disclaimer: The characters are the property of S. Meyer. The story is the property of lizconno. Reproducing in any form is prohibited without the express written consent of lizconno.

Where's the rest of the story? It has been removed from FFn...because FFn sucks.

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(Links follow at the end and can be found on my author page)


"What do I tell him? I'm not good at this…" I whined over the phone to my best friend Rosalie. From the moment I met Rose in college, I've been in awe of her knack to break up with a crush and move on to the next campus cutie in a matter of moments.

"Bella." I could hear Rose's finger wagging across the phone line that ran from Seattle to my home in Phoenix. "You just need to tell him the truth. Don't sugarcoat it because he'll think he has a chance. You've made your decision to move back to Seattle. You made this decision last year and he convinced you to stay. If you don't make a clean break of things, I'm going to hunt you down and kick your ass." Rose's "vicious" threat made me giggle. "I'm not kidding. You've wasted two years with him. You would've left Phoenix after that first year if he hadn't dangled marriage in front of you."

I hated how Rose cut through all the bullshit. She was right. I didn't want to be alone like my dad so I stayed with James because I thought I wouldn't feel alone. Once I moved in and he promised me a life of happiness, reality crashed down in a matter of minutes.

James Dwyer was the principal's son of the school where I taught first grade. We met at the new faculty welcome party. The older teachers had warned me that he came to the party so he could meet a hot teacher; he struck out previous two years, but Phil assured his son a "sexy little number" was joining the faculty. When other teachers cautioned me about his past, I ignored them. But it turns out, James has always been about how much ass he can hit. I'm fairly certain he cheated on me, but the best I did was catch him flirting with everything with tits.

Phil looked less than enchanted with my decision. At least I told him I was leaving the school because I wanted to move home. He had no idea my decision was part of "Operation Slay James" and that meant a clean break from Phoenix.

"Look, you've quit your job, you don't have a lease holding you hostage, and you have an apartment waiting for you up here in Seattle. You know what else? Your family and friends are here." Rose's pep talk shook the uncertainty out of me. I was ready to do this.

"Rose, thank you for giving me a compelling argument. But mostly, thank you for reminding me about the most important aspect of this move: to return to my family and friends. I'm going to pack like a bat out of hell, load the truck, and pump myself to cut the ties. 'Operation Slay James' is a go. I repeat, 'Operation Slay James' is a go."

I heard a tiny giggle in my ear, followed by a side-splitting laugh. In between chortles, Rose used her most serious voice and stated, "When are you going to realize this isn't a military campaign? This is a war! 'Operation Slay James' will not do. It is of such utter importance that no words can describe it."

My best friend was mocking me. I can't remember a tense time since I met her during which Rosalie Hale wasn't doing her darnedest to lighten the mood; mocking me seemed to be her favorite method, though. "I love you and I'll call you from the road. Keep sending good vibes my way!"

"I love you, too! Emmett and I will be dancing, singing, praising the gods of good vibes! Call me the second you get on the road. Good luck."

Rose was gone. I had to do this break with Phoenix and James on my own. First step was packing all of my clothes into my car. I jerked my suitcases out of the closet placing them atop the bed and carefully, but with speed, began the process of moving on. While I prepared for my future, I began to think about my past.

I met Rose during the first day of formal rush our freshman year at the University of Washington. Because school, dorm life, and sorority life was so overwhelming, UW paired us up so we had someone to share our experience. Rose was my Rush Buddy. The second I saw her I realized we had nothing in common and that I wasn't going to receive a bid. In front of me stood this tall, blue-eyed blonde goddess dressed head-to-toe in designer labels. Her gait exuded confidence as everyone's eyes turned in her direction. Meanwhile, I slouched in the corner wearing the same blue sweater and khaki skirt I wore to my high school graduation.

Rose walked up to me, smiled, and in the sweetest voice said, "I'm Rose. I understand I'm the lucky person who gets to be your Rush Buddy." This girl knew how to put me at ease before she knew me! That night, Rose and I scoured my closet to find the best clothes for the rest of the week's rush events. Each morning she tapped on my dorm door and I dragged myself out of bed – just to do my hair and makeup. We spent the time sharing stories. By the time we both received bids to join the sisters of Kappa Gamma Zeta, we had become BFFs.

During the six years I'd known her, Rose was my rock.

At this point, I scanned the room with an eagle eye to see if I'd left anything laying about. I didn't see anything, so I packed up the car. I finished not a moment too soon because just as I slammed the truck bed shut, James rolled into the driveway.

"Oh, you're all sweaty and sexy. Let's go inside and put that sweat to good use."

"Um," I stammered. "We need to talk."


I was not looking forward to this evening. Almost every Sunday night's dinner was spent at my parents' house. My mother, Esme, liked to be surrounded by family so she insisted on these dinners once we all finished college. I was glad to see my brother, but my mother could not cook which meant I had to endure my weekly torture session at the Cullen household. I suppose I could look at having to eat Esme's dinner as a way of seeking revenge on Emmett, my twin who had moved to Seattle for college and never returned. Because of his busy medical practice, he didn't spend too many Sundays shuttling between Seattle and our tiny hamlet of Forks. At least that was the excuse he gave. I knew he was lying. After all, we did share a womb for over nine months and were the best of friends. Oh well, time to get this ordeal over with.

