Hello everyone! I was looking at my stories and was shocked to see that it has been four months since I've updated for this story. FOUR MONTHS?! I don't have an excuse for not updating in so long. I give you all permission to yell at me in my reviews. Thank you to those who have stuck around and reading this story. This one is for you guys.
Super thanks to my super beta, Madeleinejade. Go show her some love in her stories. Now, enough talking and get on with the chapter. :)
Disclaimer: Twilight does not and will never belong to me.
It's easier to run, replacing the pain with something numb.
It's easier to go, then face all this pain here all alone.
If I could change I would, take back the pain I would.
Replace every wrong move that I made, I would.
If could, stand up and take the blame I would.
Easier to Run by Linkin Park
I forgot to turn off the alarm and it was so loud that I fell off the bed and bruised my leg. What a wonderful way to start the morning. I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't. I kept thinking about last week. I'd been so busy at work all week that I never really had a chance to think about it.
Did I really throw my beer at Edward? Bella, what are you doing? Ex's become friends, don't they? Clearly, whomever said that has never had a relationship like mine before.
During this past week, I had rarely seen Edward or any of my friends. I did see a lot of Alex though. She really was a sweet girl, but it bothered me to think she was that blind.
I distracted myself by making coffee and cooking some breakfast. The smell of the food must have woken Sean up because I heard footsteps. He walked up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. I smiled widely as he placed soft kisses on my neck and hair.
"Careful, I'm holding a spatula and could cause harm to us both," I warned.
He smiled against my skin and placed one more kiss on my neck and let me go. "Smells good," he said and walked over to fill himself a cup of coffee.
"Thanks. It's your favorite. Scrambled eggs with bacon bits, sausage bits, and lots of shredded cheese." I set the table with two plates and served the food.
He smiled. "Thanks, babe."
We ate our breakfast and talked. Today Sean was going out job hunting and trying to find events he could work in. For photographers you took whatever job you could find. It was hard making a living out of photography.
He left after breakfast and I was alone. I cleaned the dishes and worked on a piece that needed to be turned in before five this afternoon. I finished the article in about an hour and sent it off to our editor. I was bored and was about to watch TV when the doorbell rang.
I opened the door and saw Rosalie with a giant bag of stuff. "Hi, Bella."
"Hey, Rose. Come on in."
"Okay, I have wedding stuff I need to talk to you about," she said setting her bad down in the living room.
"Without Alice? Is that safe?"
"This is my wedding and if she doesn't like it then she won't be my maid of honor," she said. "Oh shit, looks like I blurted it out didn't I? I hope you don't mind that Alice is my maid of honor. Alice is Emmett's sister and one day they'll get married."
She shook her head and plopped down on the couch. "I had a speech ready and everything."
She looked upset so I sat next to her and wrapped my arms around her. "Rosalie, really it's fine. I understand."
She hugged me tightly. "You are my bridesmaid though. I have to have you at my wedding."
I laughed. "Of course I'll be a bridesmaid. Nothing will keep me from your wedding."
We started to talk about the wedding. She showed me all the Alice approved bridesmaid dresses and showed me her favorite ones. Rosalie stopped and looked at me closely at one point making me highly uncomfortable.
"What?" I asked.
"Is everything okay? You seem, I don't know, distracted."
Of course Rosalie would notice something like that. Not to say that Alice was unobservant, but she was always on. She never noticed when someone wasn't. Rosalie, on the other hand, was very in tuned with me and knew when something was on my mind. It made no sense to lie to her.
"Something happened and I'm not sure if it's good or bad," I began. "Last week at the club when all of you went dancing, Edward and I talked. He asked if I wanted us to be friends and I might have said yes. It was just the alcohol talking right? I mean, there is no way we can be friends," I finished saying.
"Why not?" she asked, looking slightly confused.
Was she serious? She of all people would know why Edward and I shouldn't be friends.
"Well, you know why. I mean, our past. It just would seem weird," I said.
"It's your past, Bella. You and Edward aren't the same people you were before, especially Edward. Times have changed. You have Sean, and he has Alex," she said. "Unless, there is a specific reason you don't want to be friends?"
She looked at me expectantly and I shook my head. "No, no. There's no reason."
"Then what's the problem?"
She had a very good point. I could be friends with Edward. He had his life and I had mine. It's like two new people getting to know each other. Like we were forming a brand new friendship. It could work…couldn't it?
Soon Rosalie had to get going. She thanked me for my help and I thanked her for her advice.
"I've got to get home and start getting ready, and you do too," she informed me. Apparently, Alice told Rosalie that we were all going out to dinner. I laughed and rolled my eyes.
