::Comes out from hiding:: Well, if anyone is still holding out hope for this story to update, it's your lucky day! I've come out of my writing slump and plan to update as often as possible from now on. I never meant for it to take that long but let me tell you, writer's block is no joke. And it's quite the bitch.

Disclaimer: Still not mine even though I wish and pray everyday for it to be!

I guess I just got lost being someone else
I tried to kill the pain, nothing ever helped
I left myself behind somewhere along the way
Hoping to come back around to find myself someday

Lately I'm so tired of waiting for you
To say that it's okay

But tell me please, would you one time just let me be myself ?
So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself
Would you let me be myself?

I'll never find my heart behind someone else
I'll never see the light of day living in this cell
It's time to make my way into the world I knew
And then take back all of these times that I gave into you

But lately I'm so tired of waiting for you
To say that it's okay

Tell me please, would you one time let me be myself?
So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself
For a while, if you don't mind, let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself!

That's all I've ever wanted from this world
Is to let me be me

Please would you one time let me be myself?
So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself
Please would you one time, let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself

For a while, if you don't mind, let me be myself
So I can shine with my own light, let me be myself!
Would you one time, ooh, let me be myself and let me be me?

Let Me Be Myself - 3 Doors Down

I ran quickly to my car, not bothering to see if Edward had followed me or not. I needed to get out of the parking lot as fast as I possibly could. Grabbing my keys out of my purse as I walked, I pushed the button on my keychain to unlock my car.

Just as I reached for the door handle, I felt someone grab my elbow from behind.

"Bella, what happened back there? What did I do?" Edward asked, eyes pleading and sad.

"It's nothing you did, Edward. I thought I could handle this, but I can't. It just...it hurts too fucking much," I managed to choke out, before opening my car door and slipping inside.

I kept my eyes locked in my rear-view mirror as I reversed the car without another glance at Edward. Not two minutes later, my phone vibrated displaying Edward's name across the screen. I pushed the button to ignore his call and threw my phone in my purse.

What the hell was that? One minute I'm sharing a somewhat normal meal with my ex-fiance and the next I'm channeling a track star and booking it to my car.

One things for sure - I'm in serious need of some kind of extensive therapy.

My therapy came in the form of my dumbass brother in law two days later as we shared lunch at the office.

"So, let me get this straight," he bellowed after swallowing a rather large bite of his sub.

"You agreed to go to dinner with Edward, as friends, and you see some tool proposing to his girfriend at the restaurant - real original, pal," he scoffed rolling his eyes, "and then poof, you change your mind and bail out before the waitress even gets back with your drinks?"

I narrowed my eyes at him. "I do believe that's what I just told you, asshat. Well minus the running commentary on the proper place to propose."

He chuckled loudly. "I swear, bitches be crazy."

I snorted. "Excuse me, asshole? You may be family but I'm still entirely capable of firing you."

He rolled his eyes and laughed again. "Please, like you could fire me."

Sighing and resigning myself to the fact that I indeed couldn't fire him, I asked, "So, oh wise one, what, pray tell, do you think I should do now?"

"I think that you should talk to him."

"Yes, because that went so strikingly well the last time," I said as my eyes narrowed to slits.

He sighed tossing down the wrapper to his sub.

"Look, Bells, I'm not going to pretend that I have even the slightest clue what you went through when Edward," he paused, looking at me sadly, "well when Edward did what he did. But, at the same time, I also can't sit here and pretend that it doesn't bother me to see you so...not you anymore."

Tears welled up in my eyes and I felt like I couldn't breathe.

Fuck. I was so sick of this crying over Edward bullshit.

"I don't really know how to be me anymore, Emmy. And it scares the everloving shit out of me!"

He jumped up, wrapping me in his big gorilla arms.

"That's what we're all here for, Bells. Every single one of us would die for you and you know that. But for us to really help you, you have to let us in. Stop putting up this front because it's killing us not knowing how you really feel."

I sniffled, nodding my head, unsure of what to say next.

Luckily, he went on before I had to say anything.

"Look, Bells, you wanna punch Edward in the gonads? Do it. You want to take Rosie away for a sister vacation to the Bahamas, by all means, do it - but make sure you take pictures of her in that smoking hot red bikini of hers."

I giggled even though my heart was aching.

