Is it Too Late to Say I Love You?

I rushed towards the terminal, not wanting to miss my flight. Not wanting to miss my flight towards freedom. Away from this damned place called Forks.

I knew I was being cowardly. But I couldn't stand it. I didn't want to. I didn't want to have to receive those pitying glances from friends and family. Those knowing sneers from people like Lauren and Jessica. I should have known all along that it was too good to be true.

But, being the naïve and trusting little 20 year old Bella that I was, I had let him into my life. I had let him into my life and trusted him. I had let him walk all over me and trample my heart.

I was 17 when I first met him. Jacob Black. He was handsome. A senior while I was only a junior. But he was so nice, so caring. He was smart and intelligent. He was my best friend, my boyfriend, my lover, my freaking fiancé. And he had taken it all away. He had taken it all away with a few words, breaking my heart in just a few minutes.

And my world had come crashing down on me.

When Jacob and I had started dating, it was sweet, light, fun. Then, after a year, he was going off to college. But it was only 30 minutes away, so we decided to keep it up and try the 'long-distance thing'. And it worked. When I went to college with him, we still had our relationship going.

When I was 19 and he asked me to marry him, I was afraid. I was afraid to commit. Marriage was something… huge. And I was only 19. So young. So innocent. So naïve. So stupid.

I believed that what we had was real. That was we had was pure, true love. And that someday I would be able to sit on the porch with Jacob, watching mini Jacobs running around on the front lawn. But I was wrong.

I had come home just the other day. Yesterday to be exact. But those few minutes, five minutes was all it took, burned in my memory like they had just happened seconds ago.

-:-

"I know, I feel so bad for her!"

"Does she know yet?"

"How can she not know? I think everyone knows."

I had come to work early, trying to keep my mind off Jake. He had been staying out really late recently and I was worried. He was just acting so weird and un-Jakish. I loved him so much that he even had his own adjective.

But my other two co-workers were gossiping, like they always were, and they were the ones who had started my misery. I usually just ignored them, but today…. I just felt like I should listen. It was like a premonition or something. And those things usually only happened to Alice.

"What are you two talking about?" I asked.

They jumped, startled. They didn't know that I was within hearing range.

"N-nothing." They stuttered. But I could tell they were lying. Just because I couldn't lie didn't mean that I didn't notice when other people couldn't lie. And they couldn't. At least, not in this situation.

"Come on guys, you can trust me. I won't tell anyone."

They looked uneasily at each other. Then one of them began to smirk.

"What, you didn't know? How could you not know?" she taunted.

I looked at her as if she was speaking another language. I furrowed my brow.

"Know what exactly?"

"Jacob." She said. That was it. What was that supposed to mean?

"What about him?"

"Oh, I heard that he's found himself another little tramp to… get down and deep with. Maybe you should check it out." She raised her eyebrows, as if daring me to correct her. And I was.

"What the hell? Jake and I have been going out for 3 years. We're freaking engaged! He can't be cheating on me! He wouldn't do something like that to me." but my voice grew quieter at the end. Because it all made sense.

Coming home late. No longer asking for sex. Being moody. Being gone a lot.

My eyes widened at my realization. He couldn't be cheating on me. He wouldn't do something like that to me. Right? Right?

I threw down my apron and sprinted outside as I heard a snicker and a 'poor Bella.' I jumped into my truck and started it, attempting to push it over 60 mph.

"Come on you stupid piece of crap!"

I needed to get to the apartment that Jake and I were renting. I had moved out of Charlie's house 5 months ago and moved into an apartment with Jake. And it was pretty great. For the first 2 months. Then he started being weird. And gone. A lot. I missed him.

"Come on! You can do it!" I started egging my truck on when it started to slow down without me telling it to. As in, as it started to die. "Just one more mile! We're almost there!" I begged. I couldn't allow my baby to die on me now! I loved my trcuk1

I pulled over to the side of the road when it became apparent that it wasn't going to listen to me and speed up. "Damn it! This day just keeps getting better and better, doesn't it?" I mumbled to myself as I got out. I was going to have to run to the apartment. I was just that desperate. I hadn't thought to call Jacob. Or even Alice. Maybe even Edward, my best friend. Besides Jake. And Alice.

But I was too impatient to wait for them to wake up and get into their car and then come find me. I needed to see Jake. Now.

So I ran. I ran the freaking mile. That cursed mile to my doom. Sometimes I wished that I had just waited for a friend. And continued to live my life in wonderful bliss. But that wouldn't work. It would have ended very soon anyway. Better to retain some shreds of my dignity.

When I burst into the apartment, totally out of breath, my breath caught in my throat. Some very intimate…. Groping, kissing. Whatever it was, was going on on my couch. With Jake. And some girl. Some girl who wasn't me.

