oh, and just to give everyone fair warning: this story will include swearing, sexuality, and violence – there will even be one incident of the 'F-word' so stop reading now if you don't want to see it.

I shivered in the winter air, wearing only a pair of Charlie's old boots and a ratty, over-sized sweater. The snow was drifting down in huge, feathery clusters. The whole scene was lit with a surreal glow, cast by the rarely-seen moon. I would've thought it was beautiful, if I were even aware of beauty anymore. Ever since he left, the most beautiful part of my life, he took everything beautiful with him.

I needed a cigarette almost as badly as I needed to hear his voice. Even if the delusions stopped coming when I lit up, I wouldn't be able to stop smoking. It didn't matter, though. Every time I took a puff, it was a greater danger to my health, and thus, he railed at me for it.

"Bella, this is completely idiotic!" his velvet voice snarled. I smiled bitterly, taking another drag. "Put it out! Put it out now!" I tilted my head back and blew the smoke high into the sky. "Do you want to die?" he snapped.

I hugged my arms tight to myself, careful not to let the lit end of my cigarette touch the sweater. "Yes," I whispered back.

I took one last drag, eliciting a long, angry snarl from my delusions, then stubbed it out in the snow. As the snarl faded into silence, I felt the hole return. Like having battery acid poured on my chest, the painful burning ache spread slowly, eating away at my heart until it was completely gone again.

I returned to bedroom, arms wrapped tightly against the throbbing emptiness, and went to sleep. Sleep was nearly impossible when I knew he would never again watch over me as I dreamt of him. Instead I was plagued with nightmares of my future without him, only to wake, screaming, in an empty room.

But I could still have him, in a small, desperate way. Every day, I found new hazards to spur the delusions of his voice. I did everything that might upset him, from hanging with werewolves, to starting fights at school, to smoking. Some things worked… some didn't. Even the trouble that didn't earn the delusion's wrath, I continued. What was the use of being safe, good-girl Bella anymore? The only people I cared about were Jacob and Charlie, and neither of them were going to abandon me like he had.

-

I slid sullenly into my desk just before the final bell rang. Mr. Kemp raised his eyebrows impatiently, but he didn't say anything to me. Nobody did anymore – they knew I was a lost cause. The only people who spoke to me were those who wanted to provoke me. Even sweet, steadfast Mike Newton had lost interest in me.

I lost myself in thoughts of hanging out with Jake on the reservation. I liked to rile his temper, make him phase, so that I could hear Edward. The voice was beginning to fade though – the more I provoked Jake, the better his control became. I knew the time was coming when pushing Jake's buttons would no longer be dangerous. Already, I was plotting new ways to endanger myself.

Halfway through class, I realized Mr. Kemp had asked me a question. I looked up carelessly.

"What?"

Mr. Kemp sighed, beleaguered. "The answer to number six, please, Miss Swan."

I hadn't done my homework. Mr. Kemp should know that – I hadn't turned in my homework for months. "I don't know."

Lauren, two desks away, whispered to Mike, "Maybe she'd know if she actually did her work." Mike shrugged his shoulders, not interested in Lauren's pettiness. That brief gesture won Mike more approval than I'd ever given him. Lauren rolled her eyes and glanced at me. I could see she still had a shiner from when I punched her last week. She didn't think I heard her, but I was about to teach little Miss Lauren a lesson in manners.

"It's not polite to tell secrets, Lauren," I said loudly, looking pointedly at her bruised eye. "What were you saying about me?"

Lauren was not intimidated, or even repentant in the least. She pursed her lips in a prudish smirk. "I said, 'You would know the answer if you did your homework,'" she repeated haughtily.

I felt a small snarl in the back of my throat – a trait I'd picked up from him. "That's a thought," I said acidly, pretending to ponder the idea. "Hey – I've got one! Maybe you would be less of a bitch if I punched your other eye."

"Isabella Swan!" Mr. Kemp cut in sharply. "Take yourself to the main office – that language is unacceptable."

Lauren glared as I grabbed my books and left. I'd hoped that I might hear Edward for that, perhaps a lecture on focusing on my future and that sort of thing. No such luck. Regardless, I didn't plan on spending my afternoon in the office. I'd already been there twice in ten days – once for the fight with Lauren, and the other for threatening Tyler Crowley with a badminton racket.

I left the building and went straight to my old truck. The ignition started with a roar, and I immediately put the window wipers on. Last night's snowfall continued into the day, coating all the vehicles like sheets over furniture in an empty house.

I ignored the hole in the console where my stereo used to be, and cranked the heat up to full blast. I pulled out of the parking lot furiously, and made for home. If my truck weren't so ancient and Charlie hadn't put on the snow chains, I could've played fast and loose on the highway, using the ice and snow to slide and swerve.

