A/N:

I know it's been a really long time since my last update, and to those who haven't given up on this story thank you. It means the world to me to know that there are still a couple of you out there.

I feel like I owe an explanation and here it goes: RL sucked for the beginning of 2010. I hated my job, got sick, depressed, etc. Then I got a new job and things started to look up. But then I moved and the work load just got first priority. So that's my explanation. Hop you all understand. RL is unpredictable at least.

I can at least assure everyone that there are only about 5 more chapters in this story. So please don't give up!

Again, thank you for you patience and I hope you enjoy!


Ch.25 Goodbye for now

"You seem quieter than usual. Are you OK?"

We had been riding in the car for almost fifteen minutes. I was lost in thought of the wonderful friends I had left back in the hotel, and how much I was going to miss them.

"Bella?"

Edward's voice brought me back to the present and out of my brooding mood.

"I guess I'll be fine. I'm just going to miss everyone, especially Alice."

"You'll see all of us sooner than you think."

"I've just grown used to the fact of having you all around this past couple of weeks. Seeing that I'm going to be all the way across the country is damping my spirits."

I was looking out the window while Edward and I spoke. I was trying to avoid looking at him as I confessed how much I was going to miss his family. I felt his hand on my shoulder, a sign that he was trying to comfort me, but the tingle of electricity that came out of his touch startled me. He seemed to have felt something as well, because he immediately removed his hand. I kept staring out the window as the car filled with our silence.

"Well, I'm pretty sure that if Alice has her way, you two will be on the phone and Skype constantly. And mom and dad are supposed to go to New York in a two of weeks so you'll get to see them then. Before you know it, you'll be back in Forks and ready for our camping trip."

The thought of having Alice on the phone and video chat on a daily basis made me smile. I looked over at Edward, who was looking at me out of the corner of his eye, and gave him a smile as well.

"Would you like to listen to some music?"

"Sure," I replied.

"Feel free to choose then," he said as he handed over his iPod. I started looking through his playlists. He was very methodical on his music choices and the titles of his Playlists. He had everything from Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Vivaldi to The Killers, Classic Rock and Contemporary Beats. I kept scrolling through the lists as I passed one titled Reminds me of Her and another one called Sweet Dreams. I was curious as to what music he had on those playlists but decided to hit Play to the one I found after those, simply called Have Some Fun.

I was not expecting Cyndi Lauper singing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, but that's exactly what I got. I couldn't help the laugh that escaped my lips as I tried to understand why this song was even in Edward's radar.

"I didn't picture you as a fan of Cyndi Lauper," I said in between fits of laughter.

"Emmett!" replied Edward. "I knew he was up to something when he asked if he could borrow my Ipod."

We both kept laughing as the song reached its chorus.

"I don't want to even think what's next," said Edward. "Knowing Emmett and his love for everything silly, Weird Al will be in there somehow."

"If you want I'll just change it," I replied.

"No, it's fine. If you want to listen to it we will."

"It's OK, Edward. I'd rather listen to something else to tell you the truth."

He nodded as I changed the Playlist to the one titled Sweet Dreams. Michael Bubblé's Dream a Little Dream of Me started playing.

"That's more like it," I said as the sweet melody filled the car.

"Didn't picture you as a Bubblé fan," replied Edward.

"I have my moments," I said as I adjusted myself to be able to face him better. "Sometimes all I listen to is Bubblé and Sinatra, but other times I want to listen to Muse non-stop."

"Now Muse I did picture you as being a fan of," Edward commented. "You know they're going to be in New York in two weeks?"

"Really? I would love to see them in concert," I said.

"Well you never know, you might still be able to get a ticket," said Edward.

"I'll have to check it out, but I doubt I'll be able to afford it. I have to save some money for my trips back here. I want to come back for Christmas, too."

Edward looked at me for a couple of seconds before changing the subject. We started talking about other bands we liked, and other music genres we listened to as well. I found out that our taste in music were pretty similar, although he was the music genius and I was lacking by leaps and bounds in that department. Edward listened to any music, no matter the language it was in. He would search for the lyrics of the songs he liked and translate them when necessary.

"It's the emotion the artist portraits when they're singing what attracts me to the song. If I can sense they are completely vested in it, I'll be addicted to it for months. I even started learning Spanish and French in school just so I could understand the songs better. And don't get me started about my Thai phase."

Conversation kept flowing between us soon after. We were approaching the outskirts of Forks.

"Bella, are you hungry?"

"Just a little," I lied. My stomach sensed my betrayal and decided to growl at that moment.

"A little, ha?" Edward chuckled as I tried to hide the blush I felt spread through my face. "Well I'm starving. How about we stop at the Drive-In and get something to eat?"

"Sound good to me," I said.

"Then to the Drive-In it is."

It took us a minute to get to Sully's and park. We both got out of the car, although Edward had run to my side to get the door open for me. We walked in and headed to the counter to place out orders.

"Good evening, what would you like today?" asked the cashier.