Hell, they were practically having sex on my couch!

"Jake?" was all I could croak out. My co-workers were right. And I hated them for it. I hated that they were right. Why did they have to be right?

"Bells!" Jacob sat, sitting up and buttoning his shirt. He didn't even look ashamed.

"Wha- Ho- Wh- Why?" was all I could say. I felt hurt. I felt my heart beginning to break. I felt the tears beginning to well up. A hole was already forming in my chest. A painful hole, that was forcing itself to widen, to expand. To hurt me. To cause me pain.

Jacob cleared his throat. He was Jacob now. No longer Jake. No longer my Jake. Even if what they were doing wasn't what it looked like- How could it not be what it looked like? He was practically having sex with someone other than me on my couch!

"Bella, meet Leah, my fiancé."

My heart stopped. His fiancé? I thought I was his fiancé?

"I-I don't understand."

Leah smirked. "Bella honey, when two people love each other very much, the man, or the woman, asks the other to marry them. And if the female, or male, says yes, then you're engaged. And the couple, they're called fiancés of each other." She said haughtily.

"Oh sorry Bells. I guess I forgot to break things off with you. You see, Leah and I met in my freshman year of college then broke up for you. But then we got back together 3 months ago and… I guess we just clicked. You can't help true love Bella."

The bastard didn't even have the shame to look embarrassed! Or sorry!

I took it surprisingly well. For then. "Okay. Well then, here's your ring." I took the ring off my finger and was about to hand it to him when he shook his head.

"Naw. I don't want it. I got that at Cici's Pizza. You know the little arcade that they have in back? Yeah, I got it from there. It only cost me fifty cents."

"Oh. Well, I'll be getting my stuff then." I said in a dead voice before heading to the bedroom that we used to share.

But his voice stopped me. "You know, if you had just slept with me Bella, maybe things would have turned out differently. I mean, we shared a bed for Christ's sake. And you wouldn't even let me touch your goods. But Leah over here, she was a lot more willing."

"Oh, do you mean a lot more willing to be your screw buddy? The piece of ass that you decided to—"

I was cut off by a hand slapping across my face.

"You have no right to talk to me like that! Get out!" Jacob yelled.

I looked down at the floor. Then I met his eyes, filled with anger. "You know, I can't believed I loved you Jacob. You'll do good with Leah. You two deserve each other. A whore and a bastard. Perfect." I said before going to the bedroom to collect the majority of my stuff that I could carry.

When I had gotten most everything- a small suitcase of clothes, my cell phone charge and Ipod, and then some other personal belongings,- I walked out of the room to find them making out on the couch again. And I felt my eyes tear up again. He wasn't worth crying over. I knew that.

But I couldn't help it. This was the same boy that had helped me around on my first day when I was 17. They same boy that carried me around the zoo on his back the one time I broke my leg. The same guy that asked me to marry him through a letter in a new book he had bought me. But it couldn't be. This wasn't Jacob. It couldn't be.

I walked out and didn't look behind me. I couldn't.

I spent that night at Charlie's house. He didn't ask questions when I had called for him to pick me up. He didn't ask questions when I told him I was leaving Forks the next day. He didn't ask questions when I didn't call Alice, like I always did, whenever I had a fight with Jacob.

I had a feeling that he knew too. And I felt betrayed. Why wouldn't he have told me? Why hadn't Alice? Edward? Rosalie? Anyone? I had never felt so alone.

So now I was leaving Forks. For good. I was going to go to Phoenix and spend some time with my mom. Go to a college nearby. I knew that I couldn't spend another day, another hour, in Forks. All because of Jacob.

I knew it was stupid to let a guy have such an effect over you. To make you leave your home, your father, your best friends- Alice, Edward, Rosalie, Emmett, and Jasper- without saying goodbye. But I knew that they'd make me want to stay. And I couldn't. They'd want to know why I was leaving. And I couldn't tell them. They'd want to know what they could do. And all they could do was let me go.

I was ashamed too, come to think of it. Here I was, sitting in an airport terminal, waiting to board my flight away from this wretched town leaving behind everything that I had come to know and love in the past 3 years, just because I was too embarrassed, to ashamed, to show my pathetic face around town. I was a coward. I was a coward with a broken heart.

I was sure that I could never love again. I was going to grow old and die and old spinster, the crazy old woman living with a thousand cats.

The calling of flight 568 caught my attention.

"All passengers on flight 568 to Phoenix, Arizona, your flight is now boarding."

I stood up, wary. My eyes were surely still red and puffy. I probably had huge bags under my eyes. My clothes were probably rumpled and disheveled, my hair not much better. But I didn't care. I was past caring. All I cared about, all I knew, was that I was leaving.

