A/N: Yes, another story. I know. In fact, I was discussing potential stories with flightlessbird11 and this wasn't the one I mentioned that I wanted to work on. It's been playing around in the back of my mind all weekend, thus making it impossible for me to work on my other two stories. This won't be updated again for a few days, but once 'Follow Through' is completed, I'm sure I will try to update ASAP

Please review and let me know what you think. I have dozens of ideas for this love/hate story


I was stressed. Actually if I could find just one particular word to describe what was going on in my life right now it would be fuckedupbeyondbeliefstressedworriedanxioustensepieceofshit. I needed to get out of Seattle as quickly as possible and I had no idea where to go. I couldn't even afford to go far, but there was one place I knew I definitely couldn't go and that was back to Forks. I called Alice during my lunch break and practically broke down while we talked on the phone. So much for enjoying my sandwich and yogurt, I thought as I asked Alice what I should do about everything.

Alice Cullen and I had been friends since our senior year in high school back in Forks, Washington. She was the youngest in her family and both of her older brothers had already left for college by the time I moved in with my father Charlie to finish up my schooling. I hadn't wanted to go anywhere near Forks at the time, but Alice made everything more bearable; starting with my orientation on the first day which she took me on per the request of the principal. I would be forever indebted to Principal Jones for introducing us, because six years later, we were still the best of friends. We even shared an apartment for a short while in Seattle, before she moved in with her boyfriend Jasper Whitlock.

Throughout our friendship, I had developed a kinship with her mother Esme, most likely due to the lack of relationship with my own mother. Esme was so kind and caring; I was envious of the friendship she and Alice had created together. I never got the chance to meet her older brothers Emmett and Edward, but that was merely due to bad timing on all of our parts. Whenever they were in town for the holidays, I was always away visiting Renee. Neither of them came home during the summer, always choosing to stay in Southern California where they went to school, and now worked. I was also envious of the relationship Alice had with her brothers. They were both extremely protective of her, even from afar. It was really kind of sweet, and sometimes it made me wish I had an older brother of my own.

"Take a vacation Bella. Go have some hot no strings attached sex with some hot guy and then come home, feeling cool, calm and collected," she suggested with a gentle laugh. "Ooh, go to Hedonism."

"I can't afford a vacation Alice. I just need to get away from my life for a few days, weeks maybe. I have vacation time at work to use and we shut down for a few days around Christmas, so I can easily get two weeks off. I just can't sit around my apartment staring at all the reminders of my past failures. I need to get away." I was impatient and moody, and I was taking my frustrations out on Alice, which I apologized for the moment the words sprung from my mouth.

"I do have one suggestion," she started to say anxiously. "My parents have a nice little cabin in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Sure it's in the middle of nowhere, but I don't think anyone is using it over the holidays, so I'm sure Esme would have no problem lending it to you." Alice was so sweet to offer the Cullen Family cabin, and I hadn't even thought of it as a retreat for the emotional breakdown I was having. "I'll call Esme to see if it's free and then I'll call you back tonight. If you do decide to use it, you will have to drive to Forks to get the keys Bella. Are you prepared for that?" I grunted anxiously into the phone and she hung up. I went back to work and when I was finished for the day, I drove slowly back to my apartment, not exactly eager to face everything that was waiting for me there. All the reminders of Jacob. I shuddered even to think his name at that moment

Once I got home, I got changed into a t-shirt and yoga pants and started to make dinner. I was anxiously awaiting my call back from Alice. After dinner, I paced nervously around my living room and started to throw some small things into a box to give back to my ex-boyfriend. There was his Limp Bizkit CD which I had loathed from the moment he bought. I took a lighter to the underside of the CD before sliding it back into its case, making it look untouched. I was bitter, but I thought I had a right to be. I found a few more CD's of his, all crap 80's hair metal bands and tossed them into the box as well. Then I found the only book I had ever seen him read, 'Guitar Playing For Dummies' and threw it into the box with everything else. Even some of my own belongings that reminded me completely of him were discarded into the box. As I glared over at my coffee table, where everything was piling up, I realized that I would definitely need a bigger box to hold all of his crap.

