A/N:

Hi there! I want to say thank you for the reviews I received - you are all fabooosh :D

Per usual, I still don't own the characters, SMeyer does (lucky *grumblegrumble*)

Reviews = make me happy & encourage me to post updates sooner. So maybe... leave one? thanks muchos

And onward to the next chapter!

EPOV

I'm not sure if it was perfect timing or the complete opposite that brought the sun out for the next few days. My family and I decided to go up and visit a few other "vegetarians" we knew, the Denali clan.

Unfortunately when we arrived it was only Irina and Tanya who were home; the others having gone to Tiera del Fuego for the spring.

"How good to see you dear friends," Irina greeted, taking a seat on one of the sofas their modest home.

"You too," Carlisle nodded as we as followed suit and took seats. "I assume your family is doing well?" He asked, glancing over at Tanya who had decided to sit beside me.

Perfect.

As the day wore on I was beginning to realize that this was not exactly the best decision I ever made. It was clear Tanya had gotten wind of my breakup and was eager to attempt to remedy the broke heart that plagued me.

"We were good together once, Edward. We can be good again; greater, even." She murmured, as we waited on the cliffs for the others to join us. Like me, Tanya was the fastest of her family; it was what had initially bonded us.

"Tanya, we have been over this countless times. It is not a personal insult on my part to say that I don't want you but simply that I only want Bella."

"And yet, from what I've heard she does not feel the same. She has taken Rosalie's viewpoint at last." She observed, looking over at the horizon. "So why condemn yourself to a life of solitude when it is unnecessary?"

"Being with anyone but Bella would perhaps not display reclusiveness outwardly, but my heart, whatever exists of it and my ability to love is closed off to everyone except her." I admitted with a sigh. She would always be the best thing in my world, even if I could no longer be in hers.

"Then perhaps look at it from a more logical standpoint. "Joining us, being here… with me, you would not be assaulted by Bella's smell or the sound of her heartbeat. You would not have to pretend as you do, that you are a mere 17 year old boy and live each day watching her heart heal and grow… and see her with other men."

Even the notion of her being with someone else was enough to have me panting with anger. However much I wanted her to lead a normal life, to grow old and find someone to love I had always hoped, selfishly that she would pick me; that we would find a way to have that life, as one.

As the days continued Tanya, and even to a lesser extent Irina, tried to make the relocation sound like the better choice.

But even though everything they said was true, I couldn't do it. I'd never be able to leave my Bella. I could learn to take a backseat; I could watch like the creep of a monster I am, from the wings. But Bella... I would always need to be near her. And maybe this had become my penance for being what I am. But the more time I spent in Alaska with them, the more I realized that I would gladly live in agony, if I could watch her grow into an even more beautiful and happy woman and have the fulfilling life she could never have with me.

During the trip, on more than one occasion I had exchanged heated words with Rosalie. At first, lashing out when I found her to be the one that had told the Denali family about Bella and I. And then, out of sheer anger and heartbreak I began to yell at her for her treatment of Bella.

"It is YOUR fault she left!" I scolded, during a particularly sensitive time; I had accidentally channeled into Alice's mental TV and saw a vision of Bella sobbing violently into her pillow.

"She wouldn't have left if you had not given her a reason to stay to begin with! You know as well as I do she is making the right choice! You're just angry at the fact that you are not the best thing for her – that you can NEVER be that for her!" She hollered back aggressively.

"No, she is in AGONY, Rosalie; how could you be so cold to want that for her?" I continued to defend.

She waved me off with a dismissive hand and I almost charged at her, but the words she spoke stung. It was a similar sensation I would imagine to being stung by an entire nest of wasps.

"You're only mad at me Edward because I actually got through to her, even though you've been telling her since the beginning. And you can't stand what it means for you now – selfish bastard."

She was right. I was selfish. I wanted Bella despite everything, and I loved that she hadn't cared in the least that I was dangerous, that she had seen past it and only saw a man to love.

What was I supposed to do now?

BPOV

The next week was a blur. Forks was going through some kind of global warming spring-time heat wave and each day had been sunny and in the low 70s. I had gone from class to class in a haze, smiling faintly at Jessica, Mike and Angela when they approached me, and spent lunch periods in the forest behind the school, hoping Edward would seek me out.

He never did.

I felt terrible; both for how I had practically pressured Edward to fuck me or leave and for even suggesting that Rosalie could be right. She wasn't, obviously. I didn't function without Edward. It was utterly maddening, codependent, and disgusting to every feministic bone in my body but I couldn't help it. My life without him would go on, but it would pass from one dim day to the next. No more vivid colors, emotions or sensations. No one would make my burn the way his touch did. No one's voice would make my insides ache like his did. And certainly, Mike would not be getting the opportunity to try and prove me wrong.

