Hello there! This is my first venture into fanfic. Annabella Laurie beta'ed chapters 1-10 and MissAlex is doing the rest. Thank you so much for reading!

Please be warned that this is a MATURE story. There is excessive use of foul language, sexual situations, and violence later on. If you don't like that or can't handle it, I can suggest something fluffy for you to read.

Meyer owns all and I do not. But I do take responsibility for Edward and his potty mouth.

Chapter 1 Edward the Broken


When I arrived at Charlie's, he was already outside on the porch waiting for me. I chuckled to myself. He was so excited to go out on the pond today. I knew it by the look on his face. It was freedom and he was going to take it. I got out my car and closed the door behind me. I have come to this house many times over the years. It was like home. I knew every inch of the place. I watched my feet walk up the stairs to the porch; I knew that the second stair had a crack. I placed my hand on the rail and looked at the chipping paint, remembering the last time I helped paint that rail. It was many years ago.

I would miss this house. Soon I would have no reason to come back here. I didn't want to think about that right now. Today was a day for fun and relaxation. It was Charlie's day to get out and do what he loved most, fish. He looked at me and without saying a word, handed me his bag and pole and walked past me to his old Chevy truck. He didn't need to say anything. It was like that with Charlie and me. We didn't need all those words getting in the way of just living. I followed him and placed his bag in the truck. I quickly went over to Charlie's boat in the driveway and hitched it up to his truck. It only took ten minutes and we were off, ready to start the day.

The water was placid and clear. Today was a sunny day which was unusual for Forks, Washington but I loved it. You don't get many sunny days when you live the on the Olympic Peninsula where it is clouded in gray most of the year. It was enough to pink up my skin a little and feel the burn as the afternoon sun beat down on us. This was new for Charlie to be on his boat in a pond, or at least it was a change of pace. He has been indoors for the last three months, recovering from his last bout of pneumonia. He was well enough today to go out and fish- his favorite thing to do of course. This time we had to stick to a local pond on private property. My property. It was my all mine, I thought with a smile. But I guess it was more of a small lake then a pond… I bought 30 acres about a year ago and just finished building my new house, thanks in part to my parent's vast wealth they left me. My friends Emmett and Jasper helped me do a lot of the work so they became my new unofficial roommates. Emmett and Jasper also quickly became my replacement best friends since I couldn't have her anymore. I could feel the tension build in my brow when I thought of her. I still couldn't say her name sometimes. It hurt too much. I still thought of her every day. Some of my thoughts of her were not always good thoughts. I was still angry she left and hurt at what happened to them.

… … Them.

It's been five years. I have to get over.... it. What is.... it? The grief? The loneliness? The betrayal?

No, I dealt with that a long time ago. Or, I kept telling myself I dealt with that shit. It was still there.

It was easier to push away, then to heal. I was not interested in healing right now. I don't know why. I just wanted to live numb to the world. Just live and not think of the past. It was hard not to. Having reminders everyday hounding me like the plague. Charlie was one of those reminders. But I couldn't push Charlie away. He needed me too much, especially now. Every time I saw him or spoke to him I would picture her.

It was a nice way of living.

I would laugh for torturing myself on a daily basis. But Charlie didn't have her right now either. One of us had to stay take care of him. That job fell into my hands and I didn't mind. He was like a father to me since my father was not around… or my mother.

… … Them.

I sighed and shrugged off their memory. They were gone and I was alone. Charlie filled that void. He did a good job too. He never gave up on me. He supported me and helped me get over their death. I at least let him think he did. I never talked to anyone about them; it was too hard… too much pain that caused headaches. Charlie was different. What other non-relative would go out of their way and be a "step in" father to a messed up, lost, punk kid who was in love with his own daughter? Not too many in my book. If I was in his situation and my daughter's broken ex boyfriend came crawling to me in pain, I would just shrug it off and walk away. But Charlie was more than that. He was a father who knew what it felt like to be alone. He is a good stand up guy who loved my father like a brother and loved me like a son. The ex boyfriend part was just a formality. He knew I loved her. He knew she loved me. Why come in the way of love or when it was love. He knew love all too well. He was broken too. Renee was gone and never coming back. Charlie understood who I was now without her in my life. He had hoped things would change, but we both knew it wouldn't.

Not now.

Not after all that happened. It's been too long. He knew I blamed her. He didn't say anything about it. That's the kind of guy Charlie is. He was wiser than I for sure. He knew it when he looked at me. He couldn't help me. He couldn't repair me to my former self. I had to help myself. I had too much built up in me that I couldn't let out. I would sit in my bedroom at night and think of ways to get healed.

I tried to scream it out. No sound.

I tried to punch it out. No damage.

I tried to kill myself. No luck.

