Bella's POV


I was alone. Edward was gone and, as far as I knew, he was not coming back. It had been long enough that I didn't awaken every five minutes because I thought I felt his coolness next to me. Long enough that I no longer slept with the window open as wide as it would go. And, long enough, that the pain had dulled my senses so that the tears had time to dry on my cheeks before some memory set them flowing once again. But I had found, however, that my beloved had been wrong about one thing: human memories would never fade. The memory of his voice, his scent, his touch and every moment that we had spent together still echoed fresh in my mind. Ghosts of a happier past taunted me, scratching at my wounds until they opened and spilled new pain into my already damaged heart. No, I didn't believe those memories, or feelings, would ever cease to exist.

Alone, save the ghosts, I was alone. But if I was so alone then why did I feel as if I were being watched? I was certain that I heard a twig snap and my breath caught in throat. My legs begged me to run, pleaded with me to escape the one place that I thought I could escape to. I scanned the trees for any sign of movement while Edward's voice echoed in my ear, "Don't go into the woods alone." Just the sound of his voice from a memory was enough to open a new wound. But had he been right? Were there creatures out here in the dense trees that were more frightening than my vampire? If there were, I was angry with them. The woods were my place to come and hide in solace. I could escape my life in the woods. Time did not exist, the ticking of each passing second did not echo loudly in my ears reminding me of my own mortality, and I didn't have to count the seconds that my heart was broken. If I wasn't alone then I no longer wanted to be in the woods. It wasn't fair. I only longed for a place to drown in my own memories, hell, it was better than any drug that I could imagine. But, if whoever, or whatever, was out in the trees, watching me, wanted to steal the one thing I still had that was mine then fine. I would leave. I turned, stopping to glance once more at the trees. I couldn't let myself believe that it was Edward. Because I knew that it wasn't. Nor was it Carlisle, or Alice, Emmett, Jasper, or Esme. I even missed Rosalie. No, I couldn't let myself hope that it was a vampire. Hope wasn't an emotion that I felt anymore. Hope no longer existed.

Fine. I would leave. I turned on my heels and sped back to Charlie's leaving the woods, and the eerie feeling of being watched, far behind me.

Once home I fell into my normal afternoon routine. Routines were comforting; they were normal, productive, and something that I could do without thinking about it. I threw in a load of towels and pulled chicken out of the freezer to defrost for dinner. The door of the cabinet creaked open as I retrieved a dust rag and bottle of duster from its shelves, I sprayed the rag with the lemon scented wax and ran the rag across the table. The silence was deafening, yet comforting at the same time. If the room was silent then I wouldn't be asked "How do you feel?" or "Have you heard from him?" or, my personal favorite, "Do you think he's found a hot LA girl?" Such meaningless questions to ask, yet, I wished I could answer them truthfully. Instead of saying "I feel empty." "I never hear from them" and "I doubt it, he sparkles in the sun…that would weird LA girls out." I offered up the robotic answers of, "Fine." "Nope." and "Probably."

Satisfied with my handy work I tossed the rag into the dirty clothes hamper and walked into the living room. I flopped down onto the couch and turned on the television set, the sound from the sitcom playing startled me. I glanced at the clock; Charlie would be home soon, I would serve dinner, then I would retreat to my room, do homework, shower, and write in my journal. I would then drift off into a troubled sleep filled with nightmares about the monster that I missed the most. As I thought about the tasks ahead of me I let my hand fall onto the pillow, it hit something hard and plastic. I pulled back the pillow and discovered my camera wedged, forgotten, between the pillow and the couch arm. I hadn't remembered putting it there but it was there all the same. I clenched my jaw tight, thinking of the first, and last images that had been taken with this camera; I lifted my chin up, examining the camera as if it were trying to taunt me; I would rather be angry than sad. I would rather scream profanities than let the tears escape my eyes, but I would not win. In the comfort of my own home, away from prying eyes, I let my tough "I'm perfectly fine" resolve down. A sob caught in my throat and I slid from the couch to the floor sobbing into my hands. My tears made my hair cling to my cheeks, it was a messy thing, crying, sobbing hysterically like I was but I couldn't help him. That was the thing; I wanted so badly to leave the window open, to have him crawl through and make my skin feel like ice, but my skin burned with the fierce tears that spilled quickly down my cheeks.

I sobbed rather loudly and heard a thud outside the window. It startled me and my head shot up quickly. The tears still fell but they now hit the carpet as I crawled to the window. In the dim light of the setting sun (a rare sight in Forks), I saw a large, red apple, laying awkwardly in the dense green grass of Charlie's side yard.