* * * * *IMPORTANT INFO FOR READERS! * * * * *

After struggling with the decision to pull two of my stories, and with quite a few tears, I'm going to remove them both. I will keep them up long enough for the readers who are currently reading to finish them (which won't be long), but I've removed the beginning chapters to deter anyone else from starting them and will continue to pull chapters daily until they're removed.

I'm sure this will anger some, but please take into consideration that this has been an incredibly hard decision for me, and both stories have been complete for a while, so my hope is that anyone who wanted to read them has already done so.

There has been tons of speculation over why I took HOFY and DA down, along with some not-so-nice comments directed toward me because of my decision. Please don't jump to conclusions. I'll give a more indepth reason to why I pulled HOFY in the near future, but for now you should be aware that an improved version will be posted on a new website that I'm trying to get up and running. Just be patient and all will be revealed when everything is in place.

For those that will speculate, I'm not leaving the Twific fandom; I've made too many lifelong friends to ever be gone completely. However, I'm not sure how much Fanfiction I will continue to write. I appreciate everyone who has taken the time to read the two stories I'm pulling. Each one of your critiques and encouragements has made me a stronger writer, so, thank you.

Disclaimer: The wonderful Stephenie Meyer owns all things Twilight. I just get to play with her characters occasionally.

Chapter 1

Leaving La Push

Bella Swan-Black

"Seth, get in here and finish packing your Legos," I hollered, as my son sneakily ducked back into my room.

"Where have you been?" He had that look on his face that told me he had been up to something.

"Don't be mad mom, please." I sighed, knowing that whenever his sentence started with 'Don't be mad', it wasn't going to be good. I folded my arms in front of me and waited patiently for him to get the courage to tell me whatever mischief he'd been up to now.

"I kind of broke your dolphins." I groaned inwardly. The dolphins were a graduation present from my father when I graduated from Cal State University Monterey Bay. They were twelve inch high blown glass of dolphins jumping over the waves. I closed my eyes, not knowing if I wanted the answer to my next question.

"How did you break them?" I whispered as I opened my eyes and looked at my repentant seven year old. He lowered his gaze to his shoes while he shoved his hands into the pocket of his jeans.

"Well…Conner got away and so I saw him jumping towards the back door." He took a big breath before he continued to weave his tale. "So, I wanted to catch him before he got away. Then Buddy saw him and started chasing me and Conner. If I didn't dive for him, Buddy would've eaten him up." I rolled my eyes. Buddy was a smart Golden Retriever except when it came to frogs. He'd gobble them in one bite and then within ten minutes they would come right back up.

I waved my hand for him to continue. "I hit the table leg and it fell off. I'm sorry, mom. I know you liked them dolphins." His eyes began to tear up and any anger I had felt melted instantly. This poor child has been through the wringer over the last two years.

"It's okay, Seth. Go finish packing your Legos and take the box out to Grandpa Charlie to put in the truck." He walked over and hugged me around the waist.

"I'm really sorry, momma." He sobbed into my shirt. I ran my fingers through his spiky jet black hair and held him close.

"It's okay honey." I pulled him away from me and gave him a 'you're forgiven' smile. "Now hurry up. We have to leave in a few minutes." He pulled away from me and ran to his room. I sighed, knowing there was a mess waiting for me in the dining room.

"Hey Bells, do you want the dining set or not?" I looked at my ex-husband and was struck with a sense of nostalgia.

"No, you can keep it. I picked up a smaller one last week." He nodded at me, but had a look like he wanted to have that discussion again. I held up my hands, stopping him before he started.

"Don't go there right now. Seth is in the other room. We can talk about it on the drive down." He nodded his head curtly then turned quickly and left me standing in what was once our bedroom. The only thing that remained of mine was the king sized bed that we bought when we were first married. I didn't want the reminder of what we did on that mattress or worse yet what he is currently doing with her on it.

Jake and I separated after five years of marriage because of his controlling and manipulative personality. That was almost two years ago. I thought that with Seth and I living with my father, he would finally see that I meant business when I told him I couldn't live with his "rules".

I still remember the day that I lost all hope of reconciliation. I had stopped by the house unannounced to talk to him about the latest round of mischief Seth had gotten into. I used my key and let myself in when he didn't answer the door. I immediately heard why he was preoccupied when a dull thumping came from the bedroom.