I started walking towards the doorway that led to the plane, the doorway to freedom, to escape when I heard someone calling my name.

"Bella!"

I knew that voice. I knew it. And I didn't want to look back. I really didn't. But I couldn't help it. I looked back.

"Bella! Don't go! We can talk about this! You don't have to leave!" Edward called.

Ah, my best friend. He was Alice's brother but he was also one of my best friends. And he was definitely one of the hardest to leave behind.

He rushed through the mass of people who were ready to board the flight and grabbed my arm, dragging me from the crowd.

"Edward, let go! I have to go!" I said, trying to pull away. But he kept his firm grip on my arm, pulling me towards the windows.

"Edward, let go! I have to go!" I was pleading, hysteric by now.

He suddenly turned around to face me. "Bella, you can't go! You just can't!"

"Why not Edward, why not? I'm humiliated, I'm hurt, I'm heartbroken. My life is falling apart at the seams! I want to go Edward. I need to go! Tell Alice I said goodbye." I said as I began to walk towards the doorway to the plane again.

But he caught my arm. "You can't go Bella. You can't leave behind all your friends and family because of one sleazebag. Think of how hard it is for Charlie to see you leave like this Bella. Think of how hard it is for me! I went over to your house this morning, looking for you. And Charlie told me that you had gone to the airport. To Phoenix. I can't let you go Bella."

"Why not Edward? Charlie could only let me go so easily because he knew! He knew! You all knew! Yet no one bothered to tell me! Some friends you are!" I screamed.

His eyes flashed. "Of course we knew Bella. But we weren't 100 percent positive. And we didn't want to seem like the jealous friends telling you that Jake was cheating on you. You wouldn't have believed us anyway."

"I would have at least been more suspicious. Some heads up would have been nice."

"More suspicious? You told all of your concerns to Alice, you just didn't piece it together! And you're so damn stubborn that you have to be the one to piece it together or else you won't believe it! I think you were willing to let it go that far because you were afraid to leave him! But no, you had to wait for him to leave you Bella."

"You have no idea how hard it is Edward! To leave the person that you've been in love with for 3 years, based on doubt! And freaking suspicions! You wouldn't know Edward, because you've never been in love before!"

"I haven't? What makes you say that?" he asked, suddenly so much calmer.

"Edward, I'm your best friend. I would know."

He laughed bitterly. "Bella Bella Bella. You can be so slow some times."

He looked me in the eyes, as if conveying something. "I don't get it." was all I could say. But I did. Somewhere deep down.

"Bella, I love you. I've been in love with you. It was so hard to sit back and watch you get ready to start a life with Jacob. But I knew that the only way I could be in your life was as your friend. So I accepted it. And you were so happy. There was no guarantee that you were going to be so happy with me. So I let you live your life with Jacob. Because I loved you. Because I love you."

My mouth was hanging open. He loved me?

I guess that made sense now. He was always there for me. Through every bad grade, every bad date, every bad argument I had with Jacob. It made sense.

"You see Bella, that's why I can't see you go. Because I love too much. I'd probably end up following you to Phoenix, just to see your face again, just to hear your voice again." he continued while I stood- or was I sitting?- shocked.

"You've become my life Bella. I live to see you everyday, to see your smile, to hear your laugh. When I heard you were moving, it just about killed me Bella. I can't let you go."

And I clicked. I guess I was so afraid of commitment with Jacob because I was hoping that Edward would maybe come along and scoop me up and ride off with me on his white horse.

And I guess I had known that Jacob was cheating on me. I just didn't want to admit it. Because then I'd have to admit it to Edward, and I was too embarrassed, too humiliated to do that. That was why I wanted to escape silently in the morning hours so I wouldn't have to explain to anyone. But they all knew.

"You don't have to say it back yet Bella. But you love me. I know you do. And I know that it may be a little soon, but don't leave. Please, I'm begging you, please don't leave. Not yet. Just give us a chance." Edward continued to plead with me.

Did I still love Jacob? I knew that answer. Yes. But how much? He had torn my heart out. And then stomped on it with cleats before handing it back. And I guess that chemistry was just… dying. We were over before yesterday had even happened. And he knew that. He was just stringing me along for the right.

"I love you Edward." The words burst out from my lips without my permission. Did I really just say that? I couldn't love Edward. Not yet. No way. I had just broken up with Jake. Yesterday. My ex-fiancé. That broke my heart.

Edward's face broke out into a huge grin. A grin that brightened my day. A grin that I would do anything for. And I knew that I loved him. He brightened my day.

"I love you Edward." I said again before he crash landed his lips on mine.

Maybe I wouldn't grow into an old spinster after all.

"Bella!" I pulled away and looked up to see a very angry Alice. Heading my way. Crap. At least I had Edward.

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