"All I do know for certain is that we miss you. And pretty soon you're going to be a Godmother and aunt to my beautiful baby and I want him or her to know the real you. Not this shell of a person you've become because of my dumbass best friend."

My tears fell harder as I took in what Emmett was saying. Had I really fallen so far off track that my own family barely recognized me anymore?

I thought back to all the times I put myself on auto-pilot through work and family functions just so I could hurry through them and get home to wallow.

I pulled back from Emmett and kissed his cheek.

"Believe or not, you really helped me today, you big goon."

He smiled a giant smile full of dimples and said, "Oh, thank fuck. Honestly, I was shitting myself thinking I was just making you feel worse. Rosie would have my balls if I upset you more. I can't always be trusted to say the right thing."

I snorted at this, completely unladylike and full of tears.

"You have nothing to worry about. Let me tell you, you are going to be one hell of a daddy, Emmett Dale."

He blushed. "Thanks, Bells."

Just then Rose burst through the door of my office looking from my tear stained face to Emmett blushing one and immediately got the wrong idea.

"Oh for fuck's sake, Emmett. What the hell did you say to her?" she screeched as she pulled me into her arms.

"Rosie, baby, sweetheart, I promise I didn't say anything bad! Tell her, Bells!" he screamed with pure terror lacing his voice.

Apparently pregnant Rose scared Emmett even more than normal Rose scared him.

I giggled, pulling away from Rose.

"Dial it down a notch, Rosebud. He's telling the truth. He actually opened my eyes quite a bit today."

Rose exhaled loudly.

"Well thank God for that."

I wiped my eyes a bit with a tissue off my desk and turned back to Rose.

"So, what's up, Sissy?"

Rose shrugged.

"Not much. I'm bored out of my mind not working on cars."

I snickered. "I'm pretty sure you'll have plenty of time to work on cars once my beautiful godbaby is born."

"There is nothing I want more than this child, but being pregnant definitely puts a damper on your professional life when you work on cars for a living. I've taken to coming here...to write, rather than be alone at home watching baby delivery shows and scaring the shit out myself."

I laughed at my beautiful sister. "Hey, I'll take productivity anyway I can get it. Now why don't you march your pretty pregnant self back over to your office and finish that article that's due in a week?"

She rolled her almost violet eyes at me.

"Yeah, yeah, slavedriver. Damn the man!" She emphasized her point with a fist pump to the air before walking swiftly out of my office.

Em still looked terrified as he mumbled, "That woman scares the fuck out of me. One minute she's happy Rose, the next she gives Mariah Carey a run for her money on the crazy train."

"Be honest now, Em. Was there ever truly a happy Rose?"

He wiggled his eyebrows as he said, "Oh, I've been known to make her quite happy, thank you very much."

I plugged my ears like a child as I shooed him out of my office. "Ew, enough! Get back to work, McCarty, before I tell Rose you called her Mariah crazy."

He turned back from his spot at the door. "You. Wouldn't. Dare."

I chuckled as I said, "Try me, brother."

I slammed the door in his shocked face and smiled my first genuine smile in days.

I could do this.

The next couple of days went by in a blur of deadlines, calls from Edward that I artfully dodged and family dinners with Em and Rose before I realized that I hadn't talked to James in a while.

I sat on my couch, scrunching my brow as I checked my cell to see if maybe I had missed his calls but I hadn't. I wondered if he was all right as I scrolled to his name in my contacts and pressed send.

It went to voicemail so I left him a message saying I needed to talk to him about some things and to call whenever he was free. Tossing my phone on the cushion next to me I shuffled into the kitchen to heat up some leftover Chinese from the night before.

My phone rang as I was taking out the delicious shrimp lo mein and I hurried to answer it.


"Hello, Isabella," Edward's seductive voice purred over the phone.

I sighed. "Hi, Edward."

"I'm really glad you answered. I've tried calling you a few times to try to figure out what I did that upset you so much."

"It's nothing new, that's for sure. It's the same thing I've been upset with you for for the past six months."

He let out a breath. "I thought we were going to try to move past this, Bella. I thought we were going to at least attempt to be friends?"

"Edward, we've never in the entire time that I've known you, been just friends. So excuse me if I find it a tad difficult to sit across from you at a restaurant and pretend like everything in my life is so god damn great! Because it's not fucking great. I feel betrayed and stupid and I hate myself for wanting to even still talk to you at all! The sane part of me says to run from you before you hurt me more but the crazy part of me misses you. Misses what we used to be for one another."