She raised her hands. "I'm only a messenger, nothing more."
We said our good-byes, and I silently cursed Alice. After I called Sean, I took a shower and got ready. There was still an unpacked box filled with my clothes. It was only one box so I quickly put everything way.
I was putting the clothes away when I heard a click and saw a bright flash. I looked up to see Sean with the camera in his hand taking a picture of me cleaning. He did that a lot. He'd randomly take pictures of a person when they weren't looking. I looked up at him and he snapped another picture of me.
"Great, I'm sure I look just lovely right now," I said, sticking my hand in front of my face.
"You always look lovely," Sean said with a smile.
I sheepishly smiled my thanks and focused on the box in front of me. He finally got a clue and put the camera down in order to help me. Between the two of us, we managed to get some of the clutter out of the way. When we were done, he sat on the couch and I sat next to him, propping my legs on his lap.
"How has work been?" he asked, rubbing lazy patterns on my leg.
"It's tiring but great. There's a lot to do, but I'm enjoying every minute of it. Jared and Nathan are hilarious. They make my day very entertaining," I said.
Jared and Nathan were the life of the party. I hadn't been there for long so I was sure there would be more incidents to witness, but already I'd had the chance to see them in action and they were sneaky. I was working on a story a few days ago when I saw Jared sneak to Alex's desk while she was on a bathroom break. He stuffed something inside her desk drawer before going to go hide in the corner.
When Alex returned from the bathroom, she opened her drawer to take something out but instead she let out a blood-curdling scream and fell off of her seat. Jared and Nathan both popped out and laughed at her while she cursed and yelled at them. They'd put a very real looking plastic rat in her drawer, and she's apparently deathly afraid of rats. I knew it was bad but I couldn't stop laughing. That was an entertaining day at work and I knew many more were to come.
"How was job hunting today?" I asked.
"Really good. I booked three jobs today," he said proudly.
"Really? Good job, babe. What jobs?"
"I'm doing a baptism, a birthday party, and an engagement party," he said.
While Sean worked on trying to showcase his work, he took a few jobs taking photos of birthdays, weddings and store openings. It was good money and paid the bills. He was an amazing photographer and I knew he was going to get a showcase soon. There were some great art galleries here in Seattle.
"Are we still going out tonight?" Sean asked.
I groaned. "Unfortunately, yes, but we're just going to watch a movie then we'll probably have dinner afterwards."
"Is he going to be there?" Sean asked with annoyance.
I narrowed my eyes at him. "Please, just don't. Look, I don't want anything to be any more awkward than it needs to be. Just be nice, please."
"I can't stand the guy," he said aggravated.
"You don't even know him."
"I know enough," he said.
I sighed. I knew Sean would never change his mind about Edward so I just had to let it go. There was nothing I could say or do to change that.
It was nearly six o'clock when there was a knock on the door. It suddenly swung open revealing a very happy Alice. Regardless of how chipper she was, I really was going to start locking the door from now on.
"Bella! Sean! Are you two ready yet?" she yelled from the living room.
"Alice, I'm right here, there is no need to yell," I said with a smile on my face.
She giggled. "Sorry. I get a little overexcited sometimes."
"Sometimes?" I said with eyebrows raised.
She stuck her tongue out at me, causing me to laugh. I grabbed my bag and my favorite grey sweater and followed Alice outside where everyone else was waiting for us. Rosalie and Jasper were huddled together and in the corner were Emmett, Edward, and Alex. When we arrived outside the whole group shifted into a huge circle.
"Bella, are you ready for a night out?" Emmett asked, draping his arm around my shoulder as we headed towards his car.
I could see that Emmett was worried about me from earlier. I wished Emmett didn't worry about me, though. It was sweet that he was making everyone go out tonight, but it really was unnecessary.
I smiled at him and said, "Oh, I'm ready. So, what movie are we watching?"
"Avatar," Rosalie said, walking next to us. I saw her shake her head and roll her eyes. Clearly she had no desire to see this movie.
"Come one, Rosie, it's going to be a good movie. Just wait and see," Emmett said, sure of himself.
We all jumped in Emmett's car, quite literally in my case. I had to get a boost lift from Sean in order to get inside this monster car.
"Didn't we all agree that we weren't going to let Emmett choose the movie anymore?" Jasper asked.
"You did, but I'm just not listening to you guys. It's not my fault you don't have awesome tastes in movies like me," Emmett said, earning a scoff from all of us.
"I'm actually excited to see Avatar. I heard the graphics are amazing," Alex said.
"Alex, don't encourage him," Edward said as Emmett pounded fists with Alex.
