A/N:

TWO NOTES:

1. This is un-beta'd, so please forgive any ridiculous mistakes.

2. I'm changing my penname to match my twitter, gmail, etc. So from now on, ECullenitis is no longer. Anything you see posted from me from now on will have the penname: JoVersify.

So here we are, back where we ended up the end of Chap 1. I hope you like.

Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight.

End of Chapter 1 recap:

My eyes squeezed shut as he attached both hands to the top of my head. I felt him fill me with his cold release in four...five... long, powerful final thrusts. He stopped his movement inside me, his head buried into my shoulder, and I felt his hands slide down my hair to cup the back of my head.

I didn't move. Emmett didn't move. The only sound left was my labored breaths. My mind slowly came back to me and I couldn't... couldn't think about what had just happened.

What did just happen?

Slowly, I turned my head to the side in Emmett's cradling hands. I parted my eyes open, trying to focus my vision, and stopped breathing all together when I laid my sight on a shock of bronze hair a short distance away. The figure beneath stood silent, a pair of black, wild eyes burning into me.

I was in major trouble.

⊱∞ῼ∞⊰

BPOV

My eyes shut tightly of their own volition, wanting to deny what they just saw. My breathing, having been halted, resumed with intensity to the point of hyperventilation. I tried to swallow against my heated breaths to no avail.

He saw. He's there. He's THERE. Oh my God, what did I do?

I didn't have a moment to ruminate the panicked thoughts in my mind. Emmett's weight was extricated from my body with fluid speed, and I was pinned to the tree behind us before even conceiving a shift in my body's placement.

When my brain did catch up, my panic sharpened like a knife as my slow, human responses began to comprehend my new predicament. One by one, as if by inventory, my mind registered each new circumstance it now faced. I felt a wet, tingling sensation where my head slammed into the tree, and an intense, instantaneous vertigo sensation rolling across my eyes. My feet were not touching the ground. I could not move to look down because my body was held in place, against the rough bark, by my head – one inexorable hand gripping the back of my head, tangling and pulling my hair, while another cold, rigid hand grasped firmly from behind my right ear, across my throat, to behind my left ear.

When my struggling eyes focused, I saw my love at eye level, my husband... but, My God, it wasn't him. It wasn't him. I didn't know... I could not recognize the virulent creature before me.

Black, feral eyes, dancing wild, burned into me. I could feel their fire on my face. Teeth gnashed together, lips curled and menacing, he hissed and growled at me. My eyes bulged and a quake rushed through me at the sight, causing my body to seize and my hanging legs to flail as I grabbed hold of the stone arm affixed to my neck. Scratching, clawing, grasping; I was instantly terrified and utterly defenseless against the iron vice of his hand that was now cocking my head sideways, exposing my flimsiest skin. My stricken gaze did not deviate with his forced movement of my head. I was transfixed on his eyes. I could not look away as I watched the resplendent face of my death bristle and coil in anticipation of his impending strike.

I was dead.

I knew it.

And at that moment, I had no dignity. I had no courage. Nor did I have any one of the halcyon emotions one hopes to bear at the time of their death. No. I kicked out, thrashing in panicked horror, as would a trapped animal. I clamped my eyes shut with every muscle in my face and held my breath, all the while letting out the most pathetic whimper of a screech at the promise of pain to come.

He was going to kill me and I did not want to fucking die.

Then I heard a loud crunch.

"Ow! FUCK!" came from far away... I thought. It was loud in my head though.

Relief. Coolness. Blood rush. Ringing.

"...grip! No, fucking stay down!"

I could feel the blood rushing back into my brain. It pounded with a searing pain back into my skull, or from it, I wasn't sure. I couldn't see yet. Were my eyes open? Was I dying now? My head throbbed horribly. I could hear my pulse beating like double bass drums in my ears. I was awash in blackness and throbbing and ringing and numb weightlessness.

"... fucking hand! Right through my damn knuckle!"