A tear rolled down my cheek as we sat in silence after my outburst.

"I'm so fucking sorry. You have no clue how sorry I am. I just - look, I know I'm a bastard. I know that. And I know that I'm a selfish asshole but...I need you. I need you in my life. And if being your friend is my only option then that's what I'm going to do. I promise you, I won't try to sweet talk you or convince you to stop seeing James. I just need you, Bella. Any way I can't get you, please."

I exhaled a shaky breath as I said, "I just don't know where to go from here. I'm not me anymore and I don't know if I can ever be me again. Especially if I'm around you. I lost myself when you were unfaithful because my entire life was wrapped up in you, Edward. Can't you see that?"

"I'm lost too, sweetheart. We can help each other. We can heal each other, I promise."

"You're not getting it. I need to do this by myself. I need to know that I can breathe properly as Bella Swan and not need you to live."

"So, you're saying it's done? Just like that? No second chances for me...for us? Not even friendship?"

I was getting frustrated. "I didn't say no friendship. I just said that right now I need to focus on me and if you truly care about me you'll give me this space to clear my head. Of course, I still care about you, Edward. You were my best friend and fiance for a long time. That kind of admiration doesn't go away. But I need to do this on my own. If and when I start to see a change in myself, I'll contact you. But for now, please, just give me this, okay?"

It was quiet on the other end and if I hadn't heard his ragged breathing every couple of seconds, I might have thought he'd hung up.

"Okay, Isabella. I'll do this. I can give you space. But just know I'm only a phone call away. I'm not leaving and I'll never stop loving you."

I squeezed my eyes shut, whispering a simple, "I know" before pressing end on the call.

Emotionally drained from the conversation, I trudged to my bedroom, forgetting all about dinner and slipped into oblivion.

I ended up talking to James two days later. He claimed he had been working doubles at the bar and coming home and just passing out.

I sucked in a breath as I asked him to meet me for dinner at my place before he had to go in to work tonight. I knew that I had to end things with him.

It wasn't fair to me to focus on yet another relationship when I needed to focus on myself. It bothered me that an errant thought about it not being fair to Edward either went through my mind.

Who gives a shit if it's fair for Edward?

Oh. That's right. I give a shit for some ungodly reason.

Shaking it off, I took the pasta off the stove and drained it in a colander and put it back in the alfredo sauce, as I waited for James to arrive.

As I placed the plates on the dining room table, my doorbell rang. I scurried over to let James in.

"Beautiful! It feels like it's been years since I've seen you," James exclaimed as he handed me a bottle of wine.

I hugged him quickly and said, "I know. We've both been so busy it does seem that way."


This was going to be way harder than I thought.

I ushered him into the dining room, offering to open up the bottle of wine.

"That'd be great, thanks. I can only have a glass though since I have to work tonight."

I nodded and went into the kitchen to get wine glasses. I planned on being thouroughly sloshed by the end of this night.

We took our seats and I served the fettucine alfredo to both James and myself. We dug in and he complimented me on it.

"Thank you. It's Ed-," I began but stopped myself when I almost revealed to James that it was Edward's mom's recipe.

James stiffened slightly but relaxed again a moment later.

I decided it was now or never to get what I had to say overwith.

"So, I asked you here tonight to talk to you about some things."

James nodded as he took another bite of his food.

"You said as much on your message. What's up, Beautiful?"

Ahh, stop being so sweet, James. I'm about to be a totally selfish bitch right now.

"Well, I've been doing some thinking. I mean, well...," I stammered, completely drawing a blank on what I wanted to say.

"Okay, you've been doing some thinking. What about?" James asked.

"Right. Um. Well...ya see."

He tossed his fork down. "Are you breaking up with me, Bella?"

My mouth dropped open. How in the hell had he known that? I've said one syllable words for the past minute.

"What? No! Well, yeah, kind of. Okay. Not kind of. I am breaking up with you but it's nothing you did, James. I promise."

"Are you really using the lame 'it's not you, it's me' reasoning right now, Bella?" he exclaimed.

I took a deep breath. "I never should have started something with you in the first place, James. It truly is me in this situation. I'm not ready for a relationship. I jumped right into things with you to prove to myself and as shitty as it sounds, to prove to Edward that I was over him."