After spending the weekend cooped up in my room alternating between sleeping restlessly and checking my cell phone, I still didn't feel rested enough to go to school to face them. I climbed out of bed Monday morning and grabbed a pair of jeans, my chucks, and a long sleeved v-neck navy blue sweater and headed for the bathroom to get ready. A scorching hot shower and 15 minutes later, I was out the door, my thick brown puffer jacket getting tossed across the passenger seat of my beat up truck. The rain was back, and a sure sign that at least a few of the Cullens would be in school today.

I pulled into a spot at the far end of the parking lot, near the exit, so I could bail easily mid-day if I couldn't take it. My breath hitched as I spotted his silver Volvo a few cars up from mine, parked a couple spots away from the school's entrance. My chest tightened and I willed myself not to cry from just the sight of his stupid car. If I cried now, there was absolutely no hope for me once I actually saw him.

I tried to keep myself distracted through first period History, homeroom, and second period English. I even tried my best to really listen to Jessica as she talked about taking a trip this weekend to Port Angeles to find a prom dress. Something about Forks only having "matronly" dresses and she wanted something that would catch Mike's eye a bit more than a fancy cotton sundress. I only really registered what she was saying after she threw out his name.

"Oh, I'm sorry, what Jess?"

"I was asking if Edward had asked you to prom yet. I mean I'm sure he has since you guys are a thing and everything. But was it just assumed or did he do some grand gesture to ask you? He seems like the grand gesture kind of guy."

My cheeks reddened and I looked down at my desk, suddenly finding the penciled-graffiti on the tabletop very fascinating.

"Oh, um… No, he hasn't asked me yet. I'm not sure that I'm even going…" my voice trailed off quietly.

"Well you better make up your mind, because he's standing right there and he looks pretty serious. Maybe he's going to surprise you and ask during class!" She nearly squeaked out in excitement. Dear god this girl was annoying with her insinuations.

Nevertheless, my head shot up and turned to look at where she was pointing. Sure enough there he was, standing just outside the doorway, and therefore out of the teacher's eyesight. His eyes were completely unreadable, as he stared directly at me. I turned my head immediately and raised my hand, asking Mr. Nichols for the hall pass. He nodded and I practically sprinted to meet him half way to grab it; nearly running out of the room.

He was further out in the hall when I saw him again. He leaned against the lockers, his backpack on the ground, propped up by his leg. I approached him cautiously, unsure of how to act, and nervous as to how he would react.

His head turned to the side as I moved closer, standing directly in front of him. "Edward, I…" I began. I had no idea what the fuck I was going to say, but saying his name out loud, to him, felt so good it was enough while I tried to compile all my thoughts.

"Bella, don't," he cut me off before I could even finish a coherent thought. "We can't do this here; I can't do this here. I just… I wanted to see if you could come by my house after school, so we could… talk."

'So we can talk'… that was never a good omen.

I nodded, not trusting my voice. He gave a half smile that didn't reach his eyes and nodded, satisfied that at my acceptance. He pushed up off the lockers, grabbing his backpack in a quick swoop. "I guess I'll see you later then." He said with a sound of finality.

I nodded again, trying my best to give my own half smile and bit my lower lip. His eyes darted to my lips and my heart stopped at his blatant ogling. He licked his bottom lip before quickly looking back into my eyes and walking away.

I didn't go back to class after that, assuming that Jess would think he had asked me and we had snuck somewhere to make out. I could count on her to grab my notebook and pen if that was what she was thinking.

Instead I roamed around the halls before deciding to head to my locker to grab my backpack and call it a day. I opened up the door to the stairwell to head up to the 2nd floor where my locker was, when I saw Alice. "About time! Jesus Bella, spend enough time moping on the first floor?" She exclaimed nearly tackling me as she jumped into my arms. I hugged her and let out of a quiet laugh as she pulled away. It was odd how just seeing my best friend made me feel instantly better. "I didn't realize I had an appointment."

"Well of course you do. You and I are fleeing this rat hole and driving down to Port Angeles for some last minute shopping before you meet with Edward this afternoon."

I stared at her blankly. "Um, what?"

She shook her head. "Bella, this is not the time to question my judgment. We can talk on the way. For now, grab your bag and let's blow this Popsicle stand!" She cheered before exploding into a fit of giggles.

What the hell was going on?