Not Meant To Be - Alternate Ending

A/N: When I wrote Chapter 1 of NMTB, the short story outline in my head did not end with Edward and Bella together. It was originally a story of Bella's journey and growth, hence the title. The fact that I was on a HUGE Theory of a Deadman kick while writing it also played a part in selecting that title.

Eventually, the characters developed more than I anticipated, and my outline expanded. It was then that I realized that ending that way would have made this Bella and Edward out of character. There were some other factors & conversations that influenced my decision, but you don't need to hear all those details! I have no regrets about how I ended the story because their selfish choices were a part of who they were, even if other people got hurt in the process.

What you'll see in this outtake is what would have happened if Bella cut off communication with Edward after moving to California. Assume that the phone call when she boarded the plane never happened. This is what would have happened if they decided not to be selfish. (Note: I actually wrote this around the same time as Chapter 10.)

All characters, products & songs are property of their respective owners. This story is mine. Thanks to Katy & April for pre-reading.

Songs: Not Meant To Be – Theory of a Deadman

Before we get to the alt-ending, please take a minute to read this important info…

Several people have asked me about where they can find NMTB if it should ever be removed from FFn. All my stories are posted on my new personal archive found at http:// sweetdulci(dot)blogspot(dot)com . Some of my stories can be found on Twilighted, but I've chosen not to post NMTB there because it would take a long time to get it all validated (and I'm lazy like that).

The sparkle of the diamond on my left hand caught my eyes, and I found myself staring at it for the ten thousandth time since it was placed on my finger. Under the stadium lights, it twinkled and reflected brilliantly. It was almost involuntary to tilt my hand back and forth ever so slightly to catch its gleam.

A nudge and chuckle from beside me brought me out of my reverie, and I turned to smile brightly at my fiancé. His arm draped around my shoulder to give me a firm squeeze.

Falling in love with Adam had been easy. Easier than I ever imagined possible.

I had come back home for my ten year high school reunion, and it was the first time we had seen each other since early in college. Back in our high school years, Adam and I hung out in the same crowd. We were friends, but never more. I dated and he dated, and I honestly never thought of him that way. We were good friends, but not extremely close. We kept in contact for a while after graduating, but eventually lost touch. I really didn't stay good friends with anyone from high school. The internet, of course, gave me updates on some people, but nothing more than the superficial "Hey, how are you?"

The class reunion turned out to be a lot of fun, and after catching up with Adam again there, he began calling me on regular basis. I was still in Los Angeles and he was in Seattle, so it was strictly friendly at first.

We spent the first few months on the phone or email going over our lives, interests, and relationships of the last ten years. I did a little editing when it came to my last year in Washington, but all those details were better left unsaid.

Over time our friendship grew, and I found myself really looking forward to hearing from him. There was some kind of chemistry between us, but living hundreds of miles apart didn't allow for anything to develop. I couldn't be sure of my true feelings when we hadn't spent time actually together. I wanted to know, though.

The opportunity eventually came when Adam was going to be in my area on business about a year after our class reunion. We met up for dinner one night, and I knew by the end of our date that something was there. We arranged to see each other again before he left.

That day, I took him on a walking tour of some of my favorite places around the city. I can still remember the excitement I felt when he took my hand in his as we strolled together talking. Our first kiss came a few hours later.

After that, we agreed to give the long distance relationship a try. It wasn't as if we were embarking on such a serious thing with a partner we barely knew. Because of our history in our younger years, we had a special level of comfort and trust in one another. We talked constantly, took weekend trips back and forth between our respective cities, and we grew into something wonderful. We even took our vacations together in order to get some rare extended time.

Two months ago, about a year and a half after his first visit to L.A., Adam proposed. Little did I know, Emmett had purchased a location to open another Rendezvous in Seattle, and he wanted me to run it. The club already had another location in San Diego, and Emmett wanted to leave a piece of his success in his childhood home.

Since our actual face time together had been limited, Adam and I decided it was best for me to get my own apartment for the time being. We were sure about each other, but making such a big move would be enough of an adjustment for me. Moving in together right away felt a little intense, as strange as that may sound considering our engagement.