My head still pounding, the ringing became louder and louder, mutating into thunderous crashes... no, growls... shouts and yelling. Wet on my hands. I looked down. I could see my hand against the wet leaves. It looked so far away, like it was at the end of a tunnel. I could hear more now through the ringing in my ears – more shouting, struggling, deeper growling. The noise lanced my brain.

"...hell are you... ...can't hold... … ...her the fuck out of here now, Alice!"

The crushing noise was now like a freight train in my head. It felt as though time had slowed to a distant din and was now whipped like a whizzing bullet back into my consciousness. I was still looking at my hand, but I could see the commotion around me in my peripheral vision now.

"... didn't bite her!"

"No, shit! Took half my fucking hand instead! Go! Oh! Thank Fuck… Hurry, c'mere and help me hold him!"

Alice was in my sight now – very close, right in my face. I turned from my hand to look at her. I could see her asking me something but I couldn't make it out. "What?" I said. My voice didn't sound right.

"... hear me?" More throbbing and ringing. "... picking you up. Don't be scared."

I laughed.

"I'm not scared of you, Alice." My voice sounded tinny and internal, like I was speaking underwater. Weird.

I felt the cold iron grip around me, right on my skin, so cold. I tensed, and then everything went blurry again. The wind whipped my face hard. I turned my head into something solid and it was better. The throbbing came back though, and I couldn't fight the blackness that washed over me again.

⊱∞ῼ∞⊰

"Bella?"

I opened my eyes, hearing an echo of my name. My focus came together, but the landscape was still blurry.

"Bella? Can you hear me?"

Alice.

I shifted my gaze and saw the door handle.

Car. No, Jeep. Blurry road outside the window. We're moving, in the Jeep. Wait. Where are we driving? I tried to sit up.

Ow. Pain.

I took a deep breath.

Choking pain. It made me cough, and that hurt so much more. I could only let out a garbled hiss.

"You're okay, Bella. I'm taking you to Carlisle right now, honey. You're safe. We'll get you fixed-up, and he'll take care of you. Okay? I promise you're safe now."

Safe?

"Safe?" I croaked. Barely a whisper would form in my throat.

"Oh God, Bella. I'm so sorry. I am so sorry. This is all my fault. I can't believe I was so stupid! Edward is never going to forgive me. I should have never let you go. Never ever! I thought it was okay. I saw it being okay. But you moved. You moved! And it changed everything! I couldn't... couldn't get there in time! I'm so-o sorry!" She flourished her rant with a desperate sob.

I had never heard Alice sob before. It was such a foreign sound. It sounded almost comical, like I didn't believe that Alice could cry.

Why would I think that? And what the hell is she talking about?

I wanted to question her, comfort her, but I was seriously confused and it hurt to move. I kept my eyes fixed out the side window, begging my head to stop throbbing and tell me what had happened – why we were in the Jeep heading to Carlisle. And why did everything hurt?

I experimented speaking again, but only a whispered hissing sound came out.

Oh my God, oww.

No, it hurt too much. My tongue hurt. I couldn't swallow. I concentrated on just breathing while I listened silently to Alice's profuse apologies. She stopped her hysterics then, rather abruptly, and it was uncomfortably quiet as the echo of her pleading cries lingered in the small space. I wanted to know what stopped her so short but, propped up as I was, the bumps in the pavement jostling my head between the seat corner and the window was just painful enough to know I didn't want to make another attempt at moving.

The silence was suddenly sliced open by the shrill ring of a cell phone. It had barely rung once, and I heard Alice flip it open and begin speaking. There was no greeting.

"No," she said, "to your office. … No, the hospital is no good! … Yes, him. … Well, anything he decides will be bad if she's there. … Okay, hold on a second."

I saw the grassy shoulder of the road inch closer to my window then and realized we were pulling over. The Jeep stopped, and the silence in the small cab permeated my brain. This was agonizing and my anxiety was becoming insufferable.

Why am I in so much pain?

"It's okay, Bella," Alice whispered as she soothingly rubbed my arm, "I'm just getting Carlisle prepared. Please don't worry. Everything is going to be okay. I promise."

Okay, but what the hell is going on?