I couldn't do it. It was so fucking irresponsible. I wouldn't let my parents down by killing myself. I could see my dad kicking my ass from heaven if I succeeded. And that meant he was going to hell to find me and fuck me up; I wasn't allowing that shit. My honorable father was not stepping one foot out of heaven… even over my dead body. So suicide was out of the question. I didn't have the nerve to go through with it anyway. I let the car run in the closed garage for five minutes before I declared myself the biggest dumb ass and opened the garage door. I had to face it.

I was pathetic.

I was a broken man. I wanted to be a lost soul; I wasn't worth saving. I didn't want to be saved. Just live in my new house on my land. Be a hermit and grow a beard. I wanted to wear lumber jack shirts and cut wood. I wanted to write and play music. Anything to keep me on my land and away from people.

The way they looked at me was something I dreaded... Full of pity and shame.

The look that said, He could have been a great man but now he's hopeless.

This caused me to not always be pleasant to others. When I got that certain disdained look I would crack. My view on people was shot to hell. After my parents died, I didn't want to be disturbed; I wanted to be alone. No one was going to help… No one could help. Not the neighbors, family, friends, or even her. She tried but I shut her out.

There was no way I was letting her back in. She caused this all. It was all her fault. How dare she try to mend me! No one was going to heal me. I grew angry and lashed out at anyone who got in my way.

Mrs. Stanley used to worry about me often I really don't know why. I never did anything for the woman. She was trying to be sweet but I hated the fucking attention. I lost it and yelled at her in the grocery store.

"Leave me the fuck alone and I don't want you to bring a disgusting casserole to my house!"

If screaming at Mrs. Stanley at the top of my lungs wasn't a clear sign to people, I didn't know what was.

Emmett was really pissed when he found out I did that.

"Dude, why the hell did you pass up free food?" he complained.

I just brushed passed him and shook my head. He understood my anger. I didn't want people falling over me. I'm not the only person in the world who lost parents. He still reminds me about it to this day. Mrs. Stanley was known for her cooking.

When that episode happened, Mrs. Stanley was stunned to say the least and hurried off to tell the town I was crazy and rude. Rumors flew like wild fire. First I yelled at her, then I went crazy in the canned goods isle throwing food, then I broke down and cried.

It was all lies. I didn't care.

Screw them! Screw Mrs. Fucking Stanley with her one dish meal!

My life didn't matter now. I guess my attitude didn't help in my profession. It just made me more of a force to be reckoned with. More power of the badge. I liked carrying a gun. It came with the job of being a deputy in Forks. People tend to stay farther away from you when you carry a gun. Even if you are a cop. To protect and serve... yeah right.

A year after my parent's death I did manage to salvage a couple of friendships. I was only human; I had to have some companionship. I had just a couple of close friends. I didn't need much more. Emmett, Jasper and Rose hung around long enough to see through my bullshit. God bless them. I was no fun to hang out with for a long time.

Women were another story. There were a couple of women that just wanted to "ease my pain" as they told me. I let them. Hell, I have needs. I am a man after all. I denied myself for so long. It was inevitable. I had to have sex plain and simple.

Women came and went in my life. I wouldn't call myself a ladies' man but I knew I had an effect on women. I was a little cocky about it. I got some good looks from my father and I worked out so my body was decent. It wasn't hard to land a piece of ass that looked like a model but drank like a fish. Those girls were easy. Buy them a drink, make them feel special, and take them home. I was definitely not looking for a relationship. No way. It required too much time and energy. Plus, I really wasn't into it. None of them drew my attention for more than just one night stands.

Or if they were good, three night stands, maybe four, but never more than that. It got too complicated after more than five dates.

I guess you can call me a user. I used women.

Edward Masen the player.

I'm not proud of it. I felt like a complete asshole when the night was over and I was ready to take them home after I ravaged their bodies. I had myself to protect. I always made it clear I wanted nothing more than just sex. Most of them understood and went along with the plan. It wasn't like I was bedding a different woman every night.

Not anymore.

Just every now and then I would meet someone at the bar or in Port Angeles. I didn't want love anymore. I had love once. I have love now. What the hell am I thinking? I no longer had love. I'm not still in love with her. Not anymore. She proved that to me months ago.

I don't know. I was over it. I didn't want to experience anything anymore with anyone. No one could compare to the way I felt for her. There was never anyone who even came close.

But I did try once... Just to see if it would happen.

I tried to will the spark with Jessica Stanley. Did that ever backfire on me.

We dated for about three months before I had to let her go. She started talking about the future and kids and all that shit. She brought over one of her Martha Stewart Living books to my house when I moved in. She wanted to help me decorate. I knew she had alternative motives. Looking at her face, it bled excitement.

