When Edward refuses to change Bella she is worried about him growing tired of her (and her ever impending death) and she marries Jacob. When Bella's world begins to fall apart, and her marriage is on the brink of the end, Bella turns to the Cullen's for help, protection, and something more. A BXE story.

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

-Raymond Carver (an excerpt from the poem "Late Fragment")

The beginning of the end

The beginning of the end of her marriage started with a book, or rather started with the throwing of a book. Bella still wasn't quite sure how she had gotten to this point, but she had a good idea. It had all started with a kiss, innocent enough right? But that was the start of her running, both literally and physically. It was not lost on anyone how ironic it was that the girl who was so clumsy had taken up running. It was also not lost on anyone as to exactly what she was running from. Her choices had been made, although baffling to some, and as some might have said it was her bed to lie in.

Bella had been a horrible liar for most of her life, and it was also not lost on her friends that at some point that had changed. They were surprised when she had made an announcement stating her engagement to Jacob Black. That surprise likely stemming from her hatred of marriage, and the fact that she was still dealing with the loss of her soul mate.

Edward Cullen

They were even more surprised when she actually went through with the engagement, and married him. Although, distraught would have been a more appropriate term. After all everyone knew who she really belonged with, even Bella herself. Little could persuade her even the energetic pixie fortuneteller that was Alice. So they sat back watched, and waited.

Her wedding was beautiful, albeit small, and did little to assuage her friends concerns. Especially when the groom got drunk with his tribe friends and proceeded to dance around the floor to "Baby got Back." Her maid of honor Alice, of course, pulled her to the side and pointed out what she claimed "was Bella's mistake."

"Tell me one thing and I will never question your decision making ever again." Alice asked as she sweetly batted her eyes.

Bella quickly agreed, sensing that if she didn't answer it would only encourage the wrath of her friends even more.

"Why are you marrying him when you are oh so clearly meant to be with my idiot of a brother?" Alice questioned glaring in the corner. At that moment her eyes followed the direction of Alice's head and her breath caught in her throat. He was there, at her wedding, and he definitely did not look happy.

It took Bella a moment to answer, not because she wasn't expecting the question, but more because she really didn't have a direct response. That and she was distracted by Alice's 'idiot brother.'

"Alice," she stated softly "I know you don't understand and I am not sure I can really explain it to you. He refuses to change me," Bella stated and frowned as she continued "and I get older every day. I can't deal with the thought of losing him let alone if he left me again. It's just the only way."

Alice looked at her best friend for a moment and Bella realized that if Alice could cry she would be. "I still love you guys and you are still my family." Bella continued "I need you to accept my husband, Alice, I don't know if I can live with you guys hating him forever."

A small smile played on Bella's lips as she joked about the Cullen's immortality and it didn't go unnoticed by Alice. The small pixie like girl simply nodded her head softly and promised that they would "try."

While the Cullen's made every effort to "get along with the dog" Bella couldn't help but notice that Edward was always absent from their get-togethers. When she questioned Emmett one night he simply rolled his eyes at the poor girl and replied that it was "too hard."

That had been three years ago, and in that time she had learned more than she ever knew she would on becoming a good wife. She had also learned that some friendships were more difficult than they should be. After all her husband Jacob, the werewolf had a rather hard time getting along with her best friends the vampires. It didn't help his feelings any that at one point in her life she had wanted to be one of them. Her life had changed drastically since then.

She had seen Edward again after the wedding but they always chose to keep somewhat of a distance between them. After all it wasn't just hard for Edward to stay away, and Bella began to realize that. She remembered Alice once telling her just after she announced her engagement how excruciating it would be for them all. She only now was starting to realize how true that statement was. But Bella kept busy, her time had been occupied with not only being a wife but also a mother, albeit briefly.

"Why do you run so much?" Jacob asked looking at her through small slits in his eyes as she rolled out of bed and began her daily routine.

"Because I like the endorphins," Bella responded rolling her eyes as she answered his question.

"No," he replied "I think it is something else entirely."

It suddenly occurred to her-in such a brilliant revelation of honesty- what the fuck she had gotten herself into. During the three years of marriage he had know her every thought, feeling, and plan. The revelation scared her. Not only because he knew her deeper than she had imagined but also because of what exactly that implied.

Edward Cullen

Always in the back of her mind, the thought of what he was saying suddenly sent her mind reeling. She suddenly felt furious for the years of her life she had wasted, that she had mourned.

"I gave you what he couldn't" Jacob sneered softly looking at her fully now "I know you Bella, remember."

She thought back to her daughter Amber and was instantly filled with a deep seeded grief. She had produced a defective baby at least that is what it had felt like. No one could explain the instant and sudden death of her child, but that did little to console the fact that she had found her baby lying gray in a crib.

She couldn't help the flinch that crippled its way across her features and onto her face, or the hole in her heart that tore just a bit more.

"You're not running for the endorphins," Jacob commented seeming not noticing her reaction or choosing to ignore it. "It's a classic psychological response, called avoidance. I think you are running away from the pain you feel."

That was the point her marriage ended, at least that is what she told herself. She grabbed the nearest object, which just so happened to be a copy of pride and prejudice, and chucked it with all of her might at his head. Her only thought was that she had wished it was a hard cover instead of a soft. Maybe then it would hurt more.

He glared at her then, anger fully present on his features, before reaching over and grabbing her. He held tightly to her hand as his body shook in anger and she momentarily wondered if he was going to phase. Jerking her arm away from him she quietly nodded her head before replying "I see." And then she ran.