Author's Note: OK, everyone this is an outtake from Bella's POV. Things get a little emotional, but I thought we needed to check in with her and see what has been going on in her life. don't worry though we will get back to our boys next chapter. I wonder if they will Cristen the old Cullen mansion before heading back to Alaska. Only time will tell. Enjoy.
"Baby, do you want to order pizza for dinner? or do you want me to pick up some Chinese on the way home from my parents house?"
The memory hit me so suddenly that the dead stag slipped from my hands, and my knees gave out and I sank to the ground.
Smiling I turned from the computer to look at Stephen getting dressed in the bedroom.
"Sure Chinese sounds great, I might be a bit late getting home from work tonight though. I need to talk to my boss about getting our anniversary day off next week."
The memory was a week before our three month anniversary. Stephen and I both had the day off from school, but I still had to work. We had spent the day cuddling and watching movies. I was sitting at the computer trying to finish a term paper before I had to leave for work and Stephen was getting ready to leave for his parents anniversary party.
I had just hit the save button and sent my paper to the printer when two strong arms wrapped around my waist, and soft lips met the back of my neck. "you smell so good, are you sure you have to work tonight?"
I chuckled and leaned my head to the side so he could reach more skin. I started to tell him that I couldn't miss work, but when Stephen gently nipped at my neck, my eyes closed and I leaned back against him."
A strangled sob shook my body and I squeezed my eyes shut. I didn't want to remember this. I bowed my head and covered my face with my hands.
"Stephen" His name came out of my mouth breathlessly. He knew when he kissed my neck all coherent thought left my head. When he bit down a little bit harder on the side of my neck, I gasped and my hands slid into his soft black hair.
"Stop. Please, Stop" I sobbed. My hands slid into my hair and balled into fists as I tried to make the memory go away. It hurt too bad to think about my life with Stephen. Most of the time I could block the memories from my mind, but the times that I couldn't, I found something to distract myself. But, sitting here on the forest floor, A half drained deer in front of me, the memory refused to be pushed aside.
"Baby...You...You have to stop, or I will be late for work." My head told me I needed to stop, but my body refused to comply. My head turned to the side and my hands pulled his lips to mine. His spicy cologne, his damp hair, and the minty taste of his freshly brushed teeth set my body on fire. He spun my chair around and his arms wrapped around me, pulling me to my feet and flush against his body. Our mouths never left contact as he walked backwards towards the couch.
"Baby...Work...your...parents...dinner...term...paper" I tried to reason with him between kisses, but when his hands slid down my back and his hands stopped to squeeze my ass, I gave in. I let Stephen lift me up and wrap my legs around his waist as we fell onto the couch"
"Bella!" A voice called from somewhere in the forest. I couldn't make my body move though. I told the family that I was going to hunt earlier that morning and that I would only be a couple hours. I wasn't sure how long I had been sitting here on the ground, but I didn't want to open my eyes. It could be evening by now and I wouldn't have known.
I woke some hours later still on the couch just as Stephen walked in the room carrying two cups of coffee. With a breathtaking smile he sat down next to me and leaned in for a kiss. My mind hadn't yet caught up with me, but when it did, I pulled back from Stephen with wide eyes. Before I could start to freak out about work, or his parents anniversary he pressed a finger to my lips with a chuckle.
"Relax Bella, I called work for you and told them you were sick with the flu. Your boss said to get better and to call her when you wake up. My parents told me to stay home with you to make sure you get better." He chuckled again. "So miss Swan, looks like we have a free evening to ourselves. What do you suppose we can do to pass the time?" He raised his eyebrow trying to look innocent, and I immediately curled over in hysterics.
When the memory floated away again I finally opened my eyes. I could tell it was night, but I could only see my knee's. I remembered falling to my knees, but It looked like I had curled myself into a ball on my legs. My hands were on either side of my head and my for head was on the ground in front of my knees. Kind of like they teach you to do in school during a tornado drill.