-

When I was sure that Jake was out of school, I drove up to LaPush. I didn't even knock anymore. Billy looked up briefly as I entered the house, then pointed down the hall to Jake's room. Billy and I had come to an uneasy truce. He acknowledged that the Cullens were gone, and thus my alliance with them was severed, while I understood that he would naturally be a bit frosty with me, considering I was still desperately in love with a 'leech.' It was odd how Billy seemed to notice what Jacob could not.

"Is he sleeping?" I asked.

"Yeah," Billy nodded. "But he's been asleep for a while. It won't hurt him to get up."

I entered Jake's small room and nudged him with my foot. "Hey, wake up," I said softly. Jake remained sound asleep. I stuck the toe of my boot into his ribs and gave him a rough shove. With a snarl, Jake lunged into consciousness.

"Bella!" Jake and the Edward delusion simultaneouslychastised me.

"Don't provoke him!" Edward ordered.

"You shouldn't do that," Jake said more gently. "It's kind of dangerous."

I smiled sheepishly, though I was anything but. "Sorry," I lied. "I forget."

Jake smiled warmly, patting the mattress beside him. He could never stay angry with me. I felt guilty for taking advantage of his kindness. I didn't deserve Jake's friendship, or his love, but I still couldn't stop myself from using him. I needed to hear Edward, and if Jake helped me with that… then so be it.

Jake cupped the side of my face with his hand, running his thumb over my cheek. The worn calluses on his thumb pad tickled. He sighed as he traced the hollows under my eyes. "You need more sleep, Bells."

"I'm fine."

"No you're not. You look like a heroin addict."

It was true – I had dark circles under my eyes, I dressed in dark, unhappy clothes, my slender frame had faded to emaciation. Food had no flavor anymore, and I never felt hungry anyways. The overwhelming emptiness of Edward's absence robbed me of even the most basic pleasures – eating, sleeping, laughter…

"It's because of him – that leech," Jake growled.

"No," I lied smoothly. "I spend my nights thinking of you, Jakey," I teased. Jake knew I was joking, but his eyes softened at the thought.

"I think of you, Bella," he sighed.

I looked away, unsure of what to say. I knew that this would come up again soon. Things had been too peaceful between us for the past few weeks. Every time we talked about a relationship, I felt myself closer and closer to giving in. He knew I was half a person, a broken, hollow, shell of a girl – but he still wanted me. And, hell, Edward was never coming back. Why not make Jake happy? Why not take what little happiness I could have, even if it were only a weak candle compared to the blazing inferno I felt with Edward?

"Jake," I whispered. I met his eyes, trying to phrase this as diplomatically as I could. I was already taking too great an advantage of him. I didn't deserve any more from him. "I don't deserve you," I said honestly. "You deserve way better than what I can give you."

Jake smiled sadly, shaking his head, but he let it drop. He withdrew his hand, examining the smudge of eyeliner left behind. "I liked it when you didn't wear so much makeup," Jake confessed. He ducked his head, clearly expecting me to be angry. My hands flew to my eyes – heavily coated with black eyeliner and mascara. It was the only makeup I wore. I don't know why I started… maybe so my outside could reflect the bleakness of my inside, or something lame like that. It just became a habit after a while, plus – it fit my new reputation well: Bella the Bad-ass.

"I know," I sighed, rubbing at my eyes. I blinked foggily at Jacob, who began laughing.

"Now you look like a raccoon!" he declared. "Here," he offered gently, still chuckling, "let me help." He licked his thumbs and cleaned away the smudges around my eyes. I could tell he was removing as much of it as he could, but I didn't fight him – except to recoil in disgust when he licked his fingers.

"Jake – no spit!" I exclaimed.

"Take it easy," Jake insisted, ignoring my objections.

Suddenly, he froze, drawing his hands back slowly. I could see a flicker of rage building in his eyes.

"What is it?" I asked cautiously, drawing away from him. I only provoked him into phasing while we were outside. But if he phased in this tiny little room? I would be shredded to ribbons.

Jake growled, shaking his head furiously.

"Is it Sam?" I asked, remembering that the pack could communicate with thought.

"Gotta get outside," he gasped, lunging off the bed. I leapt up, following him out the front door.

"Bella!" Billy called after me, well aware of what was happening. "Are you crazy?"

"God damn it, Bella! Stay in the house!" Edward's voice snarled in my ear. "What is wrong with you? Get away from him!"

I ignored him, pushing after Jake. "Jake! What's wrong?"

Jake rounded on me, the fury in his eyes more frightening than anything I've encountered, James included. "They're back!" he snapped. "Your precious leeches are back!"

And with that, Jacob the boy disappeared into an explosion of fur, and Jacob the wolf pelted into the woods, leaving me well behind.

Only one thing registered in my mind.

Edward was back.

Okay, this chapter was a lot of explanation and angst – but I promise next chapter will have mucho more excitement. First off, Edward will be appearing! WOOT. And secondly, you get to witness Bella's total bad-assness firsthand. LoL. Hope you're excited, because I am!!