A/N: Thank you to Clarisa and keepingupwiththekids

Disclaimer: I don't own them


Song for this Chapter: A Perfect Circle~Counting Bodies Like Sheep (To the Rhythm of War Drums)


A tear slid down my face as I watched my beautiful sister strut into the airport. She was headed back to her grand life in North Carolina with her gorgeous husband and her perfect beachfront home. I'm not jealous nor am I bitter. This was just another goodbye that left me feeling more empty and less alive. Everyday spent in this hell hole I was living in was another that killed me a little more. I was Isabella Black, master of my domain. Yeah right, more like master of my own misery.

I was stuck. Stuck in Forks, Washington married to the love of my life. Cue internal snort. Jacob Black was my high school sweetheart. God I was so dumb. Thinking back to our high school days and the chasing he did for a year brought me so much anguish and pain. How did I let this happen to me? He brought out a side in me that I never knew existed. I was sucked into him in so many ways. He was a handsome swirling vortex that I floated to like a moth to a flame.

Did you ever feel like you were destined for something so much better?

I wasn't conceited. I didn't think I was better than everyone else. In fact I liked to blend into the crowd. I liked not be noticed. Jacob noticed me and when I was seventeen I thought it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I didn't know how he changed my gears so fast. I was completely infatuated with him. He had been attractive and still was, but he didn't hold my heart anymore-at least not in my eyes. He thought we had the best marriage and constantly scoffed at his friends and their failed attempts at perfect relationships.

"It's all about give and take," he would tell all of his friends. "You have to communicate and learn to sacrifice things."

Cue internal eye roll. As if he would know anything about sacrifice. As if he had any idea how little I actually communicated with him. My body, emotions and mind had been on autopilot for three years now. Dating at seventeen, moved in together at nineteen, married at twenty-one. It was the storybook romance that every squealing teenaged fan girl dreamt about. I was never that teenaged fan girl.

Little did I know that my infatuation with this dog-like man would squash any hope I had, any dreams I harbored for my life. I had to admit I didn't stay here just because of him. My sister, Rosalie, three years my senior, left for Duke the day after her high school graduation. She promised me she wouldn't leave me with the sole care of our parents, but she never returned for very long. She met her husband Emmett McCarty in her freshman psych101 class and they'd been inseparable ever since. He was perfect for her. They complimented each other nicely. He was the greatest brother-in-law I could have ever asked for. I truly was happy for her and her amazing life, but my bitterness stemmed from being stuck. Stuck. It was such a permanent word in my life.

My parents were fabulous to us growing up. We wanted for nothing and they worked hard for everything they gave us. We lived comfortably in a middle class society, in a middle class town, in a middle class world. Things were tight with them now since the economy had taken a turn for the worse and I had to admit I was tired of finagling every last cent of my own budget. It seemed I was trying to squeeze blood from a stone at times, but Jacob didn't want me working. His view of a June Cleaver housewife was seriously skewed. I never wanted to be a housewife. I never wanted to stay in Washington. I was so naive at seventeen. I think back to the time he left for community college and I didn't see him everyday anymore. I felt so dejected and upset that he was several miles from me and I had no way to see him. I could only count on weekends and they never seemed long enough. I wanted to bury myself within him. I put off my college career for him. He asked me to wait for him.

I waited. I waited patiently and worked a shitty job at a local sporting goods store. Jacob finished college and opened his own automobile repair shop. He kept me at arm's length all the time. My car ran just well enough to make it around town and to the airport on the off chance that my sister would visit. I wasn't allowed to go to Seattle by myself or to Port Angeles unless I was picking Rose up. Over the past two years Jacob had become slightly overprotective and less confident in himself. He didn't trust me.

"Tell me you will never leave me," he would say softly as he grabbed my chin with his sausage fingers. "Promise me, tell me, you won't leave. You will always be here."

"I won't leave, Jacob." Even to my own ears it sounded so monotone, void of any emotion. How could he not sense that I didn't really mean it? I guess he just needed to hear the words, but honestly where could I go? I had no job, no skills and no money. I was stuck. STUCK!

Now here I was, twenty-six years old and half dead inside. My dreams, my hopes, my future were nothing more than glowing embers in what once was a raging fire. I counted them endlessly like separate entities of myself. Bodies of their own that floated away from me and left me a little emptier inside when they left. I counted the bodies like sheep and wasted my days away pretending to like my life. I'd given up on loving things a long time ago. The most I could muster was like. That was it for me.

Someday something was going to push me over the edge. I was going to snap and it would be nasty, but until that moment I stood, alone, dejected, barely breathing and mustering the courage to wake up everyday and push forward with my life.

Deep in my soul there was a crack of light I nurtured like the precious thing that it was. I needed that crack of light for my day of reckoning. There had to be a purpose for me in this life!