This weekend, I was in Seattle so that I could sign my new lease and check on the club before I moved for good. Adam and I had decided to treat my dad to a day at the ballpark while I was in town. He had always loved baseball, but he barely made it into the city to actually go to any games. My mom wasn't much of a sports fan, so he felt guilty dragging her along. So today, Renee was at the spa where we had dropped her off, and Charlie was here on the first base line with Adam and me.

Between innings, I got a craving for some greasy fries with vinegar and melty cheese. I told the guys I was going to head to the concessions area for some, and Adam offered to come with me.

"No, you stay here and enjoy the game with Dad. I need to use the restroom and I might stop in the gift shop, too," I told him.

He kissed me lightly before I went on to wiggle out of our row of seats.

As I exited the corridor from the stands, I saw the sign for a ladies' room. Upon coming out, I had to look all around to orient myself to my surroundings and remember where the closest food stand was. I always managed to get lost whenever I was in a stadium for a sporting event or concert.

I decided to go right, but after about fifty yards realized it was the wrong direction. I turned around to go back the other way. Few people lingered around the hall at this time during the game, but there were enough to make me feel silly and stupid for getting lost. I quickened my pace toward the gift shop, trying to hide my embarrassment from people I passed.

I spotted it in the distance, but jumped when I felt someone grab my hand from behind. For a fraction of a second, I thought Adam had come out to find me, though I hadn't been gone for too long. That was only until my brain got over the shock of surprise and registered the electrical current in the other person's touch. Despite the years that had passed, I recognized the once-familiar sensation immediately. I inhaled deeply through my nose, and I was given unnecessary confirmation.

I froze, unable to move or speak.

"Bella," he said softly.

A tingle ran from the base of my spine up to my head, covering my entire body in goosebumps and knocking the breath out of me.

I stayed that way for what felt like an eternity. It was as if my brain was pulsing inside my head. It must have only been a few moments, though, because he still held my hand when he spun me around to face him.

He was exactly as I remembered him, but obviously a little older looking, just as I was. His hair was that same beautiful mess of bronze that I had never seen on anyone since I met him. He wore my favorite smile, just as sheepish and sexy as ever. His eyes were different in a way. Not physically, but my memory never did their beautiful emerald hue justice.

"You look amazing," he said, raking his eyes over my body from head to toe. I had yet to respond or speak at all. I wasn't sure my voice would even work at this point in time. He continued to hold my hand in his, soft and tender like I remembered.

"Dad?" a youthful voice spoke in our direction. It was enough to snap me out of my daze and look at the boy. He looked to be about ten or eleven years old, and it was obvious he was Edward's son, Finn. For lack of a better term, he was the spitting image of his father. Bright green eyes, straight nose, defined jaw even as a boy. The only difference was that his long, wild hair was a honey-blond color. He looked over me peculiarly, obviously noticing his father holding my hand. Slightly behind him was a little girl who was probably three. Her hair was Edward's bronze, and it was breathtaking on her short little bob. She was a gorgeous child, almost cherub-like.

"I'm sorry, Finn," Edward said, noticing his son's confusion. "This is an old friend of mine who I haven't seen in a long time. Do you think you can take Analise back to our seats with Grandpa so we can talk for a bit?"

Finn sighed and grumbled, looking quite frustrated to have to tend to the girl who was clearly his little sister.

"Fine, but can I at least have money to get a lemonade and some nachos?" he asked with a huff.

Edward released my hand to fish a twenty-dollar bill out of his wallet, and I immediately felt a strange sense of loss. He chuckled and shook his head as the children went off together hand in hand. Once they were out of sight, he turned back to me, smiled for a moment, and then enveloped me in a fierce hug.

Still in a bit of shock, I didn't move at first. His arms cinched around my waist, and his head bent down to press into the side of mine. I both heard and felt him inhale with his nose to my hair, and I completely lost it. My arms flew up and wrapped around him so tightly that it may have hurt, but he made no indication if it did. I buried my face in his chest and just breathed in his scent. I had missed him so badly. I wanted to fill myself up with him and make up for all the time I had gone without. He took my reaction as a sign of permission for more as one of his hands massaged up and down my side from beside my breast to my hip. His other hand went up my back, over my neck, and knotted into my hair.