"Okay, ready?" she continued on the phone with who I assumed was Carlisle, "Flexible fiberoptic laryn... laryn... yes, that's it. You have that one? … Well it's the first thing you say! … Yes, she's awake … She is. … No, I don't think she can. I mean, she hasn't– … Yeah, like a hiss." More beats of silence gathered throughout the car. The urgency of their discussion and my complete confusion as to what they were talking about kept my mind momentarily off of the pain, but not off of my rising panic.

"No, no I don't see that. … Oh, thank God." I was certain Alice was carefully guiding Carlisle's decisions through the near future, but the one-sided conversation coupled with my confusion made it impossible to determine anything. I wished I could at least see her.

"Bella, Carlisle says don't try to talk. Your larynx is probably bruised and it's going to swell." I tried to nod and ended up hissing again at the pain. I heard her shift and felt her soft touch on my arm again. "It's okay sweetheart, just don't move okay?"

Don't move, she said. I could handle not moving.

"Yes, I think so," she continued again on the phone, and I felt her hand move up and touch the back of my head, "Yes, definitely. Probably against the tree. … Well, I wasn't there, but she couldn't hear me at first. … Yes, um, about twelve and a half minutes? … No, I said we can't do that! … Look, whatever he does, Carlisle – and it's completely unpredictable – trust me, we can not handle the consequences."

He, who? Was she talking about Edward?

Oh God. Please. What happened?

Black, foreign eyes invaded my thoughts. My frustration caused the prickling of tears in my eyes and willed my focus back to the phone conversation to try and remain calm.

"Wait, wait, wait. Stay on that decision. …No, no of the CT. …Nooo, but I can at least give you your results. …Okay, perfect. Now decide reciting them to me. …Yes, the results!" She huffed and the silence stretched on again, but Alice's hand lingered in my hair, caressing it.

"Okay, uh... MTBI uh, occipital something …Shh! …Uh, no indication of cerebral edema. Unremarkable imaging results. Follow up CCT... and combined T one T two... weighted MRI should be... conducted day seven and ten... for possible DAI. Order SWI contrast... on V one BA seventeen region …uh, wait, wait you tell me more… On neurological evaluation of patient, minor presence... of PTA including syncope... with LOC at less than thirty minutes. Moderate GCS at twelve... showing improvement to... minor GCS at fourteen... Why can't you just speak English? Ugh, Carlisle what the hell does that mean?"

More silence.

I'd like to know as well.

"Oh. Okay then. Wow. That was rather– …I know. If only, right?" And then she laughed. She laughed.

Why did she laugh? It couldn't be so bad if she were laughing, right?

"Okay," she began as the Jeep jerked quickly back onto the road. The motion caused the pain in my head to flare. "We pull up at two twenty-seven." I heard her snap the phone closed and could feel her cold, gentle hand against my arm again.

Please fucking explain something to me Alice. I willed her in my mind. I wanted to question her so badly, but just breathing alone was becoming painful now. My eyes stung again with unshed tears.

"It's okay, Bella. You're going to be fine." She seemed to be answering my growing fears, and admittedly, it calmed me. But her conciliation only stoked my need to know what happened. I started searching my memory, trying to distract myself from the pain and remember something of what put me in my current situation, but the things I could remember were like puzzle pieces.

Bear.

Growling.

Shopping with Alice.

Ripped clothes.

I shifted my eyes, seeing my still clothed arm. Focusing further down, I took in the sight of half of a ripped pant leg hanging off of my calf.

Emmett.

"... taste how good you are. … Oh fuck, that's beautiful..."

My breathing sped of its own accord and I could feel my heart begin thundering in my chest.

"Bella." Alice's voice broke through my sudden wave of panic. "Bella! Carlisle said you're going to be fine. I need you to calm down, sweetie, okay?"

Would you stop saying that? Please tell me what happened Alice!

I couldn't control my breaths now and the pain was scary. I saw black swirly spots on the outsides of my vision and started to feel like I was in a tunnel.

My hand on the wet ground.

Kicking. Fighting. Fear.