My body was trembling as I sobbed and whimpered quietly. Why wouldn't this memory go away? I didn't understand why this memory was so important that it refused to be blocked away with all the other ones. Slowly I sat up on my knee's and looked around. The deer still laid where I dropped it, but other then that the forest was silent. My clothes were filthy from being on the ground the whole day and I was sure my hair was a mess from my hands gripping it so hard.
"Bella, love, you have to calm down and breathe. It wasn't that funny"
The laughter stopped immediately, and my eyes locked on Stephens.
"What did you just say?" My heart was thundering in my chest and my hands started to shake.
"What's wrong Bella? I just said you should calm down and breathe" His eyes looked worried, and his head cocked to the side looking at me, trying to figure out why all of a sudden I was so serious.
"You called me 'love'. Why did you call me that? You have never called me that, why did you call me that now?"
Stephen knew nothing about Edward. He didn't know Edward used 'Love' when talking to me while we were together. He had no clue that he had just opened a deep, dark, painful hole in my chest all over again.
"Baby, Whats wrong? Did I do something wrong? If you don't like to be called 'love', I wont ever say it again" He reached for my hand, but I immediately yanked it away and got up from the couch. Tears were streaming from my eyes, before I was able to get to the bathroom and lock myself inside.
I slid down the backside of the door in just my underwear and a t shirt. I felt like my heart was breaking all over again. I had tried so hard to let Edward go. I gave my heart to Stephen and I loved him deeply, but I knew what Edward and I shared would never be forgotten. Then I got angry. Why did that one little word freak me out so bad? Edward said it to me all the time, and I knew he loved me when he said it. I knew Stephen loved me. Why did it hurt so bad when he said it?
"Bella, honey, I'm so sorry, please come out and talk to me.." His voice broke "Please tell me what I did wrong."
I couldn't stand to have Stephen hurting because of me, so I stood and opened the door. His face looked broken, and my heart broke a little more. I didn't want him to hurt because of me. He didn't know why I had freaked out, he was just trying to be sweet to me, and I was a jerk and ran away. I knew I needed to sit him down and explain what happened. I slowly walked forward and took his hand, walking us back to the couch to sit down.
I told him everything...Or as much of "everything" that I could. I told him I how I met Edward and how we fell in love almost instantly. I told him about the Cullen's and how most of them welcomed me into the family. I skipped over James, and told him about my 18th birthday party. How Jasper got "a bit rowdy" and I hurt my arm. I told him Edward freaked out and broke up with me because he thought I wasn't safe around his brother's anymore. I was telling only half truths, but I couldn't tell him the vampire secret so it was the best I could do.
I told him about Jacob and how he helped me to pick up the pieces of myself when Edward left me. I skipped Volterra and told him that Edward eventually came back, because he said he couldn't live without me. Stephen held my hand and listened to my story. His face was blank the whole time just watching me. He didn't judge me or bad mouth Edward. And then I had to explain to him somehow that Edward had fallen in love with Jacob.
" A week before the wedding Jacob came over to my house. Edward and I had been just hanging out and cooking dinner for Charlie when he knocked on the door. Edward and Jacob hated each other so I had to try and keep them apart. Jacob knew that Edward hated him and took every chance he could to drive him up the wall. So when Jacob walked in the door, he pulled me into a big bear hug, making sure that Edward saw everything."
I paused, because this was the moment that Jacob had imprinted. I didn't know how to explain that something magical happened making my fiance fall in love with my best friend. I was going to have to lie, but the end result would be the same.
"I found out later that week that Jacob had developed "Feelings" for Edward. He said that he looked into Edward's eyes and he knew. He knew they were meant to be together. I was angry at first and scared that Edward was going to leave me. Edward, of course, assured me that he did not share the same feelings that Jacob had. He promised that he wouldn't leave me and that we were going to get married and have a long happy life together."
I stopped and took a deep breath. Stephen didn't say anything, but I could tell he was extremely curious as to what happened that Edward and I didn't end up together.
I opened my eyes again and found myself sitting against a tree. Somehow during my memory's I had scooted myself away from the deer and curled myself into a ball against the nearest tree. My knees were pulled up against my chest and my forehead rested in my knees. I had stopped sobbing but small whimpers would escape every now and then. I didn't want to be here anymore. I wondered why Alice hadn't seen me freaking out and come for me yet. Didn't they wonder where I had been the whole day?