The phone rang moments later, while I was searching through my closet for a larger box. It was Alice and I was very relieved to hear from her. "So, Esme says the cabin is free until like February, so if you need it, it's all yours." I was elated. Being away in Jackson Hole would be perfect. I could regroup and come to my senses, deal with everything going on in my life in private. I checked over the calendar on my wall in the kitchen and decided I would head out to Forks on December 5th, which was this coming Friday to pick up the keys from Esme. I would stay for two weeks, giving me enough time to get over my problems and then make it back to Forks for a quick Christmas with Charlie, before heading back to my life in Seattle. I explained the dates I wanted the cabin to Alice, who promised to relay the details to Esme. I thanked Alice profusely for her help and once we were finished, I went back to clearing my apartment of all the memories of Jacob Black.

It had been two weeks since we broke up, and things were slightly unbearable. It was made even worse by the fact that we worked in the same building together. I saw him every day, and even though he had broken my heart, I wasn't longing for him. It was quite the opposite actually. When I saw him, I kept imagining different forms of torture I would unleash on him for wasting the past two years of my life. My father Charlie was on Team Jacob from the I told him about the breakup. Of course, I didn't give him any specifics, otherwise he would probably stop being friends with the entire Black Family, and I didn't want him to lose his best friend because Jacob couldn't keep it in his pants, ever. Charlie kept insisting that Jacob and I were soul mates, even from the first moment we met six years ago back in Forks. It was Charlie's unwavering support of Jacob that made me not want to return to Forks in a few days. I wasn't even going to tell Charlie I was going to be in town. I planned to go to the Cullen's house, grab the keys and thank Esme and Carlisle profusely for their generosity before turning around and driving back to Seattle to pack up my little Passatt and head to Jackson Hole the next morning.

When I got to work the next morning, I pulled the box with Jacob's belongings in it from my trunk and deposited it at the front door of his office, with a small note on top basically telling him to go fuck himself. I then took the stairs the four floors up to my office and quickly wrote up a vacation request asking for the next two weeks off. As I handed it to my boss Angela, she looked at me sympathetically. She knew I had been out of sorts for a few days now and quickly signed the paper, advising me to relax and take some time for myself before coming back. I had an awesome job as a book editor, but it was made worse by my current situation. She handed me a few manuscripts and said I could read them while I was away. There was no hurry on the reviews, and she said they could wait until after Christmas holidays were over. I nodded my head and grabbed three of them. They would definitely help to take my mind off of things while I was away in Wyoming.

A few days later, after visiting Forks quickly to pick up the keys, I found myself driving down the US-90 towards Spokane, singing out loud to Fiona Apple's "Criminal'. It was very liberating. Sure, I had brought a bit of work with me, but it was nothing I couldn't handle within a few days. I kept thinking that I was running away from my problems with Jacob by going to the cabin, but I didn't care. I needed to put some distance between myself and the situation. Plus, this also gave Jacob the prime opportunity to move the rest of his crap from my apartment. That was another thing that was going to have to change… my apartment. Everything bad that had happened recently had gone down in my little 1,100 square foot condo, and I couldn't bear to be within its walls most nights.

Sometimes I would even wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thinking about what I saw when I walked into the apartment a few weeks earlier; Jacob, completely naked, hovering above some blonde skank on my leather couch as he fucked her. The leather couch I saved up for months to purchase for myself before I even started dating him. He thought I was away meeting potential authors in Chicago, but in my stupidity I flew home early to surprise him. I think I might need to burn the couch when I get back after Christmas.


"Edward, where are you?" called the nasally voice from the other room. I wanted to cower in fear in my closet, but I was a twenty six year man, I don't cower. I walked from the bedroom and into the living room where I was face to face with Lauren again. "Are you coming?" she asked anxiously as she tapped her foot along the hardwood floor. I wanted to rip her feet off so that I didn't have to hear that noise again.

"I don't think Edward's going anywhere," said Emmett as he laughed from the couch where he had sat for the past hour, watching the scene unfold before him. I had been trying to break up with Lauren since we had a one night stand almost two months ago. She wouldn't go away. I already told her four times, in no uncertain terms, that we should start to see other people, but she kept showing up here. Even worse was that Stan, my doorman, kept letting her in because he assumed we were in an exclusive relationship. Of course, this is what Lauren had told him.

"Ok… do I have to paint you a picture?" Was she really this dense? "I don't want you. I never wanted you, and I was really drunk the only time we hooked up. You weren't even that fucking good," I yelled at her angrily. I felt bad that I had to resort to insults, but she just wouldn't go away.