I freaked.

She was in love with me and I couldn't give her anything. I tried. I really really tried. I looked at the damn Martha Stewart, choking on my pride. Jessica was smart and knew going into anything with me was not the best decision. She hoped she could change me. She wanted to heal me which was a mistake. It made me grow anxious with her and I started to withdraw slowly. She sensed it but she wouldn't let go. I just had to let her down gently… eventually.

Her mother for sure didn't want me to be with Jessica since that day in the grocery store. "He's nuts, Jessica!" "I forbid you to see him. He almost attacked me!" her mother would yell.

Jessica didn't care. She loved me and wanted nothing more than to be with me. I couldn't understand it. It was unconditional with her. But I kept at it with her, trying to see if I could just fall in love with her... for her sake. Jessica put so much into the relationship; I had so much respect for her, but in the end I couldn't do it. Every time I was with Jess I felt her not Jessica. We would sleep together and I thought of her. I would wrap my arms around Jess, kiss Jess and imagine it was her… not Jess. It got to the point when we had sex I had to really concentrate on yelling the right name. "Bel....I mean Jessica!" Those little slips cut deep. I tried so damn hard not to think her name, but when it would slip, it was like taking a punch full on to the fucking gut.

It wasn't fair to either of us. Jessica was heartbroken and cried a lot. It hurt me that I hurt her so much. I knew she would get over it. I really was sorry for leading her on. She is a sweet girl. She was mad at me for a long time, but ended up forgiving me when she had a talk with Rose one day. Rose told her how messed up I was over how I treated her. Jessica realized she couldn't fix me. We became friends.

We still talk when I see her at the diner where she works. She sometimes comes over and spends the night. We have an understanding now. I still have trouble with which name to yell, but now I just keep my mouth shut. It's easier that way.

Why wasn't anyone else good enough?

What is wrong with me?

Why did I make this so difficult? Jessica would take me back in a second if I asked her too. She still looked at me like that.

With love.

It didn't help that we were still having sex.

Oh well, she will have to deal with it. I had myself to look out for. I can't think anymore about it. I still have her in my head. That damn pull I feel when I think about her is still there. It never went away. Shouldn't I have forgotten over time? Out of sight out of mind, right?


Why can't I get her out of my head! I thought.

I would shout to myself, "It's been five years! Get over yourself! She was just a girl!"

But she wasn't just a girl. It was her. My heart. My life.

I had no heart now. She charred it black. I was bitter and cold and I blamed her.

Fishing wasn't my top past time; I like music and film. I would do it for Charlie though. I wanted to make him happy and enjoy himself. He deserved it with all he has been through. I know not having her here the whole time he's been sick has been tough on him. But he wanted it that way. She was coming back really soon after graduation. She wanted to come home and take care of him but he insisted she finish what she started and graduate. It was mostly Charlie's choice to make her stay at school and finish.

He said to her, "Bella," the fucking sound of her name still stung, "You have to finish what you started. I'm so proud of you. I will be fine and I can take care of myself. If I need help I always have Edward. I can trust and rely on him."

Of course she protested and was ready to move home but he put his foot down and made her feel more terrible if she didn't stay and finish out her masters.

Charlie rarely said much to me about her since my parents died. He knew I didn't want to talk about her. It was hard for him sometimes to not talk about her. He wanted to tell so much; sometimes he would forget and slip some details in. He knew how close Bella and I were to each other. I would just smile and say "That's great! I'm glad she's happy." Which was true, I never wanted her to be anything but happy. I guess that's why I let her go and didn't look back. She was my other half. Still feels like that sometimes.

It was her choice to break up. I followed her to Chicago when she went to school. I didn't know how to live without her. When you spend your whole life loving someone you follow them anywhere. She didn't want me to be there with her there at school. I was too much of a distraction. I got in the way. She told me she thought our love was just puppy love… A high school relationship… A fling

A fling?

What was that?

"Are you kidding me?" I screamed at her. "Did you just call our whole life a fucking... fling?" I shivered remembering her voice and words. She could only look at me with sad eyes. She said that on purpose. I could see it on her face. It hurt her to say it to me, but that was harsh.

A fling?

I felt her stabbing my heart over and over again when I thought of the word …fling.

Our love was never a fucking fling and she knew it. It was more, way more. She trusted in it and loved it just like I did. She was wrong. She was lying. I could see it in her eyes. I felt my heart rip from my chest. I just wanted to put my heart on platter and serve it up to her… I didn't need it anymore. She took it and threw it away.

How could she not see she was my other half? She knew she was my other half, she just didn't want it. She threw me away. She threw us away. I told her I would follow her anywhere. She told me to go home.