My feet had a mind of their own as they quickly led me to the bedroom door. I placed my hand on the knob and opened the door slowly. My suspicions were confirmed when I found my husband with another woman. I sucked in my breath and stood there unmoving.

Jake's head spun around until he met my gaze. I turned and fled back out the door, stumbling to my car to escape the disgust of what I had witnessed. I slammed my key in the ignition of my truck and peeled out of the driveway. I looked in my rear view mirror to see Jake fly out of the house, the sheet from our bed wrapped around his lower half.

I sighed deeply at the memory. A few months ago the thought of Jake's betrayal would have been a painful reminder of love lost. Now it just evoked sadness that my son didn't have both parents living in the same home.

Seth had suffered the most during all of our drama. He had always been a curious child and that usually landed him in trouble, but after the separation, his antics grew more into attention getting schemes. I hated taking him away from his father. Even though Jake wasn't the best husband, he loved and adored Seth. But what choice did I have?

I can't change anything now. Our lives were set on a path that would lead us to California. An old professor had recommended me for a job at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It would be great to finally put my Master's in Marine Biology to good use.

I took one more look around the small bedroom and then went in to clean up the mess my dear child made. As I looked at the shattered dolphins, I couldn't help but reflect on the life that I had lived up until this point. Everything had seemed shattered, just like the dolphins and here I was, picking up the pieces and moving on.

Jake and I started dating when we were Juniors in High School. He took a job as a mechanic right out of school so he could stay home and take care of his father while I made my way to the University of Washington in Seattle. I would come home every weekend to spend time with my father and continue my romance with Jake.

It was a sad day when Jake's father passed away, three weeks before my graduation. The decision for us to move to Monterey so I could finish my degree was something that we both wanted. Jake needed to get away from the constant badgering by the tribal counsel to take his father's place as chief. He said he didn't want the responsibility at the time.

Life in Monterey was amazing. We spent our days working or studying and then the evenings would be spent walking on the beach or occasionally eating out at some of the finest restaurants on the Peninsula. I was so in love with Jake during our time there, when we found out I was pregnant we were both excited to start the next phase in our lives.

I was six months pregnant with Seth when I crossed the stage to receive my diploma. I was so happy then. Jake and I packed up that week and drove back to La Push to start our new lives together. We rushed a very simple wedding a month before Seth arrived and then settled into our lives as a new happy family.

Jake soon went back to the garage that he managed before we left for Monterey. I didn't have to work because his income was enough for us to get by and we both wanted Seth to have a parent at home. Jake eventually took over as Chief after the constant persistence from the counsel. That seemed to be when he started to change.

Jake took his responsibility to watch out for the tribe and his family to the extremes. He started to control every aspect of our lives. He took over paying the bills and gave me a monthly allowance, which I was never allowed to deviate from. It finally got to a point where I had no idea where we were financially. Then, he would do little things like check the mileage on my car before and after work and ask me where I went. Once, he even asked the neighbors to keep an eye on me and let him know if I had anyone over. It was like he didn't trust me. It took me a while before I realized these kinds of things were happening in every aspect of our relationship. He was slowly trying to make me completely dependent on him.

I refused to be bullied and manipulated into servitude by his insecurities. So, I left. My dad was furious at Jake and always made sure that he was present whenever Jake would come over.

At first, our separation was a wonderful. He was attentive and sweet, like when we first started dating. He would pick me up for dinner and then charm me with his fun loving nature. Many times during that separation, I would fall back into his bed with the hope that things would change, only to be rudely awakened when he reverted to his demanding and selfish ways.

Then she came into the picture. I never told anyone why I filed for divorce the day after finding them together. Living in a small town, I didn't want Seth to hear the sordid details of our relationship. Jake was grateful that I didn't fuel the gossip mongers, and I was thankful that he kept her away from Seth. It had only been a month since the divorce became final, so we both decided that he would keep his private life private for a while longer.

After the initial shock of the events that brought us to divorce, Jake and I agreed to be friendly for the sake of our son. I found that we were much better off as friends than we had ever been in the late stages as husband and wife. Our only argument as of late was about me moving over a thousand miles away.