"Oh Bella," he said reverently. The sound of his voice made the years between us melt away, and we were back to the way we had always been. "I've missed you so much."

"I've missed you, too, Edward," I said without thinking.

Without breaking his hold on me, he pulled back slightly and looked down at me. I tipped back and smiled.

"Your hair is different," he said as if it were the most important thing to say. "I like it."

I wondered just how different I looked to him. My face and body were more mature now. I still took good care of myself, but I knew my curves were slightly more pronounced, and my hairstyle was quite different. I now kept it just past my shoulders with simple side swept bangs. I no longer straightened it, instead styling it into the elegant natural wave it held.

No matter what changes there were in either of our physical appearances, the feeling of our bodies pressed together was exactly the same as I remembered.

I could have sworn in that moment he was about to kiss me. My sensibility and my innate need for him waged a mental war within me as I stared into his amazing green eyes – such a lovely green with a hint of ocean blue around the irises. They were one thing that time could never change.

My phone, however, broke me from the argument in my head. Metallica blasted from my pocket, bringing back to mind the most important reason I couldn't get carried away right now.


Edward stepped back, allowing me to retrieve my phone from my purse and answer it. He raised his eyebrows skeptically at the choice of ringtone, but I held a finger up asking him to give me a minute.

The song was an inside joke between Adam and I. Our senior year of high school, a large group of our friends went to a concert together. I got so upset that no one cared to inform me that he promised to buy my ticket for the next concert that came around. That just so happened to be Metallica, which cost him a pretty penny. It was a great time, though, and one of our favorite high school memories together.

I held the phone to my ear. "Hey babe," I said.

Edward's eyebrows dropped to a furrowed expression, and he looked a little resigned.

"Hey Izz." His old nickname for me. "Charlie and I were just wondering if you could grab an extra order of cheese fries while you're out there."

"Oh, sure. I ran into someone I know, though. I might be a little longer than I thought."

"That's fine, sweets. Anyone I know?" he asked.

"Uh, no," I said, looking toward Edward. He was watching me intently, so I gave him a small but genuine smile. He instantly smiled back.

"All right. We'll be here," Adam replied.

Dazzled by Edward's smile, I stood there with the phone still held to my ear.


Oh right, I was talking to someone. Not someone. My fiancé.

"Oh, sorry. Bye, babe. See you in a bit."

I brought my free hand up to snap the phone closed, and as soon as I did, Edward grabbed my wrist and pulled it toward him. It wasn't rough, just abrupt enough to catch me off guard.

Then I understood why.

Edward was staring at my engagement ring.

I pulled my hand away and crossed my arms over my chest to hide the ring.

He gave me a weak smile. "You're engaged."

It wasn't a question, and I didn't really understand the disappointment in his tone, considering that he still wore a wedding band. And had a second child.

"You have a daughter," I replied curtly.

We stared each other down for a moment, obviously both taken aback by our mutual discoveries.

Then reality hit me.

We hadn't seen each other in years. We have been over for a long time. We both knew he intended to stay married. He and his wife having more children was not unreasonable.

Thinking more clearly, I knew what needed to be said.

"I'm sorry," we blurted out at the same exact moment.

We stared at each other in surprise, and then broke out in simultaneous laughter.

"I had no right, Bella. I want you to be happy."

"I-I know. The same here. Okay?"


"So…" I said, trying to break our awkward moment.

He spoke up instead. "I take it from that call you have a little time? Can we go sit somewhere and talk?"

"I'd like that," I said, smiling back at him. I knew that I wasn't ready to say goodbye to him yet.

We wandered past food stands, restrooms, and various souvenir kiosks until we found a coffee shop closer to one of the entrances. There were several café tables within the little cove, and we took a seat across from each other at one in the corner.

"This is crazy," he said before I could speak.

"Umm, yeah," I replied, bordering on sarcasm.

"How have you been? Tell me what you've been doing. Are you living back here?" he asked in rapid succession.

I giggled before replying.

What amazed me more than running into Edward here was the ease I felt in his presence. After all the hurt, angst, and heartache, I was completely comfortable being near him again.