"Bella..." Alice's voice sounded far away now and I couldn't hear anything else. The throbbing in my head took over and the black of the tunnel closed me inside.

⊱∞ῼ∞⊰

I came to just as Carlisle was opening the door to the Jeep and gently removing me from the vehicle. He was so smooth and swift, I hardly felt jostled on the way into the building.

"There we are. Just relax, Bella. I've got you." I wrapped my arms around his neck and began to cry. I didn't understand why the sight of him stirred up such emotion within me, but the tears just fell out on their own and seemed endless. He wound up holding me in his office for... well, I'm not sure how long it was. I just couldn't let go of him.

Eventually, he convinced me that he needed to assess my injuries first, and that he would be happy to hug me as much as I liked afterward. I began to laugh through my tears at this, and was instantly reminded of why I was here when pain shot through my head and my throat.

Could never accuse him of bad bedside manner, that's for sure. Ow.

As Carlisle began looking me over, checking reflexes and pupil dilation and whatever else, my tears subsided, and I curiously took in the unfamiliar room we were in. It was just like a regular doctor's examination room, only nicer. I sat on a dark green exam table against the wall, and there were counters, cabinets, and a sink, along with a bunch of medical contraptions on wheels. But the room itself was very well appointed. The walls were a deep charcoal grey, and there were dark wood bookshelves and elaborate paintings on the walls. There was recessed lighting too, which gave the space a very comforting and private feel.

Noticing my wandering attention, he started to explain that we were at his private medical office downtown. I hadn't known about this place, and apparently, he had all sorts of nifty medical equipment he kept here. He described it as his 'garage', "with Esme's decorative touches, of course."

I supposed being an immortal doctor with limitless funds and the inclination to research, it made sense for him to have such a place for himself. It didn't seem like he actually saw any patients here, and he confirmed my suspicions by telling me that he had once thought of opening his own practice here, but never did. I wondered why that was.

After Carlisle's examination, and his weird 'tube-up-my-nose' procedure, he tasked Esme with changing me from what was left of my ripped-up clothing – which were odd camouflaged items that I did not recognize – into a dark blue, short sleeved scrubs set. He apologized for it, but I was thankful I wouldn't be donning any type of open-backed hospital gown. Alice and Carlisle left the room as Esme very gently and deftly helped me into the scrubs. Once I was fully clothed, Alice returned, and both of them helped me to another room which had a hospital bed set up.

"It's just until the swelling in your throat goes down, dear," Esme assured. "Carlisle said he will have to check it with the Laryngoscope a few more times."

Ugh. That thing was so weird.

I could still only recall scattered bits of the how I had ended up like this and nobody was asking me questions or explaining anything to me, though, this type of situation was hardly unusual for me. They were doing a good job of keeping my mind off of it, but I needed to know what happened... how and why I had ended up so injured.

And where was Edward?

Once I was settled and tucked in the bed, Esme gave me a kiss on the forehead and, without a word, both Esme and Alice walked out of the room. Before I could question their leaving, Carlisle walked in with some medical looking supplies under his arm. He tossed the supplies onto the tray-table next to the bed, sat down, and rolled his seat over to me.

"I'm going to put you on some fluids, Bella." he began as he hung an IV bag from the pole next to the bed and attached something to it. "It's going to be difficult for you to eat or drink for the next couple of days, so this will help." He then gently swabbed my hand, tossed the cotton to the side, and started ripping open different kinds of sterile packages. He continued speaking as I watched him assemble different things from each package. "I'm also giving you some medicine for the damage to your larynx as well as for the pain."

He paused then, staring down at the bed, the supplies momentarily forgotten. It looked as though he was reflecting on something, and I hoped he would explain to me now what had happened... and where my husband was. He took my hand in both of his bringing my fingers to his lips. Staring only at the hand he just kissed, he began speaking again in a whisper.