I needed a clean break. Everything just fell into place when I got a phone call from an old professor I had kept in touch with. We had taken scuba lessons together while I was in college and hit it off as friends. She called me and let me know that the Monterey Bay Aquarium was in need of a Marine Biologist to add to their new White Shark Project. It was really an opportunity of a lifetime to be involved in the research of such a fascinating creature. I also desperately needed work. My father and Jake took care of us financially, but now that the divorce was final, I needed a job.

Jake and my father were driving us down to Carmel where I had rented a small cottage on the outskirts of town. It was unbelievably affordable for being a Carmel rental. There was a large backyard and a very nice elderly couple that lived in a larger house on the property so we wouldn't feel so isolated.

"Ready Bella?" Charlie asked as he came through the front door. I looked around at what used to be my home and nodded my head.

"As ready as I'll ever be."

"I'll take Seth and Buddy in your car while you ride with Jake. He said he had some things he wanted to discuss with you." He gave me a look asking me if that arrangement was going to be okay with me. I shrugged my shoulders.

"I'll ride with him for a few hours and then we'll switch so he can spend time with Seth before you guys have to fly back." I ran back through the house, double checking that I had packed everything I wanted to take. When I was satisfied that all was in order, I climbed in the cab of the U-haul with Jake. We were silent for an hour before he spoke.

"Bells, it's not too late to change your mind."

I sighed, knowing that there was no way around having this discussion yet again. Hopefully it would be the last.

"No Jake, I need to take care of myself and Seth. This is the only way." I looked out the window at the racing scenery.

"That's a lie Bella, and you know it." I winced at the hint of anger laced in his voice. "You could have gotten a job closer. You're taking my son away from me." I seethed at his remarks and then decided to let him have it.

"I'm not the one that caused all of this! I'm doing what I have to do to survive. You stepped out of Seth's life the moment you brought her into your bed!"

"Her name is Leah," he stated, like it mattered to me what her name is. I rolled my eyes at him and turned to stare back out the window.

"You know I could take you back to court to keep you here," he threatened.

"You wouldn't dare. I would shred you in court. I have enough proof of your infidelity and people would back me up that you were unbearable to live with and abusive." He winced at my words.

"I think I'm being fair with the visitation arrangement that we agreed to. I could have made things a lot worse for you, but if you want to play Russian roulette with the courts, then be my guest. It'll cost you in the end." Jake nodded his head, knowing that my words were not idle threats.

"I'm sorry, Bells. I don't want to fight with you anymore. I want you to be happy. I'm just going to miss Seth." I was always too forgiving, but I couldn't help but be affected by the sincerity in his words.

"Me too, Jake. I'm sorry that we're moving away." I looked at his face as the sun was setting against the mountains. He was such a handsome man and I would miss those nights of passion that we once shared. Even though we didn't get along now, there was no denying the way he made my body sing.

"I think you should pull over so Seth can spend some time with his daddy."

He nodded and then took the exit to a rest stop. I switched places with my son and drove the rest of the way in comfortable silence with Charlie.

We drove straight through the night and arrived at our new home around noon. The cottage was just as I remembered it. When I had accepted the job offer from the Aquarium, I immediately went in search of a house. I spent several days going through house after house. Unfortunately, most of them were out of my price range. I lucked out when my old Professor told me about a friend of hers that had a place opening up. The home had been built in 1918, but had been recently remodeled. It was only about a thousand square feet but it was big enough for me and Seth.

Buddy was excited to be out of the cramped confines of the car and was running all over the yard in an ADHD doggy moment. Jake snarled at him whenever he ran close to him. For some reason, Jake hated Buddy, and I think the feeling was mutual. Seth and I got him as a puppy right after we moved in with my father. Seth loved him and Buddy eased some of the guilt I felt at taking Seth away from his father.

We spent the afternoon unloading boxes while Jake put together the bed frames so we would have somewhere to sleep that night.

I was putting away dishes when I heard a loud scream from the yard.

"Stupid fricken mutt!" Jake was yelling as he walked in holding his bleeding hand.

"What happened?" I said franticly, trying to find the towels to help stop the bleeding. The scent of blood hit my nose and I had to sit down. Jake walked over to the sink and stuck his hand under the running water.

"He bit me," Jake growled at me. "Why did you ever get that damn dog in the first place? I would never have allowed you to get one." My queasiness was forgotten and the hair on the back of my neck stood up when he uttered those words.