My eyes briefly met Edward's and a small smile spread on my lips, but I quickly looked away. I could still feel the tension between us or maybe it was just my imagination. I wondered how long this would go on. Would things ever truly be normal again?
We arrived at the theater in the small movie center not too far from where we lived and each bought our tickets. Then we went to buy the necessities to watch a movie: large buckets of popcorn, large sodas, red vines, and an endless supply of candy. It was the only way to watch a movie.
After we found seats and got ourselves situated for the show, I propped up my legs against the metal bars and grabbed a handful of popcorn.
I heard Emmett talking to Rosalie. "Prepare to be amazed," he said as the lights dimmed.
"Yeah, yeah, pass the popcorn," Rosalie said in a bored tone.
I cuddled closer to Sean and made myself comfortable. I ended up with my legs on Sean's lap; it was far more comfortable than the metal bars.
"Comfortable?" Sean asked with a smile.
"Yes, very much, thank you," I said, returning his smile with a warm one of my own. I rested my head on Sean's shoulder, but I could feel someone staring at me. I looked up and I saw Edward's deep emerald eyes looking right at me. I looked away and tried my best to focus on the movie. Throughout the movie, though, I'd slyly look at him and look away quickly. Sometimes I caught him staring at me. Sometimes I didn't. I didn't know why I was preoccupied with looking at Edward. I internally berated myself for it. After a while, I consciously made an effort to focus on the movie. To my surprise, I actually liked it.
Alex was right, the graphics in this movie were amazing. The imagery was so beautiful but the movie was way too long for my taste. I really did enjoy it though.
Once the movie was over we all exited the theatre talking about the graphics and special effects. When we were outside, Emmett began bragging about his so called excellent movie-picking skills.
"What did I tell you? But, of course you guys always doubt me," Emmett said, shaking his head. "When will you learn?" he scoffed at us.
"Now, everyone repeat after me. 'Emmett I was wrong, the movie was one of the greatest I've see. You know how to choose great movies and never will I doubt your greatness'."
He looked at us all eagerly awaiting us to sing his praises, but was met by our annoyed and/or blank stares.
"Emmett, honey, don't push it," Rosalie said, giggling as she pinched his cheeks.
It was late already, and there wasn't time to eat out so Emmett dropped us off at our apartment, and Sean and I headed up for some much needed sleep.
The next day after work I asked Alice if I could borrow her car to pay a visit to Charlie. I'd been here only for over a week already and I needed to see him. I should've gone to see him the minute I arrived but I was too scared to go. I thought it'd be better if I did this alone and brought Sean another day.
Driving in Alice's Porsche through the streets of Forks, an immense amount of guilt washed through me. I had been the worst daughter on the face of the planet. I left Charlie by himself for four years. What kind of daughter does that? Of course I still talked to Charlie on a regular day basis. He'd always call to check up on me even if it was only for five minutes every day.
I knew Charlie understood when I told him I had to leave all those years ago but it didn't make that decision any easier. I ran away from home because it was the only thing I knew how to do. Now I was back I had to face the mess I left behind. I called Charlie earlier and let him know that I was planning a visit this afternoon.
I could feel my sweaty palms against the steering wheel as I pulled up the driveway. The house looked exactly the same and that was to be expected. Charlie had kept the house the same ever since he and my mom bought it. I could imagine Charlie sitting in the living room with a beer in his hands watching a football game. The house would be filled with empty pizza boxes and empty cartons that were once filled with Chinese food.
I somehow managed to get out of the car and knock on the front door. I took deep breaths with each step I heard coming closer to the door. The door swung open revealing an older Charlie than I remembered. He still looked like my dad, just older and grey hairs beginning to grow.
"Hey, Dad," I greeted him cheerfully.
"Bells, I didn't think you'd make it," Charlie said.
"Of course. I said I'd come."
"Come in," Charlie said, ushering me in. "Sorry it's such a mess. I haven't had the time to clean."
"Don't worry about it, Dad, my apartment is scary looking too. I still have things to unpack," I said.
A new wave of guilt washed through me as I looked around this place. It was just as I expected, the TV was on the football channel, empty pizza boxes were lying everywhere. I should have been here all these years to take care of my dad. I couldn't even find the strength to stay for him. I just ran away. I had to control the tears that were threatening to fall.
"Are you hungry? I have leftover pizza I could reheat," he offered.
I smiled and shook my head. "How about I cook us some real food? When was the last time you had a home cooked dinner?"
"Are you sure, Bells? You just got here," he asked warily.
"Don't worry, Dad, I don't mind. Enjoy the football game, and I'll call you when dinner is ready," I told him.
I walked into the kitchen and was not surprised to find nothing but cases of beer, a pizza box and ketchup. How on earth did Charlie survive without me?
