Hi! Happy New Year!

This is the auction fic for McSmirkle, the generous generous person who donated 1400 bucks to kick cancer's ass for Support Stacie. We'll tell you what the prompt was later- for now, just know this is all-human and the usual angst.

Thank you to elleCC and tkmoonnumbers for reading (and sorry, guys. You know why.) They ain't telling you anything, so don't even bother asking.

All future chapters will be posted on our website A Different Forest in rapid succession.


"Dear Isabella" by jandco and withthevampsofcourse

Dear Isabella-

They say there are more ghosts in New Orleans than in all the haunted castles in England. And if you walk through and see the melancholy-in-their-beauty cemeteries, you'd believe it. At least I do. Sort of. You know how I'm not very superstitious and all.

So I walk around in this ridiculous heat, trying like hell to forget about you, but all the damned gravestones and all the damned grim, grinning reminders of what we once had mock me. Ghostly remembrances of you gesturing crazily at some hat you just had to have, or of me holding that awful and gaudy mask right out of Amadeus away from you. The time I lost that bet to march in the gay pride parade and got more numbers in five minutes than you had through college and you got all offended.

Ghosts of me, ghosts of you.

I don't want to be haunted by this, Bella. But I am. Because, despite all that's happened, I still love you. You're it for me, and I'm sorry if that's bothersome for you, but there you have it.

Actually, I take that back. I'm not at all sorry. You must have dosed me with something, Isabella Swan. Or maybe it was that one-toothed Madame DeVeque, adding a little juju to those stupid daiquiris you insisted we drink while driving around on lazy summer evenings. Maybe she's got some curative daiquiri for the broken-hearted, because I'm not entirely sure I'm going to survive this.

Hell, what am I even doing? You won't read this. You'd never sit still long enough to read something this true.

And you know what? I don't forgive you for that. For your impatience. Or for your poor judgment. Or for your flighty attitude toward life, or your sad work ethic.

None of it.

Mostly, I don't forgive you for leaving.

I do not forgive you.

I don't know if I ever will.

My heart is broken, Bella.

-E.M. Cullen


Edward Cullen.

Quite possibly one of the most brilliant people I've ever encountered, and I've watched a lot of PBS in my day.

He has this fierce kind of loyalty that makes him blind.

Once Edward focuses on something, he can't be stopped- and when his focus is on something other than work, it's awe-inspiring to watch.

He has a pair of boxing gloves, because he boxed for fun and exercise awhile back; he used help me put them on and I'd run around, taking cheap shots at him while he was busy doing other things, and he knows how to tape his hands so that he doesn't get hurt when he's hitting that big, heavy red bag…which he's been doing a lot of lately.

He's the kind of handsome that you have to actually do a double take to make sure you saw him correctly. You know, there's the jaw and the thick hair and the full, dark lips and all of that… and there's the eyes that are almost black when he's very tired or very angry…

I used to say he had mood eyes, just like this mood ring I bought from a dollar store when I was nine. He thought that was ridiculous and proceeded to tell me about the science of mood rings and heat and blah blah blah.

But I didn't care about how it worked or why, just that it did.

We were very incompatible like that.

But there were certain things Edward could never really grasp— like why I preferred no sheets on a mattress or the importance of fresh funnel cakes…

But what Edward never really understood was that it never could've worked, me and him. It simply wasn't meant to be.

Here's the thing: when two people are as stubborn as me and Edward— when two people simply won't give up on each other and keep coming back like locusts or magnets- eventually, fate will intervene if it's not meant to be.

Even now, if I explained this to Edward, he'd roll his eyes at me and tell me to get my damn head out of the clouds.

So explaining this to him would be pointless.

I see him, I check in on him- admittedly, much more than I should- and it's no good. Edward has always been too strong; he's always hung on too tight, even when it wasn't good for him.

If I could make him happy, I would. And maybe in time he'll be less sad and less mad.

There is nothing I wouldn't do for him.

He's the love of my whole life.

If I could fix this, I would.

But right now, I quite literally can't.

Thanks for sticking with us! Come join us over at A Different Forest for discussion, Rob porn, wtvoc trying to convince you to jump fandoms…. You know, the usual. There are VIP cabins for authors we love, and you can come talk about this fic in the jandcoandwtvoc cabin, js.