Edward looked at me waiting for me to place my order. "I'll have a cheeseburger, no ketchup, no mayo, and a Sprite please."

"Is it for here or to go?" asked the cashier.

"For here," I replied.

"OK," she replied. "And what are you having today?" The cashier turned towards Edward and a smile plagued her face.

"I'll have a cheeseburger with everything, an order of large fries and a Coke. Thank you," said Edward turning on his charm.

The cashier completely forgot I was even there when she replied, "It will be twelve dollars and sixty two cents."

I went to grab my wallet but Edward stopped me. "My treat," he said. "You'll get the next one, OK?" he grabbed some bills out of his wallet and handed them to the cashier.

"Keep the change," he told her.

She gladly smiled back to him and replied, "I'll bring you your order as soon as it's finished."

I rolled my eyes, knowing for a fact that they never brought your orders to the table. I kept walking towards the dining area and found a small table where we could sit.

Shortly after Edward followed and took the seat on the opposite side. "The people in this town are so nice," he commented.

"You have no idea," I replied sarcastically.

"I bet growing up here was pretty amazing," he said.

"It was decent," I said. "I always tried to keep myself occupied, I read a lot and Dad took me to La Push every weekend to play with Jacob and his sisters. But I think it would have been better if I had a sibling. I would've had someone to keep me company, you know?"

"You'd be surprised," he said. "Don't get me wrong, I love Emmett and Alice, but sometimes I wish I was an only child. Being the middle kid is not that great."

The food was brought up to us as the cashier promised, and the smile that Edward gave her in gratitude probably made the cashier's day.

"I think you made her day," I said. "She can't stop smiling."

He laughed in response. "Well, I'm glad. She seemed like she needed it. But enough about the cashier, let's dig in."

He handed me my drink and burger and placed the French fries in the middle.

"I didn't order any fries," I said, realizing I had forgotten to get some.

"No worries, I got them large so we could share."

"Thanks."

"Don't mention it," Edward replied as his crooked smile formed.

I had to snap out of the small trance he had put me in and decided to concentrate on the task at hand and ate my burger.

After a couple of mouthfuls were we both felt silent, I decided to pick back up the conversation, "You were saying something about being a middle brother?"

"Yeah," Edward answered. "It has its ups and downs. I like the fact that Alice seems to think Emmett and I can do no wrong, but sometimes it's just too much pressure. Then again, it's nothing compared to what Emmett had to endure being the oldest."

"I can't imagine," I said. "It must be hard for him with all the expectations and all. Jacob would tell me about how his dad will always expect good grades from his sisters, but when it came around to him, he could slack off without much trouble."

"That seems to happen sometimes with the older sibling. Like when Emmett went to High School and Alice and I were still in middle school. I still had to work hard, but Mom and Dad were so focused with Emmett and his football that it took the pressure out of us two for a while. But that changed once I got to High School. They all expected me to follow in Emmett's footsteps and join the football team. He was the quarterback. But it wasn't really my thing. I do like playing every now and again, but not as much as Emmet does. So when I didn't join the team, Emmett and the rest of the family were a little disappointed."

"Sounds tough," I replied.

"Not great, but not bad either. I kept to my music and after a while everyone just let me be. Emmett understood that the spotlight wasn't really my thing and Mom and Dad were just happy to have me at home on Friday nights."

I gave him a look that I hoped showed some understanding from my part and then went back to eating. Soon we were both finished with our meal. I excused myself to go to the bathroom. When I got back, Edward was already outside by the car.

"Thanks again for dinner," I said as I approached his side.

"No problem," he replied. "Want to walk around for a bit? I want to stretch out the legs before driving again."

"Sure, I can show you around a bit. See all the landmarks and stuff. They're all in one street."

He laughed and we started to walk down the street. He thought I was kidding about the landmarks, but I wasn't. I showed him all the places of interest, the pharmacy, the one and only stop light, and the Mexican restaurant. We kept on with the conversation as we walked on. In no time we made it to Forks Outfitters and decided to head back.

"I guess we should take you home," said Edward. "I have quite a drive back." Just as he was finishing his sentence a yawn escaped his lips.

"You should drink some coffee before heading out though," I said. "I can make you a cup at home."

"Coffee sounds really nice right about now. Thanks, Bella."

"Don't mention it."

We got in the car and in a matter of minutes Edward was parking in front of my house. Charlie's cruiser was missing, which meant that he was still at the station. I lead the way to the house and opened the door.

"Welcome to the Swan residence," I said as I opened the door.

Edward just smiled as he followed me into the house. After dropping my things down by the couch I headed towards the kitchen with Edward quietly following.

"It will take just a couple of minutes for the pot to brew. Do you want milk and sugar with it?" I asked while I set the coffee maker.

"Black is just fine," he replied.

"OK, then." I motioned for him to take a seat by the dining table and went to join him on the opposite side.

"Thanks again for driving me back home," I said.

"It was my pleasure, Bella," he replied.

Before silence filled the space between us I spoke.

"Edward, I've been meaning to ask you something."

