Bella's POV

"I can't keep doing this," Alice said to me as I dropped my bag on her kitchen floor and took a seat at her kitchen table.

She picked up the sponge and began scrubbing on a pan. "This isn't you," she said.

"It is," I replied. I was nothing if not honest.

"Bella," she said dejectedly.

I shrugged, but we knew I wasn't sorry. I can't help the way I am.

"Jasper's your brother," she said countering the thoughts in my head knowingly. "He doesn't need to move around constantly to prove anything."

"I'm not trying to prove anything."

She opened up her dishwasher and placed a few plates in. "Then why do you do this to yourself?"

"I'm not doing anything involuntarily."

"Do you honestly like to move around constantly and not have your own place?"

I sighed, we'd gone over this before. "I'm doing this for… later."

"Later? There won't be a later. You don't stay some place long enough to make any sort of companionship, let alone a relationship…"

"Can you stop?" Not wanting to hear of my empty existence.

"Bella! My God, you just don't get it!" Alice snapped as she shut the dishwasher with a wham. "You say you're doing this to 'better yourself' but you're just killing everyone who cares. You aren't Renee. You're not going to leave your children because –"

"Please, Alice." I pleaded.

"Bottom line – once you have a family, you won't leave them."

Alice picked up a bag of potato chips and began munching angrily.

"I will and you're just stupid if you think Jasper's going to stick around forever."

"Get out."

"I'm being honest with you! My mother left and it's only natural that her children will follow in her footsteps. I'm doing this now because if I don't I'm going to be restless like my mom and leave everything that was worth it."

Alice squeezed her eyes shut before speaking, "I was left with my grandparents, Bella. My grandparents had to raise me because my parents were too busy getting a high. I'm not going to follow their footsteps."

"Don't be surprised when Jasper leaves in a few years," I said picking my bag up and walking out her front door.


My cell phone rang – it was the only constant in my life, beside Alice and Jasper.

I looked into the mirror and I didn't mind what I looked like on the outside – chestnut hair, long and wavy, brown eyes, slender build. I looked normal. I was however, not.

I didn't stay in one place longer then say, a month.

Relationships with men weren't anything worth mentioning, to be honest.

I would leave before anything got too serious – I'm not ready for serious yet.

Though one day, unlike Jasper, I will.

I blame my mother, she left when I was sixteen and Jasper was seventeen. I haven't seen her since.

She left without a goodbye, and after the tears had subsided I vowed to never be like her.

I would never have a family built on a foundation of trust, only to have it crumble at everyone's feet.

I knew that a vow to myself wouldn't be enough. I knew the day I got out of college would explore the world and see what else was out there, so that when I did have a family – it wouldn't have the chance of me leaving.

I started living like this at 22, it's been two years.

I still haven't put my college degree to use, or had a feeling of absolution where I knew that I could stay with someone or some place for sure.

I'd talked to Jasper on his wedding day. I was outraged that he could get married so irresponsibly. Sure, he loved Alice. But, Mom loved me, Jasper, and Charlie. She left.

It was in our genes to leave.

When I told that to Jasper he raised an eye brow and asked, "Really?" And when I nodded my head vehemently, he just shook his and said he could never leave.

So irresponsible.

He held onto Alice's fate and happiness and he would leave one day.

And yeah, Alice probably had the same power over Jasper, but she wouldn't leave.

Whatever, they would always dismiss me with a wave of a hand, until recently.

Alice was telling me my life was passing me by.

I argued that it would be better later when I didn't have an urge to leave.

Jasper would tell me to stop trying to be mom, I wasn't going to turn out like her.

I'd say, "The apple doesn't fall from the tree."
When Jasper leaves one day and I have my own family I'll give Alice some ice cream and tell her with my eyes that, "I told you so."

I glanced down at the caller ID and it was, of course, Jasper.

I hit ignore as I got on the bus to someplace unknown…