I walked to the living room where Charlie was. "How on earth do you survive on beer and ketchup?" I reprimanded.
Charlie looked up and smiled sheepishly at me. "Don't worry about me, Bells. I eat just fine."
"Well, I'm going to the store since there is nothing edible in this house. I'll be back in a bit," I said and walked out the door and to the car.
That went better than I thought it was going to go. I didn't cry so that was a good thing. Driving down each street reminded me of the past, though, and right now the past was dangerous territory. I kept my eyes focused on going to the store and buying food for Charlie and me.
I quickly walked inside the store, grabbed a basket and went to find the ingredients to making lasagna. I had most of the ingredients and the basket was beginning to get heavy and in Bella fashion I tripped releasing all of the contents in the basket.
"Oh shit," I cried.
I stood on my knees while I quickly tried to gather the items without attracting anymore attention to myself.
I heard a sweet laughter followed by a soft voice. "Bella, you never change do you?"
I blushed a bright shade of red as I looked up to see who the voice belonged to. I nearly fell over when I saw Nessie standing right in front of me.
"Nessie? Is that you? Oh my goodness what are you doing here?"
"Shouldn't I be asking you that?" Nessie responded as she wrapped her arms around me. I embraced her as tight as I could. It was so nice to see my old friend.
After we pulled apart she lightly punched my shoulder. "What are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be in Tucson."
"I was, but I had an amazing opportunity to work at the Seattle Times and I took it. I guess I forgot to tell you that," I said.
She placed her hand on her hips. "Yeah, it might have slipped your mind. Are you living here or in Seattle?"
"I live in Seattle. I'm just visiting Charlie," I said.
"Didn't you have a boyfriend?" she asked.
"I do have a boyfriend, and he lives with me in Seattle," I said.
"Isabella Marie Swan, you live with a boy and you didn't even bother telling me?" she asked, glaring at me.
"I'm sorry, I didn't think it was a big deal," I said, trying to wave if off.
"Honey, he moved states away to be with you. This is serious stuff."
I smiled. "Yeah, I guess it is."
"Well, I should head back. Jake is alone with the baby and I should get home and cook some food for my men," Nessie said, giving me another hug. "Promise you'll stop by soon."
"I promise I will," I said and waved good-bye as she walked off.
As I paid for my groceries, I couldn't help but smile. I was glad I had a chance to run into Nessie today. I'd met Nessie years ago with Edward. Though she was a few years older than me, we were the best of friends. With the help of Edward, we played cupid and introduced Jacob to Nessie. Jacob was like my older brother and I knew Nessie would be good for him. While Edward and I weren't right for each other back then, we'd managed to hook up two people who were. We could be proud of that accomplishment.
I arrived back at the house and began to cook for Charlie and me. I made a simple steak with a baked potato and vegetables, since I doubted Charlie was getting his daily recommendation of fruits and veggies. After we finished dinner I cleaned up the house.
"Bells, you don't need to clean up after me. It's fine," he said.
"Dad, I really don't mind."
He smiled at me. I knew he appreciated it, and really, it was the least I could do. "Thanks, Bells."
After I finished cleaning up I sat and watched football with Charlie. I had no idea what was going on, but it was nice finally spending time with Charlie. I looked at the time and it was getting late, time for me to head back home.
Charlie dropped a set of keys at the palms of my hand. I looked up at him in surprise. These were the keys to my old red truck. I thought he'd gotten rid of that thing.
"What's this?" I asked.
"Take the truck. It's always been yours," Charlie said.
I could feel the pricks of tears in my eyes. That was so sweet of him to save it for me all this time. "Thank you, Daddy. I have to come back and pick it up later. I have Alice's car right now."
He placed his hand on my shoulder. "Good to see you, Bells. Be sure to come back and visit your old man."
He never was good with affection but I understood. I was a lot like him.
"I'll visit as soon as I can. I promise."
I sat in the Porsche and rolled the window down. "Bye, Dad. I love you."
Charlie smiled. "I love you too, kid."
I pulled out of the driveway and headed back to Seattle. During the drive, I finally let the pool of tears fall that I'd been holding in, not only tonight, but for all these years that I'd been away from Charlie. I left without a care in world. I was too busy trying not to lose myself in my relationship with Edward that not once did I ever stop to think about Charlie. I left without looking back twice, and I hated myself for it. I cried for all the pain I caused to the one man that was always there for me. Sobs shook through my entire body and I cried the entire way home.
There you have it. I am really sorry for the wait. I promise next chapter will not take that long. I hope you liked it and I hope you review. You can yell at me all you want. :)