Prologue

(Bella's POV)

As we go through life, we sometimes come to a cross road and wonder, which path we should take. It's not always easy to make that decision, but sometimes you have to follow where our heart leads us. I say this as I stand at those very cross roads, wondering which path to take, knowing that my life will change dramatically with either choice, but also knowing that I have the ability, the power to choose and no one can make that choice for me.

I think back to my childhood and realize that I've always had someone telling me what to do, how and when to do it, but it's me now, just me, and for the first time I realize what it is to feel responsible for my actions in my life.

I thought I had things figured out, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted, but when certain things came about that hurt me, deep inside of my very being, I knew that there was only one choice to make and I stood up for myself, like never before and took control of my own destiny.

What happened next, however, threw my life upside down and it wasn't until later that I realized that the changes, strange, different, unfathomable, were still brought on by my choices, it had ultimately been my decisions that brought me to where I was. And I would live with that. I had to.

Chapter One

Too Much Too Late

(Bella's POV)

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Okay, I know that this first chapter is going to be difficult for you to swallow, but it was necessary to build the story. I promise you that it will all work out for the best. Please trust me and keep reading and keep an open mind, after all this is fan fiction and many, many things can happen in fan fiction. And with all that being said, you all know that I am an avid Jake and Bella shipper. So go read, be curious and I promise that in chapter two many things will be revealed.

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I jumped into my truck and went flying to La Push as fast as I could. The dark shadows of the trees passed by me like long, lanky sticks of black licorice as I pushed my old red Chevy to its breaking point.

Driving like this wasn't my usual habit, but tonight, tonight I was going home to Jake. I was free. Free of Edward, free of feeling guilty, free to be with the one person I truly loved.

I hadn't called before leaving, I wanted to surprise Jake, I wanted to run into his arms and never let him go. Slamming my truck into park and flinging the door open, I jumped out and ran as fast as I could to the front porch.

I banged on the door it seemed like ten minutes before anyone answered. It opened slowly and Billy was there, "oh Bella. What are you doing here this time of night? Is everything okay?"

"Yeah Billy. For once, everything is great. Where's Jake?" I panted.

"Well. Bella. I'm sorry he's not here. He went to Quil's house for a..... well a party."

"Okay Billy. Thanks," I said running back to my truck.

As I got to the door of my truck, I decided I would just run. It was only a few blocks away, and the moon was glowing high above casting enough light that it almost seemed like day.

I was out of breath when I reached Quil's, but that didn't stop me. I ran up onto his porch and knocked on the door. In a few minutes, the door opened and Quil stepped into the doorway.

"Bella. Hey. What are you doing here?" he said with a surprised look on his face.

"I came to see Jake. Is he here?"

He had been blocking my view of the living room, with his bulky frame. He reached up and rubbed his neck. I could hear talking from the living room, the sound of girls laughing and music.

"Well. Bella. He's kinda busy right now. It might not be a good time," he said as he shifted himself slightly in the doorway.

He looked back over his shoulder, just as I saw Jake, leaning down over a very pretty blond. He appeared to be kissing her, or something. My heart stopped. The pain that surged through me at that moment was unlike anything I'd ever felt. Ten thousand times worse than the night I spent in the forest after Edward had left. A million times worse than the months of agonizing, sleepless nights I'd managed to survive while he was gone, worse than the hole that I lived with within my chest before his return. Right now, my heart was being extracted from my chest and obliterated into shards of bloody flesh, falling at my feet.

I stumbled back and ran into the banister on the porch. I clutched at my chest as waves of nausea rolled over me like billows from the sea. I was too late. I had waited to long to tell him how I felt. I was too late.

"Bella. Are you okay?" Quil asked, as he reached out of the door to touch me.

What did he care? What did any of them care? This is what they all had wanted. They'd told him over and over to go on with his life and forget about me and I guess he finally had.

I jerked away and managed to get down the steps. I didn't even look back. I just started running. The tears were blinding me as I ran, causing me to fall over and over again. I'm not sure how long it took for me to get back to my truck, but when I did I didn't have the energy or strength left to open the door.

I lay on the ground beside the truck sobbing into the dirt. Everything, no the only thing, worth fighting for in my life was now gone. The loss I'd felt when Edward had forbid me from seeing Jake was nothing in comparison to this.

How could I have been so blind before? Why hadn't I realized how much I loved Jake and told him, before it was too late? When the tears wouldn't come out anymore, and only my dry sobs were evidence to my misery, I pulled myself up and got into the truck.

I drove home feeling like I was being crushed under two tons of debris. The debris of my wrecked life, of my shattered heart, and tormented soul. I wove all over the road, crawling at a snail's pace, trying to find may way back to Charlie.

My head was pounding and sweat was pouring off me like rain water. I honestly thought I was going to die, not just from my broken heart, physically I was ill.

I pulled myself out of the truck and drug myself inside. Charlie was in the kitchen when I came inside. The expression on his face told me how bad I looked. He looked like he'd seen a ghost. A mirror image of what I'd been like when Edward left, only this time, this time it was worse. My everything was gone.

"Dad. Dad, I just need to get upstairs. I've got to lie down."

He stooped to put his arm around my waist, then helped me upstairs.

"Bella. What in the world happened to you? You're burning up?"

"It's over. It's all over," I mumbled as I slumped across my familiar old bed.

The bed that had cradled me through some of my worst nights.

"Please leave Dad. And close the door on your way out," I managed in a voice just barely above a whisper.

He complied, but looked back at me with a wrenched look as he closed the door. The solitude didn't help though. It only made it worse. I was ill, but I also had the desire to get up and move around, a rambling feel, that I couldn't explain.

After resting for a while, I regained enough strength and mental faculties to know that I had to leave. I held my stomach with one hand, and wrote Charlie a note with the other, as beads of sweat dripped onto the paper smudging the ink.

I threw a few clothes into my old duffle bag, grabbed the sock that held my life's savings and made my way downstairs. I managed to make it all the way, without falling, left the note on the kitchen table and pulled the door closed behind me.

I didn't know exactly where I would go, but I had to leave this place. I had to get as far away as I could, if I survived that long.

I had to double over a few times with the pain in my stomach and chest, before I could drive away. I notice that the pain was spreading into my arms and legs, and my head felt like it might ignite at any moment.

I kept the truck on the road for over an hour, only swerving occasionally with a new wave of affliction that would almost crumple me over, then subside.

As the attacks became more violent, my body couldn't take it anymore. My tears had replenished themselves, and I couldn't see the road for them flooding my vision.

Suddenly, I swerved and ran off the road and into the ditch. I must have hit my head on the steering wheel, because when I came too, blood was trickling down my forehead and into my eye.

I climbed out of the passenger side of my truck and wandered into the forest. For some reason, it looked comforting, even in the dark. I wanted to be there. I needed to be there.

My feet only carried me a few hundred yards into the dense thicket of trees, before I collapsed, falling into a bed of dried leaves and moss.