"You have more to do with your life then just be with me Edward." she told me. "Go home, please." she begged me. She wanted to stay in touch though.

That was classic!

Oh Edward, let's be friends. What guy wants to hear that? Me, that's who. She called in the following months since I left and I talked to her like an idiot. Hoping that she would see reason and either move back home and go to college here or let me come back to Chicago and go to school there. I tried a couple of times to have Bella see my way and let her know we needed to be together.

She wouldn't listen. She didn't know what she was doing to me. She was very stubborn like Charlie. She was blind. I was blind. "Go home." rang in my ears. So I went home like she told me too and still talked to her everyday like a moron. A truly devoted moron. God, I sound like a chick.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

I looked over at Charlie as he was watching the line in the water. He looked peaceful. I could tell he was happy. All day he's been eying me like he needed to say something. I wasn't going to ask. It was probably something I wouldn't like. He knew how I hated surprises. I could tell he was just waiting for the right moment to drop it on me. He was known to do that in the past.

Sneaky bastard! I would wait... I have all day. I'm in a middle of a lake... he's got me cornered.

Charlie's eyes looked a little tired; he probably didn't sleep well last night. His insomnia has gotten worse over the last year. It's bad since he needs his rest. Even though Charlie was sick and looked it, I could still see her in him. They had the same color hair, rich chocolate brown. They had the same brown as mud eyes and the same little smile. God, this is agony looking at him. Her face just pops in my head. All these memories always pop into my mind and never stop coming. Some good memories… some bad. It's making me feel crazy. I didn't care. I wanted to stew in this little world I created. Nothing is getting better for me here in Forks. I accepted it.

Some memories were the worst.

Remembering back to when I saw her with him that afternoon. My body convulsed with betrayal and rage and hurt at the thought.

I saw her as I was walking to the coffee shop I knew she would be at. She didn't know I saw her. I never told her. Alice, Bella's roommate convinced me to surprise her. I listened; it seemed like a great idea. Bella would be so excited to see me. Alice said that's all she ever talked about was me. Bella and her Edward. It was going to be the first time I saw her in a couple of months. Since the day she put us on hold. Thanks to Alice, who I have become great phone friends with since then, I was ready to get her back.

Alice felt sorry for me. She knew that Bella didn't mean all she said to me that day. Alice slipped away from Bella and caught up to me after I left their room. She took my cell number and told me she would keep in touch. And we did from that day on. Alice was a great friend. She saw the good in people. She saw I was hurt, but she swore never to talk to Bella about me. Alice wanted to help. Maybe be a guardian angel to the both of us.

"I still feel you're with her in everything she does." Alice gave me hope the first couple of months without Bella.

I never looked back that day.

It felt my life just stood still that day when I saw her with him. I was watching her from across the street by the outdoor café. I ducked inside so she wouldn't see me and looked at her through the window. She was waiting outside of Star buck's with her arms crossed. It was fall so it was cooler outside. She had on boot cut jeans with a red corduroy fitted coat. Her long brown hair gently swayed in the breeze. Her skin looked beautiful… Peaches and cream. She looked more amazing then I could possibly imagine. It had been a while since I saw her last and looking at her was taking my breath away. I remembered her smell and the feel of her lips on mine. The memories flooded back with ease.

Her body moved from side to side. She always did that when she stood. It was cute. She had a small smirk on her face like she was remembering something. It made me smile. I love that smile. She would flash me that grin when I would say something funny or did something goofy. She blushed too. It warmed her face. She glowed. She couldn't have been more beautiful than right then.

She looked at her watch twice.

I looked at mine. 4:36pm?

I knew she was done with classes for the day. What is she waiting for? Alice told me she would be here today. Alice could keep a secret; she was on my side. Alice told me she was meeting someone, a classmate to discuss a project and I could casually interrupt them to sweep her off her feet. I was ready with a bouquet of green hydrangea and black magic roses. Bella's favorite.

She started to look down the opposite street. I had to duck down from the window so she wouldn't see me. She had looked right at me. I could have sworn she saw me. She just sighed and turned around again. I found this all too funny. She had no idea I was here. She turned back to the window I was in again and looked. This time she concentrated hard on me, still not seeing me, but it felt like she sensed me. I felt the pull in my stomach when she did this. Her brow started to crease and Bella looked sad for a moment. It made my heart wrench. I wanted to run to her and wipe away the sadness. No, I had to keep to my plan.

I was in town to surprise her. I had great news and I wanted to surprise her in hope she would take me back with open arms. Things would go back to normal… better than normal. I would have my Bella back.