"Ask away then."

"Well, I know that Alice is in FIDM studying Fashion Design, but what about you and Emmett?"

"Emmett went to UCLA to play Football and study business. But after an injury decided to change his major. Right now he's finishing up his Fellowship in Sports Medicine."

"Somehow Emmett's career fits him to the T," I said.

"Yeah, Dad was really happy to have him as the next doctor in the family."

"How about you?"

"I always loved music, but never really pictured myself doing it as a living. I got two a Bachelors degree with two majors instead, one in Music Composition and another one in Biochemistry."

"Wow! Two majors, are you kidding me?"

Edward laughed at my response. "I know, I'm a little bit of an over-achiever, I guess. I just couldn't decide on just one."

"So what did you do next?"

"I'm just finishing up my PhD in Biochemistry. I just have to present my dissertation and I'll be done. I have a few options on Post-Docs that I'm considering."

"Is there anything you can't do?" I was impressed to say the least.

"I can't cook anything to save my life," he replied.

We both laughed at that. The Coffee Maker's timer went off and I got up to prepare Edward's cup. Once finished, I handed him the cup and sat back down.

"I wish I could've gotten my Masters," I confessed.

"What's stopping you?"

"I don't really know. I had my life planned out and then everything happened. I guess I'm just a little scared of applying and not getting in."

"You'll never know if you don't try," said Edward. "Besides, I'm pretty sure Sam would be more than willing to ask if you can audit a graduate class. That way you get a feel of what it would be like."

"That's a great idea! Thanks."

"Don't mention it," he replied. I was processing his suggestion as he finished his coffee.

"Thanks again for the coffee. I really needed it."

"It's the least I could do."

Edward looked at his watch and got up from the chair.

"I better get going. I have a long drive back and the flight home leaves first thing in the morning."

"Let me walk you out," I replied.

I followed him to the ent5rance and held the door opened for him as he stepped out.

"Thanks again for everything," I said. I could feel a slight blush forming. Even after spending a couple of hours getting to know him, his looks were still affecting my senses.

"I was more than honored. Thanks for the coffee."

A moment of awkwardness passed between us. I didn't know how to say goodbye. I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind.

"Well I guess I'll see you in a month," I said while looking at my feet.

"Bella?" Edward asked as he stepped closer.

"Yes?" I said as I looked up.

"I… have something for you. Let me go get it, OK?"

I nodded. I couldn't trust my vocal chords to work correctly when he was so close. Edward seemed to hesitate for a moment before he stepped away. He walked over to the car and got something out of the trunk.

"I saw this and it reminded me of you. Could you wait until I leave to open it?" Edward asked as he handed me a package wrapped in brown paper. It seemed a little heavy.

"OK."

"Bella, I… can't wait to see you in a month," he finally said.

I felt the tears forming in my eyes so I kept my eyes down looking at the package in my hands.

"It's been wonderful getting to know you and... becoming your friend. Please take care of yourself. I'll make sure Alice calls you as soon as we land. Meeting you has been a blessing."

I could feel him stepping closer as I stood frozen in the entrance. My eyes closed as I felt his breath brush my head and shortly after his lips reached down. The simple kiss on the top of my head sent waves of electricity down every fiber of my body.

"Goodbye for now sweet Bella," Edward whispered before stepping away.

I didn't know how to respond. I had my eyes closed as my body still tingled with electric currents. The sound of the car's engine brought me out of my state of shock. I couldn't see him because of the headlights but I still lifted my hand and waved at him as his car disappeared down the street.

After a couple of minutes passed I went back inside and up the stairs. I could take care of the lonesome cup in the morning.

I was out of breath by the time I sat on my bed. I tore the paper from the package. Inside was a simple white box. I got it opened as quickly as I my nerves allowed. Inside the box was the copy of Jane Eyre that I had been admiring at the bookstore in Port Angeles a few days back. As I opened it a small envelope fell in my lap. My name was in the front of the envelope in the most beautiful cursive handwriting I had seen. I gently placed the book on the bed and reached for the envelope. There was a letter inside which I immediately started to read.

Bella,

I didn't know how to say this in person so instead I wrote it down. I was just passing by when I saw the bookstore in Port Angeles and decided to go in. Once I saw this book it reminded me of you. In a lot of ways you are like Jane, you have her strength and resiliency. You are devoted to those you love no matter what just like she was.

I wanted you to have this book so every time you read its pages, it reminds you of your own strength and beauty in the midst of tragedy. I've learned so much from you these past few days. I feel honored to call you a friend and only wish to know you even more as time passes.

I've never met anyone like you. You are a rare gem.

Meeting you has changed my entire family and for that I thank you. It's been a privilege to have you in our lives.

Your friend,

Edward

I couldn't help the tears that rolled down my cheeks. They were tears of joy. I was so moved by his gesture. Edward's actions caught me by surprise. The utter joy I felt didn't dissipate as I got ready for bed. The smile on my face didn't leave as I gave myself over to the land of dreams.


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