"You still don't get it!" I yelled. He turned around, slightly shocked at my outburst. "That's why I left you in the first place!"


"I wouldn't allow you to get one," I said nastily as I threw his words back in his face. "You had to control every aspect of our lives. Your rules were ridiculous and were a way to manipulate me!"

"Mom? Dad?" We both turned quickly to see Seth standing in the doorway. "Please don't fight." I saw a tear squeeze out of the corner of his eye. I went to him quickly and wrapped him in my arms.

"It's okay, baby. We're fine." I shot a look at Jake that told him he better behave.

"Yeah, squirt. Things are cool," Jake muttered, still running his hand under the faucet. Seth pulled away from me and looked in my eyes, trying to make sure that I was telling the truth. I smiled at him and nodded.

"Bella, why don't you take Buddy and go have a walk on the beach." I smiled at my father, who was trying to defuse the situation; he knew I needed to cool down. The anger at my idiot ex was still bubbling under the surface and I didn't want to upset Seth anymore than we already had.

"Seth, can you please find a towel for your dad. I think there are some in the box on the counter. I'll be back in a little while." I grabbed Buddy's leash and went out to the car, whistling for him to follow. He generally liked car rides, so he happily bounced across the yard and into the car. I scratched behind his ears.

"Did you get a good bite out of him? That's my good puppy. Next time aim for his butt." I smirked as Buddy licked my hand happily.

I drove through downtown Carmel and marveled yet again at the quaint village like feel. It feels like I just walked into a Thomas Kinkade painting. At the end of Ocean Avenue there was a small parking area where the beach started. I pulled over and let Buddy out of the car. He tore down the beach at break neck speed. I was a little worried that he was suppose to be on a leash, but decided that he'd be fine since there weren't very many people out.

The sun was sinking lower behind the horizon, turning the sky a brilliant shade of orange and pink. I walked in the direction that Buddy had run and saw him running around a man. I whistled to him and he started back. When he reached about half way, he turned back around and ran back to the man. What is that stupid dog doing?

I whistled again only to have his ears perk up in my direction and then completely ignore me. It's obedience school for you again, mister. The man picked up a small piece of driftwood and threw it towards me, trying to persuade my stupid dog to come back to me. Buddy ran after it until he was about twenty yards away from me.

"Come here, Buddy," I stood in his spot until I was within reaching distance and then bolted back to the stranger. Ugh! As I drew near the stranger, I caught the bronze highlights in his hair glistening off the sun. It was in a messy disarray, probably from the light ocean breeze. I could tell, even with the distance, that this man was stunning. He leaned down and scratched Buddy behind the ears before looking up in my direction.

"Is he your dog?" His voice was like velvet.

"Yes, I'm sorry if he was being a pest." I walked over to Buddy and hooked his leash on his harness.

"No, no. He was fine. A bit friendly, but fine." He looked up into my eyes and I was struck again by his features. He had a strong jaw line and perfectly sculpted cheek bones. His eyes were the purest emerald green that I had ever seen, but they were slightly red, almost looking like he was tired. I looked down at Buddy, hoping that this God didn't catch me ogling him.

"So Buddy, did you make a new friend?" I asked him as I patted his head. The stranger laughed lightly and I looked up to him questioningly.

"Buddy? That's original." It was my turn to laugh at his slightly sarcastic comment.

"My son loves Air Bud," I explained as he nodded his head.

"My kids like that movie too." He's got kids. My eyes flashed down to his left hand and there on his ring finger was a gold band.

"Well, I should get going. The sun is almost gone," I muttered under my breath as I turned and headed back towards my car.

"Have a nice evening." I looked over my shoulder and smiled.

"You, too," I called as I let Buddy pull me back to the car.

Mmm Mmmm. I think this was the first time I felt any interest in getting back into the dating game since I filed for divorce. The thought of dating again made me want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I skipped over all the awkward conversations and fear of rejection when I started dating Jake. He was my best friend and it only felt natural to take the next step. I never had to go through the anxiety of what to wear or say on a first date. The thought made me shudder.

I opened the door for Buddy and he jumped in the front seat. I climbed in my car and drove back home, to my new life. However screwed up it was, it was mine, and I was proud of it.