"I'm great, actually." He smiled, looking me up and down again and nodding. I shook my head playfully, ignoring the thrill his attention gave me, and continued. "I've been doing the same thing, basically. I'm still working for my cousin Emmett, but I've taken on more responsibilities over the years. And I'm still in L.A., but I'm moving back soon to open up a new club in Seattle."

"And your…fiancé?" he asked expectantly. A small smile crossed his lips, but it didn't meet his eyes.

I hated that.

Seeing anything other than happiness in his eyes still hurt me.

I reached under the table and found his hand in his lap. His smile spread at my touch, and he clasped our hands together. The table was small enough that by scooting our chairs in closer, our knees fell between each other's, just like the first night we met, which made it more comfortable to hold our hands together beneath our table.

"Adam," I began. "He's great, really. I've actually known him since we were kids. We reconnected and now here we are!" I said, attempting to sound bright.

It wasn't that I didn't love Adam or want to be with him. It was just that seeing Edward again after all this time had thrown me off completely. I could still feel the passion that rolled in the air between us. Talking to him about my fiancé just felt weird.

I had never forgotten about Edward.

Every day after I made my decision to stop talking to him was difficult. I honestly could not think of a day that went by that he wasn't on my mind in some way. Some days were worse than others; some were easier. There were times I wanted to say fuck it all and just call, but I never did. I had convinced myself that hearing his voice and not being able to do anything about it would only be worse.

I had dated other guys, but it still happened. It wasn't as if I compared them to Edward; he was just always in my head somewhere.

My relationship with Adam was the first thing to break the pattern that had gone on for years. I continued involuntarily remembering Edward, but it wasn't always a daily thing, and it didn't hurt quite as badly.

I couldn't chastise myself for my memories because they were a part of my story, which eventually led me back to Adam.

"So you've been together since…around the last time we talked?" Edward asked, and he seemed anxious for the answer. His question shook me from my thoughts and memories.

"What? No," I said, dragging out the last word. "It's been a little under two years now. Why did you say that?"

"I just assumed," he replied quietly.


His free hand raked through his thick hair, revealing his hesitance to explain.

"When I stopped hearing from you, I just figured you had found something else-" He stopped himself quickly. "Uh, found someone."

Someone else?

Yeah, I caught that. I'm just going to ignore it, though.

"No," I said, rescuing Edward from his assumption. "I didn't. Not back then, at least."

"Then why didn't you call?" he asked eagerly.

His question caught me off guard. I had to glance away from him momentarily to regain my bearings.

"Edward, I had to. I couldn't distract you from your family any longer. It wasn't fair to them, so I let go. For you." I whispered my last thought.

His eyes seemed to search mine for something, and he finally sighed and nodded.

"I never forgot you. How could I?" he asked.

His face was covered in a look of pure sincerity. It made my heart rate quicken in my chest with the same rush of excitement he had always given me.

"I just thought that if you had met someone down there, you wouldn't want to hear from me," he admitted. "And I didn't want to distract you from someone who could be with you the way you deserved and take care of you. Does he take care of you, love?"

His old term of endearment didn't go unnoticed, but it was another thing I ignored, even if it did make my heart skip a beat.

His heartfelt confession had caused a massive lump to form in my throat. I pushed it away and rubbed my thumb against his fingers.

"I guess we just wanted the same thing for each other," I said quietly.

"Yeah," he drifted off into a thought. "I just wish-"

"Don't," I cut him off, placing two fingers over his lips.

He brought his hand up to hold mine there, and I watched as his satiny lips puckered to kiss my fingertips, allowing them to linger before he released me. My face was immediately hot.

"Still so lovely," he said with his crooked smile. "I wish I had met you first."

I closed my eyes and shook my head at him. They were the words he had said to me many times before, but they never failed to sting. It was almost worse hearing it now after so long.

"Oh god, Bella. No. I'm so sorry. Please don't cry, baby. Please. I'm sorry." His hands had both flown up to cup my cheeks and comfort me.

"It's okay," I sniffled. Slowly, my eyes opened and I pulled his hands from my face, moving them below the table again. "It's just hard. Don't get me wrong. I love Adam, but…" I couldn't say it.