But I wasn't the arms she was in that day. The tall dark headed guy came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist tightly hugging her and putting his hands in places mine should be. He nuzzled her neck and whispered something in her ear. She smiled and pushed him away laughing. She looked back towards my window. I almost took out the waiter as I dove for cover. He cursed me under his breath. I peaked up and Bella sighed with a slump of her shoulders. She turned and was now facing him. He was talking to her but I couldn't read his lips. He seemed too close to her face.

"She has ears dude, back up," I whispered to myself.

The waiter still standing close by at another table laughed a small chuckle. I quickly growled at him and he left leaving me alone again. The "dude" as I was now calling him in my head was talking intently into Bella's ear. He got too close to her ear for my liking. I could see her head tilt to shake off his advances.

Good girl. Send this friend packing please. I have a job to do and a girl to get back.

The "dude" then took her face into his hands and looked into her eyes. By this time I was ready to walk right up to him and deck him. Hard. I had enough of this crap. Nuzzling, whispering, looking way too much at her... he's getting hit. But then, I saw her smile. It was the sweet smile she had given me many times. My smile. She blushed right after. She blushed.

I guess the he took that as a good sign and he leaned down to kiss her.

I knew very well what was going on. I couldn't watch. I wouldn't watch this happening. Anger filled my head. I walked outside, threw the bouquet of flowers to the ground and flipped over a table that was in way of getting to my car. I didn't dare look back. She had to hear the table flip taking with it the glasses and plates on it. I didn't stay to see what my damage had done. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I was sweating and my body felt cold. I couldn't breathe.

Wait, I had to turn around. She isn't with that guy. Or is she?

We talked almost every day since then. She loved me and I loved her. I was going to move to Chicago to be with her and go to school. She would be happy. I knew it. Who was that with her? Her new boyfriend? She never mentioned any "guy" she had met here. Then again why would she tell me anything about that? She knew that would kill me.

It was killing me.

I reached my car and hopped in. I started the engine and looked in my rear view mirror. "Don't look back Edward." I lied to myself because I was looking back. I looked down at the leather cuff I was wearing. She gave it to me for my birthday last year. It had an 'E' and 'B' imprinted on it. She had a matching one. What did that represent now? I started my car and drove off.

It was hard to stay in the lane of traffic as I sped to O'Hare. I had to leave. I wasn't staying here if she was with someone else.

She told me months ago to go home. I'm going.

Wait, why was I running? Go back and get her you idiot! What's wrong with you? She is your Bella not his. She loves you. She just told you the other day on the phone. That was the whole reason why you got this stupid idea to surprise her in the first place.

He doesn't know her like I do. He had his hands all over her. It revolted me thinking of him touching her… kissing her. He probably was fucking her too. That thought made me want to gag.

I didn't know Bella anymore. Did I? Why am I not turning around right now?

I knew the answer already.

She smiled at him the way she smiled at me. Her face was so happy to see him. I could see her eyes sparkle. She used to look at me like that. Would she have looked at me like that when I came up to surprise her? Maybe… I don't know. She was waiting for him now, not me. I was her past now, no longer her future. God, that fucking hurts.

"She smiled at him." I screamed over and over like a chant in my head. I was growing even more enraged with every mile closer to the airport. My tears started to well in my eyes. I felt them burn down my cheek.

"Hold it together!" I shouted. I started to bang my hands on the steering wheel almost throwing my rental into the next lane.

Breathe dammit. She has every right to be with someone else. Right?

But she told me she still loves me. That means something.

"It is hard for me now to be without you Edward." she told me. "I miss you like you would never know." she said.

That gave me the idea to surprise her. I would only change my life for a couple of years to be with her. I would do that for love. She missed me and still loved me. Our relationship wasn't just a fling like she said to me months ago. It was real and pure. She knew it and Alice told me so. We could go back home when we graduate. Start a life. I knew she would like that idea.

Remembering back to September, when I came to visit she sat me down and told me to go home. She knew I wanted to stay and get a job in Chicago. She didn't want me there. She needed to find out what life was outside of Forks. That included being away from me. She had to be free for awhile.

"I have too much of my mother in me," she said. "Go home, Edward. Don't give up your life for me. I know you won't be happy here. Go to the academy. Do it. I want you to do it. I can't hold you back anymore." her voice trembled. "You don't need to protect me. I'll be fine. I always am. Please do it for me. I love you."

I thought of our conversation from that day in September over and over on the way to the airport. It was ringing in my ears. I knew she said all those things and didn't mean them. She just wanted me to stay home. It still hurt. But now, she found someone else. She moved on from me. Why do women have to be so damn confusing? It was never confusing before with Bella. The pain I was feeling right now compared nothing to what I felt before.


She fucking broke me.