"The week passed quickly and soon I found myself in Alice's bathroom getting dressed for my wedding. My dress was beautiful, and even though Alice had forced me into high heels, I didn't trip once as I descended the stairs and took my father's arm. Things were going perfectly and I wanted to cry as Charlie laid my hand in Edward's."
Another deep breath.
"As the preacher started to speak Edward stopped him. I could tell there was something off with his eyes. For the first time since I had met him, he looked terrified. He looked like he wanted to run as fast as he could. "I'm sorry" Were the only words he said, and then his beautiful eyes went to Jacob and I knew. I knew that Edward had fallen for Jacob, and the wedding was off.
"I left the house, still in my wedding dress, and came to California. Only Edward and his family, including Jacob, know that I am here. My family thinks that I ran away. I am only telling you all of this because Edward used to call me "love" when we were together. I wasn't expecting you to say it, and it sort of freaked me out. I'm sorry"
I ended my speech by leaning into Stephen and putting my head against his chest. He wrapped his arms around me and held me for a long time, never saying a word. I must have dozed off because I woke sometime later still in Stephens arms. I could tell he was awake because his hand was on my back and he was very slowly traced my spine with his finger tips.
"About time you woke up" he said with a light chuckle.
I sat up and smiled at him. He smiled back, but I could tell he was a little sad. I took his hand and brought it to my lips kissing his palm.
"Stephen, I'm so sorry about earlier. I shouldn't have freaked out on you. You didn't know about Edward. I should have said something way before now. Can you forgive me?"
He smiled his beautiful smile and leaned in to kiss me. It was short and sweet, but he still made my heart flutter.
"Baby, can I ask you a question?" he asked me softly, his hand now playing with a strand of my hair.
"Of course, you can ask me anything" I replied.
"Are you completely over Edward?" His face was completely serious, and his blue eyes were on the verge of tears.
"Of course I am," I replied "I love you, Stephen" I said scooting closer to him. I brought my hand up to touch his face. "Why would you ask me that?"
Stephen took a deep breath and his eyes looked away from mine.
"It's just that, when we first got together we would always end up sleeping in the same bed, weather it was at my place or yours. The first time you said my name in your sleep, it was the day before you told me you loved me."
"Okay..." I said. I was confused as too why he was telling me this.
"Bella," His eyes came back to mine "Just now, when you fell asleep, you said 'Edward'"
I sat frozen in stunned silence. I was so sure that I was over him. Sure it still hurt to think about him, or even talk about him, but I had moved on. Right? I knew in my heart that I had fallen for Stephen and I was happy. We were living together and I was pretty sure that Stephen was close to purposing to me. Before I could say anything Stephen shifted next to me on the couch and stood to his feet. He held out his hand and helped me to stand, pulling me against him for a hug.
"I think I am going to make an appearance at my parents dinner. Why don't you lay down for a bit and I will bring you home dinner later." Stephen said, and then he kissed the top of my head and turned for the door.
"Stephen" I said, before he could shut the door. I didn't want him to leave like this.
"You know that I love you right?" I asked, because I did love him. He was sweet and wonderful and caring. I would spend the rest of my life trying to make him happy if he would have me.
"I know baby, I love you too. Get some rest and I will be back later." He said with a sad smile, and then he was gone.
That was the night that I had to admit to myself that I did still love Edward. I knew from the Jacob/Edward experience that it was possible to love two people at the same time, but I also knew that it almost destroyed us all. Granted they were both magical creatures, but no super human strength or extra abilities could effect matters of the heart. Yes, I loved Edward and Yes, I loved Stephen, but I knew that if I had to make the choice again, like I had to do with Edward and Jacob, I would choose Stephen over Edward.
Stephen was my future.
Or so I thought.
When Stephen died, I was nearly destroyed. Again. I found myself questioning how many times my heart could be shattered before I simply gave up. How many times would I put myself out there for love, only to have it snatched away. When Stephen died, I cried and I screamed and I grieved alone. I quit school. I quit my job and I didn't leave our bed for two weeks after Stephens funeral. It felt exactly like when Edward had left me after my birthday. Except I knew that Stephen loved me. I just knew that My heart was hallow, and he would forever be the missing piece my heart would long for.