"I'm so glad you're okay Bella." His susurrant declaration surprised me. There was a quiet reverence in his voice and he looked so sad, so... ashamed? Yet, I could feel only love from him. Penetrating, grateful love that swelled in my heart, and I felt it too, for the man before me – a man who would be my father, who was my father. My own emotion betrayed me then, and with a teary gaze, I tried to tell him thank you – that I loved him. Pain lacerated me as I tried to speak to him, and my welled tears fell, gushing, as I slammed my leg to the bed in frustration and pain.

Carlisle, gathering himself, instructed me right away to not try to speak and to keep myself calm, and it honestly hurt too much to even attempt to argue. But I was flustered and frustrated at not being able to communicate. I wanted to tell him so badly in that moment how grateful I was for him, and I couldn't. On top of everything, I had so many questions, and their avoidance and hushed conversations had begun to piss me off. My tears would not stop, and I found myself unable to calm down at this point.

My breaths came in labored pants at the swelling of emotions and only exacerbated my pain and growing frustration. I was beginning to panic with it all. At that moment, when I felt I would pass out again, Alice walked hurriedly into the room, handing something to Carlisle.

"Alice?" he questioned her and I tried to see what she gave him, but my vision was completely skewed through my agitated tears.

"You have to sedate her… now."

What?

My panic rose ten-fold in that moment and Carlisle did not question her as he pulled off a cap with his teeth, pulled up my sleeve, and quickly stabbed me in the arm with what was obviously a shot of some kind of sedative.

I couldn't help the look of betrayal I gave to him as I instantly started to drift off.

⊱∞ῼ∞⊰

When I woke again, it was to Alice's remorseful expression. It took me at least a minute to compute my current situation once again, but once I felt the pain in my throat, I was fully cognizant. I remembered Carlisle sedating me, too, and I instantly looked to Alice for explanation.

Enough was enough.

She seemed quite prepared for my demeanor as she placed a marker and notepad in my hands.

"Ask me and I will answer," was scrawled in perfect, loopy cursive writing on the open page.

Understanding, I wrote with shaking hands, the only thing that mattered to me… "Where is Edward?"

"He's fine, Bella," she answered aloud. "He's with Emmett right now, up at Goat Rocks."

Okay, Edward is okay. Edward is with Emmett, hunting. He was supposed to be hunting. I remembered him… kissing me senseless in the foyer just before he left with his brothers to hunt. That's right. I remembered talking to Charlie on the phone, planning Sunday dinner… no, cancelling Sunday dinner. I closed my eyes as my memories became more broken and confusing. I couldn't make sense of the snippets and clearly missing drags of time. I opened my eyes and brought the pen to paper again.

"Two days ago." Alice answered my question of how long ago Edward left to hunt before I could even write it down.

Two days ago. Two days of missing memory.

Clenching my eyes shut again, I scrunched my brow in a force of sheer will, trying to make the past two days reappear in my mind. I felt the notepad being pulled from my hand, and I opened my eyes to see Alice furiously writing, speeding out two full pages in a matter of seconds, only pausing once. She handed the pad back to me with worried, pleading eyes, and I read.

"It'll come to you quicker this way.

But first: Bella, I'm so very sorry for what's happened – that you were hurt. I feel responsible for everything, but I need you to know that I tried my best to avoid anything bad from happening. I would never put you in danger if I could help it. I only hope that you can forgive me."

I looked up to Alice in confusion, but she avoided my gaze, only nodding for me to continue reading. This didn't feel right at all, but having no memory to go on, I took her cue and continued.

"The boys left, two days ago, and yes, you made it a point to meticulously plan dinner with Charlie in an effort to thwart me from catching on to your plan too soon. You made up your mind when you called him on Friday afternoon and cancelled Sunday dinner.

That was when I caught a vision of you traipsing through the wilderness reserve on your own like a lost puppy. I couldn't believe you at first. I thought you were teasing me. But then I saw you find their rock – it's their favorite place up there – and I realized what you were going to try to do… watch them hunt."

My heart rate spiked at her written words and I looked to Alice, only to see her plead with her eyes again for me to continue.

"You're going to start remembering now, Bella, and I need you to try your best to stay calm. Jasper is just outside now, and he'll be helping, but I need you to focus your breathing and just focus on the fact that everyone is all right and everything will be all right, despite what's happened.

EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY.

Say it now in your head, and remember it. Okay?"

I felt Alice squeeze my hand and I met her eyes again. She nodded her head and spoke in a consoling whisper. "Just focus and remember. Okay, Bella? You are okay. Edward is okay. You will both be together soon and you'll both be alright. Just focus and remember that." She nodded toward the page again and I read, even though, at this point, I was starting to feel like maybe I didn't want to remember.

"When I confronted you about your plans, you… you begged me to let you go. You were so stubborn, Bella… inventing every possible means of escape from the house, and every plan you came up with had horrible repercussions. You left me with only two options… tie you up and keep you prisoner for the entire weekend… or help you succeed in your plan."

I remembered the mental gymnastics I went through with Alice now. She had been so mad. I remembered… ripped clothes and… why did I keep seeing Emmett? And so close to me? He looked so different – not right. I remembered my flirting match with him at the house… and Rosalie walking in just in time to see his hands pawing at my ass. Oh, geez.

But this was not the same… I was remembering something else? In utter confusion, I peered down at the paper once more.

"So, I took you shopping, and got you as prepared as possible to meet up with a bunch of ravenous, hunting vampires. My God, this is very easily the stupidest thing either of us has ever done. We bought every type of camouflage known to man, and I helped you de-scent.

The special shampoo. I remembered washing the clothes… the hat… Alice driving me to Goat Rocks… "Do NOT move from the spot that I show you," she had said.

I remembered that I moved. She had wanted me to fail.

"Stay calm, Bella… After I left you, I parked out on the 101 by the Ranger Station… just far enough away so that Edward wouldn't stumble across my thoughts. When you moved from where I had left you…well, it created a chain reaction… you moved into the direct path of a foraging grizzly, but it wasn't until he caught the bear's scent that I saw the vision of Emmett… feeding on the grizzly… then seeing YOU. I had no time. I couldn't get to you fast enough."

This was all Alice wrote, but I didn't need any further prompting. My memory came flooding back to me in a silent, yet deafening rush. The notepad slipped from my fingers to my lap and I could feel my blood pumping furiously through my veins as I remembered every gruesome detail of what had occurred. I croaked out, my body trying to make sound without my permission, and the pain was incredible. I began shaking uncontrollably, unable to process the memories without reacting to them. It was becoming hard to breath.

Oh my God. Oh my God.

I remembered it all.

"Bella," Alice whispered, her hands running soothingly down my hair. "Just breathe, honey. Jasper's helping, just focus on the calm, okay? Please, Bella." As she mentioned Jasper's help, I could feel it seeping into me. It was like the sedative Carlisle had given me, but without the threat of unconsciousness. My breathing easily regulated on its own, and my thoughts became temperate, like honey, slowly dripping each moment into my awareness.

Even with the shock of what I was remembering, I was unable to reel at them. They were just pictures in my mind now, devoid of the emotions they should evoke. But I knew that what I was seeing should have me tied up in a thousand knots, and those feelings kept pushing against the foreign detachment of Jasper's gift, wanting to break out – to freak out. It was like a quiet battle inside me, and all I could do was watch these memories unfold, and like some impartial outsider, objectively discern what they meant for me.

More importantly, what they meant for Edward and me.

I looked down at the notepad in my lap, and before I could pick up the marker to write, Alice stood and kissed me on the cheek. "Jasper and I will be right outside," she said.

Quickly, before she could leave, I grabbed her arm and pleaded with my eyes, hoping she would just see what else I wanted to write on that paper.

She gave a sad smile, and leaned toward me again, "It's all going to work out, Bella, I promise. He'll be here soon." At that, she patted my hand and left me alone in the room.

I couldn't know what she meant by "it would all work out", and I certainly didn't believe her. How could I? With dispassionate rationality, my mind told me exactly what would happen.

My marriage was over, with certainty.

I had let my insecurities lead me to the stupidest decision of my life.

I had been unfaithful to Edward... with his brother. His married brother.