She didn't love me. I couldn't take it anymore. I pulled off to the shoulder, probably cutting off a car next to mine. I didn't care. I put it in park and just screamed. I screamed so loud my chest hurt. I yelled and punched the roof of the car. I would never do this shit to her. I didn't realize I was holding my breath. I looked in the rear view mirror and noticed my face was bright red and tear stained.

Breathe Edward.

Just go home.

Stay home.

Give her what she wants. Maybe someday things will work out but she doesn't want you now. It was obvious.

I moaned breathlessly, "Bella…"

I was done.

I let out my breath with a final swoosh through my mouth. I still felt stifled.

Breathe. Call home. Tell them you're coming home. They will get you. They love you.

Go home, Edward.

I shook my head and closed my eyes, squeezing them shut to try and get the memory out of my head. I was here with Charlie in his boat on my lake fishing for catfish I stocked four months ago I reminded myself. I had to stop thinking so much about that day and what I should have done different.

If I would have stayed in Chicago… went after her… things would be different.

Stop thinking about it Edward you can't change the past. I reasoned with myself.

I looked around the lake. It was still serene. The sun was still out. I looked down at my arm and noticed some freckles popping out. How long was I thinking about her and starring into space? Charlie wouldn't care. He enjoyed the silence. I felt the boat rock slightly as Charlie shifted his weight. I hoped he was feeling alright. We haven't been on the water long and I knew he wanted to stay out most of the day. It's been awhile for him.

"Charlie, are you okay? Do you want to go in out of the sun?" I asked looking him up and down trying to figure his answer.

He laughed, "Hell no! I'm in heaven right now Edward. What a stupid question," He smirked. Looking back into the water and then to me again. He still had a worried look about him.

"Okay okay," I waved my hand in front of me, surrendering. "Just checking, okay," I said defensively, shrugging my shoulders.

Charlie huffed, "I know you're concerned, but I'm fine. I haven't felt better in months and today is my day to bring home supper instead of you doing it for me," he winked as he reached over his tackle bag. He picked up a container and threw it at me. I looked down and noticed the lid came off a little and leaked some blood on my jeans. Aww, chicken livers. Charlie's favorite bait. I should've known.

"Hey old man, watch what you're doing! I don't want people to think your committing crimes out here," I joked. I was holding the small, bloody container and I must have had a disgusted look on my face because it made Charlie laugh out loud while his whole body shook.

"Shut up Masen and put some chicken liver on your hook. Catfish love that stuff. They smell it from a mile away, just beggin' to get hooked." he smiled and turned back to the water.

"Whatever, you're the boss." I stated matter-of-factly. Charlie was still the police chief of Forks, so technically still my boss.

He knew what he was doing so I didn't question much and just followed orders. I baited my hook and brought the rod to my side; in one fluid motion I cast my line into the water. Now we wait. Charlie wasn't much of a talker so I was destined to get lost in my own thoughts again. I tried not to think of her right now. Frankly, it was too damn depressing and it just made me angry all over again.

Again I reminded myself, it's been five years. Get over it. Whatever Masen… Blah blah blah.

Be a man.

Maybe tonight after I drop Charlie off, I would give Jessica a call. Emmett and Jasper were working so I would have the house to myself. I needed a release. I needed to just forget for awhile. Jessica did a wonderful job at trying to get me to forget. It was like her mission sometimes.

Jessica Stanley, this is your mission should you chose to accept it, fuck Edward Masen's brains out to numb the past. Maybe he might come around and love you.

I winced to myself thinking about Jessica still loving me, but I knew she did and I'm a dick for still seeing her. I can't help it. I'm an asshole now. I used to be nice.

I looked at Charlie, he seemed peaceful but it looked like something was still on his mind. If he wanted to tell me anything he would on his own time. Right now he needed to just. No meds, no …be doctors, no lonely house to look at. Usually, I would have invited Emmett on a trip like this but I felt Charlie just needed to be on the water and have some quiet.

Emmett was anything but quiet. That boy could get the dead riled up. Hmm, maybe that wasn't a good term to use thinking about Charlie… I chuckled to myself at the thought of dying. Charlie probably would have liked that joke about Emmett. He was so content and accepting of his own fate. I wasn't as accepting. I didn't want to lose Charlie. Not to the cancer. He fought hard for a long time. He wasn't giving up. He was just happy where he was at. In this boat fishing with me. He wasn't afraid to die. He was more concerned how she would be when he was gone. Renee was gone and Bel- she couldn't rely on her.

Emmett would've smacked me and told me, "Buck up Masen and let the man live or die already. Don't kick in the grave yet."

Let's just say that Emmett said what was on his mind and loudly. He had no filter, which was refreshing in a way. No bullshit to deal with and he never lied to you. Emmett was a guy's guy. He loved to hunt, fish, carouse for women and look for trouble, but hunting was his favorite thing to do especially bear and deer. Hunting bear was his specialty. Emmett would let the bear chase him, until he turned the tables and made them the prey. He has skills. I'm surprised he never got hurt, but he knew how to take care of himself.

