Edward had returned and everything should have gone back to normal. For a while, it did. Edward spent every waking moment with me, and when he was hunting, Alice came over. Jacob, miraculously, had forgiven me, even though I'd thrown him away. Charlie grudgingly allowed me to see Edward, not that he could stop me. The hole in my chest had vanished. So why was I still upset?
I didn't realize that something was wrong at first. Edward dazzled me even more to make up for his leaving, but something bugged me still. I wasn't as dazzled by him as before. In fact, I'd begun to question our relationship. If Edward loved me as much as he claimed, why did he leave me? Sure it was for my own good, but was it really? I fell apart without him. Edward waltzed into my life, waltzed back out, and stole my stuff. What right did he have to do that? Sure it would have hurt me to look at the CDs, but at least I'd know that I wasn't crazy. Since Edward had left me, what didn't he forsake all rights to have any contact with me? All those months of moping, my confidence had gone down. I couldn't for the life of my fathom why Edward loved me? What was so special about me? Sure I knew he loved my human characteristics, but was that all?
With a frown, I twisted the ring around. I couldn't believe Edward was going to marry me. I loved him, but why was I having doubts. Why did I love Edward, again? Let's see, he was handsome, dangerous, and….yeah, that was pretty much it. I'd become the cliché girl in the movies who is attracted to a shallow pretty boy and ignores her best friend. Jacob had been so good to me. I'd only felt whole in his presence. I'd even considered dating him just to have a man (pathetic) but would I really date him? Jacob was funny, witty, took care of me without smothering me, treated me as an equal, was cute(I'm sorry, I'm shallow)- why wasn't I dating him? Even though Jacob would always be at my beck and call, and would come for me, I didn't feel right dating him. I wanted to, so badly, but it wouldn't be fair to him, would it? Besides, I was with Edward. Or was I?
Edward arrived. I could hear him talking with Charlie and then he entered my room. "Hello, love." My heartbeat accelerated, but it wasn't in a pleasant way. For some reason I felt irked by Edward's crooked smile. Clearly he didn't realize anything was wrong. As a matter of fact, I didn't even realize anything was wrong. I'd always read that the key to a good relationship was communication. Did Edward and I have that? Let's see. "Why do you love me?" I didn't look at Edward when I asked the question.
"You're incredible, Bella," he said.
"You're brave, smart, selfless_"
"I'm not brave, Edward. I may be smart, but I'm not that smart. And I'm not selfless. You're just listing what every guy lists when a girl asks why he loves her and he doesn't."
"Bella, of course I love you. Never doubt that."
"That's the thing. I doubt that you love me. Name your favorite things about me."
"Your blush, your clumsiness, your sleep-talking, your heartbeat-"
"Human characteristics, you mean. Things all humans have. Those aren't qualities about me, Edward."
"I love how you're a mystery." I laughed hollowly. "Edward, you're a mind reader. A very judgmental mind reader. You think that just because you can, you have the right to listen in on people's private thoughts. Remember how our classmates are so shallow? We're teenagers, Edward. Teenagers don't think like 117 year old men, and some are a lot deeper than you give them credit for. You don't really know a person just because you can read their surface thoughts. Knowing a person takes time. I'm not special, Edward. I'm not selfless or a mystery. My mind's the same as any other teenage girl."
If I'd been hoping to have a serious discussion and hear valid reasons why Edward loved me, I was disappointed. He chuckled. "Bella, you are utterly absurd." Indignation churned in my stomach. I'd just poured my heart out to him and he was calling me absurd? Did my opinion mean so little to him?
"You're going to change me, aren't you?" Unless he didn't want the Volturi to kill us, he had to. "Yes."
"You do realize that I'll lose the human characteristics you love, right? My human characteristics are the main reason why you love me. Tell me this, Edward. When I'm changed, will you still love me?"
Edward hesitated. "Bella, let's not do this now. It's completely unnecessary."
"I don't think so. It matters to me. Do you care about what I care about?"
"Of course I do." Edward sounded impatient. Irritated, I clenched my fists. Was it that bothersome to talk to me like an equal?
"Then tell me, Edward- will you love me when I lose my human characteristics?"
Edward didn't look at me. His silence said it all. To my small surprise, I felt only resignation, but no sadness. "I think we should break up. Marriage is about love, and we don't love each other."
"Don't be absurd! You are my life!"
I smiled sadly and shook my head. "Edward, you are so arrogant. You judge people without knowing them, just because you can read their minds. You can't read my minds, so you figure I'm deep. I'm not. I'm an average teenage girl. I'm not who you think I am. To you I'm just someone you invented because you didn't feel like getting to know others properly." "Bella, this is preposterous."
"I want you to leave, Edward. We're through. You never loved me. In fact, you never even knew me. I was attracted to you because of the mystery, but now that that's solved, there's nothing left. You never cared about me at all. You left without considering my feelings, you talk down to me and my friend- I've had it. You're no good for me, Edward. Leave."
He did and I was left alone. Charlie came in later. "Edward left early."
"We broke up."
"I'm sorry." Yeah, right. Charlie hated Edward.
"I'm not. He wasn't good for me. He didn't treat me like an equal. And I'm still mad at him." I couldn't believe I'd forgotten to tell Edward off. "Good for you, Bells. You know Jacob-"
"I love Jacob and all, but after the way I treated him I don't think he'd have me." Charlie smiled. "You'd be surprised what guys would do when they like a girl. I hesitated. Could it be true that Jacob would have me after all I'd put him through? Was he that hopelessly in love with me? Was I a bitch for messing with his heart? But was I? Had I moved on from Edward? Yes. Then I should talk to Jacob. I wanted to so badly.
Three days later, I sat in Jacob's kitchen. "Jake, we need to talk. I broke up with Edward."
The brightest smile lit up his face. "That's great! I mean, are you okay?"
"Fine. I realized that he didn't love me, and I didn't love him. But that's not important. I owe you and apology. I treated you like shit when you were there for me. You were much better for me than Edward. You treated me as an equal. And then I abandoned you because I was too scared to get mad at Edward, even though he deserved it. I'd like to be with you, Jake, and not just because I need a guy. You make me happy, much happier than Edward ever did. But I don't know if it's fair to date you when I just broke up with Edward. You might be my rebound guy. Do you want that?"
Jake didn't say anything for a while. "You know, this is like the movies when the girl confesses her love to the guy, but he doesn't say anything because you need time to process that statement and girls can be so impatient and then she gets in trouble and the guy saves her. You aren't going to get in trouble, are you? I've got enough on my plate without saving you."
This made me laugh. "No."
Jake sobered up. "I care about you Bella, and I want to be with you. Are you sure you want to be with me after you just broke up with the leech?"
"I missed you Jake. I wanted you for a while. But I was too blinded by my first relationship to see that. I was scared of getting hurt and confronting Edward. And when I did, he didn't take me seriously. But I had feelings for him, or a part of him I idealized.
Those feelings were strong. I don't love you as passionately as I did my idealized version of Edward, but I can be your equal. I can never be Edward's equal. I think you can be good for me." I reached my hand out and Jake took it. "I know I can."