"I know," he agreed.

I took a big, quick breath and composed myself. "So you have a daughter," I said, trying to sound cheerful, but really just wanting to change the subject.

"Yeah… She was an unexpected surprise."

"Surprises usually are," I teased.

"Touché," he laughed. It was such a captivating sound. It always had been for me.

"She's been an amazing blessing to me, though," he beamed with fatherly pride.

"She's beautiful. Destined to be a little heartbreaker," I smiled.

"Don't remind me," he groaned.

"Finn, too," I added. "He's just a miniature version of you!"

"He is, but Analise is the one I'm worried about."

"It's a beautiful name," I said wistfully. "It's always been one of my favorites."

"I remember," Edward said with a knowing grin.

I stared at him blankly as he gave me a dazzling smile and nodded sheepishly.

"You didn't?"

"I may have."

"Oh my gosh, Edward. That is just…wow. How? Why?"

"Well, you're right. It's a beautiful name." His smile had morphed into its lopsided, sexy smirk. "Carissa named Finn, so it was my turn. When we found out it was a girl, I had a few names I liked, but that just kept coming to the forefront of my mind. I guess it was my way of keeping a piece of you."

"Edward…" I breathed, otherwise speechless.

"Come on now," he said in a lighter tone. "I could have named her Isabella."

I couldn't help it; I burst out laughing and used our joined hands to smack down on his knee.

That was enough to break us from our serious and heartbreaking conversation and move on to lighter subject matter. We talked for a while longer, mostly about the club and my responsibilities with the opening and management. Eventually, though, we knew we both had to get back.

I didn't want to say goodbye so soon, especially since I knew this one would be for good. It was the final parting we never got before, and I wanted to make every millisecond count. Edward didn't say it aloud, but it only took one look in his eyes to understand that he felt the same way.

We walked side by side back toward the corridors that led to our respective seats. Our arms grazed against each other casually, but the contact was not casual at all. We passed a door that led to the elevators for club seating, and he pulled me inside.

Without hesitation, Edward yanked me into a fierce embrace. It was needful, tender, and rough all at the same time. As if it were the most natural thing to do, our lips crashed into one another.

Fire ripped through my body.

Everything I knew was forgotten.

No one else in my world existed besides Edward.

Nothing else mattered.

We weren't in a stuffy hallway.

We weren't a married man and an engaged woman.

We had no past, present, or future.

We were just Edward and Bella.

I pressed my body forcefully against his muscular chest and ran my fingers through his hair. I gripped hard, pushing and pulling to get what I wanted.

His hands explored my body, touching every and any part of me he could. I relished each bit of electricity and moaned for more.

My mouth opened to him willingly, and I nearly fainted from the delicious taste. It was like I had been starving and he was my first ration. I wanted to devour and savor him all at once, desperate to give and take in this needful exchange. I gave him everything I had in that kiss, silently saying all the things that had gone unspoken for years.

His elegant fingers trailed to the edges of my jaw, caressing my skin. With a jerk, he forced my head back and broke our kiss. His mouth connected to my throat, my neck, my collarbone, and my jaw.

"I love you, Bella. I'm sorry," he said with strangled breaths against my hot skin.

"I know," I whimpered. I hadn't realized I was crying until I heard my own voice. "I know…I know…I know…"

He nodded into the crook of my neck while pausing from the attention he had given that area moments before. We were enveloped by the sounds of our own heavy breathing and muffled sobs. The intensity was palpable.

"Look at me, Edward, please," I practically begged. I moved my hands from his hair around to his face and pulled him up to me. I realized my hands were now wet. He was crying too. The redness riming his eyes only made their bright green more vibrant.

"Look at me. I need you to see me right now," I repeated.

"I'm looking at you, love. I'm here." He composed himself slightly, but there was as much desperation in his voice as there had been in my own. He leaned into me, pressing our foreheads together in that intimate bond we had shared so many times.

I nodded against him and kept my eyes steeled to his.

"Bella, I miss you. I love you. I'll miss you for the rest of my life. Oh god, I'm sorry," he sobbed. "I didn't know it would-"

"Shh," I whispered, cutting him off. "Every day. Me too. And I need you to know that I…I love you too."