Many times over the years of knowing Emmett he would come back with his hunt and cheer his own victory. I loved to hear the stories he told. One time he bragged about going straight up to this big grizzly and patting him on the head before the bear could even get a swing in. Emmett was so fast the bear missed. At the time I thought to myself, what a joke; he's so lying. The more I have come to know Emmett, I knew he would never lie; his word was good as gold. He was confident and cocky and he could still be annoying, especially living with the man.

I would like to think I'm a neat and orderly man. I clean up after myself, keep the house straight, take care of the basic house chores. Living with Emmett is like living with the bear he so enjoys hunting. He comes in a room and terrorizes it so it looks like a bear invaded the house. Shoes everywhere, leftover food on the table, newspapers on the floor, clothes thrown on the couch, these are all daily occurrences of the mighty grizzly Emmett McCarty.

His girlfriend Rosalie could care less about his cleanliness. She was a great girl to hang with. She pretty much was the female version of Emmett, just a lot easier on the eyes. Rose was tall and blond with a perfect body. At least as perfect as you can get compared to other people I admired. They had been together for a couple of years. He knew he was done for when Rose actually pinned him down while they were play wrestling on their fourth date. He called me up and said he found his wife. He was so in love and happy. I tried to be happy for him, but on the inside I could care less. I didn't want to hear the word love much less have to see it when I looked at Emmett's face when he was with Rose.

Of course I just smiled and said, "Hey man, that's awesome! I'm happy for you. When isthe wedding?"

He knew I was lying but he never said anything. I guess he didn't want me to ruin his high. Who could blame him? I wasn't a pleasant person to be around most of the time. I kept to myself and never went out of my way to really talk to people.

When I asked Emmett the other day if he cared if Charlie and I went on the lake alone, he just shrugged his shoulders and said "sure." Emmett usually loved trips like this, but he understood that I wanted to have Charlie to myself for awhile. He's easy going like that. He understood that there wasn't much time left. Charlie didn't mind in the least that Emmett stayed behind. He thought at times Emmett could be exhausting to be around. He loved him anyway. Emmett is entertaining to say the least.

Emmett and I both knew Charlie loved to fish and we knew that Charlie couldn't go back into the open ocean again. The ocean was too rocky and unstable. The lake was calm and quiet. Charlie's body couldn't handle the motion right now. He was frail and thin. He looked like half of his former self. Everyone knew it wouldn't be too long before he went. I didn't like to think of it. It was too hard to imagine he wouldn't be in my life… or her life. I shuddered at the thought of seeing his body with no life, lying in a coffin. He has so many times saved me from my troubles. Why can't I save him now? I guess I just have to stay strong and not let him see the sadness that I feel when I look at him. It was hard. His clothes hung off of his body. His hair got thinner and the circles under his eyes got darker every day.

I scratched my head in frustration, starting to get a headache. I only get them when I have one of my really bad days. The days when everyone gets too close or makes me think too much. Charlie looked tired. He brought his line in and inspected the hook.

"Damn fish stole my bait again!" he snorted taking the hook into is hands, "Aren't they supposed to bite down on the thing not eat around the hook?" he chuckled. Charlie held up his hands like he was going to catch a ball, "Livers, please."

I realized what he meant and reached down to my feet to pick up the mess of a container he threw at me awhile ago. I made sure this time the lid was on and no blood was going to fly out. I tossed him the container hoping he could catch the thing.

He did, but fumbled with it in his fingers. "Thanks, Edward." he said with a sad smile. Taking out a chicken liver from the container he maneuvered it around the hook. He kept on dropping it when it slipped off his hook. His hands were trembling as he worked. I wanted to help, but he insisted on doing it himself when I tried to help him.

"I'm not that weak that I can't bait my own hook, Edward," he told me with a wink going back to his chore.

He was still fiercely strong and independent. And really really stubborn. So I waved my hand, rolled my eyes, and let him go about it his way. No sense in arguing with him. I was never going to win. I never won when it came to the Swans. Never. I had a weakness for them.

Charlie was like my father. They were best friends after all. They knew each other since childhood. They grew up as best friends and complete opposites, but it didn't matter to them. They didn't care what people thought of them. They were just the rowdy Masen and Swan boys running around town. As I so often heard about them at least. My father would tell me stories of him and Charlie when they were young. They loved to fish and fix up their old beat up cars. My father told me of the first day Charlie got that old Chevy pickup.

He was so proud of it. "It was a classic and deserved to be brought back to life," he said.