"But you're not, right? You're not over that piece of shit?" he asked, incredulously.

"I am. Well, I want to be. I think. Listen, like I said it's not you or Edward. It's me. I have no idea who I am anymore and I just want to figure things out on my own, before I jump into a relationship."

His face darkened menacingly. "And you couldn't have figured that out before I fell for you?"

I felt awful.

"James, please. I never meant to hurt you. I wanted so hard to make this work."

He threw his napkin on the table before standing. "Yeah, you never meant to hurt me, but that didn't stop you from doing it, now did it?"

He stormed off, slamming the door as he went.

I gulped the rest of my wine down as I gathered up the dishes, tossing them in the sink to deal with later.

I grabbed my phone from my purse and dialed Rose's number.

"Sissy! I was just thinking about you," my sister chirped, happily.

"I broke up with James," I whispered.

"Oh, no. Are you okay?"

"I had to do it, Rosie. I had to. It's not fair that I told Edward I needed time to myself and then continued on with James. And it definitely wasn't fair to James."

She stayed quiet for a minute before saying, "Who really gives a fuck what's fair for Edward, Bella? Fuck him. Let him suffer."

I rolled my eyes. "I care, Rosalie. I can't help but to care."

"Well, he doesn't deserve your sympathy."

"I know."

"So what now, sissy?"

I thought about it for a minute.

"How would you feel about taking a trip, Rosebud?"

A week later, Emmett was dropping Rose and I off at Sea-Tac airport, warning us to stay safe and look out for one another.

"I swear Bella, when I suggested this trip I never in a million years thought you'd actually do it," he whined as he grabbed our suitcases out of the back of his Explorer.

Rose cut into the conversation by saying, "Quit your bitching, Emmett. This is my chance to still look semi-decent in a bikini and have a vacation with my sister before I can't fly and resemble a beached whale."

He raised his eyebrows in amusement. "Whatever you say, princess. Have fun. I love you and I'll miss you. Try not to have too much fun without your Emmy bear though."

Rose blushed and whacked him on the arm before pulling him into a giant hug. "I love you, too. I'll see you in a week."

I gave Emmett a hug next and before I knew it we were boarding a plane to Florida. We arranged for our flight to take us to there, where we'd stay for one night so that we'd have a chance to visit our parent's graves before flying down to the Bahamas for a 6 day, 5 night stay.

The trip to our parent's graves was emotional. Rose left a sonogram picture that she had laminated and I left a bouquet of Renee's favorite flowers. We hugged each other as we told Renee and Phil everything that was going on in our lives.

We spent a good hour and half there, before making the trip back to our hotel to get some rest before our early morning flight.

We rose early the next morning, excited to get on the plane to take us to our tropical destination. It had been a long time since Rose and I had done something just the two of us so we were both eagerly awaiting getting there.

As the flight descended, I thought back to breaking up with James and telling Edward I needed space. I know I did the right thing in doing so but I couldn't help but overlook just how easy it had been to let James go and just how difficult it had been to tell Edward to stay away.

The heart wants what the heart wants. Even when your head knows your heart is an emotionally crippled idiot extraordanaire.

We shuffled our way out of the plane, quickly grabbing a rental car that would take us to our hotel.

We checked into the room excitedly and my mind quickly forgot Edward and James both as I took in the view from our hotel balcony. Nothing but an unbelievably blue ocean and palm trees for miles and miles.

An absolute paradise.

Rose and I took a quick nap and then headed out for the night in search of someplace delicious to eat dinner.

We settled on a place close to our hotel and enjoyed pina coladas (Rose's was a virgin) as the sun went down.

After I was buzzed enough to start giggling and thinking about Edward, Rose suggested we go back to the room.

As we made our way into the room, I realized I left my cell on the bedside table. I picked it up, curious to see if I could even receive any calls here or not.

3 text messages

4 missed calls

Uh oh.

All of the missed calls were from Emmett, along with the text messages.

Bells, call me when you get this. There's a situation.

BELLS - Your boy James is about to get a beatdown from me.

Thought you'd like to know that both your ex-boyfriend and ex-fiance are both in jail for the evening. Happy vacation!

Review if you'd like! I'd sure appreciate it! :)