EDWARD

"Jacob…" I closed my eyes and let my head fall. She chose the dog. I broke her and I was too late to repair the damage. Before I could wrap my head around Bella's decision, the wolf began to laugh. I was going to reprimand him for being a sore winner but instead decided to see what exactly it was he found so funny. Looking into his mind, I was shocked at what I saw. I looked up to face him. "I'm so sorry," she continued. My eyes met hers and I felt them grow. She had chosen me. Masochistic, selfish, unworthy, monstrous me. I wasn't surprised to hear Jacob shouting at me and it only took me a moment to realize he was actually throwing me his thoughts.

If I ever hear you hurt her again – well let's just say I won't leave so quietly next time. I looked down at my feet. He was expecting a next time. I nodded slightly to assure him that he was heard. When he was out of the room I looked back up at Bella.

"Are you sure this is what you want?" I asked her, unsure of what I wanted her to say. I was still struggling between my need to protect her and my more selfish need to have her in my life. But I couldn't think that way. That's what got us in trouble last time.

"Yes," her voice didn't falter. I breathed a sigh of release. "I'm going to go talk to him." I was surprised at her assertiveness. She left no room to argue – not that I would. She hesitated to follow him, however.

"I'll wait," I told her. Still no movement. "Take your time. I'm not going anywhere," I promised her softly. She eyed me wearily and moved slowly out the door. I listened carefully as her footsteps got farther away.

"Don't say anything, Bella. It'll only make this harder." I couldn't help but feel badly for the pooch. I knew what it was like to lose Bella; it wasn't easy. And I couldn't help but feel eternally grateful for Jacob's presence in Bella's life. Because as angry as I was at myself for letting her go, and as jealous as I was of the man who could hold Bella in a way that I could not, Jacob took care of her while I was gone. He became her reason to wake up in the morning and I could never truly hate anybody – or anything – with that power.

"Don't regret us. Please," she sounded tortured at the fact that she was hurting the man who had once held her together.

"Bells…" I cringed at his nickname for her. "I could never ever regret us. I don't know what I would have done without you these past few months."

"You saved me." I could smell her tears in the air and I choked back a dry sob.

"One day you're going to imprint. And I'm going to be so, so jealous."

"I wish it could have been you. I love you, Bella. So much." He knew it was his last chance. He was giving her everything he had left.

"You're my best friend." He wasn't satisfied with this answer.

"Bella."

"I love you, too."

JACOB

"Jacob…" Edward closed his eyes in defeat. He thought that Bella was choosing me. I couldn't help but laugh. I knew Bella better than that. His head snapped up at my thoughts and over to Bella when she spoke again. "I'm so sorry." His eyes widened at her. It killed me that he was surprised. I had known from the moment I spotted his silver Volvo outside her house that it would only be a matter of time before she told me goodbye. I nodded my head and turned to leave. If I ever hear that you hurt her again – well let's just say I won't leave quietly next time. He broke our eye contact, too ashamed to do anything but nod slightly in agreement. I continued toward the Rabbit, but I didn't get in right away once I was there. I leaned my head on the door and held in a sob. It killed me that she didn't want me to fight for her. It killed me that I was nothing more than a placeholder until her precious leech came home. It killed me that she loved him like I loved her. It just… killed me. I heard her footsteps behind me and took a moment to take control of myself.

"Don't say anything, Bella. It'll only make this harder." I stopped her before she could start.

"Don't regret us. Please," she begged. Her voice was breaking with every syllable. I turned to face her. How could she ever think I was capable of regretting anything about her?

"Bells… I could never ever regret us. I don't know what I would have done without you these past few months."

"You saved me." Tears began falling from her eyes and mine weren't far behind.

"One day you're going to imprint. And I'm going to be so, so jealous."

"I wish it could have been you. I love you, Bella. So much." I knew it wouldn't help, but I had to try.

"You're my best friend." Not good enough.

"Bella," I pleaded with her.

"I love you, too."

BELLA

"Jacob…" I began. I had to take a breath. This was going to hurt. "I'm so sorry." Edward's eyes met mine and widened in shock. Had he really thought for a moment that I wouldn't choose him in the end? As Jacob moved towards the door I felt like he was taking part of my heart with him. The farther he got the more my chest ached, like it was stretching to meet both the love of my life and the love of my existence.

"Are you sure this is what you want?" Edward asked me.

"Yes." The word came out sharp, but I couldn't help but wonder if I had just made a mistake. "I'm going to talk to him." After all he had done for me, I could not – would not – let him leave like this. I looked at Edward and my feet refused to move me. What if he was not here when I came back? Would I ever be able to feel okay in his lack of presence or would I always fear that I would once again no longer be enough for him to stay?

"I'll wait." It's times like these I wondered if he really could read my mind. "Take your time. I'm not going anywhere." It was difficult to trust him but I knew if I didn't then Jacob's heart would be breaking for nothing. I ran outside and slowed when I heard what I thought was a quiet sob. I inched closer and I knew he heard me when his head popped up. He didn't look at me.

"Don't say anything, Bella. It'll only make this harder." I struggled with what to do next. My natural instinct was to take his hand but I refrained.

"Don't regret us. Please." He turned around to face me.

"Bells… I could never regret us. I don't know what I would have done without you these past few months." I couldn't stop the tears before they fell freely.

"You saved me." His eyes became watery and his tears glistened in the moonlight.

"One day you're going to imprint," I told him. My confident voice was breaking as I told him things that I prayed would someday be true. "And I'm going to be so, so jealous."

"I wish it could have been you. I love you, Bella. So much."

"You're my best friend." I looked into his eyes and pleaded with him to understand the implications behind that statement. I prayed that he truly understood what he meant to me and how grateful I was that he was in my life. How lucky I was to have him as my everything for those short months behind us.

"Bella." He wanted more. I would give it to him.

"I love you, too."

I heard the Rabbit drive away and I leaned my forehead on the wooden door to my house. I ran through the evening's events in my mind, praying that I had made the right choice. The door opened and suddenly I was in Edward's arms again.

The end.