Two weeks in bed gave me a lot of time to think. I thought about the Cullen's a lot, not just Edward. I thought about Esme and Carlisle. They were the perfect parents and they were exactly what I needed. I needed someone to hold me and tell me that I wasn't crazy. I needed the loving support they had always showed me. I needed the hyperactive Alice to be my best friend again. I needed the perfect glare from Rosalie, the tight bear hugs and boisterous laughter from Emmett. And, most of all I needed Edward.
I needed to know that he was happy. I wanted to see him in love my best friend.
"It won't always be so hard you know"
My head snapped up from my knees to see little Alice sitting on the ground in front of me. She gave me a sad smile and then scooted over next to me. She wrapped her tiny arms around me squeezed me in a tight hug.
"Jasper found you a few hours ago. He came back because he said you were giving off some pretty strong emotions. He said it felt like you were grieving."
I said nothing.
"I don't think I ever told you this Bella, but when you were in California and you made the decision to come and find us, I had a vision of you coming. I knew you would be one of us."
We sat in silence for a long time. The memories, that had been assaulting me the whole day seemed to be over.
"You all lied to me," I said before I could stop the words from coming out of my mouth. I hadn't meant so say it, but it was too late and I was going to have to explain, and it was going to kill me. Alice turned her body once again so she was sitting directly in front of me.
"How so?" she asked confused.
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. I couldn't look at her.
"Back when Edward and I were together, you all told me the transformation from human to Vampire would be the worst pain I could ever feel," I stopped and lowered my legs so that they were crossed mirroring Alice.
"You were wrong." The transformation was horrible but I knew worse pain.
"Nothing could ever hurt worse then sitting in the middle of that street, with Stephen laying in my arms, watching his life slip away." my voice cracked. "I would gladly take the pain of my transformation a hundred times over, just to have that moment back."
Alice reached for my hand and took it in hers. I looked up and saw sorrow in her eyes.
"It kills me Alice, that I will live for eternity remembering his eyes. Every time I close my eyes I see them. I see him lying there in pain and struggling to breathe. He knew he was going to die and right before he took his last breathe, he told me how much he loved me." His eyes had never been more beautiful.
"I'm so sorry, Bella" Alice whispered, as she once again scooted closer to me and wrapped me in her tiny arms.
"I know this won't make you feel better, but you have to know that it will get easier. You have to let yourself feel the pain and grieve before you can move on. You just have to keep reminding yourself that he loved you and he made you happy. Eventually you will be able to remember him and smile."
Alice leaned back and took my face in her hands, looking directly into my eyes.
"I look forward to that day, you want to know why?" Alice asked. I nodded.
"Because I want to know all about the human boy that made my best friend fall I love. I want to know what he did to make you laugh. I want to know what your first date was like. I want to hear about the first kiss, the first fight, and most of all, I want to know what you saw in his beautiful blue eyes that you loved so much."
I fell into her arms sobbing. I felt like she was ripping me open. She was making me think about things with Stephen I hadn't allowed myself to think about since his death. When Stephen died I closed myself off and pulled a layer of numbness around me. I hoped that becoming a vampire would make me forget but it didn't work.
"You just remember Bella, You are my sister and best friend. I love you and I will be here for you whenever you need me."
Alice sat with me and let me cry in her arms until dawn broke over the horizon. Very slowly we stood and walked back to the house. Before going inside I pulled her in for a tight hug.
"Thank you, Alice. For everything." I said. She smiled and nodded her head. She took my hand and led me into the house, where my whole family was waiting.
End Note: I know, I know. I am not a huge fan of Bella like many of you, but I think that she deserves a happy ending too. I'm not sure she will find her happy ending in this story since my main focus is on Edward/Jacob. Maybe I will write a sequel, or a one shot sometime in the future. I'm not sure yet, but I do know that this story seems to be wrapping up. I think one or two more chapters will be the end. Let me know what you think.