"Girls!" I shouted for my twin daughters, Elizabeth and Renee. I always thought the occurrence of twins skipped a generation. Turns out my wife's mother was a twin. When Angela was pregnant, I joked that if I had known this about her early on, I wouldn't have married her! Their mother had been named appropriately – she was an angel.

The memory of the first time I met her is emblazoned in my mind. It was my last semester at Stanford and I was taking a women's studies class to fulfill the general education requirement I had avoided during my previous four-and-a-half years.

My teacher had called on me and I coated my lame response in a docile tone, hoping to catch the professor and the other 29 women in the room off guard so I could avoid being dragged into yet another contentious debate. As the unfortunate singular man among the bunch, my opinion was often sought. Most of the time I didn't mind, but I hadn't completed that week's reading so I knew any opinion I had would be attacked before it left my mouth. This morning, the quietly pretty girl with glasses in the front row turned and glared at me after I spoke. I didn't know what I did to offend this woman, but I had to find out. After class, I walked up to the girl and introduced myself.

"I know who you are. Remember, there's only one of you, but a classroom full of us. I'm Angela."

"Did I say something to offend you earlier?"


"If looks could kill, I'd be dead from that look you gave me."

"Oh." I couldn't believe that was her response. I stood waiting for her to elaborate. I watched as a thousand thoughts ran across her face. She finally opened up, "I didn't expect much of you the first day of class. I figured you took the class to meet women." That was a plus. "But you always provided thoughtful and unbiased viewpoints to our discussions. Today, you phoned it in. I lost some respect for you."

In that moment, I knew the gauntlet had been thrown down. I had to prove to Angela that I was worthy of her respect. Before I knew it, we were spending much of our free time together. We started dating after a couple of months and married a few years later. When she got pregnant during that first year of marriage, I was more excited than a kid on Christmas morning. My wonderful wife was going to have my child. Angela had been blessed with an easy pregnancy, which was fantastic as she was pregnant with twins. Everything had been smooth. The pregnancy, the early stages of labor, and then she started hemorrhaging during childbirth. The last image I saw of my wife as they shoved me out of the delivery room was of a ghostly pale woman with a bloated belly who laid unconscious on one of those tables with stirrups.

I shuttered at the memory as Renee tugged on my shirt cuff. "Daddy, we're ready to get in the car. Grandma will be mad if we're late." She had a point. At four years old, my daughters impressed me with their ability to deconstruct situations and people. Even without their mother around to influence them, the girls were exhibiting many of the qualities I had loved about her. Days like these made me miss her: being around my family, talking about weddings, and watching our daughters.

With the girls loaded in the backseat of my Lexus RX450h, we left for my parents' house. We lived on adjoining lots that visitors often described as "massive." The long drive through my property was beautiful this time of year. There was a lot of land for the girls to explore, but they'd need a chaperone. I decided the girls were old enough for a dog. I would have to talk to their grandmothers about it. We pulled into the next driveway and wound through my parents' property. As we reached the clearing, I saw Alice and her fiancée, Jasper, step out of her yellow Porsche as Emmett leapt from his Jeep. Thankfully, we would all be on time so no diatribe tonight. My mother viewed lateness as the epitome of rudeness.

"Hey man!" I greeted Jasper Whitlock, who would become Alice's husband in a week. Alice Cullen was my cousin who grew up with us after her parents died in a car accident when she was a baby. We were six when she moved in, so we viewed her as our sister and we protected her the way any brothers would protect their 4-years-younger sister. Jasper endured a lot of abuse at Emmett's hands while they were in medical school at the University of Washington. If Jasper could put up with Alice's high-strung nature and endure Emmett's overbearing voice and physicality and still want to marry her, I knew he was alright. "Are you ready to make these dinners part of your weekly schedule? Maybe you'll start manufacturing medical emergencies every week to rescue you!"

"I'm a psychiatrist. We don't have too many of those. Maybe I can change my area of practice so I can avoid these dinners. Emmett, how often do you deliver babies during the weekends or at night?"

"Aw, man. It's rough." Emmett let out a big yawn to punctuate his point. "I haven't had a free weekend in years. If I didn't take vacation, I'd never spend a lot of time with Rose."

Alice slapped Jasper across the arm and stuck her tongue out at me and then Emmett. She abhorred our mother's cooking, as well, but she looked forward to the time they spent together. I didn't understand how those two could work together and socialize with one another as much as they did. They ran an architecture and interior design company, Cullen Designs. Mom was the architect and Alice designed. In fact, Alice was her own wedding coordinator and designer.


"Move it. I want to see those beautiful granddaughters of mine! Edward, you left them in the car while you joked around with your siblings? You should be ashamed of yourself." I knew my mother was kidding—the whole exchange with Alice, Jasper, and Emmett took less than one minute—but I could feel the blush warming my cheeks as I unclasped Elizabeth's car seat and my mother freed Renee. "There. Let's get you girls inside. It's a little cool tonight." My mother hurried around the car, delicately holding Renee's tiny hand. She reached out to scoop Elizabeth's waiting hand into her own and the three of them trudged up the stairs to my parents' front door, followed by Alice. I watched with pride as three generations of Cullen women entered the house.

Jasper, Emmett, and I followed the ladies. My father, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, was at the bar making drinks. He smiled broadly as we all meandered into the family room to sit down for appetizers. After serving all of us, the Chief of Staff of the local hospital in Forks sat down next to my mother and opened his mouth with the most shocking of declarations. "Edward, we're all gathered here today for an intervention." What? As far as I could tell, I wasn't an addict.


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