Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight

Free Hugs

Bella POV

"I can't do this anymore Renee. I can't pretend that everything's okay. I can't keep living in this lie. We need to file for a divorce." Dad mumbled as he sat across from Mom with his heads in his hands on the dining table separating them. I had been peering into the dining room before jerking back. Leaning against the wall, I stood numbly by the doorway, listening in on their conversation without their knowing.

"B-But Charlie, Bella-," Mom tried arguing before he cut her off sharply.

"Bella deserves to know the truth. We can't keep lying to her every day," He said firmly. His voice cracked as he said, "You've been having an affair with Phil for the past half year. I've been covering up for you, lying for you. But what about me, Renee? Do you honestly expect me to stay with you just because you're afraid of telling our daughter the truth about yourself? I've already made up my mind."

My body grew weak and I felt myself slide down to the ground with my back on the wall. 'How could Mom do this to us? Doesn't this family mean anything to her? Why would Charlie keep such a thing from me for so long?' I wrapped my arms around my legs and curled up into a ball. My mind was buzzing with a thousand different thoughts. I could faintly hear Mom and Dad discussing the divorce in detail. Tuning them out, I scrambled up and walked away before they realized that I had been eavesdropping on their conversation.

With shaking hands, I turned the doorknob and shuffled down the porch. Looking up, I saw men unloading furniture from a truck parked in the driveway and heaved it up into the house opposite mine. The Masens had been busy moving into their new house this past week that I have yet to meet them. Moving into a new house probably meant starting over for them. For me, everything was falling apart right in front of my eyes. My anger towards Mom and Dad soon turned into sadness. Kicking the stones on the pavement, I slowly walked past the row of houses. I willed the tears that were threatening to fall, away.

Edward POV

I stood on the pavement outside the hospital with Jacob, a volunteer as well, standing next to me. Dad worked in the hospital as one of the doctors and since school does not start until next week for me, I decided to help out at the hospital instead of staying at home all day. Thus, in my hands now, was a sign with the words 'Free Hugs' written in bold letters. Meanwhile, Jacob was reading aloud to the passersby the objective of this campaign. We were to spread this particular message to the public, 'Aids is not transmitted through hugs but love is. Together let's fight against discrimination.'

Bella POV

As I walked round the corner of a house, I saw two boys who were around the same age as me. One of them was a Native American with olive skin, black hair and brown eyes. In contrast, the other boy was pale with bronze hair and green eyes. The Native American boy and was reading from a piece of paper he was holding in his left hand. Meanwhile, the other boy was holding up a sign that read 'Free Hugs'.

I slowly walked towards them, all the while listening to the Native American boy read from his piece of paper. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a little girl pulling her hand out of an older woman's grasp who was probably her mother. She walked up to the boy holding up the sign and looked up at him with raised arms. Smiling softly, he bent down on his knees, put the sign on the ground at his side and wrapped his arms around the little girl. I watched the exchange and saw a smile grace the little girl's lips as she hugged him. They then pulled away from each other. When the little girl walked away hand in hand with her mother, she looked back to wave at him and he immediately waved back at her. Before he could pick the sign up from the ground, I made my way over to him.

Hearing my footsteps, he turned to my direction and sent a friendly smile my way. I gave a tentative smile before hesitantly taking a step forward to him. He closed the gap between us and enveloped me in a gentle hug. Instinctively, I wrapped my arms around him and buried my head in the crook of his neck. The simple gesture comforted me. It felt nice to have someone hold me. An act of kindness does go a long way. I slowly peeled myself from his embrace and gave a small smile.

"Thank you," I said sincerely and looked up to face him.

"What for?" He asked, clearly surprised at having been thanked for hugging someone.

"For taking the time to care," I replied simply.