"He's right ya know," said Emmett through his laugh induced tears. "He told me for days afterwards how bad you were." I glared down at Emmett in disgust, but actually kind of hoping that his additional comments would be enough to wake her up and realize what was going on.

"We have reservations at Il Sole with some friends, we're going to be late," she said again with a smile. What the fuck. I honestly think she might be part robot, because she clearly wasn't getting what was happening here.

"No. I'm not going anywhere with you, EVER. We are breaking up, not that I ever really considered us together anyways. Don't come over again. Don't call me and don't let my doorman let you into the apartment. Leave me the fuck alone Lauren," I spat at her as I gently pushed her into the hallway and slammed the door, locking it behind me.

"I think you have a stalker," laughed Emmett. "Think positive though, at least we'll be leaving soon to go spend Christmas with mom and dad, so you can hide from her for a few days." I nodded my head in agreement as I sunk down onto the oversized recliner Emmett had purchased last year for his birthday. I needed to get away from Los Angeles, and fast. I was bored with the city, the people and especially the women. The only thing really keeping me here these days was Emmett, and even though I loved my brother, it wasn't going to be able to hold me in L.A. for much longer.

"I think I need a break from all of this shit," I said with a grin as I took a sip of the beer I opened before Lauren stumbled into the apartment insisting we had plans. "I think I might drive up to the cabin in Wyoming for a few days and then meet you in Seattle in time for Christmas." I looked over at Emmett and he was laughing again.

"So, you're going to run away from your stalker? Leaving me here to deal with her?"

"Yes. If she comes back again, I seriously might have to file a restraining order against her. She probably still wouldn't take the hint though," I said through clenched teeth. "You do realize you are completely to blame for this, right?"

"How the fuck is this my fault? You slept with her, not me. I wouldn't put my dick anywhere near her. Even being in the same apartment as you too was enough to cause major shrinkage," joked Emmett as he shoved a few Doritos into his mouth and smiled at me like a twelve year old kid.

"You were the one who took me drinking, at some strange club in West Hollywood. All I wanted was to stay home and enjoy my bottle of Jameson's' by myself. I didn't need to go out and get hammered and bring her home. I was so drunk I even brought her home. I never bring girls home, you know that." I was frustrated both with myself and with my brother, but I was placing all the blame on him because I didn't want to face the facts that I was just as much to blame as the entire bottle of Whiskey I had that night.

"Okay, so head off to Jackson Hole for a week or two. Then we'll meet at the Sea-Tac airport and head off to the prison known as the Cullen House, that we both know and hate," sighed Emmett as I nodded in agreement.

"I think it's a good idea. Just load up the Volvo with some supplies and head on out of here. It's not like I need to report to anyone at work," I laughed to myself as Emmett joined in. We worked together, in our own advertising company that we had formed with some of our trust fund right out of college. We were very successful, but we didn't flaunt it, which was probably why I still lived with Emmett instead of in some big Malibu mansion that we could each afford separately.

"Are you gonna tell mom and dad?" he asked as he reached for the remote and turned on the Seahawks game on ESPN.

"No, why bother? They aren't using it, and we certainly know Alice won't be there. I'll just get the spare key from behind the mailbox, and I'll be good to go." Emmett nodded his head and turned back towards the game. It was now December 5th. I could have the car packed and be on the road first thing in the morning. It would only take about 16 hours to get there, depending on how many stops I have to take, but without Emmett it probably wouldn't be too many. Last time we drove from L.A. to Jackson Hole, he made us stop in Las Vegas for three days and Esme was livid when we finally strolled in. Emmett was drunk and had ten thousand dollars less in his bank account.

The next morning I bid my brother a fond farewell and hoped into the Volvo, desperate to get out of town. Traffic on the US-10 was horrible getting out of L.A. and probably set me back an hour, but I finally pulled into the long driveway of our cabin just before after midnight on the Sunday morning. Unfortunately for me, there was a light on in the cabin which was most unexpected, and a small black Passatt parked to the left of the house. I didn't know anyone who drove a VW and was instantly concerned that perhaps we were being robbed. What kind of burglar drives a passatt? I sarcastically asked myself as I climbed the front stairs slowly to peer in the window.

I looked into the living room and saw a fire was burning brightly in the fireplace, and there was a mess of long brown hair on the couch, someone was clearly sleeping. I grabbed the key from the mailbox and opened the door tentatively. I had no idea what was going on.