I had never said it aloud before. It was a relief and an absolute heartbreak all at once.

Edward nodded against my forehead and kissed me passionately again. "Thank you," he mumbled against my lips.

Too soon – much too soon – we broke apart. Our lips slowed to a series of small kisses between more words of love, adoration, and finality.

He covered my entire face in love, and I returned every emotion with my lips against his skin as well.

Finally, we came to an unwilling stop.

I clung to his body until his hands and arms slowly detached from mine. He helped me readjust my clothes and smooth my hair, and then he ran his thumbs under my eyes to wipe off some smeared make-up. I attempted to return some order to his chaotic hair, but my efforts were fruitless. We both chuckled sadly about that.

"You should go first. Stop in the restroom and clean yourself up," he said with a regretful tone.

"Okay," I agreed. Thoughts of Charlie and Adam out in our seats helped draw me back to the reality I didn't want to face.

"Take care of yourself, Bella. I can be happy if I know you're happy and loved. I'm so sorry things have to be like th-"

I stopped him with a final, hard kiss. I kept my eyes closed for a moment when we separated.

"Please. No more," I told him. "I know. Believe me. I do. I just can't hear you say it again, or I might not be able to go."

"Then don't," he said evenly.

"You know that's not possible."

"I know." His voice was nothing more than a breath, empty and resigned.

"I love you, Edward," I whispered one last time. Fighting back more tears, I gave him one more quick kiss and caressed his cheek as he leaned into my palm.

Before I could lose myself in him again, I turned away and walked slowly to the door. I took one final peek over my shoulder, receiving the last beautiful crooked smile I would ever see.

"Goodbye," he whispered, and I slipped out the door.

I bit my lip. Hard.

I strained to keep every ounce of emotion inside me until I was safely tucked away in some private location.

Upon spotting a ladies' room in the distance, I practically ran to it. Once I was within the confines of the large restroom, I went to the farthest stall and locked myself inside. I slid down the wall into a crumpled mess on the floor and bawled.

My chest heaved and my cries echoed through the hollow room. Eventually, it was too much for my body to handle, and I was forced to shift myself over the toilet. My churning stomach repeated three times because once it would stop, my body would convulse again in dramatic, violent sobs. The entire process would then happen all over again. By the last time, I was only spitting rancid, foul bile and praying that the pain would just go away.

When I had both cried and vomited myself out, I reluctantly left my little stall-fortress. The woman I faced in the mirror was a complete mess.

I grabbed a huge wad of paper towels and doused my face and neck with cold water, then rinsed my mouth. When I was thoroughly dried off, I dug in my purse for a hair tie and some gum. I pulled my disheveled hair up into a loose bun and went on to repair my face. A little powder helped to calm my splotchy red cheeks. I added a bit of mascara and lipgloss, inspecting the finished product in my reflection.

My telltale red eyes couldn't really be avoided, but I couldn't hide out in the restroom much longer. I had already been gone for quite some time, and while I knew the guys were probably engrossed in the game, they would worry if I didn't get back soon.

With a final deep breath, I turned and walked out, finding a concession stand along the way. I no longer had any appetite, but I had promised to bring some food back with me. Once I had everything, I found our section and made my way to my seat.

As I plopped down next to Adam, I feigned interest in the activity on the field. "How's the game?"

"Oh, hey, sweetness. Welcome back." He took the food I was handing him and kissed the top of my head.

My dad and I exchanged greetings, and he filled me in on what I had missed. He was particularly excited because the Mariners were up by five at the top of the eighth inning.

"Did you have a nice visit with your friend?" Adam asked, looking over at me. I turned my head in his direction slightly, but didn't look directly at him. Pretending to be interested in the game was an easy enough cover.

"Oh, yeah," I nodded. "It was nice to catch up."

"Good. I'm glad."


A few minutes later, I could feel his eyes on me again.

"Are you okay, Izz?" Have you been crying?" His voice was laced with genuine concern, reminding me of how lucky I was to have this caring, sweet man in my life.

The mention of me crying caught my dad's attention as well. "What's the matter, Bells?"