I had forced him into a horrific situation that caused him to attack me.

I would never be able to rectify the damage and hurt I had caused to him, to this family.

I had singlehandedly destroyed everything we had struggled so hard for.

He would leave me again.

He would leave me again, and I deserved it.

He would leave me again, and I'd have to let him go.

It played on repeat in my mind, and no matter how many times I thought it, how much I knew I deserved it, I didn't want us to end. How could it end like this?

"He'll be here soon," she'd said. I didn't want him to be here soon. I needed more time. I wanted to see him so badly, and I never wanted him to show up.

How could I have let this happen?

How could I have been so stupid?

My nerves began to swirl furiously and I could feel the sting of pending tears once again. Jasper must have given up on me, too.

It was just as well.

At that moment, I heard – and thought I felt too – a large crash, and Alice shouting out obscenities. Then I heard the words from her that both elated me and filled me with dread.

"Edward! Will you just wait!"

My heart simultaneously leaped in my chest and dropped into my stomach at the knowledge that he was here, right outside my room. I felt myself go cold with the uneasy anticipation, and then the door burst open, nearly off its hinges.

He stood there, glorious and... a complete mess.

He was covered in dirt and mud and leaves, and the expression on his face made me physically ache and want to cry. I did cry. The moment my eyes touched his gaze and I saw how crazed and tormented he looked, my vision went blurry and tears fell in an unending cascade down my face.

I wasn't ready.

I blinked them away, and watched, breathless, as Edward dropped to his knees at the foot of my bed. He had both hands around my blanketed feet and his head dropped forward to the bed as his body sank and rose and shuddered.

He was crying.

He was sobbing, at my feet, and I didn't even deserve to be in the same room with him. But he was here, and the relief that flooded me was so overwhelming, I uncapped the marker in my hands and scribbled the first thing I could think to say as my tears dropped to the paper, smearing and splotching my words.

I turned the pad around in my arms, holding it up, and then wiggled my foot to capture his attention. He slowly lifted his head, first focusing on my feet, which he gently caressed, then lifted his gaze to my message to him – my simple, tear-stained, "I'm so sorry."

His intake of breath was sharp, staggered, and looking into my eyes, he stood from the floor. He walked determinedly toward me, and swatted the pad out of my hands, causing it to fly from my hands and skitter across the floor. Shaking his head, he firmly but tenderly placed both of his hands in my hair, and began to kiss my face. He kissed over my forehead, my brows, my temples and cheeks. I felt his breath at my ear and I stiffened, breathing heavily. This was it. I waited for the words that would end me... waited for him to tell me that we were over.

"Don't ever, Bella. Never. I will never deserve those words from you," he said.

Desperate tears fell from my desperate eyes as I tried to reconcile what he said to me. My head started to shake back and forth in confusion and disbelief.

Was he not mad? But he knew... he saw us. He knows.

No. He has to be angry. It makes no sense.

I felt his hands hold more firmly, effectively stopping the incessant shaking of my head, as he pulled back to face me.

God, he was so close. I wanted so badly to throw my arms around him and kiss him. I kept my eyes downcast, fighting the need to take his words for something they were not... forgiveness.

"Listen to me... Look at me, Bella." And I lifted my eyes to his. He was the picture of firm determination and I recoiled internally, instinctively still waiting for him to end everything that we had... to leave me again... this time, forever. My hands grasped tightly over his hands in my hair, bracing for his judgment, hoping it would keep me from shattering into a million pieces.

"Everything was... it was..." His determination faltered, and he looked to be steeling himself. "Bella, it was all my fault. All of it."


A/N: Okay, so if you're reading this, you've either just stumbled across my story, or you're the most dedicated reader in fanfic history. I've got a majority of Chapters 4 & 5 written already, and well... I'm not putting a time frame on anything, because that would just be stupid on my part. Anyone who knows me, knows how unreliable I am. With that said, I've been writing a lot lately, and hope to finish what I've already posted on here so I can move on to the stories that have been REALLY eating away at me.

I thank anyone who's stuck with me, and look forward to posting more for you soon.