They spent the whole summer getting that truck back into running order. They must have done a good job because Charlie still had it and it's what brought us and the boat here today.

Charlie finally got the liver on his hook and set forth to cast at his side. I heard the whine of the reel as he left go of the release into the water. The familiar "plop" sounded as the bait hit the water. He reeled back his line a couple of times and sat back in the chair. He looked up to the sky and breathed a steady breath before turning to me.

Great, here it comes, what I have been waiting for. He's going to speak his mind and it's probably not something I want to hear. I just felt it through my whole body. I grimaced and avoided eye contact. Looking behind me, I could see my house in the distance. Then I heard Charlie clear his throat.

Drum roll… …

"Edward?" he said looking morose.

I winced to myself. He wants to talk. And he picked the perfect place to do it. Some place where he knew I couldn't run away or hide. He did this on purpose. He trapped me and he knew it.

Clever old man.

"Yeah Charlie, what do you need? Something to drink… eat?" I asked. That's good, change his train of thought. Get him thinking about something else…

"No Edward, I'm fine really. I just wanted to talk to you about something that's come up," he said as he reeled his line in from the water. This must be something important. He stopped fishing.

Oh Fuck… …

"Oh yeah, really what's that?" I asked dryly, not trying to sound too interested in the conversation.

"Well Edward, I know you don't like talking about Bel- her, but I need you to help me and it involves Bell… er… I mean her," he said, looking into my eyes intently.


Double Fuck!

He never brings her up… ever. The only time I hear about her is when she is going to be in town and it's her turn to take care of Charlie. That's when I get the hell out of dodge and come back when he calls me to let me know when she left.

He cleared his throat again and looked pained. "I need you to do me a favor. I don't know the whole history with you two and I really don't want to know everything. But you're the only one I trust to help me Edward," he said as he drew his rod from his side and placed it at the bottom of the boat.

The bait disappeared, jokingly. Fish stole the bait again.

I could feel my palm start to sweat. This is not good. He wants me to do something. Something most likely very uncomfortable. I scratched my head and ran my fingers through my hair. I tried to not think or look at Charlie. I looked down at the blood stain on my pants from the spilled chicken livers.

It was in the shape of Africa.

Or it looked like it.

I could go to Africa right now and get the fuck out of this place. The dream of running away filtered through my head. Wild fantasies of going on a safari started to spring to mind. Giraffes and elephants roaming the plains. Hippos and crocodiles swimming in the waters. I was trying to block out thoughts of real reality. The long prairie grasses flowing in the wind, all the while hiding the sly pride of lions as they waited for their next meal. The predator stalking its prey. Ready to pounce and claim victory.

"Edward, can you look at me. I need you right here," Charlie said as he pointed his two fingers at his eyes, signaling me to pay attention.

"What do you need me to do Charlie?" I breathed out, looking defeated I'm sure. I was the prey and Charlie was the predator ready to conquer. Claim his victory.

"I need to you to bring her home for me." he stated plainly. Not looking sorry for asking at all. In fact he was telling me, not asking. His tone said it and his face matched it. He looked at me with sincere eyes.

"Bring her home?" I asked. I think I knew what he meant, but I wasn't helping him out in his request. I knew I wasn't going to Chicago and helping her move home. It was enough that, with graduation looming, she would return to Forks. I would have to deal with that, but bringing her home?

No way in hell.

"I need you to help bring Bella home, Edward," he started. I brought my hand up to my face and started to rub my temple. The headache was now pounding hard.

"She rented a moving truck, but I don't trust her driving all the way home by herself. She has to tow her car as well. She's coming home for good, remember how I told you that a couple of months ago?" He looked at me while wiping some sweat off his brow.

Yeah, I remembered. I really remembered when he told me. I did some stupid things after he told me about her coming home.

I can't believe I went to her then.

I had to see her.

I had to touch her.

I couldn't think of that now. I had to focus on letting him down gently. There's no way I wanted to spend fucking days driving with her all alone in a freaking moving van back to Forks.

"Charlie, I don't thi-" he cut me off.

"Edward." Charlie's voice was louder now, covering mine. "She got engaged… … to Jake."

My heart stopped.

One, two, three… no beats.

I'm having a heart attack. My head started to spin. I felt sweat built on my upper lip. I rubbed my face with my hand and felt my pulse. I was still alive. I tried to breathe but nothing was going in my lungs. I'm having an attack. Right here in the middle of a goddamn lake and I can't do anything about it.

I looked at Charlie and started to open my mouth.

He stopped me again. "Edward, I only trust you… … Bring her home to me."

I could only feel Charlie had other alternative motives.

Okay, don't hate Bella. There are many things at play that both Edward and Bella have no control over. More explanations are coming in future chapters.

Leave me sugar.