Now that I was caught, there was really no point in avoiding their worried eyes.

"I'm all right. I just got some…sad news while we were talking," I blurted out. "Someone I knew died."

Adam immediately pulled me into a strong side hug and whispered words of comfort in my ear. Charlie looked at me with a deep frown, but didn't say anything. He had never handled bad news well.

I hated lying to them, but if I wanted to get technical, someone had died. Two someones, actually. Today, the Edward and Bella who were Edward&Bella had come to an unavoidable and final end. It was as tragic and heartbreaking as any loss of life I had ever experienced. With Edward went a piece of my heart that could never be repaired or replaced, no matter how much I loved Adam.

I refused to think of my future husband as second place, though.

The simple truth was that Edward and I were just not meant to be.

No matter how much wishful thinking Edward spoke of or I thought, nothing would change.

We returned to my parents' house after the game ended and we had picked up my mom. I went to bed early, leaving the others to watch the highlights of the game on Sports Center and talk about the day.

As I showered and lay in bed staring at the ceiling, my mind was in an unavoidable place. Each piece of my conversation and every touch I shared with Edward replayed in my head. If I concentrated hard enough, I could faintly feel the tingle of his fingertips on my body or taste his sweet breath on my tongue. I relished the memory of his melodic voice, knowing that, in time, it would fade.

That chance meeting today was our opportunity for the closure we never received before. It was like fate giving us our final time to say goodbye and end things properly.

As difficult as it was to accept that reality, I was grateful for it. We were both able to say the things we never had the chance to, as well as answer some of each other's questions. Neither of us really wanted to cut our communication, but we did it selflessly. Our misunderstandings turned out to be for the best in the end. We both needed to let go and focus on our individual lives instead of the affair that could never have been more.

Knowing that Edward had never forgotten about me felt amazing, though. He had told me before that he loved me and that he wished our circumstances that been different, but when we stopped talking, I never knew if his feelings had changed. I never wanted to believe he could just write me off and go on with his life without a second thought about me. There was just no way of ever knowing, even if a part of me still thought I could feel that invisible connection between us. Hearing those words from his lips healed a broken part of me.

I could move on now. I had already made my choice to be with Adam, and I knew that we would have a happy life together, but seeing Edward one last time was something that I needed. I had no doubt that I would miss him, but that was okay. I didn't want to forget what we had shared, even if I was not proud of the circumstances. Once more, I reminded myself that it had brought me where I now was in my life, and that was in my proper place with Adam.

My future would be good. I was embarking on a new step in my career, and I had no doubts that it would be a successful venture. Adam and I shared our own kind of passion, and I truly loved him. It was something different, but no relationship should be the same as one in your past. We had comfort, affection, and we fit together well; those were all things that would make our marriage work well. Hopefully, that would eventually develop into a family, which I sincerely looked forward to with my fiancé.

When I looked back on my life, especially the time since college, it was hard to believe that I had experienced so many different things and been through so much. It was a roller coaster, but I wouldn't take any of it back.

As I felt sleep creeping up on me, I thought about Edward, and I said a silent prayer for him. I thanked God for creating him and allowing me to know him, even if our relationship had not been something the Lord would approve of. Edward Cullen had changed my life, and even though I would never see him again, I wanted him to be happy, healthy, and successful. I prayed for him to have all those things. I prayed for forgiveness…for Carissa's happiness…for Finn and Analise to have wonderful lives.

In hindsight, I was not sure if I could have done things differently, but I was grateful for the bittersweet way that life have worked itself out.

E/N: To clarify, in this "could have been" scenario, Edward would not have told Bella about his marriage counseling, nor would he have told Carissa that he cheated on her, so he stayed married. Bella would not have ever found out about Edward's past with Julie or Carissa. As you can see, details about Emmett's business, Bella's job, and the other characters would have been different as well. It is an alternate universe, after all =)

I hope that this helps you see why I chose the other outcome for the story. On the other hand, if you were among those readers who hated Edward & Bella and the fact that they ended up together, then maybe you'll prefer to consider this the real ending. Either way, thank you so much for reading.

Don't forget to visit & bookmark my blog/personal story archive =D